Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mercenary service

Khaas of Bloodscalp sent me a mail about his business idea, and I found it unique enough to post it.

Tanks are the bottleneck of HC-farming groups. I will write later about this whole HC-farming, but as long as people do it, the business is there. The reason for tank shortage is simple: majority of the players are M&S who faceroll. Facerolling tank or healer = wipe. So every facerolling M&S are DPS. Some may tried tanking or healing, but after a couple of runs they find that "DPS is more fun". Of course I'm not claiming that every DPS is drooling, but the majority are.

Healers are a bit less of a demand, since there are 3 spell DPS specs (moonkin, shadowpriest, elemental shaman) who can retalent healer and do pretty well without any gear change. When I was collecting blue gear I never seen a single one of them, simply because they queued as healer on their offspec. On the other hand a fury warrior have to collect gear to be a tank.

So the WoW population composition is: (percentages add up to more than 100 due to dual specs)
  • 8% able tank
  • 15% able healer
  • 30% able DPS
  • 1% failtank (mostly bad DPS queued up as tank without any tanking items or spec)
  • 3% failhealer
  • 60% fail DPS
This means that tanks get into instances instantly, healers have to wait a little, DPS can wait between 15-50 minutes. The queue is especially long in the late afternoons when most "casual" players play.

So if you are a DPS (either good or bad) you have to wait looong before you can get into the instance. And you can still wipe if you get that failtank. To make things worse, the longer the queue, the more terrible DPS will come up with the great idea "hey I cud respec tank lol" so the more chance there is to get into their groups.

The idea of Khaas is simple: he offers tanking services on /trade. You pay the fee, he invites you and queues up as tank. You get in instantly and you surely get an able tank. He didn't mention, but further positive effect is that you have a decreased chance for a long run due to bad DPS, as the tank can enforce votekicking by sitting down. The DPS can't enforce anything, and as healer I often met with the problem that when I say "Please press YES on votekick this player or I won't heal" that they decline and pull. At that point I can only HS out, what will definitely hurt them, but also me.

This can be enhanced to a boosting service: "/2 tank offering quick queues to good DPS and quick boosting to new players: 50G for queuing together, +100G if you damage less than me". Players from the same server can trade in the instance and I'm sure they will rather pay that +100G after the first boss than being kicked.

Spinks told a great trick in comment: you find someone who can queue up as tank. Can be any paladin, warrior, druid or DK, doesn't need to be able to tank. As soon as you are in, he drops party. Since you are already in, you are on the top of the queue, the first tank who queue up gets into your group.


Anti said...

tanks on my server are already doing this...but for some reason there is no GDKP runs.

anyone got suggestions on how to make GDKP runs popular on my server ?

ffs i have close to goldcap and nothing to spend it on.

Anonymous said...

I do a version of this already as soon as I realized how insane the que times were for dps.

/2 wtb tank for 1 random heroic, paying 25g

Sometimes 25g doesn't get a hit within a minute for whatever reason and I advertise for 35-45g instead.

Anonymous said...

I've heard of a version of this where the tank doesn't actually stay to run the instance but leaves as soon as they zone in (the idea is that dps are paying to get into the instance fast, not to also have a tank for it). The bonus was that the guy queueing as a tank didn't need to have tank gear -- any class that was able to queue as tank could do this.

Townes said...

Might work, though my experience is a bit different than yours. I've done a lot of these as a healer and probably as many as dps, and agree that dps have to wait. But I get in instantly as healer at almost any time of day. And I've never had a request to kick someone denied. If someone's really bad, it's usually quickly unanimous.

I don't farm heroics. I don't need the gear in them or the triumph emblem gear anymore, though it was a nice way to catch up and be OK in ICC. If I were playing dps and farming them again, though, I might pay that 50 gold to avoid the wait.

And if it were me, I might team up a good tank and healer and make the charge 100 gold. That way you know there won't be any waits.

Anonymous said...

