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postheadericon The Elite Guide Continued R.O.I

Measuring your turnover, and return on investment – this involves more maths

First consider your turnover,

How much money did you decide was your working capital.
Lets assume 100 gold as it makes the sums nice and easy.

If you keep this cash separate (perhaps you put it into your Alliance and Horde guild banks and do not touch it so you can keep tabs on the amount.

Every  week, check your cash. If at the end of week one you have 180 cash then your return on investment is 80% per week. Simple
However, you then need to factor that in the second week your working capital is 180 gold, so to achieve the 80% growth again you need to finish week two with 324 gold.

At first this will just be a case of buying “more” of each item from your existing portfolio. However, soon you will be restricted by the market. You will run out of stock to buy, and your own actions will start to affect the price of the stock – causing it to rise as you increase demand.

After a few weeks you will need to drop some items from your portfolio and take some higher value items to replace them. But to keep the 80% R.O.I you need to make sure these items are as profitable as the original items, and you can “turn them over” as often

Eventually you will “peak” and be buying and selling the top level items. This may well take some time – but it will happen.

So your R.O.I will be based purely on your ability to spot individual bargains. This is where the data you have collected and populated your “material master” with is invaluable. With this you will be able to read the market.
You will then be constrained by something other than your cash….Your storage space.

If you followed our tips you have an Alliance guild,  Horde Guild, decent bags, and all ten toon’s active with bag space available. But if you are going to make tens of thousands of gold, you will still need to use this effectively.

Towards the end of our record attempt, storage space was the one constraint we had. We had two guilds all with maximum guild tabs available.
Between all the members over 160 normal bank “accounts” (16 members with all ten ‘toons each active)
And we still only just had enough.

Advanced Gold Guide Banner 

Measuring inventory costs

We started to measure our turnover in terms of bank slots. So here’s some more maths
Say we have 100 slots (you will have far more – but again 100 is easier)
Single market strategy means holding stock , waiting for the market to rise. However, every day that the stock is held is costing us profit potential. It is preventing us from buying other stock as we would have no-where to store it.

Suppose we spend 10,000g to fill these slots  -  an average of 100g per slot – assuming we decide we want 80% R.O.I per week.

Altogether we have 100,000g (but have no room to put anything else we might want to buy)

To get 80% ROI on our total working capital not just our invested capital per week we need to turn each storage slot over 8 times a week at 100% profit per time. OR accept that we simply cannot invest all our gold.

Each slot needs to generate 800g this week. Almost impossible.

So, every time you buy and store items,  run this calculation through.
What fraction of a week will I need to store this item, and what profit will it offer at the end ?

You are looking for 100g in 1/8th of a week. You are very unlikely to achieve this, but the closer you get (to whatever your desired R.O.I is the better.

This is where you need to be very careful what you buy. Good long term investments have to be very good.

Lower percentage short term investments will bring you more profit – but require a lot of work on your part rushing to and from the auction houses across and possibly across the factions.
A cross market approach will remove most of the storage bottleneck problem, the items will be in transit for minutes, mostly in a characters backpacks. Don’t do cross market trading unless you can make a profit straight away.  Cross market trading is profitable when it is straight to market.

A quick note : Rarely during our record attempt  did we run out of profitable “stock” to buy.

On a full server with literally thousands of level 80 characters it is unlikely to happen. But if it does get tight don’t buy rubbish just to “keep it moving” Impatience will cost you money.

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Single Market Approach III

Selling.

Following this system with materials, reagents and consumables you can build up cheap stock and make killing after killing without ever farming anything yourself. This is a very effective method of making money in one market. It does however take time.

Selling is an art in itself however. For example, you have 50 stacks of iron bar. The average price you paid was 1 Gold 25 Silver per stack, they are now showing on the AH at 4 Gold each. An easy undercut.

Wait. Firstly put a couple of stacks on, 5 maximum, see how fast they sell, and more importantly WHO TO ! You will be told who bought it by mail.

If they sell fast, and to the same person, open up your “Social” tab, and “Whisper” that person directly.

