Dec 16, 2011

Posted by in Blasters, Beggars & Credits | 8 Comments

Blasters, Beggars & Credits: Money Matters

Some players do it for glory. Some do it for infamy. Some like to accumulate the most points, or explore the far reaches of the worlds they inhabit. This, however, is not a column for those people. This is a column for those people who, quietly or not, enjoy making money so that their digital avatar can sleep on large piles of cash.

Some people probably read my little columns (absent for a time, and for that I apologize) and snicker to themselves – “What a sucker, he’s revealing his strategy to everyone!”

Well, not really. Due to circumstances, I have been unable to play straight through the last two days, so I’m neither very advanced in level (hit 22 late last night) or in money (I’ve peaked at around 30k before training costs hit). But there is a plan.

They Drew First Blood

Every day we get a new amount of players crowding the scene, a new wave of people getting into the game. And these people are, in general, going to be less hardcore about news, and blogs, and fan sites – and very unlikely to read any column of mine. Much to their sorrow!

I periodically have been checking back at the GTN, and later I’m going to give a small tutorial. But for now, for those avid money-makers, here is what I am doing to amass a small fortune before advancing too far in level.

This, my friends, is our new home.

Flipping has been working quite well for me. Many people are posting things for ludicrously small amounts of credits. For instance – someone put 6 Red Amorphous Crystals on the GTN for 10 credits each. I turned those around for 75 credits a piece – that’s a 650% ROI. Every day I check the Archaeology tab, and every day I’m amazed to find stuff for under 40 credits.

Remember folks: 10 credits is nothing. It’s not worth auctioning something for that much. I turned 30 credits into 450 without so much as batting an eye.

That’s half of my strategy. The other half is in crafting armor.

Everyone Needs Something

Someone in my guild has been pouring his soul into learning artifact Synthweaving patterns. He has learned six as of the second night of Early Game Access, and will probably learn 3 or 4 more for each tier (aside: each tier is about 80 levels up). That is all well and good, except that he could be selling those prototypes for much more than he would get for just a couple of artifacts.

Remember that, on average, it’s a 20% chance to return an artifact schematic. This means he has to destroy 5 prototypes, on average, to get one artifact. The opportunity cost is quite high – if, for instance, that’s a pair of legs or a chest, he could easily get 2000 credits for that (maybe more, depending on server). That means he is destroying 10,000 credits worth of items for an item that might sell for 3,000 or 4,000.

However, he will need to sell 3 just to recoup his losses from the reverse engineering. And that isn’t necessarily something people will go for (though, admittedly, some will). I think the 3,000 credit mark is a pretty defining line between expensive and being unable to afford, at least in the buyer’s mind. I should clarify – that’s at this point.

In addition, he needs to keep up with his underworld trading missions (time-consuming and somewhat expensive) or purchase materials from the GTN (expensive but less time-consuming). This is a major bottleneck – he will have to wait to get those artifact pieces randomly from a bountiful or rich mission. This is a major impediment that is lessened by the guaranteed prototype returns.

Shirtless on Hoth? Can't tell if BAMF or just poor.

For now, I will be attempting to sell to level 10 – 15 crowd. This group will have less gear, less ways to get gear, and less accessibility to it. Selling to them will be a nice boon, and they additionally are going to be less and less educated in terms of the game. Their mistakes will be my gain! And they almost certainly don’t all read my column (I hope).

I think the PVP-oriented crowd is going to, more or less, be filthy rich from all the pvp they do – credits and experience coming in a slow manner will probably amount to them being somewhat over cap on the money situation. And I’m fine with that, even if I have little to offer them. They will not, however, be participating in as much crafting if they are doing mostly pvp and just class quests. This also knocks out competitors, at least somewhat.

On that note, there are two level ranges of gear that I will avoid selling – level 20 gear, and level 40 gear. The rationale there is that you can essentially get a whole set of “free” gear from the PVP armor vendors. More and more people will catch onto this, I believe, and we’ll see much less activity at those levels. It would not be a situation where no one will buy, simply a situation where less will buy.

The market is going to start crowding, soon – Jung Ma, the only RP-PVP server, saw a queue last night. Finding your niche now is important. Right now, Synth is doing reasonably well for me. I am going to get my Artificer to 10 today and start gunning through color crystals and hilts, and I will get my future Cybertech to 10 soon enough as well. I see good returns for the both of them.
I am testing our selling items that don’t have the mods – I have gotten two schematics from drops (and one from a guildy), so I am testing the waters with selling items that only a few can make. I don’t expect to make a lot from crafting gear that has no stats, but it would seem that the savvy or the collector’s might take a stab, especially if it has some potential as a unique or iconic look.

GTN: Like An Auction House, But Different

I promised a little tutorial on GTN, and now, you shall have it!

