Wednesday, November 7, 2012

World of Warcraft Newbie Guide 13: Items and Trade - An Introduction To The Auction House

As your journeys take you through all of Azeroth and beyond, you will gather treasures (and junk) of all sorts. While you can get rid of most of these items by selling them directly to a vendor, you might end up losing a lot of money in the long run. This is because some items, while not useful to you, could be useful to someone else. It really gives some meaning to the old proverb "one man's trash is another man's treasure."

In this article I will give some tips on handling these items, going over item quality and trading. Afterwards, the article will discuss the Auction House (or "AH"), which is the major method of trading in World of Warcraft.

(Note: If you are using a Starter's Edition account, trading and the Auction House are both unusable.)

Item Quality

There are many types of item qualities, denoted by the color of the lettering of the item in question. While there are other ways to determine the value and other qualities of items, item color is the most straightforward method. I will describe how to handle items based on their color, though keep in mind this doesn't apply to every item with that item color. (Note for enchanters: Uncommon equipment and above can also be disenchanted and often should be in cases said equipment would be vendored.)
  • Poor: Poor items are items that are not useful or deprecated. While some may have some interesting vanity effects (such as books that can be read), you should generally sell them to the vendor especially given some of these items sell for a decent amount of money. These are also referred to as "grey items."
  • Common: Common items are items that have some use, often in professions. These will usually turn a better profit on the Auction House. Keep the supply and demand as well as the market price in mind when considering putting common items up; a few of these common items are rarely used. Common equipment should be vendored (you will get this at the lower levels, mostly). Common items are also referred to as "white items."
  • Uncommon: Uncommon items, like common items, are items that have some use. These usually consist of slightly stronger equipment and materials that are a little harder to get than common materials. These should frequently be sold on the Auction House to turn a profit. You may want to consider vendoring some of these items, as there are rare cases that certain uncommon items (mostly gear) vendor for a higher amount. Uncommon items are also referred to as "greens."
  • Rare: Rare items are items that are difficult to obtain in comparison to common and uncommon items. This item color is reserved for gear from the end of quest chains and from higher tiers of play, such as dungeons and PvP activity. If you ever find rare items you can sell, they will almost certainly turn a profit when sold (excluding expensive rare items sold by vendors). Rare items that cannot be sold using the Auction House are usually safe to vendor. Rare items are also referred to as "blues."
  • Epic: Epic items are items that are very difficult to obtain (though the concentration of such items may seem a little high, especially for veteran/ex-veteran players). Like rare items, epic items are reserved for higher tiers of play and should be sold in similar manner. You will probably not see this until you are a high level (excluding mounts). Epic items are also referred to as "purples."
  • Legendary: These types of items are exceedingly rare. There are only a couple legendary items that can be traded to other players. Most legendary items are incredibly pieces of equipment or items used to make said equipment.
  • Heirloom: Heirloom items are bound to your account. They are mostly used to improve leveling for additional characters besides your first one (known as "alts").
"Bound" Items

Aside from item quality, the next major trait of an item to consider is the "binding" trait of the item. When looking at an item, you may see a brief phase or word, such as "Bind on Equip." This can determine whether an item can be traded to other players or not. Here are the traits you might see:
  • Soulbound: Soulbound items are items that are bound to you, meaning you cannot trade them to other players. There is no way to unbind an item once it is bound to you.
  • Binds When Equipped/Binds When Used: These traits will cause an item to be soulbound to you if you equip or use it. The former is used for equipment and the latter is used for other items.
  • Binds When Picked Up: These traits refer to items that will bind to you as soon as they are picked up. You will typically receive a warning saying the item will bind to you if you attempt to loot one.
  • Quest Item: Quest items are items that are part of a quest. They are soulbound to you despite not saying so and cannot be traded.
  • Binds to Account/Binds to Battle.net account: These items can only be sent to other characters on your account or Battle.net account. For the latter, all World of Warcraft accounts within the same Battle.net account are eligible to receive such items.
  • Unbound: If none of the traits listed above are shown on the item, the item is unbound and is free to be traded.
A Brief Note On Equipment Stats

When you come across equipment in the game, especially those of Uncommon or higher quality, you may see certain stats on them that are denoted by a number and the name of the stat. For instance, you may see an item that gives "+5 Stamina." Here is a list of the stats you may see while journeying through the World of Warcraft. Firstly, these are the "primary stats:"
  • Strength: A primary stat that effectively increases damage done by Death Knights, Paladins, and Warriors. It also grants Parry chance.
  • Agility: A primary stat that increases the damage done by Hunters, Rogues, and some Druids, Monks, and Shamans (Feral and Guardian Druids, Brewmaster and Windwalker Monks, and Enhancement Shamans). Also increases the chance of melee and ranged critical strikes. It also increases Dodge chance.
  • Stamina: A primary stat that increases health. Used by all classes, but largely favored by classes in the Tank role.
  • Intellect: A primary stat that increases the damage done by Mages, Priests, Warlocks, and some Druids and Shamans (Balance Druids and Elemental Shamans). It is also beneficial for all healing specializations. This stat increases the chance for spells to critically strike.
  • Spirit: A stat (listed as primary, but considered secondary due to how it is budgeted) that increases mana regeneration. This is only beneficial for healers.
The following are "secondary stats:"
  • Hit, Expertise: These secondary stats provide an additional chance to hit the target (since abilities can inherently miss against targets your level or higher). All damage dealers and tanks can benefit from these stats.
  • Haste, Critical Strike, Mastery: These secondary stats provide additional power in some sort of way. All classes can benefit from these stats.
  • Parry, Dodge: These secondary stats provide mitigation by increasing avoidance of melee and ranged attacks (ranged attacks can only be dodged). Only tanks benefit from these stats.
  • Spell Power: Though rarely seen, this is generally the same stat as Intellect except without the spell crit chance benefits. The same classes and specializations benefit from it.
  • PvP Power, PvP Resilience: These stats increase damage done to players and reduce damage received by players, respectively. They are only for PvP.
How to Trade With Other Players

