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Annoying AH undercuttersFollow

#1 Aug 04 2009 at 6:23 AM Rating: Excellent
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This is going to be long and I apologize in advance for that.

So okay, I can't afford to move to another server. I'd love it, and have long been waiting for the day when Bliz offers me a free character move. LOL though now, I've been made an officer in my guild and so long as that's going well, I'd sorta hate to leave on them. If that joyful event ever comes to pass, maybe I can talk the guild into moving along with me.

As to "why can't you afford it, it's only $25" type answers. Well that's $25 per character. I've got 10 characters, and they're really interconnected. 2 of them are lvl 80, one bank toon, and the lowest I have is a 38 or so. The rest are high 40s with two in Outland. Okay, so I have severe altitis. And I'm a trade skill junkie too. So my lock main makes sure my clothies have good gear and sends everybody bags, plus DE's everything I can't sell on the AH. My druid (the other 80) farms herbs for her alchemy and my priest's inscription (the priest just hit 65 and can now level that). I like being self sufficient. I have every profession except blacksmithing, as I gave that up so my DK could do jewelcrafting. (I had jewelcrafting on my lowbie shaman before, but I didn't enjoy playing her that much, so she wasn't leveling JC fast enough to make it viable for me.) If I need something, I can usually make it. LOL or level one of my alts a bit more so that I can make it.

And if someone wants to say, "well just level up new lowbies on a new server," I've been playing the game for about two years now. It's taken me this long to get my alts as high as they are. I truly don't "get" how people suggest you can level a character to 40 in a few weeks. Maybe I'm just a crappy player. Or maybe I spend too much time doing dailies or professions or something.

Anyhow, sorry for the long explanation to get to the actual point/question. I'm on an older server (Thrall) and the economy just stinks. Not much need for anything my lowbies can produce or farm. And anything the higher level characters can make or farm, you can bet that there are several other folks who can get that too and are offering it on the AH.

So when inscription came out, I put my priest on that job and for a while the she was selling glyphs like mad. Most of her minor glyphs were getting anywhere from 7 to 25g each. Now I realize this is crazy money, and I shouldn't complain when the demand drops. (I'm grateful that I was able to get epic flying on my two now-80's mostly from that profit.) After all, eventually folks will have enough glyphs, especially since they don't have to respec every 10 minutes.

But that's not really the problem, because some glyphs are still sometimes selling for 5 or 7 or 15 gold. Except--and here's the real problem as I see it--that there are about 5 folks on the server that are offering their glyphs for nothing.

I have no problem with undercutting. It's part of the normal process and I do it too, sometimes. Something goes for 15g and you put yours up for 14g90s or whatever. No big deal. Maybe you even offer it for 14g or even 13g. That's understandable.

But we've got about a half dozen folks on the server who if you offer something for 15g, they'll offer it for 4g. If you offer it for 5g, they'll come back with 50 silvers.

I actually wrote to two of these folks and pointed out that for the cost of herbs and the cost of parchment they were losing money. One never wrote back. The other wrote back saying that she did 300 auctions a day and couldn't be bothered with checking the going prices.

So I decided to take a break from inscription.

At the time I was working on the pet achievement and I also needed more recipes for that achievement. I really wanted that skunk. But I'd been unlucky at drops so I didn't have any oozelings or baby dragons and my gold had been wiped out by paying for riding. With one last character slot available, I decided to make myself a hordie and send myself some pets and recipes through the neutral AH and my roommate who also games. Both horde pets and recipes were going for crazy money on my server.

Now I realize that buying a pet that my hordie can buy for 50s and turning it around and selling it for 10-20g or so is the height of goldrush overload. And yeah, maybe I'm greedy. But since after a week or so of doing that, my total money across 9 characters and a bank toon was all of 5k gold, I'm not, I think, being horrifically greedy. I only sold about 5-10 pets/recipes per week and I almost never buy gear for any of my characters, even my main, so it's not like I have a huge money drain. And in deference to the other players, I always keep my prices within a few gold of theirs, so I'm not really setting the price, I'm just following it.

