Thursday, May 13, 2010

srs bsns

I will never claim to be "skilled" at playing the AH game, only observant and rational.

The AH is serious business! But just how serious? Just how "difficult" is it? To answer that you need to specify what you mean by difficult. What exactly makes a raid encounter hard? Move here, hit X-Y-Z, GTFO of fire, heal something. At the most basic level that's all that raiding is yet so many people are so terrible at it. The same can be said about the AH. The AH game boils down to nothing more than buy materials, craft stuff, sell it for more than you paid. And again, so many people can't seem to fathom this incredibly basic concept. If you've ever played the game Monopoly or any game like it... you'll get the idea here. You can even say the same thing about pvp, sheep the healer, kill a dps, profit.

I once again ask the question: why is this so difficult for some and easy mode for others? The answer can also be brought down to a very base level, it's just a personality type. Those who have a drive and desire to succeed generally will. Those with patience will be rewarded for it. The AH game takes no more skill than any other aspect of WoW, it's just not like your typical MMO experience or "go kill stuff."

The main things that it takes to do well on the AH is to mimic these traits. You MUST be patient, that's the most important one. If you're the kind of person that needs immediate gratification you're going to suck and fail at any kind of strategic AH playing. Remember, you can't auction off a titanium razor plate and wear it too.

The other thing you have to always have in mind is that you need to be motivated. Any reason will do as long as it's legit and you're not just pretending that's you're reason for reaching for the cap. Some want the challenge, others want to prove it to themselves that they are capable. Some, such as myself, have expensive wants like rare mounts expensive pets or some bad ass looking sun glasses. Regardless of the reason, it has to be meaningful or you'll quickly lose interest and you won't hit the cap.

Going back to the question of difficulty, just what about the AH game is hard? If you mean "takes a lot of time" instead of difficult then you're wrong. It takes 90 minutes a day and dedication to do that every day. Of course you can do more or less and every other day instead. But that only effects "how soon" and not "if ever." What it really takes is observation and the willingness to pay attention and -gasp- think! It may be a foreign concept to many, but being here and reading this blog is a step in the right direction: curiosity. The desire to know more is the best motivators to excel at the AH because it's almost like a puzzle where the pieces are constantly shuffled and changed.

Is an intimate understanding of market share, supply/demand, secondary and sub markets and general economic theory a must? Sure doesn't seem that way as I have none of those at all. What I do have though is basic logic and reasoning. If belt buckles need sarontie to be made and the price of saronite goes up, so shall the price of buckles. I know that eventually for some reason the price of saronite will go up (and therefore buckles) if I buy the saronite cheaply I can sell for a greater profit later on. Problem is, most people only buy what they need when they need it and don't plan ahead.

Planning ahead is part of another thing that takes"skill" for the AH game: organization. This I will agree is a skill. It's nto easy to keep track of 9001 different materials, 4 crafting characters 50 bankers, 90 trade skills and so forth. If you're a generally messy person or just a pack rat, the AH game might not be for you. But on the flip side it is a great way to learn to sort out your thoughts and become more organized and remove a ton of clutter hanging around IRL (bother literally and figuratively).

So being able to keep things sorted is a skill to some extent, but thinking ahead is not. Planning for the future is just sense. If you know that X will happen later and you could do Y to either make it better or not as bad you should probably get on that. Those who don't will lose a massive amounts of opportunities both in the AH game and in life, but that all goes back once again to immediate gratification. It's a bad habit to get into.

So in a nutshell, there is no real "skill" to the AH game at all. I myself have amassed an ass ton of gold but I'll never say that it was hard, only that it took a while. It's very common to mistake skill with abstract thinking. Some people are just able to naturally think outside of the box at all times and in all situations. Others just need those abstract concepts pointed out to them and they can just run with it and make it their own. And lastly others can simply be told to just go do something and they just go do it.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Absolutely brilliant post. I agree on all points you make. People always think stuff is difficult just because it involves big numbers, or a little coordination skill. And it's a shame because many of these people aren't stupid at all, in fact they might be really talented but are just afraid to try new things.

    You can draw real life parallells from this too. :) Studying at a university, for example, is not that difficult. Sure, you need to learn a lot, but in the end you can learn most if not everything purely by hard work and repetition.

    I went way off topic, but anyway. Good post. :)

  2. Great post! The majority of the wow population, I know gross generalization, doesn't have the patience to buy low and sell high. As soon as they have gold they blow it.

