Monday, February 2, 2015

Did You Stockpile for Blackrock?

Well didja?  If not, there's still time left.  Unless you're on my server, where prices will be maintained at their usual "holy shit what are people thinking" levels.

This is getting silly at an average of 553g per.

Stockpiling...  a word not commonly used anymore because everyone is rolling Just-In-Time it would seem.  Why stockpile things, right?  Economies are dead, professions are dead, people don't care about anything other than garrisons and maintaining enough materials to fill work orders.  This is basically what the big world is saying.  It's also not surprising to me to see the vast majority of big names take breaks.  A break at this point?  Why, I'm just getting warmed up! 

As an aside, truth be told, I have been enjoying Diablo 3 this past week, mostly because I need to do something besides collect gold from mailboxes and wipe on Imperator.  But I'm usually dual boxing it.  One machine watching the AH, the other blasting away at demons.  I wouldn't say this is a break.  Break to me means you haven't touched auctions in about a week or two, and haven't considered logging in to check the live action that goes on every single day.  Of course, unless you're on some dead server, then I guess you should have considered that a long time ago before you pressed on only to watch your mailbox fill up with returned auctions as everyone undercuts to the ground.

You know at this point in MoP, it would have been mid-December after the release.  I remember at that time I was just getting warmed up, and I was still a full month out from starting my blog - the blog started on a dare.  I hope you've enjoyed reading my stream of consciousness to date - I do it for the people.  Which people?  Me to know, you to find out.  But the point is, if there even is one, we're a long way off from the finish line here.  Back then people were starting to cry loud and hard about those Tiller farms and how much work it was.  Back then people couldn't be asked to do raids anymore because they were so boring.  Back then people were pissed off about the PvP situation because everything was so bursty.  Sound familiar?  Same cycle, different trek.

You have to be patient, you have to be consistent, you have to be willing to take risks, and you have to be willing to fail and learn from your mistakes.  Stockpiling is risk and fail wrapped into one, you have to call the market weeks and months ahead of time because if there's a glut or shortage, you won't be able to maintain a steady workflow and then the patience and consistency that comes with making millions very quickly goes off the rails.  And millions don't come quickly, they come slowly at first, and everyone just sees the results of the work in the end but never sees the actual work itself.

I personally have tried to stockpile every single week since late November.  It's been almost impossible to keep a continuous flow of raw materials on hand in several markets, specifically raiding and PvP markets.  Consumables are at insane demand levels and great margins, while durable products are at nominal levels and nominal prices.  What's funny is this was the reverse trend of last few expansions for me.

It probably has to do with the death of JC/DE and the death of alchemy specializations, and to each I say good.  I hated both of those for years simply because they were a keybinder's way of proclaiming auctionhouse genius.  Gimme a break.  Milling on the other hand still sucks, and if they had removed this entirely from the game I would be fine.  Glyphs should have gone another direction, but they remained the same, so I still despise them.  But arms trading remains incredibly profitable, and looks to be in the ballpark for the rest of the expansion, regardless if people are pissed that their items are now only worth a few thousand.  One has to look further than 100 of each mat, there's opportunity there with each cooldown and work order.

In Case You Missed It, We Have a New Raid Opening

Blackrock is basically a new tier of opportunity.  I think this is what people are missing.  Unlike when they released Heart of Fear and the Sha of Stink raids, people have been beating their heads in for weeks collecting their BIS out of Highmaul.  Outside of the extreme raiders who finished weeks ago and have been working the PTR, I'm seeing over 260 guilds on my server that have made 6/7H or better progress.  Sure, some are dead and buried and disbanded, but that smells like an extreme profit situation to me.  Let me break this down, and you can apply it to your own server.

1) What's the server population like here?  It's insane, guilds are everywhere, people are recruiting constantly.  Everyone here wants to do better and some want to better deal their guilds and guilds want to better deal their weakest links.  People tend to wear their very best to fight nights, so there's no shortage of money flowing through the AH to accomplish that.

2) What the progression like?  Guilds pride themselves on downing bosses quickly.  We have the #1 guild in the US on the server and several want to be like them and they play like it.  If you're sitting in LFR on my server, you're not in the game, and if you want to get in the game you better prepare to act-as-if.

