Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Manually automatic

Writing today about the merits and faults of doing all of your auctions by hand or fully automated. One of the biggest time savers in the AH game is the freedom that automation gives you. When posting a few thousand glyphs you can be elsewhere being productive around the house or entertaining yourself in other ways. It also takes away a lot of reaction time and information about those markets which you're automating.

You'll never know if something is a hot seller and that you should list more than normal or if something has plummeted in price as you'll never see what sells, you'll only see that something sold. Not for how much or for how little. We all know that it's important to know your market and that markets will always change over a certain amount of time. But when it is completely automated you won't be around to see any changes or signs of them coming. The catch is of course, we can't afford to spend every spare hour watching the markets and researching selling trends. That would be absurd, but a certain amount is indeed required to go far.

Compared to automation, when doing your auctions by hand you'll have a very intimate relationship with every market you work with because you'll be spending so much time in them. The trade off is obvious with this just like it is with camping and follows the age old expression: time is money friend. So you need to decide just how much should be automated and how much time should be spent hands on. Here's a few examples.

High priced items.
Things like crafted epics, epic gems, etc. For things like this you'll want to have a decent level of involvement so you can catch any campers at work or signs of an impending market crash. Reason being that with very little major sellers in these markets you won't notice a camper so easily. Also with any potential crash you can lose a huge amount of gold that you could have easily prevented or greatly reduced.

Cheap consistent sales.
Things like buckles, flasks, or glyphs. These sorts of things can be fully automated without any real issue. If the market crashes your small profits will get smaller, but will stay as profits none the less. If a camper shows up you'll notice immediately that you aren't selling anything in these markets. It is however a good idea to scroll through the AH pages now and again to see if there's any familiar names showing up.

Assorted goodies.
Things like crystallized fire, heavy borean, JC leveling gear. Junk that damned near nobody ever thinks to sell. These things you want to be 100% purely automated as there will never be a significant crash and any campers are a who cares. These sort of things are there to cover repairs and general expenses and do not have a large impact on your overall business as a whole.

So there's a few things for you to keep in mind as a reference point for this topic of discussion. Now for the fun part. How do you get hands on without spending ages staring at the AH? Well there's several different methods I'm sure but I'll give you the one that I use as I think it's the most effective. A lot of people buy their mats with the auctioneer snatch tool. What that does is that when you do a scan of the AH you tell it to look at the same time for specific items for a certain price. After the scan completes it will then auto buy out everything it saw for your prices. Basically you set automated buying thresholds.

While this is great for random stuff you rarely see or things that are easily forgotten to stock up on until you need them. Something like righteous orbs or adamantite bars I always forget to buy so the snatch tool is great for this. Definitely a great tool to have available, but you won't notice any market shifts with this. What I do is I'll buy all my materials by hand so that as I'm scrolling through 1-3 pages of them on the AH I'll also be noticing the associated crafted pieces as well.

An example of doing is is how I buy epic gems. I'll type in the gem > color section of the AH "card" for a cardinal ruby. It'll then display every red gem with "card" in the name, which is every epic red gem currently listed on the AH. So I'll see all the cheap raw gems and the prices of all the different cuts at the same time while I'm going about my purchasing. This way I can see the related prices of raws and cuts and decide if I should buy a bit more or if I should stop buying entirely. It also lets you take a mental note of the prices yesterday compared to the ones today throughout the entire week giving you a strong feel of the way the market is shifting. The same thing is done with any profession that requires a massive amount of associated materials.

However this can't be done with say enchanting scrolls. Especially annoying because you can't mouse over and get a tool tip from the enchanting TSW and see how many of that scroll you own. If you want to see the general price range you'll have to type in under the consumable section "scroll of ench" to get the full list of every scroll. Then you can sort by name so you can organize them by which piece of gear they effect. You can now contrast and compare the scroll prices to what you paid for the mats and the current market value of the mats. But if you're able to notice trends easily you can just pick up on a massive surplus of abyss crystals and greater cosmics that prices are coming down and you should react accordingly.

Another method you can use to add a personal touch to your auctions to give you a very clear idea of what's going on is not opening all your sold/expired auctions at once. Doing this will let you know exactly what has sold for how much and what has been left to constantly eat up your gold in lost deposits. This way you'll be able to notice instantly that some item isn't selling very well and you might want to remove it from your crafting list such as dodge/parry gems or certain forest emerald cuts. Knowing what not to sell is just as important (possibly even more so) than what TO sell. Also Seeing a lot of things expire will let you know instantly that you have a camper on your hands and can then start to deal with them appropriately. Or if a crash is coming or just a temporary flood of cheap materials this method will give you a hint of that and you can then either sell or buy depending on the situation.

