Home > TWSS's Blog > Help Wanted: Auctioneer Intern!

Help Wanted: Auctioneer Intern!

For those of you who are close to me, you know that I have been actively looking for a full-time job. As of late I have had little to no luck finding that opportunity. I am however working two part-time jobs to make ends meet, so it is not like I am sitting in my mother’s basement in boxers and a Deago-T calling out for meatloaf… mainly because we don’t have a basement, but that is besides the point.(Funny Vid for the week) In the “real life” economy, the trend for businesses seems to be something like this…

1. Hire an over-qualified individual for a job that pays well below his/her pay grade simply because everyone needs a job and something is better than nothing.

2. Hire interns for free (college credit, so free to the company, not the student).

3. Work with what you have, making your current staff work harder for the same pay. If they don’t like it, we can find millions of people who will.

This situation is ideal for companies in the current market, and yes it is getting better but not good enough. Companies have learned to survive with less and they are going to apply this in the future regardless of how well the economy bounces back. This leaves recent college graduates like myself in a tight spot. This gives us fewer opportunities to get companies to give job seekers the “experience” required to crack into the career path they went to college for. Finding that “start” or “big break” is a full-time job in itself, and has created a very thick barrier to entry into the job market.

Like every post previous to this you may be asking yourself…

“Where is this rambling fool going with this???”

Hold on, I promise I’m getting there.

In WOW, gold is a very important resource to have. Having gold to spend will open opportunities for you that in the end make you perform at a higher level. You need gold for things like flasks, food, BOEs, enchants, professions, cosmetic things, and much more. Back in the day when I started playing this game I was a lot like Eddie Murphy’s character in the move “Trading Places” with Dan Aykroyd. (Go watch this movie! It is probably on Comedy Central after “The Breakfast Club” or “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”). I was poor, cocky, thought my Warlock was a god (mainly because at level 41 I could solo a level 43 Elite… dear lord), and I was a minority (Gnome not African-American). In my eyes I had the World (of Warcraft) by the *butt*, and when I reached max level I was going to pew pew like a pro. I was quickly humbled when I couldn’t go run some 5-man dungeons simply because I didn’t have the gold to purchase a flying mount to get there. From that point on, I realized that I had to grind my way out of the slums of WOW, and work my way up to the upper echelon of the gaming community.

Back in the day, I didn’t use resources outside of the game to help me. I learned a lot of the tactics and strategies of making gold the hard way, through trial and error. In the end I came to the conclusion that the auction house is the fastest and most efficient way of making gold.  Today, you can find endless information on the World Wide Web about ways to make gold (and I’m not talking about paying a gold farmer cash). If someone would have told me this before I began struggling my way up to thousands of gold, I could have saved a lot of time and effort. This is by no means a “pro guide” to playing the auction house, but it is a good place to start. From here you can expand these ideas and tactics to more complex situations and on a larger scale. In the end, these will work on all levels of playing the auction house, if they are used correctly. Once you have “mastered” these strategies, I suggest you search around the Web for some expert advice. (Just My 2 Copper, Gold Capped, and The Call to Auction Podcast are resources I use to keep me up to date on the ever-changing World of Warcraft economy.)

Start Small – What a lot of people don’t understand is that there are professional auctioneers out there that spend hours a day playing on the auction house. If you listen to the “Call to Auction Podcast” you hear them refer to it as “AH PVP” and like most professionals, they know how to take advantage of noobs. Just remember playing the AH is all relative to the amount of gold or resources you have to play with. Professionals make a lot of their gold off a couple of things…

1. Laziness

2. People being oblivious. (For example, I sell about 20 Dust of Disappearance a day on the AH for 20g a pop. I buy them from the enchanting vendor down the street for 10 gold.)

3. Taking advantage of people not understanding the economy and its cycles. (Basically people new to the AH.)

Learning how the economy works on a small-scale will not grant you tons of gold, it will however limit your losses when you screw it up. Once you feel you have a good handle on how things work then you can up the volume and start making some serious money. Until then don’t get to cocky, and don’t fall into the trap of thinking it is as easy as undercutting the lowest price by 1 copper.

Experiment – If you are reading this and you are thinking to yourself, “I make a decent amount of gold selling *Item A*, there is no need to venture out,” then I suggest you stop being stubborn and try different things. Everything in this game has a shelf life, some longer than others. It is inevitable that your way of making gold right now will eventually go away or become non-profitable. If someone who is really good decides that he wants to enter your “market” and take it over it could leave you copper-less. Being versatile allows you to dodge the people who are aggressive and stay one step ahead of the competition. Truth is, people on your server will notice what makes gold and eventually you will have tons of people doing the same thing you are doing, lowering your income. When you experiment, get your ideas from the great AH community, and try them out before you make a large investment since every server is different.

