Gold Making Oddities and Delimmas

2 Mar

Yeah – oddities…just some thoughts on the weird ways you can make money in WoW and the ethical problems that some associate with them.

So in the last couple of days I’ve made about 575 gold selling pets on the auction house.

Total cost of pets: 2-3G total…
Time to Sell: around 3 days
Average Sale: 100 Gold (minus auction house cut – posting fee – etc)

This is a funny little market.  If you eyeball the Miscellaneous tab in the auction house you’ll find a “pets” section.  If your server is like mine you’ll see it stuffed to the brim with vanity pets available from faction specific vendors being sold for a crazy mark-up.  These pets are usually mixed up with a smattering of truly rare vanity pets like whelplings and the Darting Hatchling, all of them being marketed towards the unwary (or impatient) vanity pet collector.

For those that haven’t stumbled across this, you can buy certain companion pets from regular vendors in each faction.  The pets are cheap (no more than 40-50 silver in most cases) and have no reputation requirements associated with them.

They’re just pets – cheap pets.

Now where the money making opportunity comes around is that some folks haven’t run across these vendors (or don’t care to go looking for them).  Enterprising goblins will buy these cheap pets up and post them on the auction house for a mildly (or wildly) ridiculous markup.

Without fail – people buy them.

Now granted, same faction pets tend to command a much smaller price than cross faction, but if you have multiple accounts or ::gasp:: friends in game –  you can easily work something out using the neutral auction house as a go-between and start a small import / export centered around mini-pets.

Not really meaning to, I discovered that certain pets like the fluttery Eversong Woods based Dragonhawks can sell for as much as 100G.  This is a fairly hit and miss market to sure, but my sales of the 50 silver pet  have been surprisingly steady.

By the weekend, my 100G auctions were pushed to the wayside as weekend warrior goblins flooded the market with the very same pets for between 5 and 15 gold.

Totally reasonable prices if you can get over the fact that even at 5G we’re talking about a more than 900% markup over the purchase price.

As far as the crazy markup on the pets goes – I put the original auction up for 100G out of sheer morbid curiosity, figuring that I’d simply see it pop back up in my mail the next day with the words “Auction Expired” next to it.

Imagine my surprise when it sold.

“Fluke,” I thought.

So I did it again.

And it sold….

Two more went to the auction house and in what was turning into a truly surreal experience, each of the subsequent auctions sold as well.

I was stunned.

According to the guys at the Call to Auction podcast, I probably shouldn’t be.  One thing that they each mention in almost every ‘cast is this:

“You’d be amazed at what people will buy.”

They’re right….

I haven’t decided if I have a problem with selling stuff like this at such a ridiculous markup.  Any player with a minimal amount of coordination can do exactly what I have done and have pets on the cheap.  I don’t believe I’m taking advantage of “new” players as most “new” players I know don’t have 100G to blow on vanity pets…

If I’m inadvertently taking advantage of folks that think they’re getting something “unique” and “special” – I’d kinda feel bad – but at the same time…2 minutes or so at Warcraft Pets (or google, or WoWhead) could set them straight.

Personally I don’t put this in the same category as someone that breaks up Iceblade Arrows into stacks of 100 and sells them at the same price as a full stack.

But in a way – isn’t it the same thing?

With the Iceblade Arrow scam, people are breaking up stacks of 1000 into stacks of 100 – figuring that buyers aren’t going to bother checking the quantity column when they spam “buy” at the AH right before a raid.

Kind of a dick thing to do.

The same could be said for taking a 50 silver vanity pet and selling it for 100 gold.

But when you get right down to it – are either of these tactics really bad?  Are they worse than say buying up all the low level greens off the AH and reselling them at 500-1000% mark-up?  I’ve complained about the Moon Guard based goblin, Ötto who has pretty much single handedly made the realms AH useless to new players with this very same tactic.

Isn’t he just exercising his (in game) right to play the market the same way enterprising businessmen and women do in the real world?

If we try to regulate corporate or individual greed here in meat-bag land, everyone from politicians to corporations to hayseed rednecks with no money or teeth will go on TV and bitch a red streak about how “the government” shouldn’t be trying to regulate capitalism.

But if there are no controls – we get AIG – Enron – The dot.Com bubble – the Real Estate bubble.

As a people – we haven’t gotten this straight in the real world.  How are we expected to do it in the virtual world where there are no controls other than sheer supply and demand?

So here’s the question:

Do you have certain things  you won’t do to make a buck with the AH?  Or is it open season?

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6 Responses to “Gold Making Oddities and Delimmas”

  1. Elionene March 3, 2010 at 13:39 #

    Some people play the Auction Hall like a mini game. I can’t stand it. I only go for raiding mats and if it’s a price I’m willing to pay, I pay it. Very rarely I’ll look for greens to level with. For instance, my Paladin just hit 40, so I’d like to upgrade his mail to play as much as I can. I probably end up paying more than some of the greens are worth because I have the money and I’m impatient. But still, I don’t like to go to the Auction Hall very often.

    The key things in there are that a) I have the money, and b) I only buy it if I’m willing to spend that money. So I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong. You’re providing someone a convenience. They don’t have to travel to get the pet for a cheap price. Some people are willing to pay more for that convenience than others. And even if they do so unknowingly, they still said “Hey, this pet is worth spending a 100 gold to me” at the time that they bought it.

  2. Nora March 3, 2010 at 16:14 #

    Yes. For one, I refuse to buy from Otto – even if I have the money and desperately need the item. Will not spend my money on him, in the same way I in real life refuse to spend my money at restaurants like Hooters. Do they have the right to do their business and make a buck? Of course! Do I have to spend *my* money there? Nope!

    I had some great luck selling the AT pets cross-faction, but since I utterly suck at dailies, have been slacking off on this. You can usually sell them for around 1000g-1500g though, for about 4 days’ worth of daily AT quests. 🙂

  3. Euripides March 3, 2010 at 18:47 #

    I won’t sell arrows in smaller stacks but unit priced to look like larger stacks. I will sell pets and vendor recipes, though, because there are people who are legitimately just too busy to make the trip. Generally, I apply the golden rule to my auctions. It has to be a win/win or else it’s not worth the trouble.

  4. Lal March 4, 2010 at 16:36 #

    Yep, I agree with these folks. There’s a difference in scamming someone (hoping s/he isn’t looking at how large the stacks really are or something) and finding a market. Pets are a market – people will pay for the convenience of not having to travel the world for the pets (or recipes, as mentioned) (especially cross-faction ones). That’s legit.

    Unlike Elio, I play the AH a LOT (gotta fund my epic pattern purchases, you know 😉 ), but I’m generally uncomfortable marking things up much past 110% or so. I like making gold off things like gems and enchants and mats, but I still want to feel like whoever the purchaser is is getting a fair price. Like Euripides said, win/win. 🙂

  5. Stupid Mage March 5, 2010 at 01:34 #

    It’s open season.
    If I post something and somebody buys it, they bought it.

  6. Jaedia March 11, 2010 at 13:23 #

    After making a character on Argent Dawn, I felt I needed to make some gold. So I have been going around vendors checking for things I can sell. 12 slot herb bags and faction vanity pets and various recipes are something I’ve dipped into. Though the Wool Cloth market and various low level gems seem to be the big seller here. I’ve made a decent amount from Prairie Dog Whistles though.

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