Imposing Structure in the Face of Chaos

WARNING: Diablo 3 Carnival #1 is scheduled for 12/01/2011! Get your links in!

Diablo 3 is looking better and better in terms of its diversity. There are just so many different ways to play and equip each character. Not to mention the numerous methods already entering my cranium for making gold and even real money. In order for players to succeed, out of all this chaos needs to come some semblance of order.

That's the key, imposing structure upon the chaos of such a complicated game.

For most players, their method of coping with the complexity of Diablo 3 will involve some level of ignorance in order to avoid taking away from their fun. Instead of trying to find the best times to purchase items, for example, these players will ignore the complex cycles of Diablo 3 by just buying whenever they need something.

So how does one go about organizing Diablo 3's many systems: runestones, crafting, gems, enchants, gear, gold, jar of jordan, nephalem cube, pages of training, etc?

First, you must embrace the chaos. You must make mistakes, learn from them and build a repretruare of experience. This doesn't happen over night.

Second, you must develop simple solutions to complicated problems.

Third, you have to combine these solutions into systems and fine tune them to perfection.

Some people argue that gold guides are dumb because their information is often readily available in some degree of free stuff, scattered throughout the internet. For most guides this is true, although I would argue that my guides contain some pretty unique and thought provoking information that goes well beyond free content. Ignoring this fact, let's look at the idea of guides being dumb because they take free information and organize it.

Guess what, the free information is right there inside your gaming experience, regardless of whether you ever read tips on the internet. Given the time, any player could become an expert at playing every aspect of Diablo 3, from pve to pvp to gold to money making. Just look at my three steps above, however, most people don't have the time.

That's why I'm building a guide, for those people that want to skip ahead past all the experiences that lead up to someone having the knowledge to master the game. They can instantly have structure placed on all the chaotic information that would otherwise confuse and befuddle them. More importantly, they get their unique questions answered in the form of a spam free, private forum. And to top it all off, I'll take questions and fresh information to build a weekly podcast for members only.

It's going to be a blast... I can't wait! Be sure to subscribe to this blog so that you'll know exactly when my new guide is ready.

What are your opinions about guides? Have any past (good or bad) experiences?

Diablo Jeweler Most Profitable Artisan?

I'm sitting here relaxing in my new home on a comfy green sofa two days after Thanksgiving. Not going to lie, even with coffee plus eggs and toast I'm still a little tired from all the traveling to see family. It's nice to kick back and read some Diablo 3 news while also getting back into blogging on the regular.

So when I checked Diablo 3 news sites, the first one I always go to is Diablo Fans. Low and behold, the recent Beta patch 6 had quite a lot in store for excited Diablo fans to make them even more excited.

The Jeweler preview finally came! As I read the news about the Jeweler's three crafting options, I couldn't help but wonder if maybe he is the best artisan for making gold/money in Diablo 3.
  • He will combine 3 identical gems to create a new higher quality gem.
  • He will remove gems from an item, returning both the item and gems to you intact.
  • He can also add a socket to an item.
Adding a socket and removing gems will cost money, however, combining three identical gems to create a new higher quality gem is FREE. That's right, the process of converting three identical gems into a single better one is completely free.

So, if you've been reading this blog and my previous one for long enough, you know that this is an instant money making opportunity. Take three gems worth less total than the combined gem and you have a profitable sales funnel.

It's important to note that there doesn't seem to be a reverse conversion in the game, nor do I believe Blizzard will ever implement it. So if it's more profitable for you to sell three gems of lesser value than the potential combined one, then you need to sell the three instead of converting them.

So far, we haven't seen an artisan with a free conversion method like the Jeweler's. There are things like the Jar of Jordan and Nephalem cube, but nothing tied directly to an artisan quite like this. What's more, those two options are random, whereas this is pretty easy to calculate what you're getting and whether it's worth your time.

Here are the Jewel types currently in the database in case you were interested:

Amesthyst - Helm

Amethyst - Other

Emerald - Helm

Emerald - Other

Ruby - Helm

Ruby - Other

Topaz - Helm

Topaz - Other

Business Studies of Diablo 3

Guest post by Zamrosrage
Hey Markco, Zamros here. I'm just dropping this here because I study Business Studies for A Level, and I hope to be able to take it as a course in University. Fingers crossed.

So I thought I might try and take my GCSE and A level Business Studies and Economics knowledge to apply it to the Diablo 3 market.
I'll talk about 3 topics in this post because including a whole 2 year course into one email is hard work.

The first thing I'll talk about is marketing.
People may think about advertising when it comes to this term, but it is really a process of determining what products or services may be of interest to customers, which demographic of customers they would apply to and how you might convince a customer to buy a product.
You can narrow marketing down into the 4 P's.
  1. Product - This is the product you are selling to people. Whether it be gems, gold, materials, armour. Anything really. You will find that for any product/item available in Diablo 3, even the most insignificant thing, there is somebody out there that wants to buy it. Each of these Products have a life cycle. This can be either daily, weekly or even once and for all and is calculated by Sales/Time. Life cycles are split up into stages. You start off with Development. This stage will probably be in the first few weeks/months of Diablo III's release, in which the new market is just adjusting to it's new users and so the prices will be all over the place, and as such the amount of sales is uncertain, and most likely low if people have preliminarily high prices. You then have introduction, which is when the product finds a semi-set price margin and sales will begin to increase because of this, sales are quite low and price tends to be higher. After this you have growth, which is simply when the amount of sales increases by a lot. Whether due to lots of new players, higher demand or just a spike, the sales will increase. After that you have maturity and saturation, in which the amount of sales will begin to be the same sort of amount each week, this is when it is almost sure-fire to sell items because sales are at it's peak. Then it gets down to Decline, in which sales will begin to drop, and as so it is an unsure time to post items to the RMAH or the gold AH. This can be daily, because of people leaving for work/school, weekly because of server downtimes or life-timely because of a patch that might make said product useless/less demanded.
  2. Price - This is pretty much self explanatory. If the price is low, then more people will want to buy it. If the price is high, you will make more money for one product. Each of these have downsides. If you set a price low, then you might end up not making as high a profit, or even a loss (Due to labour time and fees). If you set the price high, then people may not want to buy it because of it's high price. This is why you have to follow the market trends. Wait until the product becomes higher in price, and then the herd mind will think your high priced product is low, due to it being lowest at the time.
  3. Promotion - This is how you sell the product. You could either spam in trade chat, advertise on Diablo III forums or even whisper people that you think might be interested in buying. An effective way of Promotion links to price, in which if you post something for say £1.99 rather than £2.00. Subconsciously, even though it's only 1 cent cheaper, you think it is a lot cheaper than it actually is, subconsciously relating it to the £1 rather than the £2. This is why in stores IRL you see a lot of £X.99 priced products on store shelves.
  4. Place - This is a bit harder to relate to Diablo III, as in real life it comes down to what stores you sell your product in, and in which parts of town such as the high street or in a mall. This can be related as to which Auction House to post an item on at a specific time. Such as, if the price of Gold is higher in comparison to Sterling, then it would be of better interest to sell on the Gold Auction House. However if the price of Sterling is higher in comparison to Gold, then it would be of better interest to sell on the RMAH.

