Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sales of the Week

Just a relatively quick post today to let everyone know where I'm at and what's been selling this week.  First, the sales data.

Inferno rubies obviously did very well this week.  Interesting, between a quarter and a half of those gems sold Sunday night.  The night before a bank holiday always tends to be popular, as many people who don't have to work the next day decide to hop on and raid a little bit.  This also explains the popularity of enchants.

The other big seller was PvP items, specifically the Vicious Pyrium pieces from blacksmithing.  Notice how the number sold for each of them is very close.  Many people will buy a whole set at a time (and I cackle with glee when they do).

Another thing worth mentioning is that glyphs made a whole 5% of my sales this week.  By comparison, they probably take maybe 50% of my cancelling time, so I may be getting out of the glyph market for now.  My server has just a really poor glyph market, where no individual glyph is more than 50 gold, and most are under 30.  I'll still be doing my research and stocking up on inks, but it may just not be worth it to stay in this market right now.

And finally, to give you an idea of where liquid gold is right now...

So, an increase of a little over 35k in liquid gold.  Not a bad week, considering where we are in the expansion.

Anything in the list surprise you?  Anything you think should have made the top page but didn't?  Let me know in the comments.  Until next time, good night and good gold.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Importance of Organization

If you've been making gold for any length of time, you usually have things you do every day to make gold.  If you're ambitious, you likely have long-term goals to make gold as well, like get this alt to 85 or level that profession on them (unless you're like Jim Younkin from Power Word Gold and have 10 85s already).  Sometimes all of the things on your plate can get confusing, and it's easy to lose track of whether or not you've done all of your daily steps or which long-term goal you're working on.  My suggestion is simple, but you'd be amazed how well it works:  a to-do list.

Like most of my lists, it's very basic, just a Notepad document on my desktop.  It gets opened at the beginning of every day, and things are erased from the list as they're finished.  I separate my daily tasks from my long-term ones, and rank each item in order of importance.  Your list will obviously vary based on what you're doing, but to give you an idea, I'll share mine and give you a summary of each, along with a rationale for its place in the list.

Daily tasks:

1.  Cancel/post - This one actually happens multiple times a day for me, and thus it's no surprise it's at the top of the list.  I'll run a cancel scan in TSM to take down what's been undercut, then repost it.  Your mileage will definitely vary on this one, though.  How often you'll want to do this, or even whether you want to do it at all, will depend quite a bit on the markets you're in.  Things like gems and glyphs are fierce markets and will see tons of undercutting, while things like pets, transmog, world drops, etc. tend to be alright if just left alone.  I'll cover what I like to call "fast food markets vs. crockpot markets" in a later post.

2.  Inscription research - This one's also fairly simple.  If you're in the glyph market and you still have glyphs you need to learn, be sure to do your Northrend Inscription Research and your Minor Inscription research each day.  This is also the time I take a look on the AH for a Book of Glyph Mastery or two.  It's important to do this before the next step unless you want to spend some extra time.

3.  Crafting queues  - The next thing on the list is setting up my TSM crafting queues for each profession except jewelcrafting (which I do a little differently) and tailoring (I tend to struggle to make a profit at the current cloth prices).  Generally, I'll queue up crafts for one profession, then hop over to my banker and do all the shopping, then move on to the next profession.  This takes a little longer than doing one big shopping trip for all the professions, but I find it makes it much easier to keep the mats that are shared between professions (like volatiles) straight.  Once everything's been crafted, I generally do another cancel scan before I post, so I don't end up undercutting myself or anything.

4.  Do Alchemy cooldown - This is another fairly obvious one, and you can read more about it in my previous blog post.

5.  Do Jewelcrafting daily - Either you should be collecting all the tokens you can for more cuts, or you should be trading them in for Chimera's Eyes for a quick buck.

6.  Cataclysm greens scan - If you haven't seen the posts at Power Word Gold about flipping level 77-80 Cataclysm greens, give it a look.  It's a nice little side project with little investment and little time spent.

7.  Molten Front dailies on blacksmith/engineer - I really, really don't like this one, but if I can get my hands on the pattern for Flintlocke's Woodchucker, I may end up the only one on my server selling them.

