Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What every scribe asks

Another late-ish entry today. I spent most of the night out of town at a once in a lifetime show to see the Norwegian black metal band Immortal play. I doubt there'll be another chance to see them play in the US again and it was beyond amazing! Here's a link to one of their best songs.

This is part one of my series on dealing with serious campers and competition in glyphs. Today I'll be going over what you need to learn about your competition before you can learn how to appropriately deal with them and what to do in a best case scenario.

When it comes to glyphs, I always get asked the same thing. There's somebody on my server that's on all day everyday and undercuts me a fraction of a second after I post, what do I do? Well today I'm going to give all of the advice that I can from tactics to homework that you need to do on your own.

I'm going to preface all of this with a note on potential for botting. If you know for sure that either they are a bot, have one, or have a business arrangement with one, you need to report them and pack up shop. There is no way that you'll be able to realistically compete with one. But don't assume that just because they're on a ton that they are botting. Please don't report somebody for it unless you're 90% sure. For the purposes of this entry we'll assume that they are not a bot nor are they associated with one.

First we'll start with the things you need to find out first before any advice I give will do a bit of good. Consider this the interview portion.

1. Are they really on all day every day?
First there's no way that somebody can be on and active all day every day unless they're a bot. They can be "signed on" all day rather easily but they might not be at their desk or actually playing. You can find this out by adding them to your friends list and finding out where they bank from. Go there and watch for a moment now and then and you'll know for sure if they're really on and active every moment. Note that there's a huge difference between online a lot and online ALWAYS.

2. What is their threshold?
You need to know how low they're willing to post glyphs at. If they'll go down to 1 copper you'll need to do one thing, if they only go down to 30g you'll have to do something different.

3. How much do they undercut by?
Is it by a percent or a set amount? Take a note of how much of which it is.

4. Do they have a schedule?
Do they cancel post every few moments or only at certain times of day?

5. Are they camping the AH or are they only camping you?
You can figure this out easily by posting a ton of glyphs on a toon that isn't associated with you. Post from your main that isn't in your banking guild or roll another alt to post from. Also make sure that you post on your "unknown" name and your normal glyph banker at the same time to really know for sure. If they're only camping you then the solution is easy. Make a second glyphs banker and only list 1 of each glyph on the name they're camping and the rest post 20 minutes later on your new alt.

6. How much of each glyph do they typically list?
You want to know this so that you can get a good idea of what kind of stokpile that they have. If they list like 8 of every glyph you'll know that they have a ton. But if they only list 3 they're rather limited in materials. If they post varying amounts that means that they only get their mats from the AH at a certain price and don't have a personal supplier.

7. Do they buy out your glyphs when prices go down?
If they do, that shows a good degree of intelligence and they won't be an easy nut to crack. If they're just a cancel/post monkey (which most of them are) they should be fairly easy to run off comparatively speaking.

8. After you have that answered you need to take a good look at the supply of herbs/inks on the AH. Are there consistent old world farmers? Is there a steady flow of one type of herb but not much of another? Is there a good supply of everything? Or is the supply on all of the herbs low?

Ok now that you have them all figured out you need to decide a course of action. Since there's such a large amount of different factors at play here and each combination of them will point to a different method I won't be able to cover all of them. I'll go over the most common ones and add in a note of two when I can to reference other possibilities. In other words, if one situation's course of action is almost the same as another I'll say so and give the highlights on what the differences are.

Before I go on, here's a tip that is important to note regardless of the situation you're in. Change up the amount of glyphs that you list every day. If you normally list 5 of each, list 3 tomorrow and 4 the day after and then go back to listing 5 at a time. This is to give them the impression that you're still selling a ton of glyphs. It doesn't always work, but it's just one more thing you can do to show that you're not going anywhere.

First I'll go over the ideal situation. The supply is only first come first serve from the AH, they have a schedule, and they don't buy your glyphs when prices fall. For this scenario we'll assume the following about your competitor:

- Their threshold is 30g
- They undercut by 5g
- They always post at 12pm server

In this case, I'll recommend waiting until 15 minutes till noon when they're not online and list 2-3 of all your glyphs at 35g then log off. Log back on at about half past noon after they've undercut you and have gone about their business. They have now undercut you down to their threshold of 30g. Cancel all of your glyphs, buy out all of their, and then relist them for much higher for a profit. With supply being as unpredictable as it is, you'll be sucking up their stokpile of glyphs and inks and barely giving them any profit what so ever while you're increasing your stokpile and selling much higher due to them not being able to list as many glyphs. After a few cycles of this you can easily wipe out their entire stock thus removing them from the market entirely.

