Playing the Auction House

17 Feb

So – for some folks – playing the auction house is apparently a fun thing.  There are a ton of websites suddenly dedicated to “hitting the gold cap” and even our beloved euripides is writing a “how-to” gold column for WoW.com.

And lets face it – pretty much everyone I know could use more gold.

I know I could.  But when faced with the option of spending my time gold making, I tend to wander off and explore, level, rep grind.  Pretty much anything but farm gold.

This hobbles me of course and my alts tend to lag behind when it comes time to buy things like cold weather flight, epic flight, dual talent specialization.  I doubt I’ll ever have a Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth.  I’m not sad about this – it’s just the way I play.

But there are folks that look at the accumulation of virtual wealth as SRS BZNS.  There are the gold farmers too – and for them – it *is* serious business.

On Moon Guard’s Alliance side there is one particular player – Ötto – who has seized upon a gold making tactic I’ve seen before, but to his credit (and my detriment) he has upped the game and taken it to an AH crushing level.

The method to his madness is this: he buys up useful gear on the auction house (pretty much anything “of the Monkey, of the Bear, of the Owl) and marks it up drastically.  Sometimes as much as 500-900%.  Now I’ve seen this done in small quantities back in the twinking days as smart AH players recognized specific pieces of green gear as best in slot for low level battleground campers.  It was something that the twinks cursed, but pretty much everyone else ignored.

But like I said – Ötto takes it up a notch or three.  He buys up damn near *everything*.  Every level, every type of gear, nothing is safe from his keen eye and seemingly limitless pocketbook.

For someone like me who is careful with his gold – he’s made the AH pretty much useless.  I nerd raged about this for a while when his pricing continued to thwart my hopes of upgrading Keladryn’s head gear, but after some reflection on the matter I decided he was probably doing me a favor.

The state of current leveling content does not require best in slot gear.  In fact, it doesn’t require level appropriate gear in a lot of cases.   Sure it makes things easier, but between my heirlooms, instance drops, and random sacks of goodies, I really don’t need to spend the gold.

But looking at Ötto’s prices it’s obvious that I’m in the minority.  Not only have they remained fairly constant, (which means that folks *must* be buying some of his crap) – but all of the part time AH players running auctioneer are now seeing their prices skewed upward as they AH random greens for cash.

The last time I looked at a level 60ish “of the Champion” piece it was running around 200 Gold.

So thanks Ötto.  I may hate what you’re doing, but I can’t hate you for making an honest buck off of the dumbasses overpaying so much for gear they’re going to outlevel in a couple hours of playing.

What I’d ask  my readers though – (as I know some of you are packing serious in game cash) – is this:

Is it worth it?  Have  you used tactics like this to make gold?  Did they work?

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6 Responses to “Playing the Auction House”

  1. Hulan February 17, 2010 at 17:49 #

    I haven’t ever done this kind of buying and selling, it doesn’t interest me. What I have done is put my army of alts (with their maxed out proffs) to use and made a lot of cash over the last 4 months. Initially I was put off some things by the low margins but then realised the profits might not be high but they sell lots. I also made a lot from flasks once I’d accumulated some case, buying Frost Lotus require quite a big outlay and you have to be elixir spec’d to see any profits from it. Again profit per flask isn’t huge but I can shift several stacks a night so it mounts up. My banker hit the gold cap this week from an initial outlay of 7,000 gold back in October so I must have done something right!

  2. Nora February 17, 2010 at 21:38 #

    Ehr’s been cursing a wild blue streak at Otto for the same reasons – he can’t find any gear that isn’t ridiculously overpriced for his warrior. (I think one item Otto was even selling for 1000g.) The worst is – it’s not illegal by terms of service, just morally reprehensible. I personally consider it to profiteering irl – but I’m a human rights professor so I tend to get all moral and self-righteous about these things. Best to ignore me on them. 😉

    I completely fail at moneymaking. I manage enough to pick up dual spec usually, mostly through the margin of profit from raiding and/or leveling an alt. I rarely sell anything on AH, and I never think to use my professions to make a profit. What does help me is – I am a profession *addict*, and so I can make pretty much anything in game for myself, my hubby, or anyone else. Need a good tanking helm? Just give me a few days to farm mats and send them to my blacksmith. Epic gem? I’ll have my alchemist transmute it and then my JCer can cut it.

    I fail at making money, but I guess I’m savvy enough to keep my costs down too. When you transmute gems instead of buying them, you definitely keep the overhead down.

    On an aside – I passed Otto once in Ironforge. Momentarily I wished for a PvP server – then realized I couldn’t gank someone from my own faction anyway. 😦

  3. Hulan February 17, 2010 at 22:27 #

    I was exctly the same Nora. I had enough alts/profs to be self-sufficient and only used the AH occasionally when I need to raise money for epic flying for yet another alt 🙂 i started out small, watching just one market and working out the best times to buy and sell then like Topsy, it just grew!

  4. Capn John February 18, 2010 at 01:29 #

    So you take advantage of this by listing your own stuff at 1/2 – 3/4 of Otto’s price. If someone doesn’t pounce on it almost immediately you know darn well Otto will as soon as he sees it. Outland, particularly Hellfire Pen (and I assume Wrath’s first zone) are notorious for green stuff dropping off practically every other Mob. Go farm those areas and if you’re a Skinner, hit the skinnable Mobs for double the prizes. Even if you don’t get any Greens (or get very few of them) the vendor trash those Outland & Northrend Mobs drop is still worth a pretty penny.

  5. Euripides February 23, 2010 at 18:50 #

    That’s a weird market to get into- there’s probably way more opportunity for gold making in other markets. My suggestion would be to post a few of your own over a couple of days, and see when he buys them. Then make a point of logging in half an hour before he normally does his buying, and preemptively buy everything on his target list and relist it for 70% of what he sells them for.

    Don’t let this turn into a AH camping game though. Or if you do, make sure he’s the one burning his playtime, while you merrily work on other markets 🙂

  6. Windpaw February 23, 2010 at 22:26 #

    Yeah – auction house flipping is a weird game and it seems fraught with peril if you haven’t spent some time analyzing the markets you’re trying to flip. There are a number of wanna-be’s that are targeting this market as well and I’m starting to see him refine his selections a little. I tested the Horde AH yesterday and for the first time noticed that someone there is doing the same thing. The big winner seems to be “Of the Champion” pieces – likely sought after by leveling tanks. Seems a narrow market, but I know I was looking for champion gear hard when my paladin leveled high enough to actually use it.

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