Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How To Lose Money and Piss Off People With Jewelcrafting

I managed to get a bunch of Obsidium Ore the other day for 65g/stack. I hadn't had time to prospect it until tonight, partly because I've been leveling my Warlock and Druid and partly because the monotony of button mashing the macro 200+ times was just daunting enough a task to make me find something else to do. Actually, to find anything else to do.

I got home later than normal from work. I was in a bad mood because traffic sucked. The sleet and snow flurries persisted all day and made the whole day gray and gloomy. By the time we got dinner out of the way and other family issues addressed it was almost 8pm--and I had yet to run any of my daily quests. I knocked them out quickly and decided that spamming the macro was about all I wanted to tackle. No thought required, just press the button and watch TV. Boring. Depressing.

Thus my mood was sour for a number of reasons. Reading the banal trade banter just made it worse. About the only positive I could grasp at this point was the prospect of transmuting a bunch of Shadowspirit Diamonds and cutting some Burning and Reverberating gems. I sell 2-4 of each every day. Burning goes for about 325g and Reverberating for about 575g, up to 600g. I'm still missing Agile, but remain on the lookout.

So there I sat, in a funk, pressing the number "1" over and over, just waiting to get my gems so I could transmute, cut and list my Metas. I noticed a player asking in trade for a JC with Bold Inferno Ruby and Reverberating Shadowspirit cuts.

Oh boy! I can make some quick gold!!

Boy was I wrong.

I linked my Jewelcrafting. About 5 seconds later came the request, "can you cut two Bold Inferno and one Reverb for me"?

"Sure", I said. "I'll do the Bold for 145g each and the Reverb for 550g".

"Ooh, I already have the gems, I just need the cuts", said the ungemmed Epic-wearing Worgen.

Flashback: Bad WoLK Memories

I don't know how you feel about selling a service like this using someone else's mats but I feel like I should try to preserve the profit I would make if I list the product in the AH. I'm willing to cut my margin somewhat for a quick sale and no AH fees but I don't believe the service should be so much cheaper that it undermines the listings on the AH.

If you remember in WoLK, Alchemists could only transmute one epic gem per day.Technically, they can still only transmute one per day but the demand is nowhere near what it was then so its not as big a deal. Now the transmute CD everyone is selling is the Truegold or Living Elements xmute.

The raw WoLK epic gems sold in the AH very well, sometimes better than the cut gems. The cut gem market got so diluted that it was hard to make decent profits but the uncut gems held their value.

It used to piss me off when an Alchemist would offer his CD for 20g but the cut gem would sell for 120g or more. It just seemed to me that every time an Alchemist would make this deal a potential customer for one of my AH listings would suddenly disappear. I know their were still plenty of other buyers for my auctions but when some of the demand is sucked up by these "cheap transmutes" it lessens overall demand, which in turn keeps prices low.

I began buying transmutes from these Alchemists and then listing the gems on the AH for a much higher price. I thought I was the shit for doing this--until I began to notice that other players were doing the same thing.

Cut Back to Tonight's Discussion

"Ooh, I have the gems, I just need the cuts", said the ungemmed Epic-wearing Worgen.

I did some quick math. The AH price for Bold Infernos is about 160g. The Reverberating gems were down a bit, selling around 550g. OK, so reduce my cost by the materials investment he has made. Forget the fact that I have less invested in mats than the market cost since I prospect my own ore and transmute my own gems. This transaction has now become less profitable than selling on the AH, but I'm willing to do it because it is a quick sale. Oh, and I get a break from the tedium of prospecting.

The raw Inferno Ruby sells for 125g and raw Shadowspirit Diamonds sell for 225g. That makes my profit 30g per Inferno Ruby and 325g for the Reverberating gem; the total profit for all 3 is 385g.

So I said as much. "I'll do all three cuts for 350g". Figured what the hell, I'll come down a bit. I imagined he would counter anyway.

Instead, he fires back "Are you nuts? I'm giving you the materials--all you have to do is press a button".

It Went Downhill From There

What I wanted to say was "really? Then you press the fucking button yourself asshole. Oh yeah, you can't--because you haven't spent the time and gold necessary to train the profession and buy the rarest goddamn DPS Meta cut in the game. So you have to either buy the gems in the AH and pay for my skills there, or if you prefer, you can supply the materials and pay me for my skills one to one. Either way, I have the skill and you don't."

But instead I said "yeah, I hear you--but the Reverberating cut is the rarest DPS cut in the game. I bought the pattern so I could make the gem to sell at a profit. You are supplying materials but I expect to make my profit whether I sell it in the AH or direct".