“Hi, I’m [your name] you just bought a load of iron bar off me, do you want more at the same price”

Then set up a direct trade with them. Cutting out any auction tax.

Also if you flood the market, you risk being left with unsold stock, and you might get someone so desperate to sell that they undercut everything you have. You will then be faced with taking them all off auction and re-auctioning them (and losing your deposit), or sitting back and waiting  and hoping that yours sell.

Of course if someone undercuts you with say 10 stacks at a much lower price, consider buying them out. Which brings us nicely to the buyout prices.

Saronite Auction Prices

Always set a buyout ! Many people come to the Auction House to buy something they need now.

They would rather pay more and not wait than wait for your bargain with a buyout to finish its 12, 24 or 48 hour auction. Perhaps people think they will spark a bidding frenzy if they don’t set a buyout. Nope that won’t happen, and if there are a couple of bids then 99 times out of a 100 they will increase the bid by 1 copper piece.

It’s simple

Not setting a buyout will lose you customers, possibly lose you a sale, and over time lose you gold.

The level of buyout to minimum is something that you will learn. As a starting point, try this formula;

If we have an optimum price in mind, set the minimum to that, or 10% lower, and the buyout to 10% above.

Have a look at the Saronite auction above.

Do not flood the market. Many of these items here won’t sell. So the Auction levy will be wasted, as will your time and effort. If the market is full wait or check the other factions market. Also consider going to the trade channel and undercutting the best price very slightly – you will save the Auction Tax, so this should cover your undercut.

This saronite ore costs a lot to auction, and at the time we took this shot there were 7 pages of the stuff on this server. Why add more?

Also, this guy is selling for barely more than you can sell to a vendor for.

Can We at this point recommend the free addon at  http://www.wowecon.com/

This site could help you get the very best data for your marketing strategy. And the most accurate. It gives the price items actually SOLD for, as opposed to the price that was ASKED. A very important difference..

By using this addon (even the free version) for some time you will have a far greater data set, and that set will contain only the data you are interested. The averages will be the REAL selling averages, not an assumed one from a rough calculation.

Look at our chapter on Material Master for instructions on how to manage the data from your own portfolio. Although you don’t need to use our method, it does provide a pretty good template from which to work on.
Wowecon will give you the best data for your server. We definitely recommend it.

The premium version weighs in at $3.33 per month at the moment. Check out the free version, then consider upgrading.

We have nothing to do with WoWecon, but have used the software when setting up our guide, and found it very useful.

 

If you want to know how profit can be made more quickly, and are prepared to put in the effort to set up your  “Sales and Order Processing team” – the four ‘toons positioned at the various Auction Houses as we described earlier. Then you can look into the multi market solutions within this guide.

There is software that will get sales information for you, giving you the actual sale prices. It is called “Wowecon” and , although manually collecting this information is fine. Wowecon will collect from all auctions from people with it installed. It will collect only the actual auctions that SELL.

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Single Market Approach II

While we are on this, you will note we are not making a special section for looted weapons and armor.

The reason for this is because you are unable to plan for these items, they take up a full inventory space for each item, and as time goes on, all but the very best items have only gone one way in value …down!

The very best items being (generally)

Well those prefixed “Champion’s” are always reasonable, as are the very highest level items.

Look at the stats. Plate with high Str and Stam will often sell because Warriors are the most equipment reliant class to level with and therefore need to upgrade more often.

Having said that – weapons and armour are still not a good investment – overall the value of these items is still generally down.

The reason being that a very large number of the lower level ’toons you see running around are alt’s of high level characters, and while the high level character “could” afford to equip them with the best greens all the time from the AH..they generally don’t because;

a) It’s not very cost efficient. Leveling at an appropriate level is pretty easy and does not require up to date equipment.

b) The higher level character will provide the stuff themselves, either with a quick solo instance run (always fun) or by using their trade skill to make decent kit for the lower level ‘toon.

 

Weapons and Armour Prices for Warcraft

This is an graph of the average price of several green ”Champion’s” items and blue weapons and armor we tracked over a period of 18 months across several servers.

