Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Patch 4.2 - Day one report

Day one of patch 4.2 is over with about 250k in gross sales over the first 24 hours. My big sellers were one heck of a lot of gems, many chants, volatiles, belt buckles and spell threads. Gem prices were pretty good, on average about 150% of normal prices. Chant, spellthread and volatile prices were great, going for double the usual. Some popular chants with low materials costs (Mighty Stats to chest, Mastery to gloves, etc) were selling out fast for more than double the usual. Belt buckles sold for usual prices but in greater than usual numbers. Also sold a lot of other stuff for higher than usual prices though not in great numbers, In some cases much higher, for example Carnelian for 50g each and Heartblossom for 200g per stack (gotta love those guys making Inferno Rubies late).

I figured the campers would be out in force so I decided to camp the campers for a change. When the server came up another JC made a play to buy out bunches of gems and reset prices far higher. I just kept posting more at progressively higher and higher prices until he finally gave up. It took a couple hours but by then he'd bought several hundred blue, green, yellow, orange  and purple gems from me for an average of over 50g each.

Not a bad start to the day. =)

One of the first things I noticed was cut gems as expected stack to 20 now. There's a glitch though, most Cataclysm gems don't stack as you craft them. Meta gems and pre cata gems do stack as you craft them. The mod Bankstack comes in real handy for that. I just start crafting, click Bankstack whenever my bags are nearly full and continue crafting.

Inferno Ruby sales were just crazy all day long. I sold hundreds, over 20 stacks before midnight, and another 10 stacks or so overnight with most sales in the range of 95g - 125g.

The rest of the day I continued camping the campers. More and more campers came out as the day went on, prices dropped to pre patch levels and sales slowed down with all the competition. Then I went off, did the Firelands quests on all my 85s, made supper, ate, watched a movie and posted every half hour or so. The campers made a few more plays to buy out all the cheap gems and jack prices up. I kept throwing monkey wrenches into their plans.

When I logged out for the night I kept the campers and price jackers honest with walls of 10 Bold Brilliant and Delicate at 150g and 175g each as well as several mini walls of 5 at lower prices. I put up similar walls for several of the best selling gems of other colors too. About half of the wall gems sold overnight, the campers only broke through the walls on some of the mediocre selling gems that I only had 5 or 10 of each up.

I sold another 50k overnight while asleep for a grand total of over 250k in gross sales.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Gems = Glyphs

I've long believed Blizzard really likes the way the glyph market works and wants the gem market to work in a similar way. On many servers the rare cataclysm gem market is already almost as bad as the glyph market with rare cuts selling for little more than raw gems (sometimes even less!) and only inferno rubies selling for much more than vendor price.

Everyone is expecting to make a killing on gems when 4.2 drops. I believe the patch will cause a short term spike in gem prices but it won't last very long.

  • 36 slot gem bags and cut gems stacking to 20 will make camping a whole lot easier
  • everyone is stockpiling gems for the patch
  • raw uncommon gem vendor prices are going down lowering the floor price for gems and ore even further
  • there's a virtually unlimited supply of raw materials

So what's going to happen when all those JC's stockpiling gems log on Tuesday and start posting gems with full stacks of every cut in their bags?

The way I see it is someone will try to reset prices and the campers will go into an undercutting frenzy the likes of which we've never seen before. It won't be long before prices go right back down and stay there. Inferno Rubies might have enough demand to keep prices up for a week or so but that's about it.

My conclusion is there probably is a fair bit of gold to be made on patch day and for at least a few more days after but it'll mostly be in Inferno Rubies and it won't be the huge killing many are expecting. I'm expecting about a week of very good Inferno Ruby prices, 2-3 weeks of somewhat higher than usual Inferno Ruby prices and 2-3 days of moderately higher prices for the best cuts of other colors.

Here's a list of the gems that should have the most demand.

Bold Inferno Ruby
Brilliant Inferno Ruby
Delicate Inferno Ruby

Solid Ocean Sapphire
Rigid Ocean Sapphire

Purified Demonseye

Reckless Ember Topaz
Potent Ember Topaz

Quick Amberjewel
Fractured Amberjewel

Puissant Dream Emerald

Friday, 17 June 2011

Auctioneering Basics - Addons

Today's post is a list of recommended addons for playing the auction. I'm intentionally keeping the list very short only listing the ones I believe are the best, most useful and most popular.

The first three, or big three as I like to call them, are all complete auction mods that handle many things related to the auction and one handles a whole lot more than just auctions. You can use just one or use them all, they play well together. Most players probably won't need or want all three though there are those who do use them all regularly, preferring one for posting, another for buying and the other for something else. If I had to choose just one of the big three to recommend it'd be TSM.