8.  Check gem balance, shuffle if low - Pretty self-explanatory.  I'll check and see if I have under 5 of  any cut of inferno ruby or shadowspirit diamond up.  If that stock is low, I'll grab some cheap ore (off the Alliance side if necessary) and prospect.

9.  Vendor Pet Roundup - See my previous posts about this.

Having your daily tasks in the right order is crucial.  The lower on the list something is, the more you're okay with that not getting done if it's a busy day.  And when you have extra time, that's when the long-term goals get some attention.

Long-term goals:

1.  Level leatherworker/max leatherworking - This would give me another market to enter, and getting the toon to 85 would let me start doing the Molten Front dailies there (ugh) and get the bag patterns, as I never see them up on my server.

2.  Skill up another alchemist - I have a character with a profession slot free right now, and another alchemist would mean a nice second cooldown.

3.  Get Vial of the Sands recipe - Archaeology's another rather painful grind, but the price of this mount is only likely to go up with Mists of Pandaria.

4.  Finish leveling enchanter/scribe - This is one of my main crafting toons, and I'm embarrassed to say she's still level 75.  That will need to change before MoP.

That's essentially my list.  A little organization goes a long way.  Do you have a to-do list?  Anything special on it?  Let me know in the comments, and until next time, good night and good gold.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Reminder to Alchemists

Most any gold maker in WoW has at least one alchemist.  The thing that makes them great, even if you only have seconds a day, is their daily cooldown.  In a matter of seconds, you can take one material and turn it into something more valuable.  You even have a chance to get extra of the result if you're a transmute specialist (you are trasmute specced, right?).

There are two main choices when it comes to Cataclysm level.  The first of these is Truegold, which is currently problematic, to say the least.  Even when people were scrambling for new crafted gear, this could easily be a loss over the mat costs if you didn't get a proc (You are transmute specced, right?).  Now that almost no one wants that gear, the prices have plummeted even more, and Truegold's just not a good option.

Many in the know instead went with the less flashy option, Living Elements.  With this, you could take the dirt cheap Volatile Life, and turn it into everyone's favorite, Volatile Air.  It didn't have the alluring price tag of Truegold, but it's been a consistent money maker since the launch of Cata.  The extra volatiles you could get with your proc (You are transmute specced, right?)  were unfortunately truly random, but it didn't matter because you made enough money with the transmute itself that the procs were just a nice bonus.

Edit:  A little clarification, because I do tend to take this information for granted.  The description for the transmute says that the result is random.  This is true in most cases, but the result can be set if you're in certain zones.  Using the transmute in Hyjal will always yield fire, Vashj'ir water, Deepholm earth, and Uldum air.  The extras from your transmute spec proc (You are transmute specced, right?) will still be random, but the base 14-16 result will be set by the zone.

Hopefully, you've still been using your alchemy cooldown every day.  Hopefully, you've also been double checking the prices for each of the volatiles on your server.  If you have been, you may have noticed a trend.

That one cheap one was added between the last time I checked and when I took the screenshot, but you get the idea.

As you can see, in this screenshot, fire has almost caught up to air.  At certain times lately, fire surpasses air.  And when we look at it using simple economics, it's not that surprising.

Let's look at the supply side first.  On most servers, volatile fire hit its all-time lowest price points during patch 4.2.  It made perfect sense, really.  4.2 was the fire patch.  You had the Molten Front dailies and the Firelands raid, both full of fire elementals and increasing the supply.  Now?  How many people do you know that still do their Molten Front dailies? (I really should on some alts for patterns, but I'm just so bored with them at this point.)  How many groups are still doing Firelands?  It's only natural the supply's on the decline.

Now for the demand side.  Simply put, one of the things that's still selling well even at this late stage of the expansion is PvP gear.  The Vicious sets that can be crafted by tailorers, leatherworkers, and blacksmiths are still going quite well, both to PvE players who are bored and want to try out a little PvP, and to people looking to boost their item level in order to get into Looking for Raid or the new Hour of Twilight five mans.  More of those pieces take volatile fire than any other kind of volatile, so it makes sense that demand would increase as well.

Simple economics tells us that when supply and demand increase, so does our equilibrium price.