Its an interesting idea, but it can't go for 50G. Most on my server would rather wait than to pay that, but I've found a sweet spot of 30G, which is approximately 2 dailies, and people are willing to pay that.

Unfortunately, I don't think its even worth the time as you may get queued into a long instance like UP or HoS, compared to let's say AN.

Carl said...

My solution to the long queue times: write an addon for it.

Get EventNotifier on Curse. Queue up as dps, alt-tab out and do something else. Wait for the raid warning sound and tab back and join the group.

Anonymous said...

Maybe its my battlegroup, but whenever I que as dps I get group in 5-10 minutes tops, so I can't imagine why I would pay for an instant dungeon - especially, that as a social, moron and slacker I have friends to talk online, so waiting isn't a problem.
and @Anti: GDKP runs didn't catched up, because with badges coming out of ears, and gold pouring out of most people's pockets barely anyone bothers with them. If you want to spend money on undeserved status symbols, buy yourself protodrake run, not gear.

Wildhorn said...

I am already doing this with my tank. I was even doing it before /lfd was out.

Anti said...

@ anon - not realy inerested in status symbols. but i'm an altoholic. got loads of alts and wouldnt mind having better gear on them for when i do play them.

i like the idea of queueing with a tank and having the tank afk out. as a dualboxer i dont subject people to playing both alts in a run....but i wouldnt mind queueing with my tank alt on second account and AFKing out to get fast runs on my DPS toons.

Darraxus said...

Already had a Druid tank on my server doing this a bit ago. Dont think it worked.

Sten Düring said...

50G per run is no problem. However:

One run is worth 90 gold before fees. (6 emblems at 12g each due to being converted to uncut gems at a rate of 10 emblems per gem) + dropped crap + 13 gold as the random reward - repairs.

We're either chainrunning heroics as a tank, which is 7 instances per 2 hours, or 315 gold per hour.

The alternative is to find someone to cough up 50 gold to join.

BEST CASE this drops us to 3 runs per hour, so we make 270 + 150 gold per hour. 420 gold an hour is decent for a grinder, but it's still in the grinding range, which is simply too low an amount to be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Nice idea. With a healer it might work awesome. If you're grinding for emblems anyway, why not earn some money with it? Although I can imagine for tanks grinding emblems isn't really a problem anyway.

Pay people to run it. 200 gold a run sure will attract some players.
I'm not gonna discuss if it's the kind of players you want, but hey, at least you have a run. And you are in charge, because you payed them, so you might actually learn them a thing or two.

SiderisAnon said...

Depending on the DPS, this can actually kill a tank's instant queue times.

I am not sure what facet of the LFD system causes this, but I have run into situations where queuing with a single DPS has caused a several minute delay before getting into a dungeon. Once it was 20 minutes.

My theory is that it has something to do with the gear and group standards that Blizzard applies when matching up the random people. They've said that the standards relax over time, so that you have a greater pool of people to group with until you finally reach the point where you get a group.

I have not had this problem when a healer and I requeue by ourselves or with two DPS. I did have a delay of over 10 minutes one time when a healer and I queued up again with a single DPS.

Anonymous said...

I have found that on my server this idea is very effective. I usually log into WoW and send out my macro for my service. Since im well known for getting the job done, I usual get a dps very fast and sometimes even a healer. My price is around 40g but it can range, depending on how many randoms they want to do. I even usually get a tip of about 15g, which makes for 55g per run PLUS the random heroic bonus PLUS the badges that I can spend on gear. I don't know about others, but on my server this was the best idea I have had.

Anonymous said...


I experienced a couple of times that as soon as everyone is zoned in to the instance, the tank immediately quits. I always thought the tank must have felt he was in above his ability (e.g. when random LFG selected an Icecrown dungeon), but now I think perhaps they must have been abusing your trick to skip the queues.

My first instinct tells me that the next time this happens, I should leave too, as I don't want to be carrying people who abuse the system. But I'm afraid Gevlon will call this ape-subroutine behaviour and also I'd have to wait 15 minutes to stand up for my principles.