Secondly, I'll discuss the Boston Matrix.
This is a method thought up by the Boston Consulting Group of analysing a product's portfolio. There are 4 corners, or categories of product portfolio, each with a nickname thought of by some wise-crack in Boston.
  1. Problem Children - This is a product with low market share in a high growth market. Say gems where beginning to rise in demand, becoming a high growth market. You had a Sapphire, which takes up a low market share, making up only a small amount of said market. This means that in order to make a Problem Child into a Rising Star, you must invest a significant amount of time and money into making Sapphires into a healthier share of the gem market. These are usually in the introduction stage of the product life cycle.
  2. Rising Stars - These products have a high market share, in a high growth market. Meaning that they are very successful products providing a large amount of revenue to the people selling them. However they will still need to be provided constantly towards the market in order to keep rival products at bay and the market at it's size. These are usually in the growth stage of the product life cycle.
  3. Cash Cows - These products have a high market share in a stable (low growth) market. These products tend to be in good standing when it comes to sales, and you can trust them to sell on the AH. These are usually in the Maturity and Saturation stage of the product life cycle.
  4. Dogs - These products have a low market share in a low growth market. These should generally be dropped from the market due to their low revenue amounts and low sales probability.

I will finally talk about adding value. This is a way used by businesses in which to add as much value to a product by means of adding extra parts to it, such as packaging, aesthetics etc. in order to increase the amount of profit on the product. To do this, you can combine materials in order to craft an item. By doing so, the crafter can add value from each of the materials used, plus "labour" costs, in order to add as much value to the product you are selling on the Auction House as possible. Thus maximising your profit.

~Zamros of Zamrosrage

Release Date Coming Soon Enough

I may be too intense for you.

No, seriously, this site may be way too intense for the average gamer.

The goal here is to make you a better auctioneer. We'll start off slow, but quickly ramp up to more complicated and rewarding activities.

That's really my specialty, the ramping up of information over time. That's why you're subscribed (right!?) to the list on the right side of the screen. I'll be working on improving the automated and non-automated messages from there once we have enough information for concrete strategies.

On my wow blog, I used my autoresponder as a way of building a foundation of knowledge you need to really get going as an auctioneer. I'll do the same for Diablo 3.

Although this site will cater to serious auctioneers, it will also have plenty of information for the newbie aucitoneers in training. Things like farming locations, simple strategies, and basic information will also be presented.

Without much hard data to work with, most of my posts have been aimed at the more experienced auctioneers or at bringing newer ones up to a higher level. Unfortunately, the best way to get people interested in the auction house is with farming spots and easy strategies... none of which can be covered until they actually exist!

So stay patient, keep up the intensity, and stay focused on learning as much as you can for Diablo 3's release.

So Why Care About D3's Release?

I truly believe that the amount of money to be made at the start of this game will be so great that the majority of serious auctioneers will make an absolute killing. It will be like shooting fish in a barrel with a shotgun.

The money will be in selling gold, materials for the wave of leveling crafters (remember, crafters only have to be leveled once), and basically supplying players who are trying to be the first to the higher tiers.

I do not believe it's wise to be one of those "first" people. For starters, the competition is too great. Better to sell water bottles to the race participants than  actually take part in the race itself is how I see it.

Secondly, the people who are first will quickly be joined by everyone else in the coming weeks. Within weeks, enough will catch up and remove the economic advantages which the "first" people initially acquired.

While players are trying to speed run their characters to max level, I'll be taking my time and clearing out every monster on every area for loot. Mass a little bit of gold/materials and then start manipulating the auction house.

So stay focused, keep coming back to this blog every day, and join me in getting as much information as possible as we prepare for what could be the easiest period of time to make money playing Diablo 3.

Let's Get Smarter

Diablo 3 isn't going to be a cake walk. There are going to be numerous variables that prevent players from easily assessing information to make money playing the game. The only way to get around these variables is to get smarter.

So how does one get smarter class?


It's that easy. There are people with the answers out there, and even if I don't have them, I will either get them for you or redirect you to the right person. Odds are, if you're talking about gold or making real money, I'll have the answers for you.

How can you ask questions?

Email me: Contact Page
Twitter: Foldberg1
Facebook: Markco

Also, look at the right hand side of the page:

Search for Content
Read the Blog Roll
Visit Resource Pages
Browse the Archives

Last but not least, don't forget to subscribe. You can email me directly in response to any email from your subscription.

Such a Simple Sheep

"Why would posting lots of items at once make me lose money?"

That's the question I saw raised by Shmark, a resident at I try to make the rounds there because I enjoy talking to Sixen, the previous owner, even though he still owes me a promised beta key. *grrr shakes fists*. I'm only playing, he's a good guy, but back to the topic, this Shmark, he needs our help.

Shmark, if you're listening, we're here to help you. Yeah, I said we, as in this community we're starting for fledgling newcomers to the whole "let's make ridiculous amounts of virtual currency" idea. You're our newest member, and no, you don't have to introduce yourself and tell us the last time you viewed the auction house as a vendor. Though you sort of already did in that thread...

