Saturday Superstar: Why you cannot defeat goblins

| Saturday, December 5, 2009
I had intended to start this series talking about the actions of players on my server that help me to make gold. It was intended to be a bit of a joke, chuckling at the strange actions of other players and how they help me to make gold. I suppose you could see it as a less insulting version of Gevlon's "morons of the week," since I don't plan to call anyone a moron. Instead I'm hoping to give a laugh and advice. But that got sidetracked.

Every now and then I read Greedy Goblin. A title on PPI will intrigue me so I jump over. Then I check a few posts, get a bit sick, and leave. But during one of my excursions I found a link to another economy blog by someone going by Markos. Let's carry that idea with us, that it was Gevlon who introduced me to this Markos guy.

Markos has gotten the idea that with bad accounting he can defeat the goblins on his server. This may be his way of getting back at Gevlon for, ironically, not being greedy enough to take part in his pseudo-scam. There are a myriad of problems with this idea. First is that what does Gevlon care? He's unaffected. If anything it's just given him another post to write.

But the bigger flaw is that he is attempting to destroy goblins. That is impossible. Here's why: goblins have nothing to do with Gevlon. He might have coined the word, but goblinism is not at all his idea. It is only common sense, the pursuit of profit which drives the economic world. Behind the avatar are more than just words and personality, there is an idea, and ideas are blogger-proof.

How would one defeat a goblin? Let's first define the goblin: He is someone working a market and profiting from it by optimizing all aspects which he can; keeping costs down and prices as high as is profitable. These prices may be very low since while a higher price might bring in more gold, it allows others to get some of that gold, meaning less for him. This might mean tiny profits, but lots and lots of them. Here is where Markos fails. He defines goblins as glyph-sellers only. That's stupid. What profit-driven person would contain himself to a single market? That's just asking for a temporary upset to ruin it all.

Brief lesson: diversify. Sometimes shit happens. A guide gets released that causes people to flood and crash your market. Someone levels up and has no understanding of gold. If you tie yourself to one market, you leave yourself vulnerable. Instead, be ready to work in any number of markets, finding gold wherever it is. Or as I've said it before: People want to give you gold, you just have to ask the right way.

Markos' scheme can be summarized as this: Use bad accounting to pretend he's making massive profits and then gloat about it. Rather than a TL;DR post, just think about the various markets he's going through to use cheap herbs to make cheaper inks and where he's losing profit along the way. Your homework will be due at the start of class tomorrow at 9:00 AM, not late work accepted.

Let's say Markos wins. He dominates the markets and is swimming in herbs and inks and most importantly, piles of gold. What has he won? Well he got a lot of gold. Profit! By attempting to defeat the goblins, he would become one himself.

Goblins cannot be defeated, only replaced. It's stupid to think they are some sort of Gevlon-created phenomenon. He was not the first or the last. But if you try to be anti-goblin, you just might become the next.


Part two: Having class
In the entire drama war between Gevlon and Markos only one person came out ahead: Tobold. He's a classy guy who seems to keep himself above all the mess. I gotta respect that.

But who gets second place? I say Gevlon. While he's a sociopath with little decency, he does have more than none. Simply compare blogs. Gevlon's is minimalist with no advertising except for those blogs which he thinks are worth reading. In contrast Markos' is covered with ads, include for his own guide. That sends the message: "You readers are not people to whom I have any loyalty. I do not seek to inform, entertain, or amaze you. Instead you are mere visitors, people who sometimes click ads so I can get a few pennies."

Oh but let's leave that aside. Here's the fun bit:
Besides being a proud American and an enterprising entrepreneur, I am also a member of the Roman Catholic Church (tithing ftl). This being said, I have always felt that getting to heaven was the number one goal to hold for myself. I apologize if you are atheist or of a different religion and that offends you, but I have no problem with you expressing your own beliefs anytime you want on my forums or blog. Although Gevlon's attacks against me were a planned (notice he waited 6 days to make his post on a Tuesday?), unprovoked, brutal and brilliant surgical strike against myself and my blog, to retaliate would in no way bring me closer to my number one goal. So therefore I am not going to retaliate, however I will do my best to provide a thorough explanation regarding what happened for you, my readers

His explanation is a counter-attack on Gevlon, in clear contradiction to his claim that he would not retaliate. But hypocrisy happens. I contradict myself all the time. What pisses me off is the religion and heaven bit. What the fuck does being Catholic have to do with any of this? Here would have been a better post: "I did not intend to scam anyone. I believe Gevlon misread my emails and overreacted. Sorry for the drama." Done.

