Today's guest post was written by Keelhaul (Twitter: @DEazeroth). If you would like your guest post included on Power Word: Gold feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
When transmogrification was announced I was really intrigued. Obviously. Right? I mean I ended up starting a blog and noodled on the subject for about six weeks. It's just a fantastic topic and one that is going to remain a stable area of interest and intrigue for a lot of players.
While I'm no longer able to maintain the blog (due to time constraints with our newborn son who's not sleeping more than 2 hrs at a time btw - ugh) I am still in and out of WoW as I try to complete various transmog sets for my 8 toons.
I'll tell you what. Sitting there on a chair from 2-4 in the morning with a baby on your shoulder offers plenty of time to sit and watch the market from the mobile armory on my iPhone. I've begun a little project in this way and I mentioned it to flux and he asked me to write a post about it. So here goes. (After the jump of course.)
Thus Quoth the Maven
First it takes one to know one. Ever read the Tipping Point? I'm part maven and part salesperson when it comes to transmogrification. I know a lot about the subject and area because I'm knee-deep in it myself as a player. When I found myself desperately scanning the AH for BoEs I wanted for my toons it hit me that others like myself are probably doing the same thing. I decided to do a little test of a theory: Take what I'm doing and flip it into a gold-making model. So what was I doing?
In running my blog I got connected with the visual resources over at wowroleplaygear.com (which was really the first pro gallery of armor sets for transmogrification). Kudos to them for being in the right place at the right time with the right content. They've put a lot of time in over the years to assemble great-looking sets of gear. A lot of their recommendations are made up of BoEs that can be found on the AH. I found a few sets that I thought were really fantastic. One in particular that I started with was their ensemble that leveraged pieces from the Hyperion Plate set.
Now here's what makes wowroleplaygear unique from a resource like Wowhead. Whereas Wowhead is simply creating visual galleries based on what the databases are telling them, wowroleplaygear is actually putting together ensembles of armor. They're really thinking their sets through. Where Wowhead wants to let you see the Hyperion Plate set from head to shoulders (ick) wowroleplaygear is saying use select pieces from the Hyperion set but supplement your ensemble with shoulders from Ragnaros, etc.
It's fantastic because most of these transmogrification resources like Wowhead are no different than a department store. They offer a lot of mannequins but no direction on what would actually look good. Wowroleplaygear is offering direction and I'm following it to the AH. I don't think I'm the only one.
Late-night Plate Shopping
So I found myself in the middle of the night scanning the mobile armory iPhone for the Hyperion pieces (again with my son on my shoulder). Wrist? Check. Gloves? Check. Legs? Check. And (after a week or so) chest piece? Check. I had my pieces but then something happened. I found another set of legs. Another set of gloves.
I already had my Hyperion pieces for my transmog set, why would I need more? I thought well why not pick these up in case there's someone else like me out there doing the same thing? Why? Because I'll be honest as a transmog fiend I would have paid over 1,000 gold for any of those Hyperion pieces. They are that hard to find. So I picked up the few that I saw and began flipping them for 500g a piece. They didn't last more than 12 hours on the AH. Others were searching for the same pieces I was.
Were they too following wowroleplaygear.com? I began checking other realms where I have characters and scanned their auction houses for the Hyperion pieces. They were very rare but a few began to appear over the next few days. I picked them up and flipped them and again they were bought out within a few hours.
So I tweeted to flux to keep an eye out for the Hyperion pieces but then I thought some more on it. If these transmog fiends like me were checking out the Hyperion set over at wowroleplaygear.com could they possibly be searching for other sets as well?
The Search Begins
I began to look at all of the gear wowroleplaygear was promoting. It's been said I have an eye for aesthetics. Being able to discern what stands out and what doesn't. I targeted a number of set items I felt had potential to draw interest from players. I started with plate sets first. Glorious, Exalted, Hyperion, Overlord, Vanguard, Heavy Lamellar and Gothic Plate to name a few.
Then I considered how much of a pain it had been to search for pieces one by one on the AH. I even started farming some of them in BWL and AQ20/40, believe it or not. I came away with a few gems, but it wasn't without feeling like I could be spending my time better elsewhere.
In short when you want these pieces you want the whole set and you want them now. (I know this because I did.) And thus began my project.
Welcome to the Acquisitions Department
Over the course of the last three weeks I've been scanning the mobile armory on my iPhone every few hours for very select pieces of gear like those mentioned above. When I see one priced right (5g - 25g) I pick it up. I suddenly had so many pieces I had to open up new toons on multiple realms to create guild banks to store the armor. A waste of gold some might say but if it is, I don't mind. It's fun.
It's like a hobby for me right now. My hunch is it's not a waste. It will pay off. In the evenings when my son is down I've been logging into WoW, taking a look at what I picked up during the day via phone, and catalog it in various guild banks. "This set still needs the gloves." "This set still needs a chest piece." "Over here I've got 3 full sets ready to sell."
