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 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!