Today's post is dedicated primarily to Kamalia, who posed a couple interesting questions about how I do the things I do. Primarily, regarding operating on multiple realms and managing how that is accomplished. The original questions and comments can be found under Mogging Mondays 11. Grab a drink, sit down in a comfy chair, and settle in for a long post.
But first, a quick update on the primary tool of the trade: The Undermine Journal. Goblins make the best products, though they do go boom, occasionally... :p
Undermine Journal Update
Market Notification subscriptions are available. Thanks for your patience during the outage.
Since time is money, we won't go into all the details of what happened here. If you're curious, stop by the development blog.
How to Mog All the Things: For Fun and Profit
Thanks again going out to Kamalia for motivating me to post this tutorial, guide, or Q&A. Whatever you would call this. Oh, before I forget, the realms named here are US servers. Everything still applies to all servers, in all regions. :p
Simply Glorious: It All Started over a Plate Bikini
The item is exceptionally rare, and I had been killing mobs in Silithus for weeks in an attempt to get them. I had even been spamming trade chat for weeks to buy a pair, offering a hefty sum to anyone who could find them, to no avail. They were quite elusive.
The legplates had appeared on Stormrage Horde for less than my 100 gold threshold, 24 gold in fact, so I rolled a troll to fly up from Sen'jin Village up to Orgrimmar. And this is where I did something I had never done before in trade chat: Begged for gold. I'm not proud having done that, as it's a mark of shame that is hard to wash off. I figured it wasn't my home, so I'd just be another annoying voice in the crowd.
As it turns out, their Horde population was actually very low. So my begging went on for quite some time, "Please, just 25 gold for a troll, down on his luck." I was willing to suffer the indignity to get these. Then it happened, someone actually gave me the 25 gold. I ran to the auction house, heart racing, to snag them before they vanished forever. And they were mine! So, what to do with this extra gold piece I had in my hand...
I browsed the auction house for my usual suspects: Vanguard, Lofty, Glorious, etc. I came to the quick realization that the market was quite dead. I had found something for a few silver worth trading in the form of a pair of Bandit Boots, which are thigh-high black boots with buckles. A very popular transmogrification item, and at a very cheap price. I posted them at 99 gold. They sold, and I was in business. Several items later, I was sitting on nearly 1000 gold.
Curiosity got the best of me, and I rolled a little priest on Stormrage Alliance. I wanted to see what the market looked like. The market was explosive. There were more items in just plate armor (levels 40-60) than the mobile armory could display. I set out to Stormwind, with a single silver in hand. After a little Neutral Auction House transfer, I had 200 gold to start trading.
Stormrage had treated me very well, and I even met Honeypants (a.k.a. Mogoholic) through the virtually unobtainable item, Chan's Imperial Robes:
With that being said, let me tell you about how I got them! My good buddy Arithan (see his section under Local Mogs), whispers me one day and says he found them on another server for dirt cheap (74 gold, can you believe that?!). I instantly rave about them, and said I'd gladly trade all of my gold, gear and questionable pictures for them. We had a nice giggle, and went on about our day. The very next day I log on, and he says he has an offer that I cannot refuse. I instantly said I was kidding about pictures, we laughed again, and he proceeded to explain. He said while he was excited about the robes, he wasn't looking forward to setting up shop on another server and sell/buy stuff and eventually transfer the robes off. He said he thought I deserved to have them (I think he liked my website!), and that the deal was, if I logged on to the server he bought them on I could have them. He wasn't interested in gold, or gear or anything. He said "I would rather see the robes in the Louvre than on a hooker" (lol!). After my initial shock and awe, I took him up on the offer, and vowed to whisper him <3's every day! I made a toon, leveled for what seemed like an eternity to 10, and transferred to Ner'zhul.
-from Mogoholic on Aynslie's Page
Someone Set Us Up the Bomb: Realm Setup
I am completely kidding, though that was probably the number of items I memorized since the early days of transmogrification. Getting set up on a new realm these days is ridiculously simple. Gone are the days of begging for scraps when I set up on a realm. Now it can be done with a single, simple, portable item: the Pet Cage.
Since battle pets have gone account wide, you can move a pet of any value between realms. This gives you a way to effectively move any amount of resources you can muster. Be it 10 gold for a Wolpertinger, or 150,000 gold for a Viscous Horror. The amount you want to have available on your new market is whatever you choose at this point.
Choosing a realm to set up on can be a little bit trickier, but I suggest hitting up Realm Pop and The Undermine Journal, both of which are the creations of Erorus. From there, you can determine if there is something you want to trade in, the faction balance, and if there is anything you can take home from there.
I have focused on transmogrification, since it is what I know. It is a very subjective art, but can be quite rewarding with some practice. My advice is this: If you would transmogrify into it, someone else will, too. My focus has always been items from level 1-60, since most of the bikini armor resides in that range. Those items sell the best, and they are very likely overlooked by a player just emptying their bags from a long day of adventuring.
