Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How do you kill that which has no life?

Another day of alchemy research. It seems that one of the major herb farmers and suppliers of the whole server is THE flask distributor. They have almost a full page of flasks roughly at material cost along with one other person. The problem here is that they are on nearly 24/7 and almost all of that time is spent in sholozar or ice crown doing exactly what you think... farming for free. For most people, spending all day every day farming is entirely out of the question. Hell for a lot (such as myself) even farming for an hour is not up for discussion. So what do you do?

Treat them like any other camper, but the catch is they're used to this and are convinced it's the way to go. When you see two flasks selling for for a gold over materials you know something is up. Botting? No they're not a bot and I'm actually sure about that. I know it because I happened to get into a pug raid with them as the healer. Go figure eh? They had the same guild tag as their banker so out of curiosity I logged to undercut them, announcing in raid that I had to get something from an alt. I popped back while the raid was still forming and lo and behold. They changed toons to undercut me as soon as I got back. Heh, I actually lol'd.

The usual go to method of dealing with somebody posting at material prices is to just buy them out. However since they've been spending countless weeks and months doing this they probably have a rather large supply, also because they only sell herbs that are not used in flasks. This leads me to think that that might not be a great idea at the moment. The other competitors I'm positive I could buy out and just use their flasks to compete with the uber farmer (UF). And to top this off, I tend to have bad luck when it comes to procs. I've barely gotten any bonuses from transmutes even when I make a full stack of materials worth so I can't count on mastery gambling to help me out. And the fact that they're likely an elixir master as well makes this the case even more so.

Now what? I'm completely convinced that alchemy is a profitable profession even if you aren't a camper or another UF. But learning to deal with them is something that applies to every profession, so I'm going to be going forward with this no matter what. After all, I do enjoy a challenge. Most likely my plan will be to buy out them and the competition and spend a few days doing this while trying to flip their flasks before I start crafting my own. Besides, why buy materials when the product is cheaper?

If that doesn't work, I'll just have to time my posts better and use a few tricks of my own and mess with my QA3 settings a tad. This is something that I've mentioned before, albeit briefly. When listing something that is in high demand, being the lowest isn't always necessary to make a profit. Things like stamina gems, dps red gems, buckles, glyphs or... flasks (gasp!) are almost always purchased in multiple amounts. Tank gear is always loaded up with stamina gems and same with dps gear and associated gems, and since all that gear has several sockets you can expect them to buy more than one.

What that means is that if you post just a tad above the lowest price (opposed to below) you're likely to still get several sales simply due to the demand. So if buying them out doesn't work after some time of trying it, I'll start posting above their price with a 48 hour listing. Since I'm not usually around during prime time for flask sales I'll have to just eat the deposit cost. I can deal with that. The idea here is to allow them to have their place in the market indefinitely and be forced to UF all day every day. Nobody likes to be forced to farm, even if you're used to doing it all day by choice. It's just human nature, don't force me bro! Bear in mind that this strategy means that you need to pay more attention to the market and your competitors, it cannot be just set it and forget it.

Meanwhile I'll be posting just above their auctions and they can't do anything except farm even more herbs, craft even more flasks, and lose even more money on deposits (which they're listing at 24 hours already). Even with that all they can do is make more work for them and lose more profit without being able to stop me or force me out of the market. I like knowing that.

You're creating a price ceiling that they cannot break through without buying everything you own. That's not an option for an UF as they're losing a lot of money doing so since they have to sell your products for less than they paid in order to make a profit. It's either that or raise their bottom price which you'll then immediately take over. Effectively you're FORCING them to switch places with you, the upstart alchemist, with superior knowledge of both people and the AH business. This is a very important tactic to remember, it can save you a load of trouble in the future.

The only reason I'd leave a market is if I was losing a significant amount of money with no chance of profit in the foreseeable future. The main thing to keep in mind is that even if I absolutely cannot compete, which is a very real possibility, I can always sell my flasks in trade for several gold under them twice a week during prime time and make most of the money back and the left over herbs can always be milled into glyphs. After that I'll still have another alchemist to xmute more epic gems to fuel my more prominent market.

With all that being said, I've certainly walked into quite the challenge. Sadly the whole purpose of this was to give a sort of guide in entering a new market which, due to the circumstances, won't be as great as I hoped it would be. Believe it or not I actually wasn't entering a new market for the gold, just the entertainment and educational value of it... gasp! However I'll still do my best to keep my focus on that and not let this turn into a 'how to beat an UF' series. Although it's fairly clear that that is what several posts will be focusing on. In any case, the next several posts I make will still be on the subject of entering new markets and be quite in depth each time with their particular focus.

Lastly, here's a screen shot of my primary banker (and who the blog is named after) that is Stokpile. It's his armory with a pricing of all the useless junk I bought for him when I got my first gold cap. Long story short, over 18k spent on crap + bags. I figured it might give some of you a giggle or three.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I'm thinking about your tactic to post slight above the UF. Wouldn't the UF just add a little more stock to the AH at their price as a way to counter your presence?

  2. @ Tyberius
    Sure they could, but they likely won't be noticing right away. And once they do I have already amassed a very large stokpile of inventory to post a wall on the AH. They then need to spend an ungodly amount of time crafting and not farming.

    Combine that with me eventually buying up all their flasks they'll be in quite the pickle as they are extremely low on flasks and materials.

    this is all just speculation of course, but I believe it is a viable tactic when you have the financial backing to do so with such a hardcore farmer. An unstoppable force (myself) will soon be meeting an unmovable object (the UF).

    I remember last night thinking n hindsight abotu what you said and had the perfect way to explain myself... but I have since forgotten so I hope this will suffice.
    /head asplode

  3. I just entered the market of flasks on my high pop server and have someone posting at mat cost price during prime times. I'm trying out your tactic of posting slightly higher than them.