Friday, April 11, 2008

Why give gatherers a daily quest?

While plucking Nether Residue from various mineral nodes and herbs, I found myself wondering WTF did Blizzard give a special daily quest that's only for the gatherers?

The reward for the quest is one of the largest gold rewards for a daily at 16g. The only non-dungeon daily quest that I know of that rewards more gold is one of the Netherwing mine ones. The quest also gives SSO rep, and some mediocre healing/mana potion.

So you're working at Blizzard, trying to come up with what to add in patch 2.4.

You're creating daily quests that're basically designed to make gold more accessible to the masses, and let everybody enjoy the fancy epic flight skill which has a fixed price that is not subject to inflation. Buying power for most other items is subject to a free market, and therefore prices will eventually balance out to the new gold supply/growth rate. Consequently, I'm of the opinion that increasing gold earning is aimed at making epic flight more accessible. It might have aims at the gold farming/selling companies, but I've got no expertise in that arena, so for the sake of this thought exercise, I will pretend its not a factor. Small aside, talent respec costs are fixed as well, so increasing the gold supply will also make talent respecs less painful.

Why buff the gold earning capacity of your gatherers?

Only speaking from personal experience, but gold doesn't tend to be an issue for gatherers. At least not us duallies. There's no real reason to provide us with more gold, and even less reason to provide a disproportionately large amount of gold for a single daily quest. I've already got 10x or even 100x the gold of most of the players around me, doing nothing special besides gathering and selling (with some dailies mixed in), why give me more?

As far as I know, there's no crafting professions that have a daily quest.

What gives?

Only theory I can come up with is that they want to flood the market with gathered items to counteract inflation. You've got an increasing money supply, so they are trying to increase the supply of gathered items to match it.

I'm just not sure its enough to balance. My experience might be skewed through being a dual gatherer, but I have had zero problem completing the SSO gathering quest every day since the patch. Just gather minerals and herbs along the way doing other quests and I've got my 8 residues well before I'm done. I usually do the Nagrand spirit fields helmet quest first, and by the time I'm back in Shatt to turn that in, I've got nearly all my residue collected. If I've only got 6 or 7 at that point, a quick flight over the Ogres in the Barrier Hills does the trick.

I have read some stories of folks having royally difficult times collecting all 8 items for the quest. So perhaps that's inspiring them to farm more than they did in the past?

Also, long term, if you increase money supply, and increase supply of gathered raw materials. You'll also need to increase the demand for those gathered mats, or else the whole system collapses. You'll have this giant supply of herbs sitting there, prices dropping through the floor, which will then lead to raid consumables like potions and elixirs to become dirt cheap.

To keep this in balance, you'll have to then increase the demand for those raw mats. Maybe removing attunements to end-game raid instances? In theory, removing that barrier will increase raiding activity some what. That would in turn increase the demand for the raid consumables, which will in turn increase the demand for gathered herbs.

How do the econonmists at Blizzard analyze all these effects and balance them?

To be honest, I haven't really noticed the market for herbs or ores changing that much since the patch. My biggest surprise is Fel Lotus which was supposed to increase in drop rate. I've seen substantially LESS Fel Lotus since the patch, but that might be a random dry spell. Its to the point that my supply is so low from having Flask of Relentless Assault brewed, that I might have to go and buy some Fel Lotus for raids. THE HORROR!!!!

The price of Fel Lotus on my server is up a gold since the patch came out, which is counterintuitive since the supply was supposed to go up. Perhaps a by-product of inflation?

Nominal value goes up, but real value when corrected for inflation, goes down from increased supply.

A few more weeks will have to play out to see what the effect will really be of the increased gold supply. I've already seen several friends get their epic flight skill since the patch came out. So you'll see things stay sort of stable at first, while there's still the big gold sink for people. Once they have the flight skill out of the way, they'll still be doing many of the daily quests, maybe not quite as aggressively without the motivation of the fancy bird dangling out there. So the gold supply will shoot up in the next few weeks.

As more of the population uses up their gold sink, things are going to get interesting. We're talking cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria!


loronar said...

Interesting that you bring up this topic. I had just read off MMO Champion the other day about a blue post saying they've found a way for us to use money in Wrath without having to buy new mounts/riding skills. So I suppose the money sinks will disappear when Wrath comes out? Who knows.

The dailies do help me work towards my Cenarion War Hippogryph though =)

Anonymous said...

I glad someone else is seeing the Fel Lotus problem. I herb quite a bit as I make all the flasks for our guild. Before 2.4 I would get one lotus a day. The week after 2.4 it was up to 2 - 4. Joy! But after 2.4.1 it took 8 days to get just 2 fel lotus. Since then I've taken a break from the endless herbing. I hope Blizz acknowledges/fixes this soon.