It’s as real as you make it

I need coffee.

I bought some yesterday and yet failed to bring it in to work. Apparently today I woke up on the fail side of the bed. Those of you that have been around for  a while know what this means.

I get random.

Bizarre tangents get explored, ridiculous posts get written, and I generally get e-mail telling me to go back on my meds. Well, such is life.

Today we will be exploring a tangent that came to mind after I read a news story about the Korean Supreme Court.

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The Korean Supreme Court recently decided that virtual currency is in fact real. The reasoning is that it is earned through “work” as opposed to through gambling.

Interesting.

If the government here in the United States were to decide to agree with them how would that effect me?

Would I have to pay taxes on my glyph business?

Could I write off the money I spend on flasks and buff food as a business expense?

Perhaps only on runs where one of my crafters gets a new pattern to drop?

How about paying government fees?

Could I cover the annual registration for my car with in-game gold? 

Could I pay my income taxes the same way?

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These are the kind of things that run through my head after I read a simple news story and put it together with whats going on in my life. It is all about the real world value of in-game currency. Let me assure you it has real value.

Here is an example.

My sons teachers cannot stop gushing about how his grades have improved over the last several weeks. He has gone from just scraping by to excellent across the board. They are truly impressed, and I am as well.

How does that have anything to do with the real value of virtual money?

If he makes honor roll I buy him the epic flight skill for his main.

Right now he is farming 5000 gold in a classroom.

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Yes the gold has real value.

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Has another year gone by already?

Thinking about the new year to come, well, that will unfold in its own time.

As I stand here looking back towards the year that was I smile.

It has certainly had some moments, both good and bad. Taking my que from such esteemed bloggers (and friends) as KestrelTamiLarisa,  Matticus, and Pike, amongst others that populate my feed reader I will give a bit of a look back.

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A glance, as it were, at the year that was.

January saw the death of my old gaming machine, and the arrival of it’s replacement. My hunter finally quit trying to make a broken spec work and I finally figured out a good use for DKP. Overall it was a good, if cold, month.

Early February bore witness to a one of the few pieces of fan fiction that I have made public with the (very) short story Blood in the Water. Towards the end of the month there was call to be happy as my Priest Morham (now renamed Dechion) became my second level 80, and the lights grew dimmer in the blogosphere as we said goodbye to one of my favorite blogs, Gun Lovin’ Dwarf Chick.

March was a very melancholy month for me, and it showed in my posts. I had to leave town for an unexpected funeral, those are never really a pleasant thing. The month also saw one of the first posts about an asshat, one I was guilded with no less.

As April dawned I reexamined my priorities, not just with WoW but with life as a whole. I lamented about always how we always seem to be waiting for the next big change, instead of playing the game as it exists.  Patch 3.1 blew up the servers and I nearly deleted my Priest in anger.

In May life was much busier outside game than in, causing me to spend a lot of time AFK. What I had going on in-game was not too pleasant either. I simply did not post about a lot of it. It did see my blogs first birthday and oddly enough me discussing PvP in a way that shows that I actually like it when it’s done right.

June was a time for family, particularly towards the end as my wife and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. I did manage to squeeze in a short post about welfare epics, and a few looks at the upcoming 3.2 changes. Overall it was a quiet month.

In July real life critted again right before the fourth of July weekend.  Not for the first time, and surely not the last, I noticed WoW becoming more like a job than hobby and took a step back. I also wondered what people would ask if given a chance to talk to one of the game designers one on one.

August was a frustrating month, and most of my posts show it. I enjoy instancing, and I simply could not get in. I ended up so damn frustrated that I canceled my subscription. On the plus side, the problem was fixed before the time I had already paid for ran out.

September was a really lean month as far as the blog goes. I answered a few questions about why it is that I have so many Hunters, and why I have a priest at all. I also tried (in vain as it turned out) to change the direction of the blog. It is what it is, and shall stay that way.

October was an interesting month around here as I wrote about how Wow was for me more like an emotional vacation  from the stresses of life than a mountain to be conquered. I wrote of a way to level alchemy from nothing to 450 on the cheap, and then answering a question I received I put my money where my keyboard is and proved it could work by doing it.

As November arrived it brought with it the first of the microtransactions that I think will one day change the very nature of Warcraft. I pondered this as I asked folks to wake up and smell the future. I looked forward to the future of Warcraft in Cataclysm in the great retcon. I said thanks to veterans around the globe and ran with a ton of wonderful folks in Raid for the Cure.