We're a friendly bunch, and we really are here to help. I'm going to give you a very brief explanation as to why posting all of your items at once, such as after finishing a long and arduous farming session, is a bad idea. Then I'll turn it over to the members here, and see if they have any stories or thoughts to add to the answer.

Why should you care? Well, here's two reasons:

1. You will most likely not sell off your entire stockpile, so every extra item is lost money from your total earnings.
2. Players overreact and start an undercutting war with you, also dumping their stockpiles.
3. If you do sell all of your stock, you most likely posted it for too little.

#1 is the most practical reason and is what most people would cite as the answer to your question. Let's see if the rest of the community here has their own two cents to add. See you around Shmark!

Diablo 3 Blogging Carnival

I think it's time to start something I used to do for my WoW blog, and that's carnivals.

A blogging carnival is where any blogger with a Diablo blog (or related genre) can send in a link to a post they've written which fits the carnival topic. I then collect all the links and list them with mini-descriptions the day of the carnival. Everyone gets links and there are no requirements for you to link back in any way if you don't wish to.

Readers who don't own blogs can spread the word or even email me about posts they've read that fit the carnival's description.

The first Diablo Blogging Carnival will go live December 1st and you can send in links from now until the day before. If you send it in too late at night then I cannot guarantee that it will show up on the Carnival, but I will add it retroactively after the post is live.

The topic for the first ever Diablo Blogging Carnival will be:

drum roll...

"Why do you believe or don't believe the RMAH will be a money maker in D3?"

Get cracking bloggers, and let me know with an email when you're done. Markco AT Diablo3goldguide DOT net

Just publish your post and then send me a link when it's done. Remember, you are in no way, shape, or form required to link back to this blog. That's entirely up to you.

Take care,


Beta Patch 6 Winners

So who wins after the latest change to the beta 6 patch?

With the new auction house setup, players will be able to purchase items with the same number of clicks for an individual item or 300 stacks of it.

How will this effect buyers and sellers?

For starters, sellers will no longer be able to rely on cheap tricks to sell items. So this hurts the bad meanies who wanted to sell through tricky stack prices. Buyers can rejoice because not only is there less chance for them to get screwed, but buying any number of stacks is now possible with the same series of clicks as a single item.

Sellers should be very excited about the idea of buying items in large stacks.

This means that it will be easier for an auctioneer to perform his or her daily routine of buying cheap items, modifying them, and reposting them. Remember, buying is the most important part of selling!   This is a win for everyone, and it forces auctioneers to get out of the mindset that they will be able to control markets. Maybe super niche markets, but this will be a rare occurrence with how large the number of users on each auction house server will be. Think the largest WoW server and multiple its population by oh… 100.

The sheer number of auctions available to comb through for deals would prove impossible without this sort of enhancement. Things are looking good people, and it’s mostly due to the fact that the auction house is a huge part of D3, instead of just an optional mini-game.

Beta 6 Patch Notes for Gold AH

Patch Notes Beta 6: Gold Auction House

  • Stackable items can now be purchased and sold on the gold Auction House. These items can be purchased in any quantity, provided that the quantity is available for sale, and will pull from multiple auction listings if needed.
 So far so good. Wait a minute, did Blizzard just say "... and will pull from multiple auction listings if needed." HUH!? What does THAT mean?!

The beta has been riddled with bugs thus far, especially with regards to Artisans in Diablo 3 (black smith issues) and the auction house (freezes, game data dumps, etc). So I am excited to see at least one major update on the gold ah thus far. Once they're done with the gold, they'll be one step closer to the RMAH. This of course makes me excited.

However, I am clueless as to what this magical multiple stack pulling thing means.

Is Blizzard going to show items for sale based on price and not by who's posting them? WOAH! That's awesome!

Here's my train of thought, try to follow without de-railing:

Player A posts 60 cloth on the gold auction house for 20 gold a stack (say there are 20 in each stack, so 3 total stacks). Player B posts one stack of 20 cloth for the same price.

Am I correct that Player C will be able to buy the 80 cloth from both players in a single transaction? We already know that names are hidden on the Diablo 3 AuctionHouse, so this feature would definitely be a real possibility.


OK, so what, I'm speculating. It's Friday and I want to have a little fun. Speaking of fun, enjoy the weekend everyone.

