The Auction House Mini-Game

I never really made much money in WoW until I started playing the Auction House. It is quite fun most of the time, and it’s something I can mess with quickly in the mornings before work when there’s really no time to quest. Using MoneyFu, I can see the results of all my transactions, and the amount of gold on my bank alt (and all my other characters), is tallied for me for the session, day, week, etc. I use one of the Auctioneer suites to help me keep on top of things, and there are several markets that I regularly participate in.

There are annoyances with the Auction House, however. In fact, there is a particular person on my server who is my official Auction House arch enemy. My husband and I both have gotten to know her behaviors quite well. We call her The Undercutter. Now, undercutting is a natural part of the AH competition between sellers. I undercut people all the time. The annoying thing is the way she undercuts.

First, she always undercuts by just 2 copper. 2 freakin’ copper! Just make it a whole silver, lady!

She also undercuts with no regard for the market value. So, for example, if there’s a pattern I know will go for 5 gold, I’ll post it for that. She’ll then undercut me by 2 copper. Ok, fine. But, if I post it for 5 gold, and someone else, not realizing/checking/believing what it’s worth posts it for just 1 gold, she will undercut them by 2c. Gah! Stoppit!

For some items, she’s also a chronic market flooder. So, in the case above, she might not just undercut the 1 gold person with one copy of the pattern. She’ll post 5 copies of it, effectively reducing the value of it just because that one person didn’t realize what it was worth. Her five copies take a while to be bought, so others come in and undercut her, and with that chain reaction the market value is substantially diminished. And it’s not that she doesn’t know that it can go for 5 gold, because she’s seen/undercut my price before. If later mine is the only one posted for 5 gold again, she’ll just undercut me by the 2 copper. I can only assume that she just doesn’t care. It’s maddening. A lot of the stuff she’s selling is bought from vendors and resold (there is surprisingly good money in this, actually), and so I suppose she’s happy just as long as she’s making a profit. It’s like she’s using the AH as her own little personal store front.

If it’s just a matter of a single undercut of the market price, sometimes I’ll post a second one and undercut her again, or post at the same buyout with a slightly lower bid price so it will potentially be listed before hers. Take that! If she does her market flooding thing to undercut something far below the market value, and we get the chain reaction I described above, then I usually just sit back and wait. I want to maximize my profit, so I just hold onto my items and wait until the garbage clears up. A few times, I’ve thought about sending her an in game mail and suggesting she also be patient so we can both make more money, but again, chances are, she just doesn’t care.

The other people that drive me crazy are the crafters that post all their items at once. When I was skilling up my leatherworking, I noted that Wicked Leather Headbands sold for about a gold. So, I crafted a bunch of them and started posting one per day, slowly selling them off. They were relatively expensive to post (I can’t remember how much, maybe 10-20 silver each), but it was totally worth it to have them sell. (These are great for rogues and hunters.) One day I logged in to find I’d been undercut by someone who’d posted eight all at once, at half my price. Oh-kay. So, again, it’s annoying that they ignored the market value and flooded the market, but … couldn’t they see that if not all of them sold, they would likely not make a profit? Let’s say they sold one for 50 silver. It cost them more than that to post all of them. Can’t they see that they’re losing money?! Stupidity! I guess they were hoping for an enchanter to sweep in and pick up all of them, providing them fast cash immediately, even if they hadn’t maximized their profit. That’s quite a gamble though.

I see this kind of nonsense all the time on my server, and it only seems to be getting worse. But, maybe this naturally happens as a server population increases and the supply of items increases. I remember watching the AH for shadowgems when I was skilling up my jewelcrafting. Mostly they were selling for a gold each, but occasionally, someone would post them for 75 silver or less, so I’d snarf them up to grab a point here and there when I wanted to train in the next set of patterns. My jewelcrafter has ultimately picked up a bunch by mining or received them from my other alts, and is past the point where they’re useful to her any more. For a little while, I was able to resell them for about a gold, but lately, they’re listed for just 10 silver each. Unbelievable. So, I’m hanging on to them for now to see what happens. Buy low, sell high. Patience is the key. The vision dust market usually clears up eventually as well, so maybe the shadowgem market will recover, too.

How’s the AH on your server?