So what's the point of all this?  Any time you're going to do your alchemy cooldown, compare prices first.  Even if the prices are just close like they are in the screenshots above, remember that diversity is the name of the game.  If you have multiple alchemists like many gold makers do, it might be nice to split what you do if the prices are good enough.

As always, though, your server may vary, so give it a look before you rush out and transmute fire.  Feel free to leave a comment, maybe tell me what the situation looks like on your server.  Until next time, good night and good gold.

Cross-faction: It's not just for flipping

So, it's been a difficult couple of days on my server.  Mat prices have taken a dramatic leap upward, and if I had to take a wild guess, I'd imagine it has a lot to do with Diablo 3.  My stock of gems was running low, so I went looking for some more.  Pyrite was literally gone (a bummer for my blacksmithing as well), and elementium and obsidium had a few stacks up at around 90 gold per stack.

Now, 90 gold stack isn't horrible, and I could probably still make a profit.  But my server had spoiled me recently, with large sums of ore being posted at 40-50 gold a stack.  At that price, considering cut inferno rubies were sticking around 150+ and Heartblossom was usually less than 100 per stack, I was making a profit even if all I sold was the inferno rubies.

Then I had a thought.  My theory was that these price problems were due to a dip in the effective population, either because of D3 or something else.  But the Alliance side on my server has a much higher population than the Horde side, so I wondered to myself, were they having this problem?

Imagine my surprise when I check the Alliance side, and there are stacks of elementium ore going for 24 gold.  That was great, but I'd never really done much with cross-faction before except for the pets, and I'd only been doing that for a little bit.  My Alliance alt wasn't exactly swimming in capital to buy this ore.

Now, I know there are people who do a lot of cross-faction business, and therefore have a sizable amount of gold on both sides.  If this is you, congratulations.  You can cut a bit of work out of the process and essentially sell them to yourself on the neutral AH for free, knowing that you'll return the favor eventually.

For those of us who are less fortunate, there's a bit of math involved.  First of all, you can't afford to have your cross-faction alt's gold supply go down at all, so at the very least, you'll want to determine the amount where you're getting back what you spent to grab the item.  We'll call this your break-even point.  The neutral AH takes a 15 percent cut, so you'll want to take the price you originally paid and divide it by 0.85 (In our example, this comes out to roughly 28g,23s,53c per stack) .

Once you have your break-even, you have a decision to make.  Are you happy with the amount of gold on your alt?  Did you have enough liquid gold to pick all of these mats up in one go, or did you have to wait for the money to come in from yourself to buy more?  If you want to give a little bump to your cross-faction alt's gold supply, consider slightly upping the price you charge yourself.  In this case, for example, my Alliance alt put the ore on the neutral AH for 40g a stack.  I know I can still easily make profit at that price, and that alt has a bit more liquid gold for the next time I'm in that situation.  Another bonus to this approach is that if a neutral AH sniper snaps it up, at least I'm still making a little bit of profit out of it.

So, next time you're doing your mat shopping and something's jumped up to the point of ruining your profit, don't just roll over and say "I guess I won't be crafting that today".  Take a look at the opposing faction's AH and see what you find there.  It won't always save you money, but you might surprised how often it can.

Until next time, good night and good gold.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Where I am and where I want to be

Welcome back, gold enthusiasts!  It's Tuesday, the start of another wonderful week of WoW.  Normally, this is probably when I'd post my sales for the week, but I haven't had MySales installed for a full week yet, so that will have to wait until next week.

This week, then, seems a good time to give a little more information about myself.  I already gave a bit of a look at how I got started with this whole crazy business, but today I'd like to share where I am right now, and where I hope to be going forward.

When I started out, just after Christmas 2011, I was at perhaps a couple of thousand gold, certainly no more.  I'd spent all the rest as soon as I could make it on the pets for my raid group.  Now, I'm currently sitting at about 375k.  That's not as much progress as some people in the gold-making community have made in five months, but I think it's fairly decent

Taken before today's mat shopping, so it'll go down before it goes up.  I also took a rare day off from the AH yesterday, so the session numbers are skewed.

