Learning Lessons From Old Gold Making Markets


When it comes to making gold in World of Warcraft I try to be active in as many markets as I can comfortably manage without the whole activity turning into a second job. This is important because as the wow gold economy churns, markets come and go. Those players that become too reliant on a single market can sometime wake up to find their main source of wow gold disappearing fast. But over the years, even the most experienced gold makers can become too attached to a once profitable market and fall victim to declining sales before admitting that it is now defunct.

In this article I’ll discuss one such market that I became unreasonable attached to and which is now defunct and highlight what gold makers can learn from these old markets. This post is part of Cold’s Gold Blogging Carnival.

On any one server in the wow universe there are many thousands of items to trade on the Auction House. So it’s best to categorize these items and break them up into discrete markets. When it comes to the wow gold economy I like to use the built-in Auction House categories to describe these markets. One such market that I’ve always traded is the Pet or Companion market.

Now, before patch 5.0 hit the servers I had come to rely on this market as a steady contributor to my gold income stream. But competition can be a little tough so I traded in the sub-market of mechanical pets which I had come to dominate on my realm. Identifying a niche market in a much broader market can be a good way to reduce competition on any given server. And one companion that I always traded, week in and week out, was the Tranquil Mechanical Yeti.

For the Engineers among you, you’ll recognize that this mechanical companion is very simple to craft, but can sell for many times it’s cost of materials. In fact the only problem with this recipe is that it needs hard to grind materials, such as Globe of Water,  Elemental Air and Earth which tend to have a low drop rate. To combat this I set up a shopping list in TSM called ‘Yeti’ which I ran daily to scoop up these items for crafting, while at the same time depriving my competition of the necessary material and reducing competition.

But as in the real world things change and with the coming of Mists of Pandaria and Battle Pets this market, and the demand for the Tranquil Mechanical Yeti, underwent a rapid decline. Now there are many reasons for this and Cold has written several good articles on the subject, so I won’t repeat them here. I’ll only describe some of the macro-economic changes that can result when Blizzard adds new features to the game.

One reason for the decline that I will mention is that companions became available account wide and many players had multiple companions reducing demand. Now, when Blizzard makes a change like this it normally has a big impact on the supply and demand curves in the wow gold economy. However, so ingrained was my daily TSM scan and crafting routine that I continued on my merry way manufacturing the Tranquil Mechanical Yeti.

But after Patch 5.0 players  focused on Battle Pets (there is even an Auction House category for this type of pet now) and my little Yeti kept coming back to me in the form of expired auctions, time after time. I even noticed a huge increase and price drop of the mats needed to craft it. Eventually, the penny dropped and I realized that this niche market is as dead a parrot in Monty Python sketch – at least for now. So, what have I learned from this market?

Well, every new patch brings change to the wow gold economy and the markets from which it is composed. Nothing stays the same – not in the real world or in wow. New markets are created (Battle Pets) and old markets decline (many mechanical pets). As gold makers, we shouldn’t  get wedded to any one particular  market lest we end up like an ex-parrot (dead).  Successful gold makers adapt to the ever changing markets of the wow gold economy. To quote Henry Ford: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently”.

Marcus Ty

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