Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why do glyphs fallback?

In a market where QA dominates the undercutting, why do we ever see any glyphs post at fall back prices? I am not talking about when you reset a glyph. I know why that happens. It's all those other ones.

I know I have very close to full coverage (I am 9 glyphs from having them all). I know not all my competition has every one of them, but there are enough players that everything is covered by several posters. With me posting as hard as I am, and them posting as hard as they are, how can glyphs randomly post at fall back prices with that much coverage?

This is a side effect of QA and heavy undercutting with long posting periods. As the price gets lower and lower, eventually it reaches the point where only one person is willing to post at that price. To QA, this glyph is now under the threshold for everyone else. QA will now skip this glyphs until the price goes back up. Either the low priced ones get purchased or they expire. If they expire, every glyph that was above that one will expire first.

This glyph becomes that last one. It holds everyone out of posting that glyphs until it disappears. Once it is gone from the AH, the next person is open to post at whatever price they want. Someone who works hard to reset the price of glyphs will see this loner and reset the market. But those people don't take the time at every posting to do that.

The colors on the left indicate the value of the glyph. Red is near cost, orange is minimal profit, and green is all the mark up. Everyone undercuts in the green area, few will do so in the orange. This will cause many glyphs to cycle in price over and over. The worse the glyph is, the more often the glyph will cycle like this.

Buyers will bring some stability to glyphs and slow the cycle. Also someone liquidating leveling glyphs (they are not using QA anyway) will hold those down longer. But there are several lukewarm glyphs from research and books that will do this.

I do not expect every server to see this. For the longest time, I was the main cause of this effect on my server. Some things like this I don't do as aggressively anymore. But it was a nice way to passively reset the glyph market when I did do that. All it takes is one person to post by hand or use some other logic to post glyphs with and that cycle can be interrupted.


  1. Some people post glyphs below cost not because they are leveling, but because they don;t know how to calculate costs. They just read some guide and go at it without understanding any sort of basic math.

  2. Great observation, Kevin. Here's to hoping my competition has higher thresholds than normal so glyphs will reset faster.

  3. Buying up very underpriced glyphs is a good way to "reset" the market but I only do them in certain situations.

    I have all my competitors and their bank/posting alts on my friends list, if I log on and none of my competitors are on, I will do a scan of all the glyphs and I have a method where I can find which ones have a group of very underpriced Glyphs that are deeply undercutting a larger marked up price.

    Glyph of Arcane Barrage - 1g 20s
    Glyph of Arcane Barrage - 1g 20s
    Glyph of Arcane Barrage - 1g 20s
    Glyph of Arcane Barrage - 40g
    Glyph of Arcane Barrage - 40g
    Glyph of Arcane Barrage - 40g

    I'll buy out the 3 at 1g 20s (since it is below cost anyways) and repost them at 38g. Thus resetting the market. If I make even 1 sale before my competitors log in I have recouped my costs and don't even need those 2 other Glyphs to sell, they can sit in my inventory for future posting if the price dips below my threshold.

  4. Increasing the amount you under cut by will also speed this up. I saw this effect for the first time when I was trying to crash the market. I used a 60 silver undercut and had the lowest threshold with 48 hour auctions that I did not cancel.

    Because glyphs cycled at different rates, I would get a few new resets every day. In some cases this worked much better than buying out all the low priced glyphs. 2-6 I would consider buying them out, but when there is 12-30 I just let it go.

    Even if this does not do a rest, it will thin out those extra glyphs. That will open more windows for you to manauly reset a market.

  5. That's why I don't use QA, but auctioneer. It will remember the old "market price" (median price) and if no other glyphs available, it post median + 20%, so the price won't reset, letting competitors back. If no competitors come back, the price slowly elevate (about 10% in 48 hours)

  6. "To QA, this glyph is now under the threshold for everyone else. QA will now skip this glyphs until the price goes back up."

    That's why. I use Auctioneer as well, and can make more glyphs more than the average Inscriptionist on my server. I make more per day selling at lower profit with less competition than I do selling at high profit with much competition.

