Soapbox: How to ask for a port
You know how some people complain about folks who make 200g in a minute and call that “12,000 gold per hour”? There’s a flip side here too. Even if you’re very generous, as long as it’s the occasional event, you’re not doing yourself harm.
In other words, you can be a goblin and yet delightfully generous, and it will make you more effective.
In this post, I’ll be building on some comments I made in my Warcraft Econ gold cap interview where I said,
There are, however, instances where I’ll spend “lavishly” in a dual effort to save myself time and to delight others; for example, when hiring crafters and buying ports. For crafting, I pay well and tip aggressively …I’m the type of player who will go into trade and say “Looking for crafter to make [epic item X], have mats, tipping 300g” (that’s what I’d pay back in Wrath!). If I get a quick response, I’d give them 350g or 400g.
I’m also the type of player who will walk up to a mage and whisper “May I please buy a port to Theramore for 50g?” (nowadays I’m offering 60g-80g or 100g if I’m in a hurry) You would not believe just how effective these approaches are to getting what you want, fast. For ‘one-off’ events like this, be polite and generous, it pays dividends in more ways than one.
First of all, treating people with respect and generosity generally leads to good results. And folks that deal with me almost always part with a happy “Thank you.” I suppose one could look at this and consider it foolish rather than goblinish. But for me, life (and WoW) is not zero sum…it’s great when you can drive a result bigger than the sum of the parts.
WIIFM (“What’s in it for me?”, you may ask)? Well, I personally figure my time is worth 3,000g+ per hour, so each minute is worth over 50g. It’s good to know what your opportunity cost is. If it takes me three minutes to line up a port, instead of 1, that port didn’t really cost me my “cheap” 15g, it cost me 165g.
Of course, this is all good as long as you’re on the buying end. Paying 50g once for a port is imo goblinish. Selling ports for 15g each is idiotic (or pathetic). I never bite in trade chat on vague requests for crafters or mage ports. Odds are good that if someone says “LF port from SW to Dal, will tip,” or “LF BS to craft X, my mats, will tip,” it will NOT be worth your time to respond. If they were offering a reasonable amount, they would specify it. No, they are cheapskates, you can bet on that. Almost always, they expect the port to be “~near free” and for the mage to be grateful for whatever tip they have to offer – as if they are doing you a favor, and not the other way around. Or in the case of crafted items – sadly for the crafters – there are people out there who a) are broke, b) don’t value their time, or c) are both, and who WILL throw away their time for cheap.
The key to remember is that these transactions are fine and necessary when they are one-time events. Turning /2 port selling or crafting into a business, though, is a horrible waste of time and a headache. When was the last time you saw a *generous* offer for a port in trade, or a generous offer to have someone craft an item? I can’t remember any offers for a port over 30g-40g, ever (other than my own offers when I need them). And I can’t remember any crafting requests in trade ever offering more than a hundred g or two.
In trade, by biting on vague trade requests, you will be dealing with people that are for the most part lazy and do not value your time properly.
Another flip side is that it makes perfect sense to shop around in trade for crafters, because
a) some people don’t value their time much (and all you need is one)
b) some people spend all their money and as such much scrounge and pay a premium whenever they want anything (or give things away at a premium)
c) you can get even faster results if you are specific
d) you can get even faster results if you are generous
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve made offers in trade. Half the time, I’ll get tells from people saying, “hold on, my alt (or guildie) can craft that for you, let me go get them.” The guildie thing isn’t a fluke, it has happened a bunch of times to me. And I barely ever request anything in trade chat since I have most professions covered (…generously, I may make 5 requests per year, typically I’m asking for someone to craft something from a pattern I don’t have).
TLDR: Avoid vague requests in trade like the plague, unless you’re short of friends or bored silly. And DO use trade to get what you need: be polite and generous. For ports, look for a mage, and say “Would you please port me to _____ for ___g?” and wave. Unless they are AFK, they’ll invite you to group, then send you on your merry way. Some of the time – frequently, in my experience - they will even refuse payment. That’s what being polite will get you. Bonus! If they keep closing down the trade window, you can always mail them the payment, with a thank you. Just do it.