Sunday, 15 May 2011

Making money on the Auction House

Getting the best return for your trade skills

GoldCoinDealersI’ve found myself spending more and more time recently pratting about with professions, and seeing what I can do on the Auction house, with a fair bit of success.  In my post earlier this month, I talked about my brief investigation into the best methods of collecting ore and herbs, I’ve currently got five crafting professions maxed out on my characters, along with mining and herbing.  Added to this there’s all that ‘junk’ that you collect throughout instances that’s of no use to you but is required by others for whatever crafting they’re doing.  In this post I’ll take a look at what I’ve done over the past few weeks to make money on the Auction House with my hard earned spoils.

My crafting professions are enchanting, alchemy, gemcraft, inscription and black smithing; I’ve been an enchanter on my mage since day 1 of wow it’s something I’ve always done and always will do, both for disenchanting the green crap you pick up along the way and providing enchants to my characters and other guildies.  Alchemy came a bit later on my priest, for some bizarre reason the early (official) WOW guide recommended herbing to go with enchanting, so my mage ended up with millions of herbs and no spare bank space.  I started alchemy on the priest to deal with this and get a few mana pots to boot.  Gemcrafting came along later, I dropped tailoring in TBC for it, not sure why so lets just say ‘because’.  I started inscribing on my mage recently for two reasons, I made the druid so could drop herbing, and I was getting hacked off with paying 100g per glyph on the AH.  Black smithing I’ve levelled recently just to ‘have a look’.  I’ve got all of the others in the pipe line, but I need to chose one and make a concerted effort to level it next, which will probably coincide with levelling another alt once I get bored of ZA and ZG.

I’m going to ignore enchanting on the whole, with four lvl 85 toons to keep in enchants I never seem to have enough dust or shards to look to sell much.  I will however mention that since vellums came into play, its far less costly to level enchanting, simply enchant scrolls and stick them on the AH, you cover a lot of the ‘cost’ of not vendoring green rubbish.

Alchemy and Inscription are two competing professions to some extent, both use herbs as their main source of materials, alchemy specific herbs for specific pots, inscription isn’t fussed, it just needs lots of herbs to mill.  Look to use the cheaper herbs (probably Cinderbloom) on your server for inscription and use the rest for alchemy.  Gemcraft and Blacksmithing suffer a similar dilemma; do you prospect the ore or make something? I’ve tended to prospect stuff, mainly using it for my own gems but I'm starting to build up a stock of gems which is allowing me to look at selling some.

So you’ve got a million and one items you can craft, you’ve probably got as much of the raw materials you’ve collected, you’ve also got the intermediary states of these materials (herbs milled to ink, ore refined to uncut gems or smelted to bars etc.) do you look to sell just finished items or is there more money to be made with the component materials.  Well the answer, as with so many of my blog posts, is ‘it depends’.  It depends on the time of day or week, it depends on the prevailing economy of your server (it’s quite fascinating how they develop differently but that’s another post), and it depends on your competition on the auction house.  I’m going to concentrate on inscription for this post, as that’s the craft I’m currently focusing on making money with, but first lets take a step back and talk about addons. 

Addons are there to make your life easier, there are a number of addons which can significantly reduce the time taken to craft items and even decide which items to craft.  I’m assuming you, like me, utilise a collecting alt to do your collecting of raw materials, so the first addon you’re going to need is altoholic which collects detailed inventories of all of your alts and allows you to see who has raw components which you may need for a recipe simply by hovering the cursor over it.

Next up, you’ll want the advanced trade skills window,  this allows you to custom sort your trade skills, perform text searches, and queue multiple items to be crafted.  It’ll even work out which crafted items can be made from raw materials and queue intermediary stuff, e.g. if a glyph needs 2x lion ink, and you don’t have any, but you do have 2 of the Golden Pigment needed to make the ink, it’ll queue the ink first, and then the glyph for you, genius.  Sadly Blizzard removed the ability for ATSW to process multiple queued items automatically some time ago, so once you’ve finished making a particular type of item, you have to manually click on ‘process queue’ for it to move to the next item which is a bit of a bind but not the end of the world.

