Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A big ‘F’ all in Firelands?

Is there anything in the new content patch for us casuals?

LEISURE RINGSWith the much awaited release of the 4.2 patch today, Firelands has opened up a whole host of new content to the raiding level 85s amongst us, but is there anything in there for the casual gamer?  On the face of it, not much, the Firelands is seemingly a raid area aimed at the harder core WOW players with no additions on the 5-man heroic front; whilst the prospect of once again being able to smash Ragnaros in the face is an alluring one, I simply don’t have the time (even less than I used to have) to get my act together and start raiding again.  Pretty short post this then… the F in Firelands does seem to be a big F-all for the casual! Not so at all!

If you skip through the content of the Firelands information pages on the Blizzard website you’ll see a section titled Content for the Casual 85, this links to one of the Dev Blogs where ‘Fargo’ talks about what's in store for the casual at 85.  Clearly there’s a whole host of trade skills, and a good few heroics, but they get a bit stale after a while, there’s only so much trade-skilling one can take in a given session, and with the rise of the, errr, Rise of Zanzilar instances the ‘old’ heroics have very little draw as there’s very little reward in it.

Quest, for me, have never had that much draw, even (especially?) the dailies, they’ve been a functional means to an end over the years, you chop your way through them, either to level up or to grind rep.  Occasionally doing a quest chain to get an item, more so on the latter since the iLvl requirement.  Occasionally there were some particularly enjoyable chains, like the various 5 man crucible type fights, that I’d go back to and do even if I had no reason to, but on the main I don’t quest purely for enjoyment, i don’t know why, it just seems a bit pointless, and repetitive if you breed alts; I suppose there just doesn’t seem to be much ‘questyness’ to it – the fact that every other player on the server is, has, or could do the exact same chain, in the exact same order doesn’t set my world on fire – how many of you went to the cinema and watched some short arsed hobbit wait patiently for three other short arsed hobbits in roughly the same clothes stab a few orcs before handing a ring in to get their reward?  It just doesn’t happen like that outside of (I almost said fantasy) MMOs.

Now once again I’ve wandered off into ramblings, and you might ask what the hell I’m on about, well here it is.  Well here it is, the developers seem to have realised the same thing, and gone some way to try and introduce a little bit of randomness in there so tat there's more of a feel that you’re embarking on your own adventure, which comprise of your own quests, with their own challengers.  And not that you’re just re-treading the footsteps of a thousand people before you the same day:
There's also a story here, a chronicle of a vicious, knock-down, drag-out fight that begins in Hyjal and progresses -- over the course of weeks -- across the mountaintop and then into the Firelands themselves. Along the way, major characters are going to get rocked, you'll meet (and destroy) a few new villains, and you'll earn yourself a small heap of nice rewards. The druids are establishing a beachhead in a hostile world, starting with little more than a pile of rocks and ultimately erecting an enormous otherworldly base.

The progression is personal: you won’t see it happen until you make it happen.
The whole post is linked here, and I’ve got to say I like the sound of it, I suppose at the end of the day, it’s just dailies, but the fact that people will be doing stuff along different ‘routes’ will mean that there’s less contention for particular quest items or mobs, there’s some better differentiation (at least in the early days) between characters and the gear they can achieve, and you’ll have less of a feeling that you’re just slogging through the same linier story in the same way as everyone else on the server.  I’m keen to see how the party dynamic is maintained in this, hopefully it wont be a simple case of you go do your quests and I’ll help, then we’ll do mine.

elementalgooI’d like to see these principles extended to the daily quests, Jewelcrafting in particular is a  particular bugbear of mine, you have a selection of a handful of quests which may crop up as he daily, everyone else on the server gets the same daily, which simply means either the price of nightstone rockets for a day at a time, or the elementals in Mount Hyjal get beaten up and their dinner money stolen again.  I’m currently on the train home and might get an hour or so this evening to try them out, that is as long as the patch downloader doesn’t take its usual half day to sort its shit out.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Austerity Measures

economic-recessionAfter penning a begging letter to my competitor who’s been artificially holding the glyph market so low for a while now that there’s no longer any profit to be made in it, as I set out in my last post, more in hope of a reply than expectation; I received a reply!  I’d like to report that my guess as to what he was up to was spot on, and I called it; but as it happens, I was half right.  The glyph market has been dropping on my server a little recently, nothing substantial (since I got involved, but I can’t really comment on the prices before that) but I’ve noticed (now I think about it) that where glyphs would regularly go for around the 100g mark, I quite often see them slipping down to the 75g level, not all, just some.  This when you consider I have around 100 to 150 glyphs listed at any one time, and (used to) sell up to 10 of those per listing session can equate to quite a drop in revenue.

