Modern Debt Theory

It’s often said in the news and by pundits that America has a debt crisis, and it’s not entirely incorrect.  Government debt is spiraling out of control, individual Americans have on average $5700 in credit card debt according to Business Insider, and that’s on top of student loans, mortgages, cars, and regular bills.  There are so many theories behind how to utilize debt, or whether you should use debt at all, that it’s hard for new adults, in particular, to decide how to handle it. Ironically, despite the importance of credit, and how powerfully it impacts our lives, there is no class, training course, or program to teach individuals how to handle debt, how to read a credit report, or how to properly use both to their advantage.  This has been a major disservice to the American people, and when I approached schools in the state I was a banker several years ago, none were interested in having free seminars provided to their students. This illustrated to me that the education system has no interest in providing their students one of the most basic skills they need to be successful.

First off, let’s dispel a couple of common falsehoods.  Debt is not a crutch, it’s not evil, nor is it something that you should be ashamed of, if you’re managing it properly.  When used correctly, debt creates buying power and cash flow in places you would otherwise not have it. It’s as “Uncle” Grant Cardone says, cash is not king; cash flow is king.  Cash flow is generated using leverage, a term for properly managed and handled debt.  So the question remains, how do you leverage debt in an environment where every market force and advertising option appears to push the use of debt to purchase consumer goods?  The truth is, there’s no easy answer, especially in the highly inflated environment we live in today. In most cases, we are pushed into debt by things we need to live needing to be replaced on a regular basis, an ever increasing cost of living, and an unstable interest environment.  On top of that, young Americans are pushed into accepting crushing amounts of debt on the notion that it will get them good paying jobs in the future.

So how do you manage your debt, and achieve good cash flow?  You start by managing your credit cards appropriately. Credit cards are ideally the kings of cash flow, much as cash flow is the king of high living.  You make purchases on a card and pay the card off each month; this allows you to gain the benefits of the card itself (flexibility and rewards) without paying the punishing interest rates most credit cards require you to pay (anywhere between 12 and 30%). The goal of anyone with credit cards is to ensure they are paid off by the end of the month.  Now, that does not mean that this goal is easy, nor is anything worth accomplishing.  I can’t state truthfully that I have achieved this goal, although I work hard at it every month to retire debt (often set back by the middle class problem of having to replace decaying possessions that are required, such as clothes and vehicles).  That said, it is a focus, and it is one that I have continued to work on since I have had credit cards.

Other forms of debt include personal debt (non-credit card), auto debt, mortgages, and student debt.  Personal debt is the next-most abused, but is far easier to get out of than credit card debt as a rule because there is always some sort of terminal point for it.  Personal loans are often used to consolidate credit cards that get out of control, rein in interest rates, or reduce the amount of money paid on debt each month. They are also used for paying sudden, unexpected expenses, like tax bills, car repairs, home repairs, or medical needs.  The benefit to personal loans over credit cards is that they have a lower interest rate, and they cannot be added to without taking out and being approved for a whole new loan. This means that you can’t lose control of your spending by using this form of debt. That said, it is harder to get than credit card debt because the banks have to consider revolving debt as a factor.  Strategic use of personal loans can make your life easier; just don’t use them as a crutch to pay credit cards you’re abusing.

Other forms of debt really warrant their own articles, and I will make sure to devote some time to providing that information in the future.  The important point to absorb from this is that as a whole, debt should be used to cash flow you life, not as a crutch to buy things you can’t otherwise afford.  There are exceptions of course, such as when you need a vehicle repaired or replaced, a medical procedure, or a sudden expense you weren’t expecting comes up. Even then, you should make every effort to reduce your dependence on debt, and instead make your debt a tool, rather than a liability.

If you’re really deep in debt, and can’t find a way out, my uncle used the process Dave Ramsey set forth in the Total Money Makeover.  Although I have some issues with Mr. Ramsey’s methodology, as several of his methods violate the traditional thought on how money and debt should be managed, the results he produces can’t be ignored.  If you struggle with debt, taking the time to review his methodology is worth your time.

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The Middle-Class Problem

This is going to be a divergence from my usual content, but it’s important enough that I want to talk about it today.  So for those that are expecting game-based content, that’s not what this is; but you still need to read it.

