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12-18-2010 @ 1:42PM
I'd say that that the average informed player is moderately sophisticated when it comes to this and performs a model to determine whether their time is being used wisely. For example, skinning, mining or gathering herbs while questing adds a moderate amount of time when levelling, but the time spent levelling is going to happen anyway. So there's low opportunity cost to gathering while questing. One could argue that at the start of the expansion feeding one symbiotic crafting profession with the materials of another (or at any time) wouldn't be worthwhile, but for the less savvy WoW player, they may make the following analysis: they tend to buy high and sell low in order to secure sales. So while the average price for the materials may be high at the start of the expansion and low at the end, they will be using significantly skewed prices, be spending time they could be farming/raiding/running dungeons or battlegrounds at the AH and have to contend with the AHs cut of their profit and the possibility of lost deposit money. Not everyone can make a profit off the AH (apart from the AH itself) and this risk analysis is actually fairly reasonable. Even for the insane person who has no gathering professions and gets realm first crafting profession, there is a trade off. This person spends an incredible amount on the materials to get there, but has the honor of having a feat of strength (people play for reasons other than money :p) and has an actual monopoly for a few hours on the highest level crafted goods and a virtual monopoly for a few days on the rest, as well as the possibility at being ahead of the market on items which take a few days on cooldown. If said crafter is also an Auctioneer veteran, they may be more adept at the user interface and enjoy it and the risks that come with it more than the previous two players. Finally, there's the type of player who most people would agree could benefit from this article and economics classes, who is certain they have obtained an item for free if they farm for it. Before you're quick to condemn them, consider this: they're playing an RP game for enjoyment. Perhaps they honestly dislike farming a set location and then using the AH? Perhaps it will take them three hours to hunt down and assemble the parts to a new engineering gimmick they've found the schematics for. Logically, they could have done it faster if they farmed obsidium ore in Vash'jir for an hour (for example, I'm not a miner so wouldn't know) and then spent a quarter of an hour listing it on the AH. However, they would have a great distaste for both of these actions and then (if they have time allocated to WoW) would have spent the remainder of those 3 hours moping. So there's a cost to efficiency.
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