Final Fantasy XIV, but the fastest way to increase your riches comes from smart use of the market boards. (Yes, you're not creating new money to enter the system; there are a lot of ways to do that, too. Go do some leves.) This is why I'm baffled at how many people understand the principle but don't understand how to sell things on the markets.
Some of this probably comes from the fact that the system is never explained in great depth, but it doesn't help that the system isn't set up to work like many auction systems in other MMOs. So while some of you already grasp this and are enjoying the singular fun of being locked into a pricing war with three other people, others aren't sure how to get their Fleece to sell. Let's talk about some market truths you might not have realized.
Small stacks are better than big stacks
One of the biggest and simplest mistakes I see is people listing things in full stacks on the boards. And sometimes that's useful for items that are major grinding components... but more often than not, even then, you're making your sales take a lot longer than they need to, especially when those stacks of 99 are for component parts like ingots or glue rather than base materials.
As a crafter, I will happily scroll past the several stacks of 99 to reach the slightly more expensive stack of 10 because I don't actually need 99 of these. I need two or three, and I can use the ones I need and sell back the remainder or save them in case it comes up again. Even though I theoretically save a little money with the larger stack, it's a bigger up-front hit, and I'm also gambling on the idea that I can sell everything back before market values go down again.
Yes, I realize that it's annoying to drag over lumber and sell it in lots of 10 rather than one lot of 99. But the fact is that most people aren't grinding on more than one or two finished recipes at most, and if you really need a full stack of something, you're going to seek out a more reliable source than someone trying to get a big bang on the market. Sell smaller stacks and you'll watch them sell more quickly, and even if the market collapses, you're more likely to have seen some sales beforehand.
The magic number does seem to be 10-20, for the record, with the exception of shards and crystals, but those are used in greater quantities anyway.
Do your math before you undercut
Here's a simple bit of math for you. Go check the market price for Walnut Lumber. Then check the price for three Walnut Logs and two Wind Shards. If one piece of Lumber is worth less than that combined total, you're selling it for too little money.
Undercutting is a natural part of the way the market board system works. The lowest prices are listed first, so listing something more cheaply makes it easier to sell that item even faster. Where it becomes problematic is that people will undercut no matter how low the price is, even if the price being undercut is literally at a 0% profit. So you find people losing money on basic sales.
It doesn't help that a lot of people leave out the cost of shards in their assumptions. Shards are reagents for almost everything; yes, there are many things requiring crystals or clusters, but shards are far more common and far more easily acquired. You buy a big chunk of shards for your craft of choice and it's easy to just file it away like gas for your car, something basic you need for synthesis. But shards are money, too, and you could sell those three logs plus two shards for 200 gil while the lumber's only going for 90 gil... just because the logs are each worth 25 gil.
Why does this matter in the long run? If you undercut too aggressively, the market crashes and no one bothers gathering and selling those items any longer. This becomes more and more problematic if people are trying to level something later on or producing a high-quality item for others to sell (and you can get high-quality from no-quality quite easily). You're not doing the long-term health of the markets -- or your bankroll -- any favors.
Don't miss stupid money
Stupid money is when the desire to sell something quickly overrides something as simple as reading the sale value on the item's tooltip. It's not everywhere, but there are a lot of people desperately undercutting to the point that it actually nets less money than if they'd just thrown the thing on the vendor.
Case in point: Yesterday I was glancing at Bloody Bardiche Heads only to find that their market value had dropped to 10 gil per. This was great news for me because that meant buying a whole lot of heads and selling them to a vendor for 79 gil per sale. Yes, it made me only about a thousand gil, but it was a thousand gil that someone just left lying on the table for no reason other than laziness and a crucial lack of critical thinking.
Measure your time and willingness to do a task against the amount of money that it means. If Dodo Eggs sell for 200 gil per and you can kill a dodo in 10 seconds, that's 1200 gil a minute with a good pulling spot. (Assuming each one drops an egg, but bear with me.) Yes, it might be boring to farm those for an hour, but can you enjoy yourself enough by chatting that 72,000 gil is worth the time?
That can be the difference between sitting around complaining that you can't get any money and kicking back on a pile of money, which is one of those things I really, really like about Final Fantasy XIV.
Feedback is welcome in the comments or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, let's start talking about patch 2.1!
From Eorzea to Vana'diel, there is a constant: the moogles. And for analysis and opinions about the online portions of the Final Fantasy series, there is also a constant: The Mog Log. Longtime series fan Eliot Lefebvre serves up a new installment of the log every Saturday, covering almost anything related to Square-Enix's vibrant online worlds.
The Mog Log: Understanding Final Fantasy XIV's markets
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