My strategy come 4.3? Bark outfits in trade chat and see what happens. Bark a chest piece and get maybe one person who's actually looking or it. Bark the entire outfit where people can click and link it into their dressing room? You have a far better chance of selling the set.
My hunch is that only a select population in-game really knows the ins and outs of transmogrification. What I'll be offering is an entirely new "look". No different than someone saying "Selling Paladin Tier 2 - ENTIRE SET, pst!"
Now some here will probably say, that's totally different. Any paladin can get paladin Tier 2. I beg to differ. Again, it takes one to know one. Do you have any idea how much time and effort it takes to acquire tier pieces like that? You want to know the sticking piont once you have them? EVERYONE ELSE HAS THEM.
I've seen players in cities (both Horde and Alliance) on multiple realms waltzing around in the same gear I've gone out and acquired. ARGH! This is the dilemma of a transmog fiend willing to pay for uniqueness. Priest Tier 6? Forget it, everyone's going to have it. So for people like me that really want something unique, I have to work harder to find that niche. And I'm willing to pay for it.
The First Rule of Mog Club
Some rules I've been abiding by:
1) Stick to plate and cloth only. It's just more customers. Plate gives me Warrior, Paladin and Death Knight customers (3). Cloth gives me Warlock, Priest and Mage customers (3).
If I were to chase Leather, I would only have 1.5 customers in Rogues and Druids because as a Druid, I'm in bear form most of the time so I really can't celebrate transmog as well as other classes can.
That's just me, and I know many Druids are psyched for transmog, but if I'm passé on it. Others likely are as well and will be doing what I'm doing which is to really bang it up with my toons like my Paladin and Priest that can show it off 100% of the time.
Lastly mail only nets me 2 customers in Shaman and Hunters. I'm sure there are statistics somewhere as well (given the class breakdowns) that show higher populations of players playing plate/cloth wearers but it's just a hunch.
2) If you see the chest piece, buy it. The chest pieces are easily the most rare of the set items. In the case of the pieces from AQ20/40 they're a downright pain to find.
The secret's out too because on my realms I'm starting to see extremely rare chest pieces like the Glorious and Vanguard pieces going up for 10-20k.
I admit I'm tempted at the 10k price because I'm a collector and know how rare these pieces are, but I'm holding back just a bit. But again, it takes one to know one. If I'm considering it - someone else is too.
3) Just because you can assemble a set doesn't always mean you should. I've seen plenty of pieces that I could assemble and make into a set. Great example: the Conquerer's Plate set. Looks fantastic. The problem is the markets are all flooding with these pieces right now because raid after raid is going into Black Temple and the other T6 raids to get transmog pieces and achievements and that's where the Conq sets drop. So they're flooding the auction house. After purchasing and building 5-6 sets of Conquerer's Plate I stopped because I saw the trend.
4) With cloth you may not need the legs. With so many cloth sets I've been collecting (Imperial Red, Twilight, Buccaneer's, etc.) the legs are never visible. Some work well with tunics that come with the set, though so you just have to know the armor and what it looks like. If it looks good get the tunic and legs. If no bypass and save some money.
5) Chase items from AQ20/40. Nobody's running them so they rarely ever appear on the AH. I picked up a few pieces of the Magnificent mail armor while soloing AQ20. While it's a god-awful Red I guarantee I can sell it if I can just get the legs because I was able to pick up the other pieces on the AH (after watching it for a couple of weeks and finding the items posted).
These pieces are extremely - extremely rare. I believe the secret is out on them because I've seen 3-5 of them posted at extreme prices (5k - 20k).
The next stage of my project has been delving into crafted items. A great set here is the Enchanted Thorium plate set. Mmm. Wowhead will tell you it is what it is. No boots or the like that go with it.
Wowroleplaygear begs to differ. They've identified that the Grim Sabotons (a drop off a rare spawn in Terrokar Forest) actually match the Enchanted Thorium set perfectly. I've been scanning for these damn boots for 3 weeks and have never seen them. I want a pair myself and would easily pay 1-2k for them (angrily, but I'd pay it). If *I'm* buying someone else will to.
So in looking at the Enchanted Thorium set I noticed that it's actually an outdated vanilla pattern. Only select Blacksmiths have these pieces. Ooh. The beginnings of another rare "look" I could acquire piece by piece and sell.
I found someone on one realm that had the patterns and had them crank out a few pieces for me. To make them I needed lots of random vanilla materials: Enchanted Thorium, Essence of Water, etc. When I looked for these materials (Breath of Wind, Essence of Water, Globe of Water, Living Essence, etc.) I only found a few on each realm and they were cheap.
I bought them all and have continued to snatch them since emptying each realm's AH of the materials. If I was looking for them someone else might be too.