    I make some really great deals in trade channel because players need gold so bad. Everyday I buy very cheap primordial saronite, just for example, because some player just got 23 emblems of frost and picked one up. They needed money so bad they sell it to me for 150g less than the AH. I flip it once prices go back up and make 200 to 400g.

    Everything takes time and hard work. Too many players don't put the effort into making gold so they are stuck in this vicious cycle of selling what ever they can get their hands on, primordials, BoE epics, hilts, etc. They see other players with all the mounts and vanity items and wonder what's their secret. How do they have all this gold. They really believe there is a get rich scheme in WoW and they aren't a part of the crowd that knows the secret. So in the end they become jealous. I've seen it before in past guilds, they even make comments about others wealth. I can only assume that they may possibly be the same way in the real world.

  3. Excellent post. Teach a man to fish and he'll fish for a lifetime. Teach a person how to push buttons in the AH and make massive gold, and he'll be your nemesis forever, or until they get bored.

    It's true, I did share the glyph secret about a year ago with people in a guild that wasn't that spectacular. Only one person took me up on it but they made 30k and quit. But the top end guild I joined a month later had almost everyone go for it.

    I believe there is a combination of forces here, but ultimately the person has to receive some continued utility from achieving things and acquiring wealth in a competitive game (economics principle). If it is not important to them, they will not succeed.

  4. And further, I've played the AH game since installing that first day in 2006. I'm the only person I know that has developed their own private working spreadsheet (4 years development, make your own!) for monitoring pricing, costs, profits, raw materials, ROI, arbitrage, and even a moving 30 day average of income. I'm a financial broker in real life, so go figure.

    I play the AH from a high minded point of view and have the business education, background, and experience. In my opinion, the AH is a joke to succeed at and requires no special training. I go in and out of the market all the time, but am working towards 7 figure, ever since I told Warcraftecon to put a million gold challenge up several months ago (and he replied back that it had already been done). So off I go again.

    Damn this game and it's constant challenges.

  5. @ Jay
    That's pretty much it, a little bit of extra effort can take you a very long way. All the way up to a million. Some people just don't want to spend the extra 15 minutes at the AH and instead would rather spend an extra hour+ doing daily quests.

    @ Darren
    I have my own excel spreadsheet that I ninja'd from the JMTC forums. It basically calculates your thresholds and such for you after typing a number into the column. I linked it on one of my entries a while ago. I suppose I should go dig it up or find a way to let people download it from my blog. Hmmm.

  6. LoL, I saw that spreadsheet once, borrowed some of it, but I like my own. I have to manually enter the numbers and such, but that also keeps me in touch with the market further IMO. I guess when it's your own brainchild it makes the most sense to you and works best. I still have my Vanilla WoW Disenchanting calculator in there... back when the White Bandit Mask recipe was the holy grail of stupid easy wealth. Today it carries a -34% ROI. =(

    Fun On-T story - I told a friend about it once. He asked if it automatically downloaded the info out of the AH. "No." ... "Then I have no use for it." "Well I wasn't offering it." That was the last time I bothered to talk to anyone about it... three years ago.

  7. What a great post! It makes complete sense, too. So many people get bogged down with the specifics of things like getting the best gear, amassing more gold than people around you, getting the higher gearscore, etc.; players forget that you can actually learn a lot through this game. You don't need to camp the AH all day long to make gold, you don't need to raid 12 hours a day to progress, and you don't need a law degree to make a good argument.

    My real life hasn't been too exciting or interesting the past year, and so I've spent more time in WoW than I ever have before. I used to be an extremely organized individual, but sometime around the end of high school and the beginning of college, order descended into chaos. I got lazy and I got sloppy. I'm not really sure why or how, but it happened. Lately, however, I have found that with WoW, I've been trying to find my way back there. I've been keeping a closer eye on my spending and my selling, making clearer short-term and long-term goals, and not being afraid to ask for or give advice about what I know (or don't know). I've been trying to find ways to apply this to my real life as well. The auction house in particular has been a great way to practice these things. Patience, logic, overcoming frustration, taking advantage of certain opportunities, learning from mistakes, saving, preparing for the future...all of these things are pretty valuable things you can learn, and from a game!

    Many people don't use the auction house except for some casual selling every once in a while, but it could be so much more when you start looking into it more!

  8. @ Darren
    That sounds like a very interesting spreadsheet, though I wouldn't know where to begin setting one up of that caliber. Mine just covers things to craft in each profession, where I set up the mats for each, along with the cost of the mats. With that, it calculates what "should" be the minimum selling point for each item. Many of the items change values from time to time, so periodically I have to change QA's values too.