Rather than take a post and bury it in hundreds of others, I wanted to take the time to page a front end page on the matter of making the most out of the market. Now, I am far from an economics major but I do run a pretty tight house budget and have a passion for algebra – the basis of any market.
Taps and Sinks
Discussed here and here. Taps are the money coming into the system, drains is the money leaving. Newer games have a decent enough balance (ESO being the only exception coming to mind where the drains are crazy) while older games increase the taps in order to allow new players to catch up to old.
To maximize taps, you want to do 2 main things. Manage your inventory so that you can stock up on stuff to sell back to NPCs (often times with a “sell all junk” macro/mod) and focus rewards on the monetary value (e.g. take a plate item that sells for more than a cloth item, if the cloth item isn’t an upgrade).
To minimize drains, you want to do 2 main things. Never repair unless your gear is broken or you’re chain running a raid/dungeon. The odds of getting an upgrade before failure are massive. Avoid any and all crafting professions until you are rich or have a really good understanding of economics – most are huge money pits.
Discussed here. The concept here is that you need to compare any two activities with the ability to generate money. Farming for an hour vs crafting rings for an hour yield much different results. The Saronite Shuffle is a good example. Of course, you need seed money to start making money, so sometimes you need to start small.
This concept goes out the window if you’re having fun though. Some people really enjoy farming around the world and hate running crafting macros in town.
Buy Low, Sell High
A-duh. I can’t seem to find my reference post for this but everyone has heard of the concept of buying low and selling high. Unfortunately, this is near impossible to do natively in-game. In WoW, I had to use a mod to track deals for me. Oh the whole, this isn’t such a big deal but when you’re talking about big ticket items, then you need to pay attention. There are a couple examples:
- Find rare or above items that have desired stats for a class at a comparatively low price. If all the blue items are selling for 100 and you find one for 10, make sure it’s something people want!
- Understand market shift based on day of the week. Weekends have lower selling prices and weekdays are higher, especially around patch day (if there is one). In a month, I made over 300 million in Diablo3 just buying books/gems for crafting this way.
- Know the AH deposit fee and AH cut% when posting. Some items seem like a deal but 15% of 10,000 is 1500 out of pocket.
- Buying in bulk and selling that bulk in pieces often works wonders. Stacks of 20, split into stacks of 5 seems to always work for some reason (or whatever that game’s optimal stack size is).
- Patches that increase item level increase the cost of enchants/gems/support on those items.
- Expansions cause a massive explosion in base crafting materials as new players and alts level up. Given that they are dirt cheap at the tail end of an expansion, this can make you a bajillionaire.
Discussed in part here. This one is where you separate the kids from the adults. While I say spreadsheets you can get a similar effect from a mod. The concept is that you need to keep track of the crafting cost of materials and time, then figure out what the resulting item will sell for, taking into account AH cut. Sounds complex but here’s a simple example.
3 pieces of Dust will make a Shard. Dust sells for 1g each. Shards sell for 5g each. The AH cut is 10%. You make 1.5g per craft, assuming you sell at 5g. [5-(5*.1) – 3*1 = 1.5]
My tactic here is to take the buying prices on weekends for the common materials and plug them in a worksheet. I then create an additional worksheet for each crafting profession I have. Each line item is the final crafted item’s calculated cost (using references to the first sheet), then factored in the AH cut to find my minimum sale price. I then put in another field as the current sell price for weekdays. I use color coding to make everything with a certain % or gold amount to turn green and I only make that stuff. In WoW, inscription had over a hundred runes. Few actually turned a profit. Some that did, turned a crazy profit, so I only made those.
Mod it up!
If the game supports mods, use mods. Use mods that support the items above. Get them from reputable sites to avoid key loggers! At the very least have mods that:
- Sell all junk when at a vendor
- Post items on the auction house based on existing prices
Those two combined should put you in the top 10% finance bucket.