Economics 101

My Auction Housing is no secret.  I enjoy it, and even on the days my mailbag comes back half full of items, I am no less determined.  But I never go out to make a great deal in one fell swoop.  I’m more of the nickel and dimer.  Looking at my current balance, I’m ok with that.  Really, that’s all that matters.  If you’re on the up and up, and succeeding enough for your own goals, then your gold making life is good.

But in order to give yourself that opportunity, you have to have a key understanding of one thing: the economy of your server.  I’ve spoken about it before, how “item X” sells for far more on “Server J” than “Server “T” for example.  But I was asked a question that I have taken for granted all this time.  “How do you determine your server’s economy?”

First, I need to preface things a bit.  I’m going to explain how best to do it, but understand that if you follow along there is an incredible likelihood you are going to get an inaccurate representation which is exacerbated by the fact we know a new expansion will be live in less than two months.  The end of an expansion can be a hard enough time to gauge your economy, but the first month or so of a new one can be even worse.    Keep in mind not every niche is affected, but most are.  Also, as I’ve preached for some time…there’s a plethora of gold to come out of Pandaria and that’s going to no doubt inflate things even more unless people sink said gold into something else such as Pet Battles or the ever expensive mounts that are on the way.  That said, let’s press on.

If you want to get an accurate snapshot of your server’s economy (and remember this is just your faction as well, unless you start playing both sides), the first thing you should do is grab yourself an Auction addon.  There are several with varying degrees of what they offer.  Myself, I use AuctionLite.  It’s simple and lightweight, and for my efforts does what I need.  Regardless of choice, once you install it head to the Auction House and do a full scan.  This will give you a “current picture.”  Your results will vary as well based on your settings.  For myself, I go with a 20% or better opportunity for profit and a financial value of 1g or more.  This gives me a slightly longer list, but never underestimate how much Malachite adds up (to say nothing of the Mechanical Squirrels it’s good for).  The first scan usually takes a while, so it’s a great time to go putter afk or read a good blog (like this one!).

I’m going to reiterate this scan only gives you a snapshot of the current economy.  What you need to do from this point out is run a scan at least once a day if you can.  Personally, when I’m trying to get a true reading, I run mine twice a day, as opposite as I can.  Also, weekends are a must.  That’s when there’s the most activity.  Keep in mind, that’s also when items tend to come down in price because of supply and demand (and more undercutters, in all honesty).  After a few weeks, your numbers will start to settle and you’ll get a fair represenation of what’s worth what.  It really is as simple as that.

Also, the more you scan, the more you’ll start to connect the dots, or prices.  If you ask me about average materials and popular items, there is a good chance off the top of my head I can tell you what they’re worth on my main server to within 10%.  The items I keep on my favourites list (another scan option in most addons) will be even tighter.  You don’t have to keep track of what everything is worth, but knowing the values of the area you’re focusing on can help, as it saves you time.  If you just know what something’s worth, it means you immediately know whether to buy, sell, or ignore.  Like the Goblins say, “time is money.”

Of course, there is a second way that is more or less involved depending on your approach.  Over there, to the right, in my blogroll is a link called The Undermine Journal.  It’s not only great for determining your economy, but it’s a “must” point of reference for goldmakers.  Remember what I just talked about in terms of scanning?  The Undermine Journal datamines and records the information all the timeFor all the servers.  At any time you can head over there and check the information you want, including a great Current Deals list and what items are “hot.”  This doesn’t even factor in the ability of TUJ to show you a selling history on any item, including its value, the last time it was on the AH, and even the average price across the game.

So why not just use it as your source?  Great question, and you’re actually welcome to do so.  However, keep in mind nothing is perfect.  When you look at something such as the Current Deals List, the site will say “as of X min ago.”  If I’m not mistaken, that could be up to an hour.  Your in-game scan is real time.  That isn’t important for determining your economy, but it can be vital once you have it.  Also, in the time you spend looking at TUJ’s info, someone like myself may have come in and scooped up said item.  The Undermine Journal is an amazing site and resource but I recommend using it secondary to your addon of choice.

Something else I’d like to mention is that you’ll never truly know your economy.  You’ll have a pretty solid grasp of it, but it’s something that is always in flux.  So if you make the effort to understand it, but find it changing drastically, then there’s almost always a factor as to why.  Determining what that is, be it new raid content boosting gem and enchant sales, or a patch note that changes what a Glyph can do (or God forbid a class’ dependency on a certain stat), can help you adjust to the flux.  And don’t forget every server is different.  I’m on one right now where Elementium Geodes hover between 90 and 150g.  That’s an adjustment for me when everywhere else I see them for 200-300g.   It took some time, as I thought it might be a fluke that week, but I’ve learned that’s genuinely how it is.  Such is the adventure of learning the economy of a server.

