Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rumours of my death have been greatly exagerated....

... said the Obsidium Shuffle.

Yep. The shuffle is far from dead. Here are the prices on my server:

Obsidium Ore: 200+ stacks at 30g/stack or less, constantly.
Green gems: 7, 14, 7, 7, 13, 8. (using minimum price right now, rounded down)
Dust: 7g, GCE: 25g, HShard: 30g

What does this tell us? Green gems are averaging 9g+ uncut on the AH, the same floor as before. If you disenchant everything and AH the Zephyrite, you still see nearly the exact same profit, and once you factor in rare quality jewelery (even at a paltry 20g/item, which is far below what you can get) you come out at 10+g per green gem.

Net result? Obsidium is even more profitable than it was, because of two reasons: Ore is bottoming out, and less people are doing the shuffle.

I for one, plan on sharding hundreds of stacks of ore this weekend to take advantage!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Sprinkler System Approach to Goldmaking

While reflecting on my options for the upcoming 4.1 patch, I finally grasped a concept that has been floating around in my brain undeveloped for a few months now.  I realized that even though our instincts tell us to always make the highest priced item and sell that, that is not the way to maximize your income.

Most of the markets and niches that exist in the WoW economy can be derived from three main sources: herbs, ore, and drops (greens, cloth, etc.). When you buy herbs, you have a large number of options available to you for processing these herbs. You can make potions, flasks, glyphs, darkmoon cards, ink, and other things to list on the auction house. Before I understood that there is not unlimited demand, my goal was to make the most expensive item I could out of them - Darkmoon trinkets. (herb -> pigment -> ink -> dmc -> deck -> trinket)  I spent countless hours milling and making inks, only to realize that I could not move them as quickly as I wanted to.

So, I started selling decks and trinkets. My profits went up, even though I got a smaller ROI on my herbs. I went even further, and started selling cards, decks, and trinkets. Up again went the profits. I continued in this vein until I was selling damn near every thing I could make with herbs via inscription, and my income skyrocketed to over 10k/day net. Sure I was spending more money to make this much, but that's ok - I had the capital to do so.

The point I want to impress on you is that when a goblin tells you to diversify, he isn't necessarily saying that you need to level a new profession or alt. That goblin is simply telling you that you need to find more avenues to use in order to increase the volume of your sales. There is a finite amount of demand in a server, and no matter how many thousands of glyphs you post - there is only going to be a few sold, and that amount isn't going to change very drastically no matter the price. To increase your profit past that point you have to sell something else.

Picture your products as a drip sprinkler system. At each designated point, a little water seeps out (a sale). The more holes you have, the more water gets out. The more water gets out, the happier your lawn (bank account) is.  The water left in the hose is your inventory, and the less there is the better, because you know that all that water went towards a happy lawn.

This is why Blizz is nerfing the shuffle, incidentally - because a sprinkler system with an open hose at the end, on the sidewalk, doesnt make the grass greener at all, it just uses up all the water. =)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

And off we go!

Having wanted to do this for some time, I finally took the plunge today. Welcome to my new (and first!) blog!

So why am I doing this? Well, I decided that I wanted to help all those people whom I deal with in WoW who have absolutely no idea how to make gold with any reliability. First, though, a little about myself.

I'm located on the Illidan server, hordeside, in the guild <Angry>. We are 13/13 heroic this tier, and ranked top 40 US for progression - and I'm happy to say that it is the best fitting guild for me that I've ever been in. They do everything, and they do it well.

My main is Mallrats, who was my first ever character on WoW and has been my primary toon for the entire time.

I'm currently floating around 235k gold, which is a little lower than it has been because I spent about 50k yesterday on boe epic gear for my 85 mage (for no apparent reason either, as I haven't played him since lol).

I have to say, that so far the lessons I've learned by making gold seem to be eminently transferable to other avenues. There are a few core values that really set the stage for everything I do in WoW, and if only I could figure out how to apply them irl, I'd be set. =D

1: Always be doing something.
  This is the most important one, and sadly enough it's the one I have the most trouble with staying on top of. What does this mean? It means that if your toon is afk in org and you're tabbed out watching a movie, you had better be crafting a ton of something to pass the time. Waiting for the next pull on heroic nef? Prospect some ore. Waiting on your bg queue? Go do some archaeology. The key concept here is that Time is Money (incidentally this is one of my bank alts' guild names) - Everything we do has a cost and a result attached to it. Call it an opportunity cost if you will, it signifies that you spent x amount of time doing y. That time could have been spent in other ways, ways with different costs and different results. The goal is obviously to be utilizing your time and other assets in the most profitable way possible.