    I keep prices as low as needed to sell the number of glyphs I am willing to make. If I am unable to make a ton of glyphs for a period I will let prices rise, and my overall profit always takes a dump when this occurs despite selling at higher profits.

    Results will, as always, vary with server.

  7. I got a mail with an idea. Since I don't use QA, I don't know if it works or not, but theoretically it is a good trick (by Gabe)

    Please forgive me if this is poorly thought-out or if it is already a well-known practice, but would it be feasible to "trick" addons (the main one I have in mind here is QA2) that other AH Campers are using by listing a "dummy glyph" at a very lower price each time you post a set of glyph auctions? For example, I have 5 glyphs I want to post; I post 4 at the "usual price" of say, 20g. But then I also post 1 of the same glyphs at say, 1g, with the theory here being that most people have QA setup to NOT post any glyphs if their AH scan returns results of the same glyph below their "threshold" price. Ideally, you'd effectively prevent someone from posting a lot of their inventory, hopefully reduce your chance of being undercut, and thus selling more of your inventory. Alas, this would only work until some random actually did end up buying your uber-low "dummy" glyph - but hey - that window may be plenty of time to get the other casual monkeys off the AH and off your back for a while. And yes, this idea would obviously only work against people who just mindlessly run up to the AH and hit the QA Post button without even really looking at the market (but I get the feeling a lot of people actually do this).

  8. Gabe is correct that it would prevent the next person from getting anything to post. This would work better if it was on select glyphs. If you over use this trick, the poster will pay more attention to the log.

    The qa log will report when it did not post a glyph. The below threshold message reports the value of the low priced glyph. If I know thats a good glyph, I will go check it out.

    Auctioneer is smart in this situation. If you have it configured to just undercut, It will realize the 1g glyph is too low. The glyph will be posted at 19g, undercutting the 20g glyph.

    I started to use this to insert my glyphs where QA would have skipped them. I still use QA several times a day to keep my glyphs the cheapest and I use auctioneer just enough to post the things that get skipped.

    I have some glyphs that auctioneer is just better at selling them than QA is.

  9. You must think of the process a scribe goes through before thinking how to manipulate addons or the market.

    First I check the Herb market, and any Icethorn/Adder's Tongue at 1g or below I buy out depending on my current ink/herb inventory.

    I do a summary scan of the whole Glyph market, and depending on my ink/herb levels I'll craft everything that is priced above my material costs + 50s profit (1g 99s for 1 ink, 2g 99s for 2 ink ) I will queue up to make 5x of or top up my current inventory levels.

    If I have low ink levels because of inflated Herb prices, I target glyphs at the highest prices as my first priority to craft. I do not want to let my competitors getting sales of 20g+ on their glyphs as they will then stay in the market longer.

    I then check out the auctions lower than my material costs, if there are under 5 or so glyphs are priced below my craft cost (as stated above) and none above or a big jump in prices to 20g+, I will buy them out and repost.

    However don't get stuck buying glyphs at 2g or higher (which still gives your competitors 50s profit per glyph, depending on herb and snowfall ink prices) or you are just paying off your competitors who will quickly post another 5x glyph in minutes.

  10. I was discussing this recently as well - your diagram explains it perfectly KevMar. Personally I do feel we need to step back from this a little - your diagram shows a single glyph going through the cycle. However its important to remember that the point in the cycle varies from glyph to glyph - so when one glyph is nearing the red zone another has just reset.

    Also the speed of the cycle varies - for example a good seller on my server is the 'Glyph of Shadow' but because its one of the glyphs learn from the trainer everyone has it and the numbers on the AH are always 50+.

    So there are many factors affecting the cycles: source, popularity, minor/major, which way the winds blowing.

    I realised its not worth worrying about - because with 200+ glyphs being sold I find that the profit remains the same - its just which specific glyph is selling today.

    Gevlon's point about using AA over QA is true - it gives you much greater control over reseting the cycle - but on my server reseting the cycle isnt an issue - and I honestly dont think I could cope with AA posting all those glyphs as the rate it does.

    AA is a great addon - probably my favourite - but it does have its limitations.