Sunday Blog Post Roundup Vol. 5

What a week — the blog-o-sphere is on fire with good stuff to read.  Hang with me to the very end of this list, they are all excellent.

The Gold Queen posted a tip on how to “shuffle” leather.  It’s actually a type of currency arbitrage, and a good, easy tip.  Check the prices on your server before you jump in.

Croda at marketsforgold had two really good posts — one on how to get a guild bank (which actually points out there are some downsides to it) and one that shows exactly how they evaluate items for flipping potential, step by step.

Jim Younkin from Power Word: Gold posted a list of exactly what money making professions he’d recommend you have depending on how many characters you have to work with.

Mommar from Just My Two Copper didn’t use the words “business process” in his post, but that’s exactly what he was talking about when he posted about keeping a list of daily activities.

Faid from clockworkriot wrote two great inscription related posts.  The first was on preparation for MoP, and the second was on tactics for dealing with competition in the glyph market.

Staying on the topic of dealing with competition for a moment, on Phat Lewt’s Gold Blog, Mr. Lewt’s wrote a simple post about the basic ways gold earners track the activity of other sellers.

On ALT:ernative, The Godmother posted an excellent take on Blizzard’s new guild mentoring program.  I, however, took something else away from the post — her list of questions used when interviewing potential guild members.  I always say when I’m looking for people to work with, the only two really important qualifications are that they are cool and smart — most of the rest you can teach.

Focushot from Hunter Mastery shared a list of 10 gold making tips.  They are specific ideas for products you might not have considered.

Finally last but certainly NOT least, Cold from Cold’s Gold Factory gave his opinion on why the old gold earning cliche “buy low, sell normal” is a joke.  Also make sure to check out all the great posts that were entered into Cold’s Gold Blogging Carnival for July.

 

Marketing: Brought to you by the Letter P

(Well, I just had to make that joke at some point.)

I didn’t finish my college degree until I was a working adult.  When I did go back to finish I selected a program in eBusiness, all the rage at the time.  None of my prior education was business oriented, so I was happy to go back and learn all the basics of business.  However when I saw that every student was required to take a marketing course, I was…. well, concerned.  I didn’t care about advertising.

What I didn’t understand is that marketing does not equal advertising.  Advertising, or promotion, is only one part of marketing.  The definition of marketing that I like is:

The management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer.

That isn’t part of business, that IS business.  It’s what we do even in WoW when we undertake serious gold earning whether or not we realize it.

The Four Ps

Basic marketing courses break the overall marketing process into four parts, called the four Ps:

  • Product — defining exactly what you wish to sell and how you will produce it.
  • Price — determining the right price, including volume pricing, discounts, terms, etc.
  • Promotion — communicating with potential customers to raise awareness and interest in your product.
  • Place — how or where you will actually perform sales transactions with customers.  (Not the best name, but they needed it to start with P.  Think “distribution”.)

Each of the four Ps is interrelated — for example how you produce the product effects the price, and the price might effect who you want to promote the product to, etc.  Modern formulations try to be more “customer focused” by changing product to customer or service, promotion becomes communication, place becomes convenience, etc.  But for our purposes it’s all the same idea.

When you read about a gold earning idea one way to start to break it down, evaluate and understand it is to identify the four Ps within it.  This is a great way to start creating your business process activities and figuring out if there are any gaps in the plan.  Let’s see how this applies to you in WoW by evaluating the four Ps of one gold earning market people love to recommend and write about: mysterious fortune cards.

Well the first P is easy, right?  The product is mysterious fortune cards: all done.  Not so fast speedy — you need to define exactly how you will obtain the product.  For cards you would have two choices: make them or buy them.  You would then break each of those options down further to evaluate them.  What materials are required to make them, and where would you get the materials?  Where or from whom would you buy cards to resell?  You could even consider if you should sell cards only or make some of them into Fortune Cookies, where buyers would get stat food and a chance to win gold.