SellTabLast, and probably most important, is Auctionator, Auctionator lets you scan the Auction House in its entirety and record prices for every item on there.  It also modifies the buying and selling functions, when buying it’ll automatically list similar items by price, lets say you’re looking for Ink of the Sea as shown, it’ll group all of the same priced stacks together and allow you to buy them quickly, once you exhaust that price it’ll move on to the next.  Most importantly from a selling point of view, it can be automatically configured to beat the price of the same items already listed, and allows you to list multiple stacks, or break stacks down into smaller numbers extremely quickly.

All sounds very complicated doesn’t it? I suppose it is a bit when taken as a chunk, but as you work your way into selling you’ll build up your confidence with the adds and look to find more and more ways of saving time and automating stuff.  There’s one final tool, which a guildie introduced me to over the weekend (the same guildie who introduced me to GTFO) it’s not an addon this time though, its a webpage which lets you see what are the most popular enchants, glyphs, gems, talents and a whole host of other things across all of the WOW realms, not only that, but it does it by class and even by spec.

You now have the supply, and you have a bloody good idea of what the demand will be; each class and spec has a list of pseudo-mandatory glyphs, this site allows you to quickly see which these are for every class and make them, since I started using it I’ve more than tripled my sales! and this is how:

I’m assuming you have a stock of raw materials, if not, go read this post.  First of all go to the AH and perform an Auctionator scan, this will make sure your database of prices is up to date and correct.  Next load up on a companion PC (or alt tab) and list off the first specs of the first class’ glyphs.  WoWScrnShot_051211_205930Open up your trade skill window and hover over the glyph.  My first question is: is it sold on the AH for more than 85g? if not, forget it and move on to the next glyph.  The most used glyphs tend to go for about 100g on my server, some of the ‘levelling’ glyphs go for as little as 2g which doesn’t cover the materials, some for far more; this is a figure that I’ve chosen which means I’m making a reasonable profit on all the materials, it depends on your servers economy, pick a figure and stick by it (although you may want to adjust this over time).  Assuming the value is fine, have a quick look at the component prices by hovering over them  do all of the materials (if sold individually) come to less than glyphs auction price? does it allow for a reasonable profit? if so you can craft away, with one final check – do you already have any of the said glyph, hover over it again and have a look, I tend to only ever have 1 or 2 of any particular item oWoWScrnShot_051211_205946n the AH at any one time, keep the perception of supply down to keep the prices and profits high!  Rinse and repeat for all of the glyphs applicable to all of the classes, by the end of it you’ll find you have between 80 and 120 glyphs.

Now its time to head over to the AH and list them, this is key, you need to beat the prices of competitors on there, but you also want to stay competitive for the duration of the auction, accept that you will be undercut sometimes, but try and do what you can ot avoid it.  Chose your timeframe, I always go for 48 hours, as I can’t gaurentee to be on daily, if you’re on every day you may want to go for 24 hours.  As a rule, any glyph priced at or below the 100g mark I use the auto undercut function in Auctionator and list the item for 5s less.  For anything for anything 100-125 I list at 99g, for anything 125-200g its 125g, and for anything 200g+ I’ll go for 150g.  for any items where there are no competition I go between 100 and 125 depending on historic sale success.  This may sound a bit silly, why not simply beat the higher prices by 5s too and make more profit? From my experience, if you do this, somoene will simply come along and undercut you with a sensible price, you often see auction lists with one glyph at ~250g, a couple more in the two-hundreds a few more in the hundreds and then one in the 99g area, the higher priced items will never sell, so it’s a wasted auction. 

It’s then just a simple matter of collecting your winnings and restocking those glyphs that have sold, use altoholic to check if you have glyphs still as per the process listed above.  It takes me about 20 minutes to do a full sweep of craft, and list them, I’ve quite often sold two or three glyphs by the time I’ve finished listing and I reckon on a steady 1-2000g ish profit per set of listings, this goes up a little at weekends as there are more people online.

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