At this point I was fairly certain that I wouldn't be making a sale.

Any remaining hope of resolving this issue and generating a meaningful transaction was dashed when he replied, "that's not my problem. I'm not financing your pattern purchase. You're just a dick who is ripping people off".

Now I'm pissed

Any other day I would have just blown him off. I would have taken the high road. I should have simply said, "ok, sorry we couldn't get this done. I'm sure you will find someone else" and let it go. Sometimes when I have done that I'll get a sale. The buyer ends up coming back and asking, "still willing to do the cuts"?

But this wasn't 'any other day'. This was today--and I was in a bad mood already. I also labored under the yoke of repressed anger from months of frustration in WoLK when other Alchemists would cut my profits with their stupid, cheap-ass sale of their cooldowns. I needed an outlet for my pent up frustration.

I replied, "you know what? Fuck you. You have no respect for people who go out of their way to find, buy or earn the rep to buy rare recipes. You think just because you find me in chat that I'm willing to sell you something at a loss? No fucking way. I deserve a reasonable profit, and the deal I offered you was just that: reasonable".

(new paragraph). "you may find someone to cut those for you for some measly tip--that's their problem, not mine. If you do, more power to you. And shame on them. I hope you never find another JC to do it and you end up buying it on the AH like everyone else".

There was a long pause before his answer. "I just reported you for abusive language. Enjoy your ban".

I thought to myself, this is comical. If Blizzard wants to ban me for this, go for it. A private conversation between two players--and one in which both parties were vulgar--is generally not considered a bannable offense. If I was stalking him or harassing him privately, well, ok, but this was different.

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served....In The Auction House

There were a couple more exchanges, mainly each of us calling the other names. By now my frustration was gone. I experienced a cleansing of all the bad juju in my system. He said something to the effect of "I'm never buying anything you list in the AH. I'm telling my guild to stop buying from you too".

I went back to mashing #1. I also took some pleasure in seeing him continue to ask in chat "WTH JC with Bold Inferno Ruby and Reverberating meta cut, my mats will tip".

After I finished prospecting, crafting, disenchanting and cutting my gems, I mailed everything to my bank alt. Then I logged my mule and went to the mailbox. Among the 31 auctions ((for 7,550g)) I didn't see any gem sales. Not that unusual for this time of night. I went to the AH to list my new auctions.

Imagine my surprise when I checked the "Auctions" tab and found one Reverberating meta sale. It sold to the guy who was arguing with my JC!

In the end he paid me. He just didn't know it.

I know I'm fighting a losing battle but I have to ask all the JCs out there, and all the Alchemists too, please don't undersell your services. Just because someone gives you the materials doesn't mean you should dramatically undercut your own profit. If your profit on a gem is 15g, then ask for a 15g tip. But if your profit is 350g please ask for that as well.

I hope the karma doesn't come back to haunt me. I did find the vent for my frustration very cathartic.

Dude, if you are reading this--I hope you love that Meta, ass-wipe.


  1. O man ,you should have send him a mail saying,after all this talk about the tip for the cut, you in the end spend more money buying my gem at AH,and then you HAHAHAHAHAHA is ass.
    But only after reading this i now understand the true nature doing business in WOW,i have never really tough about all the time and money you invest in leveling a profession ,just to sell a cut for 5g at trade chat.Nice one Kamm for opening my eyes .

  2. @ Alberthus: thanks man. Same is true for people who farm heroics to get the BoP Chaos Orb. I don't mind paying a few hundred gold--they leveled their toon, decked it out and learned the fights well enough to get the Orb. I didn't, so I can compensate them for their effort. But if there's one guy out there selling Chaos Orbs for 100g and everyone else is selling for 500g, those higher priced sellers should feel the same way I did over this transaction.

  3. Don't you just love a happy ending? The only thing better would have been for him to come crawling back to your JC with his tail between his legs.

    Also, what happened to his uncut gem? Did he dump it in the AH for cheap - if you had also snatched that up below cost, this tale would be legendary...

  4. Great post, glad to read it. =]

    There's a similar discussion that lights up in our Trade chat every once and a while because one person advertises that all his enchanting is free except for Landslide and Power Torrent, which are 500g fee each, even if you bring the mats. He says it's because he had to go to the trouble of getting the maelstrom crystals for the enchant and he's trying to make back his purchase.

    A lot of people take issue with this, and depending on my mood I take whatever side looks the most entertaining to take in the argument, though I really couldn't care less.

    Most of the folks who talk in Trade seem to see him as some sort of scam artist, often saying "I'm not going to pay you 500g after I just spent all my gold getting the maelstrom crystals to even DO the enchant."