Pricing mysterious fortune cards optimally is not as easy as it might seem.  Obviously you need to know how much it will cost you to make or buy them.  But then you need to test or guess what price people would pay that would maximize your profit, because presumably the higher the price, the lower the volume will be.  Also, when you think about price, think about the quantity or quantities you want to sell in.  Do you want to sell single cards or stacks of 200?  Finally of course, what is the competition pricing at?  You’ll probably want to do some test marketing and adjust your prices based on your results.

In some ways there isn’t a lot of promotion in WoW.  A lot of the time the only promotion I do is to list an item on the auction house — that’s promotion, it how I communicate to my buyers.  Many of the fortune card advocate out there suggest that more promotion than that is required to maximize the potential of card selling.  By “barking” in trade channel and either selling directly to players, or just using trade to advertise listings on the auction house, they instill interest in buyers who might not otherwise look for cards.

Finally there is place.  Again, in most cases for me I sell things on the auction house.  But you might find it more effective to deliver fortune cards to players in person.  Or who knows, selling outside the capital cities might be worth doing, especially if you are selling cookies.  Perhaps you could start a COD business — card of the day club anyone?

It’s too bad this concept is so wordy, because it is easier to apply it than it is to explain it.  I hope the wonky-ness of this doesn’t turn you off from trying it mentally the next time you read about a potential new product to sell.  It is a powerful concept that can help you make sure you are getting the most from your gold earning ideas.

 

Mail Basics and Using CODs

I think it was on a recent episode of Call to Auction that the hosts discussed the fact that a lot of players don’t understand how the COD mail system works, and therefore they are afraid to use it.  (By the way, Call to Auction is fantastic — I’m so glad they are back and I really hope they stick around and keep the ‘casts coming).

I’ve noticed this as well.  I don’t generally buy or sell in trade but occasionally I do respond to people selling things there.  And if I suggest a COD more often than not the person doesn’t want to do it.   Even though we’ve been playing the game a long time, some things have changed over time and we forget the details.  So I thought I’d provide a quick overview/review of the mail system basics, including how COD works.

In-Game Mail Basics

The exact size of your mail box “behind the scenes” is unknown outside of Blizzard best I can tell.  However many pieces of mail you have, a maximum of 50 are displayed at a time.  To see messages beyond the first 50, you have to remove (read and delete) some of the first 50 to make room, and re-open or refresh the mail box.

Unlike a lot of mail systems outside the game, you do not retain a copy of mail you send.  (There is no “sent items”).  There is also no way to recover deleted mail.  The system is designed for mail to serve its purpose and be removed promptly thereafter.

Mail Expiration Times

  • Normal mail expires in 30 days, after which the message is deleted
  • Mail with attachments expires in 30 day, after which the items are returned to the sender
  • COD messages expire in 3 days if not paid for, after which the items are returned to the sender
  • Returned messages and items will expire from the original sender’s mail after 30 days and be deleted.  (In other words, they will not bounce back and forth.)

Delivery Times

  • Text only messages with no attachments arrive immediately
  • Mail sent to a character on the same account as the sending character will arrive immediately
  • Any mail, including those with attachments or money, sent between characters in the same guild will arrive immediately if the guild has the guild mail perk, awarded at guild level 17.
  • Without the guild mail perk, mail sent to a character on a different account from the sending character with items or money attached will take one hour to arrive.
  • Items purchased from the auction house arrive immediately in the buyers mail.
  • Money received from the auction house to the seller of an item takes one hour to arrive.
  • Returned mail arrives immediately
  • Money received from COD sales arrives immediately.

Cash on Delivery (CODs)

When you send mail with items attached, you have the option to require the mail recipient to pay an amount of gold for the items by selecting the COD check-box and entering the cost of the item or items.  You enter one total amount for all the items attached to the mail.

When a mail recipient opens the COD mail and attempts to take any of the attached items they will get a dialogue box asking them if they agree to pay.  If they do, the money will automatically be withdrawn from their gold total and sent to the sender/seller.

CODs are convenient for many uses.  Not only can you buy something from a seller in trade without either person traveling, you also don’t pay any auction house deposits or fees.  You can set up an ongoing deal with a materials farmer to send you everything they farm for a set price, and then not even be online at the same time.  And in conjunction with the guild mail perk, it’s a very convenient way to do business with guild mates since the mail is delivered immediately.

