Tuesday 19 June 2012

Fundamental skills as an auctioneer

This post  is all about fundamental skills you will want to develop as an auctioneer. Some of these are pretty basic but have far reaching consequences once you've mastered them.

For each page in this chapter, I will go over a single skill as well as a tactic to enhance that skill.

As you work through these tactics and begin to hone your craft, be sure to backtrack and retry methods that you may have struggled with previously. The idea here is that the difficulty ramps up as you get better on the auction house.

Let's get you started with a really simple skill involving searching the auction house for deals. From the main gold auction house screen, search for the following, making use of all search features available to you:

Search for magic boots. You're going to end up with way too many search results, which is obvious if you check your last auction page (press the arrows to move to the last search results). If you see more than 45 pages then you need to refine your search because only so many auctions can appear at one time.

To narrow it down a bit, search for level 1 to 20 magic boots with strength.

Look at the results and you'll probably notice that far less showed up. From here, click on the buyout sort so that low priced auctions appear first. Those with "N/A" mean that there is no buyout, only a bid.

If needed, move one page right at a time until there are buyouts showing up.

Knowing the price of a subtle essence, you may be able to find magic boots that are selling for less than the cost of an essence. If you do find these auctions, either bid on them or buy them out.

Tricks to Enhance Your Skills
Search the "N/A" auctions for cheap bids that are also near ending.

Try searching different categories, starting with a broad search and then narrowing it down until you end up with less than 46 pages of results. You could start at specifying a level for your first search, then add an item type criteria for the second, and finally some stat restrictions if necessary.

Be careful not to invest too much into items. Although you can bid on tons of auctions, you don't want to get your money tied up in them completely. Be mindful of bidding on auctions that have more than 24 hours of time left, but base it on the next time you will log on. If you have 48 hours until you log in again, then there's nothing wrong with putting a large portion of your money into bids. Odds are you won't win them all anyway and so your money plus won auctions will be ready once you return to the game.

Alright, let's try something a little more complicated. For this strategy, you will want to start with commodities, but eventually move on to gear. The goal is to find auctions on the gold or RMAH that can be flipped to the opposite auction house.

To properly implement this strategy without taking losses then you will need to completely understand the fees of both auction houses.

The gold auction house is easy as it's 15% for everything.

The RMAH is a little more complex, with three very different fees. Commodities (like gold) have a 15% fee and non-stacking items (like gear or weapons) have a $1 fee. For the purposes of flipping between houses, I would recommend using the Battlenet Balance option instead of cashing out. Since you're going to be flipping anyway, why not move the funds in and out of the Bnet balance to avoid the heavy 15% fee for cashing out to paypal? When you finally do want to cash out for real, just buy a very expensive item and sell it on the
RMAH with paypal selected as the cash out option.

Now for the fun part, finding items to flip. Obviously, you will want to look at both auction houses in order to find good deals, but this is more complicated than just looking right this moment. You're going to want to keep a simple spreadsheet, written journal, or something to record the prices of your targeted commodity. Let's start off with any crafting material.

Track the cost of the commodity any time you get a break in your gameplay. Record the cost on both auction houses at 1, 10, and 100. Once you have a decent record of auctions for a day or two, you can begin (slowly) to dabble in flipping.

Honing Your Skills Further
Pick a very popular weapon or piece of armor that people like to buy. Target this item for your next flipping attempt.

Try using trade chat to reduce the number of fees you suffer on the gold auction house. This will greatly reduce the amount of money you lose when converting to dollars.

Offer people on trade chat a 5% discount from the current auction house price of an item or commodity. This will save you 10% in fees and them 5%, so everyone is a winner!

Some commodities move very quickly, and so attempting to "snipe" cheap auctions when your search criteria is 1x the item proves nearly impossible. Instead, change your buying amount to 10x or even 50x when you attempt to buy.

You can cancel a commodity at any time and you will get back any money owed plus the remainder of your commodity. This is great for freeing up an auction slot or changing your price. I would never recommend having more than one auction slot per commodity type.

Flexibility of Flipping Commodities
In order to encourage posting auctions in Diablo 3, Blizzard took away all posting fees associated with creating auctions on both the GAH and RMAH. Because this could potentially lead to players posting thousands of items and quickly bring their infrastructure to its knees (as well as open up opportunities to scam players with crap items), Blizzard also limited the number of auctions you can have to 10 per auction house (10+10 = 20 total). What I’ve discovered is a terribly simple method (you’re going to facepalm yourself for not thinking of this) for getting around this limit.

How to Circumvent the 10 Auction House Limit
The method is pretty straight forward, and I’ll keep it simple as you could get into quite a bit of debate about the most optimal way to implement this strategy. Basically, you as the player need to take advantage of the cancelling rules for commodity auctions. If you don’t know what they are, here’s how it works:

Cancelling a commodity will send any gold earned thus far by the auction to your completed auction tab as well as any left over commodities from that stack of items. If you had 60 subtle essences and canceled them an hour later, you might see the gold for 30 sold ones come back as well as the remaining 30 subtle essences.
Taking advantage of this fact, a player could buy when the market dropped and sell when ever the market recovered. Rest assured, the prices of all commodities in this game will fluctuate violently; which will in turn leave opportunities for those monitoring these markets.

At any time, a player can cancel his commodities and repost them for a new price, thus circumventing the 10 auctions per auction house limit. If I cancel and repost my stack of subtle essences 30 times, it’s as if I had that many additional auction slots. Not at once, but it’s a hell of a lot better than getting stuck with a 48 hour weapon or piece of armor that was priced too high to sell!

Example of Commodities to Flip:
Gems of all Colors to Tier 8

Crafting Materials for all Blacksmithing Tiers (3 at Inferno Level)

I would recommend using 3 slots for inferno crafting materials and then use the other 7 slots on gems. At any time you can cancel to switch commodities being sold, change pricing, or put up some gear/weapons.

Enhancing Your Skill
The real trick is knowing when to buy. Pick a price point that you will ALWAYS buy at (without putting yourself too long on gold). Stick to that price and play for the long haul. Learn to buy in large quantities in order to avoid missing out because others were faster than you.