While you may not use this feature to barter with other players most of the time, it is still helpful to know how to use this feature when it is absolutely necessary to trade (or more likely give/receive) items and/or money with other players. To trade with a player, target them and right click their portrait (make sure you're close enough of the option will be greyed out). It will look something like the picture below:
Name has been censored out.
Alternatively, you can drag an item from your inventory and click the player you wish to trade the item to in order to start a trade (with that item offered) or target a player and type /trade in your chat.

Trading with a player will open the trade window. This is where you can add or remove items and money that you wish to give to the other player. Items you intend to give are shown on the left side, while items you receive are shown on the right side, as shown below:
Also censored the name out here too.
There is also a single slot that indicates the item will not be traded. This is to allow players to perform services, mostly related to professions, on certain items in a quick, risk-free manner that negates any possibility of being scammed. It also allows operations to be performed on soulbound items.

When you are satisfied with a trade, you can confirm it by hitting the button below. You can also choose to cancel the trade by either hitting "Cancel," closing the window, or moving away from the player.

The Auction House For Beginners

The Auction House is where most of your commercial activity will take place. Auctioneers, which are NPCs who give access to the Auction House when interacted with, reside in capital cities and show all auctions for your faction (Alliance or Horde). To find them ask a town guard for the Auction House. When you talk to an Auctioneer and open the Auction House window you will see three windows. The first window is the "Browse" window:
Here you can search for items based on categories, item quality, level requirements, and whether you can use the item (items that are darkened out in red are unusable for your character). You can also sort auctions based on the item quality (rarity), the level requirement of the item, the time remaining, seller names, and the current bid.

For "time left," auctions can have one of the following: Short (under 30 minutes remaining), Medium (30 minutes to 2 hours remaining), Long (2 hours to 12 hours remaining), and Very Long (more than 12 hours remaining). You can highlight these words while browsing to see the time remaining if you need a quick refresher.

When you find an auction that catches your interest, you can choose to bid on the auction. If there are other bidders on the auction, you have to increase the bid by some minimum amount at least. Like with actual auctions, bidding is a commitment and cannot be reversed later. If you get outbid before the auction finishes, you will see a chat warning (if online) and get your gold back in the mail, otherwise you win the auction and receive the item. Alternatively, items may have a buyout price listed, which will allow you to win an auction instantly and receive the item faster. You can bid and buyout by using the buttons on the bottom right of the window.

The second window is the "Bids" window:
In this window you can see your current bids. It also shows whether you are the highest bidder on an item or not, allowing you to have the opportunity to outbid another player. On the off chance you weren't able to secure an option by buying it out, you can bid on it then buy it out in this window, paying the buyout amount (if you are the highest bidder it subtracts the amount you bid from the buyout so you don't end up paying both the bid amount and buyout amount).

The third window is the "Auctions" window:
Here you can create your own auctions. To start, you can drag an item into the Auction Item slot. For this example, I put some Linen Cloth up:
From here you can set up Auctions, selling in amounts (up to the maximum stack) and prices as desired. In general, you should never use the minimum starting price because it's based on a percentage of the vendor price. Instead, analyze the current market price and sell for less than the lowest current price (unless it is below the minimum starting price). You can (and should) set a Buyout price on top of the Starting Price.

You can also set a duration for your auction to last, with the available durations set at 12 hours, 24 hours, and 48 hours. Below this you will see a Deposit amount. As the name says, this is an amount you invest into the auction (based on the vendor price and auction duration of the item, with a shorter duration resulting in a smaller deposit). If the auction sells, you get your deposit back. However, you lose your deposit if the auction does not sell, either because the duration ran out without a bid/buyout or you cancel the auction using the button at the bottom right while selecting the auction after it has been made.

One last thing about auctions is when they sell, the Auction House takes 5% of the money you make from the auction (excluding the deposit). There are special Auction Houses in neutral towns around Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms known as "neutral" Auction Houses which can be accessed by both factions and allow cross faction trading. However, successful sells on these auction houses take a 15% cut of the money made.

With that said, go forth and experience the wonders of finding items and trading. With the basics, you will at least be able to turn some profits that a newbie might not know about when starting out. Analysis of your realm's economy will help improve your ability to make money, though I may cover this in a future article as well.

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