In the past there were issues with CODs being used in gold scams or for other under-handed purposes.  I’d rather not outline the tactics here.  But there have been changes made that make it pretty hard to take advantage with someone using COD.  As a seller you can be assured that you will either receive payment for your items or you will receive the items back within 3 days.  And as a buyer, you need to carefully review what is attached to the mail and what price the seller input before you accept the item — that dialogue box appears for your protection, so use it and don’t just click blindly!

 

Auction House Changes Comment Summary

A good while back Robin Torres at WoW Insider posted a breakfast topic that linked to a post of mine and posed the question to their readers “how would you change the auction house?“  I’ve been intending to summarize the comments for awhile, sorry it took so long.

Buy Orders

Simply stated everyone wants them.  Buy orders are the ability to post an offer to buy something at a certain price.  Pretty much the only detail hinted at in the comments is whether or not the system should allow orders to be partially filled.  This point is related to other comments below about how commodities are handled.  I’d say when I set up the buy order I should be able to specify if I want partial fulfillment allowed, but however it would be done it should be consistent with how commodity sell orders are handled.

Options for sorting and filtering auctions

Here’s a list of just some of the numerous sorting and filtering options people would like to see added to the standard UI.

  • Sort by unit price
  • Sort by buy out
  • Search multiple categories at a time like all ranged weapons
  • Exact match check box (ie “Lava Coral” would not return “Reckless Lava Coral”)
  • Filter by expansions (ie Cataclysm herbs… )
  • Cut and uncut gems in separate categories
  • Darkmoon faire artifacts in a category
  • View by stats (gems and gear)
  • View by socket color for gems (ie orange, red and purple for a red socket)
  • Trasmog features, eligible or not, models, colors
  • See more on one screen and summarize multiple listings (“auctionator style”)
  • Search within the filtered list

Make it like the Diablo III auction house, or not

A lot of people love the Diablo III auction house and suggest that WoW should either work exactly the same way or adopt many of its features.  On the other hand a fewer number of people specifically didn’t like aspects of D3.

The main plus seems to be that commodity items in Diablo III are treated more as “fungible” items — in other words if you have 1000 herbs to list you just list them, you don’t package or price them in stacks.  Further when you buy 1000 herbs you are simply presented with the lowest priced 1000 to buy.  I’m neutral about this idea, it would often be convenient but would also take away my ability to package and price items with discounts for volume buys.

Sales information

Most people agree that information is power and we need more!  Pluses sited for getting sales information include that it would help sellers price items, help buyers decide if prices are fair, and hurt those who attempt to take advantage by pricing things in manipulative or deceptive ways.  People suggested that average sales or posting prices should be easily viewable in the posting and buying UI.

Some commenters suggested people just use the undermine journal — I love the undermine journal, but it doesn’t have and can’t get actual sales information, it only know about posted prices.

Other feature and function ideas

  • Buy multiple stacks with one click
  • Buy or sell partial stacks
  • Listing commodities “stackless” like Diablo III
  • Check box to select lines and do something to them all
  • Make the neutral auction house cross server, or add a cross realm/battle group auction house
  • Combine alliance and horde auction houses on the same realm, go all neutral
  • Make it easier to post multiple items by just putting them in a special bag
  • Adjusting auction fees based on reputation or other factors
  • Functions to blacklist or whitelist sellers/buyers
  • Making the mail interface to the auction house better or removing it so that items you buy simply appear in your inventory if you have space, and sales proceeds appear in your gold total without opening mail.
  • Finally I had one new idea while writing this summary — make common vendor items (poisons, reagents, etc) available in the auction house, just as a convenience.