December. We will just call December “The Month of Pugging Dangerously”. Thats putting it mildly. It was a whirlwind of pugging heroics. Right now the new tool is shiny and new, I am pugging my way along and for the most part having a grand old time. Pretty soon though, the shiny will wear thin and groups might be a little harder to come by.

I had a few problems with elitist prima donna’s  thinking the world revolves around them, and experienced a shiny and new (to me at least) exploit. On the plus side some of the comments got me to looking at ways I might be able to improve my own performance, and I am having fun trying out a few new things.

I also mentioned getting into tanking on my Death Knight. I even went so far as to set up a gear plan, but still have not actually run anything as a tank. Something about not wanting to be horrible at it.

Looking back at 2009 I am pretty happy with where things sit right now, both in game and out.

I wonder what the next year will bring.

Playing favorites

I got to thinking this morning.

If you have been around for long you know that usually is followed by some random observation about life, Warcraft, or the state of mind I happen to be in. Today however, that is not the case.

Instead of reading the news or any other such thing I decided to look through my past posts. I have quite a few posts I really enjoyed writing. Some were funny, some were serious, some were not even about Warcraft. Hell some were not even on this blog.

Anyhow, since I spent my time woolgathering instead of brainstorming I don’t have any good ideas for todays post. On the plus side I did spend a good amount of time enjoying some of my other stuff. 

I suppose instead of just ignoring my friends on the intertubes I’ll just afflict you with  “best of” list.

Well, maybe not the best, but some of my favorites anyhow.

Not so funny stuffs:

Casually Addicted (um, yes)

What are epics worth? (whatever your willing to pay)

Will heal for food (I never feel like this anymore, thankfully)

Everything I needed to know about WoW I learned in the Barrens (yep)

Something was missing (They nerfed it to the ground, then kicked it)

Kinda funny stuffs:

This just in (Arena really would make more sense like this)

Dads kiss up points, or DKP for short (yes, it’s working)

Way beyone grumpy (a rant, but a funny one)

/Headdesk (I still do things like this, often)

Blah (all purpose patch notes)

Stories about that place thats not Azeroth:

Five hours and counting (from yet another meme)

Escape to Azeroth (like a vacation commercial, only not)

Farewell old friend (once upon a time I lived there)

What would you ask? (what the next gen’s genera is going to be)

Oh, snap! ( I hate it when that happens)

Fan fiction/ stories:

And the lights grow dimmer (my all time favorite post, it just felt right)

Blood in the water (why don’t they clean up after themselves?)

Mirrior mirror (it would  be an odd feeling)

The same, except completely different (Mmmmm…. beer)

Missing (a diferent take on Mirror Mirror, and better written IMO)

Stuffs from my other distinctly non-WoW blog what might be entertaining:

A line in the sand (I wonder what I would have done?)

Frogs (still makes me laugh)

Oh cool, I found it! (yes I know it’s a recent post, but it’s a good one)

Mans best friend (sadly only one is still with us)

A ride (makes me want to get the bike out and go)

And there you have it, the perfect post for a day when I had no idea what to write.

Wow what a sale

Dear readers,

I just noticed a little something interesting.

Starting today (11/27/09) and going thru Sunday (11/29) the original World of Warcraft game will be on sale thru the Blizzard store as a digital download for a mere five dollars. Apparently hard copies will be similarly priced this weekend at retail stores also.

My roving reporter/price checker lovely wife who is out shopping at oh dark thirty this black friday morning also tells me that the World of Warcraft battle chest (original game+Burning Crusade+near useless guide book) is going for twenty. Then again, that may be a local sale at one store only, I can’t confirm anything right now on the battle chest.

Been thinking about using Refer-a-friend to multi box your way to 60?

I know I have. I simply never got around to it.

Will I do it now?

Possibly.

Have a friend that you have been trying to talk into Wow for ever?

Drop five bucks and get them the first month and first sixty levels.

I know of a dad who is planning to buy accounts for his sons this Christmas. They have been using his and/or his wifes accounts up till now, but with both parents and three sons all playing they can field five mans in-house.

Am I recommending it to you?

No, not particularly. I just give information, what you do with it is entirely up to you.

I am just pointing it out to you, my wonderful readers, the same way I might point out an ad in the sunday sales flyer to a friend. This just happens to be the way I talk to you, as opposed to over a cup of coffee at the local Waffle House.