Tradeskillmaster (aka TSM) - More than just an auction mod TSM is a very complete modular integrated package that does everything you used to need a whole bunch of different addons and scripts to do. It has optional modules to handle auctioning, crafting, mailing, accounting, database, shopping, gathering and more. I'd say TSM is preferable for big auction players listing thousands of items daily and certainly for undercutting wars.

Auctionator - Another auction mod with it's own unique and effective way of doing things. Good for both buying and selling auctions. You might prefer Auctionator over TSM for buying or selling auctions. In particular a lot of players seem to prefer Auctionator for buying auctions over anything else. Auctionator's selling interface is pretty good too. I'd say Auctionator might better suit the player who isn't posting a real lot of items every day, likes to pick his prices more carefully and doesn't always undercut. A great choice for auction players who aren't ready for the complexity of TSM yet and need something simpler and more intuitive.

Auctioneer - The grandaddy of auction mods. Still pretty good for buying, sorting auction lists and has good database functionality that can be accessed by many other addons too. It's long been surpassed by other addons when it comes to posting auctions. Unfortunately Auctioneer is getting rather long in the tooth now. I can't really recommend it for anything other than the snatch list, database, sort and search functions. In fact Auctioneer's "protect auction window" might be it's single best feature now (it's the main reason I haven't uninstalled yet) but it'd be silly to recommend installing such a large mod just for that.

While not auction addons per say the following small addons  improve your organization, speed and efficiency by making repetitive chores much simpler.

Bankstack - One click bag and bank sorting and stack compression.

Postal - Very configurable mail opening addon with a plethora of useful features such as automatically opening different types of mail and refreshing the mailbox to get more while you go make coffee or something.

Dumpster - Great for quickly moving items to and from the bank. Almost a must have for glyph posters!

Addon Control Panel - This one won't do much for your auctioning game but it's great for quickly turning different mods on and off in game without logging out.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Inscription - How herb prices affect Glyph and Ink costs

I haven't been working Inscription for very long. I started two or three months before the end of Wrath and wasn't even very serious about it at first. All I really wanted was a secure supply of cheap velum for my enchanter (naturally a few days later the word came out that velum would be sold by a vendor in the next patch). Since then I've gotten a lot better at Inscription. Recently I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter very much what the current prices of herbs are. I can follow the market through it's ups and downs buying herbs in complete confidence I won't lose gold by using simple math and rules of thumb.

There are basically 2 tiers of Cataclysm herbs. First tier herbs, including Cinderbloom, Stormvine, Azshara's Veil and Heartblossom, give on average half an Inferno Ink and 5 Blackfallow ink per stack. Second tier herbs, Whiptail and Twilight Jasmine, give on average 1 Inferno Ink and 6 Blackfallow Ink. 10 Blackfallow Ink can always be traded in for 1 Inferno Ink meaning we can consider Blackfallow to be worth at least 1/10 of what Inferno goes for (note this will always be true though the opposite will not always be true).

To keep the math simple I consider all glyphs to cost 10g each to craft and Blackfallow Ink to be worth 3.333g each.

This means I can buy the top tier of herbs (Whiptail and Twilight Jasmine) for the going price of one Inferno Ink + 20g. If Inferno is going for 40g I can spend up to 60g per stack.

For the lower tier of herbs, I can spend half the price of one Inferno Ink + 20g. The Blackfallows are actually costing 4g each since I only get 5 of them per stack but using 20g here too keeps things simpler. Assuming the same 40g price for Inferno I can spend up to 40g on tier one herbs. A 20g difference between herb tiers.

Inferno Ink 30g then 30 + 20 = 50g and 15 + 20 = 35g for a difference of 15g
Inferno Ink 50g each then 50 + 20 = 70g and 25 + 20 = 45 g for a difference of 25g

Obviously the difference is half the price of one Inferno Ink. This leads to a simple rule of thumb I follow when buying herbs to mill. The difference in the value of the herb tiers is equal to 1/2 the value of an Inferno Ink. If I'm selling Inferno Ink in bulk for 40g then I'll buy top tier herbs for up to 60g a stack and lower tier for up to 40g a stack. If I'm only getting 30g for bulk Inferno then I'll pay up to 50g for the better herbs and 35g for the lesser herbs.

Of course these are my maximum prices, I try to get the herbs at least a little cheaper and only go all the way to the maximum if I'm short on materials and really need to make more glyphs right away.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Dealing with obsessive campers - Part II advanced

IMPORTANT NOTE: This article is intended for advanced users who can edit the program code of a mod. If you don't feel comfortable using a text editor to edit a mod then don't try this!