Pricing and selling restrictions

Well all that is already a lot of comments and ideas,  but by far and away the most discussion was had around people’s desire to regulate “bad” behavior via posting or buying restrictions.  These suggestions included:

  • Price caps based on level or numerous other criteria to prevent gouging
  • Limits on the number of auctions you can post at one time
  • Price minimums or restrictions on undercutting existing auctions
  • Limits on buying that would disallow you from buying all of an item in an effort to “corner the market”

I think it’s important to acknowledge the real concerns people have that give rise to these suggestions.  It’s valid to want the market to be useful to players of all experience levels.  It’s valid to want truly new players to be able to level their professions naturally as they level their characters.  And people feel frustrated competing with other players who seem to have vast resources — both gold and time.

That said, numerous commenters pointed out the flaws with these type of restrictions.  While low level characters suffer when low level materials sell for high prices, they also benefit from selling these materials at high prices as they naturally collect them playing in lower level zones.  Concerns about access to materials needed to level professions could be addressed by providing alternative methods to level professions or obtain materials (ie quests or special vendors).  Players who try to “corner the market” quickly discover that if you don’t control the supply, you can’t control the market — while you may not be challenged immediately, anyone can mine ore or make glyphs and disrupt your market at anytime.  More (sales) information and better ways to filter and sort auction listings would help eliminate a lot of the deceptive practices people employ.

Finally regarding undercutting, I’ll quote one of the best comments from rolua89.  (Sorry it’s long but it’s all good stuff — it could be it’s own blog post!)

Here’s the thing about undercutting by a copper: When someone undercuts by a copper, his competitors don’t lose hardly anything by undercutting him back, again by a copper. This means that the most sales will go to the person who has the most time to camp the AH.

Contrast this with undercutting by a large margin: Now, in order to undercut, that player’s competitors must make a non-trivial sacrifice of profit if they want to get ahead in sales. This means that the most sales will go to the player who is most willing to slash his profit margins. It also means that, out of two people equally aggressive with their undercutting, the most profit will go to the one who can produce the item at the lowest cost, since he can make that market unprofitable for his competitors.

If I would rather do something other than camp the AH for hours at a time, I am then motivated to undercut heavily. This immediately gives my competitors a choice: they can undercut me again, and cut their own profits, or they can wait it out and let my auctions get bought out, with theirs next in line. They have a choice between cutting profits or cutting sales volume. Either way they don’t make as much money. Which is exactly what’s supposed to happen when two suppliers compete in a market.

With all this in mind, remember that every sale that is made comes from a player wanting the item and being willing to pay the lowest price listed. If a market has tons of demand, then it doesn’t matter whether your competitors undercut heavily. They’ll get bought out extremely quickly, and then yours will be the lowest auctions up. But if there’s not enough demand to consume the volume being brought in by the suppliers, the price WILL drop, and you will make less money.

But what happens if no one undercuts by much, and the demand drops off? Then you still don’t make much money, because even with all that effort posting and reposting, no one is buying your auctions.

Either way, you still make less money with less demand. But if people undercut heavily, at least you’ll know the market is flooded, instead of posting again and again with no sales.

Heavy undercutting doesn’t ruin a market; low demand ruins a market.

Thanks again to Robin Torres, WoW Insider and all the wonderful commenters!

Reward of the Week: You Can Totally Afford All Those Recipes

I’m not much of a pure recipe collector.  I tend to buy what I need to level and then buy just recipes I’ll definitely make either for myself or to sell.  But after I reached my first gold goal I realized that I could afford to splurge on recipes, and it was fun to have them.  And the more recipes you have, the better the chance you can respond quickly to a money making opportunity on some obscure item should that opportunity arise.

If you decide to treat yourself to some shiny new recipes, be aware that many if not most of the recipes listed on the auction house are available from vendors and are being “flipped” by your gold earning counterparts.  You can decide to either run around and get them all from the vendors or pay a premium price to avoid all that work.  After all, this is a reward, so you’d be justified to take the easy way out.

A few addons will help your recipe collecting a great deal.  The most important one is Ackis Recipe List (ARL), which I wrote a brief guide about here.  This will show you a list of all the recipes you don’t have and let you filter it by a whole bunch of different criteria.  In this case, where you are buying recipes as a gold earning reward, you probably will want to only list those recipes that you can purchase from a vendor or from another player, therefore excluding the BoP ones.  And if you decide to be a bit frugal and go to the vendors instead of the auction house, ARL tells you the exact location for each vendor.

