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Posts with tag customers

Trade skill crusader brings back customer service and sweat equity to crafting

Vial of the Sands
WoW players today tend to consider the deterioration of the in-game community in terms of relatively recent influences like the Dungeon Finder and then the Raid Finder. We sometimes forget that design tweaks and new systems have been chipping away at the paradigm of Azeroth as a place to forge ongoing personal relationships for years now. Take a gander at the beginning of this analysis I wrote on the death of the Azerothian salesman all the way back in the hyper-modern era of The Burning Crusade circa 2007:

Forget the endless debate over hardcore versus casual -- there's another moniker that we here at Insider Trader hold dear: salesman. What's that? You don't know any salesmen in WoW these days? You're not alone. Times have changed since craftspeople toiled to build reputations as the go-to traders on their servers ... when Ironforge was the hub of civilization, where a few elite enchanters held court over the entire server with coveted formulae from such exotic locales as Stratholme and Scholomance.

It's a brave new world in today's Outland. Most enchanters don't enchant for the general public at all, unless you provide mats and a tip. And in any profession, with so many other players on the servers who have the same patterns (even rare patterns are generally available from more than one player) and so many easy ways to make money (hello, daily quests!), there's little reason to hang around town to build a regular clientele. Components provided or created by other professions are readily available on the Auction House -- there's no need to seek out and nurture relationships with another player from a complementary profession.

Have the conveniences Blizzard has developed for today's crafters meant the death of the salesman?

Most WoW players would agree that convenience and self-service is the way of today's game. But for one stubborn tradesman on Sentinels (US), life as an Azerothian salesman is anything but obsolete. Daen, a dedicated craftsman and proprietor of Daen's Crafting Emporium, single-handedly maintains what may be one of World of Warcraft's last remaining bastions of personal craftsmanship and trade skill service -- with a twist. This proprietor not only aims to provide personal service, but he does it at no charge, with the insistence that customers devote sweat equity to their mutual creations as well.

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Filed under: Economy, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

A WoW player's guide to microtransactions

Well Blizzard has finally done it. After charging only for out-of-game services like faction changes and character customization, with the release of in-game pets on the Blizzard store, they've finally moved on to selling virtual items for real money. And there's a word, dirty in the mouths of some, that's floating around that some of you may not have heard or understood before: microtransactions. We wouldn't blame you -- some of our own staff didn't even know what they were just a little while ago. But with the decision to sell in-game items for straight cash, Blizzard has entered the fascinating and treacherous world of microtransactions. And if you're going to follow them off into this world, you might as well at least know what they're all about.

And so, we're here to help. Whether you've never heard of microtransactions before, you're convinced that they're the devil and that Blizzard has grown too greedy for their own good, or you can't wait to open up your wallet and get a Pandaren Monk to follow you around, let's take a second and look at the history of the microtransaction model, what it means that Blizzard made this decision, and what might happen to the game in the future.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, Making money

Blizzard: We're working on the Comcast problem

Snowman Eyonix posted an update to the ongoing Comcast issues on the forums today: he says that Blizzard is talking to Comcast about the problem, and that they may have identified the problem in a third-party network between the affected folks and Comcast themselves. He says work on the issue is ongoing, and that while they don't have an ETA, he'll let us know when there is more to know.

We don't know if the "third-party network" includes those Los Angeles datacenters that were being blamed earlier, and to be honest, we don't even know how widespread the problem actually is. A few of our writers are on Comcast -- most of us haven't had any problems at all, though one of our writers in LA is experiencing lag and the occasional disconnect.

We'll keep an eye on Eyonix's thread and let you know if anything changes. At this point, it seems the problems are known and Blizzard is doing what they can to solve things.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, Blizzard, Hardware

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