Wednesday, December 4, 2013

For the Record: November 2013 Glyph Sales

Glyph sales volume continues to roll in, with the 50g glyph wall just cramping my style a little.

  • Total Glyph Sales: 56801g
  • Total Glyphs Sold: 1325
  • Average Price: 42g87s

Seige of Orgrimmar rolls on, and I've still been very slack picking up the new glyph patterns. Being Overlord of Twitchie Enterprises has its perks. I have many alts to do my bidding, run a vast enterprise, and rake in the gold. Plus, I'm a warlock, and that in and of itself is pretty freakin' awesome. Green fire and all that jazz. However, I too am an alt... and when a patch hits, I am too often relegated to 'gold mint'. I mean, if we're going to be perfectly honest, how does a shadow priest and brewmaster monk get levelled ahead of me?!?! Legendary cloak? No. Get in line, and get back to the auction house.

However, I have managed to sneak out to the Timeless Isle, farmed some turtles in Valley of the Four Winds and even done and LFR wing or two. So I have most of the patterns, but I'm scared to look at how many I still have left to collect. In any case, Garrosh is dead... and heroic modes are starting, so I'd better get back to milling those bazillions of herbs so I can keep that protection warrior in the lifestyle that he's become acostomedto.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

For the Record: October 2013 Glyph Sales

Same old, same old for October.

  • Total Glyph Sales: 53993g
  • Total Glyphs Sold: 1368
  • Average Price: 39.47
Siege of Orgrimmar is in full swing, and I'm getting used to this double sales at half price scheme. It does mean that I'll have to mill some herbs... but then, I've been meaning to update my glyph production graph for a while now. The good news is that herbs continue to fall in price, so there has never been a better time to restock.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

For the Record: September 2013 Glyph Sales

Reasonably close to the same gold total, but with less than half the average price and double the sales. What the $#@% is going on?

  • Total Glyph Sales: 48139g
  • Total Glyphs Sold: 1379
  • Average Price: 34g 91s 
In September, some bright spark has set a 50g ceiling for glyphs on my server. I don't like to gouge (well too often) but I like to think the effort in the glyph market is worth a reasonable amount more than a 100% markup. I surprised myself by being unable to muster any kind of negative reaction, instead thinking something to the effect, 'this will be interesting for the stats'.

Patch 5.4 was released on the 10th, so the spike in volume may have been influenced more by returning players rather than the decreased costs of glyphs across the board. I have been very slow to acquire the new glyphs, since I'm usually off exploring new content rather than making the most of gold making opportunities.

Along that vein, I lied. My next post wasn't a larger representation of glyphs posted vs. glyphs sold over time, and it won't be for a while. As much fun as I've had developing the tools, the time is fast aproaching where I have a much restrticed warcraft schedule. I'm hoping to get back into it as soon as I have the energy in the new year.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

For the Record: August 2013 Glyph Sales

New Graphs! New Graphs! I missed seven full days of posting while I was out of town (although managed to kill some heroic bosses from a hotel room) and earned a substantial jump in sales from July.

  • Total Glyph Sales: 54397g 
  • Total Glyphs Sold: 654 
  • Average Price: 83.18g
The first noticeable upgrade, now that I've got my development environment set up, is the graphs for my monthly glyphs. Erorus from everyone's favourite gold related site, The Undermine Journal recommended Highcharts, and so far it has been a joy to use. Notice the warlock class colour. Delightful. Yes, the graph is a static image, because I'm not quite ready to have anyone poking around my web application in real time.

Late in the month I noticed that some of my competitors (/wave) have been buying out my lower priced glyphs like crazy! Cut to my last post about Glyph Posts and Glyph Sales Compared, and I want to make sure that any further analysis separates out suspected competitor shenanigans from sales to players who will likely learn the glyphs. In particular it impacts on the request to see how many times I sell more than one unique glyph between posts, since in the last few days I've sold four of many glyphs (I post for 48 hours) to my competitors. That analysis will be my next post, with data I've collected over the last five months.

