Freitag, 25. Februar 2011

[Low] Hitting 10k Gold and exploring new markets

I wasn’t really prepared for it, but when I checked the remote AH this morning, I found a whooping 1,000 Gold of sales in my inbox. I knew I was somewhat over 9,000 Gold yesterday, so I swiftly logged in and Auditor confirmed it for me: I reached the 10,000 Gold mark. Now, I know where last night’s profits came from. I am constantly keeping 5 Arcanite Bars for 100 Gold posted, because I figured if one of those rich level 85 guys gets the Thunderfury or Sulfuras quest item, they want their legendary and they want it fast. So that’s 500 Gold on top of the daily 300 to 500 Gold I am making through Enchanting materials and glyphs. So while those 1,000 are accounted for, I am still somewhat shocked that it took so little time to get from 5,000 to 10,000 Gold. I’ll have to consult MySales tonight to check if I am not missing something here. Anyway, 20,000 Gold – here I come!

Hitting my second milestone has made the second topic of today’s post all the more urgent: diversification. I actually see operating with low level characters only as a great chance to learn something here. I can’t rely on the popular steady earners that level 75+ characters have access to yet. Both because none of my characters is even close to that range and because I don’t have most of the professions covered yet. So what this does is it causes me to be creative on a more basic level.

Because I can’t cater to the max level players directly (safe for some vanity items maybe), I’ll have to earn their and everyone else’s money through other means. What does every character have or need? Glyph slots (covering some of that already), talent points (no money to be made there), equipment (largely not available to me and to be covered later), equipment enhancements (same as equipment) and professions. The latter are what I want to be focusing on.
I have already partially catered to that market through disenchanting cheap items from the auction house and selling the resulting materials. While I sooner or later want to stockpile some of that and start selling twink and heirloom enchants, I am fairly sure, this will always be a somewhat profitable market with some foreseeable ups and downs. With the accumulation of more and more Gold, my ability to reinvest some of this also becomes better. So 2 to 4 weeks ago, the following would have been impossible or at least a bad idea for me to do.

I will start flipping tradeskill materials. Enchanting rods and pearls are nice and dandy, but I want to have such gimmick sales to complement more reliable and higher throughput markets, not the other way around. Over the next weeks, I am planning to set up snatch lists for all common types of ores, bars, herbs, cloth and maybe even leathers. I want to add those markets one at a time and get a feel for good absolute or relative price limits for the snatch list, how much of a given material can be moved on an average day, how prices vary over the course of a week or month and how much demand there is for each kind of material. So while I am not be able to make money crafting Mysterious Fortune or level 85 Darkmoon Cards, I may be able to take a few Gold per stack from the people doing so. I think I’ll start with the metal market, so expect a first update on that over the weekend.

In other news, my Hunter is now level 30, a blast to play and only 5 levels away from being able to be powerleveled to 300 Enchanting/Jewelcrafting. I foresee that character becoming the first one to enter Northrend. Also, I am seriously considering getting Embersilk Bags for my trader. I am still working with Netherweave bags, so the improvement would be 24 additional slots, that's half a mailbox of ended auctions or two letters full of items more. The improvement on posting and re-posting auctions should be noticeable.

As the closing paragraph today, I would like to pose a question. Have any of you experienced the bug in TSM, which causes the addon to not remember the characters and banks you selected to be included in the inventory check of TSM_Crafting? And if yes, how did you fix it?
It’s very annoying when I restock on Glyphs that my trading character still has plenty of in his bags, because TSM refuses to include that character in the inventory check.

Donnerstag, 24. Februar 2011

[High] The Mysterious Fortune Card switch-a-roo

While I do focus what little playtime I have on my low account more and more, I would like to cover the version of the Mysterious Fortune Card (MFC) lottery I have been experimenting with on my high account. If you have for some reason not heard of this very lucrative market yet, Cold of Cold's Gold Factory has done a couple of very excellent pieces on this (Edit: the most recent one even today). Go read up on it.

On my high server, I have the very fortunate situation, that although people are crafting these cards, no one is barking in trade chat to advertise them. What basically happened is that I created the market. Two to three weeks ago, I dropped a redundant Tailoring skill on one of my chars and spent roughly 6,000 Gold to powerlevel Inscription to 450. I felt I didn't have much to lose, since I never saw anyone advertising the MFCs in trade chat and my sales in other markets were picking up slowly, so I would have recuperated from a disaster in about a weeks time.
That weekend I made back my leveling cost and roughly 1,000 Gold on top only through the power of advertising in trade chat. I sold 400 cards between 25 and 30 Gold each. About half of those I made myself, the other half I picked up at the then average price of 15 Gold and below. The higher priced ones I just barked out of the AH. So far so good.

The interesting part was that before long, the vultures started swooping in. There are half a dozen of those in the Glyph and JC market on my server, so it was to be expected that they would start undercutting me as soon as I would be advertising regularly for more than an hour. Using Autioneer's Appraiser, I monitored what glyphs were being bought up. People tended to buy the cheapest single auctions first - regardless of who was selling them - and largely ignored the stacks of 5 and 10 cards.