That's the wonderful thing about the gold-making community in WoW:  your progress and your success is your own individual accomplishment.  Someone may congratulate you on getting to the top especially fast, but no one thinks any less of you if you take longer than someone else.  Every milestone is celebrated, regardless of how long it took to get there.

And what milestones do I want to hit?  Well, 500k first, though at the rate I'm going, that shouldn't be too much longer.  After that, I want gold cap, sooner or later.  Hopefully sooner, as it looks like my partner's starting to get serious about our little competition again.

When that's all said and done, I'm not sure what I want.  I've heard rumors that the gold cap may be increased for MoP, so that's a new goal if it happens.  Other than that, I suppose I want enough that I can buy anything I want and still be at gold cap (or close enough that I can get back there easily enough).  That's actually a surprisingly tall order, given all the TCG mounts and such out there, not to mention the upcoming Black Market Auction House.  So maybe 2 million will be the goal?  I don't know, but short of a very unexpected windfall, it's not exactly a decision I have to make tomorrow.

Hopefully, you all know me a little better now.  Where is everyone else at right now?  Do you have a particular goal you're trying to hit?  Let us know in the comments.

Until next time, good night and good gold.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Vendor Pet Roundup - Alliance Edition

Welcome back, gold enthusiasts.  It's time for another round of musings from me, Tailswish, the tauren with the heart of a goblin.  Last time, we talked about my typical process of rounding up and selling pets from various vendors, but I only covered the Horde and neutral vendors.  Like any good gold maker, you wanted more, and I promised it to you.  So, without any further fanfare, let's jump right into the Alliance pet vendors in my journey.

If you'll recall, the Horde side of things was made easier by my mage, who was able to port around to all the different cities and seriously cut down on travel time.  Unfortunately, I don't have this luxury on the Alliance side, so we'll be doing some walking.  I have one banker in Stormwind, and one arbitrage alt in Booty Bay.  In this case, the banker is going to be doing the leg work, so we'll assume Stormwind as our base of operations.

The Dwarven District in Stormwind is kind of like the Valley of Wisdom in Orgrimmar, only 20% less awesome.

As the picture shows, I choose to hang out in the Dwarven District.  Your location may vary.  Wherever you start, your destination is the Harbor.  You may want to take the long way around via the canals for a chance to run into Lil' Timmy.  This is optional, though.  He only carries one of the kitten at a time, and he's not always there to find.  Anyway, once you get to the Harbor, you're looking for the leftmost boat, which will take you to Ruth'eran Village.

Going through the big...pink...portally thingy there will take you to Darnassus.  Just north of the Tradesmen's Terrace, you'll find Shylenai.  She sells two owls.  Prices will vary from server to server, but on mine, they sell like hotcakes on the Horde side, while they're near worthless on the Alliance side.

Hoo, hoo...who's got owls to sell?
Don't head back to Stormwind just yet, though.  Our next stop is the Temple of the Moon.  There, you'll find a portal to the Exodar.  Our destination there is a vendor in the Crystal Hall by the name of Sixx.  She sells three different moths for your purchasing pleasure.

I included the map here, as she can be a bit tricky to find.
Now you can hearth back to Stormwind.  We want to give our hearthstone at least a little chance to cool down, so the next stop is a bit closer to home. We're headed for arguably the worst-kept secret in WoW, at least for the Alliance:  the crazy cat lady.  For those unfamiliar, she's in a small house in the woods between Goldshire and the human starting area. She sells four different cat pets, all of which can generally make a profit Horde-side.  If you're doing this on a banker like I am, though, be aware that her house is surrounded by level 5 mobs.  Not fun for a level 3 banker priest in starting gear.

Crazy is such a harsh (and accurate) word.

Our last one is more than a bit out of the way if you're on a mountless low-level alt, so you'll want to make sure of two things before making this trip.  First, make sure Rabbit Crate (Snowshoe) sells well enough to justify it, and second, make sure your hearthstone is off cooldown.  Assuming both of those things are in order, our next step is to head back into Stormwind and board the tram for Ironforge.  Head out the gates and into Dun Morogh.  Our goal is marked on the map as Ambersill Ranch.  There, somewhere near the rams and the riding trainer, you'll find a little dwarf named Yarlyn Ambersill running around with a rabbit following her.  Click her until she stops, and the rabbit is yours to buy.