The overall trend is down, and continues to be down, we see no reason for this trend to change. By all means sell for the best you can, but these items are not a good investment option.

Storage

Later we show you how to set up your own guild for your auction house alt’s, you might think that with a guild bank you have loads of storage.

Well, for a single market approach, you really don’t. Of course it’s a lot more than most people, but it really isn’t enough.

Early on, if you have say 5 ‘toons on the go, consider setting up the rest. (you have a maximum of 50 altogether though only 10 per server) Set up the other 5 for your main server, level them until they can safely reach the major local town and get to the bank.

All characters come with a basic bank facility where you can store more items. Consider posting the stuff you want storing long term to these ‘toons and banking them in the initial free accounts they have (as you will need to log on as them , to get to them)

You do not want to fill your available storage space with slow moving low profit items. This costs you profit in the long run.

With a single market approach, keep the quicker moving stuff in your local bank or guild bank so you can get to it quickly. The slower moving stuff put in your lower level “storage mule” banks, and make a note of what you have !

If you are REALLY desperate for space there is one more short term thing you can do…

Post it to a ‘toon

The postal system will keep it for 28 days. It is VERY risky. We have “forgotten” about items like this in the past, after 28 days the server deletes them.

But if you are desperate,  make a note of what went to which ‘toon, assure yourself it is only a short term measure then do it. One advantage is it is very cheap.

Now, without buying a single extra bag space, you can store a lot more than most people would ever think.

Warcraft Character at Bank

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Single Market Approach I

Unless you track the prices of an item over time, you cannot really tell if you are getting a bargain or not.

So it’s a five stage process.

  •   Decide which items have the largest price variance
  •   Decide which subset of these items are within your effective price range
  •   Track these items over a period of time to establish trends
  •   When confident that the price is low – buy a mix of items (mix to minimize risk)
  •   Store in the most effective manner possible.
  •   When the price is high – sell

Most of that is common sense. However, actually achieving this in practice can take a long time
If you don’t approach the tasks in the right way and with the right tools.

An easy (but slightly inaccurate) way of doing this is to check each item from your portfolio on your server every day. List them in price order (“Auctioneer” allows you to do this)  then record the highest asking price, and the lowest asking price, taking a mean average of the two as that days figure.

Do this over a period of time. A bare minimum of 8 readings. (include weekends) to check the variance.
However, there is more to it than this. You see Warcraft prices are also very seasonal.
The seasons Warcraft follow do not correspond to “real “seasons.
Here are a list of Warcraft “seasonal” factors

  • Weekends
  • School holidays
  • Real Winter
  • Warcraft holiday seasons
  • Major patch time (leading up to and immediately after)
  • Expansions (leading up to and immediately after)

 

Some might quibble at the word “seasonal” in this context, but this phrase allows us to relate these events to the real world, because our responses need to be the same as the real world.

Our subset of items is the list of items that you can afford to speculate in. As mentioned before the Material Master has over 150 items. Unless you have a remarkable memory, and a lot of time on your hands, you are not going to master the seasonal subtleties of all these items. Nor should you.

Early on in your game some are going to be far too high a value for you.

 

Even if you can afford a couple of pieces of Titansteel at level 22. You really shouldn’t. Don’t over-reach yourself. Look at the list in the previous chapter and the tips on how to specialize in a portfolio.

Likewise when you are level 80 and have a couple of thousand gold, then dabbling in Ruined Leather Scraps is probably a waste of time .

We will come to “Return on Investment” later. Your time is a major investment, we don’t want you to waste it.

Pick a subset of items appropriate to your level (oh and include the appropriate cloth items)
Tracking items over time.
With a single market approach tracking the average cost over time is vital.
Have a look at this graph for Felweed prices over a two week period.

 

Warcraft Price Over Time

Above is a graph showing the price of 20 Felweed, from Terrokar in February /March 2010.

The time period shown on this graph range here is 28 days

The issue you can see with a single market approach is that, although Felweed has a decent price variation, you would really need to buy, then hold on to your stock for several days before reselling. This means you need to store it, and profit cannot be made straight away. A cross market approach, properly researched, gives you profit much more quickly

 

Buying.