It has always boggled my mind that talking about money has largely been a taboo subject among people.  It’s no longer taught in schools, it’s not taught by parents. It’s not addressed by employers or HR consultants.  Even Investment Advisors have to be careful when broaching the subject, and it’s their job to do so! As someone with 7 years of experience in banking and insurance, I have often wondered why people are so reluctant to talk about their money, especially with those that they should be talking to about it, particularly their banker.  Why did money become a dirty word?

According to US News, talking about money in mixed company is considered worse than discussing one’s sex life.  Couples keep money issues quiet unless they absolutely have to talk about it, and it’s one of the biggest contributors to marital stress.  Children don’t learn from their parents about it because the parents want to shield their children from the realities of their economic situation.

When it comes down to it, money is a dirty word because so few know how to handle it properly.  I’m not saying this to cast shade on anyone; the reality is that we were never taught the best way to handle money.  Those with money are usually taught how to handle it on a generational basis, and have a completely different attitude about both the acquisition of, and retainment of money.  Those that have come from more humble beginnings have made names for themselves by becoming wealthy, and have written books on the subject. You may know some of these names: Dan Lok, Grant Cardone, Napoleon Hill.  Of them, the pioneer was HIll, whose principles were codified in Think and Grow Rich, having interviewed over a dozen of the richest and most powerful businessmen in the world.  Lok and Cardone each took those principles and refined them, making them more applicable in the modern context.

The two biggest mistakes people make is believing they can’t escape their circumstances, and being intimidated by those that were over-the-top successful.  I can attest, as someone that started by being both on SNAP benefits and government-subsidized housing, that you can see social mobility through hard work. Unlike the heretofore mentioned superstars, I am as yet only modestly successful; I say that because I am self-sustaining, but not anywhere near a millionaire.  In fact, I am currently resolving the Middle-Class Problem.

You may be wondering what I mean by the Middle-Class Problem; it’s actually far more simple than it sounds.  The Middle-Class Problem is that we as a social tier have been both miseducated, and misdirected, over how to handle both money and our lives.  See, we grew up in homes where our parents are constantly bombarded with a need to fill their lives with consumer goods. Bigger TV, bigger house, new dishes, nicer table.  Most of these products or services are bought on credit, and the majority of the lower-middle class worker’s salary goes toward debt service. Now this might not necessarily be credit card debt; it is also car debt, mortgage debt, leasing obligations, rents, regular bills that stack up each month for basic services.  We are a class tier that is riddled with debt, and lives on leveraging that debt to make our lives seem more fulfilling.

The harsh truth is, we are actually spinning our wheels if we let ourselves continue down this road.  Something has to change in the mentality of the middle class and working class if we actually want to be free, and folks, we’re going to have to determine what that is.  Any number of financial gurus can come up with a dozen methods to fix this, but no universally repeatable, empirical methodology has been developed.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m in that trap now; I’m making what is considered a livable wage, but I can’t seem to make absolute progress against my debt.  For every dollar I spend to retire one debt, another dollar in new debt seems to have to replace it. If I pay off a student loan, a car needs replacing; if one credit card gets paid off, I need to run up another to fix a problem or replace a critical good.  The irony is, the higher quality you buy, the less often you have to replace it, but to afford that quality, you’re often having to saddle yourself with debt, so you don’t have to spend more money in the long run replacing goods!

To make matters more complicated, the more advanced we become, the fewer things we can live without.  Twenty years ago, a computer was a luxury; today it’s a necessity. The same goes for internet service and cell phones.  As technology advances, we are increasingly needing to expand on what we spend our money on in order to just live our day to day lives.  To make matters worse, since 2002 (the year I graduated High School), the US Dollar alone has inflated over 40%. This is unsustainable, and no, there is no easy solution; it can’t be legislated, it can’t be forced.  We have to discover for ourselves what the solution to the middle class problem is, if we’re going to continue moving forward into the future.

Sadly I don’t have the perfect solution already planned out; but if and when I discover it, I’ll make sure to post it here, and on my Channels.  If you think you’ve figured it out, and aren’t afraid to share it, please email me at julien.mcbain@mcbainmanor.com.

I’d also like you to look at the authors I mentioned above.  Napoleon Hill, Grant Cardone, and Dan Lok all have wisdom to share about acquiring money and building businesses.  Each are a worthy read. Good luck to us all.

You can find the most important works of the three gentlemen mentioned above here. Each has its own kernels of wisdom, and I highly suggest you take the time to read them:

Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich is the foundation of all of this, and although a bit dated, provides context to place everything else into.