Ackis Recipe List

Another useful addon for recipe buying is Altoholic.  After you install it and open your tradeskill windows on each character, it remembers what recipes you know and displays “could be learned by” and “already known by” information in the tool tip when you mouse over a recipe.

Tool Tip

Even the standard auction house UI has one very nice feature for recipe collecting — the “usable items” filter.  By selecting it you’ll only see recipes listed that you can learn. (on the character you are on — it doesn’t know about your alts like the Altoholic tool tip does.)   So if you want to go nuts you can just select “Recipe” on the left, click “Usable Items” near the middle top, and start buying!

Standard Auction House UI

 

Sunday from the Archives: Maintenance Window Tactics

I’m away from home this weekend in real life, so I haven’t kept up with my blog reading.  Instead of a normal blog roundup I offer this — a re-post of the very first Warcraft Street post, about maintenance window tactics.  I’m sure most of you weren’t reading way back then, a whole month ago.

It’s Sunday, so you have time to put this information to use before the Tuesday/Wednesday weekly window. I won’t even make you click — here’s the post in it’s entirety.


Most regular auction house players have a daily routine — Wake up, log in, start a scan, put on some coffee, etc.  However each week we’re faced with a regular maintenance window (Tuesday mornings in North America) which can interrupt this cycle.  So what’s the best way to manage your routine around this scheduled downtime?

  1. Be aware of the schedule.  Recently the server status forum moderators have gotten very good about posting the maintenance plan ahead of time in North America at least.  Some weeks there will be only rolling restarts, meaning each realm will be down for only a few minutes.  Other weeks there may be longer windows starting at 3 am or 5 am and scheduled for up to 8 hours.  Check the service status forum the day before and plan based on the information there.  Sometimes the plans change, but lately the information there has been pretty accurate.  Also, be sure to note the time zone and adjust the schedule in your mind to your local or server time properly.
  2. Know how downtime affects auction times.  The bottom line here is that the clock on auctions keeps ticking during the downtime.  This means that if an auction is posted at 9 pm on Monday for 12 hours and there is maintenance on Tuesday morning until 11 am, when the servers come back up those auctions will be expired.
  3. Adjust your auction postings.  For items where the auction posting fee is a significant factor in your profit margin, consider holding items and posting them after the servers come back up.  After all, why pay a fee for time when no one will be able to buy your items?  However for many items with very low posting fees (glyphs, scrolls, enchanting materials, etc) it may be advantageous to lengthen your post times before the downtime to ensure that when the servers come back up, you have items ready for eager buyers.  Competitor’s items may expire and you’ll be there to grab the business.  Finally, you may want to review auctions with bids pending and make sure you don’t want to cancel them — if your auction expires during the downtime the last bid will win.
  4. Check for bidding opportunities. While the clock may be your enemy where auction house posting fees are concerned, it can be your friend when bidding on items.  If you bid on items, be sure to check for good opportunities on items where the auction time will expire during (or largely be eaten by) the downtime.
  5. Accept when plans change.  It happens — servers may come back up earlier than scheduled or they may be down for much longer than planned.   So if you can keep an eye on the server status, react accordingly.

A lot of what you can do depends on your personal schedule.  Not everyone can be online right before or right after the maintenance window.  But adding some easy planning around the maintenance window to your existing knowledge of your own products, markets, and margins can allow you to find a new way to optimize your profits.

The Black Market Auction House

Black Market Auction HouseIt was all the way back on May 12 that MMO-Champion first mentioned the black market auction house from the Mists of Pandaria beta.  Many blog posts, podcast discussions and forum comments followed — the topic has been well covered.

Anne Stickney at WoW Insider made great points in her article on 3 things the Black Market Auction House needs to succeed.  Her three keys for success are:

  • Accessibility — items available on the BMAH should be available by other means elsewhere, so if you don’t have mega-gold for that sweet mount you can invest mega-time to get it.
  • Availability — the number of each item available on the BMAH should be limited correctly to keep competition for items high and keep their rarity in line with the same item obtained in other ways.  In other words, if it’s nearly impossible to farm an item because the drop rate is ultra-low, it should only be available on the BMAH in ultra-low quantities.
  • Accountability — items from the BMAH should not be able to be resold, therefore they should either be bind on account or bind on pickup.

