Auction House Strategies

golden lotus flower

Screenshot Courtesy of Wowhead.com

 

When you’re trying to make gold in World of Warcraft, it’s a good idea to have several Auction House strategies.

The last time I wrote about making gold before Warlords of Draenor launches, I wrote about several addons you could use to make your use of the Auction House a lot more streamlined.

Now, there are several strategies one could use in the Auction House environment, but the ones you choose will be dependent on several factors:

1. The amount of gold you have to invest

2. The stock you have on hand to sell

3. The amount of risk you are willing to shoulder

4. Your server’s economy

5. Thinking outside the box

 

So while I’m not going to proclaim one strategy as better than another, I’m just going to talk about different ways of doing things, as I’ve had varying levels of success with each of these.

As with all things in World of Warcraft, you need to test for yourself what works best for you.

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1. The amount of gold you have to invest

You may have heard of people talking about ‘playing the auction house‘ or ‘flipping items‘. This is basically “Buying Low, Selling High”.

This will involve learning to use your auction house addons effectively to scan the database, and find items which are currently being sold for prices lower than they usually do, buying them, and re-listing them higher.

This technique can be useful, if you don’t have a lot of competition and aren’t a complete idiot who thinks that just because no one else is selling Netherweave Bags at the moment that you can sell them for 400g just because no one else is.

For the technique to be successful, you should know the average price of items, and if you are lucky enough to be the only one selling, you can set the market price 10-15% higher than average, and they will probably still sell.

Start with a few items that you are familiar with, and refine your technique with practice.

2. The stock you have on-hand to sell

If you have a wide variety, and format of goods to sell, you’re guaranteed to tap the market place somewhere.

It’s a good idea to sell your items in as many forms as possible, raw, smelted, transmuted, crafted, cut, un-cut etc.

If you have a lot of stock, dumping it all on the Auction House is usually a very bad idea. It floods the marketplace, and drives prices down. (More on this later)

Depending on your storage situation, it’s best to drop feed your items into the Auction House.

Let’s say for example you go and farm 20 stacks of Ghost Iron Ore.

If everything is selling equally well, then you should divide your Ghost Iron Ore up equally – list 25% on the AH raw, list another 25% smelted, prospect 25% with your Jewelcrafter, and send the remaining 25% to your Alchemist for transmutation to Trilium Ore. I recommend Trilium at this stage more so than Living Steel, since people need 40 bars to progress on their legendary quest-line which many are still running for alts.

At this stage of the expansion when many people are easily clearing normal mode raids, the need for crafted ilvl 553 items has dropped off a bit on my server, but keep an eye on the market – as some people are gearing alts for Warlords of Draenor, you never know if something may sell. Watch the market!

3. The amount of risk you are willing to shoulder

We are now in the last 90 days (check my countdown timer in the sidebar for the exact time left till launch) of Mists of Pandaria.

Consider for a moment, which items will be needed in Warlords of Draenor (or perpetually in fact), versus those things which are selling well now, while people are still progressing through the Siege of Orgrimmar.

If you are buying low and selling high, and someone lists  20 Sparkling Rivers Hearts on the AH for 1 gold each, ask yourself if it’s a good idea to buy these now? They might be selling in the region of 15-40g normally – but with 90 days left of the expansion…what are the odds that you will be able to resell them for a profit?

If you want to pick up bargains now, try to only pick up those things which you know will still be in demand in the coming expansion…you will need to decide what those are based on your server’s economy, and what you’ve learned through the launches of past expansions.

There are some items which are always needed…

4.  Your servers economy

So we’ve talked about buying low and selling high, spreading out your wares over several industries, and we’ve talked about risk, and now let’s talk about competition.

One of the ways you can ensure that you always make gold, is to know which items have the potential to sell, which currently does not have a lot of competition.  There is an addon you can get which will show you that, but it’s also a good idea to get to know the other sellers on your Auction House and observe their techniques.

A technique amongst many, is simply to list their auctions for the cheapest price.

This involves Player A listing their auctions.

Player B comes along and lists their auctions for slightly less.

Player A then uses Auctionator to ‘check for undercuts’, or checks their auctions from their phone using the Armory, cancels their initial Auctions and then relists their auctions a second time by undercutting Player B.

This is a very popular technique because it will result in success if you happen to be the lowest possible auction at the time a willing buyer comes along.

The pitfalls of this technique are obvious;

Your time is spent checking on auctions, whether this is in-game, by way of the Battle.net website’s community AH, or on your phone with Armory. You could be listing and relisting auctions several times a day – which costs you gold every time you do it.

5. Thinking outside the box

Here’s where we come to a bit of a grey area.

Evil but Effective Auction House Strategies

I’ve already talked about farming the right items to sell, spreading your items over several professions and formats, now let’s talk about what you can do once you’ve made some gold.

So now you’ve got a bit of gold in your pocket and you want to use it wisely…

Elite Evil Practice 1:

Gouging the Auction House is a technique used by many a ‘gold goblin’. It may well earn you some RAGE from other players, so if you’re going to do it, you might want to consider using a second account.

Or you can just sit outside the AH on Mimirons Head and laugh at all the lesser mortals scrounging around for coppers.

mimirons headScreenshot courtesy of Wowhead.com

Here is an example of gouging: (using my old staple as an example again!)

Player A has some gold, and one or two Netherweave Bags to sell.

Netherweave Bags are currently selling steadily at 45 g per bag.

Player A lists his two Netherweave Bags for 15 g.

Now this is the part where you need to keep a close eye on the Auction House…

If your ‘market gouge’ is going to be successful, it means that a flurry of players who are using the popular ‘list and relist lower to be cheapest’ strategy are going to lament the price of Netherweave Bags, but will illogically STILL POST THEIR AUCTIONS LOWER.

This allows Player A to swoop in and buy all the bags that are listed for 15 g and relist them for 39-45g.  Very easy money, if you know what you’re doing.

All it took was a bit of gold, a scoach of evil, and eyes like a hawk.

Elite Evil Practice 2:

Artificial Price Inflation is another technique which can be used to take advantage of players who don’t pay proper attention to their auctions. Here is an example;

This technique works best with items which are highly desirable and have been known to fluctuate in price, depending on supply and demand. I’m going to use Golden Lotus as an example.

Player A has 50 Golden Lotus to sell. But there is a fair amount of competition to sell, and prices are up and down like a yo-yo.

Player A lists 3-4 Golden Lotus for 300-400% more than the average price.

Player A then lists several Golden Lotus for mid-range prices.

Player A also then makes sure that he has a few Golden Lotus listed that are near the ‘bottom’ of the pricing scale – in order to generate sales.

What is happening here, is that Player A is taking advantage of people who have installed add-ons such as Trade Skill Master, but have not yet begun to understand their market economy, or how the add on actually works.

Such add-ons promote the use of scanning for bargains as one of the best ways to make gold.  However, not all add-ons can differentiate between items SELL price and item LIST price. So many of these add-ons will flag Golden Lotus as an item which is currently in demand, and will also state that there is an X % profit to be made.

If you are not 100% on your toes, and immediately know that the average price of Golden Lotus is NOT the inflated price, then you are going to spend a lot of gold on an item, thinking you will make a profit, only to check your mail later and cry over gold you’ve spent.

If you aren’t the kind of person who wants to monitor each and every auction and you just want to increase your income from selling the right item, then please go and get yourself this add-on. It is absolutely worth every penny.

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