I can't overstate how much fun it is to be developing analysis tools for my own data. Every time I touch a piece of code, I add yet another handful of items to my ever growing todo list. I've got visions of pie charts for the pandaren food market, and curves describing the decay of glyph sales as time marches on... Enough dreaming, there's work to be done.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Glyph Posts and Glyph Sales Compared

I've been talking the last few months about recording glyph posting, so I could compare it to the number of glyphs sold. While I've been recording the data for a long time, I have only just begun to analyse it.

In order to give everyone a sneak peak, I've produced a the graph above for just a small window of just over five days. The blue line represents glyphs posted and is divided by 10, and the red line is glyphs sold. The graph is divided into hours. So the first blue spike is me posting 738 glyphs between noon and quarter past. The first few data points for sales are 2 glyphs sold between 1pm and 2pm, 2 glyphs sold between 2pm and 3pm, nothing sold between 3pm and 4pm, 7 glyphs sold between 4pm and 5pm and so on.

Although this is a very small sample size, it is worth noting just how sharply glyph sales fall off 12 hours after posting, leading me to conclude that posting twice per day wouldn't be a waste of my time (or at least the second posting won't suffer from diminishing returns).

While only a sneak peak, it gives me the confidence to say that a good post yields sales of between 5 and 10% of glyphs posted (my posting schedule is explained bellow), and a nice visual to explain to people that only dabble in the market what to expect in terms of unsold glyph auctions.

My next steps for this analysis will include:
  • Improved graphing over a longer period of time. I will include a separate scale for glyphs posted to glyphs sold, rather than just divide the number posted by something arbitrary.
  • A metric for the average number of glyphs sold for each hour after posting, and the average yield in terms of both sales and gold value.
  • Taking suggestions from readers about what else would be useful and/or awesome.

Naturally all this data is limited by my particular server, posting schedule and competition. My main limitation with this data is that I post on two different characters (probably soon to be three in patch 5.4) and it is potentially beyond the scope of the exercise to track who sells what.* For example, the large spikes are where both characters post a full set of glyphs in quick succession, and the smaller spikes are where they post further apart.

The major influence on the yield of sales is that I post two of each glyph rather than one (or more). I post two because it is much more time efficient to post two of each glyph once per day than it is to post one of each glyph twice per day. Particularly when I generally collect my mail while I'm AFK. That brings up its own metric to explore: the number times I actually sell two of a particular type of glyph between posts, and if there's any pattern (e.g., some very popular glyphs may warrant posting in larger numbers).

As I've mentioned a bazillion times before, I never cancel glyphs, and post at my fallback when the price goes under my threshold (in order to cap my competitions ceiling on resetting).

In other news, my inability to display more than a tiny fragment of my collected data in a spreadsheet has inspired my to get my web application up and running on a newly upgraded server, so I'll be slicing my data every which way over the coming months.

* It should be very much in scope, since the posting and selling data are both recorded with character and server information, so the analysis can be split and recombined.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

For the Record: July 2013 Glyph Sales

Ouch. July glyphs sales are down, selling less than half the number of glyphs in May. I know I've been posting less, but it will be interesting to see just how much less for such a dramatic decline.

July Stats:
  • Total Glyph Sales: 24,540g
  • Total Glyphs Sold: 355
  • Average Price: 69g12s
So the data above has been dragged out of the new TSM2 Accounting module. The file size has almost gone up by an order of magnitude, mostly thanks to the character gold graph, which I merrily skip over. I still am yet to back date my June sales, since I overlooked uploading the last portion my data from before the change.

I've started selling my first battle pets (rather than the items that allow you to learn a pet), and what on earth the numbers are for a new item type 'battlepet' relate to is currently beyond me. I was pleased to sell a [Spawn of G'nathus] on behalf of my small consortium that farmed us all one and another for sale for more than 6k. Make sure that you look at the auction fee for that item before posting, which will very quickly convince you to sell it as a battle pet!

So my goal for August is to bring you some actual stats related to posting frequency and sales. If I have extra time, (mhmm) I'll look at getting my purchasing data into my database. I clear my TSM Accounting cache at least every other month, so it can be difficult to accurately estimate how much I pay for sporadically purchased goods (e.g., carrots). Having the data available going back months will most likely help me to more aggressively price goods and turn more stuff over.

