Friday, 23 December 2011

Glyph Walls - are for teaching lessons

There's been some talk about glyph walls lately. As one who frequently uses glyph walls I'd like to share my views on them.

In particular I'd like to address some of the comments and assumptions made by Croda of the marketsforgold blog. Recently he made the following series of posts regarding glyph walls.

The Glyph Wall – what is it and what is its purpose?
The Glyph Wall - how to combat it

In the first post Croda says "The ultimate aim of this strategy is one of two", then goes on to say it's either to permanently reset glyph prices or it's to force others out of the market.

Actually there's at least one more reason to use glyph walls. The reason I use them. To teach obsessive campers a lesson.

In the second post Croda talks about how to fight glyph walls. He says "The aim here is to bring all glyphs where there is a Wall down to just above cost price and let the glyph wall competitor undercut me and so make losses on each sale. Eventually they will become dispirited at crafting, posting making a small loss and repeating time and time again."

Awesome! When I post glyph walls that's exactly what I want the camper to do. Waste his time, effort and materials obsessing and stressing over undercutting me for very little profit. I will find his real threshold, post just over that and let him be the one to "become dispirited".

Croda assumes the purpose of a wall is to sell glyphs and that's not necesarily true. In fact in my experience the exact opposite is usually true. Walls and especially glyph walls often aren't intended to sell at all, they're there to cap the market at very low profit margins and teach someone a lesson.

When I use glyph walls I don't use them to sell glyphs, I use them to teach obsessive glyph campers a lesson. I'll keep the wall (or walls if they try buying me out) up for as long as it takes. Months, years, it doesn't matter, it's not costing me anything to keep the wall up and as long as they keep undercutting the wall, it doesn't take much effort to keep it up either. When the camping finally stops I raise my prices until the next obsessive camper comes along.

Doing a little simple math it costs 1s to post 1 glyph for 48 hours or 1g per 100 glyphs. If I post 5 of each glyph that comes out to approximately 20g to post 5 of every glyph in the game. An insignificant amount, easily covered by selling just 1 or 2 glyphs a day. Even if no glyphs sell, which virtually never happens, losing 20g a day won't make me go broke anytime soon (it'd take over 800 years).

I guess the moral of the story is don't assume the other guy thinks the same way you do. Doing so increases the risk  your plan to combat his strategy is exactly what he wants you to do. You're doing all the work tanking the market for very little profit while he's just posting once every 2 days and laughing at you.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Epic Gems in Patch 4.3 - Queen's Garnet flooding and why prices are the way they are

It looks like there's another wave of cheap duped goods starting up now. There have been reports from several servers about being flooded by level 1 toons selling stacks and stacks of Queen's Garnet very cheaply. If it happens on your server don't be the sucker who buys the first few cheap stacks because it won't be long before they're selling even more for far less

There have also been a few mentions of cheap Essence of Destruction showing up in suspicious numbers on a few servers.

You've probably noticed some colors of epic gems sell better than the rare equivalents and others worse. Queen's Garnet (red) sell like crazy, Shadow Spinel (purple) hardly sell at all and other colors sell better than purple but nowhere near as well as red.

It's the same for specific cuts, some cuts that sell well as rare cuts hardly sell at all as epics. Everyone wants Queen's Garnet (red), the other gems don't sell nearly as well. Shadow Spinels (purple) have been hit the worst. Cuts like Veiled, Glinting and Etched hardly sell at all and prices are dropping fast. Yet those same cuts rare versions still sell quite well. It's the same with other colors and cuts too, Rigid Deepholm Iolite for example hardly sells at all, Sparkling, Solid and probably even Stormy far outsell Rigid... Yet Rigid Ocean Sapphire still sells well.

Ever wondered why?

Monday, 12 December 2011

Epic Gems - How the market is shaking out

This analysis is server specific to Antonidas (US) and may not match what's happening on your server though I do believe the epic gem market is following a similar pattern on most servers.

Prior to patch 4.3 I made some educated guesses and came up with the following:

What I expected 
I figured epic gems would start out insanely high priced (20k+ per gem for reds, 10k+ for other colors) and virtually none would sell at those prices. I also thought it would be possible to pick up the occasional far more reasonably priced gem out of trade chat, especially after someone spent a day or two *not selling his precious red gold mine at the crazy initial prices everyone would be asking.

For the short term (the first month or so) I decided 4-5k would be a good price to buy red epic gems at and 2-3k for other colors. The plan was to buy raw gems at those prices, then cut and resell them for a 1-2k profit (maybe even more for the first few of each color).

Over the middle term I figured red epic gems would go for around 4k raw and 5-6k cut. The other colors about 1.5-2k raw and 2-3k cut. I felt this would continue until several guilds have been farming most of the new bosses for a while, upgraded most of their gear, gemmed it with epic gems and began getting more epic gems than they use. It's hard to predict how long this phase will last, it could be just a month or so or it could last for several months.

For the long term I expected red epic gems would eventually drop to around 2k raw, 3k cut and other colors to 1k raw, 1.5-2k cut. This could take several months, particularly for red gems. Other colors will almost certainly drop in price sooner and possibly much sooner than red.

Of course there are other factors that could affect the market by increasing the availability of epic gems. For example the possible future addition of transmutes, prospecting, vendors or any other new source of gems could cause prices to drop further and faster.

Then the patch finally landed....

Saturday, 10 December 2011

TSM Blacklist Modification

In a prior post Dealing with obsessive campers - Part II advanced I detailed how I modifed TSM's post.lua to calculate price cuts differently to bring prices down fast and discourage camping. At the time my server was literally infested with campers and auction bots. There were so many campers at that time the best approach was an indiscriminate blanket approach that simply lowered prices quickly until the camping stopped..

Conditions are a little different now. There's far more cooperation between big auction players, fewer obsessive campers and the worst of the campers (the bot) transferred. On top of which demand is high and supply lower than in the past. I found the old approach too extreme for current conditions but there are still a few obsessive campers in certain markets. A more targeted approach is needed so I tweaked my modification to use the blacklist and only target specific campers.

Most of it still works the same as before except it only kicks in for blacklisted players.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Co-operation does work!

Lately there's been some talk around the gold blogs about co-operation. Many feel that co-operation is doomed to fail few believe it works. For the record I'd like to say it can work and very well, especially when you get enough big players involved.

On my server (Antonidas US) there's long been a couple factions that competed hard and didn't like each other very much.

The first was the "Glyph Cartel" which has been around controlling the Antonidas (US) glyph market since before my time on the server. The cartel had 16 or so members with 3 or 4 main guys. One of them was pretty much always online watching over glyphs. They pretty much ran the glyph market a couple years ago. They matched prices with whitelists and had a number of other rules regarding the undercut amount (1c), maximum number of glyphs to post at one time (3), policy and proceedure for resetting prices and so on. This worked extremely well for them until my group started competing with them.

The second was a group I put together of mostly gem sellers and a few anti-cartel scribes. We kept 2 whitelists, a general purpose one for gems, chants and just about everything else and a smaller list just for glyphs. We kept things simple with just 1 rule, whitelist the other guys and that was it. No other limits. Those of us on the glyph list thought of ourselves as the Anti-Cartel Cartel. :) This worked extremely well for us too though with 2 competing groups fighting for control of the glyph market glyphs were usually in the tank.