World Of Warcraft, WoW Hand Armor

Friday, January 27, 2012

Remote Auction House (RAH) + Transmog = GOLD!?

As a follow up to The Mogfather's Interview, Keel took some time to explain his "how to" on what he does to make an insane amount of gold (read below) and even made up a video (midway through the interview is the link).

Read it, watch it, and go do it! Gold is out there for the taking...are you gonna get it or is the next reader?

Tell me a bit about how you search for your items, do you use an addon? We see quite a bit of images from RAH. Talk to me….

     Well the thing is I got so accustomed to searching for the pieces I was looking for with the iPhone RAH interface, that when I actually had some time to get in-game and search the auction house I lost my way. I even downloaded Auctionator after seeing Jim’s video over at Power Word: Gold, and it was like entering a foreign country. With the iPhone, I had everything I needed for searching and that’s really the critical aspect of what enables success in the transmogrification market; you’ve gotta find those items. 
     With the iPhone, I can do a quick search at Starbucks, on the subway, at the airport, at the grocery store, etc. Whereas to sit down in front of a desktop and fire up all of these in-game mods and use Mogit and blah, blah, blah it takes a long time. If I was still in college it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but that was 15 years ago and I have a family now so time is the most precious thing. That’s why the majority of my work is done via the RAH on my phone.

If you had to choose between doing all of your work via iPhone or doing it in-game, which would you use going forward?

     Wow that’s tough. You know, it’s going to sound crazy but I’d pick the iPhone. Again, it comes down to time and my availability to get in front of a computer and do this sort of work for an extended period of time. This is the #1 reason I haven’t been able to build new tools on my blog, it takes “sit-down” time, and I just don’t have that right now. 

     So the only time I could really get in-game and look around and post some items would probably be late in the evenings and during that time everyone’s on and the competition has already snatched up the Jade boots that were sitting there, the Saltstone legs, the Black Velvet Robes, etc. So I think I’d have to go with the iPhone. 

     At least that way I could guarantee that I would stay ahead of the competition and ahead of the game going forward. I’d have the flexibility to log in anytime, anywhere and snatch some amazing weapons and gear with very little risk of someone else getting to it before me because the majority of the time it would be off-peak hours. Posting hundreds of items would be horrific, of course, but I’ve done it before. 

     It’s time consuming and you always hit that max of 200 transactions a day with the subscription. But it can be done. And if I’m only playing in the top tiers at that point, I might only be throwing up say, 50 auctions or so. But even that would be enough to net me about 10k a week with very little effort.

Let’s get into the juicy of it….Are there any tricks you use to using the iPhone RAH that you could share with us?

Sure, I’ll give you the top things I love about the iPhone RAH.

      •   The visual icons of the items are big, bold and in color. When you’re on a bank alt in-game, typically everything has a shade of red over the icon, so it’s very difficult to search quickly by scanning the icons to know what’s there because they’re all the same shade of color. And if you’re using a mod that’s text-based, well then you’ve got to slowly read each line of text as fast as you can. With the iPhone, I generally don’t need to look at the text anymore because I’ve learned to recognize what the icons look like of the key pieces. So I can zip through about 50 items in less than a few seconds and know exactly what’s there because it’s much easier to scan pictures with your eyes than it is to scan text.

      Scanning is all done on a single, bottomless page. This is the part that makes scanning quickly via iPhone an absolute breeze. So if you’re using the in-game AH interface, you have to search page by page and scroll down within each of those pages. In Auctionator there are no pages but you still have to scroll down. And if you have Mogit installed, it’s a visual mess because as you’re scrolling, the Mogit interface is flashing like a strobe with all the different pieces constantly equipping in the preview window. This makes for a very difficult search because there are so many distractions. With the iPhone, I can just sweep my thumb a few times in a broad stroke over the screen and I’ve scanned the entire selection of Plate currently up on the AH. It’s smooth, no extra pages to muddle through, and the icons are in a nice, simple layout so it’s easy to interpret quickly.

      You can group items together and not have to sort through them. So like if there are 50 Imperial Plate belts that someone has crafted and put up on the AH, in-game you have to slowly sift through all that crap before you can see what’s really there. Well on the iPhone it’s only listed as a single line item and you can just scan over it effortlessly. So your options aren’t cluttered up. It’s just one big, consolidated list of what’s available and you can pick and choose.

