Sunday, May 27, 2012

Post Vacation Leveling

Well, as much as I would have loved to play Diablo 3 all day, every day on my vacation, I decided to do things like chill at the beach, go to baseball games, and enjoy the company of good friends while I had some time off before starting my new job next week.  I'm going to be a bit behind most of the people who are trying to make money playing Diablo 3, but I never planned to be leading the pack.  I am a casual player and am planning on making a casual income from killing monsters in Diablo 3.  

Since the Real Money Auction House hasn't gone live yet, I've focused on leveling my Barbarian whenever I have had a chance to play.  This morning I played for a few hours and just dinged level 24.  I've spent a little more gold than I originally planned on, but I have gotten some great deals on the Gold Auction House and have some decent gear to level with.  Right now I'm focusing on getting as much +exp gear as possible so that I can quickly climb up the ladder in levels.  For those of you playing a Barb, here is a link to my current build.

Basically, I'm focusing on killing as many mobs as fast as possible.  I've found the Ground Stomp with Wrenching Smash to be an awesome skill when combined with Cleave and Rupture.  My Barb draws all of the mobs in close, stuns then, takes a swing or two, then they all blow up and do more damage to the surrounding mobs.  It makes for quick and easy kills, which is what I'm going for when leveling.  

Another quick tip that I've found that a lot of players over look is the use of a follower.  I use the Templar and spec'ed him to heal me and to intervene if my health is getting low.  He doesn't do as much damage as the other two followers but I've found his skills to be very useful.  I picked up a cheap sword and shield for him on the GAH, which make him very useful and viable.

With the GAH commodities being down, I think the best advice for anyone working on making money playing Diablo 3 is to level as much as possible.  Invest in your character and get him/her to max level so that you can take advantage of the entire game.

I'm heading back into the game to see how much I can finish up today.  I'm starting a new job on Tuesday and I won't have much time to play, but I will try to keep up with what is going on through Marcko's Gold Forum.  If you haven't purchased his gold guide and forum access yet, I highly suggest you check it out. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day One (for me)

Talk about a long day.  I spent Launch Day for Diablo 3 flying around the country.  I got to airport at 5:30am and didn't get home until around 10:00pm.  As you an imagine, this afforded me very little time to even think about logging in to play Diablo 3.  It was however, a very productive day, so I can't complain much.

Day One for me was this morning.  My Diablo 3 routine is going to consist of playing for about an hour in the morning and then doing updates to this blog with my remaining time before work.  I have some time off in the next week or so, so I'll be doing a couple binge sessions to get things going and get my Barbarian leveled, but normally I'll only be playing for an hour or so a day.  I had pre-downloaded the client, but found that when I tried to fire it up this morning I had to re-install.  I got the process started and upgraded my video card driver at the same time (I know, noob...should have done that months ago) and then made breakfast and got ready for work. 

Once the game got to about 30% downloaded, I could log in and start playing.  I played my Barb to around level 3 before I the game shut down on me because the content hadn't downloaded.  Instead of pout about not being able to go any further, or heaven forbid go into work early (like that even crossed my mind), I did the best that I could to be productive with my time.  I know that eventually I'll need to have some mules* set up to store the massive amounts of items and commodities that I'll be selling on the GAH and RMAH, so I started running those characters to the shared stash in New Tristram. 

*A mule is a character that is used for extra storage space in its inventory.

I created one mule for each character class and (creatively) named them "PBody[Class Initials]mule."  So, my Witch Doctor mule's name is PBodyWDmule.  Names are a strong point in my writing ability... can't you tell?  I also created a Jeweler mule named "PBodyJCmule." 

I filled up most of my 10 allotted character slots with mules.  I don't plan on buying extra space in my stash for a little while until the price of gold drops, as I'm predicting that gold will be selling at a premium once the RMAH goes live.  For now, my army of PBody mules will suffice.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Week One Strategies

The day is almost here.  Tomorrow is May 15th and Diablo 3 will FINALLY launch, opening a whole new world of mob bashing, monster slaying, and money making.  Personally, I can't wait to play the game.  Outside of the money making aspect of the game, which has and will be my ultimate goal for Diablo 3, I am looking forward to the first play through and kicking some demon ass.  The one week (at least) delay of the Real Money Auction House is a blessing for players like me who want to really take a shot at making money playing Diablo 3.  It gives us a chance to be gamers and just play the game for what it is - one of the coolest games of our time.

Granted, I will not be slacking off and running around looking at all of the pretty (or dingy) landscapes and graphics...I plan on maximizing my time in the game and setting myself up to be able to make some serious cash once the RMAH goes live.  Even if I didn't plan on turning Diablo 3 into a business, I'd approach the game the same way.  I played WoW with the same mentality - have a goal and accomplish it the fastest and best way possible.  The goal of week one is to burn through content and amass an inventory of items and gold to sell on the RMAH.

