20 April 2007

AH: The Price is Right

Geez, I love the Auction House. I think I was already hooked on the game by the time I first visited Stormwind, but still the auction system was maybe the most surprising and intriguing thing about the game in my early play.

And it's been kind to me lately. Alamein has been successful of late, and has been able to build up her bank account to the dizzying heights above 10 gold. Ten gold! Of course that's pocket change for most everyone, but for her it's a major accomplishment and really makes a big difference. She's even maintained that with advancing her skinning to Artisan (4g 50s) in the last week.

What's driven her income to a new tax bracket? A couple of things. She has had some nice drops, including three or four nice swords. The first two auctioned handsomely -- at least by her standards -- bringing about 4g in total.

The third was a bit tougher. It looked like it should auction for about 1g 50s, but didn't sell in two auctions, even with the second listed at just over 1g. The AH deposit was 27s so it was painful to auction it repeatedly, and eventually she decided to cut her losses and send it to Gazala to disenchant. The fourth is still up at auction as we speak. We'll see what comes of it!

Alamein has also been auctioning a lot of materials. Most of her fighting in Darkshore and Ashenvale came against humanoids, so she's found herself with stacks of linen, wool, and silk. Of course that auctions rather nicely. And as she approaches 150 skill in Leatherworking, her medium leather is less important and she's auctioned some of that off too. There's not a lot of leather for auction on Shandris at the moment, so she can get pretty good prices for it. In fact, she can often do better by auctioning what she skins, and then buying undervalued leather that shows up at auction.

That highlights an interesting difference of opinion between Eric and I. I'm rather careful with my prices at the AH, considering not just the historical prices but also what the current supply looks like. If there's a glut of some item -- last night it was Hillman's Shoulders -- I won't auction my own until the supply decreases. And if I see something that's seriously underpriced that would hurt my own auction, I'll either wait, or buy the cheap goods myself to re-auction later. In short, I work to maximize my price.

Eric's not even close to interested in all that. He's much more likely to price his item so that it's stone-cold guaranteed to sell. Of course this can cut into his income quite a bit. But it's not that cut and dried. Consider the nice sword I couldn't auction. I had it priced at 1g 50s, then 1g 10s or something. Eric would have probably priced it at 90s -- and sold it. Meanwhile, I spent more than 50s on two unsuccessful auctions.

In the long run, I think I'll come out ahead financially. But how important is that? It is still a game, after all. If Eric isn't interested in thinking about his auction prices, then doing so feels more like work. Why bother? His reduced income just means he might have to spend more time mining or killing mobs -- the stuff he enjoys anyway.

But I don't mind that stuff, and I'm enjoying my comfortable income. And level 40 isn't that far away!

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