In general, school and work holidays in the real world seem to trigger a “feeding frenzy” .. but not straight away. A few other people seem to sense the tide, and look to offload straight away (within 6 hours of getting home from school or work). These characters have been getting a nice stash of stock together, they are vaguely aware that it’s now a good time to sell..then they generally mess the whole process up by flooding the market, and pricing too high at first..then too low.

Why does this happen?

This seemed odd to us, until we realized that it was caused by FEAR!

People understood the seasonality, had managed to gather loads of stock, went to the Auction House on the day the “real” holiday started, saw a couple of others doing the same, and panicked.

Within that first couple of hours, you might even be able to get items CHEAPER than they have been all along. But a weekend is longer than that. If you have the gold – and the confidence BUY
Judge the best time to re-market your new items – probably late Friday night or early Saturday morning.
Look to use the 12 hour auction option (it is cheaper if it fails)

Overall we wouldn’t try and “buy out” the market until you have a feel for it. Other guides prompt you to do this, our evidence suggests it should only be done when you are supremely confident, but it is worth bearing in mind now and again.

Patch 3.4 seemed to shake things up a bit. We will keep this guide updated for Gold consortium members and try and predict the effect that upcoming major patches and updates may bring.

For now, it is key to understand that markets are primarily driven by emotion. In the real world AND in Warcraft. Whether that emotion is greed, fear or apathy, the prices charged and accepted are, to a larger degree than most would realize, a product of how people feel. You want an example ?

Imagine Gromdor has just been farming for Titanium ore – he has managed to get 12 pieces. He is only 75 gold short of the 5000 he really wants for his Epic training. He wants to train NOW.  He looks on the auction house and sees Titanium is 9 gold per ore – but he wants 80 REALLY quick.

What’s the betting he puts all 12 on for 75 gold – because he is simply impatient ? It’s that certain I wouldn’t even give odds. You buy it. You are sensible and patient  – you make (after AH cut) almost 30 for just stepping to the post box and reselling.

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Starting Out 2

Buy low – Sell High

Well that’s pretty obvious isn’t it?
However traditionally, in Warcraft you have been told to achieve this in one market.
It has been a matter of buying low, then waiting..and waiting  for that one market to change.
This works (to an extent) – the problem is EVERYONE WHO PLAYS THE MARKET DOES THIS.

Every other guide  we have read tells you to do this.
In fact later in this guide we will tell you how to do this PROPERLY. Including Inventory costs, storage costs and valuing your players downtime

But items can be changed by characters. Smelting, Milling, Prospecting and Disenchanting – the sub skills or Mining, Inscription, Jewel crafting and Enchanting have the ability to change one ingredient into another.

Regardless of what other guides tell you, turning ore into bars in not necessarily the most profitable route.

What is the mindset of the average player. Well we’ll tell you. It can be summed up.

“I’ll level and grind this week, and at the weekend I’ll group up and do some instances – and put whatever I’ve farmed on the AH because it’ll sell quicker on Friday and Saturday”

That’s it, that’s what the vast majority do. Later we’ll show you how to take advantage of that. After a while you will be able to guess to within a hour or so when is the best time to buy up all the cheap stuff, and when to wait to post your own.

Importantly we show you how other players habits and  the fear of item not selling – can make you a small fortune on a regular basis.

Making 500 gold an hour – well that’s definitely possible. We’ve made far more. But if you are smart you are not farming for gold. You make a wise investment – learn how to store it cheaply and efficiently (we’ll show you how to get a load of cheap storage) then offload at sky high prices into a hungry market.

Gold Guide White Background

Ok, now we are going to go through some steps to get you into a position to make money. Explain the choices you need to make along the way – and explain how these choices will fundamentally alter the way you can effectively make money

First, if you haven’t already, chosen your server go to www.wowrealmstatus.net or similar

Yup these guys know their stuff. Every realm listed, and if you press on the link to a server you are interested in they will break down the quantity of each faction, and show the “load” levels as a percentage of server capacity.