    I'm always amused that they think their gathering mats should be enough for him to cut his prices, as if it makes any difference to him what they did to get the mats or, better yet, as if he should take pity on them for "being poor."

    I rarely offer services in trade. When I was JCing for tips in Wrath for a while I think I only did three or four cuts ever with no tip, usually got around 10g per gem cut, and a few times got 100g per gem or several hundred gold in items as a tip. I really enjoyed it.

    Now I feel the sense of entitlement that people got in late Wrath really carried over into the Trade professions services and I don't even bother. Not only are you possibly losing profits compared to if you sold it on the AH but who knows what other sorts of idiocy you'll have to deal with?

    "oh ur a mage, come to darnassus and meet me i don't wanna hearth"

    Trade failed, target doesn't have enough space.

    Thanks, here's your 10g tip. Oh, wait, cut these other 15 gems too. I already tipped you for the first cut though, and that's all I have.

    etc. etc.

    Just not worth it IMO.

  5. @ Kathroman: I thought the same thing! I looked in the AH but didn't see the gem. Makes me think he either kept them to list later or never had them to begin with and was just trying to get a deal.

    And who doesn't enjoy a happy ending? Or did you mean, a, er....never mind.

    @ Faid: Right on all counts. I usually don't sell services via trade either but I was bored.

    I do link my profs quite a bit. Many times the person asking for the service just wants to see what the materials are anyway. Other times if they ask for a 'Chant or Gem or Armor or whatever, I just say 'sorry, can't right now--but there's one in the AH if you want it'. Then I'll go put one of the items in question in the AH if it isn't there already.

    When I do sell via trade, rare as it may be, I always negotiate the fee upfront. No more do I say 'oh tip what you feel is right' as that usually translates to little or no tip--and I lose money vs an AH sale.

    When someone says 'can you come to me? my harth is out', I reply 'no, I can't, but send me the tip and materials. I will (cut, chant, etc.) and mail it back'. Lol, never works--and I really didn't want to do it anyway.

    I make my services free to guildies. Others do too. Want that cut, or chant? Join a better guild.

    I may do a post about the ins and outs of selling professions in trade. There is enough topic material to produce an informative article.

  6. "[Jewelcrafting] LFW, your mats, tips appreciated!"

    I die a little inside every time I see that light up in Trade Chat. I was like that when I first leveled Jewelcrafting. This was way before I really understood the AH, and I figured working for tips was how you made gold off of those professions. Didn't take me long to realize sitting in trade spamming "LFW" and making like, 20g tips was a huge waste of time, and I quickly figured out that I could buy the gem myself, cut it, put it in the AH, and make like, 50-60g profit for doing the same thing.

    I hate how people don't understand that it's not just "pushing a button." They went through probably a lot of trouble and gold to get their profession to where it is now, and they deserve some compensation for it. Though on the other hand, I do understand the desire not to essentially pay full price to have someone push a button and use the mats you already paid for. I've been on both sides. I remember needing Mongoose enchants for my rogue, having to scour the AH for the mats, then sit around Dal asking for someone to do the enchant. The last thing I wanted to do was spend even more of my hard earned gold for their services, though I've always been a generous tipper. But now that I'm on the other side of the fence, what kills me when people LFW or try to get someone to do a chant/cut with their mats and a measly tip is that I'm missing out on a potential sale! Or even worse, that the person LFW is completely wasting their profession! Don't they know they could be making so much more gold if they just put the cut on the AH? I think what it is is people get these professions for their perks / the convenience of not having to get someone else to do the chant / cut / armor or w/e. They, like I once did, see working for tips as an added bonus, not that the profession can be used as a primary source of income. I see this from time to time in G-chat too: my guildies seem to believe that the gathering profs are the "income" profs, and everything else is for the perks.

    And Kammler, you should totally do a post about selling profs in trade. It's something I've thought about a few times, but never really got around to writing. I'd love to hear a blogger's thoughts on the matter.

  7. @ Vince: Couldn't agree more. At some levels before the max it might make sense to sell some cheap chants or crafting for a tip--low demand items, or if you need to skill up.

    At the higher levels there is quite an investment to secure the best chants. Either you pay gold (like the new Shadowspirit cuts--I paid 3,000g for one and 8,000g for the other). Or you pay with time--endless rep runs for ICC rep, or Sons of Hodir or whatever.

    It is entirely reasonable for players to expect a profit on these items. I remain amazed at how inconsiderate many players can be.

    I'm going to work on that post over the next few days. I'll get it out soon.

    Thanks for the comments, and for reading!

  8. I never do any cuts for anyone unless they are in guild. Tips are not worth the time and effort. I just point people to the ah.