Dan Lok’s F.U. Money helps to overcome the Middle-Class mentality, which is why the Middle-Class Problem is such a problem.

Finally, Grant Cardone’s 10X Rule takes that and teaches you how to make it explode.

Gamers and Mental Health

The world has changed drastically in the last four decades, and as we continue to move into the future, we need to keep an eye on where we have been.  Gamer culture has developed out of this set of changes as the highly technical tabletop games of the 70s like D&D and Battletech gave way to modern computer games.  What was once done first strictly in person, then moved to blackboard systems online and finally to fully interactive MMOs, has dynamically shifted the method in which we interact with each other as a subculture.  Add in social media, which allows us to share the almighty meme where tropes of our various fandoms can thrive and become accessible to even those without a clear understanding of them, means that Gamer culture has moved from the all to often literal dark basements to the mainstream.

It was a long road to get here, however.  For many of us, some of us now older than 40, the road to this level of social acceptance has been both long and arduous.  Wearing fandom based clothing was often the mark of the outcast, and we created for ourselves a literal caste within society that was often known for being just a bit weird, sometimes elitist, and all too often maligned by those around us.  As we step forward into the future, with the generation of our children being introduced to our various fandoms and games without the stigma that it carried when we were children, we need to remember where we’ve been and how we had to cope with those things that caused us mental and emotional pain.

As a whole, Generation Y, now known as the Millennial Generation, and the largest group of gamers that have reached adulthood, have suffered from a disproportionate number of mental health problems.  This ranges from higher rates of depression, suicide, misdiagnosed ADHD and undiagnosed ADHD, an expanding understanding of the Autism spectrum and other mental health issues discovered and determined, than previous generations.  There are any number of causes for this: increased media exposure, the rise of the internet and constant connectivity to the grid, the digitalization of life in general, the increased dependence on instant access to information, and a lack of purpose in life generally.

Gamers, as a demographic, tend to trend toward the introverted (although this has waned significantly in recent years), and introverts tend to have social anxieties and other issues that need dealing with in order to interact with others.  This isn’t me casting shade either; I’m an INTJ with significant social anxiety kept under disciplined control due to some serious training. I’m stating it from experience. Thankfully, in recent years, the implied shame of having mental health issues has started to be reduced in exchange for increased understanding, better coping methodology, and new ways of handling our lives with others.  While not a perfect solution, it is helping us to get out, handle uncomfortable social situations, and integrate better with society as a whole. MMORPGs are probably largely responsible for this, as we are able to socialize on our own terms, and ease into dealing with sometimes tense social situations, team building, and exercises in problem solving we can then take to in-person meetings.

As Generation Z starts to reach adulthood, they will have an easier time due to the research conducted as we overcame many of the issues that were brought about by the rapid growth of technology in our lives.  They’ll also benefit from our increased understanding of what is going on in our headspaces and how to handle social pressure and keep from being overwhelmed. As we move forward, remember the things you had to deal with, and provide your children, should you have them, the benefit of your experience.

Most of all, don’t be afraid to get help, for yourself or one of your children.  Modern psychology has developed in leaps and bounds since the 1980s, and as that understanding of how the human mind works becomes more robust, we have access to better methods of handling social anxiety, depression, ADHD, Autism spectrum disorders, and any number of other mental and neurological issues that gamers as a culture seem to suffer from on a disproportionate basis.  Take advantage of their knowledge and let’s all work together to remove the stigma that these things carried when we were children, much as we removed the stigma of being gamers.

How Much is Too Much EU?

Games like Entropia Universe always come with a kerberos in the room; it’s large, concerning to any gamer, and you should have an answer to it when it is posed to you–how much money, or time, is too much to put into the game?  

The amount of money a player puts in is as individual to the player as the playstyle; we all have a budget we work with, even if that budget is zero or unlimited.  Sometimes that budget is based on deed income, a fixed amount you put in every month, or in a lot of cases, what you can afford. No individual methodology is “best”, and you as the player must be willing to set your budget and your limits when it comes to spending that money.

The problem is that there is a line of “too much”, and that line is as individual as the independent strategies for putting money into the game.  It’s important that you as the player reflect on your cash flow, and decide on what you can afford to put into the game before you start dropping money on Universal Ammo.  The irony of a game like EU is that while the game itself is neither a casino nor a gambling game, many of the tools it uses, such as the trumpet and swirly when you global and the decaying nature of equipment, and the running tax rate, means that it triggers many of the dopamine producers that are associated with gambling, and by association, addiction.  Thus it is easy for someone to keep dumping money into the game to continue hunting, mining, or crafting; this is even more poignant during events like Mayhem or Migration.

