Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Critical Break: To Keep HQs or Not...

Critical Break is our crafting and economics column written by Qtipus. Q is an experienced crafter and also well versed in using the Auction House to turn a decent profit. Enough so that he was able to fund his own relic, Gungnir. Every Tuesday you will find Q's rants, raves and good crafting practices here. This week, Q looks at crafting for strangers which might be slightly better than taking candy from them.... maybe.

There are a lot of different philosophies floating around about what to do when some random person you've never spoken to asks you to synth a rather high level synth for them. Every serious crafter knows the feeling I'm referring to...

It's that feeling of dread knowing that this person who you'll probably never speak to again is about to take advantage of the time and gil you've put into your craft and end up with an HQ you're currently 0/1,782 on. Generally speaking, most crafters just enjoy the opportunity to make something for someone. It's only when someone comes to you with materials to make something you'd otherwise make money on where it becomes a little contentious.

It's hard to get some people to understand the sheer amount of time and gil you've invested in your craft and subcrafts unless they're a crafter themselves sometimes. Most of your average non-crafters just see you spending 2-3 minutes selecting items from your inventory and melting them together and not the actual process that leads up you being able to make a cursed whatever for them.

What's the best way to handle it? Is one way better than the other?

As I mentioned before, there are several different trains of thought that go into this. Here are some of the more common ones in no particular order:

"HQ is mine, I'll buy you an NQ"

This is the first of a few times that I'll be using the phrase "Make sure this is agreed to in chat before doing. Assume nothing." As it's name implies, this is where you essentially tell someone if you HQ it, tough shit, I'm keeping it and I'll buy you the NQ.

Amazingly, people agree to this all the time. The problem comes when there's nothing documented in the chat log. There are a few douchebags out there who will GM you if you don't give them the results of their actual synth. This means the HQ if you managed to HQ it. Make absolutely sure you get verbal confirmation in chat before you synth.

Personal Opinion: I'll only get someone to agree to this if I have never spoken to them before. I don't prefer this method to anything else, but will use it from time to time on big ticket items like Unicorn Leggings +1.


Charge a percentage of the HQ value if it HQs or charge a flat rate. Again, make sure this is something that's agreed to up front and keep the item until the money is given to you in the event the customer's stuff HQs.

This may seem unreasonable, but keep in mind if they're getting a Genie Weskit for 1.5 mil instead of buying it off the AH for 3 mil, they're still getting a good deal.

Personal Opinion: What's a fair percentage? That's obviously subjective to both parties involved. I tend to lean towards a reverse tier system percentage. (T0 - 3-5%, T1 - 10%, T2 - 25%, T3 - 50%). Meaning if someone comes to me with a T0 synth and it HQs, I'm going to charge 50% of the AH value for it and I don't even bother charging for HQs if it's a T3 synth or better as they're probably not worth much money anyway and I could HQ them all day long if I wanted to. I tend use this approach, again with people I don't know, on some of the more commonly spammed HQ items like Genie Weskits or Scorpion Harnesses.

I Know You or A Friend Knows You

This isn't a tough one. Use how well you know someone for this. Good friend? Don't charge. Especially if they've leveled a craft you can take advantage of later in return. Friend of a friend? Discount it.

Personal Opinion: Name-dropping doesn't go very far with me. I still go by the likelihood of ever speaking to you again. If it's a great chance, here's your free HQ (if you're lucky). If it's not, see the previous section with a slight discount (or increase depending on who's name you dropped).

I Have A Force-NQ Ring, Fuck Your HQ.

Some people you can just tell are going to argue with having to pay you if you HQ from the way they introduce themselves asking you to synth an item. It's pretty easy to tell them no right off the bat and /blist them, but sometimes you can't tell until you're already in a conversation with them about it.

Personal Opinion: Save yourself the drama, be a bastard and put that ring on if you have it.

I'm Trying To Skill Up And Want To Take Advantage Of Your Level To HQ Materials

Or to make materials I can't make yet.

This one is, again, pretty much what it describes. There's a crafter trying to build his/her way up in the world that's trying to save a few gil during the skill up process. Some common consumables like arrowheads, bolt heads, lumber etc will be asked about here.

Personal Opinion: Give the guy a bone and help out. Odds are your work isn't going to be profitable to them and you know just how much it sucked getting through those levels anyway. As long as they're not expecting something entirely unreasonable like...60 synths worth of work, HQ some arrowheads or bolt heads and be on your way.

Always remember that it was your time and money that got you to where you're at in terms of crafting. There are a lot of people who will want to take advantage of your work for nothing and some aren't opposed to giving away their work for free (to each their own). Each situation is unique, but as long as you remember to get your verbal agreement in text (in case you get GM'd), every thing's good and you'll probably make a little bit of money along the way.


iceblazek said...

I flat out refuse to synth items that im trying to hq for myself(cursed feet+1). Im 0/47 and I dont think i could hand over the hq to anyone.. friend or not.

Other then that i charge ppl 15% on the hq for any item.

Erimentha said...

I'm not a high level crafter but the best way I've seen it handled was this: "If I hq, I'm keeping it, I'll make/buy you a normal quality version. If it is nq, it's yours. If you don't agree to this I am sorry, I won't do it." It makes it clear what you expect out of the transaction, and will save you from looking like a greedy jerk. It also gives the one who asked a notice to bow out or offer additional compensation if they feel they must have the HQ.