Remember the following :

High load servers = most fluid market

Large imbalance between factions = market opportunities for you if you ever dabble in cross market trading

  • PvP = Low level items more likely to sell, particularly the items with a
    level requirement of 29, 39, 49, 59 and 69. (PvP Toon’s may buy these)
  • PvE = Easier farming,

But on the down side a “mature” and full server status could mean your low level greens may not sell.
(see the sub chapter on professions to see how you can still make loads of money from these items however)

TIP: Don’t pick a PvP server if you don’t want to play in a PvP environment. Likewise don’t pick a PvE if you want to wander around “laying down some serious carnage” on the opposition faction during the normal course of play. Having fun is the most important part. Pick a style you will enjoy.

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Server Dynamics 4

These are ways to spend small – and sometimes massive – amounts of gold in a permanent way (i.e the gold is not just transferred to a different “real” character, it is removed from circulation from the server altogether.

    Here is a list of a few “Gold sinks”

    Soulbound Gear.  – Warcraft is a game primarily about “improvement”, and much of this improvement comes through upgrading your gear. However, as soon as you put on your “Bind on equip” Champion’s Helmet of the Upturned Potty..it is worth nothing to any other player. When you upgrade you will get the bare minimum value from an NPC merchant. So you buy an item for 50g from the Auction house..equip it, and the most it’s worth now is 1G 20S to an NPC vendor. The server has reclaimed 48G 80S

    Auction House Cut. – When you auction something there is a levy placed.

  •     15% of the merchant sale value in faction houses.
  •     75% of the merchant sale value in neutral houses.

    However, the merchant sale value is often far less than you will get AND you get this refunded if the product sells. The merchant sale value for Knothide Leather is 12 silver 50 copper, however the
    average auction house price for a successful sale is 66 silver 42 copper.  The percentage you pay is based on what an NPC would give you NOT the price you are likely to get at AH.

    WARNING – Some items (Saronite for example) have decent sales value to NPC’s..and subsequently very high levy’s. We have seen people put Auction’s on for less than they could    get just straight selling to an NPC..risking most of the value in levy if the item doesn’t sell and….

    Paying the House cut for a successful auction.

    Yes, if you are successful then the House will give you back the levy. but then a cut of the sale price. Your sale price.

  •   5% at a faction house
  •   15% at a neutral house

 

statistics

Mounts and vanity items

    This is where the server takes Gold off you in great big chunks. Epic Flying Mount training is 5000g. That’s a LOT of gold, and that gold goes straight to the server and is “lost” to the economy. Every mount, vanity item, talent respec and paid flight costs gold. And that gold is lost to the server.

    Ok so money is made, and money is “Lost”.

So why are we telling you this ?

Because this ebb and flow is where you make the money.  Players are always saving and spending.
Gold is always moving – and in very large amounts. This means :

  There is waste (and where there is waste – there is opportunity)

  There are changes (and where there are changes there is opportunity)

And finally…..

  There is IGNORANCE (and..you guessed it)..where there is ignorance,       there is opportunity

A volatile and flowing market is a mass of opportunity. A stagnant market offers none.

You generate wealth.

    Yes you (well your character) generates wealth. Just by doing what you do, you make gold. Every kill makes gold, every loot, every lovely find of a green (or sometimes blue) item adds the potential for a tidy sum of gold.
    You are a value stream. Here’s our point “Every player is a value stream, but only a tiny fraction understand the value they are creating” So…

You can use other people’s time to MAKE GOLD FOR YOU!

    There are three player-controlled markets in Warcraft –  Alliance, Horde and Neutral. They are never in balance – and the balance from faction to faction, item to item changes all of the time

    That is to say. On all servers there is an imbalance between the activity in the Auction Houses between the three markets. The prices are different on almost every item all of the time

    Even within one faction, the prices vary wildly over time. Friday markets are very different from Sunday night Monday Morning markets. High level instance loot rarely turns up in any quantity midday Wednesday afternoon during the working week..but at 2:00 am Saturday or Sunday morning there is often a lot more, and some competition in the market will be driving the prices down !

