Topic State of Economy - Undermine 2013
This thread is directed at the 99%. As with any server you'll find the majority of resources allocated to the top few that actually have a finite understanding as to the value of any particular set of items and are willing to invest that knowledge into turning profit.
I've been trading in MMO's since I first started playing them. I remember my first Phat acquisition in Runescape and then the quick exchanges that led me into great riches that seemed to follow subsequently post haste! After Runescape I played the markets on several games... FF online, Knight Online, LOTRO, Summoner and Runes of Magic just to name a few. The fundamentals are all the same with few differences with the exception of the means to which we trade; let me tell you... Wow has come a long way in terms of a diverse and easily manipulated marketplace. This is assuming you have the tools to really take advantage of what is in front of you.
I'll stick to a few of the tools in this first post and maybe a couple tricks to help you maximize your trading experience.
First up, Auctioneer. This addon is a classic, it came out originally in 2006 and has developed into something quite extraordinary. The most useful feature of the program is it's ability to track other posted items and while storing this information it recommends in your tooltip what a good price to auction your item would be! After first installing the addon, you should open up your local auction house and let Auctioneer do a "scan". It will take several minutes but when you return you'll notice it's completed a scan of every single item currently available on the auction house.
So how does that help you? First off, it's going to take into account different ways you can get rid of an item for profit... namely, "vendor cost" "disenchant cost" and "auction cost". This is particularily helpful when you are farming old world instances and don't know whether to sell that soulbound ilvl 350 purple to the vendor for 12 gold or disenchant it to a Maelstrom Crystal to sell on the auction house. (hint: vendor)
Auctioneer offers a more robust search engine for searching the auction house, allowing you to set multiple criteria's and even bidding rules that your search must adhere to in order to filter out a lot of the nonsense items you otherwise wouldn't want to look at.
Immediately you should also notice a new column on the right side called PCT. This is basically a percentage of what the item you are looking at is currently listed for compared to the price your auctioneer has seen the item at in it's history through multiple scans. If you can imagine the first couple days it's not going to give you radically different values because it needs a bit of data to benchmark the real value of an item; when you've established yourself over a couple weeks of playing the auction house though those low pct items can turn for great profit in a very short amount of time.
Anyone serious about professions, gathering/selling goods or simply trading should own Auctioneer. http://auctioneeraddon.com/ This is the developers site but you can also find it on curse.com.
Next to Auctioneer but along the same lines is one for you iPhone users out there! Wow armory for the iphone is a new addition to my arsenal and I can kill hours and hours a day checking my auctions using this app on my phone on the go! Not only does it allow you to check your in game mail for bids/auctions and sales but you can see information pertaining to all of your characters as well access to your bank items. All day long you can post and retrieve bids from your phone which allows for less micro managing at home at the end of the day when you want to get into some instances. This app for your phone is free and totally worth the few minutes to check it out.
Finally, this might be a bit less known to most of you, is a website called theunderminejournal.com.
You go to this website, no registration required and click Undermine server. At this point you can sort through current auctions (updated approximately once per hour) and sort them in a number of different ways. It also has a huge array of bar graphs showing item history specific to this server. The main things to understand while being overwhelmed by this website is the price (current) and median (average) costs of any item. You can see how many items are posted, what the last sale prices were, the average cost of the item on this server as well the global average price of that item. I would say very often I see an item priced at 1k gold, median 1k gold and global median 5k gold and am able to turn a nice profit with very little effort just based on statistics alone. There is a section on the website just for "Great deals" there is also a section for each of the professions and their crafted items. If you subscribe you can set notifications so you receive emails if an item drops to a certain price OR if a certain individual on the server is selling a particular item. You can search out your competitors by name and see what markets they dabble in and what time they post their auctions typically.
Between those three tools hopefully I've helped a few of you get into another aspect of Wow that some of us have been enjoying for years.
In case you are wondering why I'd want to help enable others to trade versus taking advantage of a dull market with the elite... basically, the more people trading the more dynamic the prices are going to be and the more deals are going to pop up for me in the end.
Just remember, it's not "buy low sell high" anymore, you'll find your gold influx to be quite stagnant, it's "buy low sell fair". Find cheap items with auctioneer... check their real value on theunderminejournal and start selling things closer to what their actual relative value is.
The idea of "selling fair" isn't some hippy bull, the concept is that you'll move the goods faster and therefore maintain their appreciated value. Afterall progress reduces cost through supply, the longer you hold an item the more it will depreciate in value.
