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World of Warcraft Gold Challenge: Beta Competition: How fast can you make 25,000 gold in World of Warcraft? NEW! January-March 2012
Recap of Alpha Competition December 2010

ATTENTION:We are thrilled to host "Gaming Ghosts", a new web-comic by an anonymous writer. Full expert literary analysis included!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gaming Ghosts - Comic #1-3

Einstein visits our protagonist occasionally?  Though he seems to be sitting in front of a modern computer array, we are left pondering the many possibilities.  Is our hero senile?  joking? a time-traveler? Can he commune with dead? (let's not forget the title of the comic strip itself).  In doing some cursory research on Einstein's special theory of relativity, there is no mention of the practical applications of time travel.  Is this information made up to make fun of Mookie?  The transition to Stockholm Syndrome seems completely out of left field, wholly unrelated to the concept Mookie was presenting.  In fact, the entire comic seems like random thoughts pasted together without proper context.

In this cartoon analysts's opinion, this strip is murky at best, devoid of meaning at worst.  In building a foundation for a cartoon, the writer would do well to teach us more about its inhabitants.  Will the chair ever turn? -Kevin R. Scripps

Gaming Ghosts 1-1
Gaming Ghosts 1-2 
Gaming Ghosts 1-3 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Calling the Ancients, Filling the Moonwell, or Additional Armaments: Which to Pick and Choose?

After you've completed both the Shadow Wardens and Druids of the Talon 150 Mark of the World Tree quest grinds, three new quests will open to you that each require 125 Mark of the World Tree to complete. (Also, please note that if you've reached this point, you may be wondering whether you can complete both the Shadow Wardens and Druids of the Talon daily quests (Into the Fire line and Forlorn Spire line.) You can only complete one line daily, so pick the one that goes quickest for you.)

At the end of each of these three new quests is access to one of the three Molten Front / Firelands vendors that have the new gear and recipes on them. It also opens up access to a couple more daily Mark of the World Tree quests. It looks like the best order to complete them based on number of Marks of the World Tree accumulated is as follows:

1) Call the Ancients
2) Additional Armaments
3) Filling the Moonwell

This order is simply a function of Call of the Ancients netting 3 Marks daily, Additional Armaments 2 marks daily, and Filling the Moonwell 0 Marks daily.

How to get to Firelands Entrance
Firelands Dailies Guide
Review of Firelands Dailies Plus Some Inspiration
Shadow Wardens vs. Druids of the Talon - Which one Do I Choose?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Shadow Wardens vs. Druids of the Talon - Which to Choose

The short answer is:  Pick either one.  Many players have veered toward Shadow Wardens because the daily quest chain takes a little less time to complete.  When you've completed each 150 Mark of the World Tree quests (both Shadow Wardens and Druids of the Talon), you will have a choice each day on which quests you want to do.

The long answer:  When you've accumulated your 150 Marks of the World Tree during your first week or so of running dailies in the Molten front, you'll have a decision to make.  Much like Rebecca Black's internationally renowned hit "Friday", you may be thinking to yourself -- Which one do I choose?  Chairman Zillionaire first suggests that you take a long, hard look at your life.  Then, follow this advice:  If you would choose to sit in the front seat, then pick Shadow Wardens.  If, rather, you would choose to sit in the back seat, pick Druids of the Talon.  Now, there may be a connotation of "front being better than back" laced here, but sincerely, you shouldn't think of it that way.  If you're in the front seat, you've got a better view.  If you're in the back seat, you'll be with your friends, so you don't need the better view.

What we're saying is that this is a win/win situation.  Whether you choose to start with Druids of the Talon or the Shadow Wardens, you will need to complete the other set in about a week too.  So, you can ride to school in the back seat with your friends, but then you can ride home in the front seat with the awesome view.  Accumulating your next 150 Marks of the World Tree will go much faster than accumulating the first 150 because more daily quests will be open to you.  And before you know it, it'll be Friday again, which comes right after Thursday and right before Saturday, and you'll be faced with new challenges of the Firelands.

