Monday, July 14, 2008

Mercantile Madness - The Enchanted Auctionhouse

I've been playing my two "main" alts on VeCo and Cael in roughly equal amounts over the last week. My Tauren hunter is now level 21, with cat and carrion bird pets keeping mostly up-to-date. On Cael, my warlock is now 19 and a bar or so off 20. I want to hit the BG's a bit before he dings. The bank alts are both level 12 or 13 and are getting desperate to see some scenery other than the path between mailbox and Auction House.

The economy on each server is quite different. VeCo Horde is an old, established realm with lots of level 70's. There are also a lot of lower level alts, but apparently few genuine newbies. This means prices tend to be higher, but more stable.

Cael on the other hand is a newish server. I think it opened around Christmas time, originally only for transfers. I created my first horde alt there about a day after it opened to new characters. Of course, my alliance characters are brand new. The server is frequently at "full" or "locked" status so is plenty busy! The Alliance auction house often has over 22,000 (500 "pages") of listings, roughly double VeCo and Dath figures. There seem to be lots of genuine newbies. This means that there are lots of really dodgy prices for items on the auction house and a whole lot of undercutting going on.

At about level 15 on both servers, my "main" abandoned one of the gathering professions to take up enchanting. The Tauren hunter is now skinning/enchanting and the Gnome warlock is mining/enchanting. The bank alts remain skinning/mining.

I invested nearly all my money back into the auction house on both servers, looking for cheap items for disenchanting. Fifty gold sure buys a lot of crappy greens! I was specifically looking for items who's bid or buyout price was no more than 3/4 of auctioneer's lowest disenchantment value. There were relatively few bargains to be had in immediate buyouts but a lot of items had really low bid values. The mailbox on both bankers nearly exploded with the number of incoming messages.

After I cleared the mailbox of all the "outbid on..." messages, I collected and forwarded all the disenchantable items through to my mains. Disenchanting by itself is not sufficient to level enchanting skill, so I had to use some of the resulting materials. Any remaining materials were sent back to be auctioned. Since I have been adventuring with these two mains and still sending back all the stuff I gather while travelling I'm not really sure how much of their money has been due to disenchanting only.

I also got sick of running out of bag space and have blown large amounts of cash on netherweave 16-slot bags. I think all 3 slots on the hunters and 4 slots on the others are now full of netherweave bags. If not, I'll be getting the last ones soon. On VeCo I was lucky enough to meet up with a guy who gave me a 50 gold donation after I farmed up a bunch of leather for him. On Cael, a nice girl gave me a 14 slot bag, which I have since returned after my upgrade.

These two gifts sort of invalidate my experiment in self-sufficiency but then again, WoW is a social game and using social contacts to help advance is almost a necessity . In both cases the value of the gift is fairly trivial compared to my net-worth at the time anyway.

Despite the gold-sink that is 7* netherweave bags and levelling enchanting to at least 75, both sets of alts have net worth of about 175g as of last night. VeCo is slightly easier to manage due to stable pricing.

Lots of money has come from reselling vendor recipes. Some came from the mining of copper and a bit of tin but this is less now on both servers since I've been concentrating on other things. Selling enchanting materials is starting to build up but I still need to use some of these myself to level up. A relatively small proportion of my income has come from buying and reselling stuff in the auction house.

At this stage I look to be on target to get my level 30 mounts as soon as they become available. If Bliz does not introduce those, then level 40 is looking good as well, with money to spare!


Anonymous said...

There were people talking in Trade today who seemed to think tomorrow would be patch day, including with 30 mounts. Don't know if that was wishful thinking, though, since last patch that happened every Monday for almost a month.

I'm finding your money entries kind of fascinating. I've gotten much better at the Auction House since I started playing, but I just don't have the patience to do some of this stuff.

Cryptography said...

People were going on about the 30 mount patch every week since it hit the PTR.

Given that Wow is down for extended maintenance tonight, its certainly possible. Roll on 30 mounts!

The money making entries series so far has been mostly about doing things alongside your questing that still make money. On both Cael and VeCo, I would spend less than half an hour each time I'm online. 10-15 minutes of that is actually afk while auctioneer does its scan. When its updated, I'll do a quick search for bargains, using auctioneer's search function. I'll then hit the mailbox to grab any items and money. Most of the items are stuff I've picked up or gathered while questing and mailed to my banker. It might take another 10 minutes to list the items back on the AH for sale.

The rest of my time I'm out there adventuring.

I've read a couple of the gold guides that are out there. They have tips that make a lot more money than what I've discussed so far but they also seem to spend a fair amount of time farming for stuff to resell. Eg killing elementals for motes of fire/primal fire.

The only "farming" I've done so far was killing lots of skinnable mobs while levelling up my pets and the in-depth search of the auction house for cheap enchanting items.

I even made about 15 gold off stuff I bought while you and I were mucking about in Tirisfal and Undercity the other day!

KC said...

That's pretty awesome, actually. I mostly just sell a lot of the netherweave I get while puttering around on Ideale, or the ore I get while leveling her mining.

By the way, I don't know if this was a fluke or something, but I noticed in Stonetalon Mountains that, while doing the quests in night elf territory, I got a LOT of nice drops. I'm not sure if it was pure chance, or if the rewards in that area are higher because of the risk, but I got three level 18 and 19 blue drops in about ten minutes, including a twink cloak, and a ton of greens. So when you get to that level, you might check that out.

Cryptography said...

Its been a while since I've been in stonetalon but it was never that good for drops before!

One of the patches recently seemed to increase the drop rate of greens, possibly blues. It also seems that higher level characters get more greens off the same area than level-appropriate characters do.

First thing I'm doing tonight is get mounts for all the characters that can use them!