Well that worked for all of two weeks. Suddenly, this week a horde prairie dog is going for 4g or less. Once again, folks not bothering to look at the "going" price and underbidding by more than 10g.

So do I join them at their own game? Offer pets for less than it costs me to transfer them over from horde and hope they eventually make themselves broke, or what?

Sell glyphs for less than the cost of parchment till everyone goes away? It's crazy.

Okay, let the dissing begin.
#2 Aug 04 2009 at 8:07 AM Rating: Excellent
I sympathise with your issue, but I think you need to be more fluid in your strategy. Let me elucidate with a hypothetical situation:

You sell a glyph at 5 gold. All of a sudden, the same glyph is worth 50 silver. You keep making the same glyph, hoping that the undercutter will stop putting glyphs on the market, but they don't. As a result, all of yours are returned.

However, what you didn't realise is that the market for herbs just increased, since they are madly creating these glyphs. Rather than sell the glyphs, you may have been able to profit on consistent sales of the mats for them. (Note: this isn't a definite, just a possibility- especially if your price gougers were silly enough to buy the mats from the AH). Alternatively, you found a new niche for a while- pets. Someone discovered this market after you (or maybe you were the one who started selling after them, but while they were in a lull, and didn't even realise it). However, when they start gouging your prices, you could find the next niche.

It's a case of looking at supply and demand. For a while on my server, I was mining the **** out of cobalt ore. Then, for some time, I was consistently being undercut, and I got it returned. I switched to my herbalist, and profits came in again. When everyone and their mother had farmed the **** out of Sholazar Basin and flooded the market with cheap herbs, I then switched to my skinner- who didn't make as much per stack of leather, but was able to farm both leather and meat fairly consistently. When someone threw up a hundred stacks of heavy borean leather at insanely low prices, I sold some of the enchanting mats I'd collected while farming and questing (DEing almost all my Northrend greens). When that market slowed down, it was time to throw my eternals in the auction house. When the herbalists who'd farmed the **** out of Sholazar put their eternal life up for rock-bottom prices, I went back to mining, since saronite ore was selling for good prices.

So you see, a good method of staying on top of the market is to watch trends, and see the fluctuations of supply and demand as they happen. If you rest on one market type, you will, at some point, hit that wall where your competitioon will undercut you consistently. The biggest trick is being able to change with the tides, and let the undercutters revel in the mediocrity of their profits (and often, their net losses).

Edited to fix a wall of text!

Edited, Aug 4th 2009 1:08pm by Wondroustremor
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#3 Aug 04 2009 at 8:29 AM Rating: Good
Your situation sounds a lot like mine...in more ways than one.

I, too, wanted to transfer my pally off-realm due to a 'difficult' raiding scene. The main thing stopping me from transferring was having invested so much time into alts. I now have every profession at the grand master level. My hunter is my enchanter/alchemist. My pally is a miner/engineer. My druid is skinning/leatherworking. My rogue is herbalism/inscription. My DK is tailoring/blacksmithing. And now my shaman is cruising through Northrend with 450 skinning/440 JC. I also have a 69 warrior who is mining/432 JC. I never really have to buy anything from auction...I can gather whatever I need and convert it to whatever I need. I also have two bank guilds, each with 3 tab guild banks. To set all of that aside in the name of shipping my pally off to another realm in the hopes of tanking for a more stable/effective guild was a bit much.

I also made a killing with Inscription when 3.0 went live. I had two guild bank tabs full of herbs waiting to be milled and went from 1-350+ Inscription in about 2 hours. Within a 24 hour span of time starting when the servers went back up on patch day I had made about 7k gold. Within a week, it wasn't worth trying to sell glyphs on auction anymore. There were so many other people skilling up and dumping their glyphs on AH for about the cost of the parchment they used to make them that I stopped trying. The crazy thing right now is that I've got so much crap spread across alts/guild banks that I'm usually checking base materials on auction on a regular basis and catching things when they're selling at a high. I just offloaded about 10 stacks of fel iron ore for 20g each and 3 stacks of adamantite ore for 25g each. I can remember a few months ago (largely due to so many DK blasting through Outland) when those types of Ore were selling for 5g/stack. I find that the mid level gathered materials are where the steady income can be these days, mainly because there aren't nearly so many people gathering them but there are always people dropping one profession to power another from 1 -> 440+.

