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Posts with tag AuctionHouse

The art of pricing

I hear this all the time: "Hurrr! Undercutters are ruining this market! Durrr!". Today, we're going to talk about this. Undercutting doesn't ruin markets, high supply does. Also, if it's still profitable, the market's not ruined, it's just being taken away from you. Cut your margins and undercut back. Or buy them out if you still think they're wrong and you're right.

But markets should be protected from undercutters!

Balderdash. Markets are a place where people can sell their goods for any price they want. You're describing collusion between sellers to reduce "lost profits," where every time someone wants to undercut with a new auction, they do so by the smallest possible amount.

More often than not, all your competitors will have the same cost that you do, and as soon as they see you commit to an auction, they'll undercut you right back. If everyone is knocking a copper off the next highest auction, they only way to undercut successfully is to try camp the AH and make sure you're always the competitor who has visited most recently. Needless to say, this is a colossal waste of your time, and you would probably make more money per hour doing argent tourney dailies.

The only way to effectively sell your product in a market with a lot of competitors is to undercut by more than just a trivial amount. You need to make it just cheap enough that your competition is less likely to undercut you, but expensive enough that you're still making money.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Economy

The case for open orders on the auction house

There are changes afoot- PTR build 11599 had variables introduced that mention the mobile auction house. This means that we're probably due for a major AH redesign, and I am talking about more than just the nice "quality of life" changes which bring some popular addon functions into the default UI. I suspect Blizzard is going to have to redo some things from the ground up, so I figured I'd take this opportunity to pitch an idea.

Selling on the auction house is a "fire and forget it" asynchronous activity. You choose how often you want to check back and relist, but many people make all the money they need by simply posting 48 hour auctions. This should be how buying works. I think that it would make sense to allow people to post an open order the same way we can post auctions, which would allow people who are selling to choose whether to sell to an existing open order or put the auction up.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Gold Capped: Using blacksmithing to make gold on the auction house

Want to get Gold Capped? This column will show you how, and is written by Basil "Euripides" Berntsen, also of, the hunting party podcast, and the call to auction podcast.

Blacksmithing is a crafting profession that has made me a lot of money. Today, we'll talk about how you can use blacksmithing as something more than a couple of extra gem slots for your main, and actually make gold! Many people with crafting skills invariably have tried linking their profession in trade and saying "tips appreciated." Has that worked for you? Me either. If you want to make money with any crafting skill, the true profits are from acquiring the mats yourself, crafting, and selling your wares over the long term. As I mentioned in my previous post, the default UI won't cut it for our purposes, so let's get cracking and set you up with a proper crafting UI.

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Filed under: Gold Capped

Time Is Money: Selling in multiple stack sizes on the auction house

Time Is Money is where the editors told Basil to put all his nonsense instead of clogging up their inboxes with thoughts and tips about gold making in World of Warcraft.

Hi folks! Today we'll be talking about something that many experienced auctioneers have discovered on their own-- the stack size you list on the auction house has an effect on your profits and sales volumes. There are many types of things that you'll find yourself selling as you get more involved in making gold on the AH, and most of them are being bought by people who need more than one, but less than a stack.

The buyers for whatever product you're marketing are motivated mostly by price, however also by convenience. If a buyer needs a stack of 3, say, Infinite Dusts, unless you provide them with the choice of buying a stack of three, they need to choose between 3 singles or a stack that would leave them with leftovers. If the prices are the same, they'll typically go for avoiding leftovers. Many will even pay more for singles to they can avoid leftovers. You also have to factor in that many of them use the default AH interface, complete with its horrible sorting, so they may just buy the singles to avoid having to page through to the stack size they want.

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Filed under: Time Is Money

Breakfast Topic: Presenting the ever-accessible auction house!

So a few days ago, word was released that Blizzard is working on a new feature for the ever-changing armory...they're going to add auction house access without being in-game!

Now, I don't know about you, but I find that all kinds of awesome. I love playing the auction house (it's oddly satisfying...don't ask), and have many times in the past simply logged on to check my auctions to see how they were doing. Personally, I find this to be an amazingly convenient ability for the armory. Unfortunately, the dreaded 'p-word' has reared its ugly head:


Most of us know that 'premium features' will usually equal 'if you want it, let's see some green.' I have to say that I wasn't super impressed with the idea of paying for yet another feature, but in today's world of micro-transactions and the like, would you pay extra money for that kind of convenience? Take the iPhone app, for example. Say the 'freemium' version is, well, free, and the premium armory--complete with auction house extra five dollars. As far as micro-transactions go, that's not too shabby. Honestly? I'd pay it.