So I made the decision to stop for the day for three reasons. One, I didn't want to sell below 25 Gold and secondly I didn't want my potential customers to think 20 Gold are an appropriate price for MFCs. The third reason was kind of a gamble. I put in my last 30ish cards at 19 Gold and stopped barking. My competitors of course had been camping the AH and promptly re-listed their dozens or hundreds of glyphs below my price. Not a single one of mine and maybe a dozen of the other's MFCs at maximum was sold following that.

The really interesting part is what happened during the week after that. Without anyone barking, the cards started collecting dust on the AH shelves. I kept relisting my few cards every 24 hours, always undercutting the lowest price and the other guys followed suit. To them it looked like the market had dried up and that I, just like them, was desperately trying to sell my cards. Long story short, last Friday, the prices were somewhere between 10 and 12 Gold per Card, partially due to me driving the price down and partially due to the Whiptail spawn rate bug that had forced prices down to 60 to 90 Gold per stack the weekend before.

I bought up all of them safe for the ones at the lowest price (leaving some food for the chronic undercutters) with one of my inactive characters and sent them to my trading character. Since the Whiptail fix had hit live servers a few days before that and I had picked up the last 100 stacks below 100 Gold per, I was pretty sure they wouldn't be able to restock the MFC market at this low of a price.

So last Sunday I sold 500 cards at the same price again, netting a few thousand Gold. That time I tried the 10% bonus incentive (thanks Cold) and sadly, there was no winner. The nice thing was, the extra incentive made people ignore my opponents cards and even go for the 10 packs directly. At the end, I drove prices down again and the same downward spiral happened over the following days.

This week, I have bought up 150 cards at 10 to 15 Gold so far and I am still sitting at those 100 stacks of Whiptail, which will net me 600 MFCs and 100 Inferno Inks (25,000+ Gold compared to the 15,000 Gold of selling them raw). Luckily, my competition hasn't caught up to the fact that the cards only sell when being advertised in trade chat and the prices for herbs are fairly stable (resulting in at least 15 Gold material cost per MFC), so I am looking forward to another profitable MFC madness this weekend.

Since this was a fairly long post, here's the take away point for you: if you are the only or maybe one of the two people barking the MFCs in trade chat, but not the only seller, try driving down the price followed by radio silence in trade chat for a few days to pick up cards at prices below material cost. Of course this won't work and shouldn't be used every time, but it's a nice tactic to make the market unattractive to some competitors. Hope some of you can use this or some version of it to squeeze some more milk from the MFC cow.

Mittwoch, 23. Februar 2011

[Low] The story so far

While my Auctioneer scan is happily buzzing through 500+ pages of auctions in the background, I am sitting down to count up what I've achieved on my low account so far.

I started out with a Druid and got him Herbalism and Skinning right at level 10. Happily cruising through Darkshore, I was contacted by a Scribe after posting my first herbs on the auction house, who was interested in buying my Midnight Ink yielding herbs for 20g a stack. This made me my first 200+ Gold. I then dropped Skinning, because leather prices just weren't worth it at lower levels, and picked up Enchanting. While Disenchanting itself has been a nice moneymaker (always reinvesting money to keep my Enchanting skill maxed), my herbs soon started fueling my Paladin's professions (Alchemy and Inscription) instead of ending up on the AH. Since the number of glyphs became to much at about skill 225, I opted for a separate trade char, who is now the single hub of my AH shenanigans. While none of my characters has reached level 60 yet, all of them are sporting Netherweave Bags, which I got for material price thanks to the high level characters in my guild (I donated about two NW bags per one bag used by myself to the guild bank as a thank you for all the nice guild perks like Working Overtime).

My first goal was the 5,000 Gold mark, which I hit about a week or so ago. Took me long enough, but my focus was on my other account and equipping my main char over there. I am now sporting 8,000 Gold liquid and about 2,000 more in wares in the auction house. My two major markets have been enchanting materials and glyphs. Occasionally I sell some Arcanite Bars or am lucky selling some vanity pets (White Kitten for 5g or getting the Leaping Hatchling on the way to tame Echeyakee), but those sources of income are nothing reliable yet.

The first of my next major goals will be the 10,000 Gold liquid mark, which may take a while seeing that 2-4 of my characters will be in need of the various level 60 flying skills and the second round of Prime glyphs pretty soon.
The second one is more important to me and it's basically diversification. Having two fairly stable markets (glyphs have finally gotten back to reasonable, but not crazy profitable levels) is nice, having five or more is better. I already have a couple of ideas I want to try out. Some are fairly well known, some are fairly new and I just want to see if there's some money to be made there. So stay tuned for my future dabbling.


The Apprentice Trader

Dienstag, 22. Februar 2011

[Low] Class setup - doing it right from the start

So my "low" account is my fairly new one and the one at which I am forcing myself to play economically smart from the beginning. Today I'll cover what characters I am planning to have and what professions I have assigned to them. My plan is to have 5 chars down the road, with 10 of the profession present. I want to have as much synergy as possible (e.g. having the crafting professions which need level 84 to gain access to Twi.Hi. patterns on as few chars as possible).