I'm a bit of a packrat (thus all the storage :P) so my toons tend to seem broke most of the time, but I ultimately find that navigating an economy driven in large part by impatient tweens that diversity results in less stress on my end. At any given time on any given realm there is demand for something for which there is little/no supply and it's nice when you can duck in and meet that demand (at suitably inflated prices Smiley: laugh) with stuff you had tucked away for months and had all but forgotten about ;D

#4 Aug 04 2009 at 9:14 AM Rating: Default
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I remember farming them Flask of Oils until I had flooded the AH, and somebody tried doing similar. And they had only sold, because they were generally a ****** to get for the Horde. Engineers demanded them for low level engineering, and because I had picked up on it being in a similar situation to them, I farmed Westfall for an hour and made a surprising half a k, @ level 30.

If I could make a suggestion though, try using Auctioneer. Basically, goto your AH, and scan it a few times every week. Once you've been scanning for 2-3 weeks, you should be seeing the estimate prices for your items in your tool-tips, listing how many it's based its calculation off of, and how much for.

Literally, buy epics that are dead cheap, and sell them back on for more. I can admit to making a good 4-5k in the past week alone, and still being a slow leveller, I've managed to level from 60 odd to 70 for the first time. It doesn't get in the way of levelling, like a gathering profession might do, doesn't mean you have to sit in /2 all day either, but alone you can come across some **** good items for dirt cheap that you may even need.

Payed for my epic mount at 70, albeit I tried to hold off for 3.2, as well as my flying training. I also dual-specced as a Shockadin, and payed a good 300g for gear for it. I was left with a measly half a grand at the end of it all, and this was 2 days ago. I'm now sitting with just over a grand, and a good 3-4k worths in epics. Highly recommend doing similar.

Edited, Aug 4th 2009 1:15pm by HolyOwnage
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#5 Aug 04 2009 at 9:31 AM Rating: Good
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You can always buy out the undercutters and re-list what you buy.

Of course, you need to know the market and have a good idea about the demand. If you buy up too many of them and they won't sell, you may end up drowning in inventory. But, if someone is undercutting to a really ridiculous low and you know it's worth more, then buy it up. Sometimes, it may take holding on to inventory for a week or so, to let the market stabilize.

Also, study the market. Learn the times of week that prices fluctuate and when demand goes up. In high demand times, it may not matter if the undercutters are posting. Goods may sell fast enough that your goods sell too, just not first. You can also learn about your competitors and their posting habits.

Like others said, diversifying is always a good idea. Some markets are very volatile because of high supply. When prices go up, the market inevitably gets more active and people start the undercutting cycle. When you recognize what's happening, just shift your emphasis to something else until the market settles again.
#6 Aug 04 2009 at 1:07 PM Rating: Excellent
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260 posts
Aurelius, you pretty much filled in the gaps in describing my situation perfectly!

I DO have auctioneer, though I'll be honest I don't trust it. Invariably the prices that auctioneer suggests are anywhere from 1.5 to 3 times what I find items for on the market on any day I check. I'm wondering if I should delete and reinstall or what. I don't think I'm not scanning often enough, I have the sneaking suspicion that Auctioneer fell in love with the prices of the first month or so of WotLK and somehow just doesn't want to readjust.

My main's a chanter, so before WotLK I was buying armor/weapons and DEing them and not making a real killing, cause I couldn't afford the big items, but not doing bad either. Now on my server, infinite dust goes for 1-4g each, while the cheapest de'able armor is about 10-20g. So the math doesn't work. If I buy something for 10g, I can turn it MAYBE into 5-8g worth of chanting mats. Blues go for slightly more than I can buy shards for, so again the math doesn't make it. Cloth (which I can say as a long time tailor has NOTHING like the drop rate it used to) isn't worth buying and turning into de'able items either.