So what do you guys think? Are you excited about the auction house tracking in the WoW Armory? Do you think it's the worst idea ever? If you like it, would you pay for it? Yes/no/banana?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Addon Spotlight: Auction Filter Plus

I want to apologize to the other writers for dominating the Add-on Spotlight feature for a few weeks. I think it's an obvious I'm an add-on superfreak. I'm constantly upgrading add-ons, trying add-ons, ditching add-ons, and replacing add-ons. This feature, therefore, is something I really enjoy.

I want to talk to you today about "the little add-on that could." This little piece of programming brilliance has been around forever and over the course of time some of it's features have even been worked into the default World of Warcraft user interface. Auction Filter Plus won't die though. The author just keeps honing and refining it for all of us to enjoy.

What does it do? It allows you to manipulate auction search results in ways that the default auction interface does not. How many times have you been to the auction house looking for silk cloth for example, typed "silk cloth" in the search field and had results that included "bolts of silk cloth" as well? One of the things AFP does is allow you to do "exact" name searches which allows you to find precisely what you're looking for without a lot of "bogus" (as my guild leader would say) search results.

Suppose you need a lot of that silk cloth, fast. Your wallet is heavy, you're not worried about the price, and you just need a ton of silk and you don't want to mess around with the vendors who are selling it one-piece-at-a-time. AFP also allows you to specify what stack sizes you want to search. So in this example, you could click the "Stacks of 20" box and it would only show results that were stacks of twenty.

The most obvious and beautiful feature of AFP though, is shown to the player on a budget who is shopping for stackable items. I used to only buy big stacks, because I assumed people who were selling the items in bulk were offering better prices. I've found since installing AFP that this isn't always true. Once you have your search results in the auction window, you can click "Show Best Deals" which will then categorize auction offers based on the cost-per-item. Sometimes the lowest buyout is not always the best deal!

You can also hide items that don't have a buyout, or (if you're a gear freak like me) hide items you can't afford. There are other features, but the best way to find out about them is to download the add-on, or check out the write-up on one of the add-on sites. In my books, this little gem will always be a "must have" in my add-on arsenal.

Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight, Making money

Enchants on the AH in WotLK

On the French-language EU forums, Blizzard poster Thyvene gives enchanters a hint of news on something they've been wanting for a long time: the abilitity to sell their enchants on the auction house. For those of you attempting to confirm on the site, but failing your language skill check, Thyvene's comments approximately translate to:

The developers plan to give to enchanters the possibility to sell their enchantments at the auction house, nevertheless this shouldn't be implemented into the game before the next expansion, Wrath of the Lich King.

Of course, without knowing an official release date for Wrath of the Lich King, this change could still be a year off. However, I'm certainly looking forward to a time when my enchanter won't have to stand around in a major city spamming macros in oder to market and sell my wares.

[Thanks, Boubouille!]

Filed under: Enchanting, Wrath of the Lich King

Are Auction Houses coming to Shattrath?

In a word, no. Blizzard blue Nethaera posted in response to the umpteenth request for an Auction House in Shattrath. At least this time we got an explanation behind the decision.

Blizzard feels an AH in Shattrath will eliminate the only reason for players to interact with others in older cities. They reason players can use the Shatt portals to get to the AH in the older cities and then activate their hearthstone to get back to the Outlands.

This plan also spreads out the population. Anyone remember when their was only one AH for each faction? Ironforge was known as Lagforge. Think what would happen to your framerate should they put an Auction House in the Outlands capital. Yeah, not pretty.

Of course "not currently planned" doesn't mean "never." When the WotLK expansion launches and Dalaran becomes the player hub, they may reconsider. Until then, don't be getting friendly with any Innkeeper other than the ones in Shattrath, because your hearthstone setting isn't going to be changing for a long time. Unless you're a mage.

Filed under: Economy, The Burning Crusade

The biggest bargain in the AH

Now that the 48-hour downtime has begun for "selected realms", which unfortunately includes my home turf of Magtheridon, I feel I can release this delicious orange of wisdom for future downtimes.