How to make money, in simple, easy steps.

The first thing to understand is that this auction house depends on categorical searches. You cannot simply type in a name, as before, and find something. I find this to be alright for me, because I pretty much know exactly what I’m looking for when selling or buying, and under what umbrella it falls.

This is something of a barrier to entry for the less-knowledgeable, but that can be helpful too. I think the extremely cheap crystals I found were from people simply putting items up at the default value (which is always vendor price, I believe) and not checking on what other things sell for. Of course, someone might put something up for a ludicrous price as well – it all simply depends on the seller.

The drop down menus are as follows: Category (armor, weapons, crafting materials, etc), Sub-category (armor divided into light, medium, or heavy), Rarity (Any, Cheap, Standard, Premium, Prototype and Custom, Artifact, and Legendary), Usable By (yourself, companions, anyone, etc), and finally cost and level ranges.

To proceed, one must select the sub-category...


...and the quality.

There is a name filter underneath all of this – however, it does not come up until you at least pick a sub-category. So you at least need to know the class of item you are looking for before you can find it; which, again, makes it difficult to flip things all the time, if you can’t just search for extremely cheap things across all categories.

It also displays 8 items at a time. There is no scroll-down, only a pagination routine. Sorting seems to work across your entire search, however – when searching for color crystals, this is handy as it sorts them all together.

The GTN limits you to 50 auctions a time, and it takes a 13% deposit. The deposit is based on your sell price and not the vendor price. If you take a rubat crystal and sell it for 1,000 credits, you are putting 130 down. It does not appear that you always pay the 130 as a lost deposit – it was being returned to me for expired auctions, and it only kept a smaller portion (about half) when I successfully sold an item.

If you want to split stacks, it is possible, though I find it annoying. Hold down shift, and the click, hold, and drag from the stack you want. It will also link it in chat, so you will need to eventually esc-kill the chat unless you want to link each of the twelve amorphous red crystals you put into single stacks.

Because of the limit, this makes selling single-items less attractive, though I would venture that it is still the way to go, if only because people will usually not need things in the same stack size you have. Splitting into 2s or 5s might also be preferable, but I’ve had a lot of success with single stacks. It just fills up your auction inventory quickly, so keep that in mind.

Beggar’s Tip: Choose commendations! When you complete a mission, you will usually have the option of selecting an item reward, or a commendation. If you need the item, then go for it. But if you are just junking it, take the commendation. You can trade the commendation for better mods for your armor, or you can sell those mods or send them to an alt or friend. This is always better than the meager amount of money you would get for the item. I will be spending my initial moments on tonight converting my commendations to cash.

  1. Lady Republic says:

    I’ve had fairly good luck auctioning rubat crystals myself, once I got synthweaving to the point where I didn’t need them anymore. Been turning around stacks of 10 for about 500 credits per.

    If only I hadn’t spent so much on my UWT….speeder, you will continue to elude me.

  2. Credit Machine with out a speeder? I’m doing all slicing and have made 130k so far, including quests and vendering rewards. At lvl 26 i have no need for more money

    I looked threw the ah and found everything was at very low prices relative to my cash on hand. Am i the only one that has so much cash? Are we going to see inflation in a month or so after most ppl reach 50?

  3. How do you know when an item is over/under prized?

  4. What I wonder is if we should be buying up all the purple items right now in hopes of turning a massive profit when server prices level out?

    I notice most purple items are going for around the 1-3 k mark on my server.

    Any thoughts?

  5. Lady Republic says:

    You don’t, it’s a bit of guesswork. You list something, then see how fast it sells. If it sells very fast, keep raising the price until it takes longer. If it doesn’t sell, you lower it until it does. Also this early in the game and GTN, there’s tremendous amounts of market fluctuation.

  6. Thanks for the tips in this article. I’ve been making some decent credits on Rubat crystals. Found a post on the GTN where someone put up 35 for 150 credits. Snagged it, broke ’em into smaller stacks, and reposted at a 100 credits per crystal. They were the only ones up at the time, so that turned into a very nice piece o’ profit!

  7. I am not so sure that armor or synth crafting will be that profitable in the short term: the GTN currently suffers from a fatal flaw in that you cannot search or sort by armor slot. Looking for a belt? Well I hope you enjoy searching through 400 boots to find it. Until the GTN gets a huge upgrade in usability, I don’t know if enough people will really be able to use it successfully for others to make money on it with armor.

    • It was at first – now we seem to be switching into a more material-based economy, which is to be expected. Slicing is actually having a positive effect – all that money they are making from lockboxes is being transferred to my character via mulinine, xonolite and titanium.

      More on that later – crafted goods are alright, but yes, a better UI would be nice on the GTN. Hopefully customization becomes a factor there. :)

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