quantitative analysis of gold farming

This is a fascinating academic study of gold farming networks in EverQuest2. I am sure someone is doing something similar for WoW. I love this kind of stuff. These virtual worlds are not just fantasy worlds, the fact that humans are the primary characters makes them into fascinating real-world models for various behaviors.

Recall that MMORPGs have also been used to model disease epidemiology – for example, the “Corrupted Blood” in World of Warcraft which got published in Lancet!

the Dalaran portal cataclysm

Note to anyone who hasn’t played World of Warcraft in a while – the Cataclysm has occurred. No, I’m not talking about the emergence of the dragon aspect Deathwing, whose eruption from the elemental plane has rent the continents and reshaped the world; I’m talking about this:

missing portals in Dalaran
the cake is a lie

The portals in Dalaran are gone, partly to encourage players to go out and experience the world. That means that if you have low level alts hearthed in Dalaran, you might be royally screwed… because getting out of Dalaran, and Northrend for that matter, is not exactly a cakewalk.

(tip: check your hearthstone before embarking on an epic run home like Shamus did. You may have been reset to your race/faction’s home city, which means getting out of Dal is trivially easy instead of a major grind.)

Bonus – Deathwing is going to randomly show up in a zone on Azeroth and kill everything and everyone – mobs, players, NPCs, everything. Fun!

Finishing Elwynn

My human character, a warrior named Aabde, has now completed all the quests in Elwynn Forest and reached level 12. One of the highlights was the griffin ride from Westfall to Stormwind; I should have taken some screenshots. The final two quests were to get rid of Hogger and Morgan the Collector; in both cases my timing was fortuitous in that I found other players to team with. Hogger in particular was a pain because the kobolds had a very low drop rate for the quest items (armbands), so we kept having to roam around that area and ambush every kobold we could find, and Hogger would keep respawning and attack us over and over. Still, it’s amazing how much more effective even a small group of two players is than going solo. I also managed to join a Guild – the first one that invited me while roaming around Stormwind City. Thus far my Guild membership hasn’t really been a material benefit but I figure it’s good to be affiliated for now. I am indebted to Anachronda’s character Chisa for the plethora of bags; thanks, man!

So, at any rate, I’ve gone as far as I can in Elwynn at this stage. It seems the next thing to do is go to Westfall and start the quest chains there (kill X of this, Y of that… etc). I did venture east and discovered Three Corners, but there were all sorts of level 15 creatures roaming around, so I lost my nerve and turned back. Another option might be to take the tram to the Dwarven City and see what quests I can find up there. Any suggestions? Whats the natural pathway? (I do have one quest that will require a trip to Loch Modon).

I also have picked up the leatherworking and minng skills, and have collected a pile of leather hides and copper ore, but am not cure how I go about turning this into money. Plus, I have earned two talent points, but that doesnt seem enough to actually buy any talents yet. I did catch a couple of fish, though. I want to get a bit more up to speed on these skills but am really unsure where to start.

There is one other temptation, to shelve Aabde for a while and focus on my elf Zzamba instead. He just graduated from the playpen and is at level 6, so getting him up to level 10-12 will be a good diversion and change of pace. Well, change of scenery, any way.

Anyone have any advice for me on where to go and what to do next?

Staghelm server

Well, I am three days into my free trial on WoW and I am, well, wowed. Everything Shamus has said about the game is true, and I’ve barely scratched even the surface of the scratch that Shamus made. Thus far I have only played a human warrior – yeah, I like to keep things simple at the outset – and after about 4 hours of cumulative play am up to level 5, and just left the playpen and moved to Goldshire, which was just as wacky as has been reported. I’ve filled up on quests in that area but haven’t completed any because I got seriously whomped on by forest spiders on my way to the mine, so am at a bit of an impasse. I guess I could try to build up some cash and buy a fancier weapon – or maybe learn to use ranged attacks or the various other fancier combat modes than just “click and slash”. Actually though I think I will instead start a new character tonight, probably different race and class, to get a feel for other aspects of gameplay and the world.

I can definitely see the addictive appeal of this game and it’s almost a given that Blizzard is going to get my money. However I am pretty content to take it slow. I don’t need to rush through the whole thing to “finish” it, it’s like a fine meal I’d rather savor. Just working through the race and class combinations that appeal to me is going to fill up months. I’ll probably take a few iterations bringing these alts up to level 5 or six (ie, escape the playpen) and then return to my original human to start going further. Or maybe not; let’s see how it goes.

For now though I am on Staghelm server (a “Normal” server, not PvP or PvE) so if you see me running around, say hi! My characters so far are a human warrior (aabde) and a night elf druid (zzamba).