Friday, 15 July 2011

Tradeskillmaster - Part I Overview

Tradeskillmaster (TSM) is an offshoot of QuickAuctions 3 (QA3) combined with Scrollmaster and a whole lot more added. It's a very comprehensive modular integrated package with optional modules covering pretty much everything an auctioneer could wish for. Everything from managing inventory across multiple characters to buying materials to crafting, auctioning goods and tracking sales data.

I think Tradeskillmaster is by far the most complete and best set of tools for auctioneers and highly recommend it as such over anything else. However that doesn't mean TSM is perfect, while there are a lot of things I really like about TSM there are a lot of things I don't like too. Things that still need work, things I don't think are very well implemented, things I feel could be much improved and things I just find incredibly annoying.

Since TSM is such a large comprehensive package I'll be doing a series of posts on it. This first post contains general observations and criticisms of the entire package as a whole and a brief overview of each module. Later I'll do more in-depth articles on each module and add links to them to this post.

I'm going to be quite critical, pointing out many issues and many things I don't like. Please keep in mind I'm not bashing TSM, I think it's better than anything else and use it all the time myself.


Shopping Module - Poor
For buying items off the auction.
Very basic functionality.
Clunky, slow, buggy, annoying to use and prone to getting stuck.
Dealfinding (TSM version of a snatch list) does not list all of an item in ascending price order, just a single page of auctions at a time are sorted and shown one auction at a time. 
Ok for buying a few items in small numbers but not recommended for buying many different items or bulk buying.

Auctioning Module - Outstanding!
For posting items for sale on the auction.
Very configurable
Steep learning curve, takes time to configure but well worth it in the end.
There are some minor issues/annoyances but it blows the competition away.

Crafting Module - Outstanding!
For crafting items.
Handles all tradeskills.
Very configurable.
Steep learning curve, takes time to configure but well worth it in the end.
Like the Auctioning Module, there are some minor issues/annoyances and it blows the competition away... If there even is any real competition.

Mailing Module - Good.
For mass mailing items off to other characters.
A few minor issues.
Can be extremely laggy with large configs but works fine with smaller configs.
Overall it gets the job done saving a lot of time and clicking.

Gathering  - Good.
Helps you find the materials you need for crafting.
Finds items on alts, in banks / guild banks and on the auction.
Other than testing it very briefly once I don't really use this module but it seems to work fine and do exactly what it's supposed to do.

Accounting - Good!
Keeps track of sales and purchasing information.
Multiple methods of viewing and sorting the data.
Does the job much better than any other accounting addon I've tried before.

AuctionDB (Auction Database) - Good
It works well, can't really say much else about it.

Destroying - Unknown
Disenchants, prospects, mills and combines.
I've never used this module and probably never will because I already have a bunch of macros that work perfectly.


I hate the blue/black color scheme. It just looks glaringly out of place with the default UI and most other mods.

I don't like the fixed positioning to right of main auction window and subsequent necessary resizing of the main auction window. I'd like a floating window with configurable placement a whole lot more.

Button placement is all wrong making many things incredibly annoying to use. Doesn't follow standard UI conventions. Positive actions like Save/OK/Continue should always be on the bottom left, negative actions like Close/Cancel/Quit/Abort should always be on the bottom right not hanging off the top, etc...

Buttons that are often clicked in sequence are too far apart.

Configuration windows could use more saved state information so when moving around the various tabs you aren't constantly scrolling back to the same spot you just scrolled to 10 seconds earlier.

Too much clicking. Many things that could be done with just one or two clicks require multiple clicks. For example when repricing a post have to click 4 times for each individual post of an item. Have to click multiple times for multiple postings of the same item instead of just once.

Display refresh issues in many places. You change a value but it isn't refreshed in the display. It still shows the old value until you click on another item and then back to the changed one. In some cases you have exit and re-enter the module before it refreshes the displayed data. Sometimes, usually when making a lot of configuration changes, the display gets corrupted and you have to do a /console reloadui to fix it.

Infinite loops and counting errors. Some modules get stuck in infinite loops at times forcing you to close the auction and start over again. Counting errors, displayed numbers of items often seem to be off, usually either by one extra, or double the real number. I'd guess similar errors are behind some other issues too. The old classic programmer's counting fence error which can lead to infinite loops and all kinds of other problems.

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