How to get to Firelands Entrance
Firelands Dailies Guide
Review of Firelands Dailies Plus Some Inspiration
Shadow Wardens vs. Druids of the Talon - Which one Do I Choose?
Calling the Ancients, Filling the Moonwell, or Additional Armaments: Which to choose?

Gaming Ghosts - Comic # 1-2

Cartoon Analysis 2

Economists have long used terms like "widgets" and "guns and butter" to describe basic economic principles.  Instead of talking about 1000 steam engines having been produced, they talk about 1000 widgets, a generic term that everyone could understand.  Regrettably, blogging has hijacked the term to mean something similar, though it ruined the widget-ideal for economic analysis.  "Bear butts" is a tongue-in-cheek widgety concept for MMORPGs.  Basically, it's been somewhat widely used to refer to anything trivial that players must gain in a gaming environment.  For example, 

"Hey Thor, Pwnurnubcatzlol needs six bear butts to complete his quest." 
"Ask Lady Neptuna, she's got lots."
"She didn't have any.  She said you were keeping some on Uranus"
"Dammit I'm Thor!  Why am I always the butt of jokes"
Lady Neptuna snickers.

In today's comic, it looks like our protagonist is having a bit of fun with Mookie, or Mookie is having a bit of fun with our protagonist.  Sometimes it is hard to tell how many individuals are in on a subtle joke.  Again, the writer presents us with some whimsy, though he leaves us with many more questions.  Is Mookie asking "How much gold is enough" to pull off the economic manipulation, or is Mookie condemning our hero for his thought process in an enlightened Bud Foxx to Gordon Gecko sort of way?

There also may be some social commentary going here as world oil prices continue to rise and consequentially inhibit business growth.  Are bear butts truly the motive force behind whatever economy these individuals seem to know about?  If they were, could one individual corner the market in such a fashion as to be able to manipulate it?  While it doesn't seem likely, we know very little about the individual behind the purple chair.

The name "Dwarftown" has a generic, "bear butt" feel to it.  It's possible that these individuals are playing an MMORPG.  Or, perhaps they really are part of that "Dwarftown" parallel universe.  Whatever the case, it seems apparent that the writer wants us to know that they at least have access to Google.  If you look closely in the comic, you'll notice its distinctive logo on one of the computer screens.  --Kevin R. Scripps

Gaming Ghosts 1-1
Gaming Ghosts 1-2 
Gaming Ghosts 1-3 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gaming Ghosts - Comic # 1-1

Zillionaire Gold Blog is excited and proud to host the inaugural comic of what we hope will be a long series, "Gaming Ghosts".  We are also thrilled  to have commissioned former literary and spiritual guru Kevin R. Scripps to analyze and comment on each comic.  Please note that the writer of the comic wishes to remain anonymous as he does not want to be responsible for his postal carrier's midlife crisis or his wife's emotional breakdown in having to dispose of countless fan mailings and panty-filled parcels.  All fan mail can be posted after the analysis where he will be able to read it.  Personal fan mail should be sent to the "contact info" email address, ATTN: GamingGhostsFanmail .  --Chairman Zillionaire
Cartoon Analysis 1  

Bob Ross was an American painter best known for his television show, "The Joy of Painting".  As an iconically serene personality, he touched many would-be painters and craftsmen with his gentle disposition and his technical grace on the canvas.  While it is slightly absurd to think that Ross would eat smurfberries in the after life, there is precedent in the dead artist's community.

In a 1997 letter to his beloved Isabella, reknowned toadstool, mushroom, and fungoid artist P.K. Newton wrote, "I dreamt that I was a smurfberry, and that Pablo Picasso himself, your existential liege, your great great uncle of eternity, presented me to the King of Spain in a gold-adorned box, cubed as only the great master could, and I dissolved into the regal gullet as a vessel of good will, an ambassador of the great modern master himself!"