    During holiday times (especially in the Winter) The markets pick up hugely. People want to play  – they may  not however want to grind for materials – often characters will pay over the odds just to get the equipment or materials they need to level up a profession or go raiding with.

     In an ideal world you would be the supplier of these items. Making a nice stack of gold in the process. To do this you would have to have prepared well in advance, and have the stock of items ready to go to market.

So to sum up – pick a server with the game-play style you like. Check out a couple of servers with both Alliance and Horde characters, get to the auction house and see how busy it is. Make a note of how much a few items cost at each factions auction house and compare. If there is a healthy trade at both auction houses, and a noticeable difference in prices – you are on to a winner.

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Server Dynamics 3

Time for some specifics   

1) Each Warcraft server is a closed economy.

    Your Warcraft server is a UNIQUE economy. That is to say that no two servers will have exactly the same price structures. Therefore we are unable to make statements such as “Buy Copper Ore at 80 silver per stack of 20 and sell at 1G 30 silver per stack.

         The exact movements in your server economy are UNIQUE. For the most part they are set by the users themselves (You !)

    You might now think that this is a bad thing. Questions such as

     “Well what is a good price to buy or sell then ?”

probably spring to mind.

    Let us reassure you that this is in fact a VERY good thing, and here’s why…

Very few people are going to take the effort to understand the subtleties of the economy like YOU are !
We will make understanding your economy SIMPLE, QUICK and FUN.
This knowledge will give you a real EDGE !
With this edge you will MAKE GOLD !

Advanced Gold Guide Banner

2) Understanding the economy.

    In simple terms Gold is generated on your server every time you loot a mob. The loot and the gold are “created”. The value is added to the server economy then and there. Keep the gold. sell the loot to an NPC trader, and there’s the value realized in buying potential to you.

    Say you have a level 80 character. He can generate Gold just by killing and looting at a pretty good rate. Without using the Auction House at all! 
    You can generate 10’s of gold PER HOUR (this is by far the worst and slowest way of making gold, but it still adds quite a bit to the economy as you can see)
   

At this level the gold creation is controlled by the server. Blizzard (The World of Warcraft designers) have quite a bit of say over these inputs.

    They can decide what loot tables a certain mob will have, how often the mob re-spawns, and how much an NPC vendor would pay for the items.

    However, Warcraft has an Auction system. Any item that is not “gray” will probably sell at the AH for more than an NPC vendor will give you for it.

    Have you spotted the problem ?

    The problem is INFLATION !

    You are adding all this wealth to the economy, killing mobs, using a gathering trade, crafting items..and everyone else is doing this too !

    Most of your weapons and armour is either quest reward, or bought from another real player via the auction house.

    Very little is given to NPC’s that you can see..sure the odd equipment repair or restock of bullets and arrows.
    The rest is just moving the money from one real player to the next, and as you play the overall figure of Gold on the server is growing ALL THE TIME.

    Blizzard know this, so they put in  “Gold Sinks”

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Server Dynamics 2

Our advice to you is digest this chapter. See where you are  financially. Bear this in mind when reading everything else in this book

  We will look at seasonality of markets, and briefly explain why this happens. Every market has a rhythm, your Warcraft server is no different.

  •   You’ll find out how to help  (and take advantage of) the “weekend”player
  •   We will show you how to gather market data from your own server and use it for your own financial planning.
  •   There will be tips on how to influence market behaviour to your advantage.
  •   We will discuss storage, both short and long term..and it’s costs

  There will be single market strategies – and ways to affect the whole server – horde and alliance alike

We will do our best to show you that “playing the market” once you are set up for it is a brilliant game in itself – and can be played with relatively  low level characters

Of course we will show you what all the other guides do as well.

  • Where to farm for the mats everyone else wants to buy.
  • How best to sell them.
  • How to make money from professions
  • What to watch out for in patches and updates.

Some dirty tricks (we never use these – seriously, but you want a complete guide so we include them).

But the focus of this guide is how to manipulate and take advantage of the marketplace on your server.
This is where the real money is made ! Making gold in Warcraft with this guide may even be more fun than Warcraft itself. It’s certainly better than endless farming laps of  Sholazar Basin !!