glyph letterNow in my mail communication with the seller (I explained that I write a blog, and he’s specifically asked not to be named so I’m assuming he’s a ‘he’ and will be referring to him as ‘the seller’ from this point onwards) he set out the reasons why he’s doing what he’s doing.  The full text of the letter is shown to the right, he talks about the glyph market being “hugely profitable for months” until recently when the “new guys” (do you think he means me?) have come along increasing competition and thus lowering the prices and the profit to be had.  By setting the prices low, he’s trying to price the other sellers out of the market, by taking away the profit margins, hoping that he has deeper pockets (and more patience) than they do.
This sort of competition is quite a common occurrence in real world economics; a new market comes along, lets say selling trolls tusks.  Someone has spotted a niche for tusks, makes an investment in the R&D of developing a trolls tusk for the market, setting up a selling infrastructure and taking the tusks to market.  All is fine, there's lots of profit to be made an no real competition to speak of, everything is going swimmingly.  That is until one day someone else spots that you’re doing nicely for yourself with you big house and new car and decides they’d like a bit of that pie too.  This isn’t a problem initially, yes your sales take a hit at first as customers can now chose your tusks or someone else's, in the long run the added competition has actually helped you as there are actually enough customers to go round, and you’ve taken another look at your operation and realised that you can save money by streamlining some of it, thus making more profit per tusk.  Even though you sell less tusks, you make more profit per tusk.  All is great until, over the months, ten more tusk sellers come into the market all wanting a their own slice of the shared troll tusk-pie; and what's more, they didn’t bother doing their own R&D, they just copied yours so saved on the costs, meaning that they can sell at a cheaper level that you to such an extent that there’s no longer any profit in the market for you because everyone is undercutting you. 

At this point, something called consolidation will normally happen, either companies will aggressively buy out their competitors or merge, chose to move into a different market, or go bust.  This isn’t always enough to reduce the competition to a level to achieve a stable, sustainable, profit level for all involved.  So other avenues need to be taken, either by differentiating yourself some way(adding tassels to your tusks for example) so that people will pay more for them even though they’re a higher price.  The only other option is to compete on price alone, this is generally accepted to not be a nice place to be – someone will eventually fail if more than one seller attempts this as there can only ever be one lowest cost seller.  Very occasionally, dirty or extremely aggressive tactics will be employed; smear campaigns, aggressive undercutting and much much more can happen, the aggressive undercutting is just what we’re seeing on the glyph market.  In real world economies, the undercutting seller will generally sell their wares at an unsustainable level, either at a loss or at such an insignificant profit they may as well not bother.  This is a brinkmanship game, hoping that their competitors go bust, go away, or sell up before they do.  Once the competition is gone, the prices can be artificially inflated to far higher levels and more profit can be made than was previously possible as there is no longer any competition.  The way this is normally stopped is through legislation by governments and regulation, the government specifically stops companies doing things which will harm competition unfairly, and  ultimately raise prices or lower service levels for the end consumer.

Winding our example back to the Auction House and my current predicament, there are a few differences between real world economics and the WOW economy; Primarily, you cant go bust, you can’t buy other peoples business, and there’s no regulation, and you can’t compete on anything else but price.  People can go away, but not for the same reasons as you’d see in business; The only reason that others will stop selling, is that there is so little gold to be made, it’s not worth their time to play in that particular market.  For example if I only make 1g per glyph in profit, but each glyph takes 2 minutes to create (picking herbs, milling, inscribing the scroll), I might chose to go and make potions at 10g profit per pot for a similar effort.  Additionally, different people will have different thresholds, a school kid with an abundance of time on his hands might accept a relatively low profit, someone who has a full time job, family and drinking habit to sustain, on the other hand, may only have a few hours a week to play and decide their fun is better had elsewhere in the game.