3) What's the economy like?  We have every duped item you can think of.  CGFs think Illidan when they consider what server to come hock their ill-gotten wares.  We have closet millionaires everywhere.  People like a good deal but they pay what it takes.  I have no idea where they're getting their gold from to buy from me, I suspect it's from any one of the people BadBoy catches... like one a second it seems some days.  On any given Tuesday, if I have the laptop open and keep posting, I'll sell out of most everything at really solid profit levels.

4) Does your server have queues to get in usually around patch time?  Our queues are legendary.  People roll here and it's almost a badge of pride to get a two hour wait on a raid night after content opens.  People avoid my server because of lag, wait times, elitism, and trade spam they can't understand because they can't read Mandarin.  These people are all future customers of mine.  I use the TSM App and check my Excel files and see hundreds of different buyers (and sellers) each week.

So why should I stockpile anything?  I should be parting with everything the second I get it, right?  The problem is there are market forces at work on my server just like any other apocalypse event.  When raids open, raw materials go up in price that day and that second.  I'll give you an MoP First Tier example.

One of my greedy little pastimes back then was to dominate the weapon enchant market.  You really had two choices - everyone wants to dps or heal, nobody wants to tank.  So I saw Dancing Steel and Jade Spirit prices in the 10k range for a good while.  The problem with MoP was, shortage.  Enchanters could make one per day and if you chose to run LFR for your crystals, the gear wasn't dropping.  The price of crystals sat accordingly high, because you needed TEN per enchant.  That meant a person could DE almost all of their gear and make one enchant.  Of course, demand of these petered off between content, but there was always a progression through different bosses.  Then the new content in Throne of Thunder came out and everyone in the gold community seemed to proclaim "there will be thousands of crystals appearing because people will DE their gear and prices will drop!"

It barely happened.  Prices of crystals actually went up again, and the cost of Dancing Steel and Jade Spirit went right with it.  By this time I had been buying hundreds of crystals per week so my costs were way down.  Once the new content opened, I was ready to kill it.  You probably saw me posting results in the half million gold range per week at the time, and this was one thing that contributed to it.  Of course, once the third tier came out with the Isle, prices were worse but the profits were just as good.  I work off projected profit and concrete pricing when buying, and my numbers stay the same as long as I have inventory to sell.  Adjusting on the fly would just be cheating and result in really off kilter results.  Regardless, during the first tier of content, I maintained extreme profits because I was always buying.

I don't sit on my gold and roll around in it like some Scrooge McDuck, I invest it and spread it around to those willing to part with their goods for a reasonable price.  I then turn around and sell it to those that are willing to pay my price, I don't undercut for the sake of undercutting... ever.  The stooges that blindly run Cancel/Posting addons have little to no idea what their actual profits and potential is during the week, but I do.  My big rule - if I'm forced to pull out of a market because my profit expectations cannot be met, I'll wait and find the right buyer at a later time.  This is something that goes on in the real world all the time with most products.  You don't make sales just to make sales, you'll sell yourself broke.  I hold my inventory because I had to work to get it and then sell myself rich.

In the end, I stockpile naturally because it's a habit and because I've developed my own formulas to manage profitability I keep the AH stripped of anything that might resemble a well price mat.  I might sell 300k in crap on a Tuesday, but I'll turn around and reinvest those funds within about 3-5 days.  Since the beginning of WoD, I've built a guild bank loaded down with inventory of all types (200 stacking items isn't nearly enough) while still hitting net profits in the range of 1.8 million in a little over 2 months.  Remember, I'm just getting started, I haven't even finished several alts and we're only in the first real tier.

And what do I deal in mostly?  Well you'll have to take me to lunch to find that out.  Who knows, we may even discuss my favorite topics before we get to WoW.

You Learn Something New All the Time

I posted in Twitter on Superbowl Sunday that I found something out.
Yeah, so here it is.  In doing my Blackrock stockpile shopping this weekend I noticed something...  more mats were appearing than I have ever seen.  I normally buy several hundred of certain items per week, thousands of some, and dozens of others.  This weekend, I was blown away by how much gold I was parting with.  I knew it was going to be a mad dash for many to unload their mats, but when I hit a million in hard currency out the door this weekend I became very concerned.  Was the market crashing?  Are they duping freaking crystals, elementals, and herbs?  Was I the only smart person that wasn’t jumping into the life raft and still sailing full steam ahead?  Normally I don't believe in joining the herd in anything, because usually the herd is running straight into the lion's jaws because the herd normally jumps first, and then asks questions on the Consortium later.

