Thursday, October 28, 2010

Regrets, I've had a few...

Quick note here...while I'm sure that most of you are here due to Markco's blog carnival via JMTC, just in case you aren't, please make sure to check it out!

Anyhow, cheesy Sinatra reference aside, I'm less concerned with providing a few anecdotes regarding my tactical mistakes than with trying to convey the larger philosophical errors that befall me (and likely many others).  So with that in mind I've compiled my top five pitfalls that every auctioneer has likely experienced at some point:

1) Being too timid.
I'm very risk averse, to a fault.  One theme you'll notice on this blog, and I hope to expand upon in Cataclysm, is that I tend not to follow the quick tips or one-off items.  Other auctioneers are far, far better than I at noticing items mispriced in the marketplace and capitalizing quickly before the profiteering flames out, or snatching a rare item and flipping it a few weeks/months later for obscene profits.  That said, if something is fundamentally sound, go for it and go for it big.  If there are 50 stacks of saronite ore on the AH for 12g and you are down to your last 600g, buy them all.  Don't stop at 5 or 10.  I've done that all too often myself (well, not the "last 600g" thing) and only dipped my toes in when I should've gone head first.  Recognize the fundamentals and keep an eye on margins, and you can't lose.  The rest is only a question of scalability.

2) Getting involved in niche markets without understanding them.
At the end of the day, you are solely responsible for your actions.  I've followed quite a few tips, despite my own misgivings, because so many sources said they were wise.  The off-hand Inscription items Faces of Doom and Iron-bound Tome are prime examples.  I know plenty of people made a handy profit off them.  I just could not sell them.  Period.  For long stretches of time.  I stuck with it too long because others insisted it worked.  I don't doubt them, but it wasn't worth my time.  Thankfully I only crafted a few, but it was a hassle I wouldn't revisit.  The point being, although I just finished saying you shouldn't be timid, that doesn't mean you should go hog wild.  Know your markets.

3) Not using the trade channel enough.
 I hate /trade.  Absolutely, completely, and totally hate it.  At best, it's 95% stuff I'd rather ignore and at worst it serves as a stark reminder of so many things wrong with WoW and people in general.  However, it's also one of your best sources for bargains, mostly on the buy side.  That impatient guy who just cashed in his honor for gems who is selling epic gems at very negotiable prices?  Yeah, that makes /trade worth it.  Well, in non-election years...

4) Being a packrat.
One near-universal truth of AH-ism in WoW is that item values decrease over time.  Yes, there are some items that hold up well or even increase over time (adjusting for inflation, and there have been a litany of posts lately about this topic), but in general that bright shiny thing everybody wants so badly today will be passé

As an example, I knew that redeeming frost badges (well, the former frost badges) in order to sell primordial saronite would've been smart when I quit raiding back in April.  I had accumulated a pretty hefty stack of badges with no real outlet and no desire/hope for top tier PvE gear.  I cashed in and sold a few at 1.2k gold or thereabouts, but was content to sit on a stack of 700 frost badges for months and months.  Those saronites now go for 300g if you're lucky, and my newly converted points aren't really helping me much (nor will they confer any tangible advantage in Cata).

We're at a unique time now where being a packrat can actually be helpful, but notwithstanding the last month or two of an expansion, in general you should not really be holding onto all that much stuff. 

5) Beware of sunk cost fallacy! 
Sunk cost fallacy occurs in real life quite frequently.  It happens in gambling when someone continues to play despite having lost tons of money because, well, they've already lost tons of money.  The reverse can occur when you're up big (i.e., had a nice day of sales) and you go purchase something frivolous.  You should always know when to exit a market or strategy, and the amount of time/money/effort you've already put into it should not factor into the judgment thereof.

Happy Hunting!


  1. Nice tips, thanks for posting them.

    The only thing I can add is just the cautionary note about /trade. I have seen an increase in tricksters who are using /trade for bait & switch or otherwise ripping people off.

    I answered a /trade request recently for "borean leather, 600, make offer". I quickly answered "buying at 12g/stack". The reply was "sold", and a group invite. By the time I had gone from the north bank to the south bank in Dal, he /p said "sorry, I have an offer for 16g, do you want to bid more?".

    Borean market is around 17g, and can be found for 15g fairly often in the AH. Buying at 12g was a good deal, and even at 16.5g it was at about AH value. But that wasn't the point was it? I was trying to capitalize on a good deal, not AH prices.

    My answer was "/p no thanks, good luck". I left the group. I then logged my AH toon and found there were a ton of borean leather at 17g. I figured this character wanted to move his inventory for less than AH prices, FAST, and figured he could dupe someone in /trade. At the very least, we had a deal and he reniged on it and tried to wrangle more gold from me.

    Then this just happened yesterday. I answered a /trade solicitation for "selling Razzashi hatchling 2k". I quickly answered, "sold" and sent a group invite. We met near the fountain in Dal and this guy opened a trade window and put inside.....a Ravasaur hatchling. I cancelled trade and said "Razzashi, right?". He opened the trade again and put inside the SAME Ravasaur.

    I cancelled and said, /p "sorry, i wanted Razzashi, not Ravasaur--not worth 2k". He replied "someone will buy it" and left the group.

    Maybe it was an honest mistake, or maybe he was trying to rip someone off--I still reported to a GM. If someone did fall for that trick and opened a GM ticket about it my report might serve a useful purpose in getting that player his gold back.

    The point is, simply, be careful about /trade solicitations. You can make some good deals but there are people out there who will try to rip you off, and mistakes are not forgiven.

  2. Great blog. Your last posts on stockpiling, the the new obsidium shuffle and this have been amazingly good.

  3. Great post! I have been wondering about the "too timid" mistake you mentioned making! I believe I am making that mistake right now, and need to start being a bit bolder about the amount of things I purchase! I know what mats/items to buy so that I can craft them into things or just flip them later in the week, but currently I never spend more than a few hundred gold a day, no matter how great of a bargain something is! I'm making gold, but I'm pretty sure I could be making a lot more!

  4. Thanks for the comments, everybody!

    Kammler - I know what you mean about the trade channel, and again can't emphasize enough how much I dislike it. That said, we're all doing ourselves a disservice by ignoring it (as I've been prone to do).

    Charlie - thanks for the kind words!

    Miss Mediocre - we're of the same ilk, I'm sure. Even though I posted it here as "lesson", I still fall victim to it. There's a reason it's #1. :)