My friendly sellers strategy is brave, but I fear may be misplaced for the reasons I’ve set out above, we’ll see, and hopefully he’ll be kind enough to tell me how he thinks his endeavours in artificially revitalising his market have gone.  I suspect some of the competition may disappear, but as soon as the market goes up they, or other new entrants, will reappear.  He also may be creating a rod for his own back, glyphs are now at such a cheap level that it’s more profitable to farm something or quest for gold and buy them, instead of going out and picking herbs to make the glyphs yourself, potential customers may just buy up all of the glyphs they’ll ever need for them and their alts, and never need to buy a glyph again (until the next WOW expansion is released) thus decreasing the demand.  I know this is happening, as it’s exactly what what I’ve done – it’s not worth my time grinding herbs and creating the glyphs at this price, so I’ve filled out all of my empty slots for every character over level 70.  He’s also running the risk that the competition will simply buy the glyphs at 25g, wait it out and undercut him at the higher levels in a few weeks time; I know this is happening already, it’s exactly what I’ve done.

As for my glyph selling antics, I’m pretty much waiting it out, as I say, I’ve bought a good few glyphs at the low levels, about 3k worth at 25g, which equates to 10-20k at previous prices (whether the market will ever recover to quite this level I’m not sure).  I’m absolutely fascinated by the effect on the economy, I’ll be monitoring the sales closely, and I wish him every success in inflating the market, if it works, it’ll benefit my sales massively.  I’ll also be monitoring the related item sales.  I’ve noticed inferno ink sales, which previously sold like hot cakes, have been slow.  I’ve also noticed that the price of potions has increased slightly, this may be coincidental, or it may be that he’s bought herbs for ink from the AH, pushing the price up.  I’ll have to write and ask…

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Financial Crisis

What do you do when the bubble bursts and someone ruins your fun on the Auction House? – PANIC!

black_tuesday_2Dealing with a competitive market environment on the Auction House is a topic which comes up a lot in the various blogs and sites which look at how to make gold in WOW.  It’s something which I’ve had to deal with on numerous times over the past few weeks and poses a constant dilemma.  Do you undercut other sellers, if so by how much, at what point is it not worth your while to undercut?  do you undercut aggressively (i.e. by a large margin) or do you stick your items up for a few silver less.  Or as I’ve been doing with potions do you go for the mid price, knowing that unorganised panicking raiders will probably buy them.  Do you just back off and leave it for a few days if there are a lot of low priced items in your area, or do you go on the offensive and actively buy up low priced items and relist them at a higher price?  The trouble with WOW is there’s no real way to differentiate your wares, its a fact that there can only ever be one, and no more than one, lowest cost operator in a (real world) economy, all the other operators operate, for whatever reason, at a higher cost level so, if competing on price alone, would either have to accept lower profit margins or go bust.  What actually happens is people compete on other things, why are Audi’s more desirable than Volkswagens? which in turn are more desirable than Skoda’s – they’re all made by the same company, surely they’d sell for the same price? things like brand perception, value added services, addons which are over and above the basic needs; in WOW the only thing you can compete on is price.  This means you’re valuing your time in terms of gold, how much gold is half an hour of your time worth? What’s the most profitable way of farming gold?  If playing the Auction House becomes so unprofitable that you can make more gold per hour than grinding then why bother at all?

Where am I going with all this I hear you ask? well, a strange thing happened on the AH last night, someone listed a job lot of glyphs for 24g99s, in stacks of 5, I don’t mean just a few of the cheaper levelling Glyphs, I mean pretty much every glyph possible.  Now on my server the median average (i.e the most common) range for the higher end glyphs is 85-100g, the lesser glyphs tend to go for a bit less, some go for upwards of 200g all depending on the current supply.  As a rule I don’t sell for less than 50g, I always undercut by 5s for anything less than 100g and always by 25g for anything over 100g up to 250g – on a rare occasion you’ll see a glyph listed for a silly amount, I won’t just undercut that by 25g because 5 minutes later someone will come along and undercut me.  On a daily basis I sell between 5-10 glyphs and bring in between 500-1000g which isn’t too bad at all, I’d estimate about a 75% mark up if I were to have bought the mats, but as most of them are collected it’s pure profit.  More often than not, the glyphs which don’t sell are the ones which someone has undercut you on, not a problem, you just relist them using the rules you’ve set for yourself when the auction expires.

