For the love of whites

I realised the other day that I have a bit of a strange quirk: I absolutely hate to vendor white quality items. This goes back to my earliest adventures in nub land, where one of the first lessons I learned was that grey items are safe to vendor because they are useless, but white items always serve some sort of purpose and are valuable to other players. Armour was a bit of an obvious exception to this rule during the early levels, because even Flimsy Chain Boots are better than going barefoot, but that point becomes pretty moot once you are out of the starter area. White good, grey bad.

Now, in principle there's nothing wrong with this idea, after all white quality items do have some sort of use, but the problem is that there can be quite a big gap between the theory of usefulness and its practice. With anything of green quality or better you pretty much know where you're standing (Strength and spirit combined? No, just no.), and at worst you can disenchant it. Old raids will sometimes drop greens or blues that have no real value anymore because their only use is to craft outdated best-in-slot gear that nobody wants anymore (e.g. Sunmotes), but in that case the fact that it's coming from an old raid is usually at least a good hint. With white items there are so many and their usefulness can be so arbitrary that you can just never really know.

For example, Core of Earth and Naga Scale are both not massively common white drops that are used for low-level crafting. But while the former will likely go for several gold a piece on the auction house, not least because it's a crafting component for an engineering non-combat pet, the latter is only used to create a pair of green cloth shoulders, which are pretty mediocre in this time of heirlooms and the pattern can only be learned via a rare random drop. You can't very well deduct that kind of information from the game itself, however; you'd have to read up on Wowhead for every little thing.

Still, at least you always have the auction house to offer an estimate. Core of Earth going for five gold? Okay, selling. Naga Scale going for five silver? Eh, not so much I guess. This is where my quirkiness comes in though, because I'm not purely profit-driven in my sales. I like to put even cheap items up for auction instead of vendoring them simply because I'm always worried about there not being enough of them around. Everything that we acquire from monster drops is ruled by the random number generator, so every time I get something useful I consider myself lucky. I mean, maybe that Thick Spider's Silk isn't worth that much right now, but what if it stops dropping tomorrow? Better to not throw it away for nothing.

Also, many things that aren't worth much nonetheless sell like crazy, so someone clearly has a use for them. Linen Cloth is one that always astounds me for instance. That stuff is so easy to get and all over the place, yet it always sells no matter how many stacks I happen to acquire. What do people do with it? I have no idea; after all you can only level first aid so many times. But the point is that I'm happy to provide. I've been in the position of the buyer who really wanted some white item quickly to craft something, while none were available on the auction house, and it sucks. Knowing that I'm contributing to avoid that kind of thing happening to others makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Only sometimes... when the stack of Thick Murloc Scales comes back in the mail for the third time, not selling even at eight silver a piece, then it really gets annoying. Because really, clearly nobody wants that stuff! And yet I can't help thinking thoughts like, "but it's used to make Thick Murloc Armor; I remember crafting that for my shaman - it's pretty nice". I also remember searching the auction house for scales and being disheartened because I couldn't find enough. I don't want that to happen to other people... so up for auction they go yet again, even though I know that it's most likely pretty pointless. It's an embarrassing urge to have, especially in today's age of goblinism.

On the plus side, it's nice to be able to get excited about things as stupid as Dreadfang Venom Sacs, and after a while you get really good at random white-item trivia. "Are these actually good for anything?" - "Well of course, if you're currently exalted with the Aldor and want to go for Hero of Shattrath."

Am I alone in this or do others share my strange love for white items?


  1. No :) Not here anyways. I am short of patience and bag/alt space (yes even with 2 accts and 2 alt banks). A girl must prioritize, and if my tooltip says it AH's for crap, it's vendored.
    If I get an odd value on my tooltip (ie something of value and I'm not sure why, as I'm fairly well versed in reps and quest items and such) I will look on Wowhead to verify before I make my final decision.
    That's not to say that one of my bank's not partly crammed with some white items, especially profession levelling stuff.
    I despise farming, and take into consideration that others do as well.
    It can be a fine balance, really, and somewhat dependent on whether I'm near a mailbox to send off for 'sorting out later' or not.

  2. Good for you =) I read once that selling white items is the key to financial success in the game, so even if you sell them cheap it's a good practice. I try to do the same, with the exception of things that I know just don't sell anymore. It's really useful to players leveling up to find stuff on there they need.

  3. I'm still keeping a lot of whites, from enchanting mats to crafting gear to low level food "because you never know when you can need that again"... even if I already have all slots on the account covered by 80s (guess who's going to pay for a 11th slot when Cata comes)
    Some of the most useful white items to AH are food. Leveling cooking in vanilla was hard, specially at high levels where you had to rely on rare skillups from green food. Some time after they added that bear meat and some recipesm but still you have to go to Felwood and farm it (= booooring). Even level 20-something food you get (like clam meat) can help a lot people.
    When running a low level instance for achievements I always try to save some bag space to bring greens and cloth to AH, without inflatig prices as almost everybody does.

  4. haha, you are not alone! I have a hard time trashing items in general, and as for whites I started sending them to my mule in case I ever need them or they suddenly become super expensive at the AH (zomg!). it's a relief to see i'm not the only person with silly habits ^^

  5. I am completely the same - I cringe every time I have to vendor a white item. Far too many bank slots across far too many characters are stuffed full of 'just in case' stacks of various ichors, meats, scales, gems, leathers, etc etc etc. The odd time I've needed something and not been able to find it on the AH has only worked to encourage this, even though far more often I need something and the AH has plenty of it...