This is compounded by the amount of time the average EU player may spend in the game.  While in my experience, EU players are not as obsessive as WOW players or FF14 players in their gameplay (and I say this as a player of both), it is still an MMO with its own features that encourage players to continue logging in and spending time on the platform.  In EU this is compounded by its Real Cash Economy nature; there are few things you can do on the Entropia platform that doesn’t cost you money. With the exceptions of socializing, sweating mobs, and fruit walking (far less lucrative now that you can fruit run, although still worthwhile to the F2P player in my opinion), everything in EU costs money; art imitating life, although imperfectly as we’d surely be taxed on the latter two in real life.  

This indirectly means that the longer you spend in EU, the more money it takes to play.  Now, this is not to discount the methodology of the Entropia Platform, the building of skills that can be sold, the use of deeds as passive investment vehicles (a phrase I use with apprehension as a former Registered Investment Advisor), and the use of owned Land Areas as income producers for those that can afford the time and money that they require; all of these have their place, each has a set of benefits, drawbacks, and risks, but none reduce the fact that the majority of actions in the game require some sort of cash outlay, even if it’s less than a penny US.  Free to play trades the use of money for time, and usually the amount of time is large; I have been spending a great amount of time this month in the sweating fields at Boreas and Royal Club to really look into what it would take to be a F2P player in today’s landscape, and the word patience comes to mind.

All that said, we still don’t have our answer, so I’ll come out and say it–if you are playing EU to the exclusion of any other hobbies, activities, or time spent with loved ones, your time commitment to the game has become too much.  This is true of any MMO, and it is important that you as the player balance your life both in game and out. The running joke for MMO players is that we’re all no-lifers; this joke is both tired and unacceptable. We can’t be the fringe of society used as the example of what not to be anymore.  I recognize the attraction to it; I’m an introvert. I get my energy from being alone and socializing with people on my own terms, which a platform like EU provides me, while simultaneously providing a certain level of anonymity, or at least it did until I became a content creator. That said, I recognize that my beloved game, and my desk chair can’t be my whole life.  Thus, I have other hobbies, like the SCA (where I teach historical fencing), I keep balance by working hard to be a good father and future husband, and help keep a rather chaotic household, filled with four generations of my family, operating smoothly.

Notice how I just admitted to living in the same household as my grandmother and parents?  It’s to reveal that the heretofore written paragraph was not to shame those that live at home, so long as you are making your own way.  In today’s culture, the return of multi-generational living has become important to the survival of many working and middle class families, as prices and inflation outpace wage increases.  We’ve been lucky in the last half-decade, but since 2000 the dollar has inflated 49%; this is no joke! Thus the dark stereotype of the gamer living in his or her parents’ basements needs to disappear, but that means we need to strive to insure that we are not perpetuating that stereotype.  So balance your game play time accordingly.

Those inflation numbers also mean that you need to balance the amount of money you put into the game as best you can.  Never spend what you can’t afford on the game; there is always the free-to-play option once your PED card runs dry for the month, plus you can play at a lower level and still gain skills; there is no shame in hunting low-maturity mobs if it keeps your ammo cycling for longer periods.  EU has the option to play at virtually any level as long as you judiciously manage your resources. When you see your PED card depleting faster than you’re comfortable with, switch to Bukin’s Spare Rifle and hunt bots at Orthos or the Daikaba around Twin Peaks; or you could go to Cyrene and hunt Panleons and Dusters near the starter zone, and enjoy the somewhat more lucrative loot tables (if you’re willing to risk flying the loot back!).  How you manage your resources is up to you, but don’t neglect to actually manage them; that just leads to more disdain thrown at you, and us as a community.

In any case, keep gaming, and good luck out there!

The Rise of Real Cash Economy Games

Sixteen years ago, it all started with a project and a revolutionary idea; that a game could have a true economy and that players could live and work within that virtual environment, trading the goods and services of a digital realm with each other for real money.  The developer of this system was MindArk, and the platform they would introduce that fateful year was Project Entropia. Utilizing the Project Entropia Dollar, an early (perhaps the first) digital currency, they pegged it to the US Dollar at 10:1 and let the economy inside of the game grow organically.  For the last decade and a half, this game has ebbed and flowed, and thrived. Boasting over a million active accounts, the player-base in the game is mature, dedicated, and hardworking within the digital realm they have built on the foundation that MindArk and its planet partners have provided.