Here's how I plan on accomplishing the week one goal.

  1. Level - As I talked about in my Investing in Your Characters post, you need a max level character to have access to as many markets as possible.  Leveling quickly might require a little investment, like buying a high dps weapon or buying some gems early.  I'd rather spend a little gold in the beginning and have a level 45 barbarian at the end of week one than have a few extra thousand gold at the end of week one and only be level 30.
  2. Level artisans - I will be focusing on the jeweler, but I plan on dumping a little gold into my blacksmith so that I can capitalize on a few of the lower level items that the blacksmith can make.  I'm planning on trying out the boot market and hoping to craft +movement speed items.  
  3. Save 75% of the gold that I get and re-invest 25% - After each session, I will write down how much gold I made from auctions and farming and "set aside" 75% of it for re-sale later.  The other 25% I will re-invest in either my character or crafting materials.
  4. Buy vitality gems.  Vitality will not be very important early in the game, meaning that low level vitality gems will be valued at a lower rate than other gems.  I plan on investing in these gems early and stock piling them so that I can combine them to create high level vitality gems for when players start to make it to Inferno.  I think that level 12+ Vit gems will sell for a decent amount on the RMAH, so if I can be one of the first Jewelcrafters to have a good inventory of high level Vit gems, I'll make a killing.
I actually will not be able to play until around day 3, because I will be traveling on May 15th and working both of my jobs on May 16th.  Poor planning, I know...but sometimes life happens and you have to roll with it.  However, I have May 18th off and will be playing a binge session then, so expect a status update on Friday.

Good luck to everyone who will be playing tonight at midnight and I will work on catching up with all of you later this week!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Investing in Your Characters

I just posted an article on HubPages about "investing" in your characters and account.  Basically, I am approaching Diablo 3 as a potential business rather than a game that I want to play just for the hell of it.  When I played WoW, the entire goal was to have fun.  I spent hours and hours exploring, searching for meaningless items like pets and mounts, and going after achievements that gave me nothing more than a little personal satisfaction.  Eventually, I learned that by using the skills that I learned by investing a ton of time into the game, I could make some extra money on the side by the excess gold that I was making through doing dailies and pwning the Jewelcrafting market on the AH.  As you can imagine, this only last a short time before I got my account banned and lost my account, along with all of my badass pets, mounts, and "meaningless" virtual items that I'd spent years acquiring. 

It wasn't worth the few hundred bucks.

Once May 15th hits (well, actually May 16th...I'll be on a plane all day on May 15th), I plan on approaching Diablo 3 with a more focused attitude than I did with WoW.  I plan on following a similar path - exploring, working on acquiring rare items - but with the overall goal in mind that I want to make money from the time I spend in the game.  With a limited amount of time to play the game, I need to be making the best use of the time that I do have.  Every minute that I'm logged in is an investment in the business that will be my Diablo 3 experience.

Would it be more fun to just play the game and have my only concern be getting my character to be epically more badass with each passing day?  Probably.  But, will it be even more fun to take the first $1,000 I make from playing Diablo 3 and go on a 5 day cruise to the Bahamas?  Hell yes.

You can read my HubPages article here.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Initial Gold and Money Making Strategies

With the recent announcement that the Real Money Auction House is going to be delayed at least a week at the launch of Diablo 3, many players who had thought up elaborate plans to make a pile of money during the first week after release on April 15 had to go back to the drawing board.  The basic strategy prior to the delayed RMAH was to play as much as possible during the first week and post as much gold to the RMAH as possible, as players who want to get ahead of the game will need large amounts of gold to level artisans, buy gear, buy and combine gems, and repair their gear once they start hitting a wall (probably near the end of Normal or a little into Nightmare).  The conventional theory is that gold would have sold for the highest price during the first week with the price steadily declining as players advance in the game and farming larger amounts of gold becomes easier and easier.

My personal thoughts were right in line with the above theory.  My plan was to try and make a little scratch at the beginning by selling nearly everything that my Barbarian picks up and hopefully come close to my first goal, which is to make $100 profit.  After reading the gold secrets forum over at Markco's blog, which is one of the best collection of entrepreneurial minds out there for people wanting to make money playing Diablo 3, I've cherry picked some of the best "new thinking" out there, combined it with my own ideas, and developed a strategy of my own for the first week.

Clear Content
With at least a week before the RMAH becomes available, we have time to explore the game and find out where the "choke points" are.  Choke points are where players who do not spend extra time leveling or invest in gear for their character start to die.  When players start to die, they realize that they need better gear to continue.  The easiest and fastest way for players to improve their characters is by going to auction house and spending the gold they have earned by killing mobs on better gear and gems.  They also have the option of crafting their own gear, but in the beginning they may not have the necessary gold or crafting supplies to craft enough gear to get them through the first choke point, meaning that they will turn to players like us who are posting the items they need on the gold auction house.