Enjoy the weekend,

-Dechion

This post brought to you be the fact that I would rather gouge out my eyes with a spork that go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. My wife calls it Black Friday and looks forward to it for weeks. I call it National Asshat day. I am a firm believer that trade chat will be quiet at the moment, and all pugs will run like clockwork. All the asshats are already busy.

Not all the shoppers this morning are asshats, but most of the asshats will be there.

That by itself is enough to keep me at home.

Well, at least its not a gear list.

Showing a surprising lack of judgment I was invited to go hang out with the wonderful folks that make up the Sidhe Devils Gone Wild podcast. I would say they had never heard me talking before, but there is always Vent. They should have known better…

Anyhow, It was a blast. If you haven’t heard it yet you really should go check it out. I had a blast making it and got a good laugh listening to it this morning. Even though I already knew what was going to happen.

Go ahead…. go listen. I’ll still be here when you get back.

Assuming you come back after hearing me babble like a clueless noob.

Nothing to do with todays post, I just found this hilarious. I should cook mine like this tomorrow.

Oh, wow. Your back.

Either you didn’t go listen or you’re a real glutton for punishment.

 

Um… Well I didn’t really expect anyone to come back, so I guess I’ll try to throw a post together right quick.

Ooo… I know I’ll do a gear list, those are always fun.

Then again, with 3.3 dropping any day now it would be kinda pointless.

 

How about a rant? Rants are always fun.

Then again, the only thing that has ticked me off lately is getting to 39/40 turkeys for the Turkinator achievement three separate times and missing out on the last one every time. Annoying and bothersome yes, worthy of it’s very own post? Not so much.

 

I could try to drum up some interest in my non-Wow blog, perhaps by linking the post about how I found a needle that had gone missing in my house, and the hilarity that ensued . Then again, no one wants to read about that. This is supposed to be a WoW blog afterall.  

 

Well, I suppose I could just send out a happy Thanksgiving to everyone, both in-game and out.

Yep. we’ll go with that.

Chores

This morning I was doing some thinking…

You can stop laughing any time, honest.

As I was saying, I was doing a bit of thinking today about this wonderful game we all play.

Be advised, this post is largely the ramblings of a tired and somewhat cranky individual. Feel free to mark as read and move along.

I, along with many others from what I have been reading, am suffering from a bit of a funk within the game. As I sat here this morning thinking about the book I am attempting to write for NaNoWriMo something hit me.

A similarity between the two.

This month I took something I love to do for fun, writing, and by placing goals and check points on it essentially turned it into a job. I am discovering a lot about myself by doing the project, and that is the real goal. However, I am paying very close attention to my attitude towards writing.

If I get to the point where I don’t want to sit down and create anymore, if it starts to feel more like taking out the trash than a relaxing thing I do for fun, I am pulling the plug.

How is that in any way similar to Wow you ask?

Simple.

I have limited playtime, so what I have been doing is basically a priority list.

  1. Check my banker / AH toons to see if it’s time to scan or craft more glyphs. If it is,  then scan, craft, and post.
  2. Check cooldowns on Inscription reasearch and Alchemy transmutes, use if they are up.
  3. Do the Jewelcrafting daily if not done yet.
  4. Farm Mageweave. (EDIT: It occured to me that some might take this the wrong way. I am farming Mageweave, and later Netherweave, to level tailoring on my priest once 3.3 goes live. The Mageweave I have farmed up for the Raid for the Cure event is completely seperate from this.)
  5. Check time on Wintergrasp, do it for the stonekeeper shards once a week per level 80. (for the gearing of my upcoming Worgen Druid with BOA’s, should be done in 2-3 more weeks)
  6. Run a heroic if I have the time (and a group just happens to be forming)
  7. Stand in Dalaran and chat with guildies.
  8. If all else fails level fishing/cooking on yet another character.

It used to be that I would simply hop on an alt and happily level it up. Now I find myself playing a waiting game.

Waiting for Blizz to put forth the features they mentioned.

The new LFG tool will be excellent for those times I have just enough time to run something but there is not a group forming at the moment. I am looking forward to that.

As soon as they announced the future ability to send BOA’s cross faction I immediately lost all interest in leveling my Horde side Hunter until I can send him a Tome of Cold Weather Flight. There he sits in Dalaran patiently letting the Auction House pay him to level Inscription. After all, he will sit there for a while I think.