The final point I would like to make is if you want to really learn the economy and generate some gold, then I can’t put enough emphasis on learning it for both factions.  That the two can be night and day is an understatement.  Learning both puts you leaps and bounds ahead of at least 25% of the Auction House players out there because if you have a means of getting your items to the opposing faction, then your benefits increase exponentially.

Happy Auctioning!

16 thoughts on “Economics 101

  1. Navimie July 28, 2012 / 7:04 am

    Can you make money for me? I suck at it….

    • JD Kenada July 28, 2012 / 7:30 am

      Sort of. Horde transfer to Runetotem and I can give you some. lol.

      Then again, I’m up to 1k on Tome’s server with my 9 hour old Gnome…

  2. Cymre July 28, 2012 / 7:39 am

    I’m a big fan of The Undermine Journal when I’m after a hard to get item. Last time I used it was when I was looking for the Elegant robes. I also used Auctioneer for the longest time but I’ve recently been trying another called Auctionator (I think?)

    • JD Kenada July 28, 2012 / 9:46 am

      I used Auctioneer up to Wrath and I loved it. But then they made just way too many changes to it and the things I liked most about it were either gone or just too much hassle.

      I agree TUJ is great for gear monitoring.

  3. tomeoftheancient July 28, 2012 / 8:22 am

    I should have just waited, I bought that Elementium Geodes when it was 400. I never make my move at the right time. Although I did sell Armagedillo’s Tail last week for around 300, a few months back you couldn’t give that thing away, don’t know what changed.

    • JD Kenada July 28, 2012 / 9:47 am

      Like I said, I’m genuinely shocked by the price of them on that server. Then again, there’s been a few things if I had more capital on the server I would have flipped in a heartbeat.

  4. arvash29 July 28, 2012 / 9:15 am

    I currently use TSM as my auction addon of choice and it’s worked great for me. I only focus on one market and that market is where I’ve made the majority of my gold from: cut gems.

    Timing plays a big factor. The release of a new raid and new tier gear, weekends, and even behavior from games outside of WoW. I made a lot of gold when Diablo 3 came out when my competition left and also when players were coming back to WoW after being done with D3.

    • JD Kenada July 28, 2012 / 9:47 am

      I just came across TSM recently, actually. I will probably look into it after Mists launches. No point changing addons when they’re almost all going to need updating after 5.0.

  5. Ishtla July 28, 2012 / 11:39 am

    The Undermine Journal has a couple of nice addons that can give you an idea on an item’s sell price (one is for your server and the other is across all servers). I find it handier than having to alt tab to see if certain items are worth selling or if I should just DE/VT it.

    • JD Kenada July 28, 2012 / 4:11 pm

      It seems there are a few addons I need to become more familiar with come Mists of Pandaria. Every so often I usually tend to research the various AH addons, but as we were in a downtime I had refrained. Thanks for the insight on TUJ’s addons.

  6. Shoryl July 28, 2012 / 3:08 pm

    Thank you very much for the insight. I think it’s the one thing I’ve never quite gotten the hang of. Even though I play in small markets, I’m hoping to increase my gold production in Mists so I can get myself the pretty JC mounts.

    • JD Kenada July 28, 2012 / 4:13 pm

      Your Blacksmithing should be able to generate a bit of gold via Enchanting Rods, and in all honesty, use your mining just to gather as much ore as you possibly can in the first month. Send it to an alt parked near the Auction House and profit profit profit.

      • Ishtla July 29, 2012 / 4:38 am

        Might want to scratch enchanting rods off that list. In beta they have removed all but the copper rod for enchanters so many people are dumping their stock now. You can still make gold on blacksmithing with the belt buckles and there are some crafted items that sell nicely for transmog. I would like to point out that the forums on stormspire.net have a speculation thread so you can read up on some of the changes (not to mention it’s a great resource site for gold makers and has the official TUJ and TSM forums).

        • JD Kenada July 29, 2012 / 5:52 am

          Wow, it would seem I’m severely out of the loop then. I used to check the speculation thread over at Just My Two Copper but it went the way of the dodo in the speculation department.

          Thanks again for all the info Ishtla!

          • Ishtla July 29, 2012 / 6:38 am

            You’re welcome JD. Surprised you didn’t see the article at Just My Two Copper recently about the rods. Both sites are good resources though.

          • JD Kenada July 29, 2012 / 7:36 am

            They’re firewalled at work, unlike most of my blogroll. So by the time I get online at night I’ve forgotten all about it (during the summer anyway).

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