Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Crafting as a service

Gold enthusiasts talk about mountains of gold, gold per hour, efficiency, making a killing and their lavish lifestyles which often include a stint in rehab after a rain poppy derivative addiction. I too live well and occasionally reset markets to keep myself in small luxuries (being a Gnome not withstanding). I want to talk a little about crating as a service to the community.

It has never been easier to earn a living in World of Warcraft. Dailies are quick and random group activities reward an exorbitant amount of gold. Even if you don't have professions, you can make a good living farming with the Tillers.

However, when it comes to enhancing a character, few people are completely self sufficient. It may be naive, but I assume everyone is like me and enjoys maximising the power of their characters. As I say, "if you have time to level, you have time to buckle". That's where keeping the auction house stocked comes in.


I take pride in knowing that at any time on my realm there is a very high chance that every possible glyph is available for purchase. I get more satisfaction in watching every different bear glyph sell and thinking, "ooo, someone has a new tanking spec" than I do from watching the coin roll in.

Take me out of the equation, and perhaps the chances of holes opening up in the glyph market are slim, but it is rewarding to know that I'm doing my part. You can debate what constitutes "reasonable" pricing for glyphs, but I know many glyphs would be more expensive without my fallback. If I post daily, for 48 hours, never cancel and post at my fallback even when prices go below my threshold, I can help ensure a steady supply.


I'm a market hoarder and once I enter a market, I might go quiet, but I never leave. I have a jewel crafting bag full of crappy cuts that people rarely want. They sit, day after day, just waiting for the market to rise, or my competitors to get tired and vendor them. When that day comes, I pounce and make sure that the full range is available. Such is my commitment to gems that I relegated my last alt that had escaped auction house, storage or bulk processing duties to giving up their bag space for the machine.


Recently, I've barely been able to sell flasks. Flasks are routinely under the price of a golden lotus, which I have been happily buying to transmute into all those gems. Crazy Alchemists with their 'free' herbs have been crashing the market. The result is that anyone who refuses to sell crafted goods at below cost stops posting, and gold makers tend to be a large source of the volume. So either some enterprising businessman resets the market, or as I experienced recently, the AH runs dry! With all this inventory space tied up, and providing little return, I strike. You know you're going to pay a premium for these flasks, but at least they are there. It might cost you a little extra, but not being that guy that turns up to a raid unprepared... PRICELESS.

My point here is that while competition can lower prices and benefit the consumer, there is also benefit in paying gold makers their (reasonable) markup to ensure that the goods keep flowing. I enjoy feeling like my flasks are helping someone on my realm give Garrosh what for, but I still want my slice of the action.


I have fallen in love with the Pandaren cooking market, and I'm proud to say, "If it grows or bleeds, I probably have it in stock". Cooking is a great market because it has so many ingredients, multiple sources for those ingredients and plenty of transformations. My largest regret for this blog since Mists came out is that I never got around to writing a myriad of posts for the cooking market, all subtitled: To Hell in a Handbasket.

If we've learned anything from the Pandaren it is an appreciation for good food and drink. I have a character dedicated to the cooking market, and he posts everything Pandaria has to offer. I buy up all base ingredients (fish, meat, vegetables) under a threshold. My activity gives the market a certain liquidity. You know if you offload your raw materials at a reasonable price, you are guaranteed a buyer. In an extremely volatile market, I offer a semblance of stability. I naturally stockpile goods with some vegetables going many thousands deep. I've lost count of the times that I've bought wildfowl breast in bulk one day and sold it back at a great markup a couple of days later.

I make sure that popular foods are available (and I don't judge people for their poor diet). Having a large stockpile makes supplying finished foods efficient, and TSM2 has made monitoring stock levels a breeze. Before 5.4, I was surprised that braised turtle would fly off my shelf, and yet Nomi and his 'free' food made a mockery of the price of mogu fish stew. Fortunately since then, the introduction of noodle carts has revived the market for all finished products, and a new market in the carts themselves. The quest line to learn the 300 stat increase cart has done wonders to work through much of my stockpile, and encouraged to me restock [Jade Witch Brew] many, many times.


I don't always feel a sense of community. Random people in LFR and dungeon finder can be total jerks. I'm relatively introverted and have a small guild, and only a small network of battle tag friends. However, I like my realm (and cringe when trolls claim that it is 'dead'). I enjoy contributing to the economy, and filling the AH with goodies for my fellow warcraft characters. I don't just think of my pretty graphs and my liquid gold when I make sales. I think of my time spent in the economy of my server as a service to my fellow players. It's time we gold makers ditch the notion of back room, shady deals and destructive market manipulation, and celebrate our positive contribution to the warcraft economy and our community.


  1. One of my favorite "service to the community" markets is old school crafted gear with great stats plus transmog possibility. Warbear Woolies and Harnesses and Black Dragonscale gear doesn't sell quickly (perhaps because I charge a premium), but for people looking to level without heirlooms, they are great--and they look good too :)

    1. Black Dragonscale is fantastic! I wear it on my Shaman, with Observer's Mantle (Algalon 10).


  2. I also like to do a community service by providing ample supply (and keeping the mats market flowing by regularly buying up well-priced goods). It's a point of pride for me to strive to keep every piece of every spec of the 8-piece ilvl 384 sets available on the AH at all times. It was hard for me to get geared up for Pandaria when I reached 85 (not enough on the AH and I didn't know about the green armor vendors); I want to help keep our medium-pop server vibrant by making sure any new 85 doesn't quit or transfer servers for not having an easy option for getting appropriate gear. The pieces I sell are slightly better than the green vendor gear, at a slightly lower price - win-win! Yes it costs a lot in listing fees and a lot comes back to my inbox, but as long as my overall bank balance keeps going up I figure I must be doing something right.

    Bags, especially farming collection bags are another thing that improves the quality of life for a toon, and thus helps keep the server activity flowing. There's no 20-slot vendor herb bag available on Horde side, ya know! I try to make up the gap on the AH. Lowest price n-weave bags 50g apiece? - I don't think so! As long as there's n-weave to buy on the AH (priced low enough that I don't actually LOSE money in the process) I whip up a bunch and post them for 20g. If someone comes along in an hour and posts a bunch for 19g 99s 99c, or 15g, or 12g, I don't care. If mine don't sell it just saves me the hassle of crafting more! I have plenty of gold that I can throw a few g's in lost listing fees toward keeping my server market humming without it bothering me a bit. Busting up a stagnant market is priceless when it is a product like bags, so vital for toons who are just trying to go about their daily business on Azeroth.

    As a single human being (even with an army of alts and a couple of slick addons) it's just not possible for me to keep every crafted item from every profession over a span of 90 levels in stock on the AH at all times (and even if I could I'd probably go broke doing it). But I pick a couple of niches that I feel are "important" and try to keep them in continuous stock as a public service, in addition to the stuff I generally list with the specific goal of making gold.