I like this line of reasoning.  The idea seems to be that the BMAH should take gold out of the game to fight inflation without changing the rarity or prestige of the items it sells.

What I’m not so sure about is that the BMAH should not sell items unavailable by other means.  There are items in the game now that are only obtainable by reaching high levels of a particular type of game play, PvP gear for example.  Why is it unfair to offer high-level gold earners exclusive rewards just like high-level PvPers get?

Traveler's Tundra MammothArguably the traveler’s tundra mammoth is a reward available only to accomplished gold earners.  When it was introduced the price tag was far out of reach for most players.  Was that unfair?  Offering exclusive, high cost items on the BMAH is actually better and more fair than offering them at a fixed price on a vendor.  It means there will be competition to get the item, and the price will keep up with inflation.

Since we first heard about the BMAH there have been adjustments made to the items offered there, and I believe the cap on bids was raised to match the gold cap of 999,999g. I take these changes as a sign that everything is still on the table, as is always the case with functions implemented in a beta.  We may never see the BMAH on live servers — there has been a big outcry by some vocal players that they hate the idea of it.

The black market auction house would kill two birds with one stone for me — it would be a better gold sink than those of the past and it would offer gold earners some recognition of their accomplishments.  So if it is drastically changed, or not introduced, I hope both of these objectives are still achieved somehow.

Stocking Up: Ink

This topic has been covered at length by a number of bloggers, but they each take a slightly different approach.  I thought I’d let everyone know my thoughts and what I’m doing regarding preparing for Mists of Pandaria and Inscription inks.

For those who don’t remember or who didn’t go though it, ink trading undergoes a transition around the time of the big pre-expansion patch.  Now you can trade in blackfallow ink for all the lesser common inks used to make glyphs.  However in Mists blackfallow ink will be replaced as the “currency” with ink of dreams, which is created from new herbs. Right after MoP goes live, ink of dreams will be scarce and expensive.  So if you don’t have some of all the inks you need for glyph making stockpiled, you will find them hard to come by.

So what inks will you need?  Looking over what Wowhead knows so far about inscription, most glyphs in MoP will be created either from ink of dreams, or from the same set of inks used now, namely: ink of the sea, ethereal ink, shimmering ink, celestial ink, jadefire ink, lions ink, and midnight ink.

Currently, blackfallow ink is only used to create one glyph, and it doesn’t seem like that will change in MoP.  Its other uses are limited.  If you sell mysterious fortune cards, of course, you will need it.  But I don’t sell mysterious fortune cards, so I have to be more careful about how much blackfallow ink I stockpile.  (One important detailed note: Wowhead currently doesn’t show that you can trade ink of dreams for blackfallow ink.  I’m going to keep my eye on this, not sure if it’s just not there yet or if you really won’t be able to get it.)

Storage space is of course another issue.  My general stance against stockpiling in the past means that I don’t currently have access to a private guild bank for my main server/faction.

One option if you have a lot of storage space would be to stock herbs themselves.  This would give you the ability to use the herbs in other ways later, like for alchemy.  However, remember at some point you’ll lose the ability to use blackfallow ink to trade.  So if you stockpile thousands of whiptail, you will no longer be able to create lion’s ink from it at some point around the pre-expansion patch.  You would have to stockpile the lesser herbs to guarantee the later ability to make the lesser common inks.

Taking all this into account, here’s my plan.  I’m creating a stockpile with a smallish fixed amount of blackfallow ink, probably around 200.  Then I’m building up roughly equal supplies of the other  7 common inks used to make glyphs, with some extra ink of the sea and ethereal since they seem to be most widely used.  I’ll stop when I’m out of storage space.  To ensure I make all this ink for the lowest possible price, I’m using the process outlined in my recent post about how to use TSM: Shopping to buy all my herbs.

