Tuesday, March 29, 2011

AH gamble

I have been asked how I got to the 250k in this time, so I thought it would be nice to write a short wrap up on how I did it. Mind you, short is being very subjective as most of the readers know.

The short, condensed version is this:

Obsidium Shuffle with alchemy and jewelcrafting, glyphs, some enchants and a couple of check ups daily.

Longer version will be split in sections mentioned in the short one.

One note before starting anything: everything starts with a full scan of AH with Auctioneer.

Obsidium Shuffle
Those who do not know, the term (ore) shuffle was used already in Wrath of the Lich King describing the way one could buy Saronite from AH, prospect it and sell the uncommon gems for profit. It worked well, especially when combined with the transmutations to rare gems and then cut rare gems. At times it was possible to make enough profit from one cut rare gem to purchase several stacks of Saronite for prospecting, making this an endless money grinder.

Shuffle is a grind, don't forget that: there is no 'Prospect All' button, as there isn't any 'Mill All' button. In this sense the gathering professions have the long end of the shaft, as all the rest of the professions have a Do It! button at their disposal.

Anyhow, the gritty little bits on how I did it. I set a certain price under which I purchased the Obsidium from the AH. My latest threshold was (is if need be) at 3g a piece, making the stack price maximum of 60g. When I started this, the stack prices were much higher and I had the threshold at 4g a piece (80g a stack).

Now when you prospect Obsidium, you get 4-6 uncommon gems and 1-2 rares. It's pretty safe to calculate this being 5 uncommons and 1 rare (there are more accurate calculations out there based on vast volumes of prospected ore). Now if you cut the uncommons and sell them to a vendor, you get 9g a piece... Yes, the raw floor base of the stack of ore is 45g (5 times 9g, forgetting the rare).

However, you can sell most of the uncommons for much higher price than that, especially during the days when the Jewelcrafting daily requires three cut uncommons: the price for a gem can easily go as high as 30-40g a piece. Then again, Carnelite and Nightstone are usually at around 30g in the AH, so just by getting them sold raw you have most probably made some profit.

Great help in calculating what you should do is an addon called OreCrusher, even though it sometimes calculates the values a bit differently than I could by hand. OreCrusher gives you a general idea on how much you can make profit out of the amount of stacks at the price you have paid for them (you give these values to the addon, all else it takes from the Auctioneer data), and how you can get the maximum profit out of the stuff: be it selling the gems raw, cut and vendored, transmuted into rares or crafted and disenchanted.

So, now we have prospected the ore and have a handful of gems: time to see what else we can do.

If you can prospect, then you are a jewelcrafter, right?

First things first: the most important thing of a jewelcrafter is to keep his stock of them most important rares and Shadowspirit gems up. The first thing I always did after the prospects was to create the jewelcrafter Fiery Gem, which 'opens up' to a random set of rares. The three gems of each uncommon usually pays itself back just for the cut rare prices.

You see, there are very few uncommon gem cuts which actually sell at all: people tend to go for the best cuts available, causing the situation in which almost all rare cuts which sell are red (Inferno Ruby) or orange (Ember Topaz). The uncommon cuts just sit in the AH until I sell them to a vendor.

OreCrusher tells you if you can make profit from cutting and vendoring the uncommon ones. The most prominent candidates for this treatment are Alicite and Zephyrite, latter of which cannot be used for any jewelry at all. For Zephyrite the route is either cut/vendor or AH during the days it's required for the jc daily.

What really pays for a jewelcrafter are the rare and meta cuts, and one should always have a good stock of the most important (best selling coloured) gems available. For me the best ones were Inferno Rubies, which sell constantly at profitable prices.

OreCrusher tells you also which gems you could craft into jewelry and have disenchanted, the enchanting materials to be sold for profit. This requires you to have access to an enchanter capable of disenchanting Alicite Pendant, Jasper Ring, Hessonite Band and Carnelian Spikes. OreCrusher is pretty accurate on this, but you should always check if it's better for you to have the Alicite turned into Hypnotic Dust or cut/vendored. If you have an enchanter, the disenchanting way ought to be better.