This is apparently how dwarf children earn their beer money.
And finally, to wrap up our roundup, a quick list of the pets I tend to avoid, and why I do so:

Cockroach:  This one just isn't very appealing, and as a result, fails to sell.  The only people who tend to be interested in it are Undead (who tend to notice it being sold by the vendor in Undercity) and people going for a pet collection achievement, who are more willing to look up where to get it.

Ancona Chicken:   There was a time in very early Cata when this one sold well, but most everyone who's taken an alt to Thousand Needles now knows where this one is, since the quest leads you right to him.

Winterspring Cub:  On my server, I'm lucky to get 75 gold for one of these after multiple postings.  Considering it costs 50 (45 after guild discount), it's just not worth going to Everlook for one pet with a tiny margin.

Parrot Cage (Cockatiel):  There theoretically is a market for this, albeit a small one.  I just haven't found that to be a good enough reason to wedge an inconvenient trip to Stranglethorn into my route just for one pet.

So, I hope I've given everyone a reason to take a second look at vendor pets.  Are there any I missed, or do you disagree with any of my choices?  I'd love to hear from you guys what makes this market pop for you.  Until then, good night and good gold.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Vendor Pet Roundup

While not the biggest gold maker in my arsenal, there is one market that actually seems to be improving as we get closer and closer to Mists of Pandaria:  pets.  With the announcement of MoP's pet battle system, plenty of people are getting their pet collection in order now.  They're still not the fastest sellers, but they're steady, and better sellers now than they've probably ever been.

Pets can come from a variety of sources, but for the purposes of this post, we're going to focus on those available from vendors.  What I love about these pets is that the supply is generally limitless, the initial investment is low, and the profit margin is often ridiculously high.  A hundred gold or more for something I bought for 50 silver?  Yes, please.

I collect and sell all of these pets on one alt, my mage.  For me, having these auctions separate from the hundreds my druid posts and re-posts with TSM is important, because it makes it much easier to tell which pets have sold and which haven't.  Given the relatively "slow and steady" nature of these sales, I prefer to only keep one of each up at a time, and simply restock when they sell.  As for why I use my mage specifically...well, "Time is money, friend", and the more you can save by teleporting, the easier things are.

To start off with, I'll check the AH on my mage and see what I currently have listed, re-list anything that's expired, etc.  I play WoW in windowed mode, and on my desktop, I have a handy dandy little Notepad document with all the vendor pets in my route listed, in the order I obtain them, with a little X next to each.  My first step is to go through and remove the X next to each pet that's still on the AH.  If you're feeling a little more industrious, this can also be done with a dry erase board or something similar.  For the purposes of this post, we're going to assume every pet has sold out.

If you have an Alliance alt on another account for cross-faction arbitrage, this would be the time to check that as well.  One of the things you should decide very early on is what pets you'll sell to just the opposite faction, which you'll sell to just the same, and which you'll sell to both.  For example, on my server, the snakes in Orgrimmar actually sell fairly well even to other Horde members, while on the Alliance side, the cats from outside Stormwind are likely to sell for less than 5 gold.  Anything I need one of for the opposite faction will get an O next to it.

Once the list has been sorted out, the traveling begins.  I start out in Orgrimmar, so of course my first stop is to see Xan'tish in the troll section and grab some snakes.  After that, I take a quick teleport to Thunder Bluff and see Halpa for a prairie dog.  For those without a mage, Thunder Bluff can also be reached by zeppelin or by flight path from Orgrimmar.  Halpa can sometimes be difficult to find if you're not familiar, so here's how I always locate him:  First I look for Baine Bloodhoof, the tauren leader, in the big longhouse, top level of the main (central) rise.  Halpa is in a little hut to the right of this, facing the outside of the rise.

Halpa, vendor of mighty prairie dogs

Next, it's a teleport to Silvermoon.  This one's a bit trickier if you don't have a mage.  Take the zeppelin to Undercity, then take the Orb of Translocation, found on the surface level, on the right side of the courtyard as you enter.  Once in Silvermoon, the place we're looking for is Fairbreeze Village.  It's easy to spot on your map, and there's a flight path right outside Silvermoon if you don't have a mount.  Once there, you're looking for a female blood elf named Jilanne, in a little building all by herself to the left of the other big building in town.  She'll sell you three little dragonhawks that are quite striking.

