Thursday, January 21, 2021

What was that about Old Dogs?

I tend to be, well, a bit hidebound in how I do certain things in MMOs.

I'm not a big fan of "gaming" things for exploitative purposes. I don't mean illegal cheats/loopholes, but taking advantage of a weakness in game to obtain a lot of a certain item. Such as a Mage taking advantage of how mobs track to farm immature venom sacs, for example. I've seen the YouTube videos, and I get the how it is done, but I still grumble at the poor design of how aggroed mobs go after you that I have a hard time in game of actually taking advantage of the poor design. 

For the uninitiated, you can stand at a certain spot in LBRS, aggro a whole bunch of spiders, and right before they get to your toon you can jump up to a stone walkway beside you and that same mob turns around, runs allllll the way back and then gets up on the stone walkway to chase after you. Do this enough times while AOEing, and you can burn down the entire mob.

Yes, it's legal, but it still bothers me that these elite mobs --and spiders at that-- don't understand the basics of climbing a 3 foot wall.

Or the basics of doing single pulls in Maraudon. Again, not a fan of taking advantage of similar weaknesses in Mara to farm Mara.


Some other exploitative runs, such as Lasher runs in Dire Maul East, I just don't get. 

I've done Lasher runs before, and after I'm done I sit there and go "That's it? That's all the gold you get for this? That's all the useful herbs you get?" And I shake my head. I was expecting a ton of useful herbs, but all I ever got were a ton of Heart of the Wild, which any Auction House affictionado will tell you doesn't sell that much. I mentioned this to a friend of mine who loves Lasher runs, and he said "it's the grays you get that are worth it."


By contrast, I farm herbs in Eastern Plaguelands and Western Plaguelands, and in most normal times I can get some stacks of Plaguebloom, Dreamfoil, and Mountain Silversage and make 90 gold every couple of hours' worth of farming. 

Well, that was before the Mountain Silversage market collapsed a month ago.


I look at some people in WoW who accumulate a lot of gold, and wonder just how cutthroat you have to be in order to amass that much gold. How sweaty do you need to be? It's not like there's such a thing as compound interest in MMOs*, so you have to actively go out and sell things in order to obtain gold. Whether it's your services (such as selling water, boosting**, or ports), mats, or finished items, you have to sell something if you want to keep up with the increasing demands of raiding and other activities. 

It wasn't until about 7-8 months ago that I became aware of the concept of the GDKP raid. The "G" in front of the more traditional DKP term means "Gold", as in people bid gold to win items in raids. To join this "raiding of the rich and well heeled" you have to have a certain minimum amount of gold, and the raid leads inspect you to determined if you've got enough gold to play. Which sounds more than a bit like Casino Royale, but in WoW. Just let that sink in a bit: there's raids out there only for those with enough gold to join in.

Still, it's not like I'm the only perpetually poor person in our raids. I know a Warrior who barely makes enough gold to repair his gear between raids.*** And apparently there are a lot of people in our raid who need enchants, which means needing the mats + gold as well. 


I realize that this sounds like whining, which is why I'm talking about it here rather than on Discord or in WoW. But I believe a lot of this due to my approach to playing the game. If I wanted to earn gold, I'd do it the Gevlon way, which would likely earn me gold but also have some of my in game friends disappointed in my greedy methods. And while I'd like to think that changing my approach to farming in WoW wouldn't change me, I'm not so foolish as to believe that. 

How we play is a reflection of ourselves. That doesn't mean that we don't learn or grow while playing a video game, but it does mean that how we approach the game, how we interact with people in a game, and the emphasis we place on in game activities are a window into our own psyches. People who say "I play to blow off steam" and then proceed to act like an asshole in game are showing to the world what they are really like without the constraints of society.****


Nevertheless, I have begun changing my approach to farming gold in WoW. 

Instead of farming for raw materials, I've instead begun to focus on the finished items. I used to dip my toe into the tailoring market, but my lack of sales there dissuaded me from that approach. But potions? That's something I can work with. I know way too intimately just how much potions cost for raiding, and now I'm taking that knowledge and applying it to Az's potion making. Potions such as Greater Firepower, Mageblood, and Greater Shadow Protection sell well on the Auction House, and I'm focusing on what I can sell based on what I can farm. Sure, the market will change, but if I can can do this, I'm sure I can change with it. I don't need to go crazy while farming, spending all of my spare hours just trying to get enough gold for the next Naxx run, but I do need to be mindful of the lure of gold.

Now, let's just see if this old dog can internalize these new tricks.

*At least ones that I play, anyway.

**Another service I find distasteful. If you already know how to play your class that's one thing, but boosting to merely get to "where the game begins" misses the point. The leveling experience gives you the opportunity to learn to play a class, and you apply those lessons at endgame. Having to learn tanking at L60 when the only times you set foot in an instance were when you were being boosted is, well, a lost opportunity.

***Or so he claims. It's gone on long enough that its now a meme.

****Or maybe within societal constraints. After all, the past four years have been very educational in how people behave when they realize they can get away with anything.


  1. "Exploiting" mob pathing is a fascinating concept. Even twenty years ago, when I was almost comically opposed to any form of behavior I saw as cheating (which included a whole load of things I now consider to have been borderline crazy - I once disbanded from a group in EQ and logged out, leaving someone's stuff on the ground, just because I realized after he'd handed it to me that he was going to log in alt for me to pass it to.) I was absolutely fine with the kind of mob pathing "exploits" you describe.

    The reason is that I always saw the way mobs moved in game as an integral part of the virtual world. Different mobs have different pathing strategies and that's just part of how they see the world. I didn't think about how a different coder might have set different paths - I just saw it as some mobs behave differently to others. Learning those behaviors was as much part of learning to be in the world as learning which spells they used or whether they were social with other types of mob.

    There was a thing called "perching", which was considered an actual exploit by the GMs. That was when you could fuind a place where you could attack the mob abd it absolutely could not get to you. I never did that. If the mob could get to you, though, even if it had to run backwards and forwards a lot as in your example, well that was local knowledge your character had about the world in which they lived and one hundred per cent legitimate, not just in game terms but as a fully role-played aspect of the virtual world.

    1. I think part of the issue I have with that is that if you're in a Battleground (Alterac Valley) you can be standing on a hill that the enemy can't get to you from, but a Warrior's Victory Rush will let them scale the hill and attack you, ignoring that limitation. I look at mobs like spiders, whose whole thing is to scale walls (hello, Spider-man!) and say "you can't figure this out? Come on!"

  2. I tell myself my inability to make money must be my server, yeah, it's my server. Makes me feel better. I tend to get discouraged if I put a leather piece up and it doesn't sell. And then sometimes the AH cut after a few tries makes me give up.

    In Shadowlands I pretty much sell things like sought after fish, or leather patches that may not go for much but are cheap to sell.

    1. Yeah, I've discovered that selling actual gear is very much a hit or miss proposition. I've had better luck selling mats and potions than anything else.