I'm at least smart enough to know that I don't make glyphs unless the market is worthwhile. Just look up the going price that day and see if it seems worthwhile. So just before the market crashed into the floor, I made about 5 each of the glyphs that were selling best, and sent whatever didn't sell that day to my bank alt. Funny thing, I'm still sitting on 1/3 of those glyphs and having them take up bank space, cause I just refuse to list them for 1-3g.

I really don't want this post to be a QQ. I'm not trying to whine, just looking for a solution. I've tried to be flexible. My high levels have chanting, tailoring, herbs and alchemy. The lower levels have just about all else. I have maxed fishing/cooking on everyone I can (fish feast prices are through the floor and fish/food are barely worth catching.) I've tried bringing over horde items and that worked for a bit. So I'm working to be flexible and flow with the market.

But I can't account for these morons who list for diddly.

As for buying up what they sell? I could buy their prairie dog whistles for 4g and relist them for the "normal" present going price of about 10g. The problem is this would only encourage them and make them buy more whistles and put them on the AH for a low price. I could purchase their glyphs for 1g and sell them for 10g. Except that tomorrow they'll have another stack of glyphs up for 1g. Or 50s. Or 5c. It's a losing battle and in the long run, I think they're winning, cause they're tiring me out.

#7 Aug 04 2009 at 3:41 PM Rating: Good
One thing I tend to do with Auctioneer is if I am only planning to sell one or two different things (like stacks of cobalt and saronite ore) is to go to the AH with my bank alt (I typed 'my naked alt' at first for some damned reason), and shift-click what I plan to sell in the Bid tab, so I'm only scanning for the items I want to sell. That way, Auctioneer has a fresh listing of what's on the AH, and I get a more real-time view of whether it's worth even putting on the AH, and how much of a profit I may make. I have also stopped putting things up on Saturday mornings, often waiting until just after a maintenence day. However, this may not work for everyone- especially for those people looking to sell numerous different items.
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#8 Aug 05 2009 at 12:13 AM Rating: Good
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Buyers are people too! I love big undercutters^^
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#9 Aug 05 2009 at 8:40 AM Rating: Good
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Wondroustremor wrote:
I typed 'my naked alt' at first for some damned reason


No self-respecting bank alt should be naked. Tux, monocle...you gotta have something going on.

On topic...

lionlemur wrote:
As for buying up what they sell? I could buy their prairie dog whistles for 4g and relist them for the "normal" present going price of about 10g. The problem is this would only encourage them and make them buy more whistles and put them on the AH for a low price. I could purchase their glyphs for 1g and sell them for 10g. Except that tomorrow they'll have another stack of glyphs up for 1g. Or 50s. Or 5c. It's a losing battle and in the long run, I think they're winning, cause they're tiring me out.


This seems like a perfect time to buy low and sell high. I can't imagine anyone can profitably sell cross-faction pets for such a low price for a sustained period of time. In the meantime, you can make a big profit on them. The only caveat is whether or not the demand for the pets is persistant.

More generally, part of your problem, I think, is that you're playing on an older server. This usually means that the economy is well established and there are numerous players that know the economy and know how to play it. In my experience, the profit margin on an older server is usually smaller because supply is greater than demand. As a seller, you have to be flexible and adapt to the market. There is no golden ticket. If something is profitable, you can be guaranteed that one or more other players will notice it and soon enough the market will be flooded.
#10 Aug 09 2009 at 10:53 PM Rating: Good
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As mentioned, flexibility is the key here. As background, I play on an old server, the economy is well established as mentioned above, and as a result, there's a good number of people "playing" the market. The upside to that is the fact that it's an old server, with a well established economy, and a certain pool of wealthy players who would rather pop gold on the AH than farm themselves.

Back towards the last 6 months of TBC, I bought an epic flyer for my main, by mining on a slow flyer of all things. Within 2 weeks, I'd farmed enough ore again to buy an epic flyer for my herbalist alt, and then, just prior to WotLK going live, I switched herbalism to another alt, and bought them an epic flyer.