Monday, July 29, 2013

TSM 2.0: of Groups and Operations


From the green fire sharpened warlock mind who brought you the hashtag #TSM2, comes a post completely devoid of configuration screenshots to discuss concepts core to TSM 2.

With a complete overhaul of TSM comes concepts of pure simplicity, that when combined make the automation of your virtual business both easy and powerful. Unlike some of my colleages, I have found the change is not in itself confusing, but merely change. For the better. If you forget what you know of TSM configuration and read on, you will probably find starting fresh quite instructive.

Starting Over

Moving to TSM 2 is permenant, and I'm here to tell you that there won't be any going back. In time you'll forget all about your TSM 1 backups that you diligently squirelled away. The only thing I forgot about before making the change was the details of my whitelist, but a message on my guild forums sorted that out quickly. Also note that the format for TSM Accounting will change, so make sure you are prepared if you store and manipulate your data outside the game.


Rather than jump right in, let's talk about the nature of things. A thing can be a finished product (belt buckle, potion) or it can be a material (golden lotus) or anything inbetween (ghost iron bar). In TSM 2 you put these things in groups and you can put those groups in groups to organise ALL THE THINGS.

The power of groups is that because your group can have subgroups and those subgroups can have subgroups, you really can organise things any way you can dream up. You might even go so far as to plan it out in advance:

The beauty of groups is that TSM remembers the branching so that rather than an endless list of categories and groups, if you design your groups well, you can always find what you'd like to work on without the distraction of looking at your entire enterprise.


Operations are how you put ALL THE THINGS in motion. You apply an operation to a group to make something happen. So rather than navigate different modules for configuration, just ask yourself what do I want to DO with this group?
  • Sell the things - Auctioning operation
  • Mail the things - Mailing operation
  • Store the things - Warehousing operation
  • Create the things - Crafting operation
  • Buy the things - Shopping operation 

Think of what you'd like to happen and setting that up is just a click away.

The elegance of operations is how easy it is to navigate and see what you've set up, and how quick it is to create new operations and apply them to a group.

The power of operations is many fold. Firstly you can have more than one operation for a group. Have you ever wanted to sell flasks in different sizes? I admit this feature got me a little giddy and instead of just selling 18 flasks in stacks of 3 (enough for a 3hr raid) I went nuts. 6 stacks of 3, 2 stacks of 1, 4 stacks of 5 and 2 stacks of 10. I thought no matter how you like to buy your flasks, Twitchie has you covered. You can apply this to duration or even just for novelty, offer a discount to 'bulk' purchases (I'm kidding of course).

Secondly, operations are reusable across different groups. Now I'm a little bit of a control freak, and tend to micromanage price thresholds in absolute gold values, but I couldn't resist this new technology as an opportunity to let go. So while my tailoring, leatherworking and blacksmithing PvP gear are all in seperate groups, the way I craft them, price and post them are defined in the same operations. You can name your operations with discriptive names to make the whole process intuative.

Thirdly, operations have been applied across everything. I can't say enough about how much warehousing has improved. Want to keep something in stock? Create a warehousing operation and specify a stock level. Hit 'restock bags' and watch things fly in both directions. It changed my cooking operation drastically.

Lastly, applying operations to groups is fun. When you are working on a materials group, and have your shopping operation implemented, you can't help but notice that you don't have an auctioning operation defined. So you think why not? I'll charge a King's ransom* and see what happens. When those lucrative sales roll in as a biproduct of playing with a new piece of software, you truly appreciate how elegance of the new design.

Next time I'll talk about the few things I miss about TSM 1, or a subset of the features in TSM 2 that you'll really look foward to.

* reasonable markup

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

For the Record: June 2013 Glyph Sales

Time for my back dated post for June, now that I've caught up with the TSM 2.0 changes and  upgraded my server where the database lives to Debian 7 (Wheezy). To be specific, I'm reflecting on these number that I've just uploaded in mid-August.