So I asked some sellers I had bought things from on their items since they had several hundred of the things up, and that’s when it started falling into place.

Enter Bluehand, a massive seller of crystals I’d never seen before.  Was this guy a duper?  Was he just now selling his reserves?  Someone like myself makes 154 crystals per week, but I doubt they were like me since nobody is.  They were posting dozens of crystals, and I bought over 70 of the things when I decided to ask them the question – Will you give me a bulk discount off the AH?  They cut the price by 20g per, which I found agreeable.  Whoever they were was really excited and was willing to cut that price very quickly.  I got to questioning if it was something shady.  It turns out they were just getting some gold together because they ported from another server and were going to be raiding.  Lots of people port here so not a big deal, and people often come here to raid and have a guild in mind already.

Enter Arixiza, level 40 druid healer to the stars.  I went to buy some elements I needed for all those crystals I bought this weekend, noticing the person had posted several hundred at below my normal buying price.  I snapped up every last one.  Then they reposted several hundred more at prices above my range, and I started freaking out…  Are they duping elements now?  Surely not, let’s ask for a deal.  I sent a tell and they agreed to deal at the price I bought for previously and face to face.  This time I inquired…  how did you get all these?  Turns out they were unhappy with the price of TCGs on their server, so they ported a toon that could learn the mounts, along with an inventory of crap that sells for about half the price where they came from.  They figured this was a good time to do this because 6.1 is coming and the prices are going to fall with the new transmutes – whether or not they will is still up for discussion because they will more than likely have a daily CD attached to them and there’s no proc for a mastery anymore.

It was an ‘ah ha!’ moment for me.  People were dumping their trash on Illidan just to buy stuff and increase their gold count.  I had also tweeted over the weekend that if I was to just port to another server with gold and buy their cheap mats, I could double or triple my money.  Interesting how I foreshadowed this discovery - people were doing it to me all weekend with the mats and I was parting with hundreds of thousands of gold per hour.

Normally people do this with TCGs, but on Illidan, we’re one of the most expensive markets in the raiding universe.  Why?  Over 250 active raiding guilds doing end-Heroic and up content.  When you have that much gear dropping on a weekly basis, you put real strain on the Supply/Demand curve for enhancements and supplies.  Case in point – I love me some high end enchanting, always have.  I usually buy several hundred crystals and add that to the 154 I make every week.  On a normal week I’m lucky to snag about 200-300 at reasonable prices that allow for acceptable profits.  I sell out usually every Tuesday, and have a handful of leftovers for Wednesday, when demand drops off a bit but prices remain very aggressive for the sellers.  Further, our crystal supply is depleted so badly that prices for buying them remain trashy until about Friday when things settle down, hence the reason I do my buying over the weekends.  Just a few weeks ago the things were up over 725g per on a Tuesday.

But this weekend was different.  People were porting here to try to raid and/or save/make money.  As crazy as this server gets, it was just a buyer’s paradise.  Blackrock is coming out, and people want to insure that they are free of materials because 6.1 is going to change everything!  The sky is falling!  Time to dump those mats!  And 6.1 hasn't even been announced for release yet.  And people like me with bankrolls will absorb that risk, provided we know what we’re doing and can take the hit if it comes.

I’m confident I know what I’m doing (MY server here, not a blanket assessment), because even if 6.1 doesn’t make another change, the cost of dust is going to skyrocket so people will be prevented from getting those shards cheaply and easily for the daily.  People can also select spirits in lieu of the fractured crystals, which boil down to 4 work orders without a follower?  Additionally, who in their right mind will exchange spirits for anything but Savage Bloods?  There are upgrades to be had, 3 full tiers of them and they don’t require one or 2, they will require 60 of the things PER piece to go Stage 1 to Stage 4.  For many people, these upgrades are going to remain BIS for a while until their guild is capable of actually killing Heroic Blackrock bosses and proceed into Mythic.  That’s a tall order, and on Illidan if you aren’t trying to be the best, your ass is just asking to ride the bench on progression nights.  And Savage Bloods will crater in value, and I’ll still make a mint.

Good luck to those of you raiding Blackrock this week, and if you’re on Illidan don’t forget to buy your enchants and gems from me, I’ve got plenty in stock.

Thanks for stopping in!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Remember to keep your comments pithy, they will be posted after approval!