I’m also keeping my eyes open to any new news regarding MoP inscription because things always change as the release date approaches.

 

Ideas for New Auction House Features

The current WoW auction house has good and bad features.  The standard auction house interface is poor, but Blizzard’s facilitation of addons means that if you really can’t stand the UI (I can’t), at least you can do something about it.  Addon facilitation is a good thing/smart move by Blizzard overall, not just as it relates to the auction house, just ask a SWTOR player.

Of course it would be great if Blizzard simply polished up the standard auction house UI.  Doing that would make things a lot easier for the vast majority of players who don’t spend as much time in the auction house as Frinka does.  But I’d love to see a few new features beyond merely the UI — things that can’t be done by addons now.

I touched on this some already in my post this week for the Blog Azeroth shared topic, and The Annoyed Mage made an interesting post a few weeks ago expressing his views.  Here’s a fuller description of what I’d like to see.

  1. Selling groups of items.  It would be wonderful to be able to sell items bundled together, either multiple stacks of the same item or complete “kits” of different items.  For example you could offer a complete transmog set, or all the components needed to level a profession.
  2. Offers, or bounties.  This is a pretty simple one and it’s been discussed at length in the past.  EQ I even had this feature (although please, don’t make me describe how much more horrible the EQ I bazaar was compared to the WoW AH, just trust me, we have it good now).  Adding the ability to post an offer to buy a quantity of an item at a certain price level would be very convenient, it would help sellers meet buyer needs, and it would make the WoW auction house much more like a real life market (NYSE, NASDAQ, etc.)
  3. Sales informationThe Undermine Journal does the best it can, but lacking information on actual sales means we can’t fully know how the market is behaving.  This also enables certain types of market manipulation (read that as people taking unfair advantage of others) that would be far more difficult if we knew what things actually sold for in the past.
  4. Statistics.  If we had sales information then either Blizzard or someone like The Undermine Journal could generate information more like what we get for real markets, or like what is generated for games like EVE.  Just look at this recent post I saw about the EVE economy — they have price indexes, it’s so cool.
  5. Auctiongroups.  I confess I know nothing about EVE — I couldn’t get past the tutorial.  (I tried, because it seemed like I’d love a game with so many economic features.)  But I believe there is a single server structure in EVE — meaning everyone plays in the same game world and buys and sell on the same market.   If this were the case in WoW there wouldn’t be small economy servers and large economy servers.  I understand that the shear number of players across WoW may make complete consolidation impossible, but maybe they could have “auctiongroups” similar to battlegroups where multiple server’s auction houses were connected.  I can see there would be numerous technical and procedural issues, but if they could be overcome, wouldn’t it be nice for everyone to play in a bigger market?

Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Frinka’s Exotic Auctions

The Blog Azeroth shared topic for June 11 – 17 is:

If Blizzard added your main as an NPC in WoW, where would they be located and what would be their function? Give us a shot illustrating the fact.

Frinka is a crafty gold earner, so were an NPC added for her it would only be fitting for her to run a special, advanced auction house for alliance players named Frinka’s Exotic Auctions.  I can’t decide where she’d be best located.  Perhaps in the Exodar, to lure characters into that beautiful city.

Or alternatively she could befriend the consortium ethereals who run other advanced service businesses like reforging and void storage.

Frinka’s Exotic Auctions would, similar to the new black market auction house expected in MoP, offer exotic goods, difficult or even impossible to find elsewhere, to characters who’ve earned vast wealth.  In addition, Frinka would allow characters to register offers, or “bounties”, for items they’d like to buy, so other characters could fill those orders.  And Frinka would allow characters to post auctions for bundles of goods, like complete crafting kits or multiple stacks of trade goods.

As a member of the Stormwind/Ironforge/Darnassus/Exodar Better Business Bureau, Frinka would not only be an ethical trader/broker but she would make efforts to give back to the community.  From the fees she collects for auction activities, randomly selected characters low on gold would find she offers them a quest that rewards 1000g!

Thanks for reading my first Blog Azeroth Shared Topic post.  I hope it becomes the first of many.