If you have just a few gold to spend, e.g. from a small pet or begging in the streets, focus on low level leather and mail items. Example set items to watch for are Glimmering Mail (Bloodknight Mail Recolor), Battleforge Mail (Bloodknight Mail), Bandit Leather, and Bard's Leather (Bandit Garb Recolor) are good places to start. If you have a little more gold, watch for the bikini plate sets: Glorious, Lofty (Glorious Recolor), Vanguard (Glorious Recolor), Jade, Tyrant's (Jade Plate Recolor), and Saltstone (Jade Plate Recolor). Be sure to check The Undermine Journal for their market price, which translates across realms readily. Keep in mind that you will require 1 silver piece per listing for pets, so you might have to do the first few quests for a few silver. Otherwise, you can sell the pets in trade chat.
Once you've established yourself with a few interesting pieces in your inventory, it's time to have some fun. Often times I enjoy the hunt more than the sale. Browsing each category of armor for rare or interesting pieces is rewarding, especially considering that you've likely saved that piece from being part of someone's enchanting leveling. Bad things happen to good armor when left unattended.
Speaking of which, I actually saw someone disenchant a Glorious Breastplate in a dungeon group, so I probably couldn't count the number of items that vanish from existence in that fashion. I will hop on my soapbox for just a moment to say that the transmogrification market is not altruistic, but without it most of the pieces would not be readily available for players looking that special item. These days, I get more thank you letters than hate mail, thankfully. :p
Money Needs to Circulate: Managing the Mogging Empire
So here's something I've been wondering about -- just how do you manage this multi-cross-realm Transmog business thing? -Kamalia
Once I determine each of these variables, it is just a matter of keeping everything moving. Sure, I have my money bin, but most of my wealth is moving around in new items and realms... That, and my eight guild banks full of items I've found and purchased... Ner'zhul is the only place I keep such an overflowing inventory, most of which is quite common, but it allows me to keep the widest variety of items available on the server.
To acquire items, I rely primarily on the auction house itself. Specifically, I prefer the Mobile Armory, since I can log in and out on a whim. And since it is now free for all World of Warcraft subscribers, all that is required is a smart device of some sort. The visual browsing allowed me to see the name and icon of the items, which helps with a quick scan of the category being browsed. Other in game tools are great, too, such as Auctionator and TradeSkillMaster, both of which have great shopping list options.
Shopping can require only a few silver for a piece here and there, or can jump up to tens of thousands of gold. This is where the subjective nature of the business comes to light, since there are usually dozens, if not hundreds, of lower level armor pieces available on a lively market. You would likely go broke trying to buy up every single piece that is under priced and re-listing it. The concept of flipping an item, when you buy an item and sell it for more than you paid, works very well. Just don't go overboard and lose your investment before it has matured.
I have tried to completely control a market during my experimental phase, and it just creates a mess of items that carry little overall aesthetic quality, and generally makes people angry to see their entire auction house run by a single player. Players do actually wear these items while leveling, so some balance is needed to keep the peace.
When purchasing your first items, watch out for bloated items. These are items that usually have a decent value, but there may be half a dozen or more of the exact same model and color available. Usually this means the supply outstrips the demand, meaning that item is very unlikely to sell for very much, if it ever sells at all. Again, monitoring the auction house for trends helps a great deal. I have had a number of hot items that have fizzled recently, mostly due to too many of them being available. Start off small, watch the auction house pricing, then act accordingly.
My first experience at starting fresh on Stormrage Horde started off very slowly, but it is exponential in growth: An 1 gold item sells for 100 times what I paid for it, then the next item I paid 10 gold for sells for 1000 gold, and so on. Eventually, I was sitting on over 600 items on what was presumably dead economy, and with over 40,000 gold sitting in my bank. It started off with buying and selling exclusively on the Mobile Armory, but it quickly came to the point that TradeSkillMaster was required to keep it up on the auction house.
Conversely, on Stormrage Alliance, I had an inventory of less than 30 items, but had over 120,000 gold and that was after having spent quite a bit on a couple mounts from the trading card game. So, this begged the question: What was I doing wrong on the Horde auction house? The answer was simple: Audience and timing.
Stormrage had an approximate 12:1, Alliance to Horde, ratio. The amount of players on Horde side were simply not buying that much, no matter what the price was. I reduced my prices to 1/10th of their normal going rate, with virtually no change in sales. So the items had stagnated, with left me just keeping them up to avoid deletion in the mailbox.
Stormrage Alliance had been very successful, not just because there was a much broader audience. The main reason that I found was the timing behind my listing. With a small inventory, I was able to list small batches of items, perhaps 10 at a time. This made my items the cheapest available more often. And players, like myself, will usually buy the cheapest one, given the option. I generally was undercutting by 5-10%, depending on the item, so the slightly larger gap would entice a buyer much better than undercutting by single copper.
After that experience, I have tried both high and low volumes across many realms. High volumes take a lot of time to list, so they are posted less often, but give a wide girth of options for players. Low volumes can be posted very often, so they are more likely to be competitive with other sellers of the same items. Both options give you relatively the same profits over time, so it really depends on the time you have and how you want to spend it.
