Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Hot on the heels of spending 2M gold since I hit gold cap, I've built my reserves to 2M gold, liquid! Even after I hit 1M gold and started tracking my major expenses, I still hadn't started tracking my gold balance on a day to day basis. Finally, just before Mists of Pandaria landed, I started tracking my gold across both factions, and the results are above.
You can see where Pandaria hit, and I picked up some mounts, realm first blacksmithing and invested in some gear. The only other major divets are for [Mimiron's Head] and [Reins of the Onyxian Drake]. Generally outside of those major investments, I make gold faster than I can spend it. Where things go flat, I'm investing heavily in materials for professions. Above the 1M mark, it shouldn't a big deal to invest more than 20k in a single material in a single sitting, steadly mashing the BUY button until you've bought up all the ore / herbs under your threshold.
Recently I've slowed down on the flask market, with the volatility of lotus and the strange, twisted minds of some of my fellow alchemists leaving only small windows of profitability. So much so that I've actually reset flasks a couple of times just to see how quickly they squish their own profits. I'm still having trouble finding 'cheap' ore, but since I'm almost sold out of eyes, I should probably stop being so cheap. I have been selling plenty of PvP gear too and I'm looking forward to see how that compares to my other markets.
A little while ago, I helped out a friend who wanted to move a lot more gold across to the Alliance side. So one of my challenges is how to move that gold back at a profit. The Horde AH on my server is generally a lot lower volume and a lot more expensive, particularly now that our last top 500 guild has left. I've moved some general bargains, even some mats for my Jeeves enterprise, but it is slow going. If anyone has suggestions for cross faction trading, going uphill, let me know. My wife suggested that my next BoA (mount / pet etc) purchase from the BMAH is bought on the horde side, which could provide a large correction the gold balance across the two factions.
Lastly, I've almost got a full month of data for my glyph posting, so I'm pretty excited to share those results in the next week or so. I'm looking forward to another spending spree, rounding out my mount collection and stubbornly trying to sell a [Jeweled Onxy Panther] at a tiny markup in the presence of those $#@%ing dupes. It will be a futile, small protest, but it will be mine.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
After exclaiming, "more of the same" for a few months, my glyph sales get a bump over the 1000g mark.
- Total Glyph Sales: 77,390g
- Total Glyphs Sold: 1046
- Average Price: 73g99s
Thursday, March 21, 2013
TL;DR Yes, yes it does.
I recently posted Twitchie's Guide to Resetting Markets and my case study was my reset of the [Living Steel Belt Buckle] market. It was easy to see the results quickly because the market has only one product, and it is an item any self respecting active player will purchase regularly (if you have time to level, you have time to buckle).
One of my readers warned about the dangers of resetting the glyph market, to which I replied:
Oh I do this with Glyphs all the time! Just like with the glyph market in general, there's a different set of expectations. For resetting belt buckles, I can see the results in a day. However, with glyphs it can take a lot longer.The major difference between the buckle example and glyphs is that there lots of different glyphs. When I post buckles, I expect to sell some buckles. However, when I post a glyph I only expect that it might sell 1 in 10 times I post it, maybe less. The point is though, when I post over 400 different glyphs, 40 of them might sell and that's a fantastic result. The demand for each glyph is a lot lower (everyone needs a belt buckle, but every non-Paladin won't buy any Paladin glyphs) so you want to get as much coverage of the market as you can.
The other major difference with glyphs is that the margins are a LOT higher. I will buy 20 glyphs hoping for the result that one sells at the reset price and I make a profit.
There are also some pitfalls with glyph resets, in that common leveling glyphs will constantly have their price driven into the ground, as people make 5 of them and dump them at any price. When a glyph is less than 5g though, there really isn't that much risk. TSM is great for solving this problem, since once you have a stockpile of 40+ , it's probably not worth trying to keep resetting that particular glyph in the future.
There are different challenges for resetting in different markets, so I might go through some of my data for other examples, particularly glyphs.
Glyphs is posting, mailbox and inventory intensive, and that alone is enough to turn many people away from the market. I suspect that the other major reason people leave the glyph market (aside from rabid competition) is that they don't commit heavily enough to get a return on their initial investment. Glyphs seems to be an all or nothing market, and until you retrieve those solid blocks of sales in your mailbox it can't seem worth the time.
The same is true for resets. In order to feel like resetting glyphs is productive, you don't want to try it on one glyph and wait for the coin to start rolling in. Rather than cherry pick one piece of low hanging fruit, get out your hedge trimmer and just lop off the whole low end of the market. Add those glyphs to your inventory and keep going with your normal posting cycle. Give it some time before you come back to assess. Or don't. You can take my approach and just assume that it works really well... until today.
