Monday, April 13, 2009

My business

I'll give Gevlon the Greedy Goblin credit for coming up with this idea, but I wanted to say it again here so people have a clear understanding of what a business in WoW is. I've also elaborated on it a bit.

Most players in WoW are running a business and they don't even know it. Businesses can be categorized 4 ways:

Factory Owner
Commodities trader

The Farmer is just that, someone who has a gathering skill and gathers good to sell in their raw form on the auction house. The backbone of the economy, they provide goods to the other three businesses.

The Entrepreneur is a tradesman who makes and sells his/her own goods. Characters with the gathering/crafting synergy professions like Herbalism/Alchemy fall into this category. See, you're a businessman and don't even know it! Hopefully this blog will get you to start acting like one. Marxists call you people the "petite bourgeoisie".

The Factory Owner is much more rare. A factory owner hires skilled laborers to assemble a product using materials that the owner provides. To a Marxist, this person is the evil Bourgeoise. In WoW terms, a factory owner is someone who buys materials in mass quantities and pays a player to create an item that the factory owner will sell on the auction house.

The Commodities traders to me are people who work the auction house like the stock market. These are the people who use Auctioneer and scour the AH for underpriced goods that they know will move, buy the item and relist it for a decent profit.

I've tried all 4 and for a while was almost exclusively a farmer. I got tired of seeing the price of ore fall lower and lower so I got smart and started to investigate the other three. The one I've done the least with is the Factory Owner. For the most part, I'd rather not deal with the hassle of finding someone willing to make a bunch of stuff for me and I always assume they'll get wise and start making the stuff themselves, thus becoming my competition.

I think the art of the Auction House is the art of becoming a really good Commodities trader, either by just doing the traditional buy low/sell high, or by purchasing raw materials for a super low price and using it to craft something that sells well and for a decent profit. My most successful attempt at "working" the auction house as a commodities trader was when for a few weeks, buff food was selling for about 60 gold per stack of 20. I bought it all up and sat on it until it became rare again and started selling for 100-120/stack. I sold everything that I bought and then some for a nice profit.


  1. I wonder if the reason that Factory Owner is such an unrewarding role is because the WoW environment is a deliberately crafted level playing field.

    As you say; at any moment your labour might get wise and go into business for themselves.

    I don't know a lot about Marxism but it seems like the objection to RL Factory Owners is when they are positioned by luck/history and are profiting without adding value.

  2. I agree. It's too easy for a worker to just craft the item themselves and sell it. The barrier in the real world is among other things the capital to invest in the factory. In WoW, everyone with a crafting profession is essentially the owner of a means of production.