But not, he has to bring in religion and pretend to take the high road. Here's the high road: not bringing in irrelevant shit to make oneself look superior. My own religious views can be found elsewhere and don't matter here, except for one thing: I get pissed off by people who pull shit like this and make Catholicism look bad. Is it a perfect community? Hardly. But overall I think it's a pretty good group of people with good leadership and intentions. Stunts like this hurt that image and reflect poorly on everyone.

Part of having class is about taking the high road, not for reasons of appearance, but because it's the high road. That means that if you say you won't flame back, you don't. That means not bringing in religion for no purpose except to put a halo over your own head.

I mean come on, how hard can it possibly be to take the high road when dealing with Gevlon? All you have to do is not endorse shooting poor people and you win. But somehow, Markos failed. Bravo!

P.S. Thanks, Markos, for some of your posts. I might not have thought of some of the markets I have now without your suggestions. You've made me just a little bit more of a goblin. Oops!
P.P.S. I realize this is days late. That's what happens when I read some blogs only infrequently.

9 comments:

Spinks said...

How very strange. Surely if getting to heaven is his number one goal then he should be posting about giving money to charity and helping people and stuff? Or don't catholics do that.

Sven said...

I'd have to agree with you. Winning the moral high ground against Gevlon is like shooting fish in a barrel. With a bazooka. Yet somehow Markco managed to go lower, with his constant self-justification and misrepresentation of what happened. Perhaps this is some cunning new moral-undercutting strategy...

Stabs said...

They're both as bad as each other but one can glean a lot of great information from their sites.

I've stopped playing WoW and the only game I play economically is Eve.

In Eve I can and do defeat goblins as defined by Marcko (as distinct from goblins as defined by you).

Marcko defines goblins as deep undercutters. In Eve I shop around looking for products with wide profit margins. When I find one I trade in it until the margin is closed by goblins. Then I dump the rest of my stock (at any price) and hop to a more profitable product.

So goblins who tenaciously drive off players from competing with them simply see me leave to make more money elsewhere while the product is not very profitable and come back to undercut them again once the margins widen.

I beat them in the sense that I make more money than them. They beat me in the sense that they drive me off from the Afterburner market and make it their own little (unprofitable) poodle.

Klepsacovic said...

@Spinks: Good Catholics do.

@Sven: Damn undercutters are destroying the price of morals and souls! How am I supposed to sell when they keep being worse than me?

@Stabs: I see the deep undercutting as only a specific aspect of what is more generally economic self-interest, doing whatever makes gold. You seem to be facing wannabe goblins if they're destroying their own markets.

Dallanna said...

It's an odd thing.

As much as I dislike Gevlon's view on things, he's completely free to do so, and in spite of his unlikable personality, his statements do hold a grain of truth, when it comes to the less palatable aspects of man's characteristics.

And I read Marcko's blog back in the day and used it for its intended purpose. Every now and then, I still go back to see how far the economy has changed. However, when this whole fiasco started, I don't find myself so inclined to go back anymore, even if he does contain helpful advice for farming stuff. When he claimed his Catholicism and goes on to actually lament it, I think he came off as a hypocrite without even realizing it.

In the end, you were right, and Tobold did in fact win the game in this case and we still like his stuff for it.

As a side note, are you the same Klepsacovic who 'trolled' (lulz) the old Vanilla WoW forums?

Klepsacovic said...

@Dallanna: That's me.

I was going to go on about how it's strange that a single incident can dramatically change our perceptions of a person and cause us to reject them, even if only in a virtual sense. But this isn't isolated. His ads demonstrate he's willing to trade legitimacy as a free blogger for a bit of money.

Dallanna said...

I thought so, I was there, back in the old dem days, and remember going "I like that guy's style." (Was Iliya from Vek'nilash, but ya probably don't remember.)

I digress.

To put it bluntly, it seems that both Marcko and Gevlon, in spite of their differences in how they present themselves, seem to be more or less two sides of the same coin.

They fulfill a purpose, whether the individual finds worth in their contributions or not.

Klepsacovic said...

@Dallanna: I'm not disagreeing, but you may find that any pair of individuals are on the same coin if you give a bit of effort. Maybe this just means we're all terribly normal.

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