Now the same guy has listed hundreds of glyphs, all at 24g 99s, some will cost far more in terms of mats, so he or she would have been better off listing the raw mats on the AH and selling them.  So I can only assume that they are farming the mats and listing them, so on the face of it they are making 25g profit per sale, but actually I could make far more from questing than they could possibly ah pricesmake from grinding herbs, milling them, making the glyphs and listing them.  This got me thinking, what are they trying to achieve?  they’ve listed 5 x every glyph at the same price, in a normal (real) economy you might use this tactic to force the competition out of business (assuming your pockets are deeper than theirs) and then once they've gone bust, artificially inflate the price of your goods to make more profit in the long run.  This is WOW, people don’t go bust, so it can’t be it.  This has me puzzled, I can’t for the life of me think what they are trying to achieve.  My only guesses are, they’re a Chinese gold farmer and have far too much time on their hands, but as their aim would be to make as much gold as possible, this doesn’t wash;  they could be setting out in the glyph business and not understood how the market works, but again given they’ve clearly gone to a lot of trouble to build up the profession, used a decent addon to pick all the glyphs priced over 25g and listed their wares this doesn’t make sense to me either.  The only plausible answer that I can think of is they’re happy with a reduced profit level and going for mass sales at a low mark-up rather than profitable sales.  The only two remaining options which are less likely that I can think of are worrying; either it’s a fellow blogger doing an ‘experiment’ like myself and trying to steal my thunder, or they have more gold than sense and they’re just doing it to upset other sellers.

I’m actually planning on mailing the guy tonight and asking what the hell he’s playing at he’s trying to achieve, I’m genuinely curious as to his motives, and it should make for an interesting blog post.  I’ll let you know if I hear back (I suspect I wont) In the mean time, I’ve bought one of every glyph and banked them, I’m going to be largely retired from the glyph selling business for the foreseeable,  until the market returns to normality that is.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Pot luck with flasks

Is there a profit to be had from selling flasks and potions on the AH?
Two weeks into my Auction House experiment and I’m still pulling in the gold on the milling front, I’ve got more Blackfallow ink than I know what to do with, but the Inferno Ink is flying off the shelves.  Whilst I’m selling the more Blackfallow ink by volume, it’s not as profitable as the red stuff and I get far more of it per stack of herbs.  Currently I’ve 334 pots of it sat in my inventory and more on the Auction House.  I’m considering going to the Ink Trader and swapping a load for Inferno Ink; it’s not as profitable as selling it, but gold tied up in stock is dead gold, I’d rather take the hit, and get a reasonable profit from trading it in and then be able to reinvest, I think.  Anyway, enough of that, that's for another blog.  Today we’re talking potions, and a little bit of enchantment, but mainly potions, well flasks actually, but you get my drift.

Where as with Glyphs, your customer base is the whole server, flasks are a little more specialist.  You won’t often see a random in a PUG flasked up, however you’ll invariably see them with a full compliment of glyphs.  This means my target audience is restricted to raiders, and possibly the occasional PVPer.  The introduction of the Guild Cauldrons and double durations, I suspect, has also had a detrimental effect on potion traders, as they have both lead to a reduced need for the vialled goodness.  I also have an creeping suspicion that I chose a bit of a poor time to investigate selling potions on the Auction House on my server, most of the flasks on the, for whatever reason, most of the flasks on the AH were slightly below the 50g mark, some of them far lower and all of them pretty much at cost or selling at what seemed to be a loss.

Not wishing to report back that I took a quick look, decided against it, and went down the pub instead; I decided to take a punt on the two best looking marked up flasks, which were Steelskin and Four Winds.  I bought mats enough for 25 of each, and set my alchemist off crafting.  Very quickly it became obvious that my initial assumption that I was only going to break even was a little flawed, the procs on alchemy basically account for the profit to be made – with 25 casts of each I mustered 27 Flasks of Four Winds and 30 Flasks of Steelskin.  It’s worth noting that I’ve only made 50 flasks in total (plus procs) thus far, I’ll be expanding my range and making more in the coming week, a stag do got in the way of my investigations this weekend which understandably took priority.