     • The posting feature has memory. If I post a Vanguard Girdle for 5,000g today and it expires in 48 hours, all I have to do next time around is just hit “Create Auction” and click the Vanguard Girdle and the iPhone automatically returns to the settings I last set for that auction. So if the default is 12 hours at 1g, when I click the Vanguard Girdle, it will update to 48 hours a 5,000g and all I have to do is hit “Confirm”. So though it might seem like going through 100 auctions and posting them on the iPhone would be time consuming, if you’ve done it at least once with the items (which I have for the majority of my intentories at one time or another) then it just becomes a breeze of select-confirm, select-confirm, select-confirm, done. And speaking of the memory it has, it also recalls prior searches you’ve done. One trick I like to do from time to time is just type in a single letter at a time and run through the alphabet to scan for the key pieces that could net a major profit. So I’ll type in “A”, and it will list Alabaster, “B” and it will list Brutish, Bloodfist, Boulderfist, etc. You get the idea. But this makes for very fast searching. You don’t need a list elsewhere on your phone that you swap applications and copy/paste. Just do a search for it once and you’ll never have to do it again – unless of course you uninstall your app. Then you’ll need to input your searches all over again.

      I can dynamically take screenshots that are simple and legible and post them directly to Twitter from anywhere. This is relevant to me because I communicate a lot of what I do directly to Twitter. And with the iPhone RAH screenshots, it’s incredibly easy to do. If I try to do that in-game, well then I’ve got to import the screenshot into Photoshop, trim it down, resize it, make it legible so readers can make out what’s really there and before you know it I’ve lost 5 minutes doing that. And in the end, the pic isn’t going to be near as legible as the one from my phone.

     When there’s something new that’s never been on the AH before, the iPhone has to load the graphic for the icon so it initially appears as a blank box. So when you see that blank box – it’s an insta “WHOAH, slow the scanning down, what’s that?”. This is a particularly useful feature when scanning weapons and it’s how I found unique items like the Spiked Battle Axe, the Conifer Staff and more.

     If there is any downside to the iPhone RAH it’s the fact that you need to input your password and authenticator code each time you log into the app if it’s been closed or running behind the scenes for more than like, 30 seconds. So if I get a text while I’m surfing the RAH and I swap out and answer it. If I’m out there for more than 30 seconds and I return to the RAH and find something I want to snatch – it’s not a “snatch” process. 

     It then takes me about 10 seconds to input my password, hit “Confirm”, then press yes to auto-import my authenticator code from elsewhere on the phone, and then wait for a few moments for the system to log me in. And I have – repeat – I have lost two major items during this lag. I was faced with a set of Exalted legs and a Tyrant’s chest piece that someone nabbed before I could. I came across them and got hit with the “enter your password”/ authenticate / wait 10 second stall. So I’m like, beating on the phone, tap-tap-tap to get things to confirm so I can grab these items that are sitting there for 5g a piece. No dice, “auction no longer available.” So in the thousands of items I’ve purchased via iPhone RAH, I have lost two to someone else. Which isn’t a lot in the scheme of things, but that delay once you first log into the app has been a fatal one for me twice now, ugh. So frustrating. Other than that, smooth sailing.

Most AH’ers have a schedule they use. Maybe they can only log in once a day. In your experience, is there a better time than others?

     Definitely early morning, Eastern Standard Time. I’d say just about every other day I find another piece of Lofty, Vanguard, Exalted or some of the other big items right around 7am. This was the case on all of the servers I frequented as well. It was like walking into homes the night after a party and just finding money laying on the ground. Party was over, everyone had bailed and gone to sleep and nobody was up as early as I was (you have to do that sort of thing when you’re a father of two). Toughest time to find unique items is definitely at night between about 6pm EST – 11pm EST. And I know these timeframes because I’m looking down and checking my iPhone throughout the day and these are the easiest/most difficult windows I’ve found.

Ok, deserted island question….If you could only target 1 plate, 1 mail and 1 cloth set, which and why?

     I mean the Glorious/Vanguard/Lofty model is the easy answer for Plate. But I suppose if that’s like RSTLNE from Wheel of Fortune (I’m dating myself, aren’t I) and it’s a given, then I guess I’d go with the Bloodscale. I’ve probably sold over a dozen of those sets and they continue to sell, despite a lot of competition and despite the fact that pieces continue to pop up on the auction house. The items are STILL selling at great prices.

In our previous conversation, you talked about helping folks on a new server. What are some of the tactics that you used? 

     It’s a really straight-forward set of tactics, really. I’ve done this on 3 realms where I didn’t actually have a sponsor there onsite to get me started. This is how I went about getting access to the market and blowing up some profits in less than a few days:

     • Wait for a random guild invite while you’re scanning the AH to see what’s available. If you get invited to one, accept it and ask if you can borrow 25-50g to get started with your project. Ask in guild chat for an investor who is willing to turn that 50g into 500g that you’ll pay them back in a few days.

      If you don’t get a guild invite, post to trade chat that you’re looking for an investor who is willing to lend 50g in return for 500g in a few days. This works 100% of the time, because someone will be bound to take the risk on you, and 50g isn’t a big loss these days.

     • Take the gold you’ve acquired, and don’t forget to write down who gave it to you. Remember to pay them back for their good deed that got you started, and be sure to give them the full amount you promise up front. For me, it was 50g for 500g each time.