And later at a 1999 luncheon at TGI Friday's in Tuscaloosa, TN, the former Secretary of Agriculture of the United States of America was overhead saying:  "Andrew Wyeth hated red almost as much as he hated the color green.  I was in the back of a pick-up truck in the late 30's with him.  He was skirting the great depression with his watercolors, I was skirting it with my seeds.  And he said to me, bright, like he was:  If I had a smurfberry for every man who suffers, I could then give a smurfberry to each man on earth.  Now, I didn't know what the hell a smurfberry was, but he had a whole sack of those things, and though he held magnanimity in his words, he wasn't sharing any that day."

Finally, if you use a black-light on the back of a two-dollar bill, you will notice that the chalice holding gourds and fruit mysteriously turns into a woven basket of reddish -- mauve if you will -- berries.  Obviously, your first thought would be:  cherries.  However, cherries are never displayed in currency except on a tree.  Because one of the United States longest held ounces of mythos is the story of George Washington cutting down the cherry tree, the plucked cherries have come to represent "small lies".  Additionally, if you look very closely in the range of hills behind the basket, you will see what appears to be a tiny smurf cap, distinctive in its stunted-stocking sort of way.

So, it's entirely possible that our protaganist in the preceding comic actually did see Bob Ross in some sort of incorporal form snacking on smurfberries.  As for what it *means*:  we'll probably have to tune in next time.  It seems the writer decided to present his first cartoon whimsically, though we can learn a lot simply by the first words uttered:  "Anybody out there?".  Though similar in fashion to the "Hello World!" program that all computer programmers tackle as their first endeavor,  the hero has not chosen a delcaratory or even exclamatory statement.   He's asked a question, and already we notice that he is on a search for something -- a connection, another sentient being, knowledge, experience, wisdom.  Any or all of these might be what he seeks, and we just won't know until the writer turns the next page for us. --Kevin R. Scripps

Gaming Ghosts 1-1
Gaming Ghosts 1-2 
Gaming Ghosts 1-3 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Review of Firelands Dailies, Plus some Inspiration

 The Review

When you get your 20 Mark of the World Tree and start into the Molten Front of Firelands dailies, you'll notice a fairly stark dichotomy in design.  The daily quests you'll be running in Mount Hyjal will be sorta cute (punting turtles and chucking bear cubs come to mind) and will be reasonably spread out in a calm, flowing sort of manner.  Conversely, doing the daily quests at the beginning of the Molten Front will make your eyes blur and your innards clench.

For some reason, the game designers implemented the "pigs at the trough" strategy for daily quests here, probably hoping to appease those who want to get them done as quickly as possible while at the same time alienating those who think that "dailies" are a poor excuse for letting time pass without delivering enough content.  Why do these zones need to feel like a Manhattan apartment? It may be great for some people to be able to shower and cook breakfast at the same time, but in a game with relatively infinite space, it just seems lazy.  There is no epic feel to running around in a tiny box of an area trying to complete four quests, constantly having to zig and zag to tag mobs or quest objectives that a hundred other players are fighting for.  Hopefully this is just the "Front" of the Molten Front and things will smooth out when more quests are opened, but it seems as though Blizzard wants us to accumulate Marks of the World Tree at a relatively slow pace.

The Inspiration

Suck it up and plod on.  Think of all the people in this world who do not get an opportunity to play World of Warcraft.  Think of all the people in this world who have never even seen a computer.  The next time you find yourself lamenting over another bleary eyed quest, imagine that you could have been born as a slug or a gnat or a birch tree and would not even have the capacity to conceptualize what a computer is.  Or, the next time your soul is wailing to the sound of endless daily questing, just think that you could have been born in a galaxy far, far away to a family of creatures that resemble muskrats, enslaved by the ignoble prairie dog peoples of your planet to toil endlessly in the sulfur mines.  And then, finally, when things seem bleakest of all, when the torment of one more god-forsaken blue exclamation point is more than your mortal being can bear, imagine that you were the metamorphic rock next to the sulfur in those sulfur mines -- unwanted, chiseled and broken to reach the better stuff, and all without consciousness, soul, opinion, or any hope of transformation into something greater.  That you will be mineralized over eons of neglect, only to undoubtedly be reformed into the insentient form that you probably have always been. NO NO NO!  You must embrace your blessed state and vanquish the evil-doers, slay the fire-dwellers, and pour ice over the blasted Firelands of the present.  Much like a traveler extinguishing an engine fire with a super-size Mcdonald's sweet tea, you must bring your own icy chill to the Firelands.  There is no despair in a living ember and there is no fern that grows unseen.

