Going Retro

Most of the times people earn money by trading items of the latest expansion. Right now, the latest expansion is cataclysm, and people are making and selling level 85 goods. They have a stable and big market. It's a safe way to earn a considerable amount of money. What most people don't realise is that items of past expansion did not disappear, or lose all their value. Trading with these items is a bit more risky business, but they can also mean great profit. Let's see how it works.

Dead business. Or not?
The demand for old items is much less then current ones, but so is the supply. People need almost no gear and other products from old expansions, but no one is supplying them either. Materials have all but vanished from the AH. Most people view it as a bad thing, but actually this makes it a tremendous opportunity to trade with these items. That is because there is a universal law of economics, valid in real life, WoW and pretty much everywhere. Bigger markets are more stable. Which means that smaller markets are more unstable, and unstable markets offer riskier but potentially more profitable deals. Why is that? In bigger markets, traders have to compete with more traders, which means that they can't maneuver with the prices of their merchandise as freely as they could, because they can expect a quicker and presumably more professional response from other traders as well as buyers. Let's say I'm selling product X, and there is only one other person selling it. If I want to raise it's market price, I will raise my price, and hope for the best. Most likely either the other trader will see it before anyone buys his item, and he will raise his price too, to match or undercut mine in order to earn more money, or someone will buy it before he can do so, which means that the lowest buyout price as well as the market price has just been raised to my price. If there were a million other people selling that item, then if I were to raise my price, then pretty much nothing would happen. Others couldn't raise their price because they would still have a lot to compete against, and people won't buy out a million trader's stock.
So in smaller markets one can more easily influence the price of items, which means more profitability, but the fact that others can do too means more risk.

The demand for old items is a bit different then we are used too. For gear and other items crafted by a professions there is almost no demand, because who would need a level 79 helmet, if they can get one with ten times the stats just one level later? The only real demand in this area is for twink items. On the other hand there is still a considerable demand for materials, because people need it for leveling professions. So if I can't make profits by crafting items and selling with a markup, I can still resell the materials. For reasons explained before, the prices of these materials fluctuate more intensely, and I can even influence it easier. To serve with an example, let's say there are only 5 primal shadows on the AH for 5 gold per piece, and another 5 for 10 gold per piece. What I can do is I can buy them all, and repost them at 50 gold per piece. People who level their profession will buy it either way because they need it, and as long as I post them at a price that is easily affordable by them, they will pay for it. Of course they won't buy it if I list it at ten thousand gold each, but as long as I set my price for an amount that is realistic for a material people will buy it. One can make far more profitable deals then with cataclysm items. If I remember correctly my biggest profit (in percentage) was with primal earth. I found 3 at 2,5 gold each, and resold them for 200 gold each. +7900% on investment, that is a great markup, one I doubt I could have achieved with any cataclysm material or product.

Exploring the old content
Knowing past levels' zones, quests and vendors can be very profitable too. Reselling items acquired from a vendor or a quest is often practiced, but in most cases people only go as far as walking through the capital cities looking for items. There are also items in other zones. For example, if one would only go outside stormwind (yes, I'm alliance, hang me), and look for the cat vendor in Elwynn Forest, he could buy 4 kinds of cats for 40 silver each, which can be reselled for hundreds of golds. That is a somewhat well-known opportunity, but to mention another one, rarely known, there is an enchanting formula, in Old Hillsbrad Foothills. That is one even I didn't know about until recently when we got a tip from one of our readers in e-mail (which we thank you for, Noobhunterx). In the part of the instance when you are following Thrall, there is an NPC called Aged Dalaran Wizard. He sells Formula: Enchant Shield - Intellect, which cannot be acquired in any other way in the game. There is very little competition in selling this item, for example on my realm, right now there is none. It is a great opportunity.

2 comments: on "Going Retro"

  1. Very good topic! I found this as a good tip. Today when i was going to level alchemy I was buying all mats from AH, but there weren't a single Goldthorn up.. Ending up paying a herber 800g to farm 2 stacks.. So yes, old items are often more profitable, but may not sell as fast!

  2. What's that about this Blog and the forum being on sale? It's a bit late for April Fool's isn't it?

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