One last thing to point out here is that the manual/automated bit I'm talking about is scanning, crafting, and buying. Not posting auctions. You should always use an AH addon to do the posting for you as you've already decided your min/max prices. It's the blanket approach of "craft everything then collect everything" I'm referring to.

The lesson to be learned here is that you decide your own level of involvement. You can't automate everything 100% and expect to get far in the AH game. As I've said before anybody can follow a step by step guide and do well for themselves. But if you want to go far with it and reach the cap sooner rather than later, you need to know what you're doing. You need to have an actual understanding of what you're doing as an AH player and the inner working of the markets you're involved with. Just like in raiding as anybody can clear all the content by just following a guide, but if you want to do it on hard mode you won't stand a snowball's chance in hell if you can't play. I cannot stress this enough; learn and understand your AH game before you try to expand. Remember the idea here is to do something that will firmly imprint this information into your mind so you won't forget it so easily tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Hi,

    I have been reading your Blog for over a week now. I love your writing style and all the great information.

    I am a moron...I'll prove it... I have the following professions at 450: Moon-Tailoring, Gnomish Engineering, Jewel-crafting, Mining, Herbalism, and Transmute-Alchemy. I also have a 300 Scribe/Enchanter that I am leveling to max out those professions as well. With all that being said I CAN'T seem to make gold at all. I fail at the WoW economic system.

    I know I have all the right tools and know-how; I just can't apply it like you and your likeness can do.

    Say I do 2 things with those professions I mentioned...just two things per trade. What would you do?

    Crusard <[8')> US-AD

  2. @ Crusard
    You are NOT a moron if you are actively seeking to improve yourself, you are merely uneducated/uninformed (choose whichever is less offensive sounding as none is intended). Large difference between the two. A moron has no clue of what can and could be done and doesn't bother to learn. By reading this blog you are proving that you sir/ma'am are -not- a moron. /smiley face

    The best thing you can do is start with the basics!

    Tailoring: make a pair of epic spellthreads, whichever you can make cheaper and try out netherweave bags.

    Alchemy: turn saronite into titanium, but be careful with your buy/sell prices. Get your epic gems cut and not sold raw. Make sure you get a high selling cut also. Do the same with meta gems, especially relentless earthsiege

    Scribe/enchanter: You can mill herbs and sell the inks if you don't want to get into glyphs, but definitely make an off hand or two. With only 300 skill enchanting you can only do old world enchants which require obscure rep.

    Timbermaw hold gives you +15 agil to 1-h weapons and is easy to get. You can also look for greater stats (+4) to chest recipe on the AH, I sell one a day for 150g.

    Engineering: Run through Gnomeragan (spell check) a few times to get the pet bombling and lil' smokey recipes and make a pair of those.

    Mining: Turn any excess titanium into titansteel.

    Hope that helps!

  3. @ Crusard, Do you have a good selection of JC cuts? One of the easiest things you can do, for example, what Stockpile said in his post:

    "An example of doing is is how I buy epic gems. I'll type in the gem > color section of the AH "card" for a cardinal ruby. It'll then display every red gem with "card" in the name, which is every epic red gem currently listed on the AH."

    Every morning I do this with which ever JC cuts I have available, I look and see how much raw gems are then I look at my available cuts for that gem. If the price margin is wide enough I buy up as many cheap raw cardinal gems (for example) and cut them into popular epic cuts that have a good price margin.

    Usually I can buy uncut cardinal gems for 90 to 110 gold then turn around and sell the epic cuts for 140 to 180g. Try it out, hopefully you can make some easy coin that way!

    Nakedjay -

  4. Great blog, sad that it'll be going away. I was wondering if you keep any data outside the game, say in Excel. I've put together a spreadsheet to figure out the mats cost and the likely selling price so I know the minimum to list for and my likely profit. I've also tried to keep a history of quantity sold per week. Is any of that worthwhile or do you just keep it in your head?

    Also, with your QA write up, do you typically have a lot of different groupings? I'm making about 20-30 items with smithing all of which have different sell points and thresholds. So I would need a group for each item right? Think it's worth setting up QA for this case where you have as many groups as items and high listing costs?

    Thanks for all your info

  5. Have you ever tried the addon called AuctionLite? It's ikkje my opinion way superior to Auctioneer with respect to sorting. For example: You want to list all weapon enchants you all epic, red gem cut, so you do a search for "Scroll of Enchant Weapon/Cardinal Ruby". Then the addon will make a list of every item with info such as total auctions, lowest bid/buyout. Then you can click the item you want you inspect further and see all the auctions you that item. There are a lot more features I've not seen in Auctioneer yet.