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Gold Capped: Bait and tackle

Basil Berntsen

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Basil "Euripides" Berntsen aims to show you how to make money on the auction house, and Insider Trader, which is all about professions. For Gold Capped's inside line on crafting for disenchanting, transmutation, cross-faction arbitrage and more, check in here every Thursday, and email Basil with your comments, questions or hate mail!

I'm going to start trying to include a link to something I've enjoyed reading in the gold-making blogosphere every week. Our first installment is JMTC's blogging carnival about lessons learned while preparing for Cataclysm. There are 18 submissions, which should keep you busy for a while.

We've talked about auction house PvP before, but today we're talking about a glyph PvP method I like to call bait and tackle. Here's the problem: In order to sell glyphs, you need to spend a fair amount of time crafting them, as well as milling. In addition, on most sizable realms, there are a few hard-nosed competitors who are willing to play for longer than reasonable players. There have been times when, day or night, if I posted a batch of glyphs, every single one would get undercut exactly every 10 minutes.

You can still make money while fighting these goons, but you basically have to wait for them to run out of stock. With the immensely increased demand these days due to the glyph changes in 4.0.1, this is going to happen for a larger number of glyphs than usual. Those of us too impatient, however, have options.

Attacking the supply

You can either wait for your AH-camping competition to run out of stock on their own, or you could help them along. I'm not talking about constraining the supply of raw mats -- the massive demand for glyphs has constrained the herb supply pretty well without our help. Instead, we will take their inventory from them at a rock bottom price.

Step 1: Identify their threshold. As we spoke about in my APM post, the threshold is the lowest price that APM will undercut. After that, it either stops posting or posts at the fallback. To figure this out, post a glyph they've been undercutting (pick one that's already fairly low on price) at 10g. If they undercut, try 5g. If they don't undercut, try 7.5g, and narrow it down this way. It takes about 40 minutes (during which you can be doing other stuff at the AH) to get a good read, and as soon as you have decent idea about how far they're willing to undercut, you can decide whether to proceed.

Step 2: Plant your bait and wait. Post one of each glyph that's normally selling for a solid price at just over the competition's threshold. Watch your auction panel (not the log) for vultures. It's normal to see the occasional glyph sale to different people; however, if you start to see someone buying multiple (especially multiple classes') glyphs, panic cancel your bait auctions. "/apm cancelall" is efficient.

Step 3: Buy any undercuts. Anyone who blindly undercuts you will be basically giving you a crafted glyph for (ideally) just under what you pay to make them yourself.

Step 4: Cancel bait and relist for previous value. Once you've gotten all the stock you want (or they've stopped undercutting you), go ahead and cancel your glyphs and relist it back at its old value.

Things to watch out for

Your goal is to run your competitor out of stock on the glyphs that sell for the most; however, be aware that anyone can buy your bait, effectively turning your trap back on yourself. Still, if you catch two people mass-listing without checking for cheap glyphs before your bait gets bought out, you're in the black.

As I mentioned above, this market is currently heavy on demand and herbs are hard to find cheaply. When 4.0.1 launched, I was paying 15-30g to craft a single glyph. I'm down to 10g, but it's still steep, and I haven't seen any of the epic herb dumps that I saw before the patch. If the threshold price of my target is below this, I'm willing to risk losing some stock so long as I gain more of the competitors' stock than I lose of my bait. If their threshold price is higher, I'm less tolerant to loss and risk; however, I calculate the time I save milling and crafting into the equation.

Another thing to bear in mind is that despite the massive increase in the cost of making glyphs, the market price of certain glyphs is still below the materials cost. This is due to the fact that some glyphs were so common before the patch that everyone already had them "equipped" and automatically learned them when the patch went live. These are probably not worth going out of your way to stock up on. Pick the glyphs you want to take this way based on market price.

Maximize your profits with more advice from Gold Capped, plus the author's Call to Auction podcast. Do you have questions about selling, reselling and building your financial empire on the auction house? Basil is now taking questions for a special series, "Ask an auctioneer," at

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