Diablo Data Mined

Let me start by introducing myself. Markco asked me to write a guest post, and since I love the sheep pictures on this site, I happily agreed. I often go by the name "Muaziz" which happens to be the name of my WoW main (Horde Eonar).
The name "Muaziz" is that of a Tremere vampire from Vampire: The Eternal Struggle (originally called Jyhad, but the CCG name was changed to avoid any negative association with rising Islamic jihad sentiments). This game, which some of my friends still play, probably remains the best multi-player CCG ever developed.
I was an avid Diablo II player back in the day which I think officially makes me old. In the heyday of LoD (before duping became all too commonplace), I ended up writing a hack which I called the "Larzuk Cruel Hack". I realize that it was barely one sentence ago that I complained about duping and here I was developing my own hack. There was a difference, however slight it may be. My hack really just optimized something that players could do legitimately on their own: namely, go to Larzuk (Act V vendor) and check to see if he had any good blues (magic, not rare) items; then leave town to reset the vendor, and rinse and repeat. It was a pretty mundane hack, but it was fully automated; all I had to do was regularly provide some gold (from farming cow levels) since the Larzuk items were actually quite expensive to buy.
Why were these magical items any good? Diablo II had some very powerful affixes that were designated as "magic only"(i.e., these affixes could not appear on "yellow" rare items). These affixes included the most powerful weapon damage affixes: Cruel (+201-300% Dmg), Grandmaster (+251-300 AR and +151-200% Dmg), of the Lamprey (+7-9% Life Leech), of Quickness (+40% IAS), of Evisceration (+41-63 Max Dmg). Additionally, these items could also be socketed using the Act V quest (although the number of sockets was random), and could be imbued with Runewords making them even more powerful.
While not exactly legitimate, I had found a way to offer players something that no one else was offering. Sure you could buy duped dual-leech rings and Uniques from eBay and 3rd party sites, but no one was selling these magic weapons with excellent damage affixes. This proved very profitable for the three months I actively sold items. Eventually, Diablo boredom and having to travel for my real-life job put an end to this side job.
In 2003, I took up Star Wars: Galaxies. I really loved the idea of a game where player crafting would play an integral part of the in-game economy (although it was pretty buggy at launch). If anything, crafting in SW:G was probably too complex for most players and became the specialty of a few crafters like myself. Crafting was based on resources with varying stats that would spawn roughly every week and would show up on one or more of the 10 planets. The quality of resources that spawned would vary greatly from one week to the next which in turn meant that the quality of crafted items would vary as well. It wasn't long before I kept resource spreadsheets that would automatically re-calculate all possible crafted items based on the latest spawned materials. From this data, I would pay folks to help harvest resources (I started the practice of weekly resource contracts on my server). I quickly became the resource encyclopedia on the server (Eclipse) and made a fortune (in virtual currency only) reselling resources whose prices I knew would increase. I had also built a sophisticated forecasting models to help me set prices. While the game offered a lot of fun social opportunities (I fondly remember spending time hanging out in the cantina chatting with friends), the action side of the game left much to be desired.
Eventually, I ended up playing World of Warcraft as the SW:G player base started eroding. I've played on and off for a while in a semi-hardcore guild (we ended up killing all but Heroic Lich King in WotLK, and have been 6/7 heroic in Firelands for what seems like months). I never did much Auction House (AH) stuff in vanilla, but before Burning Crusade came out, I went on a buying spree buying up all the cheap gems that I could in anticipation of the new Jewelcrafting profession that was going to be added. In the span of a several months, I had resold about 100 stacks of various gems (e.g., Huge Emeralds) at a profit of between 10 and 20 to 1.
Over the course of WotLK and early Firelands, I would regularly make a couple thousand gold a week simply from prospecting and selling cut gems. The Jewelcrafting profession has been a pillar of good stable income over the years. I eventually stopped after reaching 1 million gold (the in-game cap on a single toon) which I figured would be enough to last me forever since I had no plans of selling any for real-life currency.
After a very long-winded introduction (hopefully the Wall of Text did not crit you in the face), I am finally getting around to what this has to do with Diablo 3. I don't have access to the Beta (to play), but I've spent the last several months working on reverse engineering the beta game files (which are available via torrents although you won't be able to play without an authorized account). My goal was to learn everything that I could about how items would work in Diablo 3.
To that end, I created my site where I have not only posted Item, Affix, and Mod Code (aka Attribute) data, but also specific details about how I reverse engineer the MPQ files.
One advantage about being able to pull all of the data from the client game files is that when there is a patch, I can quickly re-generate all of the information and compare the old and new versions to detect what has changed. This should allow my site to have an edge over other sites that may not be so quickly updated (including the official Blizzard site which historically has been slow to update). There are two core features I plan to add to my site in the next month: the ability to create custom "Item Profiles" that will allow you to evaluate items against these profiles, and the ability to apply those same profiles against Auction House data (once Blizzard starts providing the feeds; a feature they have said will be added some time after launch).
An "Item Profile" is a template that allows you to evaluate an item based on how well the attributes of the item match those defined in your profile. For example, you could create a profile for a "dual leech" ring; this profile would require that the item be a ring, and that it has both "life steal" and "mana steal". Furthermore, you can assign values to other useful mods (e.g., prismatic and +Life). This will allow you to assign a "rating" to a given item. That rating represents how good the item is based on the profile that you have defined.
In essence, the item rating represents what you think the item is "worth" relative to a similar item with a lower or higher rating. This can provide you with a way to assign relative prices for items (whether for personal use or resell).
Mathematically calculating a rating based on an Item Profile is really the easy part. Those that manage to make a profit with this information will be those who can accurately determine the relative value of attributes: in other words, those that create the most accurate Item Profiles (as reflected in the Auction House marketplace).
Once the Auction House data becomes publicly available, I plan to add all the AH information to the site including all historical information. Most importantly, I plan to add Auction House scanning using custom Item Profiles. This will help you find the items that you are looking for. Ultimately, I plan to enhance the Auction House scanner to support email and text notifications such that individuals will be notified immediately once an item they are looking for has been found (based on an Item Profile and minimum notification criteria).
I still have a lot of work to do on all of this, but hope to have a working demo some time in December.

What Items Do Diablo 3 Players Buy Most?

To sum up what I believe, the "Herd Mind" will pay most frequently for 99 cents auctions over and over again.

Think angry birds or any extremely popular iphone application. These things sell because they are perceived as cheap. Let's face it, they ARE cheap. They're a bargain considering the number of hours you will spend playing with them.

So if you want to know the stuff people will buy in Diablo 3 most frequently, you will need to create an analogy to 99 cent IPhone application sales.

What will sell for relatively cheap and is used frequently to contribute to every character's long lasting success?

  • Materials.
  • Perfect crafted set pieces.
  • Best cut gems.
  • Best placed enchants on items.
  • Raw gems.
Will these all sell for 99 cents? No, I'm sure some will fetch a few dollars, but the principle remains the same. Cheap, quick transactions that provide the players what they want immediately.

People want instant gratification and IPhone applications give them that instant gratification. All too often however, the enjoyment is quickly replaced with the need for the next source of gratification. The next "level ding" so to speak. If you insert yourself as a supplier of "dings" to this hungry group of gamers, then success with the RMAH is yours.

I've mentioned activities like selling characters, which would obviously fetch more than 99 cents per transaction. Does that mean that you should forsake diversity and stick to just one method? No, absolutely not. I'm simply stating that the most common transactions on the RMAH will be the cheap ones.

There will always be someone willing to drop a hundred dollars for thousands upon thousands of gold, but there will be an overwhelming number of people willing to frequently buy a few thousand at a time.

Even though I believe that the bulk of my business will come from these cheap transactions, I will still diversify with many different methods for making money/gold in Diablo 3.

Diablo 3 November Beta Invites

Diablo 3 Beta Invites have recently gone out again, making this the third wave of Facebook invites in exactly two weeks. So if you haven't liked Diablo on Facebook and you want to be included in the Beta... what are you waiting for?

