QA3 AND Auctioneer

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?

13 comments: on "QA3 AND Auctioneer"

  1. TBH after using lots of different addons for my AH business i have ended up with QA3 (no surprise), Auctionator...which is much better than auctioneer for buying mats, along with having a good sell feature and also a scan feature. It basically has all the good stuff of auctioneer and none of the bulk.
    The only thing auctioneer has over auctionator is the snatch list feature, but tbh by the time it has done a scan and made a list i can use my buy lists in auctionator to look myself and would have bought everything before the auctioneer scan has finished.
    And finally Mysales instead of bean counter as it works much better and gives a much clearer readout.

    Auctioneer is good if your starting out and don't want to mess around with more than one addon but once you get used to addons and doing business auctioneer is slow, bulky and quite frankley...old.

  2. I've always wondered why you spend a post every now and then "correcting" what Gevlon says. He isn't so much an economist as a social scientist...

  3. As far as I'm concerned, I agree with everything Markco said, this isn't a disagreement, but an addendum.

    I also use both programs to post, there's an additional criteria I use to choose which program sells what.

    I sell alot of things I wouldn't bother selling if it weren't for QA. Things like recipes purchased whenever I'm forced to go to Ferelas. I've set up QA to sell them at a profit. I could make more by selling them more carefully, but it's not worth the effort. I just load up the hopper and the scrolls eventually sell.

    In contrast, I sell prospected citrines (the oldworld mat) by hand. The only reason I'm making good money from them is because I'm watching the prices, buying up the under-priced ones, not selling when there are alot at a price too high to buy, and waiting for the guy who needs 20 "Right now, hang the cost."

    QA, for me, is more of a fire-and-forget choice. I use it when I'm confident of a profit, but don't care enough to watch it closely, or I suspect it might take weeks to sell because there's next to no demand and no supply at all.

    If I would mindlessly post an item the same way, only changing the price based on the cheapest in the AH or not changing at all, then I make QA do the work for me. If I can make QA do the same thing I would have done, then I make QA do the same thing I would have done.

    If I'm trying to sell cobalt bars, juggling info like "How many are being sold in what stack sizes" "Will the cheapest ones get bought quick, allowing me to charge more" "How much cheap ore's for sale" "What day of the week is it" "Should I just buy out the cheaper ones" "How much of a backlog do I have" "Am I nearly out of essences or dust" "Is the amount of cobalt on my characters starting to annoy me" then I have to use Auctioneer to give me the info, and let me make a decision whether or not to sell.

    Also, I have a few markets with very low volume sales, but truly obscene markups above material costs. These could easily be stolen from me if I didn't watch for competitors. When only 3 items get sold each week, and they see I'm vigorously trying to get as big a share of the market as possible, they usually leave after they finally sell the one item they made to test the market. Since I want to check that market daily, I sell them using auctioneer.

  4. Gevlon's point of view is actually quite common on the auction house so I feel it's a good idea once in a while to debate his tactics. If anything it's a compliment to Gevlon's success with his blog that I bother to do so.

    I feel that this kind of post is the proper way to do it because I am promoting debate instead of retaliation from Gevlon.

  5. When you "debate" Gevlon, you really should try to take a professional tone. When you describe his post as "foolish and narrow-minded" it comes across as, well, bitchy. It does not matter if you are or not; it's a question of perception.

    I completely disagreed with Gevlon yesterday as well, for the record, so I find the followup interesting. Thanks for the post.

  6. Markco, you are one of the very few to have similar views as myself on gold making in wow. While I read Gevlons post yesterday and was about to comment on it I decided against it. In my view it is just best to leave Gevlon alone.
    I find you are a lot more forthcoming on explaining to people what they need to do and why they should do it. Gevlon has his own motivation which is more about either proving some point he wants to make or whatever. I really don't get find his posts useful.

    Responding to his posts comes across as you have something to prove, which I don't think you do.

    Keepup your useful posts and ignore him.

  7. The most interesting thing about his post is that Gelvon is saying that the market is imperfect and therefore the optimal strategy doesn't work but a sub optimal does.
    Last time I checked if the optimal strategy isn't working as well as the sub optimal that means it isn't the optimal strategy.
    The market isn't flawed, but his approach to it is.

