Monday, February 15, 2010

Tipping Vs. Crafting Fee

2/15/2010 has an article up right now that relates to something near and dear to me. Specifically, the idea of getting just compensation for crafting goods and items for other players in the game. Charging a crafting fee, or depending on the kindness of strangers to provide tips.

I’ve always been a perfectionist with professions, seeking to get as many recipes for each character as I could. Just like Pokemon, I “gotta catch them all!” Because of that, I have the expectation of being appreciated for putting in time and effort that might have been more happily spent elsewhere. Grinding for reputation with the Timbermaw, or paying 20-30 each for Lava Cores/Fiery Cores to turn in to the Thorium Brotherhood to boost your rep to Revered………not a lot of fun.

However, I do it for a couple reasons. First, and foremost, I do it for profit. Always one of the best reasons, in my opinion. Having ANY sort of recipe that requires either a ton of gold to acquire, or any type of grinding or work, and you knock out at least 50% of your competition in that profession. In my RL job, my company charges $200 an hour for my time. I currently get a much smaller percentage of that, but as my skillsets and knowledge base improves, I’ll start getting more of that income.

Same goes with professions in WoW. If you only have trainer taught recipes, with maybe the recipes you can buy in Dalaran for Dream Shards, expect a low tip. You’re not bringing anything special to the customer. If, however, you have recipes that dropped from a boss in a dungeon, with a very low drop rate, and nobody runs that dungeon anymore (cough, Enchant Weapon – Spellpower), expect to get paid much more for providing that service to customers.

Secondly, I take pride in what I do in life, both in life and in WoW. If I spend time learning how to be a master carpenter in real life, then charge $8 per hour for making a gorgeous table for a customer, I’m doing a disservice to myself, my profession, and the customer. I could have taken a job doing fast food for about the same amount of pay, not learned anything, and would not have a different skillset in my life. When people pay a lot of money for something, it tends to make them value and appreciate it more, no matter what it is.

Take painting, for instance. If you splash some color on canvas, and sell it for $10, or give it away, is anyone really going to appreciate it if they aren’t related to you? They might think it looks nice, or maybe encourage you to take up painting full-time if they think you’re really good, but they’re not going to offer $10,000 for your next masterpiece, which might take you months or years of your life. However, if you put your painting in a gallery, and someone buys it for $300,000, you feel vindicated and proud of your abilities, and the customer is happy to have obtained a piece of art that moves them and causes introspection.

When there are people like this guy (Elmo), “I'm a real cheap ass but willing to tip for enchants or gems. however most people don't dare ask for a little sum, when their trade window goes green I accept and don't pay anything. I think the crafter should take the initiative when it comes to money. I get the enchant I want and if I don't have to pay for it I won't.”

It makes me not want to even bother with Trade Chat at all. My philosophy is that you should get paid for anything you do for someone you don’t have any connection to in the game. For guildies, fine, I could see doing enchants and such for free. But for anyone else, they didn’t run you in dungeons, they didn’t help you with group quests… don’t owe them anything. If they don’t have the gold to pay for Enchant Weapon – Spellpower, either by giving me a 75 fee +mats or buying the scroll off the AH for 500g, they need to have kept some of that gold they got for doing the dailies that got them the Champion Seals needed to buy that Heirloom weapon in the first place.

Granted, I am specifying Fee vs. Tip. When I bark in Trade, I say “Heirloom [Enchanting]! I have those hard to find rep recipes that most enchanters don’t have. Get it from me with a DECENT fee, or pay way more for it on the AH.” 2nd macro says “Specializing in [Enchant weapon – Spellpower][Enchant weapon – Strength]. I’ve got more recipes than some enchanters at 450!” (I'm currently at 375 enchanting with my 60 mage Banesidhe and my 54 mage Clockwrkmage)

I suppose this guy is justified (Methuus)“f you expect a certain amount of gold for your services, then it's not a tip. It's payment for services rendered. If you say "tip", then don't act all surprised when you get 1 copper. I really wish that tradechat crafters would stop being vague and wishy-washy with the whole "tips welcome" thing. Just come right out and pick a number and require it. As in: "[Enchanting], your mats, anything for 20g payment." Again, these are probably people who powerleveled their professions, don’t have anything other than trainer taught recipes and maybe some epic patterns. They don’t value their professions, and it shows. There might be some people who are so nice in life and in game that they genuinely don’t care, but usually if you spend time trying to get a recipe, you want to get paid back for the effort.

I should wrap this up. Basically, if you know you want payment for your skills, tell the person at the very start of the conversation. When you’re barking, mention a fee in your macro, and when you set up a deal with a customer, try to tell them the fee before they gather up the mats. It’ll waste your time if you have to wait for them to get mats, come to you, get ready to make/enchant an item, then the guy offers a 1g tip for all the effort and time that they used.

If you want to just have fun, have NO expectations of a customer. Be honestly happy to get gold, and don’t worry if they give you nothing. You could /ignore them after that, so they’d never be able to contact you with that toon again, but they could always use an alt. You’ll be happily surprised sometimes, you’ll get nothing occasionally, but you won’t have to worry about seeming “mean” in the game.

As for me, I’ll continue to be upfront with my fees, and not back down if people get upset with me. It’s just gold, and if you want special things in life and in the game, you should realize you have to put some effort into it.

1 comment:

  1. /agree.

    my main JC has literally every recipe in the game. well, as a mage, not the +STR or +AGI type dragon's eyes as they're useless. but for gem cuts to BOE gems, i have every recipe.

    the WotLK epic cuts cost 4 JC tokens EACH. without prospecting titanium for the powder (10 powder = 1 token), i can get 1 token per day doing the JC daily. these tokens can also be turned in for dragon's eyes to sell instead of saving for recipes.

    in my mind, i don't have one iota of a problem thinking that each recipe cost me 4 dragon's eyes each, or ~480g on my server.

    you want epic gem cuts from me, 20g. no problems here.

    in fact, the few times someone has refused to pay the 20g "fee" (not tip) and taken their angst to trade to yell at me - my business actually spiked as i garnered attention to my full recipe list.

    some guy in trade - "this guy wants 20g tip for cutting a gem! for 4 seconds worth of work!"
    me in trade - "yep, [Jewelcrafting], every recipe, 20g cut fee."

    business up.