Learn Without Add-ons – One of the easiest ways of getting trapped is to enter the AH game with add-ons installed before you truly understand what they are doing. Don’t get me wrong, the auction house add-ons are great and a huge time saver, but they can also be used against you. When you start off do it manually and try to understand how your server’s economy works. Pay attention to prices, what people are buying, and who you are competing against. Here is a good example of how using an add-on that you don’t understand can work against you.

EX. AH add-ons will generally scan the AH for you and determine the price of everything on it at that given time. You can then put your item up for auction and your Add-on will simply set the price for you at an exact undercut of 3 copper for both Bid and Buyout. You just hit a button and it will throw it up for you at the price the market says it is. This is where you can get trapped. Say the normal market price for frost weave is 1 gold, and there is not a lot of people supplying it because it is now old content. (This makes the price easy to manipulate) On a Saturday night a pro will put up 20 stacks of 1 cloth at 40 silver (60% discount) to lower the price. You log on, scan the AH for the first time, and post your g-bank’s frost weave stash at 39 silver a cloth, because that is what the add-on told you to do. The pro will then go into the AH, and buy up all of that cloth immediately at a 61% discount. He will then cancel his current auctions that are at 40 silver and re-post his and your stash of cloth back at the normal price of 1g. This is just one form of playing with people’s add-ons. If you would have know that the normal price of cloth is 1g, you would have held onto the stash (or bought out the pro’s cloth) and posted it at the normal market value when it returned to 1g.

People will generally do this on raw materials they need for crafting (herbs and ore are good examples) and use it to lower their base cost as well. It is most effective on items that are not moved a lot simply because they are not current. The moral of the story is that it is important to understand what you are selling and what it is actually worth before you get played by someone who knows what they are doing.

Think like a buyer – When deciding what to sell on the AH, think about what you have needed of the AH before. The easy ones are gems, enchants, and flasks (which is why they are not that profitable per transaction, simply because everyone knows about them). Some less popular ideas, but good sells, are things needed to level up professions. Saronite ore, arcane & infinite dust, and frost weave cloth sell for more now than they did back when it was current. I am not suggesting that you go farm old world materials; I am suggesting that you learn the value of them. When you see someone post it for a lot cheaper than what they are worth, pick it up and re-post at a price people are willing to pay. Some people will post without even looking to just get rid of their crap cluttering their bank so take advantage of it.

Any profit is a good profit – The best gold makers in this game are not making 10k gold per transaction. Don’t think that selling a BOE epic you won in a pug is a way of making gold, because this is simply something you cannot control. Things like that are like winning the lotto or getting a bonus at your job. Try to find things that you can count on for profit. In the long run it is going to be more beneficial than random large transactions. For example, right now obsidium ore has been set by most markets to its actual value, about 65g per stack of 20. This is because the average amount of  “green quality” gems you will get from prospecting a stack of obsidium ore is about 6-7. If you cut them, they vendor for 9 gold each (54g – 64g). One of the things I do here is buy all stacks of obsidium ore at 65g or lower. After prospecting it all, I check the AH prices for all of the un-cut gems in my bag. If the price for a given color is lower than 10g, I cut it into a random gem and vendor it. If anything is priced over 10g, (normally green, red, and purple gems), I post it at a 3 copper undercut, and they normally are all sold with-in 1-2 hours of being posted. Any lucky procs when prospecting that gives you “blue quality” gems is just icing on the cake. I did this with an alt and only 600 gold in my bags. After 5 days of doing this cycle I have over 2500 gold on that toon, it leveled my trade skills about 50-60 times, and I was even able to kept some mats for JC dailies. This only takes me about 15-20 minutes a day since I have the cycle figured out.

Learn the Market Cycle – If you watch the price of a certain item on a daily basis you will notice that the price rises and falls on a consistent basis depending on the day of the week. This is because people tend to buy certain things like raid materials on Tuesdays and Wednesdays since that is when most guilds raid. Pay attention to this and take advantage of it. On my server the price of MOST things is much lower on a Saturday/Sunday night. The farmers are still farming at the same rate, but the amount of people buying is much lower. For my enchanter, I buy all my enchanting raw mats on the weekend and re-post or make scrolls to post on Tuesday and Wednesday (People also get new gear on Tuesday since points reset for arenas and raids). The reverse of this would be buying green armor and weapons to DE. Since people are on more during the week, more greens find their way to the AH so they are a much cheaper buy. (About 5-10g cheaper per)

BID BID BID BID!!! – Bidding on things on the AH can be a huge boost to your pocket-book in the long run. A lot of people who are new to the AH will just adjust the price of the buyout of that item because they assume that people will want it right away… Wrong. Every day people search high and low for items that are priced like this…

Maelstrom Crystal x 1

Buyout – 2500

Bid – 15

What this poster did was simply forget to adjust the price of their BID, but made sure the Buyout was right. BID BID BID. You will not win every one because a lot of people look for things like this, and sometimes the poster realizes their mistake and cancels the posting. When you win an item like this for about a 90+% discount and because someone was careless, it is basically free gold. A good trick I use here is bidding on every item like this right before the server goes down for maintenance every Tuesday. Even though the server is down, the AH is still rolling. No one can access it to outbid you and you can normally win a couple of good deals due to the fact that the time ran out while the game was down (market cycle and bidding working together 🙂 ). Knowing this, you can come to the conclusion that there is ZERO benefit to posting your item’s bid price any lower than 1% of your buyout.  Another veteran trick here is to post an item on the AH at 10,000g buyout and a 1g bid. This forces people’s add-ons to match the lowest buyout (market price), and lowest bid price (1g). That auctioneer will then go and bid on everything like crazy and generally end up with some free stuff most of the time (See how this all ties together?)

