Note: this article is very much a work in progress, but I’ve had it sitting on my hard drive staring back at me too long. Any feedback is appreciated.
The first few months I played World of Warcraft, my various characters were continually broke. Given that there are items that sell in the in-game Auction House for hundreds and occasionally thousands of gold pieces, someone was making money. The obvious way to make money in WoW is by farming resources, such as mithril or iron for those specializing in Mining, or creatures that have a relatively high percentage chance of dropping extremely valuable items.
After a few months I gave up the crafting skills and focused on mining and skinning and started making some money selling iron, leather and other goods on the Auction House, but I was still typically broke and there were a lot of items that were well out of my reach (and WoW is heavily item-based; I have occasionally beat much higher level characters in PVP because they almost certainly had far inferior gear).
But, frankly, I don’t do a lot of farming. It is extremely boring to grind the same creatures or areas over and over. Enter Auctioneer.
Auctioneer is a user interface add-on. It is a completely legal mod. Basically, Auctioneer does a thorough scan of the Auction House and then writes information about each auction to a database. After enough scans, the player will have a much better idea of what he or she should be selling items for on the Auction House, as well as find arbitrage opportunities where he or she can buy something off the Auction House for, say, 50 silver and then immediately relist it for 20 gold (this has happened to me a couple of times). Today, I typically make 100-200 gold/per week just from buying and relisting items on the Auction House, and I could probably make a lot more than that if I tried harder (at the moment, 100 gold/week is more than enough for my needs so I’d rather be questing and killing to go up in the level progression scheme than constantly hanging around the Auction House).
This is a tutorial on how to use Auctioneer to increase the amount of gold you’re earning in WoW.
Auctioneer can be downloaded here. You should install both Auctioneer and the Enhanced Tooltip mod — they go hand-in-hand. Note that as of this writing the 1.8 patch has broken Auctioneer. There is a work-around that can be found in this thread. Please do not send me e-mail or post messages here regarding installation of Auctioneer. I will simply ignore such messages. If you have questions about that, go to the Auctioneer forums. And be polite — some wonderful folks have coded this extremly useful mod in their spare time.
Once you’ve got it installed, there are two major changes that you should notice within WoW.
First, a new “Scan” button has been added to the Auction House “Browse Auctions” tab:
Pressing, the “Scan” button will initiate a scan of all the auctions currently listed on the Auction House,
Note that, depending on the day and time you do the scan, it can take a very long time to complete. Sometimes upwards of 10-15 minutes or more. During the scan Auctioneer writes information about every auction to a database file. It aggregates this information by item, so each scan where Heavy Leather is listed on the auction house will give information about the market price of Heavy Leather.
To really get accurate market information about items on the auction house, you really need to do 10-12 scans from my experience. If you spend a week doing a scan at the beginning of the day and then again late at night, you should have pretty accurate information at the end of the week. I typically try to do 2-3 scans every day.
This is especially important for obtaining good data on items that rarely appear on the Auction House.
Once you’ve got the information from the Auction House, there are a variety of ways to see and use that information. The Enhanced Tooltip mod will show you a variety of information about any given item if you arrow over it. For example, examine this screenshot of what I see when I arrow over a stack of Firefin Snapper,
In all of the scans I’ve done, Firefin Snapper has shown up in 212 auctions. The average starting bid for a stack of 10 is 80.50 silver and the average buyout is 1.19.40 gold. Based on that data, Auctioneer recommends I price my 10 stack with a minimum bid of 76 silver and a buyout of 95 silver. This price, as we’ll see in a minute, is designed to undercut by 5 percent the market price.
This also helps decided what stuff to sell on the Auction House and what stuff to dump at the vendor. If an items shows up that has Never or rarely been seen at the Auction House and has a relatively low price, dump it at the vendor. That way you don’t get stuck paying fees to list stuff at the Auction House that never ends up selling (remember, you don’t get your deposit back if the item doesn’t sell).
So I decide to sell my 10 stack and when I place it in the Auction area, it shows me the following,
Auctioneer has filled in its recommended minimum bid and buyout prices. As well as telling me I’m undercutting the market price by 5%. If no one else was selling this item during the last scan I would see a “No Competitition” message.
Press “Create Auction” and you’re finished.
That sort of aid in setting prices would be indispensable in and of itself, but Auctioneer goes one step further with a series of slash commands that let the user find items on the Auction House that are underpriced and can be purchased and relisted at a profit.
The most useful is the “/Auctioneer broker” command. You type this from the chat window like this,
That command then returns results that look like this,
The results are items where the buyout price is more than 50 silver lower than the highest sellable price from the last 20-30 scans.
So, Auctioneer notes that the Formula: Enchant Gloves – Riding Skill is currently listed as at a buyout price of 30 gold, but I should be able to resell it for more than 50 gold, which would be a nice profit (in fact, using Auctioneer I recently bought this formula for 23 gold and resold it for 59 gold).
Most of the money to be made is on lower end stuff, however. I make most of my money at the Auction House buying and selling things like iron bars and fadeleaf. Both of those items tend to be in relatively high demand (at least on my server), and yet enough players lowball their buyout prices on those goods that I typically sell 200-300 of each on top of what I end up obtaining from production skills and mob drops.
The one thing you have to be wary of are items that show up as frequently appearing in the Auction House but that almost never receive bids. There are quite a few items that, for one reason or another, player simply don’t go to the Auction House to buy. On my server, for example, there is almost no market to speak of for gold bars. I can list and relist these for days at prices undercutting everyone else and they still will not sell. Typically, I find that if Auctioneer tells me that an item has been listed a fair amount of times — at least 100 — and has been bidded on 7 to 10 percent, then there’s a fairly active market in it. The Firefin Snapper above, for example, has appeared 212 times in my Auction House scans and has a bid rate of 18 percent. That tells me that Firefin Snapper is in relatively high demand — this is something that players are actively looking to buy at the Auction House.
Otherwise, you need to test the waters a bit before buying in on large amounts of items even when the buyout price is very low compared to what Auctioneer estimates the market price is.
I used Auctioneer for several months, making quite a bit of money but not as much as I thought I could be making, before I hit upon a strategy that works for me and has really started to pay off in the past few weeks.
First, I created an alt that I not-so-creatively named Briansbank. I think marched this 1st level gnome rogue to Ironforge where the character resides permanently — the only place this character goes is the Auction House, the Mail Box and the Bank. Auctioneer aggregates its scans by account, however, so data generated by scans done from my alt character are also available to my main character (unlike many people, I only play a single main character — this bank character is my only alt).
Second, I have my main character mail to my alt everything that she picks up that is worth selling on the auction house. My wife also mails everything her characters find that are worth selling to my bank character. The idea here is to have one character that is permanently based in Ironforge and takes care of all the Auction House sales. This makes it easier to manage inventory on the main characters, as well as prevent needless forays back to Ironforge to post auctions, etc.
I typically set a limit of say, 40 gold that I want my bank alt to have at all times. Anytime that doubles to 80 gold, I’ll send 20 gold to my main character and 20 gold to my wife’s main character. Then all I worry about with my main character is finding the best price on gear, potions, etc.