2: Don't waste your resources.
  This should be a no-brainer, but we all do it. For example, I just spent 50k on boe epics for a toon that I play very rarely. Don't do that! There are other ways that you can waste resources that are less obvious though. If you are trying to bully a market, the odds are very good that you are wasting your gold. Sometimes this works out, but the vast majority of the time you at best break even. Stockpiling is risky too, but a whole lot safer than actually monkeying with the markets and it doesn't really fall into this category unless your gamble fails miserably. (and for the record, my guild bank full of pyrite ore makes me uneasy)

3: Think before you act.
  Before you buy, ask yourself a few questions: Will this make me money? How fast can I expect to turn these items around? How much should I make? How can I minimize the time required to process this? Little things like that will impact your bottom line quite significantly, because you're more likely to recognize a bad investment if you're always thinking about your profit.

There are more, but those are the most important ones by far, because they will get you in the habit of doing the right thing, and that is better than any random tip out there. But, speaking of random tips, here's a little bit of insight on one of the ways I make gold:

Darkmoon Faire Reputation
  Remember the Insane in the Membrane achievement? Well, people still do this, and they do it all the time. One of the biggest time and gold sinks in this achievement is the DMF part. The only way to increase this reputation past friendly is by turning in large numbers of decks. Hrm... A decent number of people needing a specific set of craftable items in large quantities??? Like any smart goblin, I recognize an opportunity! The decks that you can make are many - you can make Rogue/Sword/Mage/Demon decks (25 rep each) or you can make the Vanilla, BC, Wrath, and Cata decks (350 rep each). Me? I make them all. Why limit oneself, right?

  The first step is to break things down, and for this we'll focus on the Rogues deck. There is only one way to manufacture these cards, and that is through Inscription by using Hunter's Ink which is made after milling Mageroyal, Briarthorn, Swiftthistle, Bruiseweed, and Stranglekelp. Of these, the latter two are the 'high level' herb, generating double the quantity of rare inks. Ok now we know where to get the ink, and how to make the cards. Now, we need to set a price. I arbitrarily chose 4g/1rep for lower decks and 5g/1rep for the epic ones, thinking that I'd make people pay for the privilege of  turning in 14x fewer cards. This means I price my Rogue/Sword/Mage/Demon decks at 100g, and all of the Vanilia/BC/WotLK ones at 1750g. Cata decks obviously still command much higher prices, even on such a developed server as mine. (although earthquake decks push my 1750g limit on some days)

  The next step is to automate material gathering as much as possible. I used TradeSkillMaster to set a snatch price of around 60% retail, and then broke that down into ink, pigment, and individual cards as well - you will be amazed at how many people will list, for example, a Two of Mages for 3g. Keep in mind that Rogues is 3 cards, Swords is 4, and Mage/Demon is 5 cards, so adjust your buylist accordingly. I don't snatch herbs because I do massive herb buys as a part of my glyph industry (which gives me an outlet for the normal inks).

  So you've got your buylist set up and you've set prices, now all there is to do is list them (48h list) and wait. This is NOT a high volume market, you will probably go 2-3 weeks without selling any epic decks, and then when the faire is close they will all sell in a firestorm of profit. The minor decks will however sell much more reliably, someone generally buys every single one off the AH about once a week.

  An important note is storage, because there are about 250 different cards. I choose to post all of the rare quality cards on the auction house, between 20 and 3000g. Set up a shopping list in Auctionator and routinely search for each individual group of cards (" of undeath" and so forth, with no " so that it searches for every card), and if you notice that all 8 cards have a presence on the AH, feel free to buy the ones you need, cancel the ones you had, make a deck, and post that instead! This reduces the number of auctions you have, and the decks sell for more gold anyway.

  Anyway, hope this helped any aspiring goblins on their way to riches. =)

 - Mallrat