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Server Dynamics

Ok, first things first. Have a look at the picture below. It’s just an alphabetical list of servers. Notice anything. ?
Slap yourself on the back if you noticed that they are all at LEAST moderately full.

Now back in 2004 there were a lot less servers, and many of those had population labels of “Low” or “Recommended” and while you still do get some of these, they are rare.

image

What this list doesn’t tell you is the faction balance between Alliance and Horde on these servers.  There are links in this guide to show you how to find that. You don’t want to be on a very one sided server. Money making will be hard. A “slightly” one sided server is a fantastic money maker.

But our point here is, servers are fuller. And they are full of high level characters and their toon’s. There are very few brand new players compared with the mass of level 80’s and the ‘toons of level 80’s

Because of this:-
What you may have learned or read about making money in WoW is probably based on the immature (and naive) WoW markets of the past.

So what ? I hear you say.
So EVERYTHING.

You need to know…

  • How full the server is
  • The ratio of high level players to low level players (We call this “Maturity”) and…
  • The ratio of low level players that are actually “toons” (this changes the market dynamics a great deal)
  • The balance between Horde and Alliance players

Ideally you would like to know the relative professions. Gathering and Crafting. There is often an imbalance, especially on servers that are  out of balance in other ways

Finally, choose PvP or PvE (RPG doesn’t really matter)

Bear in mind that your choice of PvP or PvE makes a MASSIVE difference!

A full server will have a fast moving economy. Assuming an even mix of races and levels, this means you will have competition in sales, and choice in purchases. This is a buyers market.  A low server population, coupled with the right goods to sell will be a sellers market. There will be demand for your well thought out items, and high level materials and reagents will sell for top dollar (but…you will need more patience..more on this in “Inventory Costs” later)

Gathering is far easier on PvE servers, also the market for top gear is slightly reduced, and the top level items themselves are worth a little less.

Players tend to go out slightly better equipped on PvP servers – It’s not just the mob’s they are worried about, ganking and player killing happens – of course it’s supposed to, so people upgrade weapons and armor a little more often.

In general prices will be slightly higher on PvP servers, but as most things are bought and sold between players this does not matter as much as you might think. The big exceptions are of course the training and high level mounts.

The  ratio to between level 80 players (and their ‘toons) and genuine low level players, (Those that are still levelling)  fundamentally changes the market.

There is little or no point grinding  certain low  level ingredients and reagents to use in your crafting professions thinking these items will sell for profit on a mature server.
No one wants to buy them.
On mature servers the ‘Toons will normally level using green equipment. They do it efficiently, they know where to quest and where to grind. Blues are often seen as an expensive extravagance and certainly are not actually needed to level up.
The only Blues that sell below the highest level are those mint items used for PvP

This is where the basics of understanding your server come in. A PvP server will often have a market for “BiS” items at many levels. “BiS” stands for “Best in slot” and is the item that  – at any particular level is the best stat wise for a particular race and type. On PvP servers these items are in demand and can be crafted
Also…

Blizzard are adding the ability to “stop” XP progression – as many people want to enjoy low level instances as they were meant to be played. A possible opportunity in the future for  certain very well specced low level items to again be in vogue

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Introduction 2

First things first.

As we have mentioned before, this is not your normal gold guide. This guide is specifically aimed at manipulating the economy.
We aim to set out  (in simple terms) how real world economics are done, then show you how to apply these rules to Warcraft.

Of course, we will provide you with the best profession gold making guide AS WELL, just so you can raise money the “old” way of you want. We also have the best and most up-to-date crafting guide around. So we offer everything other guides offer.
but for us, those “old fashioned” techniques are not really the best way to make money. The proper understanding and manipulation of the market is where the real money will be made.

In the first instance, we are going to introduce some simple concepts.

Gold in Warcraft is made in one of three different ways – These are in most respects the same ways that money can be made in the real world.