May Stats:
  • Total Glyph Sales: 34,817g
  • Total Glyphs Sold: 458
  • Average Price: 76g02s
My posting cycle has been much reduced, and it's interesting to see that I can still grab sales more than 24 hours after I've posted. The average price is still looking great, and herbs are becoming more plentiful and cheap.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

For the Record: May 2013 Glyph Sales

I sold even less glyphs in May, but for a whole bunch of extra coin. Look at that average price, up to almost 100g per glyph.

May Stats:
  • Total Glyph Sales: 63,586g
  • Total Glyphs Sold: 680
  • Average Price: 93g50s
I'm still tracking my glyph posting, which is now up over 3 months worth. At some point I'll sit my ass down and put out some data... once I upload the new TSM Accounting data from TSM 2. Yes, I've been playing with TSM 2, having a ball... look out for a post on Groups and Operations soon(tm).

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Competing with Crazy Alchemists

Alchemists are a crazy bunch. Never satisfied with how things are, they concoct, blend and transmute. The fumes get to them after a while, and in a drunken stupor they roll up to the Auction House and just dump their goods at whatever price they feel like. Some alchemists even pick their own herbs and have convinced themselves that their [Golden Lotus] are free. Some alchemists have taken to gardening, and are surprised they even get paid for their wares after having fun in the sun, messing about with the soil and communing with mother Pandaria.

What the $#@% is an Enterprise to do?

Thanks to The Undermine Journal, you can see just how crazy the alchemists on your server are. Looking at the graph above, you can see just how often the price of materials is above the sale price of [Flask of the Earth]. Of course, the cost basis for flasks is significantly reduced by elixir specialisation, but even so, what kind of margin is that? A abysmal margin. That's what.

Automate sales with TSM

Getting the basics out the way, use TSM to sell your stuff. My philosophy with most consumables, is to get started creating a working stockpile, setting my thresholds for a reasonable profit margin and then just refilling my stock as required. If alchemists are being crazy, my stuff doesn't sell, but I don't care. I wait for a spike in demand, or for alchemists to sober up, and take my sales in those windows of opportunity.

If I haven't had sales in a little bit, or I notice something happening with the materials prices, I investigate and take action as necessary. It might mean raising or lowering my threshold and fallback, resetting a market or altering my materials acquisition to keep up with demand.


Never make an alchemy product without the correct specialisation:
  • Elixir Master - Elixirs and Flasks
  • Potion Master - Potions (but not Elixirs (see above))
  • Transmutation Master - Transmuting (e.g., Living Steel, Gems, Meta Gems)
One of the reasons the alchemy markets are so cut throat is because there is roughly a 20% gain in end product by using the correct specialisation. So I recommend having (at least) three alchemists so you can cover all of the markets. The only reason to have more than one Transmutation Master is because some transmutes (e.g., Living Steel) have a daily cooldown and the only way to increase your yield is to have more alchemists to create that product.

So far in Mists of Pandaria, I have created 7259 flasks, 1218 of which were additional procs (20.16%). There is just no way I would try and compete in the flask market without that advantage.

Don't take a loss

Don't be pressured into lowering your threshold below your cost price. That's not competing with crazy alchemists, that's just dropping your pants. Don't join them, beat them. Aside from the enormous downward pressure on the market because of competition, the alchemy markets fluctuate in price quite a bit. If you are patient your goods will sell, at a profit.

The exception of course is when something dramatic happens to the market. Earlier this expansion, Blizzard adjusted the drop chance for [Golden Lotus] and people started growing them on their farms. The price crashed from about 80g to under 30g before rising steadily back to around 40g. When you start snapping up "bargains" and the price continues to drop, you need to be aggressive posting your existing stock to clear it at a profit, before the price of the product crashes to follow the materials.

Cover all the Alchemy Markets

On my server, the flask market has been flat for a few weeks. However, the gem markets and potion markets are ripe for the picking.

