31 March 2011

The Wrong End of the Auction House Game

One of the more subtle, yet powerful, aspects of the World of Warcraft is that the game means something different to each player.  Moreover, the game changes for the same player depending on their focus at that time. Whether I'm logging in to fart around or tackle some additional progression raid encounters, the game is still fun and it still engages. My game has been divided into three areas lately: end-game progression, alts, and the Auction House.  Let's chat about the AH for a moment, ok?

This is not a gold-making blog, nor am I even remotely claiming that I know what I'm doing in the Auction House. But somehow, I've managed to accumulate over 25,000 gold over the past four weeks. That income is mainly from disenchants and white drops from older instances, but there have been a few crafted blues from my leatherworking skill ups that sold, too. The trick to making gold that I'm using is buying materials for less than what the final product costs and capturing a profit on the 'manufacture' of the final product.

So I've been doing okay.  However,  I've also managed to lose about 13,000 gold in speculation and just general get rich quick scheming. Ugh!

How did I go bad? I bet on Heavy Savage Leather.

Before patch 4.0.6 hit, Heavy Savage Leather was selling for around 60g each on my server.  That's 1,200g a stack.  In the course of some Auctioneer scanning, I encountered what I thought was the mother-lode of deals:  Heavy Savage Leather selling for 48g each.  I bought all that I could and dropped 8k on the bet.

Also, I saw that Savage Leather was selling for 10g each. Since 5 Savage Leather becomes 1 Heavy Savage Leather, that meant I could buy the materials for a Heavy Savage Leather that sold for 60g and only spend 50g, thus allowing for a 10g profit. Again, bells went off and I invested 4k on Savage Leather with plans to convert to Heavy Savage Leather and resell.

And, you guessed it, Savage Leather Scraps were selling for around 1g 20s each.  As any Leatherworker can tell you, 5 Savage Leather Scraps makes one Savage Leather.  At that price, 6g in Savage Leather Scraps would yield a Savage Leather that sells for 10g -- a 4 gold profit.

I thought I was so frigging clever.

I started listing the weekend before path 4.0.6 hit.  I sold a few stacks, and I was getting happy. Then, come Tuesday, Bam!

Skins are everywhere.

Where leather used to be scarce, now it's plentiful.  The biggest change for me?  Tol Barad spiders! I can sit there for 30 minutes and grab 10 stacks of Savage Leather just from collecting other people's kills as they run their dailies. Leather farming is easy, but that also means there is more of it.  Prices started to drop.  Now Heavy Savage Leather sells for 20g each or 400g a stack on my server.  I had been holding out in hopes of a rebound, but finally cut my losses at a hit of of 800g per stack.  Ouch!

The plus side?

In avoiding selling at a loss, I finally had enough leather to buy all my patterns and max out my skill!

It's not all bad.  I've been farming Molten Core and Karazhan for reputation lately.  MC yields about 600 gold per run (or more depending on the low-end elementals markets) and Kara about 1,500 (mostly in disenchants).

Despite taking a huge hit, I'm doing ok and I learned a lesson; get rich quick fails in WoW as much as it does in RL.