Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Pet selling: beginner results and first impressions of the market.

OK here's the results of my first round of marketing pets.

26th December: listed 13 pets across 8 servers for a total of 104 listings. 3 sales worth 1700g. The pets are 50 silver or less so that's 1699g profit.

29th December: listed 15 pets across 9 servers for a total of 135 listings. 13 sales worth 1480g.

31st December: listed 25 pets across 8 servers for a total of 200 listings. 18 sales worth 1633g.

- the first result was skewed by the person who bought a 50 silver pet for 1586g. Thanks, buddy!

- most sales are pretty sensible. I'd rather pay 50g to get a pet on my Horde character than try and travel all the way to Darnassus and die to the guards multiple times so I can buy it for 50s.

- I'm branching out into more expensive pets, eg the ones from the Dalaran pet shop that mostly sell at 50g from the vendor. Prices are usually well over 50g but I found some about 35-40g which I bought out. (My first pet trading investment). The risk is hugely lessened by being able to trade across the region. It's possible that someone got stuck with hundreds of these pets and is selling them off and will always put them there for 35g making it impossible to flip on that server. But that doesn't matter in this market.

- I went through my pet collection selling off unneeded pets, mostly drops from  Island Expeditions. There's a huge range in price across servers and across pets. Cheapest Island Expedition pets are about 2k, most expensive over 100k.

Is it worth doing?

I've really enjoyed setting this up. I've spent a lot of hours though for 5k profit. By comparison I could have farmed leather on my skinner for about 25k an hour. So it's a huge opportunity cost.

For me that's fine, I've been learning tons, doing lots of research, experimenting and so on. I'd rather do that than grind while watching Netflix, using about 5% of my brain for the game.

It has the potential to be really lucrative. That's because it's multiplicative in several ways. More servers times a longer stock list times higher average pet price (which generally means more profit per transaction) should see this skyrocket over time. Unless I get bored - I always tend to be more Explorer than Achiever in the classic MMO player tropes.

Observations on the pet economy.

I would love to go back in time and be a fly on the wall when this feature was pitched to the WoW development team. Because it must have been the best pitch ever.

Every designer wants their featuire to be better than the other features in the game. Usually they get shut down by their bosses. Whoever pitched pet design got them to bust open the AH functionality making this market better than any other market, got them to make pets super attractive to gold makers, inserted them into guilds, dungeons, raids, random mobs, achievements and crafting - every part of the game except pvp. Making what is basically a Pokemon clone so ubiquitous it's almost impossible to avoid was a very high risk strategy for WoW. It makes the game more childish. I don't think Blizzard's ever got that a lot of their base take fantasy super seriously and come from the Tolkien, RE Howard, Lovecraft fantasy traditions and find all these "hey look! a pink bunny!" moments annoying and immersion breaking.

Remember WoW peaked around the time the players were pit against Arthas the Lich King and has been declining since they did the Kung Fu Panda expansion (which also introduced pet battles).

However, that doesn't matter, what matters is making gold. Here's my first impressions on the economy:

- the pet market is overwhelmingly driven by collectors not high end pet battlers.

- people buy pets by checking if there's pets they haven't got then buying them. This means that cheap pets sell and cute pets sell. A 5k slug is probably only going to be for the hardcore completionists.

- after 2 weeks of pet battling I have 215 pets which gives me a realm rank of 31st and a global rank of 46,489th. This means only 30 people have put more effort in than a pet newbie on my server. At least there are nearly 50,000 people more invested world-wide.

- analysing the market we can see the following categories of pet:

1. Defunct content pets, such as Blizzcon rewards and card game coupon pets. The most famous perhaps is the Spectral Tiger Cub. They're not completely defunct as a very small trickle of these items is added to the game through the Black Market Auction house (which is definitely part of the pet traders end game).

2. Fresh content pets. The recently added Gnomeregan pet dungeon allows people to farm a handful of pets including the 600k gold Alarm-o-dog. (Rare and cute). The paragon bags rarely drop a pet and those are very expensive. An Alchemy transmute can produce a pet of several types. The Voldun invasion can lead to 2 pets, one for each faction. Lots of these pets are over 100k gold because they have only just been introduced and they're quite hard to farm. These pets are worth a lot right now, even more at the first moment they could be sold and I expect them to decline over the course of the expansion and then perhaps slowly pick up once we have a new expansion and 99.9% of players never run an Island Expedition again.  From an investment point of view the absolute worst pets are the ones that passively drop from content everyone does anyway like Islands and rep gain.

3. Discontined old content pets. Through some happenstance of the way people level now these pets aren't spawned by regular play. The supply depends on specific farmers and even there many would have to grind long quest chains or old reputation grinds.

4. Active old content pets. People love to run old raids for some pretty spectacular mounts, some achievements, even some guild achievements. The highest rated battle pet in the game, Anubisath Idol, is really cheap because of this as are most of the other raid drops, particularly those from Vanilla or cool dungeons like Karazhan.

5. Crafted pets. This seems like quite a good outlet for a crafter. Make a sword and you need to find someone on your server to buy it. Make a pet and you can list it on dozens of servers.

6. Vendor pets. This sub-market depends on how many goblins are doing what I'm currently doing. The 50 silver pets will always make a decent mark up but some of the more expensive pets like Crusher (1000g) are close to zero profit or even negative on many servers. Still because you can sell on any server you're likely to find a good place to list one. Some vendor pets can't be sold. Some are rep-gated but can still be sold.

7. World event pets. These are a pet trader's dream because supply comes once per year for a brief period then demand is constant. So you can currently buy the Winter's Veil pets for under 1g and they should be fairly expensive  later on next year. I found some old Children's Week pets in my collection which I'd forgotten about so I've listed them as it's a long time since that event. This may be the best pet investment market as long as you don't mind waiting about 6 months to cash out.

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