Saturday, June 22, 2013

Don't Fear the Undercutter

This may not be news to many, but your most precious resource in the gold making game (and in general) isn't some ultra-rare item or some esoteric bit of knowledge. It's time, plain and simple. Every person only has so much of it, and once it's spent, there's no way to get it back. It's the ultimate limited commodity.

Now, of course, how much time one has to spend on WoW in general, and on gold making specifically, varies enormously from person to person. Some people have more free time than others. Some people have other things they want to do with that free time. And you know what? That's perfectly okay.

Yes, time spent is a factor in gold making, but is it as big of one as we may think? "But Tailswish," you may say, "I need more time, no matter what, so I can keep up with those undercutters!" There's certainly some basis for that line of thinking. It's not uncommon to get undercut within minutes, or sometimes even seconds, especially on high population realms.

And here's the biggest thing I've learned over the last couple of years: that's okay. No, really, it is. You don't have to spend all your time trying to stay on top of the people undercutting you. In fact, there's a good chance that trying to do so will hurt your sales.

When I first started out in my gold making journey, I had quite a bit more free time than I do now. More than that, the idea I had stuck in my head was that I had to "use" all of the free time, that doing so would give me a huge advantage. I had everything I crafted sent to one banker, and that banker would run a cancel scan every hour or so.

What was the problem with that? Between running the cancel scan, retrieving everything out of the mailbox, and posting it back up, the whole cycle would often take upwards of a half hour. This means that for the items that continually ended up at the bottom of that huge stack of mail, they were only even on the AH about half the time! It's true that the lowest priced auction sells, but you know what doesn't sell? An item that's not on the AH at all.

There's also another important thing to keep in mind. Supply and demand are constantly fluctuating, and although they'll always go back to equilibrium, there will also be plenty of spans of time when one is greater than the other. Specifically, there will be times, often several in a day, when demand outstrips supply for a given item. At that time, the cheapest auctions get eaten up, and the demand takes a healthy chunk out of the middle.

So what's the moral of the story? There will always be someone there to undercut you. Rarely, if ever, is "camp the AH and run continuous cancel scans" going to be a viable strategy. Instead, be patient. List enough of a variety of items, all at reasonable prices, and simply leave them be. Yes, plenty of them will expire, but that's okay. Plenty of the constant undercutter's auction don't sell, either, but he's paying more and more fees every time he relists, while you're only paying once every 24 or 48 hours. More importantly, you'll be pleasantly surprised at what did sell, and with nowhere near the time investment of the camper.

Gold is valuable, but your time is infinitely more so. Yes, all other things being equal, the person who has 8 hours a day to spend making gold will earn more than the person who has 1 hour, but not nearly as much more as you may think. Now, if you have that massive chunk of free time every day, and want to spend it at the AH, then hey, more power to you. But if you don't, or if you want to say, duck off and play some Borderlands 2 instead, don't think that means you can't make gold. It's about using what time you have effectively, more than anything else.

Personally, I fall much closer to that hour a day end of the spectrum than I used to, and I'm still doing just fine. I can even leave my auctions be for a day or two, and it's far from the end of the world. I don't fear the undercutter, because I see him for what he is, and I know I'll do better than he could ever imagine.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Not Dead - Again!

So, just a quick update before hopefully more posts to follow. I'm not dead, nor have I quit WoW, nor have I quit gold making. It's just been a combination of being busy with college and, honestly, not having a whole lot to talk about in regards to gold making.

It's a bit sad, really. There just hasn't been much of a change, at least in regards to gold making, since 5.2 or so. Some of the PvP gem priorities changed a bit with 5.3, but really, most of the same stuff's been working. I was doing Nev's 20 Days of Gold Making to give me some ideas, but I was far enough behind on that I felt the motivation waning.

If I'm going to be completely honest, a big part of me was ready to simply abandon this blog. I didn't post anything to that effect, perhaps because I felt like that would be too final. In every way that mattered, though, the plug had apparently been pulled.

What changed, then? There are a couple of things, really. First off, I had a period yesterday where I was trying to track down what was causing some crashes for me, so at the advice of Blizzard Customer Support, I was playing completely without add-ons. It made me realize just how much we all rely on add-ons, and how much of an advantage that gives us over those who only use the default AH interface (that unwieldy behemoth that remains largely unchanged since launch).

Now, that's not to say that I couldn't do what I do without add-ons. If push came to shove, and TSM, Auctionator, etc. were all broken in a critical moment like a patch day, I could deal. However, it would take me so much more time and energy, compared to how I'm able to do things with those tools. In short, like any tool, they're still only worthwhile if you know what you need to do in the first place.

In addition, my raid group's had a bit of a revolving door lately. Things are starting to stabilize, but for a while, there were quite a few new recruits or random people joining us on any given night. One thing that surprised me when meeting all these new people was how many of them complained about being broke. And when I say "broke", sometimes I mean "less than 2k gold across all their characters" broke.

We were having a conversation about gold in tonight's raid, and my guild leader said, with pride, "You know, Tails even has his own gold making blog". His comment, along with the realization that I haven't updated this thing since March, filled me with shame. That's the one thing I don't want to feel about this blog. I want to be able to proudly tell people with questions that I have a blog full of advice.

To that effect, I've resolved to start posting again, and quite possibly get back down to basics. The beautiful thing about basics, after all, is that they're useful to everyone. People new to the gold making game get the most good out of it, of course, but it's not at all uncommon for a more seasoned gold maker to see something simple they were missing, or have a much more complicated idea sparked by reviewing a basic concept.

For those of you that are still with me, I thank you for staying. I hope to have much more to show you in the future. Of course, if anyone has any specific topics they'd like covered, I'm more than happy to cover anything left in the comments.

For now, though, for the first time in far too long, I bid you all good night and good gold.