Linear Dependencies - Calculating Materials Costs - *Part 1 - The Update.* As you've noticed, I've been kind of absent lately. The show took a hiatus in early December, and the blog has been silent as well....
Beverly Hills, Baltimore and Baghdad - Server Makeup and Mogging Sales
As I have been struggling to sell mogging items on my server, all the while watching other prominent gold-makers raking in (what seems to be) tons of gold selling mogging items, a theory started to slowly develop in the back of my mind.
Today I present this theory, refined over many many livestreams, to everyone today. I call it the "Three 'B's" theory and it very well could be the answer to why you have been seeing lower than expected results selling mogging items on your server. Read about the "Three 'B's" past the jump.
First off, a small caveat. I make many sweeping generalizations and characterizations about the places and people mentioned in this article. In no way is it meant to be accurate to the actual real-world cities but, rather, the writer's own general ideas about the places. The cities are simply tools to get an idea across.
A Tale Of Three Cities
Once upon a time there were three cities. One city was over-flowing with well-to-do individuals. Wonderful boutiques and specialty shops dotted its streets. Residents went out and spent large amounts of money on the most extravagant and wonderful items. The sky was the limit in this city. You could get anything you wanted as long as you had enough money. The residents here lived fully and had the means to acquire (nearly) anything they desired.
The second city was full of what some might call the "working-class". These were hard working individuals. The city was home to many large stores that carried essential items at very reasonable prices. The residents were careful with their hard earned money but weren't above "splurging" every once-in-a-while. A nice shirt here, a few extra Blu-Ray discs there. The residents worked hard and were generally happy.
Many parts of the third city lay in rubble. The residents, having gone through very hard times, didn't have much. While there were shops to buy essential items, anything that you might consider "extra" was almost never considered. The residents worked hard and saved. They were able to get buy and provide themselves an adequate, if small, living. The residents didn't have much but they had each other.
The State of Cities
The tales above are rough generalizations but I think everyone reading this has some semblance of the three cities I'm talking about, specifically: Beverly Hills, California, Baltimore, Maryland and Baghdad, Iraq. While you may not be familiar with the specific cities you can likely think of cities you know of which match the levels of income, spending and attitude mentioned above.
My theory is that what type of "city" your server/faction falls into has a large part to do with a seller's success (or lack thereof) in selling mogging items. Are you on a "Beverly Hills" type server? Lucky you! Read on for some thoughts on each "city".
There are players and bloggers in the community that, through hard work and being on the right server, have been able to make vast amount of gold selling mogging items. All one has look at is the screenshots they share on a regular basis showing mogging items being sold for multiple-thousands of dollars.
These players were/are in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills and are making more gold than most players can ever dream of having. Unfortunately the success of these "Beverly Hills" boutique sellers is not able to be applied universally and (unfortunately) that is bound to cause lots of heartbreak as people try to replicate it.
Then there are players (such as myself) who have struggled to make the techniques that work on these "Beverly Hills" servers work our own servers/factions only to find that there is a not "snowball's chance in hell" that we will ever be able to sell the same items for those prices on our "Baltimore" servers.
There is no way that someone shopping at a department store in Baltimore is going to be willing to pay $300 for a pair of "designer" jeans when there is a perfectly good pair of jeans there for $30. They are two completely different types of markets and buyers.
Just like the buyer in Baltimore doesn't have the means to buy designer jeans from Beverly Hills, the buyer in Baghdad would consider $30 for a pair of jeans to expensive. It isn't that they don't want the items, it is just that there is no way they could ever pay those prices.
A "Baghdad" buyer may be willing to pay $5 for a pair of jeans. A seller in "Badgdad" may be happy to sell jeans for that price. There are just huge differences in the buying power and availability of items in these three places.
Location, Location, Location
I also don't think anyone would argue that, as far as base raw materials go (cotton, thread, zippers, etc.), there is a negligible difference in the cost of producing the same pair of jeans sold in Beverly Hills, Baltimore and Baghdad. The reason that jeans cost $300 in Beverly Hills, $30 in Baltimore and $5 in Baghdad is less about the object being sold and more about the buyers and sellers involved.
The reason people are able to sell jeans, mogging items, and many other things for vastly different prices is because buyers in different locations, different servers/factions, etc. are willing and, more importantly, able to buy them. You could try selling jeans in Baghdad for $300 but I doubt you sell as many as you could in Beverly Hills.
Not Better, Not Worse. Just Different.