Jilanne, the...crazy dragonhawk lady?

Next up, we're off to Outlands, specifically the Stormspire.  You can either port to Shattrath, or you can take the portal from any capital city to the Dark Portal.  Either way, at this point, you are stuck with a bit of travel time.  Once at the Stormspire, you're looking for Dealer Rashaad, a neutral vendor who sells a variety of pets, some unique to him, some shared with others.  Be careful before you buy from him, particularly with the Mana Wyrmling.  The vendor cost on this is much higher than most vendor pets, so check prices on your server first, and keep in mind that the vendor price also determines the deposit for the AH.

Finally, our last group of pets come from Dalaran.  If you don't have a mage, it may be worth setting your hearthstone there or investing in one of the Dalaran rings.  Your target is Breanni, in a little building behind all the exotic mounts.  The same cautions as the Mana Wyrmling apply to these pets.  Their vendor cost is much higher than typical pets, so check your server to make sure it's profitable.

Most of these steps can be done in any order, but there's a reason I save Dalaran for last.  In the Violet Citadel, there's a portal to the Caverns of Time in Tanaris.  Why is this important?  It's very close to Gadgetzan, which hosts a neutral AH for easy transferring of your cross-faction pets.

That's all for today, but in my next post, I hope to cover the Alliance side of this trip, and possibly give special mention to the few pets I avoid altogether.  Until then, good night and good gold.

Hello and Welcome

Hello to all of you out there in internet land!  I'm Tailswish, and today I'd like to introduce you to my new blog, Swishco Ventures, a blog about making gold in World of Warcraft.  In what I hope will be the first of many posts, I'll give you a little information on myself, and I'll let you know why I decided to start this blog (not to mention what I plan to do with it).

First, a little about me.  My name comes from my main in WoW, a level 85 tauren druid by the name of Tailswish.  She's been my main since the start of Cataclysm, when I switched from my mage because my new guild needed a tank.  I play Horde side pretty much exclusively, although I do have two Alliance alts on a second account, in case I want to dip my toe in the arbitrage pool.  Unlike many, my main is also my banker, so for better or worse, many people on my server know who I am.

 Gold making is a relatively new thing for me.  I generally wasn't someone with a huge stockpile of gold, but I usually wasn't broke, either, and in early Cata, I was one of the ones buying BoEs at 20-30k, just for my own personal use.  And for a while, that was enough, as I think it is for the vast majority of the WoW population.

That all changed, though, around Christmas time 2011.  I'd been raiding with my 10-man group since the start of Cata, and they'd all become good friends in the process.  I wanted to do something special, so I bought each of them a pet.  Not just any pets would do for my raid group, though, especially since a couple of them were pet collectors.  No, most of them got Argent Tournament pets, and our raid leader even got a Hyacinth Macaw (thankfully, I managed to snag it for 10k at the time from the Alliance side AH).

All those things cost gold, and saving and farming just weren't enough.  For the first time, I started researching and doing things to actively make gold.  At the time, it was mostly just the Elementium Shuffle, but it was still something.  It was fascinating discovering how much information was out there, and before long, I started a competition with my partner to see which of us could reach gold cap first (neither of us has yet).

So if there's all this information out there already, why am I entering the fray?  And why now, of all times?  Well, I missed out on the 4.2 rush and most of the 4.3 rush.  The longer Cataclysm goes on in its "lame duck" period, the more server economies tend to wither, my own included.  Many bloggers have either stopped posting as much, or focus on stockpiling and preparing for Mists of Pandaria.

But you know what?  I'm still making gold.  Maybe not as much, and maybe I have to work a little harder at it, but I'm always looking for more opportunities.  I may not revolutionize the world, but I'll share with all of you some of my process, and hopefully you'll find something you can use.

So, give me a peek every now and then, while you're waiting for a Cancel scan or AFK crafting.  It's certainly more fun than getting something done around the house.