After posting the reply, I decided to have a quick look at how well my glyph resetting works for the last month or two. For quick numbers, my first port of call is always to TradeSkillMaster. So open up /tsm and head to the accounting module, and hopefully you'll get results like mine:
- Predator: Bingo! 3 glyphs bought for a less than 15g for a return of more than 500g. Right here, is what resetting markets are all about. Relieving impatient and frustrated people of their undervalued goods, and selling them all the way back up at your fall back
- Pillar of Frost: 17 glyphs bought, only 2 sold. I mentioned that the glyph business is inventory intensive right? If you have the stomach for it, you can delete as many of the excess glyphs as you like and you've still made a tidy profit. What is most important isn't the number of glyphs you buy, as the total cost of the reset (in this case over 60g) and the likely return on investment. If you're worried about the inventory issue, or the time it will take to recoup your investment, the glyph market in general is probably not for you.
- Shred: 10 glyphs bought for 59g31s, one glyph sold for 59g25s. While you can think about this as a cheap way to gain 9 glyphs you can resell later, it isn't a great result. The data here is at least a months worth, and I spent time buying glyphs, storing and posting glyphs to make no gold? Bah! So keep in mind that every glyph you reset won't be a winner. Same goes for consecration, but it's a little different because the one Paladin that paid over 50g for a glyph instead of 2g makes it worth it.
What glyph resetting does for me is it allows me to be a stabilising force in the glyph market. It helps to make sure that glyphs are not too cheap, not to expensive, but just right. You're welcome, Goldilocks.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
I really missed the boat on weekend sales mid way through February, but otherwise it was another good month.
- Total Glyph Sales: 53570g
- Total Glyphs Sold: 820
- Average Price: 65g33s
Friday, February 22, 2013
Glyphs is one of my favourite markets, but now in Mists of Pandaria I'm finding that inscription has a wealth of markets all competing for those same herbs.
In Cataclysm, the DMF trinket market was ruled largely by the price of [Volatile Life]. Aside from the very first faire, I always had a surplus of [Inferno Ink], so that to this day I still have over 3500 bouncing around in my mail. [Blackfallow Ink] was rarely converted, mostly because the volume of surplus [Inferno Ink] on the AH kept the price well under the conversion threshold.
Now in Mists, [Ink of Dreams] gets traded up for [Starlight Ink] all the time, and the 1:10 conversion ratio is reflected much better in the prices on the AH as well. There are fluctuations of course, but from a quick glance it seems that it is generally always cheaper to buy and mill the herbs in any case (with the caveat that it depends on how efficient your milling processes are).
The first major change for Mists was the introduction of the shoulder inscription market. The major reason I'm not keeping up with my DMF card potential is that my process after bulk milling herbs is:
- Restock glyphs
- Trade most of the remaining [Ink of Dreams] for [Starlight Ink]
- Restock shoulder inscriptions
- See what is left over to make DMF cards
The second major change is that the second ingredient (to go with the uncommon ink) changed from [Volatile Life] which was produced in large quantities through herbalism, to [Scroll of Wisdom] which is regulated by a daily cooldown. While the scroll cooldown seemed exceedingly restrictive in the early days of the expansion there are many players with multiple scribes that just can't keep up at this point. I only have two scribes, but I still struggle to find enough reasonably priced herbs to keep up with turning my scrolls into cards.
As usual, as I write these posts my problems reveal themselves more clearly, as do the super obvious solutions.
Problem 1: I can't find enough reasonably priced herbs.
The obvious solution is to not be so cheap. I admit I'm the type of player that regularly decides on a price that is "acceptable" for a material. I'll buy anything under that price. As prices fall, I quickly reduce that limit, and more aggressively craft and aggressively price products on the AH to move my stock ahead of the price falling on the products. However, as the price of materials rises I'm much slower to bump up my limit, and often run out of stock. As long as my competitors have similar or smaller stockpiles, I can reenter the market as I please, which is usually how it works out. I could just buy more expensive herbs, as long as the DMF cards remain profitable.
Problem 2: I don't have enough [Starlight Ink] left over after my other markets.
The obvious solution is just to buy inks! While the price of inks is usually much more expensive than herbs plus milling time, the operative word is usually. I'll have another look at what DMF trinkets are selling for, and set a threshold for buying inks to help plow through the scrolls. The threshold doesn't have to be as cheap as the equivalent herbs, it just had to be profitable.
I'll also have a look at the other products that use scrolls, and evaluate those other opportunities.
For those of you that picked the super obvious solution: JUST STOP DOING YOUR SCROLL OF WISDOM DAILY... are you kidding me? Who can resist their profession daily cooldowns?
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Surprise, surprise, this graph looks really familiar.