So how did I do? well, of the 57 flasks, I’ve sold 50 of them, the Steelskin ones going better.  After a slow start at the beginning of the week, selling only a handful, things suddenly went crazy on Sunday and Monday evening (my auctions had expired on Saturday night and I was in no position or state to relist them..).  As I suspected, it seems that potion sales are hugely raid dependant, I know a good number of the guilds on my server raid on Sunday and Monday evenings.  Here’s the P&L for my efforts

mats Ave. cost per mat total cost of mats ave. selling price Net Profit per flask total profit inc procs
Flask of Steelskin

Volatile Life 8 2g 76s 67c 22g 13s 33c
Cinderbloom 8 0g 85s 91c 6g 87s 30c
Twilight Jasmine 8 3g 59s 00c 28g 72s 00c
57g 72s 63c 57g 33s 33c 0g 39s 30c 276g 84s 25c
Flask of the Winds
Volatile Life 8 2g 76s 67c 22g 13s 33c
Azshara's Veil 8 0g 98s 85c 7g 90s 77c
Whiptail 8 2g 05s 92c 16g 47s 38c
46g 51s 48c 48g 65s 00c -2g 13s 52c 296g 62s 89c

Not a bad return for my efforts, but not great either, I suspect making things in bulk will aid things as I can just set my trade skills mod off creating stuff and click on process queue every now and then.  Clearly from my experience, there’s a little more going on than meets the eye, most of my sales were not one-offs, they were bulk purchases, so people coming into the AH and buying a job lot, whether this be enough for a guild cauldron for a raid, restocking their own flasks for the next weeks raids, or simply just spotting a good price and taking advantage.  I’ve also noticed the number of flasks listed varies vastly, dependant on who’s come along and made a bulk purchase.  This means that it’s not necessarily the best idea to be the cheapest vendor, if the cheapest (say) 50% of flasks listed always tend to sell, you simply need to make sure you’re in the cheapest half, rather than the lowest price.  This is in stark contrast to Glyphs, where unless you’re the lowest priced, you’ll rarely if ever sell your wares.

I suspect there is money to be made from flasks, I further suspect a good knowledge of the raiding times of the guilds on your server may have an influence on their price and sales.  I’d also guess that the impending content introduction in 4.2 will boost the demand and thus price as people rush to do the new content.  I’m not so sure about the Elixirs yet, I’m planning to have a dabble in the current week or two and will let you know, but as they’re low value and even less widely used than flasks, I doubt their viability.  Next up for later this week / next week will be a look at enchanting, if I can work out how to automate the procedure of working out what each vellum will sell for before creating it.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Milling around the Auction House

My first weeks profit and report from playing the WOW economy

auctionhouseA week into my playing the auction house experiment and I can report I’m in profit!  Not just a couple of bronze either, with no more than 2 hours total effort (To quickly recap, I’m buying items on the auction house and reselling them either as they are, or using trade skills of my alts only, no questing or grinding is involved.). I’ve made a 300% return on my initial 1000g stake, and that’s without taking into account the stuff I’ve still listed on the AH and in my inventory which are still to sell.  In addition to my 3000g profit I reckon I’ve another 5000g worth of ‘stock’. 
In my week of playing the market, I’ve primarily stuck to buying Cinderbloom, converting it into ink, and relisting it.  I’ve had a little foray into prospecting ore, and whilst there's a profit to be made there, its more time consuming and I’m not quite sure I’ve fully ‘got’ the most profitable means yet.  I (just last night) had a look at buying herbs to make potions, but as yet haven’t sold any so that’ll be one for the next update, I’m also going to look at enchanting in the near future.

So, for the results; we’ll concentrate on the main trade first up, inks.  In total I bought 2598 Cinderbloom at an average price of 96s 80b, which I milled and turned into ink.  On average (ish) one stack of 20 Cinderbloom will produce materials for half an Inferno Ink and 5 Blackfallow Ink.  In total I’ve sold 33 Inferno Inks at a little over 43g each and 75 Blackfallow Inks at just over 10g each on average.  I’ll also point out that I ‘bought’ quite a lot of the Blackfallow Ink with my mage as I was dry which could be considered as artificially skewing my results – in total I purchased 300 of them at 7.5g each (I chose a value under the average selling price so as not to artificially inflate my profits.
Even when I ignore the stock of ink that is still on the AH unsold from the herbs I bought, I’ve made a healthy profit of just short of 2000g which is a mark up of 77%, a good return for a weeks work in anyone's money.  To put this into context, in the ‘real world’ an economist could reasonably expect a return of around 100% per year on an investment for a commercial venture.  I’ve pasted a breakdown of my P&L table below (note there are a couple of omissions of purchases I made before I installed Beancounter).

