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8.29.2011

BOE 2H Axes - Analysis Of What Might Sell





Today's guest post was written by Keelhaul who runs the blog Disenchanting Azeroth (Twitter: @DEazeroth). If you're interested in writing a guest post for Power Word: Gold please contact us at powerwordgold@gmail.com.


METHODOLOGY:
1) With personalization becoming so valuable in 4.3 with transmogrification, I'm predicting we'll see over time that a player's ability to stand out among their peers will likely become highly desirable.  So what can we do from a BoE seller's standpoint?  The answer is rather than wait to see what's unique, let's analyze it ahead of time and plan ahead.
2) Since this was an exercise for gold making, I've focused only on BoEs.
3 I've targeted Rare and Epic quality items, since I'm not sure about greens for transmogrification.


I pulled together the BoE 2H Axes for an analysis last night, this is what I came up with.  First off, a summary for the TLDR audience:

Based on my analysis, the 2H Axe market could yield a couple of gems.  I didn't push to 5, because there's that much of a gap between these 3 and the rest of their peers. Read on after the jump to find out my top 3 recommended BoE 2H Axes to target/craft for resale to moggers.

BOE 2H Axes that may sell well after Patch 4.3:
1) Singing Crystal Axe
2) Ethereum Nexus-Reaver
3) Crystalforged War Axe


Singing Crystal Axe


Ethereum Nexus-Reaver

Crystalforged War Axe

With that said, here are some interesting findings if we take a look at the opportunity for serving up BoE 2H Axes in 4.3 for potential transmogrification:

2H Axes:  Visual Positioning Analysis

2H Axes:  Visual Positioning Analysis


1. This chart is what we call in my field of work a visual positioning exercise.  You're analyzing form, not color or iconography, on a 2 x 2 axis.  Players making decisions entirely based upon color or iconography will likely be a smaller audience.

The vertical axis is a continuum of Introverted forms (singular, quiet geometry) to Extroverted forms (multiple, intersecting, loud geometry).

The horizontal axis is a continuum of Linear forms (static, rectilinear, predictable geometry) to Organic forms (fluid, multi-transitional unpredictable geometry)

Let's go quadrant by quadrant and see what's happening.

TOP LEFT:  His name was Captain Carver, and he stood alone.  Well, Captain Carver's Persuader stands alone here as well, no visual competition among its BoE peers.  And aside from that and the Singing Crystal Axe from TBC over to the right, that's really about it that stands out.  There's a whole wall of parity below with lots of items copying their own models and generally looking like one big pile of meta so it's hard to really pick something out of the crowd.

Conclusion: I would have thought there would be more diversity here, but in fact there isn't.  Your only take-a-ways are the two mentioned above.

TOP RIGHT:  A bit of parity is carrying over in the lower region of the quadrant, but aside from that we've got 3 bright spots in the Crystalforged War Axe (I know, right?  Seriously?  The Crystalforged War Axe?) and the Ethereum Nexus-Reaver are both from the TBC era, and the Termination Axe is from Cataclysm.  All three of these items are icons among their BoE peers.

Conclusion:  TBC items are making a strong case for personalization here, and if the Termination Axe had come from vanilla WoW, it would have made my top 5.  But alas, it's so recent that a number of players are running with it for stats, so you're less likely to project a look of your own.

BOTTOM LEFT:  The Supercharger Battle Axe is the lone survivor of design commodity down here.  Everything else is lost in duplication and parity.

Conclusion:  It's worth revisiting the Supercharger in the next part, but aside from that everything else is likely to blend.

BOTTOM RIGHT:  Again, some parity encroaching on the fringes, but aside from that there are a few odd looking items that we'll revisit again below.  The Brain Hacker and Felsteel Reaper both start to carve out a little niche for themselves as they push away from the rectilinear axe of Captain Carver and start to take on more the rough edges of a creature.

Conclusion:  The Brain Hacker might appeal to some, but the concern I have with it is if you take off that visage, it's no different than most of the axes to its left.  Therefore this is one of those items likely to only appeal to a minority audience concerned with color and iconography.  The Felsteel Reaper, on the other hand, is at least transformed to a point where its form is capturing a unique identity.  Worth revisiting below.


