Time to Wind it Down

I've been needing to write this post for a good while. Surely some of you have noticed that my posting frequency has gone WAY down. It's not just that we're at the end of an expansion and news is slow. It's also in part because I am burning out on the game. This blog has gone strong for over 6 years. That's a long time to devote to one hobby. Don't get me wrong, I love gaming. I'm just waiting for the next big thing to come along. So far I haven't found it.

In the meantime life moves forward and I'm turning corners in other areas of life. I started taking some online courses in Web Development this fall. I found a fully online certificated program through the University of California where I can brush up on my HTML, dive into CSS, pick up JavaScript and some of the other technologies needed to be a real web developer. I've been wanting to do it for a long time and now that my kids are a bit older I have the ability to take it on.

In addition to online classes, I started another big project this fall that has taken off big time. I think this one will surprise you guys and show how gaming can help you in ways you just can't predict. First, some background....

Like many of you I've built up my virtual hoard over the years. I don't get into it as much as the big time Goblin folks, but I enjoy crafting and selling my wares. I try to leverage my crafting within a time commitment I'm comfortable with. During the Mists of Pandaria window I finally got up to the one million gold mark. I might have bragged to my kids about it a wee bit. My gold pile continued to grow and about six months ago I crossed the 1.5 million mark. Once again I took advantage of the opportunity to lord it over my two teenagers who can't manage to build up more than 20k gold before they find something they just "have" to buy.

My husband has occasionally commented on my "wealth" with the joke "Why can't you do this in real life?" To which I generally respond something like "I don't think it works that way"... plus some rationale about how the WoW economy is kind of a closed system where there is a set number of wares that a person can make, competition is restricted to individual servers, etc. I guess it's basically the small fish in a small pond logic.

The most recent conversation took a different turn. He said "Why don't you try to do it in real life and see what happens?". Well I was kind of thrown by this idea, I really didn't think it was possible. We talked about it and I kept trying to explain how it wasn't the same. But he insisted that some of the tricks I had picked up in WoW might actually work for me in the real market. Now before you get excited, we're not talking about Wall Street or anything. But we enjoy watching Antiques Road Show and American Pickers and he thought I might be able to use my skills to flip stuff.

Well I was pretty intimidated at first, I started scanning auctions on eBay looking for deals. And since I don't know crap about crap, it went kind of slow. The first item I bought got broken in the mail -- the seller used a handful of plastic grocery bags to pad a ceramic pitcher! So that sucked and I was off to a rocky start. Next I started haunting Goodwill and got an item which also broke before they could get it to me.

Finally we took the plunge on an item that I knew nothing about -- it had no bids but I thought it was nicer than the $10 starting bid. No one else agreed and I won it. After that I got more confident and started buying other things I thought were underpriced. After a month we had a few dozen items and we opened an Etsy store. About three weeks after we opened our Etsy store we got our first sale -- the very first item I had gambled on! I sold it for 3 times what I paid for it =)

It took about a week to get another sale but we were hooked. We could watch the logs and see folks visiting our store and viewing different things I bought. After a while I got a feel for what was popular, I started using search tools to figure out what shoppers wanted and hunting them down. My WoW auction experience was actually helping me in the real world!

It's been 5 months since we opened our Etsy store and we are now averaging about one sale a day. In December we sold over $1800 worth of vintage items and this month we've already hit $1000 in sales at just under 2 weeks. Needless to say it does eat up a lot of my spare time what with scanning auctions, researching to figure out which items are underpriced, shooting photos and writing copy for the store and then boxing and shipping goodies once they sell. I'm having a lot of fun being a "picker" but it has pretty much replaced WoW in my daily routine.

One reason I wanted to share this story is to let you guys know why the blog has gotten so neglected. I would love to find another person (or persons) who's interested in taking it over and keeping it going. If any of you out there are willing to give it a try -- or know someone who is -- I'd be happy to set you up for a trial run. Please contact me if you have any interest, even a few guest bloggers that can rotate with each other would keep the blog going for readers.

But the main reason I wanted to share all of this with you is to let you guys know that gaming is not the waste of time everyone claims it is. I know we all get bashed about gaming and read articles about how terrible it is. I personally get offended with all the negativity that gets dumped on gaming as a hobby, meanwhile zoning out in front of a TV for hours every night is considered normal. Obviously anything can be done to excess but gaming gets singled out as being particularly valueless and that really bothers me.

So I'm putting my story out there to help support the idea that there is value in gaming. We learn and hone real world skills in games that we can apply to our lives. Whether its practice socializing for folks who have trouble interacting with people face to face, or learning how to cooperate and work in a group, or figuring out the logistics of bringing 25 people together to execute a flawless "dance with the devil". There are a lot of things we do in game that translate to real life. Even tasks as simple as improving hand/eye coordination on boss fights or doing pet battles to relax after a stressful day have value in the real world.

