An interesting post yesterday at the Greedy Goblin's blog discussed in great detail whether it was better to use QA3 or Auctioneer in pricing your auctions in world of warcraft. I disagree with several points and I hope to explain to you some things about using these addons in the process of articulating my point of view on this issue. By the way, you can find tutorials on posting with both addons in the tutorials section of the site, as well as by looking up posts under the add-ons tag.
First off, the title itself implies that you must choose one: QA3 or Auctioneer. No offense to Gevlon but I find this concept by itself to be a foolish and narrow-minded premise. Why do I have to choose one over the other? Why can’t I have both? Auctioneer is an incredible tool for finding market trends and exploiting them while QA3 is amazing for camping the auction house. The way I like to break it up is that items which will go on 12 hour timers really should be posted with QA3 because I expect them to sell quickly and if they don’t sell I’ll be reposting them around 12 hours from now or less anyway. With Auctioneer, as long as I’m scanning daily to keep my market data accurate, I can use this addon to buy the mats for items I will sell with QA3 as well as see how much my items are going for compared to market trends. Auctioneer’s batch post is also great for my 48 hour auctions priced right around market value and hopefully demand will take care of undercutting. They are as different as night and day and therefore should be used in conjunction with each other.
There is no “I’m an Auctioneer user vs I’m a QA3 user”! When people talk about one vs the other what they really are talking about is the posting method behind both addons, because well, that’s the only thing that they have in common. Auctioneer has a plethora of tools which you can use to snatch items for crafting, milling, prospecting, smelting, etc. QA3 is solely for posting and canceling in bulk as well as analyzing whole crafting markets instead of just one item at a time. You can do a QA3 scan for glyphs or gems for instance and get a snapshot of how you’re doing in the market place as a whole. Auctioneer’s bean counter is meant for one item at a time so imagine having to look up 100 glyphs one at a time instead of just pushing get data and waiting a few seconds like you can with QA3.
Another point regarding Gevlon’s post… he believes that players posting items for cheap are morons and slackers. Actually Gevlon, prices on the auction house have everything to do with supply and demand rather than the intelligence of the posters. Sure someone could post an item for 10% market value and because the price is so low outliers like that will get purchased almost immediately. If there are lots of items below the normal market value then it can be assumed that there is too much supply and not enough demand. It has nothing to do with intelligence. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. The reason why the Inscription market is so strange and random is not because a bunch of kiddies are posting incorrectly but rather due to the fact that demand is entirely random and impossible to predict. The market swings up and down randomly because of the demand, not because a bunch of people abuse addons and ah camp. The camping is actually a simple solution to the demand issue with inscription.
What items should be posted with which addon?
It depends entirely upon your strategy and how quickly you need to get your gold back. High competition, fast selling markets with short durations such as glyphs should really use the QA3 method of undercutting the lowest person by 1 copper or whatever you set it to (I recommend 1 copper). Although you can rely on auctioneer to accurately predict the average price of a glyph, there are too many changes and fluctuations in glyph prices to rely on it for any of the less commonly sold ones. Certain minors such as Glyph of Charge could be posted using Auctioneer because demand for the item will often remove all competition posting below normal price. But since glyphs can go from 60 gold to 2 gold in a matter of minutes and stay that way for days or weeks at a time, it’s not as profitable in my expert opinion to post glyphs with auctioneer. Unless of course you are glyph walling.
Netherweave bags are an excellent item to decide which addon to post with because you can make the argument for either short or very long postings. Let’s say that theoretically on my server 50 bags sell every day. There are usually 20-40 on the ah at any one time and I have to make the decision whether to post my auctions on short or very long. Since so many bags are purchased on a daily basis I can assume that posting at the lowest price will guarantee me sales even if a few people undercut me later in the day or even the next hour. However, the demand is so high for netherweave bags that I could also post in the middle range of prices, say with 20-30 bags below mine and still see them sell in a 48 hour period. I’ve done both and both work. The question is, do you want your gold immediately or are you willing to wait and let them sell for 1.5-2x more gold? Since market trends are the real value behind auctioneer and using its average price as a guide to what the market SHOULD always return to, you will see a higher return posting on 48 hours with netherweave bags at auctioneer’s average price than with QA3 at 12 hours. If you understand the market and when bags will spike then you can post a little higher than market average a day or so in advance of that happening. That’s where auctioneer as the edge over QA3’s posting method but since you can’t predict say the price of glyph of charge a day from now or even an hour from now with anything close to 100% accuracy, I would highly discourage the use of auctioneer to post the glyph.
There’s more to this argument however over which addon is better and Gevlon brought it up by stating:
“Using the above logic falls” … (fails) … “only one market: glyphs. If you look at the 1000% profit (4G mats, 40G price), you say it's an M&S” … (morons and slackers) … “market, so 1c undercutting is the proper move. However there are often campers who are not M&S and - despite they sell only a few items a time - are representing a near-infinite selling power. You will not sell anything with QA3 since they undercut you the second you log out. The proper action here therefore Auctioneer, or manually configuring QA3 to cut deep under them.”
This is a pretty bitter statement and probably has to deal with the fact that Gevlon is struggling to make 4k gold a week with his inscription business (admitted in comments on Tobold’s blog). I’m not judging and saying he’s bad for doing that as Gevlon could just be posting two days a week or something with nothing but glyphs. Even though his statement “You will not sell anything with QA3 since they undercut you the second you log out” is a horribly inexperienced opinion, there is reasoning behind the quote you can learn from about your competition. “They undercut you the second you log out” is a topic I’ve talked about in the past with Euripides and we actually discussed it on call to auction recently. Adding opponent’s on the auction house to your friends list is an ingenious way of dealing with people trying to mass undercut you the moment you log off and it brings about some interesting espionage and counter espionage tactics which can make for some really fun auction house battles. If you suspect someone is tracking when you log off and undercutting you, simply log off your toon and post on another about 10 minutes later. Another way to deal with ah campers running QA3 is to avoid using the cancel post until you have run out of stock. This way you have auctions up twice as long as the competitor who runs a cancel scan and scurries back to their mail box to collect and then later post the items.
The take away boys and girls from this long winded post is that you should not choose either QA3 or Auctioneer for posting but rather use them in tangent with each other. For 12 hour postings use quick auctions 3 as well as for bulk canceling items during peak hour undercutting battles with things like flasks, gems, glyphs and enchanting scrolls. For 48 hour postings where you fire and forget, hoping that market value and demand will take care of undercutters such as netherweave bags, leg armors, titanium weapon chains and belt buckles use Auctioneer. There are instances where you might want to use QA3 on a 48 hour timer or auctioneer on a 12 hour timer but as a general rule of thumb that’s how I break them up.
So do you choose one over the other or use them together for posting your auctions?