Friday, January 14, 2011

How to Thrive on a Low Population Server

First, I apologize for the tardiness of today’s update: unforeseen circumstances have led to the delay in the posting.  At any rate, here we go:  How to thrive on a low population server.

I originated from Detheroc, a medium population, pvp-heavy server.  I then migrated to Thorium Brotherhood, a low population, RP server.  From there, I made the move to Suramar, also a low population server.

When you have lots of customers, making gold is easy.  You can sell most anything, relist a lot, and generally the more customers you have, the more you’ll sell at any given time.  Selling on a low population server is more tricky.

First, you need to identify your market, and your major players.  Here’s how:  start a character on any realm, and run to the Auction House.  Search “Glyph of” (or whatever your desired market is), and sort by “Name” under the Auction pane.  This will list all of the glyphs, sorted by name (it will also get rid of items like “Glyphed Helm of Terribad,” etc.  If you see 2 glyphs posted by one person, then chances are that person isn’t a major player.  If you see 5 pages of glyphs posted by “Undercutter,” or “WoWbankzorz,” then the chances are that this person is a major force in the market: using a bank alt to mask his/her real identity, and having a major presence filling lots of needs (not just selling rogue glyphs, or prime glyphs for example).  There’s a good side and bad side to this on a Low pop server: first, you’ll have one or two (if any) competitor(s), but there’s less business to go around.  Second, you will get to know these people, but the downside here is that relations can take a turn for the worse.

To start, add this person to your friends list.  You don’t need to contact them, just know when they’re online.  A great time to post is immediately after they sign off.  A bad time to post is right when they sign on; chances are that if they have a character whose sole purpose is to scan the AH and undercut you, that’s what they’ll be doing minutes after they log on (I usually check my mail, survey my bank/guild bank, look over the Auction House, and THEN post depending on what materials I have).

So we’ve covered competition, what else can you do?  Well, advertise in the Trade channel.  It’s there for a reason, although that reason has been migrating towards more Chuck Norris and other “jokes”.  When it’s the JC daily to cut gems, I usually post, “/2 WTS [gem]x3 for the JC daily, XXXg!  Right by the questgiver.”  People are lazy, and I usually sell between 9 and 15 gems this way.  I make the price slightly less than the Auction House value, which also entices them (though it’s gold I’d lose on the Auction House cut anyway).

How about getting materials?  The fewer people there are, the fewer people farming, and the fewer people undercutting to get their gold.  This leads to higher prices all around.  So where do you go?

    Ever hear of Chinese Farmers?  While the term is slightly racist, the majority of the people who do this are Chinese (which is where it originates from).  This terms stands for anybody whose job it is to play World of Warcraft and earn gold to sell online.  These people have a quota to reach, be it per day or per week, but in order to keep their jobs, they must reach a certain amount of gold earned.  More often than not, they’ll sell things at a fraction of a price.  Find one, add them to your friends list, and use basic English.  Most have a basic grasp of the language, and if you say, “Hi, I’ll buy XXX” then they’ll understand.  They sell a lot at a time, for a low price - Elementium Ore frequently reaches 90g on the Auction House, but I purchase mine from a “Chinese Farmer” for around 60g.  S/he knows that I’m always buying, and if you buy EVERYTHING even if it’s not a great deal, they’ll remember you, and whisper you first.  Another alternative is to find a regular farmer, and say “I’ll always buy XXX from you, just CoD it to me if I’m not online, let’s work out a price.”  Most people would rather take the guaranteed gold, than chance getting a lower price (if even selling it) on the Auction House.

As far as selling materials and crafted goods goes, well, you can’t force people to buy.  You can offer discounts for bulk, sell for less, etc. but you can’t make them give you gold.  You just have to be vigilant to have the lowest prices that you can still make a profit on (remember, opportunity cost, those herbs you farmed weren’t free!), and I guarantee you’ll come out on top.

-Find the major players in a market, keep track of them
-Try selling in trade, and/or making it convenient for the players
-Find a “Chinese Farmer,” or a regular farmer to augment your materials supply.
-Offer the best prices, and you’ll get the sale, not the other guy

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