I credit WoW with giving me the opportunity to learn about economics, supply and demand, pricing strategies and more in a safe environment where a mistake would not cause me any harm. I gained the confidence (after some prodding) to try it in the real world and it really did help me develop skills I'm using now. So please don't let people tell you that gaming has no value. Any activity is what you make it and even if the only positive effect of your gaming is that it lets you unwind from a long day at work so you don't yell at your kids or your spouse -- that is a valuable thing to the people who benefit from it.

Don't feel guilty and GAME ON!


  1. Well let me thank you for all your enormous efforts over many years!!!!!!!!! And ofc GL in RL! IMO, getting into web design after IE6 is no longer relevant will make your life more pleasant.

    In the "heroic raider epeen" conversations, I have long maintained that being gold-capped would make a potential employee much more interesting to hire than knowing they were a heroic raider.

    As I have commented here and elsewhere I was not a fan of the MoP crafting; I am at least taking a WoW break while playing other MMOs.

    I thought of you when I read that realm-firsts were going away in WoD. It would make me sad for you to see a launch without RFs.

    Thanks again and good luck

    1. Thanks - I've really enjoyed being a part of this amazing community! You guys are awesome and I will miss all the great conversations we've had about crafting. I agree with you that the patience, tenacity and organization needed to hit the gold cap would be a great way to vet management roles. I had not read about Realm Firsts going away (I am woefully behind on my WoW news) but I can see the logic I guess. It will make the first 24 hours less exciting though, heh!

      Thanks for being a long-time reader and contributing to our many conversations about crafting!!

  2. Kaliope, I'd also like to say thank you for all the amazing information you've shared with the community over those many years in the World of Warcraft. It is appreciated by far more people than you know. Congratulations on your new passion and your very own business! It seems to be something you're really enjoying, and it's always great to see folks doing what they enjoy. Of course, as a WoW goldmaker myself, the icing on the cake of this awesome story is seeing how goldmaking has managed to help you as you go about your new entrepreneurial life outside of WoW.

    You'll be missed, dearly. But thank you for sharing this great story, and best of luck to you in the future, wherever life takes you :)

  3. Kaliope, While I'm sad to see you stopping blogging I have to say that your new project sounds pretty awesome. I'll always be greatful for all the hard work and information you've shared with us all these years. Perhaps we'll see a blog from you about "real world" auction house "gold" making some day.

  4. Thank you guys - I appreciate the kind words and well wishes for my new project! I'm still hoping I can figure out a way to keep the blog going but I haven't come up with a workable plan yet. We'll see how things play out :)

  5. Kaliope, I have always enjoyed reading your blogs and I wish you the best of luck in your new pursuit! I totally agree that WoW has some real life applications. I, too, have used my crafting endeavors to amass a nice WoW fortune, and my husband keeps trying to encourage me to pursue the stock market with the same zeal and success, but I contend that it's different. I am so pleased that you have found an application that works for you! Best of luck, and know that you will be missed!

  6. Thank for your time and your posts, your blog has always been an interesting one which I followed. I stopped my gold race at a comfortable 350k, but I always kept up with the news :)
    And good to hear about your IRL projects, when you break the $500M maybe you can start the development of a crafting-based MMO? :)

  7. Truth be told, this is the first ( and maybe last ) time I've noticed/read your blog. ;)
    It put a huge smile on my face though since I have been thinking the same, what if I could do IRL what I've been doing in WoW.
    Great to see that it's working well for you and your family. Your story has convinced me to give it a try and see how I will do.
    I wish you all the best in the future.

  8. I'd certainly be interested in helping keeping things going. Poke me via Google if you're interested :D

  9. Sad to see the end of one of the best WoW blog's, invaluable to gold makers throughout the years. Good luck with everything in the future and thank you.

  10. Your blog has been bookmarked from the very beginning - you've been a wonderful source of helpful information and tips, and you added to my overall enjoyment of the game with your efforts. I've been sad to see your activity here in decline for so long, but now that you've posted I do understand, and I wish you the best. You've done quality work here and it's something you can be proud of.

    Thanks again, and best of luck to you!

  11. The things that scares me about real life trading:
    1) When I screw up in WoW I'm left with a huge amount of something that was expensive that is now worthless. My small investments work well, but my big plunges too often fail
    2) If I were successfull and actually started showing a real profit (i.e enough to rival a salary), would I have sufficient records to do my taxes.
    3) I don't have space for posessions I want to keep for myself :( I can be a bit of a hoarder.

    You are tempting me to do it in a small way to see if it replaces my AH fun though.