(Also, the Wailing Caverns post is up! *pant pant*)

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7 responses

  1. Last week, I think I was responsible for driving the prices of primal airs up on Arathor. I’m working on the Windhawk set, so I need a bunch of them and have found it far easier to kill other mobs, make money, and farm the airs on the AH rather than trying to kill the elementals that drop the airs (stupid elementals being resistant to nature damage, so I have to starfire spam them to death, which is not so good for the ol’ mana pool). They started out at about 18 to 20 gold — I could even occasionally find them for 17 — and I bought all that I could afford, up to 20 gold each. Last weekend? 23, 24, 27 gold each! I thought that was pretty ridiculous so I didn’t buy any. As of last night, they were back down to the previous 19-ish gold. Fortunately, I think I only need another 10 or so. 🙂

    I haven’t done much else in the way of prospecting on the AH myself. Although I do have Auctioneer and have found it to be invaluable in determining prices of mob drops, I don’t quite trust it (or my judgment) for trying to flip a profit off some low-priced purples or blues. The prices that it suggests seem to be pretty reasonable, too, and I rarely have trouble selling my stuff. Maybe that means I could squeeze out another few silver per stack of netherweave, though…

  2. Interesting — both your comments seem to be more from a buyer point of view, and here I am complaining about how I can’t drive up the price to what I want it to be! 🙂

    So far, I’ve mostly been dealing in patterns and consumables and anything cheap to post. I haven’t been posting anything I’ve picked up in Outland. That AH fee scares me off every time. :-O

  3. I’ve seen the same sort of thing — although I haven’t run into an undercutter of the same stripe as yours. For a couple of months, Savory Deviate Delight was a staple of mine. I bought out the market for a while, and resold at slightly higher prices (about 65s /each). Then I discovered that there was no AH fee if I sold in lots of 1, 2 or 3. But since the changes to the AH, it’s only singletons with no AH fee. Unfortunately, the bottom has dropped out of the market; there are a number of people selling it for ~25s / each. And it WILL SELL at the higher price — it’s a fun item, and people seem willing to splurge.

    But I have several stacks and I’m too stubborn to sell them at a loss.

  4. I always undercut by 1c, why knock 2 gold off your selling price to undercut, 1copper is still cheaper and will sell earlier 🙂

    Complain about being undercut by 50% sure, but only when the base cost is high and they have flooded the market so you can’t afford to buy it all out.

    I specialise in wool cloth. I have raised the price of it to 2gold a stack on my server and usually sell in 5 stacks at 50 silver.

    Undercuttters are great because it keeps me in stock. Undercut me and I buy it all up.

    Trouble is, some cleaver b’stard has started undercutting me with 20 x 5 stacks at a few copper below mine. So it is not worth buying it all up. Grrrr!

    My other speciality is Recipe: Elixir of Shadow Power. You can buy it for about a gold actually in Stormwind, and it is needed for a warlock quest I think around level 60.

    Lazy and/or stupid warlocks will pay up to 20gold for this recipe, so I try to keep one on the AH at all times at between 14 and 20 gold.

    Trouble is some retards are now flooding the market with 4-5 gold auctions.

    I am not buying up 10 at a time, just to get my 1 sold for 15gold, so I am either gonna have to quit or wait it out.

    Its sad because I have spent a long time ensuring that auctioneer will bring up an average buyout of 15 gold for this and now these idiots are bringing that average down again 😦

  5. very interesting post. I am totally that girl who made a zillion LW headbands and posted them all and lost money on the fees over and over again just because I was new and clueless. lol

  6. Oh my, some comments I missed in addition to the new one!

    @Mosshoof

    I do the same thing — I hold onto stuff hoping the market will recover. Sometimes it really pays off, too, particularly if I wait and post stuff on the weekends when there’s a bit more demand. I can almost reset the market if everything has been bought up.

    @Holywarrior

    Hehe, don’t get me wrong — I don’t expect them to undercut me by 2 gold, but to me, 2 copper was just obnoxious. For one auction, I probably wouldn’t blink, but seeing the same person with the same 2c undercut for every single one was driving me insane. Insane!!

    Anyway, hope those markets clear up for you eventually. In my experience, persistence does pay off unless there’s some other factor that permanently and radically increases supply (like the recent removal of some of the cooldowns for transmutes).

    @Gretadelle

    Hehe, those deposits really add up, don’t they? I’m sure I did my share of flooding when I first started doing AH stuff, too.

    I also didn’t pay much attention to what other people were posting for, and the worst was that I very often made the bid half the buyout. I now keep it very close to the amount of money that I want (the buyout). I see lots of people lose money this way as well. They’ll post a stack of 20 copper bars for 2 gold, but make the bid just 3 silver. They’re losing out on a huge profit if the auction actually runs out with a 3 silver bid.

    Thanks for your comments!

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