How to get to Firelands Entrance
Firelands Dailies Guide
Review of Firelands Dailies Plus Some Inspiration
Shadow Wardens vs. Druids of the Talon - Which one Do I Choose?
Calling the Ancients, Filling the Moonwell, or Additional Armaments: Which to choose?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Molten Front / Firelands Dailies Guide and Tips

How to get to Firelands Entrance
Firelands Dailies Guide
Review of Firelands Dailies Plus Some Inspiration
Shadow Wardens vs. Druids of the Talon - Which one Do I Choose?
Calling the Ancients, Filling the Moonwell, or Additional Armaments: Which to choose?

So, it's day 3 (or 33) of running Firelands prequest dailies in World of Warcraft's patch 4.2 and you've finally acquired 20 Mark of the World Tree to open the portal into Firelands, or you've collected your 300th and you are well toasted from the copious time spent in the inferno. (Note: If you are looking for info on how to get to firelands, follow this link.)  In order to confirm that you've actually reached the Firelands, follow these steps:
  1. Look carefully at your surroundings.  Is everything either on fire or recently charred? 
If you answered yes to question 1, it is very likely that you've reached the Molten Front of the Firelands WoW 4.2 patch and that you are on your way with the dailies grind.  Click here to read a Review of Firelands Dailies and an Inspirational Message .

A few quick tips:
  • Be sure to check the vendor in the little cave at the beginning.  There are some level 365 epic items for sale on it from day one.
  • Note that the portal to Mount Hyjal is two-way, meaning you can come and go as you please.
  • Be sure to check the Regrowth area of Mount Hyjal and the Molten Front of Firelands for daily quests each day.  After the first day of adventuring in the Firelands, you should have 25 Mark of the World Tree.  After the second day adventuring in the Firelands, you should have 39 Mark of the World Tree. So, you'll be accumulating 14 Mark of the World Tree daily while you are grinding your first 150 Marks.
  • When you finally accumulate 150 and choose to help either Shadow Wardens (recommended) or Druids of the Talon, you'll be accumulating 25 marks of the world tree daily on your way to completing the next 150 marks you need to get.
  • Be sure to stay hydrated.  Spending a lot of time in a dry environment such as the Firelands will quickly dehydrate you.  Water is typically your best alternative.  
  • When completing quests, be as cutthroat as possible.  If you see someone fighting near a quest objective, quickly sidle in while they have the mob occupied and complete your quest.  If someone tries to do this to you, natural instinct would be to berate the other player.  From a time-management standpoint, this doesn't make sense.  Simply move on and try to be smarter about letting others do the work for you.
  • If after a week or two of grinding dailies you are starting to feel burned out, don't worry about it.  You are in the Firelands after all, you are supposed to feel a little singed.  If, on the other hand you are feeling burned out in the World of Warcraft experience, don't sweat it.  Turn off the computer for a few days.  It isn't going anywhere.

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    How to get to Firelands Entrance - World of Warcraft patch 4.2

    In order to access Firelands / Molten Front content in World of Warcraft's patch 4.2, you want to pick up the  quest at the main portal area in your capital city before going through the portal into Mount Hyjal and you'll want to check the Stormwind/Orgrimmar quest board.   When you arrive in Mount Hyjal, find Thrall (he's near nordrassil) and turn in the quest you picked up before entering the portal from your home city.  You are now on one of the quest chains, which is kind of lengthy and involves protecting Thrall and his lady-friend from various evil elementals.  A little tip on completing these quests: work with other players...all you need to do is put a few points of damage on the creature to get credit for it.  So if you are a healer, get out an insta-cast damage spell and tag them.  When you've completed that quest chain,  go to the Sanctuary of Malorne (as prompted by the quest you pulled off of your city's quest board) in Mount Hyjal to begin the next set of pre-quests, or you may need to do more questing before actually accessing the Firelands prequest dailies.  See below for details.  If you'd like to read a Review of Firelands Dailies and an Inspirational Message, you should click here.  It may be just the sort of encouragement you need.