Blizzard GMs have confirmed that auctions do indeed continue during downtime. Specifically, this means that if you find an auction with an extremely low bid using Auctioneer and bid on it right before the server goes down, you can pick up that item insanely cheap.

Hopefully, this method has netted me two stacks of Arcane Dust for the low, low price of 1 silver 10 copper. Since other realms may be suffering the same 48-hour downtime, this plan may help ease the pain of two days without WoW by knowing you're at least making some gold!

Edited to fix link.

Filed under: Making money

Insider Trader: Working the Auction House

Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

Ready to become a market force? This week's Insider Trader positions you to fatten your pockets and line your coffers with every trip to the Auction House. No doubt about it, there are loads of AH guides and "rules" with advice on how to buy, how to sell and even how to play the market to resell items for profit. We'll show you where to find the information, mods and ideas you need to start using the Auction House with confidence.

The best guide to the actual mechanics of using the Auction House comes from Blizzard itself. A careful review will give you a firm grasp of the basic parameters for profitable buying or selling. Beyond the basics, what most players want is solid advice on what's worth selling on the AH, how much to charge and how to get the best buys. And that's where we start looking at how to gain the edge over other players ...

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Filed under: Economy, Add-Ons, Guides, Making money, Insider Trader (Professions)

Auction House manipulation: how far is too far?

Over the past few weeks, I've heard now of two different AH plots coming to fruition. A while back, Seth sent us a tip about a character named Zygar on Maelstrom who'd bought out every single item on the AH that was selling for less than 2g, and relisted it at 2g. Apparently it worked (because lots of people were willing to spend 2g on that stuff), but it didn't make lowbies happy, because they didn't have that kind of money to spend on the items they wanted.

And yesterday, I heard from Cheryl, who told us about Flaggen on Kirin Tor-- he did the opposite, and started way undercutting the other jewelcrafters on the realm. Another interesting idea, and one that's also working, because he's outselling (obviously) every other jewelcrafter out there.

Is this kind of AH manipulation "griefing"? Should Blizzard step in when one character, either by sending prices high or low on the AH, changes the whole economic system on a realm? I'd think not-- these economies were designed by Blizzard to be run and controlled by players, and all the players on a realm can stop this kind of thing easily-- just stop buying from Flaggen (if you disagree with him, although some players have rightfully pointed out that what he's doing drives down prices for the gem customers) or the guy on Zygar. But on the other hand, great discrepancies in the amounts of gold at level 70 vs. the lower levels (buying out all the items below 2g probably wasn't possible before Outland) could classify this as griefing, and cause Blizzard to step in-- perhaps by limiting the amount of auction purchases by one character. What do you think? How laissez-faire should Blizzard be about AH takeovers like this?

[ Thanks Cheryl and Seth! ]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tricks, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Economy, Making money

Sold to the highest bidder, or is it?

The Auction House system in WoW is one of the more popular mechanics in the game. Having a way to trade goods is one of the ways that Blizzard puts the Massively Multiplayer in MMO. But I know that when I use the AH, 90% of the time I buy something using the buyout price. I don't have the patience to participate in a bidding war. And evidently this is a trend within the game.

Tobold explains that the system is actually designed so that players will be more than likely to choose the buyout rather than play the bidding game. Part of this comes from the fact that to not have an item sell is to lose the down payment we place on it when a bid is first posted. With the Auction House as it is currently designed the bidder gets no sense of the bid prices, of the history of bids, of really any of the information that someone might see on an auction site like eBay. It's actually too transparent for the purpose as an auction system.

There have been suggestions as to how this might be improved. Perhaps, like Tobold says, tweaking the interface so that the auctions have more information provided might work. Reader Joe Szilagyi wrote in with a different suggestion. He mentioned the possibility of making the AH like the PvP system, system-wide rather than server-specific. He explains that this would be a way to bolster the economies of lower population servers while at the same time allowing loot to be available to both the Horde and the Alliance. The daunting task of such a reconfiguration makes this an unlikely solution, but it poses an interesting hypothesis. Either way you look at it, the Auction House system is a good game mechanic with some room for improvement. What would you suggest as a way to fine tune the AH?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

World of motecrafting post 2.1

A couple of interesting Mote related changes have popped up in the patch. I was well aware of the Mote of Shadow change-- those babies are now dropping not off of demons, but only off of void creatures (you can find tons of them in the southern part of Hellfire Peninsula, and in small pockets in many instances). Which makes sense, but makes you wonder why they dropped off of demons in the first place-- or why it matters which one they drop off of at all.