I went into Lich with a certain amount of cash, and since Lich dropped, I have not actively farmed for hours on end, nor have I gone out of my way to seek gold specifically. I have worked dailies on the 2 level 80's I have - with an emphasis for earning rep, not gold, though some gold comes from them, of course. I am also and am levelling 3 more toons through the 70-80 bracket, one more in the 60-70 bracket. Two further alts are back in the 30's. On my three highest level toons I have mining, herbalism and skinning, as I make it a matter of pride to (wherever possible) farm my own materials used in day-to-day play, which includes the usual bout of heroics and raids, so flasks, potions etc are useful. I also, in order to support those activities, have a blacksmith, jewelcrafter, scribe, tailor and alchemist at high or max level. That does mean, of course, that I spend virtually no gold outside of the usual repair bills - everything else I provide myself (enchants I have an arrangement with someone to DE greens I get, in return for chants I need).

At this time, I have three times the amount of gold I went into WotLK with.

That's all by way of background.

I do not - as mentioned - actively farm to sell, though occasionally, excess is sold off, but the bulk of my farming is for self consumption.

There are two tricks to making gold in my opinion.

Firstly, know the game, and your servers population to a degree. What are people doing? What do they want? One example is, of course, people are levelling alts and/or professions (even secondary professions). What are the "sticky" parts of levelling these professions, and can I find a way, in a short time frame, to gather things to ease that "sticky" part, and sell those things at appropriate prices (not gouging, but making good coin nonetheless). Finding these things takes time, investigation into your local economy, and literally poking through the Auction House (regularly).

Second trick is to leverage what you and/or your friends have in the way of professions (both primary and secondary). Have you got a profession that - as an example - you might buy/farm cheap mats, and DE, and sell into the market? Or, another classic example, Netherweave Bags. These are still popular (at least on my realm), for alts and "I'm not sure if I'm keeping it" toons - because they are comparatively cheaper than their Frostweave counterparts. And yet, in the same economy, my tailor can walk into the Auction House, and buy enough Netherweave Cloth to make 2 bags, sell one for the cost of materials, and keep the other (or, obviously, double your money by selling both). There are plenty of "arbs" (arbitages) in the market - it's a matter of knowing the game and finding them.

Someone made a comment in this thread about "impatient tweens" - they are correct... there is a certain portion of the WoW playerbase that is (not wanting to appear rude here!) lazy, and they would rather throw coin at the AH than take a "cheaper" route. Find those "niches", and use them to your advantage. And be nimble, simply because X made profit last week, doesn't mean it will next week. If I listed the things I have come across (by which I mean, things I have looted in the ordinary course of playing the game/levelling alts etc) that I have sold on the AH, and the prices I have sold them for, I think some readers would be surprised.

Boiling it all down to nuts and bolts - there are three ways to make (legal) money in the game. You farm something, you do dailies, or you process something to add value to it. I cannot think of any other way. To be sure, in order to be "nimble", you may occasionally have to farm something. And, whatever else happens, set yourself a habit of doing X number of dailies a day - but find ones that are easy, involve little to no travel time, and are profitable. Argent Tournament comes to mind here. And finally, when considering the odd farming session to diversify your income in game, do not discount any area (hint, some of the heftier profits come from Azeroth, not Northrend/Outland!).

It all comes down to your local economy, but ultimately, time spent browsing the AH will educate you as to that economy, and show you ways of making some gold.

*Apologies for the length of this post!
#11 Aug 10 2009 at 4:42 PM Rating: Excellent
lionlemur wrote:
I actually wrote to two of these folks and pointed out that for the cost of herbs and the cost of parchment they were losing money. One never wrote back. The other wrote back saying that she did 300 auctions a day and couldn't be bothered with checking the going prices.

It's not surprising that they didn't answer. You forgot that some folk never have to buy herbs, either because they are herbalists or that their guild passes the herbe onto them for free. Sure, they might make more gold by selling the herbs, but their goal is normally UPPING THEIR INSCRIPTION LEVEL, not making gold. With free herbs, there is some gold no matter what they sell the inscriptions for. Because they make a whole buncha scriptions, the main motive is to move 'em out. It's the old "you can make money by selling quantity at a lower price". 300 auctions where you make 3G profit on each is better than 15 auctions where you make 30G profit on each. Ask yourself whether you are being undercut, or whether your goods are just plain overpriced.
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