Potions are consumed by raiders with reckless abandon. In a progression night, I'll go through a couple of stacks, and I'm also the type of player that will use 6 pots just for LFR. I highly recommend making potions in batches of at least 120 with a potion master (240 herbs fits nicely in a mail to your potion master). Unlike transmuting living steel, which is prone to estimation bias, large batches of potions will more likely yield a return of an additional 20% every batch which more is than an extra stack of pots. In the last 30 days, I've bought [Green Tea Leaf] at 1g75s, [Silkweed] at 1g70s and sold [Potion of the Jade Serpent] 10g88s. Cost of less than 3g and selling for more than 10g? Now that's what I call a margin.

In general I have been pretty lazy with prospecting and selling gems. Until however, I saw cut rare gems going for over 300g/ea on my auction house. What the what? That is highway robbery. As I mentioned before, with [Golden Lotus] sitting around 40g, anything over 100g is more than doubling your coin. As I usually do when I see low hanging fruit, I got to work harvesting, skimming from the bottom of the lotus prices and lopping off the top of the gem market. The lotus price also makes for some cheap meta gems, where you get to double dip as a transmutation master.

Let Crazy Alchemists do your work for you

If the market is relatively stable, factoring in specialisation, and there are alchemy products on the auction house under cost, buy them out. It takes more than three minutes to make a decent batch of potions. Sure, you can go make a coffee, alt-tab to a blog post (or actual work) or leave your computer entirely and go do something else during that time. However, it can take 20 seconds to buy a whole bunch of potions and re-list them at a more reasonable price. Here's some tips I prepared earlier for resetting markets.

On my server, the price of [Master Mana Potions] goes up and down like a fiddler's arm. It's possibly because Blingtron gives them out pretty freely, or because using three herbs to create two potions is hard to figure out without a spreadsheet. Who knows? On the weekends the price can dip as low as 1g, and I think they are worth 3g, plus a generous markup for my troubles, damn it! Also, just because their materials are cheaper, I don't see why healers should get away with imbalanced potions costs! I mean, they get away with only taking one freakin' potion per pull already! So, I buy them all up and bide my time until payday, just before a raid on Wednesday night.

Sell in larger stacks and quantities 

I used to sell potions in singles. Twelve whole potions each time I'd post on the AH. It wasn't until I started putting my sales data into a database I noticed that most of the time when someone buys a potion from me, they buy ALL the potions. Did they need more potions? They probably did, so I got to feeling bad about the crappy service I was providing my loyal customers. So I experimented with putting more up for sale at a time and monitoring my unsold auctions, with great success.

Now I sell my potions in stacks of 10. I can put up a lot more potions and spend less time retrieving unsold potions from the mailbox. Similarly for flasks, I sell in stacks of 3, since the average raid goes for 3 hours it makes sense that even the most cashflow challenged raiders won't be turned off by the total cost of the transaction.

Do keep in mind how much you are prepared to spend in deposit costs. Depending on when you are posting and how competitive your server economy is, there is little point in flooding your auction house with multiple stacks of flasks, only to sell a small percentage of them a large percentage of the time. Just bump up your quantities in moderation until you get a yield of sales you are comfortable with.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tip: Potion making efficiency

My potion master also sells food. If it grows or bleeds, we probably have it in stock. So I have limited working space for making potions, although plenty enough to do 3 minute plus batches of 120 potions (plus procs). It is a convenient amount, since 240 herbs fit nicely in one mail.

However, I was spending time running between the mailbox and the vial vendor, and it hit me. MOUNT UP. The [Reins of the Traveler's Tundra Mammoth] has Gnimo, who sells [Crystal Vial]s for all your alchemy needs.

They are a little more expensive (since you're not getting a faction discount). But as we say, Time is Money, Friend.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

For the Record: April 2013 Glyph Sales

April sales were in sharp decline, while the average price held steady.

April Stats:
  • Total Glyph Sales: 53,193g
  • Total Glyphs Sold: 685
  • Average Price: 77g65s
I started recording my glyph posting (i.e., number of glyphs posted and when) and realised at least for this month that I don't even post glyphs every day. The problem is (particularly given the number of glyphs sold) I can't tell if before I started recording, just how many days I used to skip. It is entirely possible that I was a more regular poster in months previous. I have about one months worth of posting data, so it will be interesting to see the results.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

For the Record: 2M Gold

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

For the Record: March 2013 Glyph Sales

After exclaiming, "more of the same" for a few months, my glyph sales get a bump over the 1000 mark.