I just moved into my new home and therefore need a day or two to finish up a few things. Please feel free to send in guest posts (bloggers and non-bloggers welcome to participate).

Maybe I'll put up some photos of the house if I have time. I am still working on the layout of my "Diablo 3 War Room" and it's pretty exciting! Currently I have my old desk and computer chair, which aren't much to look at, as well as a new lamp and decently sized whiteboard. I'd like to upgrade in the coming weeks to a glass "L" shaped desk, ergonomic chair, full wall whiteboard, and work table. I'll be able to videotape myself giving lessons on the whiteboard as well as plan out stuff on the table (I work better with paper rather than digital layouts).

10 Ways to Fail at the Auction House

"Comment by BlackBear:

I've been reading your blog for a while - good read!

But if I there is something I miss,it is a compilation of things, methods NOT to do :) It would be great if you could write a short posting listing some of the mistakes that are easily made in Diablo 3 or auctioneering in general. Thanks in Advance!"
First off, thanks for the comment BlackBear, and double thanks for reading the blog for a long time. I'm assuming that you read my last blog on wow gold as well?

God Bless you, poor soul.

Ok, so what about this great question!? What are key mistakes that people make posting auctions and in general with MMO auction houses?

1. Savings Fail

This is the reason why most players fail at the auction house. They simply spend more money than they take in or about the same amount. It doesn't matter if you know the best farming spots and gold making methods if you just spend away everything you make each day. This rule also applies to the crazy investors who put 100% of what they make right back into their business. There's a concept called "cash on hand" that they really need to research.

2. Listing Fail

Ever get the horrible message that the item you thought you posted for 1000 gold just sold for 100? Yeah, you need to pay attention to the price you post items at, as well as the denomination. Diablo 3 I believe only has gold, but games like WoW had silver and copper as well.

3. Conversion Fail

Items can be converted into many different things in Diablo 3. It's your job to understand the average value of these end products, and not post below it! Honestly, there are so many factors in play that it will be difficult to keep track of everything, so do yourself a favor and get spreadsheets going from the beginning.

4. Buying Resale instead of Wholesale

In almost all cases, things are cheaper by the dozen. Look into purchasing items wholesale. Usually  you'll find a handful of cheap items sold individually, but almost always the deals can be found around the middle of the stack size or full amount.

5. Algebra Fail (cycles)

Maybe I'm failing by calling this an algebra fail, when it probably should be calculus, but you need to keep track of the cycles of various markets. Not only do you need to understand material cycles, but you need to grasp the cycles of their end products. Understand the relationships and hit the auction house with postings at the exact right moment for maximum profit. Don't forget to buy at the right times as well!

6. Desperation Fail

"I need this item NAOOWWW!!" No, you don't. Come back in two days when the price has dropped from oversupply. Or better yet, place a bid and see what happens.

7. Farming Fail

"I just farmed 3000 dusts and I want to sell them ALL right NOW!" Fail. Instead, you should sell 100 of those dusts now, and restock the ah every day. Don't go for the lowest price either. Post at what the stuff is worth.

8. Vendor Fail

The auction house is not a vendor. Stop using it as such. Buy at the right time, not necessarily when you want something. Sell at the right time, not necessarily when all of your competition is posting as well. It's not a vendor damn it!

9. 99 Cent Fail

If you're buying 99 cent auctions because that makes you feel better than buying a $5 or $10 one, think again. You're most likely buying far more than you realize. If you're going to buy, buy the best and get it over with, and maybe then you'll be able to farm up good gear and sell something back. You can take advantage of this mindset by posting sets of materials/gear for 99 cents. Try selling 10 stacks of 100 dust for 99 cents each instead of 1 stack of 1000 dust for $9.99 to appeal to this mindset.

10. Illiteracy Fail

Most people are just part of the Herd. They play the game like it's a console, single player adventure and then they wonder why they fail at the auction house. Read the damn forums! Read this blog! READ READ READ. Get your head out of the game once in a while and stay up to date on the latest news, upcoming patches, etc.

Science Behind Gold Find Video


This video was sent to me by VerityD3. Be sure to check out his youtube channel and give him suggestions on what you'd like to see him discuss/record.

In this particular video, VerityD3 gives an awesome, scientific account of how gold find works in Diablo 3. His is the first video I've seen that actually explains how the numbers behind gold find work.

Thanks to his efforts, it should be relatively easy for anyone to calculate the value of their gold find gear. Much easier than magic find will be... let's hope VerityD3 produces a comprehensive video on that some day as well!

Thanks for sending me in the video, and good luck with your channel.

99% Herd Mind


Diablo3Markets recently published my guest post on "3 Ways to get an Edge on the Competition (the 99%)". Be sure to check out the article here. I thought that Azzure's intro about the 99% was both funny and interesting at the same time.

When I used to brainstorm ways to make gold in World of Warcraft, I rarely thought about the herd mind. This 99%, which Azzure jokingly references, is a real and powerful influence on all aspects of a virtual economy. Instead of focusing on a percentage of the general public, I would think to myself "At what point would I desperately want to buy something?" By sincerely answering my own question, I could find choke points and cycles within the game.

However, I never looked at game economics from the Herd's perspective. These are the people who fall into a single category of predictable, easily manipulated populations.

The Herd will...

  • Overreact to patch notes.
  • Think in the now and crave instant gratification.
  • Justify wasted gold/money once they've started spending it for upgrades or artisan materials.
  • Have no concept of shuffles or pipelines.
  • Be Ignorant of most features of the auction houses.
  • Sell items for the lowest amount possible and ignore cycles.
  • Post items for too little and have no concept of a floor price.
  • Only visit Diablo 3 Resources when it's convenient and never consistently.

But the #1 thing which the Herd does that can f up anyone's day is mass undercutting.

Ever heard of The Walking Dead? You'd have to be living under a rock to not have at least heard about this show. Whether you like it or not, there's an interesting concept from the comic book which the show is based on that applies to the Herd of MMO economies. If a zombie mistakes the actions of another zombie to be attempting to break into a house, it will assume food is inside and start banging in a fit of rage against the door of the house. Other zombies will see this and join in on what they all presume is an attempt at getting to some living animal or person.