    I really would prefer people not do stuff in trade chat...as it is always too low.

  9. @ Brent: amen. Guildies get freebies. I would prefer everyone else buy my stuff in the AH.

  10. Kam,
    I too have dealt with peeps accusing me of a being a 'rip off' compared to all the other inscriptionists advertising in trade to sell any glyph for 10 gold. One guy actually said that I personally ruined the glyph market on my server.

    No I didn't! My prices are competitive and there are 4 major glyph sellers I compete with daily. New scribes or people jumping into inscription for the profit make me so mad.

    They undercut a glyph hard just to make fast gold and then think they don't have to babysit their auction/s. I undercut them harder just so they learn if their glyphs are unattended they don't sell.

    Many glyphs are devalued by the constant 'fast sell' posters.

    Glyphs are valuable just like gems and enchants,
    but with 4.0 you buy and learn a glyph one time and you never have to do it again.

    P.S. I also have a jewelcrafter and struggled with a decision to buy or not buy a recipe for
    Reverberating Shadowspirit meta diamond for 19k gold on AH. In the end, I decided I'd focus on glyphs for now and wait for the world drop recipe to be on AH again--later when glyphmaking
    is not so demanding.

  11. It may just be me but I never ask for a tip while crafting things for people with their own mats. Especially now when everyone is in SW or Org it just takes a few moments to meet them and craft what they need.

    If they want to tip me that's great if not no worries. That's just the way I've always done it. I figure I make back and profession costs associated with patterns etc. by selling items on the AH.

    The other side effect is that people are often very grateful for the service. Maybe next time they are looking for an item from the AH they will buy mine.

    That said, it seems like you were having a pretty hard day and that player was in the wrong place at the wrong time. We all end up on both ends of those types of days sometimes. -flux (from Power Word: Gold)

  12. @ Anon: I set my TUJ notifications for each of the three patterns. I missed one Agile listed at 15g after I went to bed. Bought Burning for 100g or so, and Reverberating for 3k gold. I bought another Burning for 1,000g and flipped it for 12k gold the same day.

    These chants appear from time to time when don't know what they are worth. Might be a suggestion for you....TUJ is a great resource for this.

    @ Flux: before I answered your comment I wanted to better understand your perspective. I don't usually get that opportunity but you are a fellow blogger so it took only a few minutes to peruse your site and learn a bit more about your views.

    It seems you sell lots of gems and Ench mats. These are fairly stable markets, low risk for the most part. The Dusts and Gems usually sell for some value so as long as you acquire the base item (ore, DE items) at a reasonable price you should make some gold.

    The one risky item I see is the new +50 Str Enchant. I would have advised against buying it for exactly the reason you are finding out now: with Maelstroms going for 3k each no one wants to pay what it costs to make the scroll, let alone sell for any profit at all.

    I can understand your thought process a bit better now--I see why you would feel your crafting for tips in /trade is a reasonable alternative for you. Don't fool yourself: for every 50 you do for "whatever tip you want to give me" you may get one who returns for future business. The other 49 immediately forget you.

    I'm going to write a post about using /trade very soon. Until then let me just say as respectfully as I can that I think you are 180 degrees wrong.

    For example, one of your recent posts talked about the value of TBC materials in the AH. You have discovered that selling these mats is a great income source, and you are right. I do that too. One of your readers commented 'I make Berserking, Massacre and Spellpower scrolls' (I think it was Stokpile) for great profit.

    Using today's TUJ data for my server, the mats cost for Berserking is just under 355g: it takes 10 Abyss Crystals (22.5g ea), 4 Dream Shards (1.4g ea), 4 Greater Cosmic Essence (13g ea) and 12 Infinite Dust (5.88g ea). The scrolls are listed today at 889g. (this is very high; i usually sell these around 600g).

    Put yourself in that position--you invest the money and list the scroll, expecting to sell for 250g to as much as 550g profit.

    Someone in /trade, however, crafts one for a 25g tip. Sure, dude had his own mats, and sure, it took only a few seconds to do the chant, and sure they were both in Org or SW or whatever--but that one chant for that one player just removed the one sale that TUJ says my server will have (on average) every day.

    That means I just lost today's customer and the 250g I would have earned. Now multiply that across the 45 or so UNIQUE scrolls I have listed every day--I lose a ton of money to these /trade trolling crafters (no offense). Now expand that to JC cuts, rings, weapons, armor and all the other crafted items I sell. It is enough to make a goblin cry.

    Like I said, no harm, no foul--I appreciate the readership and like your blog. This topic, however, does require more attention. I will get that post out this weekend.