You should remember one thing with the jewelry: once in a while you get the rare version of the Jasper Ring, Alicite Pendant and Hessonite Band, which should be sold as such. Their price is around 100g for the ring and pendant and as high as 300g for the band, but that's very much server dependant.

How I do it? I have automated the crafting so that I automatically send the crafted stuff either to my enchanter or my auctioneer, and so I can craft some hundreds of them easily while doing something else. For this end I use Trade Skill Master addon's Auto-Mail feature. Now the question is, how is this possible, as there are several of the different enchants the rings, pendants and bands can have.

The answer is easy: TSM handles the uncommon and rare ring/pendant/band by it's item number instead of the name, and when you set it to sell one of the rares to one and one of the uncommons to another toon, it just knows to send them all the same way! Talk about 'Craft All' button here.

Carnelian Spikes is a special case, as it competes with the next part for the Carnelians: first of all, you need to be at an anvil to craft the Spikes and so you cannot automate the crafting the way the rest of the craftables, which you can make at the mailbox. Second, the profit is quite seldom better than from cutting the rares done via transmutations, which is next.

The best way to keep your jewelcrafter in good supply of rares is to check the OreCrusher Transmutations subpage: it tells you which transmutes are profitable as such, and it doesn't take into account the further cuts. And the best part is the fact that the rare gem transmutes are not on cooldown, so you can craft as many of them as you have the gems and accompanying herb to produce.

The first transmute I always do is the Shadowspirit gem transmutes, and I do them right after the Fiery Gem. This leaves me less raw uncommons to process, but gives me also a good set of meta gems to sell raw and sell as cut.

Best transmutes seem to be the Inferno Rubies, Demonseyes and Ember Topazes, all of which sell well both as raw and as certain cut ones.

Now that was the shuffle. It's not for the faint hearted and most certainly it requires work and dedication to make it work.

Inscription and glyphs
My scribe is only at level 67, and he was below 60 when I started. Glyphs were profitable already then, as there are several glyphs which sell decently from the very beginning of the Inscription profession. The main aspect of making money with glyphs is consistency and persistence. The more you can cancel and repost the glyphs at peak times, the more you sell, sadly.

I automated as much as possible of this, as I knew I couldn't commit a lot of time to the whole business. So I set up TSM in a way that I posted the glyphs for 48 hours, with decent undercuts and in two different sets at all times, posted every other day. So I had one set reposted every day.

The hardest part of the inscription is to come up with the herbs and inks, and for that my scribe is both herbalist and scribe. I can mill the herbs myself, and so I have at least one level of more control over the actual ink prices.

Glyphs are not as good in money making with little time to devote to playing, and the best profit comes from concentrating on the best selling glyphs, leaving the less popular ones out. Then again, working with the whole set gives you wider range to tap into.

However, by far the best business I have had with inscription have been both tomes and cards. I have currently a couple of all tomes in AH, and they sell one or two a day, still! I have also crafted all special inks into all sorts of cards. At this level my scribe can't access to the highest tier of Faire cards, so I'm out of the real business, but the lower tier ones - except the Northrend ones - sell still decently due to the reputation achievements.

While I've been disenchanting the jewelry from the Shuffle, I haven't given the proper love to my enchanting at all. There are few 'new' best sellers here (Avalanche and Mending at the forefront) which could easily multiply the profits of the Shuffle, I've been lazy and sold the enchanting materials as raw. Of course I've done some enchants to level up the skill and Enchanting has been generating some stable income, too. It could be much better if done properly.

All in all, that is all I have done. I have three characters (JC/Alchemy, Enchant/Tailoring, Herb/Inscription) which have been running the show. Twice a day I've checked the mail and reposted, once a day I've taken the time to do some shuffling and crafting, all in all it's taken 2-3 hours a day to run the business, including a random or a couple of dailies or something fun in between the crafting and toil.

If you are really interested in AH gamble, I would suggest you go to the Consortium Forum, where you can find the most accurate information about the prospecting results, spreadsheets on maximizing your profits and great information about making money in AH in general. When you do so, please mention Copra as your referrer, just for the sake of it.

Gold making in AH is like anything in WoW: it just takes time, preparation and long hours of working towards your goal. If I can make 250k in a couple of months, ANYONE CAN!

Go for it!