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1)    Resource Acquisition

    Whether it be farming, mining, drilling or hunting, all resources have an origin. In the real world, the bricks and wood for every building, the chemicals for every medicine, the meat for every meal. They all have to be sourced.
    In Warcraft this is gathering and looting. So all the gathering skills as well as looting adds basic level one resource to the economy.
    Every potion in the Auction House starts out with someone gathering the herbs. Every character made weapon similarly.
    Of course Warcraft also now and then gives you finished items as loot – This rarely happens in the real world, and if it does it’s akin to looting the battlefield or even finding archaeological items.

2)    Adding Value

In the real world, when a craftsman takes raw materials, then pours his own time and experience into turning them into something that is actually “useful” to others he is “Adding Value”

The first lesson you need to learn is that this is rarely the case in Warcraft.
Why ?

Because people would rather have the raw materials,  and use those to level their own character’s profession skills.
There are exceptions of course, but for the most part the total is worth substantially LESS than the sum of its parts.

The reason for this is because as each expansion is added the game becomes “tiered”.  Items with a minimum use level of 60 used to be the pinnacle, they aren’t any more, nor is 70 – it’s now 80, and when Cataclysm is released it will be 85.

The vast majority of people on your server are either not leveling a character at all – or leveling an Alt – and they want to do this as cheaply and as efficiently as they can. That means no long visits to the Auction House every level to buy your beautifully crafted weapons and armor. They have leveled up characters before and know that they don’t really need to upgrade that often – and besides they have a main character or guild friends who will supply most of what they need.

This is a vital lesson – 9 times out of 10 – until you start crafting level cap items – crafting LOSES YOU GOLD !

3)    Market manipulation

So while there are few opportunities to make money with crafted weapons and armor there are some exceptions. Consumables such as potions, elixirs, some scrolls, ammo (bullets or arrows) DO make money, and need constant replenishment. Also niche items such as riding boots, fancy dresses ( on RPG servers in particular) and quirky engineering items will also make money – along with certain items that are required by other professions (Blacksmith’s make the rods enchanters need to level their profession for example).

However the REAL money is made with ingredients – and it is made by buying and selling at the right time.
Yes you can farm them if you have the skills – and most people do from time to time. But you can “play the market” by first understanding how your servers market works – then using that information to your own advantage.

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Introduction

This ideas in this guide were not originally put together as a commercial venture. They were the product of The Gold Consortium’s attempt to break the Warcraft Gold Record. It represents the sum of our knowledge gained through that attempt
An attempt that saw us making 4000 gold per character per 8 hour day towards the end.
We were not quick enough – and were beaten by a single player on a German server.  That was probably a blessing in disguise. We could develop better gold making techniques without the pressure of competition.
This guide details what we discovered.

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If you are a solo player we suggest you read this guide from cover to cover. Not many players are truly solo everything in the game any more, most are active guild members, most PUG up for instances… .
Gold though is one of the areas where people tend to still go it alone – so that’s what the vast majority of this guide is concerned with…solo gold making !
The majority of the guide and associated materials is aimed at a lone gold tycoon. Learn how to set up your own guild for storage. Make gold in both factions (even if you don’t cross trade much – or even at all)
Use your alt’s effectively for both trading and professional advantage.

So first look at the opening chapters then read “the single market approach” and “How to read the market” Next have a look at the “Mining and Gathering Guide” with particular reference to whatever professions your main character has. Definitely check the extra functions you get with most crafting professions – Disenchanting, Smelting, Prospecting, Milling. The profitability of many items depends on how they are packaged, these skills allow you to get the best return for you time.

By this point you should be ready to decide on a portfolio, remember to factor in whether you are a regular player who wants to spend a lot of time at the Auction house, or someone who only logs on once or twice a week. The items you trade in should reflect you play style, but it’s all explained in these chapters.

If you can understand price indexing, then try using the spreadsheets packaged with these guides. They have some indexed prices for nearly 200 common items used in crafting (so very popular) but in the long term you will need to input your own data – every server is different.
We have a section on cross market trading. At some point you and a friend could try this – it is more profitable on every server we have used it on – but it isn’t ideal for everyone – we understand many like to make gold alone.

Well, that’s what it’s all about after all – making gold!!