- Total Glyph Sales: 59670g
- Total Glyphs Sold: 885
- Average Price: 67g42s
I like my graphs, and I have a sentimental attachment to my monthly glyph graph ever since my first export of mysales data. So I'm going to start adding the title and label, 'For the Record' to these posts and keep them short and sweet, so I can spend a little more time on other topics. If you're interested in pretty graphs, or my gold making milestones, drop in and check them out, otherwise you can skip to other topics of discussion.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Have you ever been frustrated that the profit margins in your favourite market are razor thin? Have you ever thought, "My goods are worth more than that!"? Well, with a little capital and some moxie, you can have an impact on the prices on your auction house. Read on for some tips on finding the markets ripe for resetting and ways to reduce your risk.
The graph above is a reset I performed in the [Living Steel Belt Buckle] market just a couple of days ago. Thanks to The Undermine Journal, it is easy to analyse the impact the reset has had over the following days.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR BEFORE PERFORMING A RESET
Volume. In order to reset a market, you need to buy up all the undervalued goods. In order to reduce the capital you invest in the reset, you want to look for a market whose volume has bottomed out. To perform my reset, I only had to buy a little over a stack of buckles. There is a correlation between price and volume that indicates a market is ready for a reset. As the price is driven down, many competitors will leave a once lucrative market for greener pastures, lowering the volume available to consumers. If you are comfortable spending a little extra, the best case is when people liquidate their stock as they leave, giving you an opportunity to expand your own stock in the process.
Price. There are a few factors to consider when deciding a market is undervalued. In the graph above you can see an olive line that represents the materials price, which indicates that the price of belt buckles is just insanely close to the cost of [Living Steel]. As a blacksmith, I want a profit margin over and above the added value of smelting ore, transmuting bars and using my daily alchemy cooldowns. So, I double check the living steel market, which has been pretty consistent. I'm ready to declare belt buckles are undervalued.
Market factors. Belt buckles are an essential (yeah, I said it) enhancement for every player in end game content. Forget you know the word optional for a second. If you have time to level, you have time to buckle! So there's always going to be demand for these items, reasonable competition and some volume. Resetting lower volume markets (e.g., craftable epics) have other considerations. Take anything with [Blood Spirit]s in them for example. The price of spirits have fluctuated wildly since the start of the expansion. Firstly, because they are a depreciating asset (they start scarce, but as time goes on more content is cleared, more are produced and demand goes down as more and more characters no longer require them for gear). Secondly, sadly, because of duping which has a chaotic effect the markets it touches. So the two keywords here are depreciating and unpredictable. For other lower volume markets (e.g., BoEs, pets, mounts) the value of items are a lot more subjective, so experience with the market is key before attempting a reset.
Risk. Once a market is understood, and ripe for resetting, take another moment to understand the risk you are taking on before performing a reset. I like to consider the worst case scenario and work backwards from there. The hypothetical worst case is that you buy up a bunch of stock, and the items you bought were hotfixed overnight into vendor trash. You just just lost your entire capital investment. Scary, huh? So in my example, I spent over 7k on buckles. For me, where 7k is less than the average increase in my liquid gold per day, it is very low risk. Working up from that, consider how you would feel if the market crashed (e.g., if Blizzard changed the availability of [Golden Lotus] while you were resetting flasks) and what you would be prepared to do to liquidate your stock. Also consider how quickly you expect to get your investment back, particularly with high value, low volume markets. Depending the demand on your server, it can take days, weeks or months to offload goods, that are depreciating every moment they sit in your bags.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER A RESET
Expect a correction. It is naive to expect the market won't respond to a reset. The goal is to get a return on your investment before the price settles back down.
Don't be greedy. I'm all for pricing a product at 'whatever the market will bear'. However, when resetting a market, resetting it too high will just invite exponentially more competition looking to get in on the action. I know, do as I say, not as I do. I was a little greedy with my reset, and you can see the almost immediate correction from 580g to 470g. I also didn't sell a single buckle for over 470g in the reset.
Ride the price all the way down. A successful reset will see you make a return on your investment before the price falls down to pre-reset level. If you're lucky, the market will stabilise at a higher price, but you shouldn't count on it. Be aggressive and make sure you get the sales you want as quickly as possible. The beauty of resetting a market you are active in is that you have your original stock, plus the cheap stock from your competitors, so you can make sure to have plenty of volume for peak demand times (e.g., raid nights).
Record your result! In my example, I sold my stack of competitors buckles from 450g down to 420g before I started in on my own stock at 40g higher than pre-reset prices. A good result will give you the confidence to use this approach in all your markets. More importantly, a bad result is an opportunity to try and figure out why your assessment of undervalued was wrong. When I say record your success, I mean have the actual figures available! I highly recommend TSM accounting, which records both purchases and sales for easy reconciliation. When a fellow gold maker starts talking in with vague hyperbole and insipid estimation my eyes glaze over and I reach for the [Binary Brew]. I beg of you, a little gnome can only drink so much.
What markets do you actively reset? Be sure to comment with your victories and horrific failures in the comments!