Insider Trader: Gatherers behaving badly

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Lisa Poisso
December 8th, 2007
In this article: herbalism, mining, node, procs, skinning
Insider Trader: Gatherers behaving badly
Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling and using player-made products.

In the spirit of Amanda's genteel post on tipping etiquette (and how social networking gives you a distinct edge), Insider Trader brings you further discussion of two of the finer points of WoW trading etiquette: node/farming etiquette and transmute etiquette. Unless you're interested in building a rep as "Internet N00b Behaving Badly," you'll want to be sure you're aware of how your actions are most likely interpreted by players around you, both in the field and back in town.

It's worth noting right off the bat that attitudes about farming etiquette vary from PvE to PvP servers, and even from server to server on the same server types. You may find yourself on a rather combative server, where crotchety players will slay players of the opposite faction before allowing them to reach a node first. On other servers (even some PvP servers), Horde and Alliance respectfully yield to whoever clears the area or arrives first at harvesting points. You'll definitely want to keep your eyes open and see what other players on your server are expecting. Try reading the server forums, too, to see if ninja-farming is a frequent bone of contention.

In general, gatherers are a fairly tolerant and supportive lot. While many PvP players relish a little bit of world PvP in the interest of "Who was here first?", the general consensus seems to be Ye Olde Principle of First Come, First Served. Points to ponder further:
  • Anyone fighting mobs near a mining or herb node is very likely to be clearing a path to the node. Players are pretty fairly split between taking the high road and letting the guy who's obviously there first have the shot at it, or considering all fair in nodes and war. Probably more PvE gatherers than not would agree: if you're the same faction as the other guy, pass it by. If you dive in before noticing a nearby player clearing, help him finish off the mobs and say /sorry. On PvP servers, though, you'll find anything from a race to an outright gleeful tussle to be more common.
  • Savvy players tend to be more forgiving of certain situations -- such as a warrior fighting near a mining node. Because protection-specced tanks are so slow to clear a spawn, even gatherers who normally swoop in on any untapped node or relish a good fight for harvesting rights may kindly elect to let the slowbie have a shot.
  • Unlike mining or herbalism, fishing pools can't be "tapped." Fishers generally agree: Don't cast your line in a pool that someone else from your faction is already fishing in; it's rude. Players on many PvE servers feel the same even in situations involving the opposite faction, although others (as well as most PvP servers) feel a certain amount of "racing" and "involuntary sharing" is inevitable. (Although as player Slow of Runetotem wryly noted in a recent forum post, "That's because they don't want you to whisper them. Trust me, it cuts both ways. It's not about what faction you are -- it's about being able to be rude without having to listen to whispers.")
  • A sure way to provoke another fisher to take up arms: Stand on his bobber, blocking him from clicking to claim his catch.
  • All bets are off in the weekly fishing tournament, when competition brings out the animals. Anything goes.
  • If you need to clear mobs near a fishing pool, keeping your fishing pole equipped on your back is a good way to indicate to others that you intend to actively fish there. (Thanks to Slow of Runetotem for the tip.)
  • Keep in mind that farming is EZ-mode, social time for many players. While some classes are too busy clicking away to visit, others farm while carrying on multiple conversations in guild chat, voice chat, tells ...watching TV or movies ... even playing other games on a different system. These players are minimally aware of their surroundings and are not likely to notice others nearby. Don't take it personally. If you run into problems more than once, send a polite /tell, which they'll be more likely to notice among their other distractions.
  • Skinners who are following behind questing or farming non-skinners to pick up the leftovers should take care to stay completely clear of the agro pattern in the area. If you're high enough level to help with a few mobs here and there or offer a worthwhile buff, by all means, pitch in – you speed up the process and get more skins in less time.
Transmute procs: Mine, all mine?
Transmutation-specialized alchemists constantly struggle with customer expectations over "extra" transmute procs. Who gets to keep the "extra"? Common sense tells us that the extra belongs to the master alchemist, who skill-upped his fingers to the bone to acquire his mastery. When a customer provides mats for one product, then he should get one product, fair and square. Yet some customers reason that without their materials and combine, the proc wouldn't have happened in the first place – so any resulting products belong to them.

It's wise to agree with customers up front what your policy on procs is – whether extra products are yours, theirs, or something else (for multiple procs). Some players have come up with fairly complex formulae for pricing procs.

But there's an even easier solution: Get one combine ahead, and keep your elixirs or potions products in the bank. When someone requests a combine, give them the existing product in exchange for the mats. Then combine the mats for the next one in the relative privacy of the bank vault or your supply vendor – where what procs in the bank stays in the bank.

Insider Trader's Lisa Poisso is a freelance writer and editor – what she procs in her office at home is her own business.
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