2H Axes:  Differentiation Analysis

2H Axes:  Differentiation Analysis


2.  This next chart takes the same items as above and filters them through another set of continuums.  The goal here is to further determine differentiation and a player's ability to stand out using BoEs from the auction house.

The vertical axis is a continuum of Unique models (no other model like it in-game, truly unique) to Common models (10+ other models like it in-game, not unique at all).

The horizontal axis is a continuum of time, from Present (Cataclysm models) to Past (Vanilla WoW models).

Let's go zone by zone and see what's happening.

TOP LEFT:  Tumbleweeds.  Not one 2H Axe BoE model since TBC has been able to retain its own model.  Everything has been a copy of a copy.  Captain Carver's Persuader and the Termination Axe start to fall short here, because there are other weapons attainable without the AH that leverage the same model.

Conclusion:  Not worth watching.  Too recent, and not enough of a unique design to warrant attention.

TOP RIGHT:  A lot of interesting things happening here.  First, those 3 TBC 2H Axes have returned.  The Singing Crystal Axe, the Ethereum Nexus-Reaver and the Crystalforged War Axe are all truly unique models, nothing else like them in-game.  Not only that, they're outdated so nobody's wearing them.  Further South we have the Felsteel Reaper which shares its model with a few others, lowering its potential value.  And to the right, the Brain Hacker reveals it's not alone, while the Arcanite Reaper and Nightfall have begun to separate themselves from the pack below.

Conclusion:  If you've read some of my earlier posts, you might think I favor TBC items, and the truth is I actually don't.  I just know how much they're going to stand out based on these little evaluations.  And here we see it again, 3 TBC items that I would definitely target for resale.  The Crystalforged War Axe you'll likely want to store away until the curve of personalization really hits post 4.3, but the other two from TBC I would have no problem posting on the AH now for a lot of gold.  These items have already begun to prove themselves out.

I initially had a hunch on transmogrification and these items before doing this analysis, and couple of weeks before the announcement of 4.3 I picked up 3 Singing Crystal Axes and 1 Ethereum Nexus Reaver for about 1500g total.  I've already sold two (2) of the Axes for 10k a piece, and am holding on to the 3rd axe and the reaver until 4.3 hits.  At that time, I'll post them for about 15-20k each.  At a minimum add these 2 to your watch lists, and consider those who didn't roll through TBC as the potential audience for the Crystalforge War Axe.  Me personally, I can't stand it because of how ubiquitous it was during my time in Outland.  But that time has passed, and this guy may make a comeback.

The Felsteel Reaper could be a nice piece here, but you probably won't get PvPers as buyers, because they can get an equivalent for honor points.  Nightfall is a beaut, but the mats are pretty intense, and there are other means by which to attain the model.  The Arcanite Reaper would have been interesting if it hadn't been made into a BoA item.  The Brain Hacker, I'm sorry, I just don't see a market for it aside from a minority of players desiring the axe's visage.

BOTTOM LEFT:  Honed Cobalt Cleaver.  19 similar models.
Conclusion:  Nuff said.

BOTTOM RIGHT:  There's a reason you can't see anything.  All those pretty axes you keep seeing on the AH?  Half of them use the same model, and those that don't share their model with 16-17 others in-game.  What a mess.

Conclusion:  There are epics here that are lost, so don't get sucked in by the purples.  Kang the Decapitator might look and feel like something you should acquire for resale, but be aware it shares its model with 7 others, including another BoE.  So I would avoid anything down here, as there will be easier means to acquire something similar.

So based on what I see here, the 2H Axe market is NOT going to be great for transmogrification sales.  That being said, my top 3 recommended BoE 2H Axes to target/craft for resale to moggers are as follows:

1) Singing Crystal Axe
2) Ethereum Nexus-Reaver
3) Crystalforged War Axe

Hope that helps!
-Keel

Thanks again Keelhaul for this awesome guest post and good luck on your new blog (Disenchanting Azeroth). I look forward to seeing what you are cooking up over there!


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