Auction house manipulation is a key area in how gold goblins make their loot. The player that understands the eggs and flows of the market will accomplish much in their Warcraft career.
The interesting part to me is that playing the auction house is very similar to playing poker. Whether you're playing Texas Hold-EM or 5 card stud, any advanced player will teach you that you are not playing the cards, you are playing your opponents.
Auction house buyers and sellers use this exact same concept every day. There is no magical entity that is setting prices for materials. Blizzard does not swoop down from above and change the cost for your uber item of smackiness. These determinations are done specifically by the buyers and sellers on the market.
Also the determination of these costs is done by availability. In poker if 4 players have 4 aces, then you have a 0% chance of drawing that Ace from the regulation deck. If there are 3 in play then it's 25% so on and so forth. With the Auction House, you have an idea of just how many items are available, but no idea just how many sellers are available to buy your items. You may have a 100% chance of selling your item in its viable sales period, or it may just end up back in your mailbox if no one wants the item.
You are always playing the other buyers and sellers on the market. Which is why knowing who is selling and what is selling on your server is very important. Even the idea of marked cards become important to how your playing. I have 5 players on servers that are heavily into markets that I play in. So I know when they are logged in and when they are not. Waiting 30 minutes til they log out or are in other areas, then listing my auctions at that point will add more viable time for sales. Know your competition becomes your mantra to higher gold success stories.
Most players when they first start playing poker go with blind luck. Some are successful, some are not. But ultimately to become good at poker, you have to play the player, and not the game.
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