You should always hope to score items at low prices when buying, don't chase high prices and undercut people 5% when you know the price is temporarily inflated... sell it at it's natural mean price.
Everyone can't be Donald Trump and we don't own exclusive brand materials "Sindis' Mysterious Essence" so you've got to flow with the market not try and "Beat it".
The reason I pointed that out specifically was to get that sort of response from someone who thinks "Buy low sell high" which has always been one way to do it... "Buy low sell fair" is going to make you a lot more money.
So what markets should you dabble in for profits? Which professions are the best for auctioneering?
The answers are 'all of them' and 'it doesn't matter what professions you take'.
Some markets are going to be a bit more lucrative than others in terms of turning profit for your hard work, but if you don't get to know prices of items from each of the desirable markets you really aren't going to force steady income.
If you stick to just your professions, you are going to run into a couple of problems. First of all, there is the competition. This one is pretty obvious, if someone else starts selling the same items as you it's going to cause you to change your marketing approach. Either you'll have to sell your items cheaper than them allowing control of the market to another individual or you have to wait it out until they have relinquished their stock and try to sell your items when the market isn't flooded. The second problem, you are going to be flooding your own market. Anyone can sell 1 particular item to the point where it's value is going to naturally come down. It's best to "diversify your assets" so you aren't relying on one particular market for income.
Lots of items have a trickle effect when it comes to pricing their lower level equivalents. Enchanting is a pretty good example, the MOP enchanting mats are all interchangeable to a point. They require more of an item to make the higher tier (5) and yield less results when downgrading a tier (3) but in theory there is a baseline value for Spirit Dust, Mysterious Essence, Ethereal Shards and Sha Crystals. I almost shouldn't be telling you this because often times when Spirit Dusts are on the auction house for 3 gold, I'll buy them and convert them into Mysterious Dusts (5 spirit dust = 1 mysterious essence) which I can then sell for 25 gold (or more at peak times) Sometimes it doesn't work out rationally, if I buy 5 Mysterious essence and try to convert to Ethereal Shards I will have spent anywhere from 125g-150g and the end result is an Ethereal Shard worth 60-70g. Other crafts have neat tricks like this as well like Smelting (Mining) ores into bars for profit.
Some areas where this does not work well are where the item being converted has only a few uses. Typically, the more uses an item has the more demand there is for it and the higher the price tag. A Whirling Bronze Gizmo is only used by Engineers, it's low level and I'm sure it's only used in a couple of recipes (which are no doubt only used for leveling) <replace whirling bronze gizmo with any other item that fits those criteria>. You might even see Whirling Bronze Gizmo's on the auction house for 5 gold and think "Wow, those are worth quite a bit and I can make them for a lot cheaper." The unfortunate truth is, the reason that item is worth a good chunk of gold is due to the fact no one is actively trading it.
That said, some markets are always profitable. Low level raw materials (cloths, ores, herbs) will always be profitable because they are used by every person of their respective profession to level up their professions. Glyphs are great because every single player in the game has to make or buy glyphs. Consumables (flasks, foods, pots) yield high returns over a long term because once they are used they need to be replaced.
I know some of you have dropped by this thread and the majority of you probably think tl;dr. No problem, the information is here and considering how slowly the Undermine forums move it'll probably sit on the front page for weeks.
Short bit of advice for you today.
Certain items perform better in specific sizes of stack. There are a number of variables to consider.
1. Is this item consistently used in a particular recipe that requires a specific # of that material. (Ex: Typically ores require 2X to make 1 bar.)
2. It is an item that generally a person would only want to own 1. (Ex: Unique-equipped items)
3. Is the market fully saturated in full stacks currently. (Ex: Someone might be selling Sha Crystals for 350 gold right now but in a stack of 20, there are no singles. You can sell your single Sha Crystal for 400 gold given the highly unlikely chance that someone actually wants/needs 20 Sha Crystals)
4. Opposite scenario; Is the market fully saturated in individuals currently. (Ex: There is competition in the singles department for Ghost Iron Bars, currently 8 gold for 1, no wait, now it's 7 gold 98 silver... you can put your stack up for 175 gold (8.75 gold each) and chances are still pretty good you'll get a sale before the others.
5. Is this a bulk item that there are lots of different stack sizes and the prices are very competitive. (Ex: Don't just jump into the melting pool and start driving the price down further by putting up low auctions, group yours into different combinations and try to target other buyers that need a specific number. Put up a stack of 3, maybe they need 8 total and already own 5. They don't want to buy a stack of 5 just because it's 20 silver cheaper than yours.
