Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bargain Hunting

Attention WoWMart shoppers. There’s a special on Lich Bloom in isle 3.

So, I have been keeping track of the herbs needed to craft the flask of endless rage. This flask seems to be a very popular item on raid nights so I’m using it as the basis for my test. An interesting thing happens on Bleeding Hollow for alchemists. The price of materials for a flask is usually equal to the price of the flask itself, +/- 3 gold. So, if you are a dual crafter, like say a Alchemist/Tailor or something like that, you’re pretty much out of luck when it comes to making flasks for enough profit to be meaningful, unless you do your homework. The word "meaningful" in that sentence is very subjective, but let’s assume “meaningful” is at least enough gold to cover weekly maintenance costs.

So, who’s making money off of Alchemy on Bleeding Hollow? Alchemist/Herbalists are. I suppose there just aren’t enough pure farmers on this server to bring the price of herbs down low enough for an Alchemist to buy all his/her materials from the auction house. One side effect of this “self employed” style of gatherer/crafter market is that there are very few, if any, deep under cutters. Producers are limited to selling what they have farmed for. You can’t sell 500 flasks if you didn’t farm 500 Frost Lotus so the cheap flasks get scooped up fast. Furthermore, since the cost of the materials is so close to the cost of the flask, no one is going to undercut the market rate by 40% like the Greedy Goblin does with his glyphs. This also makes flasks a bit more attractive to buy low and relist later.

What happens if you don’t want to gather your own herbs? You have to become a bargain shopper. This is where a tool like Market Watcher could come in very handy. Add the materials for a flask AND the flask you want to make to your Market Watcher addon and scan the auction house twice a day for a few weeks and take a look at the trend. Each herb should start to show a pattern of low and high prices over the WoW week of Tuesday through Monday. Gathered resources are almost always cheaper on Sunday and Monday nights as players unload their stocks after a long weekend of farming. Start buying herbs at their low point and save them for when the flask sells at its high point then craft the flasks and start selling. The high point for flasks is usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night as those are the nights most guilds are scheduled to raid. Remember not to flood the market with them, just post 2 or 3 at a time and repost as they are purchased. It really is an easy thing to do and it seems silly writing about it, but I suspect a lot of people don’t bother with this kind of planning and preparation. You may not get rich by selling flasks for a lower profit than someone with alchemy/herbalism, but you won’t have to spend time farming and ultimately that is the goal for a lot of us.

Of course if you enjoy farming like my wife does, then that’s more coin in your pocket for something that is relaxing and care free. Sometimes though, farming doesn’t produce enough materials to supply your crafting or real life gets in the way of us flying circles around Northrend so stocking up on materials from the auction house when they are dirt cheap is always a good idea, especially when it’s a rare drop material like Frost Lotus.

What's the materials cost vs. market price for consumables on your server?


  1. You make a few interesting points. However, I disagree with two statements:

    >So, who’s making money off of Alchemy on
    >Bleeding Hollow? Alchemist/Herbalists are.
    This is just not true. If Frost Lotus (or other herb) costs X gold to buy, it means you can sell it for X. And if the pirce of mats and the price of flasks are the same, than it doesn't matter whether you sell the mats or convert them to flasks. The only exception to this are properly spec'd alchemists who get procs when they make flasks.

    >post 2 or 3 at a time and repost
    >as they are purchased
    This is a good advise and one that keeps coming up in a number of blogs. It's a good way of dealing with a lot of other issues as well (like undercutters). However, there are two problems with it. First, it drastically cuts your gold/hour. Second, not everyone can sit at the AH for hours, so I don't think it's a realistic suggestion.

    Booty Bay Merchant

  2. I think you misinterpreted statement #1 up there. My point is that if you are an alchemist, you really have to do some bargain shopping for herbs to make money UNLESS you are an alchemist/herbalist. Of course herbalists are making money by selling to alchemists!

    You made an excellent point about a properly spec'ed alchemist. An alchemist with Master of Elixirs should make a lot more money from the bonus flask procs.

    I know several people who camp the AH for at least a half hour on raid nights selling items 2 and 3 at a time.

  3. I used to think that camping the AH would be a total waste of time and would be boring to boot. But, flasks move SO quickly on Tuesdays and Thursdays that as soon as I put 2 up they get purchased. SO I have to make two more and post them...then those 2 sell! Before I know it more and more of the lowest priced flasks are getting plucked off which means I can post 2 more for a higher price!!! Then I run out of mats and start scrambling, trying to figure out a cheap way to make more flasks!

    Basically my point is that there is no boredom, no waiting around, and DEFINITELY no disappointment in flask sales on raid nights. I made 500 gold last night from flask/pot/herb sales alone. I dunno about you but watching that little "A buyer has been found for your auction of Flask of Endless Rage" tell pop on my screen just gives me shivers of delight!

  4. You forgot that if you were an alchemist worth your salt, you would be elixir speced (specialized actually), so even if mat prices were equal to flask prices, you'd still make out with some profit.