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The Art of Wushu: Winning in market PvP

Patrick Mackey

Last time on the Art of Wushu, I promised I would write on how to sell production crafts. Crafting is a big deal in Age of Wushu, so it seemed like a reasonable topic to cover. However, I realized doing so would probably be a mistake. Why?

If you followed my advice from two weeks ago, congratulations. You probably noticed a huge nosedive in a few markets: hemp, ramie, iron, and mint all took a huge hit. It's a bit flattering to see how I can write a post on what to sell and readers like you guys take it to heart, flooding the market with supply and crashing the value of these commodities. If I gave advice on production crafting, the same thing would happen.

Instead, this week I'm going to talk about real market strategy. Pointing out things that sell doesn't help you if the market takes a nose-dive. Understanding supply and demand curves, market equilibrium, and the importance of market diversity are all long-term tools that will help you regardless of what you're selling.

For the love of Buddha, don't sell only one thing

My first point of advice is pretty simple: Don't flood the market with one item. "Flooding" is a bit of a subjective term, since one person's definition of "flooding" might be a full stack of an item while another's might be 10 stacks. The underlining point is to sell many things, regardless of what you consider flooding to be.

This advice is twofold. First, it insulates you from a market crash. If the mint market bombs but you're also selling thin monkey skin, the thin monkey skin might still sell. If pupil ingots aren't selling very well, sell copper stones, darts, weapons, or even raw ore. If hemp isn't selling, sell yams or lantern fish. Even things I said don't sell well two weeks ago might be fair game this week. Last week, I made a lot of money reselling copper, even though it doesn't normally sell well. A lot of people dropped out of the copper market, so I snatched up a bunch for really cheap and resold it for over twice the price.

The second reason you should diversify your markets is that increased supply lowers demand. If you sell 13 different commodities in single-stack quantities, it's unlikely that you will create a permanent pricing trend if you undercut. If you sell 13 stacks of one thing, you will. Although it's not the best example, recently a gold-seller (who was banned) sold numerous stacks of first-tier upgrade materials at moderate undercut prices. Because people had to undercut her to sell at all, it caused a downward pricing trend. Of course, she would log in, see people underselling her, and relist even lower. As a result, medicine cloth prices ended up in the gutter and everyone selling it lost out.

The end result is pretty lucrative. You have a lot of padding if demand suddenly takes a dive on any one product, and you avoid driving prices down yourself. Selling smaller stacks that you restock frequently help solve this problem even more because people will see your lower-priced stack, buy it out, then buy other peoples' higher-priced goods if they need more. This keeps market equilibrium high, which helps your bottom line.

The Art of Wushu Winning in market PvP
High school economics

We've all heard about supply and demand. Demand for materials is fairly static and predictable. The demand for hasps and handles stays fairly constant, with blacksmiths and tailors consuming them at a fairly even rate. Thus, the price is mostly controlled by supply. If wood becomes scarce, handle prices go up. If a lot of craftsmen flood the market with handles or if one craftsman dumps a thousand handles on the market, prices go way down.

Oversupply of some things can dramatically destroy prices. As an example, Jianghu martial arts books sold for ridiculous prices for quite some time. The price is going down every day because people found these skills sold and farmed mini instances like crazy. Demon Born in Emptiness used to sell for over 1D; now it's under 200L because supply spiked up.

Demand changes in a number of ways. If the devs release an event that gives rewards for turning in harvesting materials, the demand of that material will shoot up. If an attacking guild takes a guild base in a war, the demand for upgrade materials (iron, copper, cypress, poplar) will rise beyond its normal levels. A great example is school honor certificates. Recently, Snail announced that meridians will be coming in April. Can you guess what happened to the market for internal skills? It shot up! Basic Training Methods for internal skills rose from around 500L to nearly 2D! School certificate boxes also rose dramatically in price. If you are aware of something like this, take advantage.

Demand also changes as a result of increased playerbase. The supply of school scripts is extremely static; exactly 1000 scripts drop every day except Sunday. If you're collecting Flying Horse, for example, roughly five Flying Horse (1)s drop every time Wudang is raided. The demand for it is rising, however, because the game gets far more than five new players every day. As those players level and gain financial independence, they want cool skills like Flying Horse. If you're looking to buy it, buy now; it will only get more expensive as the playerbase increases.

There might be no demand for some items. For instance, no one wants crit debuff poisons. They don't last long enough and do almost nothing. If they lasted much longer (15 seconds, even), they might be worth using. If an item isn't selling for any sort of reasonable price, ask yourself whether you'd rather have the NPC coins.

The Art of Wushu Winning in market PvPWhat people are willing to pay

When you're selling anything, it's important to ask what people are willing to pay for it. This is sort of subjective, so you have to go by feel. Some people (mostly cash shop whales) will pay any price for items they want. Some people, like me, will buy things only if prices drop well below the average market price. You want to price your items such that the average consumer looking at your product will say, "Hey, that's a fair price!" and pick it up.

I make a ton of money by knowing fair prices for a lot of different things. I can identify the value of a lot of equipment items at a glance, and I can tell whether it's a good deal. More importantly, I know how much the average consumer has (under 200L) and I try to sell items that are attractive to those buyers.

Consumables suffer quite a bit from this. Good food is kind of expensive in terms of vigor and materials, especially compared to gear. However, nobody is willing to pay 10L for a single dish. The value of Nine Turns Pork Intestine, for instance, is far below what a chef would make if he just spent his vigor mining lead. You have to make a decision about whether you want to enter into that market (where vigor efficiency is awful) just to make pennies or look elsewhere.

However, it's my opinion that time is a bigger resource than vigor anyway, and selling drugs, poisons, and food for cheap (expending lots of vigor) is still faster than trying to burn all your vigor mining lead or iron. Bring that market price down and your goods will actually move.

One of my herbalist friends makes lots of money selling drugs, and the majority do not. Why? She sells extremely low and spends a lot of vigor doing it. She buys most of her mats, spends a ton of vigor (but little time) crafting, and sells her drugs at a moderate markup, not valuing her vigor much at all. She farms less, plays the game more, and still makes good money because her stuff actually sells.

Know the market

I can't stress this enough. Know your market! The best markets to get into are the ones you're familiar with. If you're a tailor, selling hemp is a natural thing because you have probably looked into buying it. If you're a blacksmith, you know what goes into making pupil ingots and can price them (and iron used to make them) better. As a craftsman, I know how much moire stones are actually worth because I use them. To most miners, they're junk.

If you know your market, a lot of the stuff above comes naturally. You can see when a supply spike hits and decide not to mine iron today. You can notice that there's no copper on the market and list some at an unreasonably high price. You can see that a big medicine cloth seller hasn't been seen in days and now is a good time to make some.

Don't just trust someone else's advice on the market; watch prices and look for fluctuations. Look for the best times to sell! When world stalls are down on Monday, what happens to the gaultheria market? Should you sell it? Can you get good prices to buy it? If you don't know, find out!

Knowledge is power in Age of Wushu, and the marketplace is no exception. Learn the market and dominate it!

Age of Wushu is a wonderous place, full of hidden secrets, incredible vistas and fearsome martial arts. Join Patrick as he journeys through China, revealing the many secrets of this ancient land. The Ming Dynasty may be a tumultuous time, but studying The Art of Wushu will give you the techniques you need to prevail.

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