I hope that illustrates some of the reasons why you want to vary your stack sizes.
Another point to consider is, on different sorting options on most of the lists (in game, wow armory, theunderminejournal) you will see different results pop to the top of the page depending on it's current view. You might have the lowest buyout price per item (best deal logically) but someone else might have a slightly higher buyout with a slightly lower bid value and that will put them at the top of the "Lowest bid per item" category. You might be selling a stack of 5 but because he has a stack of 3 he is also now in the "Lowest bid" and "Lowest buyout" lists.
You should never just blindly auction items without looking at what is currently on the market.
Today's tidbits are going to be short.
On theunderminejournal.com you are not restricted to just searching "items" that can be bought and sold on the auction house. You can also look up toon names as well. You can search your own name and see all of your current auctions.. in that same area you can see 'how many items of the same type are being sold for less'.
Meticulous monitoring of that table you can manage to always have the cheapest items and are never being undersold.
On a separate note, I'm enjoying writing this column so thanks for not giving me a hard time. I totally welcome discussion from anyone else that thinks they trade moderately-heavily on the auction house, if not on Undermine then welcome from your respective servers.
Food for thought, what do you guys think about progression and healthy trading markets on a server? More specifically, do you think through trade and prosperity a server can accomplish more achievements/feats of strength/pve and pvp goals?
Definitely needs some editing, never one of my strong points.
Initially I wanted to get the concepts written down; tonight I'll start editing with sections, a table of contents and bolded titled etc.
I guess with draft one I was hoping for people to chime in with suggestions and their own theories, the post on it's own isn't very welcoming at this time.
Thanks for the reply/interest though!
Today's tip comes in the form of a link. The guys over at Wowinsider always do a good job explaining things in the simplest terms so that everyone can enjoy their ideas.
Specifically, a recent post about bag maintenance. One of the major problems you are always going to come across when playing WoW is bag maintenance. Not properly maintaining your bags is going to cause two major issues... first up, you are going to accidentally mismanage certain goods, perhaps you are vendoring items to make space that really should be stacked and sold on the auction house. The second issue is more psychological, not everyone has a travellers mount and as the bags fill you are naturally less likely to loot certain mobs because you are already getting full and you want to save space for specific loot.
If you properly maintain your bank and your toon's bags you are operating more efficiently. It'll mean less trips to the vendor and auction house and that in turn means you are making better use of your WoW experience.
There are lots of different addons that can manage your bags... I've found a couple new ones in this thread (linked above) that I'm going to try out tonight.
Micromanaging your bags in an MMO is always going to detract from your play time. You will find your time is better spent killing and looting if your bags are in tip-top shape.
Edited by Keola on 1/30/13 9:24 AM (PST)
Usually as server gets more populated the people or bots called 'gold farmers' starts to farm all the mats and things that would usually bring a good profit and starts to corrupt ah driving prices insanely low as we see it in some over populated servers and average player will never able to beat them as thousands of stock gets listed with lower prices everyday until you get to a point where cheap prices becomes 'normal'.... Although this seems kind of sad and people always think it is the bad thing i usually think it is actually better in a way... Gold farmers will never really tap into really expensive stuff like epics until end of its contents(excpet mounts) and when server like ours are suffering bad from not enough stock (eg low lvl crafting Meterial seems non existent in this server) there are alot of profit to be made if soneone actually tries to dominate market and im sure it is possible.... You might say this is a good thing because new players get to make alot of money while lvling but to be honest wow hasnt been growing but rather dying (to some extent) and as i monitor low lvl meterials getting posted in ah im 100% Sure there arent alot of new players.....
But im not encouraging bots or gold farming in anyway... I strongly discourage them as my old servers (frostmourne and thaurissan) have darkmoon trinkets going for 6-10k and mats prices so low i lvled my jc 450 to 600 with less than 500g total (everything ah'ed and some aold back into ah)
i just like to see more market competition so as a buyer get more freedom of choice with competitive pricing so we as buyers dont have to wait 5 days for an item to come up in ah only to find out costing way over the item's worth....
I think i kind of derailed your post but i think this issue has to be discussed
edit: My spellings are of a elementry lvl it seems
Keola, thanks for contributing. I try to look at market value prices as variable, relative to the "constant" factor which is gold (static and obtainable through quests etc).