It was only a matter of time before other developers wanted to get in on the opportunity that a Real Cash Economy (RCE) game could offer, and with the rise of crypto currency and the blockchain, perhaps one of the most powerful computer technologies to date, new games have started to come onto the scene.  This doesn’t include the new crop of free scratch-off and lottery games that have started to spring up on the Google Play store, offering the possibility of money in exchange for watching a veritable boatload of ads instead of paying a dollar a play. The two games I have most recently run into are curious in design and require some digging into.  The first has a relatively high barrier to entry, whereas the second does not.  

The first is the game Decentraland, a real cash economy that runs on the Ethereum Blockchain.  Like in EU, you can purchase pieces of property in exchange for money, and then develop that property in an effort to provide experiences to players.  As of now, Decentraland is still in its infancy; it does appear that you can now create an avatar to play, so the game is apparently live, though I have yet to explore it; that may come in a future video.  All of the initial, and perhaps planned digital real estate for Decentraland is now owned by players, whether purchased to actually play, develop, or hold as investment property. It has the potential to supplant EU as the premier MMORCE, however as yet, it does not appear to have the reknown.  With the ever-growing influence of the blockchain, to the point that China is now developing their own, state-backed crypto, this is likely to change in the near future.

The other Real Cash Economy game I want to talk about is more strategic in its scope, and it’s called 0x Universe.  Like Decentraland, 0xU is on the Ethereum Blockchain, although in a fit of irony, it uses ETH instead of ZRX as its currency.  I downloaded this game and put some Ether into it; and it looks promising, though like all RCE games, the startup is slow. You buy planets and build spaceships, then go searching for other planets.  You can then sell those planets, or use them for resources. Alternatively, you can “rent” the planets; this is effectively selling your colonists in exchange for ETH. As the planets use population as a resource, you can “lease” them to players that need extra people in exchange for real money; this depletes the resource for your use, but you gain ETH in return.  Good thing these aren’t real people!

As of this writing, I have bought two planets and invented a spaceship, which I will launch when I’m comfortable that I have the appropriate buffer in resources.  The total cost to me has been less than $2, much lower than any start up cost for a normal video game, but like all RCE games, it comes with a catch, especially as it’s a blockchain game; every action or transaction incurs a fee for the processing on the blockchain (essentially paid to miners for the use of their memory).  This means that most if not all actions are going to cost you money, even if it’s less than a penny. This is something important to keep in mind when looking at playing the game.

I’ll continue to explore these games and others as they pop up, but both look promising; that said, I doubt either will unseat EU as the monolith of RCE games; that said, anything can happen, and the technology is young.  The future looks bright for both Crypto, and Real Cash Economy games!

Sometimes…You Have to Sweat

Vibrant sweat is probably one of the least valuable commodities in EU, yet it is what drives the F2P segment of the game.  Periodically, I take time to sweat mobs at Boreas or Half Moon Cove to remind myself just how difficult such activity is, and why I’m thankful that I’m a depositor.  Such a time has come again, and I’m aiming to do between 10 and 20 PED in revenue from vibrant sweat. That means sweating out between 10k and 20k bottles from the mobs at Boreas.

It’s not necessarily obvious why I would do this either; as a hunter, and a melee hunter at that, my evade skills are relatively high, I have a lot of HP relative to my level, I have the money to deposit and sweating is far less efficient time-to-profit wise than a minimum wage job.  What would possess me to grind some large amount of sweat (again, remember I sweat out the Arkadian Passport) instead of just doing what I do best? There are largely two reasons I do this, although half of me wants to kick the other half of me for deciding to do it: it’s a challenge.  Sweating mobs long-term is a challenge, and a hard one; after all, it is the hard grind, the most time consuming way to play EU, for the least overall benefit. 1k sweat usually brings in somewhere between 0.9 and 1.5 PED, and as I have not spent a large amount of time doing it, I’m only level 7.  However, there are those skills that are related to sweating that I feel are undervalued.

First and foremost, sweating is a Mindforce ability.  This means that you will grind out your concentration skill as you attempt to gather the undervalued perspiration from the mob (which I know, strictly speaking, it’s not; it’s liquid and unrefined mind essence).  Other skills, especially if you’re sweating in a solo area, will include evade, dodge, and if you’re swunting, whatever weapon you’re killing the mob with. Other mindforce-related skills will also rise as your VSE-1 makes the repetitive, slightly grinding noise (not sure if that’s a deliberate pun or not) as you stand there and let auto-use do its bit.