My plan in the early stages is first and foremost to find this choke point.  I will also be closely watching Markco's forum (included in his gold making guide, which is an investment that I highly recommend if you are serious about wanting to make money playing Diablo III) to see when and where other players are hitting the wall.  Once the first choke point in the game is established, I will be focusing on finding what items are most profitable to either craft, farm, or flip to help players get past the choke point.  We only get 10 slots to post items on the gold auction house, meaning that it is important to think critically about which items we decide to put up.

Stock Pile Gold
Just because the RMAH isn't there at launch doesn't mean that you should spend every dime you earn on your character.  I plan on figuring out a system for "saving" gold so that I have enough to post on the RMAH when it goes live so that I can start working toward my goals.  I envision my strategy to be something along the lines of "saving" 25% of all the gold that I earn and re-investing the rest.  So, if I earn 1,000,000 gold in the first week, I will have a pile of 250,000 that will be designated to sell when the RMAH goes live.  My percentage may be higher based on how the game goes, but I do not see it as being any lower than 25%.

Level Jewelcrafting
I am going to go the Jewelcrafting route (at least in the beginning) as my specialty for making gold and money.  I think that most players will be focusing on Blacksmithing in the beginning and there will be a market for a savvy Jeweler.  In World of Warcraft, I made millions of gold from Jewelcrafting.  The mechanics of Jewelcrafting between WoW and Diablo 3 are different but similar enough that I feel like I have an edge over the competition from the get go. 

In WoW, I would purchase popular designs early for ridiculous amounts of gold but then make my initial investment back in a weeks time just by buying uncut gems, cutting them, and re-listing for a huge mark up.  In Diablo III, I think there will be a similar market.  After a couple weeks of watching the AH, standard prices for different level gems will start to emerge.  Once these prices are established, it will be easy to log in and check the AH for gems selling below the average price, buy them, and either combine to create higher level gems and re-list for a profit, or simply hold on to the gems and re-list when the price goes back up.

Investing some of my gold into leveling Jewelcrafting early will give me a distinct advantage later in the game.  Just imagine the amount of gold that can be made once the first choke point is established.  Gems for gear at the choke point level will sell like crazy and people will be willing to over pay for them.

All in all, I am not disappointed that the RMAH is not going to be live at launch.  I think that it gives casual players like me a chance to learn about the game and find our niche in that first week or two before we can start selling items and gold for real money.  Make sure to check out Marcko's gold guide and forum if you want to get a leg up on the competition and have a community around you doing research.  Many hands make light work...and in this case, make you and me more money.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

About Me

I am the definition of a "casual" gamer. I work two jobs (three if you include my blogs and other writing activities) and spend a lot of time with friends and with my wonderful girlfriend. I'm 25 years old and working in the nonprofit sector, meaning that my 2nd (and 3rd) job is a requirement to pay the bills that include some steep payments on my student loans. Long gone are the days of hardcore raiding in World of Warcraft or spending hours at a time pwning kids in Halo or Call of Duty. Even if I had the time to spend playing WoW, the game has lost its appeal to me and I would much rather spend a few hours grabbing a drink with friends or reading a good book. 

Now, that's not to say that my excitement for Diablo 3 is not an eight on the "geek out" scale. In 2000, when Diablo 2 came out, I was 13 years old and just getting into the world of RPGs and MMOs. I didn't even pick up Diablo 2 for a few years after it came out (when I was probably 15 or 16), but when I did I was hooked. Diablo 2 led to Ultima Online, which eventually led to World of Warcraft. Back in those days, when I had the time to devote to such endeavors, I became a semi-hardcore gamer. A few years later, I dove in head first and did the hardcore raiding thing in WoW throughout most of college and enjoyed being part of a leading progression guild on my server. I played a DPS warrior named Azezal and participated in everything from achievement farming to pet collecting on the side. I mastered the Jewelcrafting market on the AH and made hundreds of thousands of gold on the AH buying uncut gems, cutting them, and re-listing for a profit. I plan on looking into the similar gem market in Diablo 3 to make piles of gold, which I plan to convert to real money. 

This blog is meant to be entertaining and informative. I plan to turn my experience playing Diablo 3 into job number four and spend between 7 and 10 hours a week playing the game with the goal of making a real side income from the Real Money Auction House. I will be documenting my progress here on this blog and will share the strategies that even a casual gamer can apply to this game to make some real money. Like any other money making undertaking, you have to earn every penny. Diablo 3 will be no different. I do not plan on making thousands of dollars by playing the game a few hours a week, but I do plan to use the game to supplement my income while stepping back into the gaming world. Here are the first set of monetary goals that I will be working towards accomplishing (call them real life achievements). 

Make $100

Make $500 

Make $1,000 

Thank you for reading and if you want to follow my progress (once Diablo 3 goes live), you can follow me on Twitter or sign up for e-mail updates here.