I'm an old C programmer so while I don't know lua well enough to write a mod from scratch it is a simple language making it trivial to edit a mod to calculate prices differently. I use TSM (TradeSkillMaster) and I make 2 modifications in post.lua.

The first change is really simple. All it does is change the way TSM's "maximum price" setting percentage is used. It compares the current lowest buyout price to fallback price * maximum price percentage. Adjust the "maximum price" setting to determine what percentage you want to multiply fallback by.

If the current price is greater than than fallback * maximum then it posts at fallback * maximum.  If the current price is greater than fallback but less than fallback * maximum then it just posts at fallback.

This is extremely useful for quickly yanking prices back into a sane range when someone tries to buy it all out and jack prices up insanely high. Of course he'll be camping hardcore until prices get back to normal. This ensures they get back to normal quickly.

So for example if your fallback is 100g, maximum price is set at 200% and the current price is over 200g, it'll post at 200g, if the price is over 100g but 200g or less, it'll post at 100g. If the price is 100g or less it will calculate undercuts as normal.

Just after line 405 in post.lua you'll find a code snippet something like this

-- Check if we're posting something too high
if buyout > (fallback * TSMAuc.Config:GetConfigValue(itemID, "fallbackCap")) then
buyout = fallback
fallbackCap = true

Cut that code out and replace it with this.

-- Check if we're posting something too high
if buyout > (fallback * TSMAuc.Config:GetConfigValue(itemID, "fallbackCap")) then
buyout = (fallback * TSMAuc.Config:GetConfigValue(itemID, "fallbackCap"))
fallbackCap = true
elseif buyout > fallback then
buyout = fallback
fallbackCap = true

The second change doesn't replace any code, it simply adds a new bit of code that changes the price calculation. ANY undercut value of 50c or less is considered to be a PERCENTAGE. This bit of code calculates the difference between the current lowest price and your threshold, then undercuts by 1-50% of that. The higher the current price is the bigger the undercuts will be but they'll get progressively smaller and smaller as the price approaches threshold. Set the bid to 1-50c to adjust just how aggressively it undercuts and therefore how quickly it brings prices down. If you use this edit too, make sure it goes directly above the first edit or it won't work correctly.

Note: I don't recommend using the second change with a blacklist. If there are any names on your blacklist it could cause you to post extremely low since TSM ignores thresholds for blacklisted names.

  -- Do percentage undercuts as a percentage of the difference between the
  -- current lowest price and our threshold using undercut settings less than 50c as 1-50%
if lowestBuyout > threshold then
  local tempp = TSMAuc.Config:GetConfigValue(itemID, "undercut")
  if tempp <= 50 then
    -- consider an undercut of 0c to be 10% and prevent divide by 0 errors
    if tempp < 1 then
        tempp = 10
      buyout = lowestBuyout - ((lowestBuyout - threshold)/(100/tempp))
  -- do nothing, the undercut setting was a real undercut value not a percentage

Dealing with obsessive campers

Campers... The lowest form of life in the game. Those greedy bloodsucking leeches who spend every waking minute camping the auction, constantly spamming cancel and repost so they always have 1 or 2 of every profitable item up for 1c less than anyone else.

How to deal with them effectively?

First you have to understand the Camper mentality. Campers are like those losers you see lined up in front of the VLTs at the local bar every 2nd Wednesday with fresh welfare checks in hand. They're addicted. They can't stop. As long the lights keep flashing with a payout they'll keep plugging more items into the auction as fast as their mods can cancel and repost. Part time / Occasional campers aren't a big deal, they camp for a few hours and then they move on to doing something else. The real problem is the obsessive camper who's seemingly always online and constantly undercutting.

The obsessive camper undercuts by 1c to maximize his profit per item. He attempts to completely control and dominate sales of everything he camps. He'll usually post just 1 or 2 of most items and reposts replacements as fast as they sell. He's greedy, trying to get all the sales of all the highest priced items and will drive prices into the ground if he thinks it might drive his competition out of business or allow him to buy it all up cheaply and repost at ridiculous markups. He always seems to be there jealously guarding what he considers his markets.