My first character is a Druid. Due to flight and aquatic form, this is the superior farm class. Currently I have 360ish Herbalism and 300 Enchanting (so there's my first mistake). I plan on dropping Enchanting for Mining as soon as possible. Though disenchanting and reselling has been one of my two major money makers on this server, the cost to relevel it on another character shouldn't be too high. My Druid is four levels away from Flight Form and once he gains that, I want to use that to bring Mining to 300 before heading to the Outlands. Ultimately he doesn't need to hit max level that badly, since I could start gathering in the Cataclysm regions with level 75.

The second character is a Paladin. He sports 300 Alchemy and 300 Inscription. My reasoning was having all herb processing jobs on one character. Since he's a Dwarf (Archeology racial) and already 40-50 days into Minor Inscription research, there isn't much to be changed here. He's only five levels away from being able to level to 375, so that will be my highest priority, since Glyphs are my second money maker and opening up the market for processing TBC herbs will increase the potential profits for him. Also, Primal Might transmutes are waiting. So hitting level 75 sooner or later would be a good idea both for MFC shenanigans and all sorts of transmutes.

It gets kinda blurry after those two. The professions I haven't covered are Skinning, Tailoring, Leatherworking, Jewelcrafting, Blacksmithing and ultimately Enchanting again. I am left with three chars. One of them will be a newly created Worgen Deathknight, who'll take care of Tailoring and Skinning. AoE farming of both cloth and leather should never be passed up on (and my Paladin is fairly set in his stuff) and the racial will make the latter more efficient.

This leaves two characters, a Warrior and a Hunter, both around level twenty right now. At this point, I am unsure how to split the remaining four professions. Jewelcrafting and Enchanting have nice synergy when doing the Saronite or Obsidium shuffle. With Leatherworking and Blacksmithing on a single character, two of the Twi.Hi.-dependant professions would be on one character. Does JC/Enchanting on the Hunter and the other two on the Warrior sound like a good idea?

You'll notice I left Engineering out of the equation until now and I'll continue to do so. While being a fun and useful profession, it doesn't offer as much as the rest with regards to making money imo. And being honest, bringing 5 characters to level 75+ and 10 professions to the useful maximum will be a lot of work already. Maybe if they bring in epic gem transmutes with a CD timer, leveling a 6th character will be justifiable.

Any thoughts?

Mittwoch, 16. Februar 2011


First posts are always the hardest. Especially when trying to enter into a very specific corner of the blogosphere where it's hard not to just repeat what other like-minded people have posted numerous times before. I'll try it anyway, since my story will be of interest to the bigger part of the goldmaking community - the players who are nowhere near the gold cap (be it old or new) and who have no friggin' idea how to make sense of it all.

I am the Apprentice Trader, and you'll join me on my journey to learn the in's and out's of World of Warcraft trading.

I am a long-time WoW player and former raid leader, but to say I have much experience in WoW trading other than listing items at a price close to the lowest one would be a lie. My first epic mount in Classic was financed by the daily transmute of Arcanite Bars and farming cultists and Lost ones in Blasted Lands on my Rogue alt in hopes of finding a Flawless Draenethyst Sphere to exchange into a blue item satchel. My luck, and that of millions of WoW players, was the introduction of daily quests and the bonus gold awarded for completing quests at max level. Otherwise most of us would only have one char with an epic flyer even today.

My interest in trading was sparked halfway through TBC, when a raid member asked me if he could borrow some gold as a starting investment for auction house trading, since he had just blown all his money on getting his Hunter up to speed for raiding. At that time I had a little less than 3k gold and he wanted all I can spare. I figured I'd need 500 would be enough to keep me stocked for raiding, so I told him he could get 2500 gold. Since this was a pretty big risk for me to take, he promised to pay me back double my investment one month later. I said, "ya right *wink*", but sure enough, one month later during a raid invite he traded me 5000 gold back. Now this was mid TBC (before T5 attunements were removed), when this was a lot of money. I asked him how much he made, but he never answered me directly. To this day I don't know how he did it (he never used his main character or any known alts), but needless to say, I was impressed.

I left World of Warcraft in late Fall of 2009, after we cleared Ulduar, and while I never missed anything in particular, two things kept returning to my mind when remembering my time in game, "I never got that friggin' Zul'Gurub Raptor" and "how the heck did he make that much gold in one month?" Since I wrapped up my RL stuff that caused me to leave the game, I returned the week 4.0.1 was released. I never got that ZG Raptor, but I will sure as hell figure out how that trading thing is done.

I have two accounts. The first is my seasoned one with plenty of toons between level 70 and 85 and various professions close to or at the cap. The second one is a fairly new one (bought it the week before Cataclysm was released) and it's in a different region, so I started from scratch.
My learning experience will focus on both accounts, hopefully allowing me to separate between general tactics and strategies and server specific rules and intricacies. My posts will thus fall into two categories: all the basics I implement along the way on my new account on the one hand and making the most of my old characters.

You have learned a new skill: [Apprentice Trading].