After setting up on a new realm, staying competitive becomes a matter of available time and resources. There are a few paths that I take, depending on the realm. The first is listing in bulk. The second is Mobile Listing. Lastly, there are direct sales.
Listing in bulk simply refers to placing one of each item I have available on the auction house using TradeSkillMaster (TSM). While there are other tools that you can use to post, TSM is the most readily accessible. I usually do this for realms that have more than 20 items in stock, and definitely when a realm has more than 50 items on it.
Elvine has a great video tutorial on setting up groups for transmogrification using TSM, though the interface concept has changed since TSM 2 was released. The changes are mostly in the group relationships, so visit Matheus' Movies to learn how to set it up. Hopefully you find the videos useful:
If you prefer more of a casual, and perhaps slightly more exciting route, look no further than the Mobile Armory. Browsing armor and weapons is smooth. It allows you to filter the quality of the items, as well as their level requirements. Personally, I focus on armor level 1 thru 60 and rare weapons of all levels. Uncommon weapons have some interesting models, but the iconic looks people like are generally the rare and epic weapons.
I would say that of all the realms that I haunt, about half of them are high stocked realms, so I run TSM and Auctionator to wade through the lot. The other half of my realms I run just from the Mobile Armory. I would say that the less time you have to play in game, the more you can do remotely. If you are online a lot, build up a good inventory on your realms.
What do you do when someone on realm A wants an item that you have in inventory on realm J? -Kamalia
Occasionally, I will receive a letter or whisper about a certain item. On Ner'zhul, or the realms that I have high inventory, I'm on regularly and see the offer. If it is reasonable, or they want to negotiate, I'll add them to my real ID and talk with them. Usually we come to some agreement for less than I would list it, but usually not for less than 60% of my asking price. I usually have a bid at 80%, so it's a little more wiggle room.
Quite often, I will accept a trade in the form of a web submission. I really like to see what people make from the items I have sold them, so I think it's a great way to involve them in the community. A lot of times that I've traded an item for a look at their sets, I've found them to be amazing and interesting people and will check in with them regularly.
To answer Kamalia's question specifically, there are occasions when someone from a realm that I am not on, or that I don't have a particular item, ask if I can find it for them. Just about any item I have is available on Ner'zhul, though I have a range of items all over the place.
If I am on a their realm, I will watch for the item for them. If I am not on their realm, I usually offer to let them pick up the item on a realm that I do have the item on. A lot of times, the item is free to the player, since it costs them $25 to transfer the character. This depends on the player and the item. I have also found that, if the player is willing, they can bring their bags full of items that I can resell on their realm at a later time, which then saves me the trouble of building another inventory.
Before I conclude this little exposé, I'd like to show everyone a specific example of how the pricing works. I have come to these prices over the time I've been in the business. I wasn't the first player to come up with the concept, but I was quite tenacious on Ner'zhul's marketplace and continue to keep it up to date. The prices have varied over time, but for the most part they have completely stabilized. I present to you, the entire Glorious Plate set:
Note: Common, uncommon, and rare refer to how often the item drops for the examples below.
Glorious Headdress, 3999 gold. Rare item with low player interest. It's an interesting piece, but few players are interested in it. The price is suppressed due to the fact that the item moves slowly.
Glorious Shoulder Pads, 9999 gold. Very rare item with high player interest. The model is appealing, and the color is very popular to match with a whole slew of different sets.
Glorious Breastplate, 4999 gold. Common item with high player interest. It's a plate brassiere, so players get this item just to have it. It is much more common than the Vanguard and Lofty variants.
Glorious Belt, 1999 gold. Common item with moderate player interest. Everyone likes a nice belt, but other belts out there have a little more pizzazz.
Glorious Legplates, 49999 gold. Ultra rare item with very high player interest. Pick your jaw up off the floor, they really do sell for that price. The Vanguard Legplates sell for the same price. The penultimate bikini leggings. This item started it all for me, and I've sold all that I have ever had on Ner'zhul. I've consumed 2 pairs for myself, however... :p
Glorious Sabatons, 2999 gold. Uncommon item with medium player interest. Gold, with a hint of black burnish, players like to combine these with various sets.
Glorious Bindings, 999 gold. Common item with low player interest. They do show with the gloves slightly, so they have some value.
Glorious Gauntlets, 4999 gold. Rare item with medium player interest. Gold, with a hint of black burnish, players like to combine these with various sets.
One of these days, I need to send an appreciative note to the main Transmog mogul on my primary realm. Her prices are so SO much more reasonable than the Transmog moguls on the other realms I play on. I am not good at the gold game, and I can actually afford to buy stuff from her when I want it, whereas on my other realms I can only afford stuff if I can catch a super-low price posted by someone leveling who just wanted to clean out their bags. -Kamalia
I am glad to finally lay out the entire strategy for everyone. It is the first step in attempting it yourself. Just remember to keep your risk low, until you have enough gold to try new ideas of your own. Experience is as important, if not more so, than knowledge. I hope you all have a great time playing the auction house, and that you meet some interesting people in your travels. Until next time: MOG ALL THE THINGS, for fun and profit! :p