    Special Note:  If you are just looking for the Raid Entrance to Firelands, simply go to the portal on the north side of Sulforon Spire in Mount Hyjal.  You need to be in a raid to enter here.

    Less Special Note:  If you've arrived in the Molten Front of the Firelands already, you may want to check out the Firelands Dailies Guide

    Quest board location in Org
    If you did not complete most of the Mount Hyjal quests when you were leveling, you are going to need to go back and complete them.  The quest you picked up from your city's quest board should tell you who you need to "protect" in order to Reclaim the Regrowth and gain access to the firelands prequest dailies.   You need approximately 84/115 quests completed when you check your achievement pane for Mount Hyjal.  If you didn't make it that far, you will need to go back and do those quests in order to complete the quest (found on your city's quest board) that allows you to do Firelands dailies.  The areas that you'll need to complete will be:  Shrine of Goldrinn, Shrine of Aviana, The Regrowth, and Grove of Aessina, each corresponding to one of the Guardians that you need to "protect" in order to complete the prerequisite for the Firelands dailies.
    Quest Board location in Stormwind

    When you finally do get to the dailies in Mount Hyjal, they are located in the area of Hyjal called "Sanctuary of Malorne" in the SW of the map.  It looks like you will need to accrue 20 Marks of the World Tree before you can enter Firelands / Molten Front, which will take a few days of running the dailies there.  The first day you should be able to accrue 12 marks, and each subsequent day you will get 4 marks.  On the third day after you begin the Firelands pre-quest dailies, you will have accumulated 20 marks and will be able to complete the quest that leads to progress into the next phase of the Firelands quest chain.  At the end of day 3 after you've done all the dailies in the Firelands and at the Sanctuary of Malorne, you should have 25 marks of the World Tree.  Take a look at the Firelands Dailies Guide when you've finally made it. And the World of Warcraft tumbles onward.

    So, to summarize your World of Warcraft patch 4.2 Firelands pre-quest experience, the quest that you pick up near the portals can be done without having completed the necessary original quests in Mount Hyjal.  However, to ultimately be granted access to the Firelands, you will need the original quest line up to Reclaiming the Regrowth.  This will take approximately 84 quests completed in Mount Hyjal (it actually only takes about 3 hours to run through at level 85, so it isn't too daunting).

    Once you get to Firelands, Daily quests will open slowly as you collect Mark of the Worldtree currency from the initial daily quests that are available to you.  Just like other faction/currency grinds, you will eventually gain access to lots of great gear and toys.  The reported difference between the Firelands daily quest grind and previous such grinds is that you will use your currency to open new quest hubs and that you will actually use gold to purchase items when they become available to you.  This is a better balance toward allowing players to do what they want after they've completed the initial reputation/mark of the worldtree grind instead of forcing them to run the dailies ad nauseum to continue to accrue the specific currency needed.  Though, calculations on message boards and forums are showing that it will take well over a month of daily grinding to gain access to all items offered at the pre-raid vendor level in Firelands.

    How to get to Firelands Entrance
    Firelands Dailies Guide
    Review of Firelands Dailies Plus Some Inspiration
    Shadow Wardens vs. Druids of the Talon - Which one Do I Choose?
    Calling the Ancients, Filling the Moonwell, or Additional Armaments: Which to choose?