March Stats:
  • Total Glyph Sales: 77,390g
  • Total Glyphs Sold: 1046
  • Average Price: 73g99s
In my post on resetting the glyph market, I mentioned that there's an expectation with the glyph market that when you post a full batch of glyphs you'll only sell a small portion of them. While it's a common perception of the glyph market, I realised that there really weren't any numbers available to describe it to someone completely new to the market (or convince someone who's only dabbling). So I've started recording my posting cycle to use myself as a case study. So far, what I've noticed is just how little I post. My plan is to post at least once per day, all the profitable glyphs, more on weekends. However, even in the first week of my experiment, I've missed a whole day and haven't capitalised on the weekend, so it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. Of course missing glyph posting is usually just an indication that I'm happily busy with other things in game and out.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Resetting the Glyph Market: Does it work?

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 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.
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.

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.
The other important note is that there will be glyphs that I attempted to reset, where I didn't see any sales, which won't be on that list. What matters is that overall the process of resetting the glyph market is profitable for you and worth your time, rather than taking each glyph as a victory or failure.

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

For the Record: February 2013 Glyph Sales

I really missed the boat on weekend sales mid way through February, but otherwise it was another good month.

February Stats:
  • Total Glyph Sales: 53570g
  • Total Glyphs Sold: 820
  • Average Price: 65g33s

Friday, February 22, 2013

Keeping up with the DMF Trinket Market

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:
  1. Restock glyphs
  2. Trade most of the remaining [Ink of Dreams] for [Starlight Ink]
  3. Restock shoulder inscriptions
  4. See what is left over to make DMF cards 
Of late, there hasn't been much left over. Shoulder inscriptions are fantastic. Depending on your server, they can yield as good a mark up as DMF trinkets, while not relying on a daily cooldown, a monthly cycle, as much inventory space or as much capital. With only 8 bag slots, you can automate them right alongside your belt buckles, gems, flasks, potions and other consumables for really low maintenance. The only slight downside is that the deposit cost isn't cheap. 2g81s for 12 hours? That's a little steep!

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

For the Record: January 2013 Glyph Sales

Surprise, surprise, this graph looks really familiar.

January  Stats:
  • Total Glyph Sales: 59670g 
  • Total Glyphs Sold: 885
  • Average Price: 67g42s
So I usually sell between 800 and 900 glyphs per month, with 50k+ in sales depending on the average price, which can vary a little. When there's a major event, like an expansion with a glyph overhaul... the graph can get a little exciting. Otherwise, I've been using the monthly post to chat about other things. Well no longer!

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

Twitchie's Guide to Resetting Markets

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.


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.


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!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

2M Gold spent since gold cap

So it's milestone time. Just over a year ago, I hit the gold cap. I had assumed that once I had enough capital to pretty much do anything I wanted, that I'd ease up on the gold making or at least find some thing to purchase. One of the reasons that it took so long to cap was that as I accumulated more gold, items in game just seemed cheaper and cheaper, so my spending went up. In the end however, the joy of the Warcraft economy won out and I had 1M gold. Unfortunately I didn't have a good record of my spending up to that point, but I vowed it should change... and it did.

I started tracking what I call 'frivolous' spending. Big ticket items that I can do without. So my graph doesn't count gems (aside from two ridiculously priced sprees in early Dragon Soul), flasks, food or repairs. It doesn't count transmog costs, bags (even the big ones (even fridges)), bank tabs or enchants. All those things are the cost of living for my main and an army of alts, and can probably be paid for (with a few exceptions) by dailies and incidental coin loot.

What my graph does track is BoEs, presents, mounts, pets, major guild contributions, rare recipes and cost of flight training.