  8. I'll go with first commenter: QA *AND* Auctionator.

  9. I've attempted to read his blog but his goblin stuff is so thoroughly interspersed with his obnoxious, control freak "rules" about playing that I quit after half a dozen posts.

    "In my uber guild, it is against the rules to congratulate people on achievements, it wastes our time".


  10. Have fun using 2x the RAM and AH scan time. Not sure it's worth it for me.

  11. I apologize for deleting like 6 comments on this post, I hit reject instead of publish :(

    If you could resubmit that would be appreciated, sorry!

  12. I am fairly new to QA3, Auctionator and very old to Auctioneer. But then again I never used to sell at the AH the way I do now. QA3 has been a life-saver in terms of posting glyphs. Its very easy to work with QA3 when it comes to other stuff as well. If you set your threshold properly, then there's no way you will lose money on anything that you want to sell.

    That being said, it requires you know the markets. It also requires that you know what is the cost of everything to you and how much profit you want out of everything. For example I use QA3 to post my scrolls of enchants. Why not? I don't have time to go through the 40 different types of scrolls I have and use auctioneer or auctionator to post them manually (yeah, I can use auctioneer batch feature, but it's not the most user-friendly feature to set up initially compared to QA3). For the scrolls, my thresholds are setup properly, and they include profitability in them. QA3 will skip posting if anything is below my threshold, heck, it won't even cancel if the lowest buyout is below my threshold.. which is great! If it doesn't post something, then I can always go through it posting it manually. I use auctionator for that. Alt-click on the item, select the item I want to post below and bang, got an auction up there.

    I have auctioneer still but for the last two months, I have used only QA3 and Auctionator to post. I know the markets on my server very well. I use the snatch list in auctioneer but not as much as I should. I rather use the buy lists on auctionator as they are fully setup for me to keep an eye on everything. Sure it takes me about 10 minutes more to go through my buy list than it would to just click snatch and bid/buy/bid/buy stuff. But it's worth it using the buy list as I can also see when I'm buying the lowest priced item, what's the higher one. Just a quick example, I saw void crystals on AH the other day, 4g each.. bah, bought 'em all out. None left, posted a few at 50g each! (yeah, I overpriced like hell). Some sold and I pretty much made more than enough to cover my purchase and used the rest for mongoose, etc. Or Large Brilliant Shards are a good seller, saw them at 2g each, the lowest one 4 of them, (on auctionator buy list). The one above that was at 6g each, bought the ones at 2, posted them back at 6.. it's perfect profitability. I didn't need to use them for enchanting, I had a boat load in my bank.

    Auctioneer is still great, but I don't think I'd be playing the AH the way I do today if it wasn't for QA3 and Auctionator.

    QA3 has another benefit which Marcko pointed out correctly --- the summary tab in the AH. It lets you see what you want to craft, get a bird-eye view of the market in terms of what the crafts are going for. I have used skillet+ktq for crafting glyphs, but I find it is much easier to manage using QA3 crafting list. This way, I don't have to craft the low selling glyphs and I can focus on those that are selling high.

    I also use mysales (just like Wayne) as I find it is easier to see what sells and for how much on average price. Beancounter is good, but using it for one item at a time is really time consuming.

    Lastly, I don't really read the greedy goblin blog, but I know the whole history behind Marcko and Gevlon. I find Marcko to be a bit too "revengeful" when he posts something to counter Gevlon. Not that I care, as I really don't read his blog, but Marcko's attack on Gevlon's posts are amusing to read. It's fine to rebut, it's fine to give fuel for debate, but Marcko really tries to rip Gevlon's posts apart. I don't know whether Gevlon does that too as I don't read his blog. Well whatever, I get good material to read on JMTC and I'm fine with that.

  13. Morose of Burning Legion said... August 1, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    You claim that discussing Gevlons posts are a credit to him while it inspires debate.

    Therefore your actual post sends a mixed signal as has been noticed by other readers.

    You come off as being very hostile to Gevlon and not very diplomatic or professional.
    - You manipulate his sentiments when you describe them and then proceed to call them "narrow minded".
    - You question his gold making ability - What does that have to do with the discussion at hand?

    If you worry at all about readers who follow both blogs with neutral interest, please try and keep your hostility in check. It really muddles an otherwise great debate.

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