On the other hand, to pull this trick off, someone must find someone with a tankable class that isn't occupied at the moment and also doesn't mind to be blocked for the LFG tool for the next 15 minutes. I'd want to have a fairly reasonable amount of gold to provide that service. 100 g may not sound much to someone like Gevlon, but if I had to pay that for each dungeon I ran, I'd soon be bankrupt. Therefore I doubt this is being done on a large scale.

Regarding the Blog:
Yesterday I (healer) came across that 1% failtank. I feel the rule that "if the tank dies, it's the healer's fault" needs to be extended with an exception clause for failtanks.

Quicksilver said...

now where exactly did you pull those numbers about wow repartition from?

btw, spinks, I love you for giving me such a great idea.

->pm my friend, make him log his warrior alt, we queue together, he leaves: insta queues for me as dps for free :D

Fricassee said...

I like the business idea, but what's the point in making up percentages to support the argument? I know you hate DPS a ton, but do you really thing we have that bad a ratio?

8:1 Good to bad tank ratio
5:1 Good to bad healer ratio
1:2 Good to bad DPS ratio?

Tyra said...

I've seen atleast two tanks advertise this during trade, for 50g a queue. I don't know if they entered, or just dropped group afterwards. I'm not sure if it was successful, although i assume so. Sounds like a good idea.

Khaas said...

As I wrote in my original blog post, I charge 20g for this service (per person). Whispers come fast enough that I can easily add 2 or 3 to my group before queing. The que is nearly instantaneous this way.

Some do want to run multiple randoms, and for that the cost is the same. But I've had little issue, I'm the 3rd best geared tank on Bloodscalp (according to I know what I'm doing and have a good reputation. I consider the 20g fee nominal since you get more than that for completing the random dungeon.

I do get tips at times, and sometimes I get full parties complete with healer who just want a tank. In the end, it works well for an hour or two while I wait on my glyphs and other assorted auctions to start clearing.

I get about 5 epic gems (from emblems) while doing these runs per day, in addition to the gold. So, maybe it's not reinventing the wheel. But, it's definitely not a waste of time. And certainly more engaging (and arguably more rewarding) than running dailies.

I've met some interesting people this way, some are just random DPS who want to que fast (these tend to be very geared, quick runs) others who're just close friends from a small guild who don't know any tanks. And then there's the random boxer I've run into who just doesn't want/care to tank. In the end, they all pay. And we all get what we want.

I've noted lately more tanks doing this on BS, and I'm all for it. I mean mages still charge for ports to Dalaran right?

At any rate, thanks for the shout out Gevlon. And I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who had the idea.

Nielas said...

Selling your services as a tank seems overall as a win-win situation. The group gets a good tank (most of the time since a bad tank will not be getting repeat business), everyone gets emblems/loot and the tank gets extra gold. The DPS gets to go to the front of the queue but then he/she deserves it since otherwise the tank would not queue up and there would be one less viable group in the system.

On the other hand the 'tank leaves right away' scanario I find quite unethical. It is gaming the queue system and this has the nasty tendency to wreck a system like this. It's not a big deal individually but as the effects accumulate it will have nasty side effects.

Anonymous said...

Tanks are indeed a rarity on the Alliance Bloodlust server. Good ones especially.
I regularly do random dungeons on 3 toons.
Raid geared pallytank 43.6k health.
Badge geared Resto Druid.
Badge & Crafted geared Hunter.

Peak time Ive had 30+min waits on my hunter. No more than 5mins for the druid.
On my tank - I get concerned if i have to wait more than 5 seconds!

And i always select tank/dps for my paladin - have not once been selected as dps since the new LFG was introduced.

But even though the LFG queue for loldpstards is insanely long, and good tanks VERY rare, no-one, at least on our server, wants to pay for a tank.

I have advertised on trade a number of times with no replies. Strange.
Possibly due to our server being split into 2 broad groups.