I'm pretty excited to hit the 2M mark inside a year since I hit gold cap, and I'd like to share some of my highlights:

  1. To celebrate hitting the gold cap, I made myself another [Mekgineer's Chopper]. All this time my main had been riding around in a chopper, yet the Overlord of Twitchie Enterprises used pretty standard transportation. I put a stop to that! Fortunately, about the same time, my wife had been putting in the extra time and effort, grinding out [Canopic Jar]s to be finally rewarded with the recipe after the expansion had been out for over a year. So it was time, and she made me a  [Vial of the Sands] and we flew across Uldum together, like never before.
  2. My wife makes her own, well deserved [Vial of the Sands] and a matching [Loop of the Kirin Tor] to whisk her away to romantic evenings in Dalaran. Guys, you can never go wrong with jewellery!
  3. In amongst BoEs for my main, I spent 42.5k on my Paladin Tank alt so I could gear up and cruise through Dragon Soul.
  4. I took my shadow priest to a 25 man Dragon Soul GDKP run and picked up [Experiment 12-B] for 155k. It was just after the announcement of account wide mounts, so the bidding was fierce!
  5. [Vial of the Sands] for a friend's birthday.
  6. Mists of Pandaria launches and I'm going to buy all the things!
    1. My wife reluctantly accepts a [Mekgineer's Chopper]
    2. Realm First Blacksmithing at 46k,
    3. [Reins of the Grand Expedition Yak] and friends at 113,400g
    4. [Serrated Wasp Bracers] heroic tanking bracers from the Black Market Auction House for 45k (which I'm still wearing).
    5. Pandaren Flying for 2500g (which will end up at 27,500g after all my alts are leveled).
  7. [Sapphire Panther] and [Relic of Niuzao]. The trinket was pretty cheap, and I picked it up just after the buff was announced.
  8. I got together with a goblin engineer friend to have my [Depleted-Kyparium Rocket] crafted. I supplied some blacksmithing gear with my [Spirit of Harmony] in exchange for the spirits in the rocket. 
  9. [Mimiron's Head] for 750k. I wrote about my experience with the BMAH bidding process, and to this day don't regret a copper I dropped on that mount!
  10. [Reins of the Onyxian Drake] got me over the 1M in mounts through the BMAH, and is a fine looking drake. In hindsight it also put me over the 2M mark in major spending since hitting the gold cap.
  11. Mad Money. I realised that I was pretty close to the 2M mark, and when I looked at the date of my gold capped milestone I decided I'd better get to spending. So I bought a whole bunch of pets, organised some BoEs for alts and couldn't decide what to buy next. Then when I went back to check my expenses I realised that I'd forgotten an extra zero on the price tag of my Yaks! Bam! 2M spent since hitting the gold cap.
Looking back over my spending I decided to add up my gift giving and was surprised so see it came up to 154k gold. Then I quickly remembered that it's 154k out of 2M, which puts it in a little context. Moar presents! I'm interested to see just how much coin my alts have siphoned from The Enterprise, and just how trivial the cost of all my flight training is (all my characters have ultra fast flying) is.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

December 2012 Glyph Sales

December and January are usually months of mostly auto pilot, but the average glyph price climbed over 20g as we finished off 2012.

December Stats:
  • Total Glyph Sales: 66525g
  • Total Glyphs Sold: 817
  • Average Price: 81g43s

Higher average price means more profit for my time, as herbs continued to be plentiful and cheap. The shoulder inscription market settled down for some smaller margins, but plenty of profit still to be had. I also managed to get through enough herbs to make sure I could create darkmoon cards with both of my scribes, and already the sale price on completed trinkets are coming down to under 300% of the materials cost, which is still OK even if there's a cooldown involved. I don't know where other tanks are getting their trinkets from, I've really enjoyed my [Relic of Niuzao], but it currently sells for less than double the materials.

I've been having a great time with blacksmithing, selling the crafted 450 gear and PvP gear. I finally managed to offload some gear I crafted with [Blood Spirit]s, and now that the price has settled around the 1.1 - 1.3k mark it looks like the raid patterns should be more steadily profitable. I've been farming [Mote of Harmony] at my main's farm, and I have been unable to keep up with the demand for 415 and 463 weapons. I value my spirits at 500g/ea (50g per plot which compares to 10g/vegetable) and can usually make another 1 - 2k gold profit on top of that for each weapon.