  12. Kaliope,
    I have enjoyed your blogs over the last year, sadly I got to the party late. I'm glad to hear about the success your having applying the WoW marketing skills to other areas. I too have had a bit of success re-allocating my AH skills over to Steam for various items. While the profit margins have been low (a few bucks) it still scratches that itch for 'the game'. Continue to do what you do, and please keep writing I'd deeply enjoy continuing to hear about your esty adventures.

  13. I want to add my voice to all your other well-wishers. :-) Your blog has been a favorite of mine for many years and I'm glad to hear that you're finding (material) success discovering and pursuing your passion in the "real" world. Best wishes for your continued success, and hopefully you'll find someone(s) to follow in your footsteps, here or elsewhere. /wave

  14. A big bunch of dittos here! Your blog and recipe look-up has been invaluable to me over the years. Although, I admit I am more like your teenagers when it comes to gold falling out of the burned hole in my backpack.

    You are definitely not alone in your frustration as to how gamers are stereotyped and discounted. If you are not familiar with Jane McGonigal I highly recommend her book, “Reality is Broken - Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World” and her TED talks, especially “Gaming can make a better world.” Your experience is a perfect example of what she finds valuable in gaming.

    Best of luck to you!

    1. I have watched a couple of her TED videos and I'm glad there are folks like her out there trying to spread some positive spin for gamers. I think eventually we'll get there when our children are running the world, it's just hard to be patient with the rampant stupidity we still get from the baby boomers who think they know everything. How quickly they forgot the crap-storm they had to tolerate for listening to Elvis.

  15. I really appreciate all the wonderful comments and I hope that I can find someone to turn the reins over to so all of us crafties have somewhere to congregate with like minds. I will keep this thread open for a while and see if anything develops -- meanwhile stay tuned!

  16. I hope it all goes well. That warmed the cockles of my heart.

  17. You'll definitely be missed, but kudos for you for pursuing your passions -- and for "flipping" your online experience into real world success! Wish you and your family a whole lot more.

  18. Haha, wow very nice. Congratulations on making a hobby in to a (at least part time) living.

  19. I have appreciated your diligence with WoW crafting. It's a small niche that I enjoy a lot. Thank you Kaliope, I'll miss you. Kudos on a clever and novel application of your experiences :) All to best to you and your family on your new endeavors!

  20. Has been a delight to read your diligent and thoughtful posts. Still combing through old ones as I finally level my JC (and a fun Disc priest) from character level 28 to 74 and counting.

    Competed for profession firsts in Cataclysm and Pandaria, with your guides (and a little MoP beta). Proudly hold Engineering-first for both, and mining-first for MoP (lost Cata mining to the friend who helped me, he took your advice to start on Wrath nodes). Will miss the race if it truly is gone, for all that I've wondered whether to try again.

    Your laurels (and skills) are well-earned, and there comes a time to move on. May you find life ever profitable, fun, and intriguing!

  21. Kaliope, best of luck, you will be missed, especially going into WoD. All of the info that you so assiduously supplied was great and will also be missed. Let's hope that realm firsts will not be eliminated as many of us enjoy that mad scramble and you helped with the challenge a lot. Bye Bye from a fan

  22. You will be missed, yours was one of my favourite blogs to follow whenever a pre-expansion happened!

  23. Was about to drop you a message thanking you for the incredible resource your blog has been since way back when I first stated playing WoW and realizing maybe I was paying too much for patterns and recipes in the AH. [LOL, I _really_ *was*!]

    Surprised but totally understanding that you decided to retire from your blog.

    I am not sure if there is a way to do this in Blogger or Blogspot but do you think you might find someone in your neck of the woods with some spare time, a 20-something, retiree, or empty nester who would like to take over the Crafters Tome blog — not the existing posts themselves but the reference pages and such, and form a new blow named something catchy like "Crafters Tome II" or whatever?

    What you created is just too good to see die off.

    By the way, your journal & reference material writing — not to mention your terrific podcasting — are all memorably epic, as was your husband's handy little WoW addon of crafting information.

    Where ever you go in the future, I hope you go on doing this stuff you all are really good at.

  24. Now that WoD beta is up and running, the full magnitude of your loss to us all has really hit home. You are sorely missed.
    Good luck, and may you get all you wish for in life
    all the best

  25. Thanks again for all the support and understanding everyone - I really appreciate hearing from you all! I had hoped to find someone to take over my duties here. I've even talked with my kids a few times to try and con them into taking a stab at the research and writing. So far its not working but that could change once the Beta stabilizes and it's easier to be productive in there.

    I am still working 12+ hours a day on my Etsy store and hoping things will calm down enough for me to work in some WoW time here and there. Rest assured if I reach a point where I can post some tidbits I will do what I can :)

    Anyone else who is in the Beta and wants to email me their stories - I will toss that up here as well!