The other change was a little more hidden in the patch notes, and most players didn't realize it would be happening until they saw the drops: Essences are now dropping in Outland in the same place that Motes are dropping. You remember Essences-- they're the elemental components of many recipes found on the Azeroth side of the Dark Portal. A few players were unhappy that Essences were dropping instead of Motes, until Drysc confirmed that Essences are actually dropping in addition to Motes-- it's not a matter of either/or at all. Essences are completely extra.

And of course that'll have an effect on the economy. Right now, Essences are selling for up to 1g a pop on most AHs (Update: and even higher on other servers, sometimes up to 15g apiece), but they still only vendor for 4s, which is pennies compared to even most gray drops in Outland. And that price will probably drop anyway, considering the market is about to be flooded with them. One solution is to raise the vendor price. And another solution, say a few enterprising players, would be to give Alchemists a Transmute Essence to Mote spell, either at a 2-to-1 exchange rate, or a long-ish cooldown, that would set the economy on these little things right. Clearly there's a need for having Essences around (how else could you enchant firey weapon, right?), but it looks like Blizzard could have put a little more thought into their effect on the economy.

Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Making money

This space for rent

There are many places that lie empty within Azeroth, those interesting nooks and crannies that get our imaginations going. While exploring Stormwind I came across Cut-throat Alley, a little cul-de-sac hidden away in the Canal District. This is exactly the sort of place that makes me curious. I can see in my mind's eye a thoroughfare bustling with shady dealers and rogues, tucked away and out of site from the rest of the city, their dealings too dark to go on under the public eye. One of my favorite empty spaces is now filled: I used to camp all my characters out in what is now the Stormwind Auction House, since I enjoyed pretending it was my own private home within the city.

Or the courthouse in the Dwarven District. Here the great magistrates of Stormwind might have sat, dealing out justice to those who break the realm's laws. There are all sorts of stories that we can build out of these empty spaces. I once found an empty cave in Azshara without mob or mining node, the sort of place you might expect a hermit to hang out in, or a mountain troll, hungering for the flesh of wayward travelers.

Perhaps these are the places that originally had content but somehow it changed over the course of the development cycle. In the case of Cut-throat Alley, it looks to me like it was the original home for the rogues of Stormwind, but somehow seemed too difficult to find. Now, being that I play mostly Alliance characters, I don't know the empty spaces that might be found in Orgrimmar or Undercity. But these places get me wondering.

Are there any empty spaces in the game that you wonder about?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends

Auction House Updates in 2.1

I love the Auction house. I've got a mule parked there just specifically so I can log over periodically, scan, and then snap up any bargains and either stash them for tradeskills, send them to an alt, or resell them if it's an item that has been severely under priced. (I can't tell you how many copies of the Savory Deviate Delight recipe I've bought from the AH for 40s that I resold for at least 5g.) But I have to admit, I've never thought that the search interface was too terribly good. Then I saw a blue reply to a forum request for changes to the auction house that made me a happy panda. According to Eyonix:

...We're also working to improve our user-interface, which includes the auction house. Below are some of the changes slated to be implemented for the next patch.

  • The Auction House now has a reset button that will reset all fields you have entered to allow you to quickly try a different search.
  • When items are being put up for sale on the Auction House, if the item you are putting up for bid is the same item and quantity as the previous item you put up for bid, it will automatically fill in the price and buyout for you with your previous price.
  • Gems are now searchable in the Auction House under the heading of Gem with the gems then broken up by color so you can search for all gems of a specific color.
I just wonder if the end version of automatic fill they implement will remember prices from when you were logged in before like Auctioneer does? Or will the auction house "forget" things as soon as I log out -- or perhaps even as soon as I close the auction house interface? It's not enough of a change to replace Auctioneer for me, but it's a step in the right direction at least.

And I lest I forget -- Hooray searchable gems by color in case you missed it in the previous patch notes!

[via the General forum]

Filed under: Patches, Items, News items

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