Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Method

Quick tip before things get underway. A new update in the patch notes says that trade goods will be purchasable with justice points. Expect a a short flux and drop in their prices as people cash in. Aside from that start saving up yours in case there's some decent conversion rates. So don't DE or vendor off hand items for the time being.

It's been a good amount of time since I got back into the AH game so it's high time I wrote about what I call "the method." This is my daily process starting from when I log in until I'm done with the AH for the day for running my AH business like a well oiled machine. No special market tips or high price items will be mentioned, just the most efficient process that I've come up with that works for me. Everybody needs to have a routine to be efficient at what they do, human beings are creatures of habit after all. When reading this try to find ways that you can improve your own routine or merely set one up if you haven't already.

Firstly, you'll notice that I cancel my auctions often in this process and do multiple cancel/post cycles for the same banker. This is because like many other AH barons, I have a personal fleet of dedicated campers. If they're not camping me personally they're just camping that particular market. I do a lot of cancels to throw them off and think that I'm not going to post more just yet or at all that day. Yes this is a simple and far from fool proof tactic, but the campers typically aren't too bright and fall for it -very- often. I use this method because it's the most balance I can get between time efficiency and "hands on" time and does the most to get rid of campers and serious competitors.

As such I've made it a part of my daily routine and it has served me well for quite a while. The extra bonus of this is that it helps to drive prices down much faster without having to camp which scares off a lot of potential competitors and pisses off the campers a ton. Once prices go down to a certain point (or they're just frustrated enough) it's no longer worth the time for the campers to hang around your market all day every day and allows you to raise prices to whatever you see fit.

Now on with The Method.

First I log into my primary banker Stokpile and collect the mail. I talk to the auctioneer and do a cancel/post cycle and log out of him. Now I haven't crafted anything yet or will for a bit in case there's any campers about or people just about to post a large amount of auctions in my markets. This gives them time to undercut me and go about their other business while I continue with my routine.

After that if I notice that I've sold any vendor pets I'll port over to Dalaran on a different toon and buy another set of them to mail over to Stokpile. Otherwise I continue on and log into my other bankers and do the same thing of collect the mail and cancel/post.

When I get onto my enchanter I que them up for the daily random heroic and instead of instantly collecting the mail with a get all, I look for what's sold so far. When I see a sold enchanted scroll I craft one of those before I collect the mail. This is how I keep track of what scrolls I need to make because I can't see how many I have in my trade skill window tool tips. Once I've crafted a replacement scroll for all of the ones that have sold I collect all of her mail and go to the auctioneer for another cancel/post. While I'm waiting in line for a random dungeon, I'll start buying materials that I know I need. I total up how much I've spent and send a mail over to my buying toon of how much I've spent so far. After the dungeon is done I'll go to the justice vendor and spend whatever JP I have if I can afford anything.

After that I log onto my JC/LW toon.

First I open the mail and see how much I "owe" my enchanter and mail that much gold to them. I keep a set amount of gold to buy so I can keep track of just how much I spend on a weekly basis which will tip me off if I'm doing something wrong. I do my JC daily if I haven't already and open up my JC skill menu. I look at the tool tips of all the worthwhile gem cuts I have and see if I need to make more. I always keep a set of 4 gems on Stokpile, 2 in the bags and 2 on the AH. After going through them I cut whatever gems I need and then do the same thing with LW leg armors and profession bags. I mail them in addition to any surplus of heavy leather to Stokpile and head to the auctioneer.

Then I do my daily scan of the AH to buy whatever materials I happen to need. This is the longest part of the process as there's just so much that I need to buy every day. From old world enchanting mats to cata level gems I need it all in bulk. So long as it's at or under my buying price I'll take every last scrap that I can get my mits on.

After I'm done buying I collect it all from the mailbox and start to divvy up the stokpiles. If I managed to snatch up any carnelian gems I'll go ahead and craft the JC fist weapons until I've used them all up and mail those to my enchanter. Things that I don't need a lot of every day like elementium bars or borean leather I throw into the guild bank in their respective tabs. I have one for enchanting, smithing, tailoring, inks, and miscellaneous junk. Whatever doesn't go into the bank I then mail off to the appropriate crafting toon.

After that I get to the crafting. I log onto the JC/LW last (as they're the primary crafter) so that the altoHolic database updates with what my other toons have in their bags and on the AH. I go through each of the profitable gems I cut in my skill window and mouse over the icon to get the tool tip. I then craft enough of that item so that I own 4 total of each cut, 2 for the AH and 2 to keep on hand. I found that having only 2 up is a good balance so that I don't lose a lot over AH deposits when something is undercut or goes unsold and enough so that if there's a buyer that needs a few of them I get more than a single sale. For things that sell in groups like bags for instance, I'll list upwards of 4 at a time.

Then I do the same with my LW goods but I keep a set of 8 profession bags instead of the normal 4.

I log off of them and onto my tailor. I pull any extra netherweave bags out of the guild bank I need and craft replacement spellthreads. I do the final cancel/post cycle on them. If I happen to be out of netherweave bags I'll ignore this for now as they take so long to craft. Once I log off for the day or will be afk for a while is when I'll start to mass craft bolts of netherweave and the bags.

After the tailor comes Stokpile who handles the gem and LW business. I log onto them and cancel anything that was undercut already which is usually about 10 gems so far. I collect the mail and relist my wares at another undercut which at this point had driven the price of gems that I'm selling by 10g plus what my competitors undercut me by.