Bear in mind that this is in a best case scenario. One thing that will throw a major kink into this is if they don't have a schedule and are just online and active a ton. If this is the case you'll have to either use your best judgment for when do pull this little switch-a-roo or simply camp with them for an hour until they get wise to what you're doing. The other big issue that can hurt you is the supply. In this situation, we're assuming that their ink supply is as limited as yours.

If your server has a fairly consistent flow of mixed level herbs this won't work as well. Granted it will still be effective, but you will have to double your efforts to buy out all of the herbs. The first way that you can do this is the obvious one, contact the sellers directly and try to work out a CoD arrangement for the two of you. The other possible method, which is far from common practice, that you can try to do this is to sort of "hire" people to buy herbs from the AH for you.

Just about anybody who is online fairly often and could use some easy money will work for this. What you do is talk to Mr. lolarthasdkleetbloodgoddarnkesspwn and tell them that if they buy any herbs they see for X gold each you will buy those herbs from them at X + Y gold. That way you can have a larger section of the clock covered for controlling the herb supply.

Note that if they're a thinking goblin and they buy up your cheap glyphs in a market where supply is very limited, this method will not work. This will also not work if supply for most herbs is steady and consistent.

However there is still yet another turn that you can take with this method. It will require a bit more homework on your end, but could end up being well worth it. You'll have to look up what glyphs require what inks first. Then instead of listing all of your glyphs just above their threshold for all of them, do this for only one glyph group. The mentality here is that not all herbs are going to be in a good supply and instead of trying to take on the entire beast, you focus your attack on one of it's many heads instead. This way you'll be taking apart their business piece by piece which will require less hands on time for you and lower the risk you'll be taking by supplying them with cheap glyphs instead of the other way around.

Check in tomorrow to see more methods on different situations.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Perfect timing - I'm having fun with one particular guy on my server at the moment - he seems to be in almost every market I try. I look forward to the next post but meanwhile, I'll takes notes today :)

    thank you :)

  2. hey just wondering, what % of glyphs that you list, actually sell?

  3. Just caught up with your last two posts. The undercutters have been out in force post 4.0.6, and two of the new meta market have also crashed on my server. Like your strategy, I have also branched out to vendor pets and tailoring items; neither are huge sellers, but I do move some each day. Diversification alone is keeping the gold flow positive.

    I was in the plate PVP BOE and belt buckle market for a while until my crafter decided to take a short break from the game. Looking forward to hear how that works out on your server.

  4. Since the big 4.0.6 whiptail f*$# up Glyph market suffered a crash, on my server (a big one) all glyphs returned to 15-30g/each because some guys thought will make profits this way ... I'm still posting rare glyphs but not worth the time anymore. I'm waiting to see what 4.1 will bring.

  5. I have another, slightly more aggressive, way to monitor competition. If I see a someone undercutting me often I have a macro I use to "annoy" them (it is a full block of {x} symbols) till they put me on ignore. Then I can see them and they can't see me. This will not net you any sales but it will make your presence undetectable by your competition (at least your online status).

  6. @ Anon
    That's something I couldn't even begin to guess. I take the blanket approach and craft a few of every single glyph in game and do my normal undercut by 10g and post at no more than 150. Can't help you on that one sorry.

    @ Der
    They won't be huge sellers but they sell and since not many work in them it's easy money, keep up with it! So far the pvp boe shoulders are going great, so I'm going to buy another pattern tonight and see what's what with the rest.

    @ Rawer
    Sorry to hear that, blizz has said that they're still looking at spawn times so it may happen again or be revearsed. You'll have to paly this one by ear as they've taken a liking to hot fixing a lot of stuff. Not a good spot to be in for sure.

    @ Crusard
    Now that my friend... is pure genius! Sometimes they could just delete and make a new banker, but that's a huge hassle for a lot of people and you can just do it again. Really though that's just great and I'm totally going to quote you on that.

    +3 internets for you