Auctioneers do the same thing. An undercutter will post a few gold below someone and that someone will overreact, undercut deeply and soon a host of other misguided players will be following suit. The Herd mind of an economy aren't so different from the instinctual zombies of movie and now television legend.

For World of Warcraft, I sought to help the members of the Herd mind and turn them into professional auctioneers slowly over time. I'll be repeating this process in Diablo 3, but I think I may focus a little more on ways to take advantage of the Herd mind.

As a member of the 1%, take pride in your attitude and be confident in your judgements on the auction house. When 99% of the people are doing one thing, remember that those same 99% are making far less gold/money than you are because you're using your wits instead of your instincts.

Converting Materials and the Economy

What does converting materials do to the economy? It sets a minimum price for stuff.

Sorry, that wasn't a very good explanation. So now it's time for Math:

Every auctioneer with a brain will be searching to buy out X of base material in order to convert it into Y for cheaper than Y normally sells for. Due to this, X will never fall below Y/Number of X required per Y.

I don't mean to insult you, but make sure you understand that paragraph. It's really important!

Now, X could obviously and probably will become far more valuable than Y/Number of X required per Y. We'll call the answer to that equation Z. Z will be the "floor price" for the material. If it falls below the floor price of Z, then you should buy it out, regardless of what you use the material for. No matter what you will be able to convert the X materials into Y. Or, you could use the X to create X based crafting items.

Identifying floor prices is the first step in understanding Shuffles and Pipelines.

Selling Diablo 3 Characters

"I read that Blizzard was considering letting characters be sold on the RMAH sometime in the future. I haven't found anything lately to contradict this. Personally, I'm not sure what to think about it. It would be nice to be able to sell my characters if for some reason I stopped playing, but I don't know if it would be lucrative enough to make a character, level them up (with the help of multiboxing) and then sell them with good gear and decent of amount gold/gems/ruins to make it worth while for the buyer. I haven't seen a post on your blog about this, so thought I would ask.

Thanks for your time!


Hey there Brian, you are correct that Blizzard made the announcement for selling characters on the RMAH and that they haven't mentioned it since then. I believe that this is sort of low on their priority list, so there isn't even a gaurantee that it will launch with the game. They may also make it something separate, possibly only on their website, but that's pure speculation on my part. They could also wait a few weeks to test the process post release before allowing us to use it. That makes sense to me since the selling of characters is not necessary for the game's release and no one is going to have characters to sell for the first month or so anyway!

With all the speculation out of the way, let's talk about the impact on the economy.

So what will someone want when they purchase a new character?

  • Fully Leveled Artisans (Requires Materials)
  • Best Gems (Convert lower quality or farm better ones)
  • Best Enchants (More Materials)
  • Best Gear (Requires purchased or Crafted items)

The amount of time it takes to do all this could be considerable, as in days of played time. But what about a more economical method... such as buying fully leveled but undergeared characters and then spending a day or two outfitting them? How easy would that be? Probably ridiculously easy.

So will this impact the economy? Probably not too much. It's not like excess characters are being created, as I'm sure people will create one and then sell it before working on the next.

I wouldn't be surprised if the strategy I just described becomes the norm for experienced auctioneers. Just another option for the savvy gold and money maker (that's YOU)!

Time to brush up those farming skills ;)

Convert Materials with Training


Notice anything peculiar about this level 4 blacksmith? My eyes were instantly focused on the four "Convert" rewards for training:

  • Convert Common Scraps to Assorted Fragment
  • Convert Petrified Bark to Corpse Ash
  • Convert Subtle Essence to Shimmering Essence
  • Convert Fallen Tooth to Lizard Eye

Basically, you will be able to convert a certain number of materials into higher level materials. The only thing we don't know (and this is a pretty important thing to learn) is how much of the initial materials you need to upgrade into a higher level version. Does it take 100 common scraps to create an assorted fragment? Or does it only take say 10 of them?

I was excited to learn that we could use the nepharim cube to salvage materials, but the idea of converting materials from one tier to another seems truly amazing. What an awesome opportunity for exploitation! Sorry, was I thinking out loud again?

I know that a lot of people will be mad that players can convert materials to tiers which they do not have access to yet, but I see it as a blessing. Think about it this way, if Inferno is truly so difficult that few players actually reach it, how annoying would it be to get materials if the vast majority of the playerbase couldn't farm them? This will help reduce the cost of materials needed to craft the best items in the game, which would otherwise be nearly impossible to acquire on the auction house. Since players who cannot reach inferno yet have no way to use the materials they convert into, their only option will be to sell on the auction house. So don't complain about this if you're an elitist jerk, simply because this change will give you a cheaper price for your higher end gear's materials.

Yet another change I'm surprised and excited to find out about. Good job Blizzard!

PS: I'm well aware of the suggestion that Blizzard probably added this feature in order to appease players who level to the next tier of crafted recipes and want to actually get the chance to use their stash of materials from the previous tier.

Beta Rare Drops and Consequences

Looks like the most recent Beta patch has put a smile on the faces of many Beta testers. From reading forums and watching videos, I can tell that testers are loving the chance to get rare drops from, well, everything! Loose stones, regular cannon fodder mobs, rare monsters, and yes, the Skeleton King can all drop rare loot. What's nice about this change is that Beta testers were basically just creating characters to do Skeleton King runs for loot. Now they can run around the map hoping for sweet gear to drop off of anything.

What caught my eye was one particular screenshot that showed a player going to craft an apprentice hide belt. Notice the number ranges for stats on the item?

Once again, we're seeing the randomness of Diablo 3. When you craft this particular belt, you have a range of stats that can show up: 6-11 Precision, 6-11 Vitality and 2 Random Properties.

Worst case scenario, you get 6 Precision, 6 Vitality and then two conflicting properties like best stat for the standard barbarian and best stat for the typical wizard.  But best case scenario you end up with 11 Precision, 11 Vitality and two core stats for a single class.

