Freitag, 18. März 2011

Old world cloth shuffling

As mentioned a couple of times before, I am still working with toons of level 60 and below only. I also decided to not bother talking about my "old server" anymore, because most of it would only be my side of the popular strategies many other blogs cover way better. And since I wouldn't want to read about the same things over and over again either, I'll not waste your time. In addition, it's a vicious place with half a dozen 24/7 AH campers/botters, which I can't compete with time-wise.

Today I want to give you a short overview over a nice niché I am currently using to make money. As covered before, a good chunk of my money comes from selling Enchanting materials. The problem is, just snatching low-priced greens from the AH won't yield that many materials, even on the weekends. And even if the supply is nice, I'll have to scan several times with changing iLvl ranges to avoid the "bad materials" (more on that in a minute).

When I started leveling Enchanting and Tailoring on my toons, I stumbled upon this little guide on Being surprised that I actually made a plus from selling the leftover Strange Dust, I thought to myself, "I wonder if this kind of shuffling of cloth to dusts and essences works up to Runecloth?" I had read recommendations about turning Netherweave into Arcane Dust via Netherweave Pants, but the in-between was missing. Long story short, here are the results of my homework.

Brown Linen Pants
81% chance: 1-2 Strange Dust
19% chance: 1-2 Lesser Magic Essence

Double-Stitched Woolen Shoulders
74% chance: 2-6 Strange Dust
16% chance: 1-2 Lesser Astral Essence
10% chance: 1 Small Glimmering Shard

Silk Headband
75% chance: 1-5 Soul Dust
20% chance: 1-2 Lesser Mystic Essence
5% chance: 1 Small Glowing Shard

White Bandit Mask (recipe is a random world BOE, so add it to your snatch list)
75% chance: 2-5 Vision Dust
20% chance: 1-2 Lesser Nether Essence
5% chance: 1 Small Radiant Shard

Runecloth Headband
74% chance: 1-2 Illusion Dust
23% chance: 1-2 Greater Eternal Essence
3% chance: 1 Large Brilliant Shard

The clear star in that line-up definitely is the Runecloth Headband, because it yields the three most rare and thus very high demand materials. A lot of the BoA enchants require at least one of those. But don't ignore the other four. Leveling Enchanting from 0 to 300 requires 125 Strange Dust, 122 Soul Dust, 155 Vision Dust, 230 Dream Dust, 10 Illusion Dust and dozens of different essences (source: Why not be the one to supply those and make some gold in the process?

You may have noticed that I left out an item yielding Dream Dust. That's because on my server the market for that is moving between decent and horrible. By the number of Dense Stones being bought and sold (The Undermine Journal hooo) and checking a few names, I can tell that at least two people are doing the price ticket thing, exchange them for greater Darkmoon prices and DE all the greens. If your server's Dream Dust market looks healthy, try Black Mageweave Headband or Runecloth Belt, depending on the prices of each cloth.

Another point are the Small Shards. You can try and scrolls with the respective weapon enchants which are using Glowing and Glimmering, but sadly this isn't Classic or TBC anymore, where people went crazy when their level 20 sword was glowing red. I mostly AH them for whatever low price they're on there or just trash them. Has anyone had different experiences with Lesser Beastslayer and such in recent history?
The Small Radiant Shard you should definitely keep and use yourself for Fiery Weapon and Boots - Minor Speed.

Dream Dust, as mentioned, and Soul Dust are dirty cheap on my server in quantities larger than I feel comfortable in stockpiling, so I just re-post cheap Silk Cloth back into the market and use the others to fuel my material supply line. You should check the prices of cloth and Enchanting materials on your server, you may be pleasantly surprised to find a "market ready for the taking".

As a last point of order, here's how I went through my check list for entering markets.

1.) What's necessary?
295 Tailoring and 200 Enchanting. Steps are acquiring the cloth, turning it into bolts, crafting the items, mailing them (happens at the same time thanks to TSM), disenchanting them, mailing of the mats, post them.

2.) What's the profit margin?
On the one hand, cloth gets dumped on the AH relatively cheap all the time. Most of the resulting Enchanting materials on the other hand are rare or listed in way too small quantities. The sky is the limit. I've sold Greater Eternal Essences for 50g per and a stack of Vision Dust for 40g.

3.) Who am I selling to?
Leveling enchanters and people looking for BoA enchants. The numbers of people doing either each week should be low (1-5 day) and stable in the long run.

4.) What about the competition?
Dream Dust and Soul Dust are a mess, but the rest is very healthy. Surprisingly even Strange Dust. Level 85 players probably won't bother with this, since it'll look like "nickles and dimes" to them. Cloth is also mostly needed by Tailors only, so no other profession should come in my way.

5.) Can I afford to do it?
Buying the cloth daily or bi-daily and crafting only once or twice a week should suffice. From a money perspective, we're talking a low four digit investment per week, which by now shouldn't cause me sleepless nights anymore.

Verdict: Jump in!

Samstag, 12. März 2011

Entering new markets - How to make the call

Long time, no post. I've been fairly busy at work over the last week, because the deadlines of some major projects came faster than I could expect. I am also arranging a long distance relocation at the moment, so that ate a lot of time as well. The remaining few minutes of free time I spent with re-stocking and re-listing with my auctioneers and cranking out the occasional dozen tradeskill points.

As I am currently attending a conference in Asia, I'll have the time to write a few pieces this week. The downside is, this and the following posts will have to be released after my return home, since Blogspot is blocked by the local ISPs (wanna take a guess where I am?). Enough chit-chat, let's get to business.