With the prospecting, I chose to sell some uncut gems, generally the ones that are used for dailies.  Cut some of the larger gems into various types which were going for a decent price on the AH and then create rings and necks out of the rest, selling the blue ones and disenchanting the green.  As you can see from the table below I haven’t sold that many of the glyphs which I bought, there were a couple of additional sales before the Beancounter install, but for some reason the glyph sales have been quite slow in the past week, and I’ve been careful not to compete with my glyph factory alt, as that would be silly, which has restricted my options.

Item name total number average price
Inferno Ink 1424g 70s 00c 33 43g 17s 27c
Zephyrite 89g 70s 00c 13 6g 90s 00c
Hypnotic Dust 102g 08s 00c 38 2g 68s 63c
Blackfallow Ink 778g 75s 00c 75 10g 38s 33c
Sovereign Demonseye 94g 00s 00c 1 94g 00s 00c
Brilliant Inferno Ruby 94g 60s 00c 1 94g 60s 00c
Sparkling Ocean Sapphire 38g 70s 00c 1 38g 70s 00c
Glyph of Blade Flurry 475g 00s 00c 3 158g 33s 33c
Carnelian 296g 65s 00c 17 17g 45s 00c
Glinting Demonseye 176g 50s 00c 3 58g 83s 33c
Hessonite 5g 95s 00c 1 5g 95s 00c
5826g 63s 00c
Item Name total  number  average price
Whiptail 35g 00s 00c 20 1g 75s 00c
Cinderbloom 2514g 92s 02c 2598 0g 96s 80c
Goldclover 38g 66s 00c 40 0g 96s 65c
Bladefist Sword of the Mercenary 60g 00s 00c 1 60g 00s 00c
Glyph of Death Coil 56g 96s 99c 3 18g 99s 00c
Glyph of Death Grip 18g 99s 00c 1 18g 99s 00c
Elementium Ore 578g 10s 00c 335 1g 72s 57c
Glyph of Stormstrike 17g 95s 00c 1 17g 95s 00c
Glyph of Scourge Strike 20g 00s 00c 1 20g 00s 00c
Glyph of Gouge 40g 00s 00c 4 10g 00s 00c
Glyph of Pounce 36g 60s 00c 2 18g 30s 00c
Glyph of Voidwalker 0g 85s 00c 1 0g 85s 00c
3418g 04s 01c
profit with ink purchase 2408g 58s 99c

So what have I learnt with my exploits?  Well quite a lot actually, firstly, automation is key to removing the tedium from making a profit, using the Advanced Trade Skills Window to bulk craft inks is key, unfortunately milling cannot be automated, however if you’re making one type of ink then you can set it off and go do something else.  This means buying in bulk is key I’d recommend creating 300+ Blackfallow inks in one shot and then the associated Inferno Inks.  I’ve used dead time to mill stuff, so waiting in the dungeon queue or while people are afk in dungeons where possible.

The key for me to making profit is to understand the item, its rarity, its uses and its demand.  This will vary from server to server and day to day.  I tend to list items for 48 hours, but ideally you want to aim for 24 hours, or even 12 if you log on daily to ensure you’re always the most competitive.  On the supply and demand front, don’t flood the market, if you’ve just made 300 Blackfallow Ink there's little point listing the lot, this will only serve to give the impression of high supply and you’re almost guaranteed not to sell them.  I tend to list a few stacks of 20 and then another 20 or so singles at a time.  For the Inferno Ink, because of it’s price and relative rarity I tend to only list singles in auction.  On the glyph front they’re pretty slow shifting so I only ever have one of each type listed, the gems often go in spurts, i.e. when someone gets a new item or items with multiple slots and need to gem up.  For the items used for dailies like the lesser gems, I list a few singles and the rest in triples (as you need 3 for the daily).  If the price is crap, don’t list your item, this is especially pertinent for Glyphs on my server, there seems to be a glut of people who level inscription with no idea of the glyphs worth listing them for silly money just to get rid of them; I’ve made several hundred g (pre Beancounter) buying up Glyphs for ~10g and relisting them in the 100s.

I’ve been using Auctionator to help me buy and list items, this has been invaluable in saving me time and making me the most competitively priced vendor of my items.  I can’t stress highly enough how vital the addons have been to my efficiency, without them, I simple wouldn’t bother.