This range is AWESOME. I cannot stress enough the fact that crafting in Diablo 3 will create a healthy market for buying materials and selling crafted items. In addition to these two markets, there will be plenty of opportunities to buy out a cheap crafted item for the purpose of salvaging it.

How can you use these ranges to your advantage? Well, with Diablo 3's auction house tools, you can specify the amount of stats you want for an item and *hopefully* also mention the item's name. So you could search for "Apprentice Hide Belt" and 11 Precision + 11 Vitality. That way you'd be able to browse all of the "perfectly" crafted belts and find possibly opportunities to flip them. Many players are just going to type in "Apprentice Hide Belt" and post their auction for the lowest price, regardless of their stats.

What about the player who is buying up materials by the dozen in order to craft a ton of these belts and get exactly the stats that he or she wants? There's a great opportunity to sell those materials to a desperate buyer!

There are plenty of opportunities for manipulation of the Diablo 3 economy, thanks to the randomness of crafting.

Are you excited by the drop rate changes and new rare items?

What's the RMAH? [OPINION]

The optimist says that the RMAH is for the benefit of all and will positively influence gaming as a whole.
The pessimist says that the RMAH is going to ruin Diablo 3 for those people who do not wish to take out their father's credit card more than once.
The project manager says that the RMAH is outside of its recommended scope.
The realist says that the RMAH will have both good and bad qualities, and that some will make money from it while others will lose money.
The cynic says that the RMAH is a waste of time because no one is ever going to pay for in game items with real money.
The school councelor says that he would rather you sold weapons to your friends in a game than on campus.
The mother says she wants to know why you're playing that game again instead of taking the dog for a walk.
The father says he wants to know when you're getting a real job.
The wishful thinker says the RMAH will allow him to quit his day job.
The obsessive compulsive says that an application for smart phones will be necessary for checking auction house statistics again, and again, and...
The psychiatrist says that your emotions regarding the RMAH are caused by deeper issues dating back to your childhood.
The dog says that if the RMAH sold dog food then he would care.
The cat says that she doesn't give a shit either way, and she'll still be chilling behind your computer and unplugging your powercord from time to time.
The angry pvp'er says that the RMAH had better not make the game's best items accessible to everyone or else pvp will be ruined.
The care-bear pve'er says that the RMAH is the best thing for casuals without time to play the game every night.
The shrewd auctioneer says that all these people are just members of the Herd and the Herd is a valuable source of income.
The engineer says that the RMAH is full of finely tuned, useful accessories and options which no one is ever going to use.
Gevlon says the RMAH is another opportunity for capitalists to manipulate morons and slackers.
Markco says the RMAH is his favorite new playground and wonders why WoW never had this.

What do you have to say about the RMAH?

Will Diablo 3 be too easy?

From what we've seen so far, Diablo 3 is a relatively easy game. The Skeleton King, aka the hardest monster revealed so far, can be beaten by a level 1 of ANY class. Although Normal mode is the only difficulty setting at the moment for the Beta, it's still a little depressing to see the game being so faceroll that your grandmother could play it and make you supper at the same time.

Blizzard has already stated that the difficulty of the game will ramp up quickly for Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno modes. Nightmare is meant to pose enough of a challenge that a small percentage of the player base will not be able to complete it. Hell and Inferno are meant to separate the men from the boys. Or perhaps the grade schoolers from the toddlers.

Even with Normal being so easy to defeat, I like to equate it to the starting areas of World of Warcraft. It's VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE to die in these starting areas because, well, they're STARTING AREAS.

That being said, I hope that the entire Normal game is not a starting area and that I can at least die if I go AFK for a minute with monsters beating on me. I mean, if I make a serious mistake, I really do WANT to die. If I'm just going through the motions then every single new character is going to be a dread to me, as it was in WoW.

I don't envy Blizzard's responsibility to create content that is entertaining to such a wide playerbase that runs the gammot of skill levels. Luckily, they've devised a game that has enough random elements that the scenary and rewards should be different every play through. If the game is random and at least poses a minor threat to my character's survival then I will enjoy playing even the easiest modes of gameplay.

Will Blizzard create a game that is both random and somewhat challenging even on the lowest difficulty levels?

Most Compelling Argument for Diablo 3 RMAH

I had the following conversation with myself:

Me: Self, what is the most compelling argument you can conjure up to support people like yourself who think that they can make money playing the Diablo 3 RMAH?

Myself: Well, great minds think alike because I was wondering the same thing!

Me: Self, you're stalling.

Myself: Yeah I know, but I actually do have a pretty decent argument as to why it should be possible to make money:

Only a small percentage of the playerbase actually goes online to get strategies, interact on forums, read blogs, etc.

Me: Um, Self, how does that even come close to building a case for why it will be possible to make lots of money with the RMAH?

Myself: Simple, these same players will treat the game, well, like a single player game. What I mean is, players who aren't active or only partially active in the online community will fall victim to ignorance. Let's face it, this game will be very hard to master without the help of a community. Whether the community used is within this gold guide or even just Blizzard's basic forum is up to the player. That being said, most players will only look at the Diablo 3 official site when servers are down, to use the auction house outside of the game, or to look up patch notes.

The "Herd Mind" will be very much alive in Diablo 3, just as it has been in every Blizzard Entertainment produced game. So my argument for supporting the idea that it will be possible to make money can be summed up by the following bullet list:

The Herd Mind will not keep a watchful eye on item prices over time, ie market cycles.
The Herd Mind will be unaware of the research available on blogs, forums, guides, etc.
The Herd Mind will be unaware of instincts that lead them astray on the auction house.
The Herd Mind will be ignorant of many item values and potential profits from manipulation of these items.
The Herd Mind will be exploitable.

Self: I still say your claims are all theory with very little evidence, but I can see where you're coming from. After all, we did do pretty well targeting the Herd Mind in World of Warcraft. Having so much experience creating strategies that focus on the psychology behind the playerbase will certainly give us an edge in Diablo 3.

Myself: Yes, yes we did and we will. But this time around we can create an even larger, more helpful community for players with the same goals as we have.

Remember, success is the goal. The gold and money do not matter. All that matters is that we strive to be better than the day before.