Once he is finished I hop back onto my enchanter/smith and do another cancel session before collecting the mail. After the mail box is empty I will disenchant any greens that I've mailed over to her. Then I go to the guild bank and look in the smithing tab to see if I need any more enchanting rods. If necessary I'll take out the required materials to craft another set of 10 belt buckles if I sold a bunch that previous night.

After all of that I go back to the auctioneer and do a final cancel of undercut enchanting scrolls, collect the mail, and post all of their wares. When crafting scrolls, I have a different "stack size" for each scroll which I base on numerous things. For rare enchants like 30sp or mighty int, I'll only list 1 at a time to keep up with the "it's rare therefore expensive" mentality. For other things like mighty stats or hurricane, I'll list 2-4 at once. For enchanting rods I only post 2 of each, mostly due to bag space, and list 4 buckles at once as they tend to sell often.

Finally if this happens to be Monday night or Tuesday morning, I'll go through all of my banker toons and deposit all of their gold except for 5k into the guild bank. This helps me keep track of what markets are doing well and what ones need to be looked over again. After that I withdraw enough gold to have 100k on my buying toon and make a note of how much I've spent stokpiling that week.

And that as they say is that. My ideal times to do this are at 11am and 11pm server time so that makes my AH cycle happen twice a day. That's because those are the general times that people are out questing, farming, doing chain instance runs and when raids typically start to let out. But since I don't live on the game (contrary to popular belief on Ysera) I don't always hit those times try as I might. With my work schedule being what it is and the fact that I sleep every other day it seems I'm generally missing the prime time AH sales. Once all of that is done I hop onto whatever toon I want to play and go about my business of giving wow the business. The whole process takes maybe an hour give or take per cycle.

I hope you learned something and have a bit more insight as to what an accomplished wow millionaire does when they first log on. If I only did the cancel, craft, post cycles it would be more like 20-30 minutes at most. But it's the buying and sorting of materials that takes up the bulk of my time which I don't mind that much at all. It's always fun to say...

"Look at this stuff! Isn't it neat? Wouldn't you say my collection's complete? I've got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty. I've got whozits and whatzits galore. You want thingamabobs? I've got twenty!"

Ok that's enough of the little mermaid for today.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I've always loved reading your blog, and today is no exception! I think I may change my own process up a bit after reading this so I can track my sales better. Right now I'm rather unorganized since I just buy and sell everything on my banker. And while I AM making decent gold, your method definitely sounds like it helps you find where you're having issues.

    Thanks for the great post! =D

    PS Part of Your World is going to be stuck in my head all day now.

  2. I think they may have created the gold making addon to destroy all others:

    I'd been using Auction Profit Master instead of ZeroAuctions the last few days, as it had some nice synergy with ScrollMaster, the solution to tracking inventory for Enchanting scrolls. So today I logged in to a message from both APM and SM, saying they've officially been discontinued, which freaked me out when I first read it. But apparently, TradeSkillMaster is their new project.

    Just from reading the description on Curse, this addon could be THE addon to rule them all (and in the darkness bind them). It combines crafting, posting, purchasing, mailing, altoholic-ing, database pricing, and later on, networking (for setting up a supply network) and destroying (semi-automatic milling, disenchanting, and prospecting).

    This could be the ultimate! :D

  3. Wow your very organized with how you post and buy auctions and how you keep track of your sales. I just sale and buy everything from one toon, all my gems, scrolls, glyphs, belt buckles, ect. Your post has made me want to organize all my crap out and actually see what sells well. I just restock stuff when I run out. (Oh I gotta add it's impossible to keep stock of red gems and belt buckles. I made 10 of each red gem like 2 days in a row and ran out half way during the day both times, and I go though stacks of buckles every couple of days.)

  4. I have about the same method but with fewer toons. I just installed the addon mentioned by Karot above and really like the way it automates filling my crafting queue. However one thing it doesn't do is show me the % of market value of mats when I search the AH like auctioneer does (I have no idea if it will do that in the future).

    This got me thinking about mat prices though. I originally created a spreadsheet of costs of items compared to the sale prices of items to determine what to craft and sell. However, since that time I've relied on auctioneer to show me discounted mats to buy, i.e. I never buy any mats that auctioneer says are higher than 95% of normal.

    However, when I come to sites like this I often see a fixed gold amount for a mat. I'm wondering if you keep all the amounts in your head (or a spreadsheet or whatever) and would know what to buy even without addons, i.e. you always buy saronite ore < 12g50s. I wonder if I knew the actual amounts would it help me understand the movement of prices as auctioneer will eventually trend up or down the prices and I might not notice. This could lead me to selling at a loss without knowing.

    I'd appreciate any info you might want to share on how you watch prices, if you think it's good to know the price rather than relying on an addon, etc.

    Thanks for sharing everything you do.

  5. @nalenb:
    I think it's far easier to use a spreadsheet and/or addon to keep track of prices for all your regular purchases. Especially the spreadsheet, as you can see how the cost to craft changes depending on your buying thresholds, so then you can adjust your addons accordingly. I usually prefer to work out prices of buying and selling on the spreadsheet first, and then comparing that to how much stock I already have, then adjusting numbers accordingly. Keeping all the prices in your head makes it a lot more complicated if you want to adjust your purchasing thresholds during market crashes and such.

    Often if I become way overstocked on certain mats I'll drop my buying threshold further so that I don't end up with more than I can reasonably use. For instance, I've ended up with 10+ stacks of Essence of Fire just because they were flooding the AH for a while. This stock can still keep me going for quite some time, even though the current AH price has risen again, and I can continue posting with the lower buying threshold I had set.

    I'm not even sure where I was going with this anymore, so I should probably just go to bed...I'm so tired....