Worst of all are the ones that bot. This type of camper doesn't just seem to be there all the time, he actually is there all time. Canceling and reposting his 1 or 2 of virtually everything within a minute or two of anyone undercutting him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for months and even years on end. Even when it looks like he's actually offline for the first time in ages all you need to do is post a few items and he'll appear like magic within minutes to undercut you again. He'll drive prices right into the dirt, then wait till all the competition logs off, buy it out and repost for 10x, 100x, even 1000x more, knowing that all he has to do is sell just one at a ridiculously high price and it pays for buying all of them. He'll repeat this endlessly attempting to break the competition's will and make them give up. He very rarely runs out of anything in spite of completely dominating sales.

Blizzard won't ban him unless he's dumb enough to use an old bot they can actually detect or they catch him red handed selling gold. In fact they'll make up excuses for him when you point out he hasn't been offline for X years and he's posted every minute or two the whole time. How do you beat him?

One way is to camp the camper. When he's camping the auction you camp him and undercut him by 1c just as fast as or faster than he undercuts you. The problem with that is now you're playing his game. Still if he's not botting and you're online as much or more than he is this can be very effective. But if he's online more than you are he's going to win that game and if he's the bot type you have no chance of competing with him for long.

The other way and the one I find works best is to undercut steeply and drive prices down fast. After all the whole point of his camping is to get all (or at least the vast majority) of high profit sales. If profits aren't high he'll be less inclined to camp.

Don't pull your posts like he does. Post your items for 24 or 48 hours and leave them up. When he undercuts just keep posting more with steep undercuts making it very costly for him to buy you out and raise prices sky high when you're not online. The idea is to make sure your undercuts are steep enough and the final price low enough he's going to wonder if it's worth his time to spend the next 48 hours stopping your posts from selling... Yet you have enough posted at progressively higher prices that he really doesn't want to buy them all out either and when he does stop camping you'll still make decent profits.

Check the auction frequently throughout the day and keep enough items up that he doesn't dare buy you out. When he does buy you out anyhow, post more as soon as possible for slightly more and in even greater numbers than the last time. Find his real thresholds, the prices he doesn't like posting under and the prices he won't buy you out in bulk at. He will bluff, posting lower and lower to see how low you'll go before he buys you out. Don't worry if he catches you like that a few times, just raise your prices 10-20%, post even more and see if he'll buy you out there too.

Keep it up for as long as it takes until he stops camping.. At that point your stuff will start selling with the price going up as it sells. With a persistent camper it could take a long time, weeks or even months before it works but it does work. Then you can let prices go up slightly but not too much. He's probably waiting for that and ready to jump right back in as soon as he thinks profits are high enough to justify his time again.

The biggest problem is finding undercut values that work well to drive prices down quickly enough when they're high to discourage camping, yet don't drive them right to threshold too soon when they're already low. For example, with gems a 5g undercut might be too little to deter campers much at all when prices are at 200g and yet drive prices down to cost too quickly when prices are already under 20g. But 10%, 20% or some other percentage of the difference between the lowest price you're willing to sell at and the current lowest price might work perfectly.

Tomorrow's post will go into specifics of how I modify my posting mod's price calculations to better deal with campers.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Jewelcrafting changes in 4.2 - Stacking gems and 36 slot Gem Bags!

36 Slot Gem Bag - Tailoring pattern, requires 3 Dreamcloth to craft

Obtained by doing the Mount Hyjal quest line The Molten Offensive through step 4 Filling the Moonwell which opens up the Vendor Alya Shadowstorm who sells the pattern.

Start saving up your dreamcloth and get the quest line done on your tailor ASAP when 4.2 comes out. Jewelcrafters are going to be snapping them up fast and some will buy 4 at a time.

Start buying out and stockpiling cheap, normally or even slightly above normally priced epic Spellthreads too. They should go up in price because everyone will be using their Dreamcloth to make the new gem bags. My conservative prediction is the bags will go for 5k+ (maybe a LOT more) the first week, at least 3k for several more weeks and spellthreads will jump to 1k+. It'd be a good idea to do the same with epic Leg Armors, Pristine Hide and Heavy Savage Leather too.

Cut Gems stack to 20. Note this info is datamined from the PTR. It probably will happen but you can never be certain with datamined info.

Bloodthirsty Jewelry 6 new ilevel 358 rare PvP rings and necklaces. Each requires 4 or 5 rare gems (Inferno Ruby, Ocean Sapphire or Amberjewel) and several Volatiles to craft. These will probably sell ok. If so they'll almost certainly contribute to rising Inferno Ruby prices (which should be rising anyhow due to increased demand for gemming all the new gear). They might even cause Amberjewel and Ocean Sapphire prices to rise a bit too.

Why is Jewelcrafting the only gear crafting profession that cannot craft any level 85 Epic gear? Show us some love Blizzard!