There is one skill, however, that sweating helps with that doesn’t have a progress bar; it’s wholly unappreciated, and usually not sought out.  Yet, it is one of the most important skills you need to have in the game: patience. Patience to handle an odious, repetitive task that has slow though incremental progress toward a goal.  Patience to push through the desire to skip to the part that feels more productive, even if you’re hemorrhaging PED day in and day out. It’s honesty a great way to practice for your day job; you’ll find that the more time you spend sweating, the grindy, repetitive parts of your day job will become slightly less tedious as you get your work done.  This is especially useful in a job like a factory, where you produce widget after widget for your wage.

It may sound silly that sweating might have some real-world benefit, but it’s not much different from other aspects of the game.  Entropia is truly a life simulator, albeit one with monsters (and let’s face it, how much more awesome would life be with monsters?).  The auction house and market tickers teach us basic economics, our PED card does budgeting, and sweating gives us patience. Each segment of the game has real world value, even beyond the real money economy, and we have to treat it as we would any aspect of our lives–as something we can learn and grow from, and learn and grow in.

So take the words of BIG Industries, which I am so fond of quoting over and over again, until you’re utterly sick of me saying them: “embrace the grind.”  Embrace the grind and accept the benefits you’ll receive from doing so enthusiastically; in the year and a half that I have been playing, I’ve noticed that I am better at attending other aspects of my life for the lessons EU has taught me.  What has it taught you?

Is Entropia Universe a Losing Game?

Those of us that play Entropia Universe often run into the cliche questions from new players and nay-sayers to the platform: is Entropia Universe a Losing Game?  Is it pay to win? Can you really make money like MindArk purports? This isn’t the easiest question to answer because there are a number of factors to consider. First, what is your purpose in playing Entropia Universe?  Why did you decide to join the platform?

Your purpose in playing is largely the deciding factor on whether or not EU is a losing game; even more so than whether or not you succeed in your attempt.  If you play EU to entertain yourself, kill some mobs, unwind after a hard day at the office, then it’s never a losing game. If you put in the same amount the typical gamer puts into their subscription-based MMO (call it $20 a month on average, to account for EU not having a purchase price or expansion packs every two years), then you break even.  Keeping in mind that you have to set your level of play to your budget, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to play at Uber level to enjoy yourself on the platform. Then, when the big loots do come in the form of Globals, you can re-direct those profits back into more play time!

If you come to EU strictly to make money, I have some bad news for you: you’re either going to have to invest money, or a lot of time.  MindArk isn’t in the business of giving away money; in fact, if they were, in all likelihood we wouldn’t have the platform to play on. Thus, you have to put the effort and time in to provide goods or services to other players in order to make money.  You can do any number of things, from running a taxi to face sculpting to sweating mobs, but it comes down to one of two things: are you going to dump a bunch of money in to grind the skills out quicker (or buy them and chip in), or are you going to sweat the mobs and grind out the PED the F2P way?  How you decide to do it is up to you.

In the end, if you achieve what goal you set for yourself in EU, it isn’t a losing game.  Using myself as an example, I put in a significant amount of my disposable income every month because EU is the basis for my YouTube Channel (you can find it here).  Therefore I measure my results in EU more on the success of the videos I make rather than the strict PED made or lost, even though I meticulously track every PED earned and lost.  Why do I do this, if I am more focused on the views and watchtime? Just because I said it isn’t the measure of my success doesn’t mean I don’t want to be mindful of my profits and losses!

In fact, I strongly recommend you do the same.  Although for some time, it may even look depressing, keeping track of your PED-flows will tell you when you might want to take a break, or move on to another hunting or mining location.  If you track exactly where you were mining, or what you were hunting, you can even figure out what your go-to mobs should be for maximum profitability. That said, you must also remember that your Looter and Prospecting skills play a major role in your loot, and making sure you’re hunting mobs in your loot capability, or digging to the depth you should be, is crucial to successful ventures.

And for crafters?  That’s a whole article on its own, since crafting is more involved than hunting or mining.  You have to read the market, know what to make, know you can make it and profit from the mark-up, and that’s after you grind the skills out.  I have research to do on this, but if I can, I’ll do an article on it soon!