Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Making Money in MMOs

No matter what type of massive multiplayer online game you are playing there are certain rules which effect the value of that game's currency. Good old fashion economics implies that if demand is high and supply is low then the price of something goes up. Developers can set an artificial value for virtual items by having NPCs buy them at a set price but its almost always going to be worth more to a player. Why is this? Well most games use a spawning system to generate currency for their game which has to be offset by charging players for items, skills and equipment. When these money sinks don't match up evenly to the currency generated then the value of the game's currency drops.

Thus NPCs in most games are set to buy items based on the currency value at the start of the game. This means that eventually most game currencies become inflated enough that selling items to NPCs is almost worthless. Its at this point that the player economy starts to form since most items can be used by players in some form or another. In fact in a lot of games the best way to make money is to target a mob which may drop little actual currency but has a chance of dropping an item in high demand.

In World of Warcraft I'm currently saving up for an epic flying mount mostly so that I can quickly get around the Outlands without being dependent on crazy flight paths. If I just went and farmed mobs that drop cash and vendor trash I would have a long way to go. So instead I copied most professional farmers and head out to areas with mobs that drop items with high player demand and have a low cost to put up in the auction house. If you play WoW then you know about the primal essences which are the arcane crystals of the expansion. Because these essences are used in almost every tradeskill the demand is constantly high and they sell very quickly in the auction house.

If you really wanted to make money quick then you could also pick up two gathering tradeskills which could work in conjunction with your farming. For my main character I chose enchanting and mining. Enchanting allows me to turn green items into enchanting materials which are in high demand and have no deposit to put in the AH. Mining allows me to scour the landscape with track minerals while farming. While not as profitable as enchanting it does allow me the chance to mine ore which still sells well. Plus while mining there is a random chance to gain motes of a primal essence and perhaps even get a rare jewel.

Other people I know use leatherworking and herbalism since areas that have skinable mobs usually also have herbs. Rare herbs sell much faster then ore though they often have negative debuffs associated with picking them. Whatever your professions the real way to make money is good timing. Just like playing the stockmarket you don't want to sell until the price is at the highest point. In WoW this means saving your merchandise until none are up in the auction house which allows you to charge top dollar or price gouge if you feel lucky. If you make your price too high though you will attract people with auctioneer who will quickly undercut you by a few silver and steal your customers. Its a fine balance that constantly changes every few hours depending on how many people are watching the auction house.

Every scammer, begger, and account hacker knows the quickest way to make money is from other players and not grinding hours against mobs. If you play smart and track the prices of items and make sure you get top dollar then the money should roll in at a steady rate. Just remember that unlike the scum mentioned earlier your reputation plays a big part in affecting your profits. If you overcharge and haggle over prices all the time then you'll eventually find people less likely to buy your goods when people match your price. Just look at the problems farmers have when they put a bunch of items up under one character.


Rudy said...

Enchanting allows me to turn green items into enchanting materials which are in high demand and cost little to put in the AH"

There is no cost/deposit to put an enchanting material in AH. That is one luxury in re-selling enchanting mats daily. However there is a tax when the item sold in AH.

Relmstein said...

Yeah unfortunately the tax is unavoidable no matter what you are selling and is what I was referring to when I said costs little to put in the AH.

The tax combined with the deposit cost is why so people spam the chat channels trying to sell items. Blizzard really encourages trader spam with its auction house system.

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