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    How to get to Deadmines Entrance in World of Warcraft

    Deadmines is a great low and high level instance, but it can be a little tricky to find if you aren't using the dungeon-finder tool to automatically teleport you there. If you are interested in farming the instance solo, or perhaps helping an alt or low level friend get the gear that they want, follow these steps to safely and quickly arrive at the Deadmines entrance in World of Warcraft:

    1. Get to the Southwest area of Westfall.  Deadmines is labeled clearly on the in-game map for you.
    2. Find the following building and enter the small door that the red arrow points to:
    Entrance to Deadmines in Moonbrook
     3. When you enter into the main room in this building, take the staircase up to the second floor.  You'll find the entrance to the shaft which eventually leads to the portal entrance.

    4. Wind down the mining shaft.  Stay on the main trail until you reach the first multi-way intersection.  There are a few side-shafts that sprout off the main shaft before you get to this point, but you shouldn't follow them.  Look for this:
    Follow the Train tracks to the right when you get to this first big intersection.
     5. The secret tip that will save you headaches trying to find the entrance through the labyrinth of tunnels down here:  simply follow the train tracks to the right when you get to the point in the above picture and you will see the entrance eventually.

    Don't be one of the the thousands of World of Warcraft players who always gets lost in these tunnels and enjoy one of the game's great dungeons!

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    World of Warcraft Gold Challenge Summary

    Alpha Competition experience: Completed December, 2010:

    In a nutshell, this was a competition to see how quickly I could gain 10,000 gold on a random server by simply using the auction house in World of Warcraft.  The Recap at the end is a good place to start if you just want the basics.  If you want to see a lot more of the thought process and experiment, start at the beginning and read through.  Please note that this experiment took place before Cataclysm Expansion launched, so the gold per hour was fairly impressive for the time period.  I intend to do a beta competition in the near future in the post-Cataclysm economy.

    Hour 1
    Hour 2
    Hour 3
    Hour 4
    Hour 5
    Hour 6
    Hour 7
    Hour 8
    Hour 9
    Hour 10
    Hour 11
    Hour 12
    Hour 13
    Hour 14
    Hour 15
    Hour 16
    Hour 17
    Hour 18
    Hour 19
    Hour 20
    Hour 21
    Hour 22
    Hour 23
    Hour 24
    Hour 25
    Inclusive Recap

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    Opinion Editorial Commentary Page of Links

    This page consists of links to various articles published on Zillionaire that have an opinion / commentary slant to them.  These should be considered "Editorial" statements in the sense that they are opinions of the staff of Zillionaire, however, they should not be viewed as dogmatic positions.  Asking a question or discussing a controversial topic is not the same as endorsing the same said topic.  If at some point we have guest opinions published on Zillionaire, they will be clearly noted.

    Why do players buy gold in World of Warcraft?
    World of Warcraft Addiction: How Much is too much?
    Opportunity Cost - Brief Thoughts on throwing gold away
    Historic Sneak Attacks - Why was Cataclysm released on December 7th?

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    Tol Barad Mining Route - Elementium Ore & Pyrite Ore Farming Path

    Tol Barad is not the best zone for mining.  However, combined with farming for embersilk cloth, running daily quests, and Herbalism, the combination of the three can make it a decent World of Warcraft gold producer. 

    The main problem with Tol Barad Peninsula and Tol Barad itself is that you can only use your ground mount -- no flying.  And though the mining nodes tend to be close together, they are at times difficult to reach, especially given the high density of humanoid npcs in the zone.  But, if you are interested in doing the dailies on Tol Barad peninsula, the mining route in Tol Barad can sync right in.

    The other benefit of mining in Tol Barad is that it is the only zone that can produce Rich Pyrite Ore veins, and it seems that the incidence of Pyrite is much higher than other zones (Twilight Highlands and Uldum) that can produce Pyrite ore nodes.

    The Blue line on the diagram represents the ideal Elementium and Pyrite Ore farming path, though, the nodes are fairly distributed throughout each zone anywhere that there is a gradient in the landscape.  You certainly won't want to come here just to mine, but if you can combine it with Herbalism (there are two nice Herb routes in this zone that are much easier to farm than the mining nodes) and with Dailies / Embersilk farming, you can end up making a lot of gold for your WoW account.