I had been having a great time making flasks (461k in sales so far) until all of a sudden the price of [Golden Lotus] just crashed on my server. I put the feelers out on the Consortium Forums, and found that it was an epidemic. I bought up aggressively, and continued to make flasks and get into gem transmutes... but the volume just kept coming. Right now, the price has settled to where I consider 30g/ea cheap, and the flask and primal diamond markets have corrected accordingly. Fortunately, my patience has paid off with primal diamonds with a few cuts already returning to 600 - 800g/ea.

I know I've been saying for a while now that I'm having a great time with cooking, and there's plenty of information to come soon(tm). I've been taking a look at my cooking related sales, and the major stats so far are 328k in sales, with over 100k of that coming from [100 Year Soy Sauce] alone. More to follow, and a few milestone graphs as well!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Onyxian Drake for 266k

The Onyxian Drake is my favourite looking drake based mount in the game (including the protos). I was a little reluctant to pay too much for it, and was surprised that I managed to grab it for a little over a quarter of a million gold.

The Black Market Auction House is getting me into a lot of trouble, and it is a little scary that in the recent past I've spent more than the gold cap on mounts.

Regardless of their individual aesthetic appeal, mounts have a number of factors that change their value.
  • Sentimental association. Even though Mimi's Head is one of the best looking mounts in the game (in my opinion), the mount is really all about Ulduar. I can't mount up without being flooded with fond memories of one of my favourite raids. It is more than just riding in a robot head helicopter, it evokes the first tram ride to that robot and the gut wrenching process of learning to defeat Yogg Saron (and educating people about the fight over and over and over even through new expansions).
  • Ease of farming. Contrasting the last two mounts I purchased... Mimi's Head requires a raid team, even if it's just a small one... and killing most bosses in Ulduar, which is a BIG raid. The time and organisation investment is sizable, even though Yogg+0 itself is getting exponentially easier to beat as expansions come and go. The Onyxian drake drops from both 10 and 25 man and does not require a hard mode. 10 man is soloable, and at worst, if you can get a couple of friends together it is very quickly farmed each and every week (similar to Tempest Keep for Ashes of Al'ar).
  • Drop Rate. Unless Blizzard comes right out and tells you what the drop chance is for a particular mount, you're really just guessing. The best guess is usually derived from Wowhead, who have a reasonable sample size to work from. It is worth getting even a rough idea of the ballpark drop rate before you decide to invest the time in farming (or the gold when bidding gold on the BMAH).
  • Number of sources. The BMAH has introduced a great new source for mounts, and with enough gold, a much better chance of obtaining them when they eventually appear. However, many mounts already have more than one source. The prime example here is mounts obtainable from dungeons, where tanks and healers can get lucky with their [Misty Satchel of Exotic Goods]. My highlight from the satchel was the [Deathcharger's Reins], as well as many rare pets including a [Tiny Emerald Whelpling].
  • Rarity. The factors above, other factors (such as server raid progression and even duping) as well as the newly introduced BHAH conspire to create a certain number of rare mounts on a server. If I saw Onyxian Drakes crisscrossing the skies in Pandaria, would I have paid over 250k for it? Probably not, and time will tell just how quickly the BMAH dilutes the value of these rare mounts as the expansion progresses.
While we can rank the ease obtaining a mount and its scarcity objectively, how much anyone is willing to pay is very subjective. I've heard of mounts like Mimi's Head and Ashes of Al'ar going gold cap very quickly after being posted, so the competition from realm to realm will vary enormously. It is a good idea to start thinking about what different mounts are worth to you, and start saving! When a mount appears, I recommending looking at your current gold situation and deciding on a limit right away. When it comes to bidding, the later the better, and I might post on the science of narrowing down an auction end time later on.

All in all I am very happy with my recent acquisitions and have managed to stay above the gold cap so far. I'm really looking forward to posting my graph of liquid gold since I finally started tracking it before Mists of Pandaria was released. The BMAH has introduced some significant bumps in the short time it has been active.