Alliance side I am down to one alt that needs some more leveling before getting parked until Cataclysm. My level 19 Shaman will get to 20, and then wait for the rest of the group. Myself, my mother in law, and two of my kids, are going to level a group solo to 20. We will then level up those alts only through instances, and only with each other.

I already have my Priest, Hunter, and Death Knight to 80. They are done gearing up outside of instances.

My Shaman, as I said, is waiting for the rest to catch up. Since at least two of them will be rolling Worgen that plan is on hold.

With one character simply holding a name for my upcoming Druid and three others being Banker or AH toons I have no plans to level any of them.

It boils down to this:  Wow, at least for me, is in a holding pattern.

What does that have to do with writing you ask?

Simple. 

Logging in to Wow is starting to feel more and more like taking out the trash. More a list of chores to do than something I log in and do for the fun of it. 

Lately I have been more about preparing for the future and less about having fun now.

I do have one character slot still open, perhaps it’s time to lose myself in an alt for a while.

I would have to start a new one.

I wonder what I should roll.

Wake up and smell the future

Hi folks,

Just figured I would take a quick break from NaNoWriMo to throw in my two cents worth on the pet store.

Yep, the same damn thing everyone else is talking about.

I see people screaming about how selling an in game pet for real dollars is game breaking.

I see people complaining about various other account services as well, faction transfers and PvE – PvP realm transfers chief among the complaints.

I have read about how this is a horribly slippery slope. Apparently we will wake up one day and find them selling conquest badges for real money or something.

I have also read a few articles where the authors were extremely unconcerned. essentially saying “they are just pets, and pets have been for sale for a while. Just look on ebay.”

I suppose my take on all this is a little different.

I don’t see it as a way to separate the haves and the have-nots within the game, although to some extent it will. I also don’t see it as some kind of slippery slope that Blizzard might go sliding headlong down at any moment. I see all the changes that have been coming in the last six months or so as a window into where the future of WoW lies.

Since my brain is mush from the whole “Write a novel in 30 days while simultaneously doing everything else life calls on me to do” thing so this might come out a bit disjointed. Sorry about that.

We are all fantasy gamers here right? Well, lets take a walk down fantasy lane. Pretend for a while that you are an executive for a company. We will call them Blizz because I am too damn tired to make up a cutesy name right now.

You have this game, it is literally the cash cow for your business. 

Just like a farmer you will tend to that cash cow as best you can. As a farmer your job would be to milk that cow for as much as you can without causing it to dry up. After all if it goes dry you are hosed, but you don’t want to leave any milk there that you should have taken. 

Now as this executive you know about the next generation MMO, the one you hope will turn out to be the next cash cow. The last one is getting a bit long in the tooth after all. Now you have a few problems.

You don’t want to compete with yourself for subscribers.

You don’t want to just turn off the old game, after all there is money to be made there yet.

You have promised all along that you would never allow out of game purchases to give an in game advantage (a promise artfully broken by the refer-an-alt program, but meh.)

The logical thing to do would be to simply convert you existing game from a subscription model to a microtransaction / free to play model.  If you could pull that off you could run the new one on a subscription model without forcing your customers to choose.

Another advantage would be in having competition in the microtrasaction MMO market, something you sorely lack at the moment. After all, you don’t make games to make friends, it’s a business. The object of business is to make profit, thats simply the way it works.

Ideally you would figure out a way for players of your old game to get a bit of a leg up in the new one. Perhaps by implementing a points system for doing tasks within the game.  This would be a lot easier to implement if we force them to tie all their games together under one login, we should do that as early as possible to work out the bugs.

Let the points earned in the old game be useless there and only spreadable in the new one (selling only vanity stuff or BOA starter gear of course). That way people from your old game would feel like they had money in their pockets for the new one, what better reason to try it out.

Now, knowing that a straight shift would scare some subscribers away you come up with a long-term plan. Start integrating the microtransaction model into the game. Proceed very slowly and cautiosly, until by the time your new game is ready all the infrastructure is in place.

Once the new game is released you can then announce that you are graciously going to make the old game free to play, while leaving the microtrasactions in place to still make a profit. Most of those that prefer the subscription model will move anyway,  so you can always start selling epics later.

Sitting back you think to yourself, Good plan.

Lets do that, we’ll start with pets.

Everyone loves pets.

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