My feeling is the ink is the most profitable, and my figures would back that up, even on the time front, simply due to the variation of items created from jewel crafting ink wins.  That said, I’m kind of hitting my limit for the amount of ink I can sell so if I want to make more money per week then I’m going to be forced to diversify.  I’ve had a brief foray into the gem and jewel crafting markets, but due to the variety involved it’s impossible to automate properly as each time you create a new item type it requires a manual interaction (this is a Blizzard constraint on trade skills).  I suspect Enchanting might be very profitable, however it seems to be extremely difficult to tell how much an item will sell for prior to crafting it as the tooltip addon doesn’t work with enchants (this is because you’re hovering over the enchant, however you sell vellums).

So in summary, I think a very successful week playing the market, I’ve made a few mistakes which have cost me money, but even with the mistakes I’ve made a healthy profit at a far greater rate of return than I could generally expect through grinding or questing.  I’ll aim to stick an update up on my progress as I expand my operations this week however work has gone crazymadbusy so it might be a while.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Becoming a wheeler-dealer

My little auction house experiment
Only-Fools-and-Horses-001You may have noticed my posts over the last few weeks have become more focussed on the economics of the game, this is partly in that nothing much has changed for my primary focus of the priest on the holy healing front or shadow DPS, and partly because I’ve had less ‘session’ time to actually do much in one shot rather than just pottering around and levelling alts.  I’m even struggling to find the time to get 5 man heroics in.

My regular reader will also know that I’ve been making a fair bit of cash from my auction house adventures, primarily as a result of selling glyphs on my mage.  So I’ve decided to have a look at what a true wheeler dealer could do on the Auction House.  I’m not really setting myself any rules for this, other than I’m using an alt that I haven’t played since TBC, I’ve cleared out it’s bags and bank and deposited the sum of 1000g with it.  I considered starting off with a smaller sum of 1g or less, but that's already been done; 1000g strikes me as a reasonable amount you’d have ‘spare’ after levelling to 85 so why not.

I will be allowing myself to use alts trade skills, so for instance, I might buy a job lot of herbs, send them to my priest and convert them into potions (whilst paying for the glass vials of course).  But I wont be using any collection skills, questing or grinding; all the materials will be bought from the auction house or from vendors.  All of my sales will be made on the Auction House, I won’t be ‘advertising’ stuff in trade, though I’ll reserve the right to sell stuff who happen to post a WTB advert in trade while I’m online.
I’ll be posting my results over the coming weeks, I’ll be concentrating on one or two areas at a time, slowly expanding my horizons as I get more familiar.  I’ll also be using this opportunity to investigate the addons available to aid a trader.

I currently use auctionator rather than auctioneer, as it’s simply easier to get to grips with and use.  I’ve just installed bean counter to help me keep track of what’s going on and I’ve got a couple of tooltip type addons to help me assess the value of items quickly, more details in my post here.

So first up, I’m going to stick with what I know, herbs and glyphs.  Glyphs are my normal business, I’m making a steady 2-5k in gold per week depending on how much time I spend messing around making them and playing the AH.  I’ve occasionally ‘gone aggressive’ and bought out glyphs that have been listed for stupidly low values and relisted them, but I haven’t made a habit of it.  My first course of action was to use auctionator to run through all of the glyphs on the auction house, any which I spotted for less than 20g that were either the only one on, or the next lowest was over 100g I promptly bought and relisted, I’ll be doing this from time to time whilst being careful not to ‘eat my own dinner’ and compete with my mage.  I’ll be looking to expand into the other areas of gems enchants and so on once I get a better idea of what sells and what doesn’t.  200g later and I’ve bought myself about 15 glyphs and relisted about 8 (some are duplicates and I figure there’s no point listing them yet).

Next up its herbs; I’ve noticed for sometime that, due to its abundance and relative lack of use to alchemists, Cinderbloom is dirt cheap on my server, often down as low as 50s each generally more around the 75s – 1g25s level.  Now ink goes for a lot more, per stack of 20 (including the guild level procs) I’d expect to get around one pot of Inferno ink and up to 6 pots of Blackfallowink plus any guild level ‘perk’ procs.  Inferno ink is going at 45g or there abouts per pot, and Blackfallowink is listed at 14g (which I think is a bit high to shift in volume, I’ll give it a go undercutting it but I suspect I’ll need to drop it to sub 10g per pot).

After spending around 500g on herbs, mailing them of to my miller and listing them I’ve got a few hundred gold left and payment waiting in my mail box for two of the glyphs that I listed earlier waiting for me.  Not a bad start.  Check back in the next few days and I’ll post my first set of results.