A Hill of Beans
So will this amount to anything? Who knows. Regardless it's what I've been up to lately. It will be a massive flip come 4.3 and a perhaps new way to fashion and sell items. Whether or not it will work remains to be seen.
In a weird way I don't think I'm into this particular project for the gold. I'm just more interested in seeing if there's some fire to this hunch that players will be interested in buying the full sets.
Initially I'd wanted to keep it quiet (so I could better control the flow of items into the AH) but as I said earlier I think the secret's getting out. Might as well write about it. :)
Wipe Your Tiers
Lastly I've been running old tier raids with others to pick up tokens and legacy gear for various toons. A while back I had mentioned to flux (and posted) that putting a group together to escort someone into Kael'Thas could be a potential win.
I still believe that. However, given what I've seen, I think there is a general lack of interest in merc teams doing that sort of thing now because I think the demand is too low. In addition they may also be acquiring their own pieces and not willing to share just yet. That and if you bring enough people to TK Kael is a pushover. (Same with Sunwell and Felmyst.)
With that said there is still some opportunity here to make gold in-raid. Some have mentioned GDKP runs (you can find "GDKP" in our Glossary) through old raids. While, in theory, I bought off on it now that I'm in practice with it I don't think there is enough demand for it right now.
There are SO many raids going into these areas that my general feeling as a collector is I don't need to join a GDKP run because I can sneak into someone else's raid. If something I want drops and I don't win the roll I'll just whisper and buy it from the person who wins it and have them trade it to me. I've gone through a single BT run and not won a single piece and walked out with multiple tier tokens and gear because the person next to me was just like "Meh. Sure I'll sell it for 200g".
(Bonus Tip of the Day: Get your T6 tokens TWICE. Why? Because you can turn a second set in for T5 equivalent PvP items on the Isle of Quel'Danas. Very few people know about this. Even if your T6 token drops and you already have it you can still get another and trade it in for the Arena Season 2 gear. YUM!)
Money Talks. RNG Walks.
Buying from others in these raids has had mixed results though which encourages me that there is still something to the GDKP concept. I just don't have my head wrapped around it yet. For example, tier tokens? Cake.
If one drops that I need and someone else gets it, usually they part with it for anywhere from 200g - 500g. Haha. Suckers. I would've paid 3k for it because I have the gold and don't want to run this damn thing again. But then the Apostle of Argus dropped from Archimonde. A lock won it and even after I offered 2k, 5k and even 10k for it, he continued to pass.
He was like me. There for the same reason. Knew how rare the item was. Knew the time required to acquire it and therefore knew its value to a collector. I'm not saying roll on everything (even if you don't need it) because someone might buy it. That could get you burned. I am saying there may be room for GDKP runs once 4.3 hits.
There are just too many raids running right now and too few collectors that can sneak their purchases into whispers (like me and the warlock who netted my Apostle, grr).
Come 4.3 there's a good bet that there will be a surge into the old raids. I mentioned in an earlier post to flux about the transmogrification adoption curve. (See "The Shape Of The Mogging Market And Staves".) And when that surge hits it might be wise to kick off a GDKP run. Your angle should be speed so bring enough people and bring a mix.
GTD for GDKP
My tips based on what I've seen, running these raids if you want to enable speed:
1) You do not need a tank for all lvl 60 - 70 raids. You do not.
2) Again. You do not need a tank. The reason I stress this? People are pressured by time. Finding a tank takes time. Forget the tank. You'll be fine. I've cleared every raid without a tank-specc'd player and it's been fine. Assemble your raid and get rolling. The faster the better. Instead just grab someone that wears plate. DKs are easy to find for these runs and their AOE is fantastic for occupying most mobs.
3) Quickly assembling. Make sure you or someone in raid has the guild perk "Have Group Well Travel". It will enable you to summon your raid directly outside the entrance of the raid.
4) BT Shortcut. If you've cleared Black Temple and have the Blessed Medallion of Karabor in your bank bring it out. It saves a ton of time and is a pleasant surprise when you leap from a major city to the footsteps of the temple.
5) Always bring a mage. Getting over to Black Temple or Sunwell is a pain. Get a mage into the raid so you can get ported to Shattrath. It's also a really nice send-off at the end of the raid to have a mage that can send everyone home. It's little things like this that I've come to really appreciate.
6) Skirt unnecessary mobs. In Sunwell when you reach the mobs on the 3-4 circular platforms just before Kalecgos hug the bushes and run around them. So many raids lose 15 minutes clearing these packs and you don't need to. As long as your raid is 80+ you should be able to hug the bushes and skip right to Kalecgos.
Our thanks as always to Keelhaul for taking the time to share his not insubstantial knowledge with us. We know he is busy with the new one and we appreciate it.
If you are interested in World of Warcraft aesthetics we encourage you to check out Keelhauls fantastic blog Disenchanting Azeroth as well as our sister blog Warcraft Looks.
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