There's no greater critic than "our selves."

Self: I think we can agree on that! ;)

PS: Please send me links to resources and blogs you would like me to feature on the site. I lost my blogroll and resource widgets with the newest version of the site so please forgive me and send in your links!

The "Diablo 3 War Room"

I'm buying my first home this coming Monday, and one of my initial projects is to create a "War Room" for myself. I work on so much at once, it would be nice to have one spot in my house where all my events, schedules, and other online related stuff can be kept separate from the rest of my life. I don't need 20 smart phone reminders each day or dozens of hand written notes cluttering my desk if I keep it all to a single room.

What I'm curious about, and could use your help with, is deciding what exactly to put in this room.

Here are my ideas so far, and I have everything except for a handful of stuff I'll grab at the store near my house:

  • Whiteboard
  • Two Desks
  • Filing Cabinet
  • Mac Mini w/monitor
  • ASUS Laptop
  • PC
  • Sound System
  • Television
  • Miscellaneous Office Supplies
  • Cork Board
  • Printer
  • Posters for Inspiration

What would YOU put in your "War Room" ? Am I missing anything you couldn't live without?

Economic Principles Behind Diablo 3

The owner of MyDiablo3News recently sent me an article he wrote about Mankiw's 10 Economic Principles as they apply to Magic Find Items.

Here are my responses to each of the 10 principles as they apply to Diablo 3's economy:

1. People Face Tradeoffs

The idea that one person's trash is another man's treasure will be one of the defining principles behind Diablo 3's Auction House. The game is so random that odds are you WON'T have a use for the vast majority of the items you find from looting monsters. Without other players to trade with, the odds of you acquiring the gear you need will be next to nothing. If Blizzard didn't have an auction house then you would literally have to spend hours grinding each dungeon to find what you needed and even then there would be no gaurantees. You're going to have to trade with others and acknowledge the fact that everything has value in the game. So don't throw away anything!!!

2. Cost = What You Are Willing to Give Up

If an item is the last piece of gear you need (in your mind) to defeat inferno then I'm sure you'll be willing to pay a lot more for it. However, if that piece of gear is the first item you're picking up for inferno then I bet you'll be far less willing to pay a lot for it. With such extreme evaluations of item worth between players, the prices on the auction house will vary wildly. This is where flipping will come into play. When there aren't enough people looking to buy an item, that's when prices will drop. You will have a buying opportunity as you wait for a time period when the price goes back up due to spikes in demand.

3. Rational People Think at the Margin

This is where pipelines and shuffles will play a huge part in Diablo 3. Thinking ahead, based on your profit margin, is something most people simply don't do. They think about selling right now for the lowest possible price. You however, are different. You know to look at the overall value of an item, not just at face value, but based upon two factors:
  • What the average value of the item is over time.
  • What you can turn the item into through artisans.
4. People Respond to Incentives

Rarity is the ultimate driving factor behind the value of an item in Diablo 3. How hard is the item to acquire? That's what you should ask yourself when you are preparing to sell or modify an item. More importantly, how can you add additional rarity to the item through enchanting or jewelcrafting? Don't just take that axe of awesome and sell it the moment you find it, but rather, put the best possible gems and enchants on it beforehand. Give people an incentive to buy for an outrageous price.

Time is another great incentive. By posting your auctions at the right moment with limited time left (such as 2 hours during prime time), you can create a real incentive for someone to buy it right now.

5. Trade Can Make Everyone Better Off

This concept ties in well with the whole random theme to Diablo 3. If you farm only intellect gear then you will lack stamina items. So if you want to get at some much needed stamina and have a balanced character, then you're going to need to trade with other players.

6. Markets = Good Way to Organize Economic Activity

Markets in Diablo 3 will provide players with many different options for trading their items. You'll be able to manipulate items, sell them as is, sell their components, or enhance these items. You can organize your economic activity by participating in a diverse number of these markets. As you play, however, you should try to focus 80% of your efforts on the 20% of your markets that bring home the real money. Having the other markets in your portfolio will enable you to bring in consistent income, even if your big gainers have a bad day.

7. Governments Can Sometimes Improve Market Outcomes

This is the great unknown with regards to Diablo 3's system. Blizzard has stated that they will have a "Hands Off Approach" to the RMAH, but will they stick to this? What about patches and item tweaks? How about undocumented changes and hot fixes?

Just like with principle #6, your best bet will be diversifying your portfolio. It won't be a bad thing to speculate on Blizzard changes, and I'm sure that a good bit of money will be made on every patch doing this, but you won't want to put all your eggs into this one basket.

8. A Country's Standard of Living Depends Upon It's Ability to Produce Goods and Services

Basically, you get stuff if you can produce stuff. Even if all you get is gold, you will still have some buying power on the auction house. However, if you're coming to trade with empty hands then expect to compensate by opening your wallet. This isn't a bad thing, after all, since this is what you're hoping that your fellow auctioneers will do for your auctions. Looking at this from another perspective, you could try to create auctions which are so valuable that it's almost impossible for anyone to have something of equal value to trade you for it. In this case, large sums of gold or money are the only option.

9. Prices Rise When the Government Prints Too Much Money

This is similar to #7. If Blizzard tweaks an item's drop rate by a .01%  boost then the change in the economy would be immediate and devastating on prices for that and every related item. Other items might get a boost from the increased buying power due to this change. This makes keeping one eye on Blizzard at all times an absolute necessity. Don't just read the news, but also take part in their community and the communties of blogs like this one. You're going to want to learn to read between the lines and see changes before they occur, as well as identify problems which would warrant a change by Blizzard.

10. Society Faces a Short-Run Tradeoff Between Inflation and Unemployment

Every time a new wave of players arrives, the value of items will inflate. When this change occurs, there will be an opportunity to sell to these players items which you purchased when you first started out in Sanctuary. What's more, these players will start farming and bringing into the economy items which may not be so common as they level up their characters. Times when new players arrive will include: Holidays, School Ending, three day weekends, etc. It's also important to look at the opposite, ie players leaving the game either temporarily or permanently.

What are your thoughts on these ten economic principles as they apply to the randomness of Diablo 3's auction houses?