In my last entry, I talked about exploring new markets. The topic of the March issue of JMTC's blogging carnival was diversify or specialize and provided a lot of very interesting insight from all experience levels with regards to goldmaking. The general consensus seemed to be, "FOTM (flavor of the month) markets can make you a lot of money, but it's the investment in multiple markets that'll keep your gold growing consistently, no matter what". Consequently, every AH player should enter new markets regularly.

A lot of times, this will be made easier by other players from the goldmaking community, who document their favorite or successful tactics. The Obsidium shuffle, the Mysterious Fortune Card lottery or the new 4.0.6 meta and enchanting recipes are well-known examples for this. But even the most well documented market strategy should be researched a little before being employed on my own server. At least I should check TUJ or my Auctioneer history to see if the prices on my or the original author's server aren't way off.

But what if the blog post suggesting a certain idea I want to try out is a few weeks or months old? What if it's from the last expansion? What if I have a trading idea of my own and can't find any evidence of it having been tried before? I'll have to do some research. Or what a lot of the elder bloggers refer to as "doing my homework". But what facts need to be checked, what questions to be answered to be able to make the call whether or not you want to invest into a market? Because I keep pondering these exact questions over and over recently, I'll try to assemble a little checklist of questions.

1.) What's necessary?
Know what I'm getting yourself into. Which preparations have to be done beforehand and what actions have to be performed on a regular basis? "Doing the Obsidium shuffle" sounds a lot easier than getting Jewelcrafting, Enchanting and Alchemy up to Cataclysm levels as a prerequisite and then spend at least half an hour daily prospecting, crafting (cut gems, make jewelery, do transmutes), mailing and listing it on the AH.

2.) What's the profit margin?
Is there money to be made with this? Buying uncommon ores (e.g. Silver, Gold) and melting them into bars may make you money on some servers and lose you gold on others. If I assemble a DMF trinket for 10,000g, how much will I be able to sell it for? If I buy Netherweave and craft cloth gear to disenchant, will the Arcane Dust earn me money?

3.) Who am I selling to?
Selling Flasks, raiders will probably make up 95% of my customers. Classic Dusts (Strange, Soul, Vision etc.) will mostly be bought by other people leveling Enchanting. Hybrid glyphs (e.g. Paladin, Druid) will have a higher demand than "pure" class glyphs, because they are more prone to switch their main talent trees and there are generally more of them, since they are more popular. Do I want to sell to the one guy crazy enough to pay 200,000g for a Crimson Deathcharger or the thousands needing Enchants on a daily basis?

4.) What about the competition?
The best strategies and ideas can go bust pretty quick, if one ore more other players are already doing it. Do I want to be in the Glyph or Gem market on a server where half a dozen guys are fighting over each of those markets? Can I co-exist with the other guy selling metal rods to leveling Enchanters without one of us starting a price war? And how high is the probability of someone noticing that this market can be exploited or tanked?

5.) Can I afford to do it?
This question actually divides into two aspects. The obvious one is the amount of liquid gold itself. Would I have been able to flip ores, bars, cloth and leather up to Cataclysm level when I had less than 1,000g? Probably not. I was pretty sure, 300 Inscription and Enchanting would be steady money makers, but before I had sold a few dozen stacks of low-level ores and herbs, there was just no way I could have afforded the initial leveling costs.
The second aspect is often neglected by myself and, from what I could gather at the Consortium and JMTC forums, a lot of other less experienced goldmakers. It's time. Or, how the elder goblins call it, opportunity cost. If I only have one or two crafts and strategies, which are making me gold, this is a small issue. But doing a 100 stack Obsidium shuffle takes the better part of an hour and re-stocking and re-listing 400 glyphs, gems and enchantment scrolls with the common 80 slot inventory does as well (although APM/TSM helps big time with the latter). If a strategy is earning me less gold per hour than I would earn doing daily quests (at max level) or spending the same time farming ore and herbs in Elwynn Forest, is it really worth my time? But it doesn't stop there. How much attention will this strategy take? If I would need to check up on my cut rare gems regularly during the day to be able to sell some of them, isn't that the wrong market for someone with a day job? And how much of my 1-4 hours daily do I want to spend on goldmaking instead of leveling my toons, running heroics or otherwise advancing them?

I think by going through these questions when evaluating a new strategy, I'll gain a pretty good understanding of the respective risks and rewards involved. In addition, they should also prove valuable when re-evaluating my already employed strategies, in case one of the factors has changed, both in a positive or negative way.

Note: I intentionally left out a question regarding risk, because each of those five questions provokes a certain risk evaluation already
"What's necessary?" makes me consider how probable it is, that my supply won't run dry or that Blizzard will mess it up in a patch (e.g. Disenchanting Alchemy trinkets).
"What's the profit margin?" should cause me to consider how volatile a market is or if sudden or gradual changes are to be expected (content patches, gear progress etc.).
"Who am I selling to?" requires me to find out if, how many and when people are willing to pay the prices I am intending to charge.
"What about the competition?" questions not only the situation in the foreseeable future. I need to at least be able to make an educated guess about people entering and leaving that market until I make back my initial investment.
"Can I affort to do it?" as the last question is a sanity check for me as both the executing and investing entity. Only because I have 10,000g doesn't mean it's a good idea to invest 8,000g into single level 85 DMF cards to collect and sell an assembled deck or trinket.

What do you think?