Look to the future – Knowing all of the changes that are coming with the next patch is a huge way to benefit on the AH. The problem is that the amount of money you can make is dependent on how frequently they change the game and what those changes actually are. You can also apply this logic to things that have not been made official but you can assume they will happen. 2 quick examples:

EX1. At the end of Wrath, stacks of saronite ore were selling for 12.50 a stack (exact price if smelted to bars and sold to a vendor). For 2 months I bought EVERY SINGLE STACK that came up at that price and held it in an alt g-bank. By the time Wrath ended, I had 5 full G-Bank Tabs of saronite ore saved up. Why? I looked at Burning Crusade ore, (needed to level JC and Blacksmithing) and saw how expensive they were. After a month or so I started posting my stash up on the AH about 20-30 Stacks at a time, and at about 40-50 gold a stack depending on the day. I finally just sold my last stack of saronite ore last night… (Do the math).

EX2. In Wrath, they released in the patch notes that they were adding a Frozen Orb vendor and not many people knew about it. At the time, frozen orbs were pretty worthless simply because people had tons of them and the demand was not that high. What I did was sell off all the items you can get for the orbs from the vendor before it became available, (Frost Lotus was one that took a big price hit), and buy every single Frozen Orb I could find for basically vendor price because people were more than happy to sell them off. After the patch dropped Frost Lotus and Eternals plummeted in price, and the price of Frozen Orbs went up.

Just know that nothing is guaranteed. Blizzard can implement things you would have never imagined that can ruin what you are preparing for so don’t put 100% of your cash into things like this because they can be risky. Some people saved Primordial Saronites with the thought that no one would have badges to buy them, and people would want to go back and get Shadowmourne. What Blizzard did was change the badge system to points and now you can go back and buy them with Justice Points. Anyone who stocked up on Primordials basically owns a bunch of vendor trash at this point.

Quick Hits

Don’t Force the issue – If the price is not right for you to make money then don’t sell it or buy it. If selling/buying something at current price is going to make you lose money then don’t do it. A lot of people have the mentality that I better sell now before it gets too low. People who do this guarantee losses, and unless there is a patch change coming, chances are that the price will eventually normalize at some time.  In the Words of Happy Gilmore… “The Price is Wrong B****

Hate Farming, Then Don’t Do it – Farming is a decent way to make gold, but in my opinion it is extremely boring and the amount of gold you make per hour is just not worth it. I can make the same amount of gold (if not more) than someone flying around farming in about 1/4 of the time (after the first 1-2 weeks after the expansion dropped). If you want to farm, go for it, but know that there are other ways.

Professions Are Key – I did not talk a lot about professions but more on how the AH works in general. A lot of the information above is driven by the fact that people buy goods to make a product. Then they turn around and try to sell it back for a profit. Having alts helps because the more professions you have, the more you can do for free. Hit up any of the resources I referenced above for a much more detailed breakdown of each profession and what specific things you can currently do to get started.

Spend Gold – The most gold I have held at one point was about 59k. Right now I own about 13k. WHERE DID IT GO??? I spent it, and I suggest you do the same. There are a select few who enjoy having 6 numbers across the bottom of their backpack, but for me the reason I play the AH is so that I can buy things that are cool or will help me out. Playing the AH has bought me things like the 75 pet achievement, 72 mounts and counting, BOEs, top-level consumables, the ability to level engineering from 0-525 strictly buying materials on the AH  in one night (no farming), have utility items like Jeeves, Mobile Mail Box, etc., and much more.

I hope you have more luck cracking into the AH business then I do at finding a good job. Just know that mastering the AH is a lot like finding that dream job. You have to keep trying and learning from your mistakes to get better. Do not get discouraged. Sooner or later, you will be become a master and figure it all out if you stick to these basic principles. After that, you will be rich as hell and be able to buy cool things like motorcycles, and of course, dragon pets.

-TWSS

Thanks again for reading this week. I must admit that my posts are actually getting longer then shorter…whoops. I’ll chalk it up to me getting fired up about something I really like doing and know (or at least think I do) a lot about. Please if you have any comments or questions please e-mail me at DKTWSS@gmail.com or leave a comment below. I truly appreciate all of the feedback I have been getting so far. This has been really fun for me to do and I look forward to keeping it up. Thanks again I hope you enjoyed. See you next week.

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  1. October 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    That was very intriguing piece

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