So how does this all tie into selling mogging items in World of Warcraft? If you've been trying (and failing) to sell mogging items for what others are able to sell them for, you may need to admit to yourself that you may not be on a "Beverly Hills" server and adjust your pricing and strategy accordingly.
I think anyone, after reading all they can about mogging, building lists, collecting inventory, setting up addons, and spending at least a month trying to sell mogging items can quickly identify what "city"" their server/faction falls in to.
You are selling to real players with real limitations on what they are able and (more importantly) willing to spend on cosmetic items. You can play World of Warcraft and never mog a single item. Mogging is a unnecessary, optional and purely cosmetic activity.
So, now that you've come to terms with what "city" you are selling your mogging items in, it's time for some advice for the inhabitants of the various server/faction "cities".
Advice for Beverly Hills
If you find yourself on a "Beverly Hills" server. If you are able to sell mogging items often and for very high prices, congratulations! Keep doing. While I can't say I've had the experience selling on a server like this, I'd imagine you can expect there to be a growing number of competitors knocking at your door.
Keeping up on undercuts and keep your prices as high as you are able, while still selling items regularly is about all the advice I can really give. Count your blessings. Don't slack-off or others will eat your lunch.
Advice for Baltimore
This is the type of server I play on. I've been selling mogging items here for 3 months and am only now starting to see somewhat steady sales. That said, my prices are 1/2 to 1/3 of prices I see on the blogs of those who seem to be selling on "Beverly Hills" servers.
This is the "city" I know best. My best advice is to start your prices high and slowly lower them little by little over 4-8 weeks until you start to get steady sales. Once you found the price point that finally tips your server into buying your items, stay there and sell, sell, sell. You may not be selling items for "Beverly Hills" prices but you're also less likely to have stiff competition due to the significantly lower price points.
Just like Wal-Mart's sales volume likely ultimately makes more money than a "Beverly Hills" boutique's higher markup, so a dedicated seller on a "Baltimore" server might be able to set themselves up a nice, steady income.
Advice for Baghdad
These servers do exist. I've spoken to many people on my livestreams who reside on these servers. Just as the number of "Beverly Hills" servers is likely small in comparison to the number of "Baltimore" servers, the number of "Baghdad" server is also likely very small.
That, however, may be small consolation to a seller on a server with extreme circumstances such as large faction imbalances, extremely low population, extremely erratic auction house prices and a hundred other things that can make a server/faction an outlying oddity.
To these sellers I would say "Only you can prevent forest fires." That is to say, you may be the only one who can really find the proper solution to your mogging problem. If you've done everything you can think of, followed every piece of advice, and you are still unable to sell mogging items, then you've got yourself a riddle that only you may be able to solve. Put on your thinking caps. Get creative and try tons of different things until you find something that works.
The alternative is to admit that your server, for what ever reason, is simply not ready/willing to spend gold on mogging items. I wish I had more advice for those of you on "Baghdad" servers/factions but I just don't.
A Tiger Can't Change It's Stripes
I hope my "Three 'B's" theory has helped alleviate some of the anxiety that you may have been experiencing while trying to sell mogging items on your server. Selling mogging items is one of the most server-dependent gold-making techniques out there right now.
Your server/faction make up is unlikely to change any time soon. Thousands of players have been playing together for thousands of days, buying and selling millions of items. That kind of activity weaves a complex tapestry which ultimately makes up the fabric of each and every server/faction out there. Just like a fingerprint, no two are the same.
All Is Not Lost
It's a complex market. It takes lots of dedication and a bit of luck. Even with all the heartache and hair-pulling it has caused me over the last 3 months mogging has been one of the most enjoyable markets I've worked in in years.
Many parts of selling mogging items, the hunt for items, the pricing (and repricing), the setting up addons, and (gasp) actually getting sales, are all extremely fun.
Not only that but I've taken what I learned from selling mogging items and moved it into other flipping markets. I've made a absolute killing using the systems and techniques I developed for mogging sales in the 77-80 Cataclysm greens market.
The bottom line (and what I try to impart in everything I do when teaching gold-making) is do what is fun for you. Every gold-maker is made up of different gold-making "DNA". Some of us enjoy camping the auction house. Some of us enjoy working with tons of alts. Some of us like searching for new ways to make gold. Some of use like dominating markets (and making our competition cry like babies). We're all different and unique.
Consider selling mogging items as simply one more tool to your ever-growing repertoire of gold-making techniques. Each and every one of use should continually be exploring new and diverse ways to make gold.
Not only will it make us more resistant to market fluctuations but it will help train us to more easily spot new opportunities when they come along. Most of all: have fun!
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