Scientia potentia est (knowledge is power)
Knowledge is key to maximizing the value of your time spent in game. I think this is very critical to playing as a Super Casual. It also has fairly obvious implications for the gold making game as well. Even more importantly there is a lot of synergy between your knowledge of your class(es), professions, etc and your ability to make gold. In other words the better player you are, the easier you will find it to make gold whether you are a hardcore auction house player or not.
First let me clarify what I mean by being a “better player.” I’m not talking about being on top of the DPS meters, having the most gold, having the most killing blows in battlegrounds, or anything like that. I’m talking about your ability to make the most of your time in game, whatever your goals may be. Its knowing what dungeons you should be running first to gear up, what factions have the best rewards for you, understanding why its bad to fight on roads in battlegrounds, and why pulling aggro as DPS is ALWAYS your fault (yeah I said it). I agree your primary aim in WoW is to have fun. I submit that taking the time to learn about the game will lead to more enjoyment for you.
Let me give you a quick example of the sort of synergy I’m talking about. As you know by now, my main is a Hunter. I love this class. I read everything I can about it (when I’m not playing or reading about other facets of the game). Because of everything I read (and then put into practice, a very important point), I’m a pretty good Hunter. I’m not God’s gift to Hunters but I’m above average. I put out good DPS, know how to use my CC, etc. I also know what gear, gems, enchants, foods and other consumables, etc are important for Hunters. This automatically clues me into where demand in the market is going to be. I know agility trumps all for Hunters, almost to the point where certain lower level enchants are going to be better for a Hunter than some of the high end ones. This in turn may allow you to exploit a niche market that other people have abandoned thinking those enchants are not longer worthwhile.
There are diminishing returns on this knowledge. At some point you are going to know must of what you need to know about a particular class or profession. You need to branch out. In fact diversification of knowledge is arguably as important as diversification of your gold making ventures. I don’t expect that you would know the ins and outs of every class. But you ought know the high points. Knowing what a raiding prot warrior is going to gem for versus a fury warrior who loves to PvP might be a good thing to know. What stat is most important for a healing priest?
So without further ado, here are some of my favorite sources of knowledge.
The Undermine Journal – I could almost end this post right here if we were talking solely about goldmaking. This is an incredible tool for would-be auction house players. Cold over at Cold’s Gold Factory has done a couple of very nice posts on this site. I would only caveat this by saying that you need to understand the data you are looking at, and also note that TUJ is rather sensitive to grossly inflated auction prices. Just be aware of this fact. Seriously, learn it, live it, love it. Its that good. I’d pay real money to use this tool.
Wowhead – The penultimate WoW reference. I’ve yet to be disappointed when I go to this site looking for info. The comments section is actually very helpful, unlike many sites on the intertubes. Its self-moderated and it works surprisingly well. Ive found some very good information in the comments sections of this page.
WoW Insider – I can hear some of you groaning. I dont know why or when it got popular to to pan these guys but it’s unfounded. Focus on the articles on the classes and other stuff obviously. Even if it’s not always quite right (and this doesnt happen as often as some people would have you believe) LOTS of people read this site and follow their advice. Thats their only source of information. What do you think this does to markets if they make a certain recommendation. And for a bonus, you should absolutely salivate when they publish a gold making article. Seriously. If you cant figure out why, I’ll need to see you after school for some extra instruction.
Elitist Jerks – The place for serious raiders. It will teach you more about your class (for PvE at least) than you ever wanted to know. No, I’m serious. You will overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information. There is no chaff. This is because the slightest breach of the rules will get your post deleted or moved to The Banhammer or The Dung Heap. Your intrepid blogger has been to the Dung Heap for a seemingly innocent post. The ruthless moderating ensures a high amount of high quality information. Read here as much as you can. If Elitist Jerks says “Class X should gem with Y”, you can be damn sure Y is going to be selling on your server.
Blogs – Yeah, I kind of took the easy way out here. Find as many blogs as you can stand to read and read them. YOu will pick up all sorts of little bits of knowledge that will help you optimize your play time, earn you gold and all that other stuff. If you don’t know how to use a feed reader, do some research. I use the Google Reader. Check my blogroll for some, and check back because it will get longer, but inputting those links is so painful… 😉
So go out, get smart, and continue to enjoy the Super Casual lifestyle. In the comments, let me know what your sources of knowledge are!