I intend to have a good stockpile of all rare gems, especially Inferno Rubies ready for the patch. Demand will increase for all gems and dramatically so for Inferno Rubies. On patch day the first thing I intend to do is buyout all the best selling gems at normal or lower prices. Then I'll cut enough to have at least a full stack of all of the 40 or so best selling cuts and 5-10 each of other cuts. I'll quickly post some gems and then go get that bag pattern on my tailor.

One other point to consider. Blizzard might decide to slip Epic Gems into 4.2 at the last minute. It's not a bad idea to stockpile some tokens to buy patterns with on patch day just in case they do. For those that don't mind taking some risk you might want to stockpile Pyrite Ore in case Epic Gems can be prospected or Rare Gems and Herbs for possible Epic Gem transmutes.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Professions - Picking your professions

Choosing the right professions is key to making lots of gold. The fewer high level characters you have the more important it is to choose the right professions. You want to choose professions to take advantage of synergies with one profession providing materials required by another. For example Mining provides ore for Jewelcrafting, Jewelcrafting provides uncommon gems for Alchemy transmutes and cheap green Rings/Necks for DisEnchanting.

1 high level character

If you raid with a progression guild they'll expect your main character's professions be chosen to maximize raid performance. That's going to rule out most of the better gold making combos unless you're a tank who can take Mining without getting yelled at.

Dual Gatherer

Usually Mining/Herbalism though could also be Mining/Skinning or Herbalism/Skinning. Dual Gathering is best at the beginning of an expansion when raw materials prices are at their highest. Dual Gathering is terrific for leveling toons too, it really speeds up the leveling process and you can either sell the mats to make gold while leveling or save them up to powerlevel a crafting trade once you're 75+. You can't go wrong making every new toon a dual gatherer until you're finished leveling.

Mining + Jewelcrafting

Once you're 75+ this is probably the best low risk gold making single character combo there is. Jewelcrafting/Enchanting can be even more lucrative though it's riskier since you have to depend on others for a source of cheap materials. If you want low risk and easy profits this is the combo to get. And if you're a tank you can even use it for raiding!

JewelCrafting + Enchanting

The most profitable 2 profession combo of all. Riskier than Mining + JC because you're depending on others for cheap ore. If you already have a fair bit of gold and don't mind taking some risk then this is the way to go. A good raiding combo too.

Blacksmithing + Jewelcrafting

Terrific raiding combo and not bad for gold making especially if you're one of the first to get new smithing patterns and can farm or have access to materials only found in heroics and/or raids.

Mining + Blacksmithing

Good combo if you're a high end raider who's likely to be one of the first on the server to get new patterns from new raids. Unfortunately as a high end raider your guild won't let you raid with this combo unless you're a tank. Other gatherer + crafting profession combos fall into the same boat, they're pretty good for gold making if you're one of the first with the new patterns, soso if you aren't. And they might not be good for raiding either.

Other good gold making combinations include Herbalism + Alchemy and Herbalism + Inscription. These combos aren't very good for raiding though.


If you have more than one high level toon (75+) you should seriously consider taking Enchanting on one even if it means dropping another profession you already invested a lot of gold into. Enchanting has a terrific synergy with gear crafting professions because it allows you to make cheap crafted gear and turn them into enchanting materials which you can then either sell as is or after turning them into scrolls.

The Elementium Shuffle (aka Obsidium Shuffle)

The biggest gold maker in the game. Basically you take ore, prospect it, auction some raw gems, cut and sell rare gems, transmute uncommons into rare gems, craft rings, necks and carnelian spikes to disenchant and vendor any excess uncommon gems (mostly zephyrite and maybe some alicite). To do the full shuffle and maximize your profits you need Jewelcrafting, Alchemy (Transmute Spec) and Enchanting. And of course you need a reliable supply of cheap bulk ore.

Stacking professions

If you have many high level characters some professions make sense to stack (have on more than one character) while others don't. One profession in particular Alchemy stacks extremely well and Jewelcrafting stacks ok too. From a gold making perspective other professions don't really have any significant advantages to having on more than one character.

Alchemy is generally considered the best profession to stack because you can have three different alchemical specialties on different characters and transmute spec cooldowns are good gold makers. Some players with many high level toons put alchemy on all of them. One potion spec, one elixir spec and the rest all transmute giving them more procs on daily cooldowns like Truegold, Living Elements and probably Epic Gem transmutes in the future.

Jewelcrafting is good profession to stack mainly because it allows you to get more gem cuts sooner than a single character would. JC also has a daily cooldown, Fire Prism, but it isn't nearly as good as Alchemy  transmutes.