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Forum post of the day: Using the Auction House properly

Amanda Dean

The economy in WoW has some interesting nuances. Players spend oodles of WoW gold on their crafting professions, and sometimes manage to turn a tidy profit. I'm often surprised to see some items that are strongly in-demand, like Light Feathers. Shrewd players use the auction house to build their bankrolls. Lomentari of EU-Draenor is exasperated with people who fail to use the auction house "properly."

She is angry that other crafters are selling the same product she creates for several gold lower than her preferred price. The items are placed on the auction house en masse at the low low rate, which the original poster blames on Leather Workers skilling up. She feels powerless to do anything about her "massive money loss." The original poster is willing to accept small cuts in pricing, but has a hard time deal with steep declines in prices.

This story is analogous to the real-world economy. I live in Las Vegas, and right now the housing market in Nevada is, well, crummy. I've heard people complaining that they've lost money on their houses, but math that I just don't understand. Let's say Bob and Joe bought cute little track houses next to each other for $200,000 a piece. Bob sold his house after five years for $400,000. Joe waited another year and a half but could only get $300,000 out of his house. Joe believes that by waiting to sell, he's lost $100,000 on his house, but by my math that's still a $100,000 gain.

There was some sympathy for Lomentari's position. Lyrica of EU-Scarshield Legion suggested either entering a price war with the competition or diversifying into other areas. One not-surprising-suggestion is to buy underpriced items and mark them up under your own name. I actually have a hard time wrapping my brain around Lomentari's complaint. Is the auction house supposed to be fair? How is fair defined, anyway?

Just like real world economics, profit in WoW can be measured by subtracting the cost of making a product from final sale price of the item. Coolin of Turalyon measures profit a little differently. His profit comes from the amount of markup on the auction house over the vendor price for the item. The sale price should be set by supply and demand.

The auction house market is completely unregulated in game. Blizzard may inspect transactions for suspicious trades, but they do not set or change posted prices. They've got a buyer-beware attitude, and keep their hands off the player-driven economy.

I've noticed on my server that prices for most crafting materials go up on the weekends and drop sharply again come Monday. Prices on enchanting materials rose steeply in the weeks surrounding the release of arena season four. Events also have an impact on the economy. When the Darkmoon Faire comes to town, interest piques in cards and decks.

If I have the bank space, I'll hold on to items, until market conditions are favorable to my price. Whenever I level Engineering, I will always gain every skill point I can on Deadly Blunderbusses, and sell them for around five gold a piece on the auction house. If I can't sell them today, I'll be able to tomorrow.

How flexible are you in auctioning your wares?

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