Monday, January 10, 2011

Transitive Property Farming

"Hey Azuriel, where is the best place to farm Volatile Fire?"

"The AH."

"No, really."

"Yeah, really."

It is one of the measurable milestones of any Auctioneer's life when they no longer have to worry about farming their own materials. When my friend was asking me the best farming spot for Volatile Fires, the AH was the first place I checked. At that time they were going for around 17.35g each at the cheapest, but there were probably 200+ Volatiles within a 17.35g-22g band. Is that a good price? Well, it depends on why you want some. If you were intending to put up some Scorched Leg Armors for 100g then, no, probably not. If instead you were hoping to replace an Etched-Fire Dagger that had just found a new 999g home, then yeah, those prices are not bad. My friend wanted to farm however, and so I sent him on his way to go fish up some Volatile Fire over in Hyjal.

Sometimes you are just in the mood to farm and that is 100%, perfectly fine. My recommendation though is farming via the transitive property. My friend wanted Volatile Fire and was willing to spend X minutes farming it. Since the AH has plenty at a subjectively reasonable price, if you really want to farm something, then farm something worth more - or easier to acquire - than Volatile Fire, sell it, and buy the Volatile Fire. Or more likely, buy the Fire now and sell what you farm later. "I'm not paying 18g for an item fished out of pools in Hyjal." Okay, cool... then why did you buy my Defender's Demoneye for 250g that I bought uncut off the AH for 45g? The Volatile Fire did not get any cheaper when you fished it out yourself - in fact, that personally-farmed Volatile Fire is probably more expensive considering you spent your otherwise valuable time doing it.

Farming via the transitive property is a fancy term for something most everyone knows instinctively on smaller scales. If you need Wool Cloth, for example, do you head down to Stockades and farm some? How about Copper Bars/Ores? Unless someone is being cheeky and listing Wool Cloth at 300g/stack, chances are you simply buy what you need with gold you got doing something else. There simply appears to be an invisible line after which a person's indignation (Khorium Ore at 60g a piece!) overrides their rational mind (Pyrite Ore is going for 60g per node) and they end up farming something out of spite... that doesn't affect the source of their ire at all, while harming themselves. Don't be that guy.


  1. Outstanding post. I hate farming with a passion. I want every action I take to have value--and if I'm farming I can't (usually) quest or raid.

    When I am forced to farm, it is only for high value items. My server still has Cinderbloom going for 175g/stack. I will spend an hour farming this herb and sell the 8-10 stacks I get for good money.

    And the Vol Life that I dig up feed my daily Xmute--so my 15 Vol Life (value: 8g each) is turned into 15 Vol Air (value: 49g each).

    My hour of farming thus generates over 2k of revenue. Hard to calculate what my time is worth but I'm sure at 2k gold its worth it.

  2. I rarely get in the mood to farm nowadays, as any time spent farming is less time I could be leveling some of my PvP alts to get into easy Tol Barad defenses.

    Like yourself though, sometimes a particular herb's current pricing will compel me to unleash my gatherer. Unfortunately the highest traded herb at the moment is Heartblossom, which is not even remotely worth the time to farm even at 280g/stack - Deepholm got the nerfbat on spawns a bit too hard IMO.

  3. I perfectly agree with everything except the last two sentences.
    If I find a price outrageous and I go to farm what I need by myself, I'm hurting (a bit) the vendor. If there are Khorium ore at the AH 60g a piece, to continue your example, and everyone chooses outraged to just farm his own, the Khorium won't sell.

    I'm not saying one should go to farm his mats by himself if he doesn't like the prices on the AH. I wouldn't do that.
    And those who do so, certainly make less money than they could... But your talking about outrage, and I think that if they can hurt with 15 minutes farming, the man who made them angry, they someway succeed in their goal.
    (obviously for things like volatile fire they're not hurting anyone, since there is already a lot of demand. They can do some damage just on low-demand items)

  4. Would have like to seen you included in the Cold's Gold Factory Blogging Carnival. This month's topic was on farming spots in Cataclysm.

    Hope to have you included next time.

  5. But I mean, I do about 1.5k per hour farming fires in hyjal xD , but I havent found any way to do more gold/hour than that, then whats the "farm something worth more - or easier to acquire "

    The volatiles fires in hyjal are my top gold/hour, maybe thats lame but I rlly dont know any better way to do more gold

  6. Beautifully put. I loved the way you swat away all the cobwebs of confusion and get to the point.
    Transitive property farming: awesome.

    A guildie of mine keeps bringing up bizarre stupid mats (e.g. Essence of Undeath), asking me where to farm them, etc. I know there's no point in directing them to the auction house, some people just like wasting their time. They feel like they're cheating if they don't farm everything themselves.

    But as you say, everyone has a line somewhere. For some reason, some people feel like the Auction House itself is the line. It doesn't matter how much of their gold-making time gets freed up by buying items instead of farming them.

    As for why they buy the cut gem but won't buy Volatile Fire - they have wasted so much time farming stuff that they never got around to leveling a Jewelcrafter. >;P

    Keep the posts coming!

  7. So... did you just invent a new term for

    I hope you realize Transitive Property is already taken... and means nothing like Comparative Adantage or Opportunity cost...

  8. @Anon

    Comparative Advantage Farming (or Gains From Trade Farming) doesn't have the same ring to it, even if those terms are a better fit. Besides, most people will have taken some level of high school math and will be able to recognize the Transitive Property.