The Raiders - Belong to decent guilds that do 25 mans, and regularly do random heroics with all guildie groups.
The scrubs - (who seem to apply to our guild LOTS) - poor guilds with minimal progression, poor players with little gold, poor peformance (0,71,0 mage for example)

Anonymous said...

one can also try to use the fake tank trick in a similar way but a tad "mean" too.
have a group of four guys, have one of them que as tank, kick the fifth guy and then have him reque as dps its a tad mean i suppose but if you find a group of morally devoid people it should work

@ anonymous @Spinksville
it might be entirely kosher too, i for instance always drop out of AN/OK/GD/DTK as i hate those places sometimes HoS or HoL to dont like those either.

as for the monetary thing its not worth it unless you have something you want with the badges,
or as i successfully manged to do get some people to pay to boost my pal through a shit load of HCs, i particularly enjoyed that, and no Vote kick since they thought he paid for it. :) still smiling at the memory.

Anonymous said...

@ Fricassee

In my battlegroup I find the good:average:bad dps ratio to be 1:2.5:2

With good being correct spec gems and enchants, average being correct spec and reasonable gems/enchants and bad being everything else.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's nice extra gold if you have geared tank and have nothing better to do.
On the other hand, even if you have blue/green geared dps, you can hire tank/healer/good dps for like 100g run each.
Kinda like heroic GDKP farming.

Halmotors said...

I tried doing this yesterday, making a macro that said 'Are you a DPS? Hate long queue times? For 20g per run and 10g per run after, you too can have the short times of a tank. PST for more info.'

There was a ridiculous amount of opposition to this idea right off the bat. Mostly people saying I was a pretty huge jerk for charging people to come along with me, but also people who looked me up on the Armory and were bashing my gear, telling me that I 'had no right to charge people, with that gear'. I basically told all of them that if they didn't like it, to not use the service, and that I wasn't offering to carry anyone through a dungeon anyway. Here's my gear:

No, my gear isn't BiS. But it sure isn't shit, either. I'm at 540 defense, I have 30k health...I'm more than geared for heroics. Some people thought it was actually a good idea, and one guy copied my macro almost verbatim to use as his own, which kind of pissed me off. But for the most part, I was labeled a scrub for various reasons, like gear, the fact that I had to charge people for a queue to make money, etc. As if I need to charge people to make money. I have to get emblems from there anyway; why not maximize my profits...?

So if you're thinking of doing this, just be forewarned that you may see some pretty virulent opposite from folks who are jealous they didn't think of it first.

Anonymous said...

just last night, I ran a heroic as a tank. I had 3 people from trade chat join at 50g each. Our random heroic was Nexus. Took 30 min to plow through. I walk away with 150g from the buyers, plus 26g for the random daily, and 2 emblems of frost. 176g for 30 min of time doing something i needed to do for my frost badges anyways :D. I have people who add me to their friends list and whisper me to do the same ALL the time. I got 200g to do BRD. Seems good tanks are indeed valued and there seems to be a shortage.

Anonymous said...

I saw a tank that advertised this in trade yesterday, he was a DK and he was mocked in trade for posting something like this. My main is my tank and I checked out his gear. He wasn't geared all that great, and I wouldn't expect him to be able to run heroics at any kind of speed to pay him 50G for anything. If one is to attempt anything like this, they have to be able to carry an entire group if everyone sucks.

Also, paying per run is a foolish way to go about it. Charge X amount for one hour. You can run as many heroics that you and your DPS will allow. You will keep the run moving as fast as possible. If your purchaser has either poor luck, or wants to be carried, it will take longer. Also, demand a one hour minimum and that must be paid up front. Set time increments of every 1/2 hour or so, so if you run them for 1 3/4 hour, they pay you for 2 hours of your time. The compensation that you ask for your time should vary based on your skill/gear level. I am not going to pay a tank that can't hold his own in H HoR 300g an hour because I want to not wait in line. A bad tank is still a bad tank, whether you pay him to get in line for you or not.