How Video Games Helped me Learn About Markets
From the days of Burning Crusade to about the end of Wrath of the Litch King, I was an avid World of Warcraft player.
Outside of trying to upgrade my gear so that I could do raids and end game content, I also followed Markco who ran a site called Just My Two Copper.
I think I learned more in those six months listening to his podcast and following his blog than I did in any economic class and hoping to share some of that lost knowledge here.
Selling 1 Silk, 6 Silk, or 20 Silk
Knowing what amounts would sell for a premium and what amounts I could look to buy in bulk gave me the edge I needed in this market.
One way to make money in the Auction House was to sell cloth as it was used for grinding reputation, quests, leveling up the tailor profession, and making bags to carry all your good on your character.
I say all this as it was important to know this information to know how large of stacks (up to 20) of each type of cloth you wanted to sell.
I believe there was a quest in WOW that required 6 silk to complete the quest. If you were lazy you could just go to the Auction House and buy the 6 silk instead of farming it.
Most people would pay a premium for the 6 stacks so you could buy 3x 20 stacks for 1 gold apiece and sell the 6 stacks for 40–50 silver apiece (100 silver = 1 gold).
Buying Items to Sell to Vendors
Watching YouTube videos and learning how to use auctioneer gave me the edge I needed to make daily gold with just a few minutes of time.
Some people were just lazy or didn’t understand the value of what they had and would put items on the auction house for less than what you could sell to an NPC (non-player character).
Most of the time the profit from this wasn’t much, but if you could get enough items it was worth a quick buck or two.
I was able to do this with an in-game addon called the auctioneer. I could scan what was currently listed on the auction house and it would instantly tell you what was below vendor price.
Selling Complete Sets
Compiling sets can be sold at a significant premium as it saves the purchaser from having to find and obtain all items themselves, but due to the high price, you need to know what they’re looking for and where they’re buying at.
When it comes to progression, gaming, or collecting there are always going to be whales that come along that would rather buy progress with real money than spend the time in the game.
People would put stock guild banks full of materials to level professions in WOW from 1 to 300 and then would sell that to others.
This can be priced at a significant premium because it’s essentially instant gratification, but it’s one of those things you have to be in the right place at the right time due to the high price that these commands, which most people/players can’t afford it.
Buying Materials to Convert to Products
Sometimes you could make a quick buck by just buying all the materials to make bags and then listing those bags on the Auction House for more than the materials cost.
As I talked about up above, bags were a valuable good in World of Warcraft, because it seemed like you never had enough space to carry all your items, especially when farming materials or running a raid.
A quick check of the materials required to make bags on the Auction House and, if you got lucky, sometimes you could scoop up some cheap mats or materials and convert them to finished goods and sell them for a premium.
If you were a particularly savvy entrepreneur, you could buy all the materials from the auction house, pay someone else to make them into a bag, and still sell the finished good for a premium.
Selling Raw or Finished Goods
One of the things to consider was always how do you want to sell your materials. If you knew the market well enough you’d know if you should sell iron ore or iron bars.
In World of Warcraft you could sell your ore to Smelters to help them level up their profession on one hand.
On the other hand, Black Smiths would need the bars to craft weapons and armor and they couldn’t always turn their own bars into ore, so would either have to pay someone or have a friend do it.
If you watched the market, sometimes you could make a pretty penny just buying ore off the market, turning it into bars, and then relisting it. The one thing you had to be careful of is sometimes it took 4, 5, or even 6 ore to make 1 bar so you had to keep that in mind.
Finding Your Edge
Everyone has an edge when it comes to finding a spot in the market. In World of Warcraft it was maxed out profession across one or several characters, knowing the ends and the outs of Auctioneer, or just having the knowledge of market prices, it was just about finding the inefficiencies and capitalizing on them.
By the time I was done playing I was never Markco rich, but definitely had a guild bank full of mats that would have allowed me to buy anything I wanted in the game if I got rid of it fast enough.
In the end, I found that I got really good at making money off of about 2 or 3 of the above tips, and others I mostly just broke even or lost money on.
I write/say all this to encourage you to leave your paid group, turn off notifications of influencers making calls on Twitter, find out where your own unique advantage is in the market, and start making money your own way.
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