     • Head to the auction house and begin scanning using my snatch lists. If you can, try to stick to only the top 5 tiers. It’s best to play it safe and stick to the top 3-5 tiers when you’re starting out on a new market and these seem to be desirable pretty much anywhere. Try to avoid starting out with boots, belts and gloves. If you can, target chests and legs first. Those have a much better chance of netting you a big sale than boots/belt/gloves or straggler slots like shoulders and helms. So target the pieces, try to stick to chest/legs and pull them in.

     • Price. Try to avoid spending more than 5-7g per item. Head over to cloth chests and look for a great robe from my list that someone has accidentally posted for 99 silver. Two reasons you only want to spend as little gold as possible when starting out on a new realm:

You need to cover the deposit fees of these items, and some of them can be 1-2 gold per post – ouch!

     You may only see 1-2 items now, but later you may come back and find, say the Tyrant’s legplates for 15g. And if you’ve squandered your 50g investment on Heavy Lamellar gloves, a cheap Brutish shield, or an Imperial Red belt and you only have 14g left you’re going to want to strangle something. So buy smart, be patient and just watch for something to pop. 

      Once you’ve got a few items and paid the deposit to get them up on the AH, you should have a substantial amount left over to pick up anything amazing that might suddenly appear at a cheap price. And with the items up on the AH, you wait. Sometimes I’d start with a single item, other times I got lucky and was able to post 5-7. But I always targeted the top tier items first. Put one or a few of them up, and within 12 hours I’d made about 800 – 1000g. Once you have that, the first thing you need to do is pay off your investor. You don’t want that monkey on your back while you’re posting 40-60 items at a time for insane amounts of gold in a few days so it’s best to just get it out of the way.

     • With a disposable income in place, now you can buy at-will and increase your maximum purchase price to about 15g per item. In addition, you can start acquiring the secondary slots such as belts/boots/gloves. I’d still avoid helms and shoulders at this point.

      Once you’ve hit a few thousand, you’re pretty much rolling and can cover all deposits and acquisition fees needed to continue to build your inventory and stay profitable on your new realm. 

If you HAD to make gold with transmog, but you couldn't use any of the items you're using now, which items would you target next?

     Well the easy answer is I’d move into Leather. Technically I’m not targeting leather items now so that’s an easy one. If I couldn’t do leather though, and it had to be something from one of the other armor types I suppose I’d take a closer look at both mail and plate armor. I’ve been very discriminating in my selection through those options and the reality is there are a few sets that still hold potential to do quite well. So I’d probably look there first and see what more I could juice out of the orange.

Based on all of the sales you've seen, which set(s) do you feel are the most stable and could survive an increase in competition?

     Plate I would say you’re guaranteed to move Glorious, Vanguard, Lofty, Exalted, Tyrant, Saltstone, Jade, Bloodscale, Overlord and Alabaster. Those are the sets that continue to remain rare and/or extremely popular. Mail I would say Chief Brigadier, Glimmering, Masterwork, Engraved, Hero’s, Steadfast, Sentry and Grunt’s. Cloth has been inconsistent, so I’d be more cautious with it. I’ve made lots of sales in cloth, but it’s been nowhere near as stable as plate or mail. 

     So if the question is about stability, I guess I’d say stick to Robes as a primary slot and only pay attention to things like the Silksand, Vital, etc. which share the same model and then look at the Beaded, Barbaric Cloth, etc. which also fall in the same visual field. 

You keep talking about armor more than weapons. For someone new to the market, which should they target first and why?

     You want to target armor because you have a much broader audience to cater to with armor. Weapons are extremely niche. If you pick up a Glorious War Axe, which I’m sure a number of your readers have, well you’re only going to sell that to a player who has a 2H axe to transmogrify it with. So your weapon sales are at the mercy of whatever are the top weapon picks coming out of dungeons and raids. 

     You may have to sell 3-5 different types of weapons in order to serve 5 different plate wearers. But if you just sell them plate armor, you can sell one to the same five and they’ll be forced to fight over it. So always start with armor because your customer base will be larger and it will have more appeal.

"You've helped out others on a number of realms get into transmog, but are you finished? Would you be willing to help more players?"

     I recoiled a bit after the second ban hit, and removed my auctioneers from realms I was supporting. It reduced me down to only having to monitor five auctioneers, which I could do quickly and efficiently via iPhone since the interface allows you to quickly toggle between up to five different toons. Anything more than five and it slows you down because you have to open up separate windows within the app. 

     Since deleting those auctioneers, though, and leaving all those other players with gold and inventory, I’ve been missing the thrill of starting out on an unknown realm and helping another player get their market kickstarted. It comes down to time, though, so I’ll just have to see what I can spare and I’ll have to focus on the players who really have an intriguing case that needs solving.


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