When I'm questing, I know at 90 most quests yield 19 gold 84 silver 50 copper. This, will not change regardless of the "state of the economy" on our server. To capitalize on this we should want competition in ALL markets which of course leads to lower prices.
At first glance, you want to see your items retain their value. This figure though is kind of intangible. How do you put value on an item in a non-arbitrary way. Is my time worth more than yours? Should engineering mats cost more than alchemy mats because there are less engineers? Out of our control the prices will always lower automatically as more gold enters the scene. The more we quest and kill mobs, the more gold is available and the less valuable gold actually becomes.
The very apparent results come at the beginning and respectively the end of an expansion. At the beginning of an expansion there isn't much gold available, there also aren't many items available so gold becomes extremely valuable and prices are extraordinarily high (relatively speaking)... content gets conquered, gold starts piling up and prices start to plummet as items become available towards the end of an expansion.
What we can do to speed the process up and simulate the end of an expansion is to increase availability and keep the server gold on the players (not the npcs)
It's kind of a multifaceted issue... I want people to focus less on "Item costs X, therefore I want to have X gold" and more "If I can somehow encourage this item to costs X-500gold, then I only need to have X-500gold."
For those of you that have played Diablo 2, look at closed bnet gold values. Gold became so abundant with very little ways to actually "dump" it (aside from gambling) so you could easily fill your bank with it. This was counter intuitive to the concept of Blizzard and done completely by the players. We want this to happen here. I want gold to be near useless on Wow like it is on Diablo 2
In a way it breaks the game, I can't deny that. It's not cheating by any stretch of the imagination.. it's just a war between players wanting to make the most out of their money and the developers trying to convince you to remove the "gold you've earned" from the game through AH tax and really expensive vendor purchases.
I took a break in Cata and came back a month into Mop. You are probably right my addons might be outdated and please if you know better (haven't tried auctionater yet) I would really really appreciate your thoughts/reviews. I'm probably in the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality as these addons/sites work exceptionally well for this intent and purpose. If we can make better suggestions collectively we are all the better.
People do have issues with trading. Not everyone considers it another free-slot profession that any character can (and should) be taking right from level 1. I think a common misconception is that of the fact you need to stand outside the auction house all day trading in order to really make any money. Contrary to that thought, I'll make roughly two trips to the auction house, with addons I can post 100 unique auction in approximately 10 minutes. The rest of the time I make my money just opening my mailbox and collecting gold.
If others knew how "easy", in theory, it is to make gold we would see a large incline in traders and not the same 10 names on the "busy sellers" list on theunderminejournal.
Now that I've said that, I'm rethinking the concept of this thread... probably should have limited it to like 1000 characters >.<
Great Tristan, if you can recommend some addons I'm lacking in my posts I'll definitely give them a whirl, everyone has to acknowledge room for improvement.
I have certain items that I routinely sell, trade goods obviously because I think everyone should dabble in trade goods but I sell a lot of unusual items as well.. my 100 posts in 10 minutes was just an attempt to illustrate no matter how rare or common and item it shouldn't take you much time to quickly and efficiently determine a proper way to list it. Your personal points reaffirm it for me.
In all, both of us considering ourselves to be fairly serious in trade we are still minimizing the time spent actually sitting in town at the auction house while performing hundreds of trades a day in just minutes. The idea is to maximize your playtime without having to micromanage your auctions similar to someone trying to micromanage their bags; I know this is a major deterrent for lots of my friends that oppose MMO's and RPG's in general.
My hope is that more people realize how easy it is to trade and how lucrative it really is as far as time invested and profits yielded (compared to other professions that actually require another step; creating the items).
I requested for sticky since it is relevent to our dying Undermine economy (horde)
but one thing you have to remember is in d2 all the items were substitute of the gold since they are BoE and never really gets out dated ofter many patches (eg windforce still rocks) where as wow only has a limited amount of BoE and usually get out dated in a few month and to be trading other items such as perhaps profession mats... Well i would consider market place dead if that ever happens.... D2 it worked great but in games like wow where gold doesnt drop in fields most likely it will never happen even now some people do have maxxed gold on all their toons (i used to know one) and for them gold isnt very valuable thing and wow tries to use gold sink every patch or expension to avoid that in all costs (ah tax is certainly one of them and profession mounts vanity items etc)
Unless more people play in our server our market wont change and probably it will be harder to earn gold here than other populated server (someone stated people arent buying enough thus making gold harder)