So the end of last week saw the unveiling of some big news about the Diablo 3 auction houses. We learned about cash out fees from Paypal, exact caps for real money on the RMAH (battle.net balance) and gold on the gold auction house. We also found out that the RMAH will be launching a week after Diablo 3 launches. I think this is wisdom.
The servers are more than likely going to be pushed to the limit – properly tested by millions of people logging in. Better to unleash the real money auction house at a more settled time but what kind of market will the delayed RMAH cater to on May 22nd?
One common prediction is that people will have built up a wealth of gold that they’ll want to sell.
So what does this mean for those of us who had plans to take advantage of the demand for gold or players chasing world firsts or some other strategy that relied on a day one RMAH? It means we need to tweak our strategy.
A lot of success can be had from going ‘against the grain’ in an economy. I don’t mean doing something difficult, or something stupid (if most people are being sensible), I mean catering to the needs of others. Or better yet, predicting the needs that those others don’t realise they are going to have… until it’s too late.
Let’s look at that prediction above again, “People will have built up a wealth of gold that they’ll want to sell”. If a lot of individuals are stock piling their gold to sell then what’s their story?
Logically we’d have to say that those players have more gold than they think they need – they’re either being frugal or they’re playing at a point in game where the gold sinks haven’t kicked in (they’re not wiping in hell or inferno or they’re neglecting their artisans). So do we, by going against the grain, BUY gold from them?
That’s not what I’d do. I will have a sizeable store of gold ready to sell when the RMAH rolls out (until the exchange rate starts falling rapidly – then I’ll hold off and see what kind of cycles emerge). But I don’t plan on buying gold. A plan that includes ‘buying gold’ could very easily backfire. So what do we do?
I’m interested in what would cause a player to have lots of excess gold, to think they don’t need gold…
It’s possible that a lot of that excess gold will come from successful players and traders – but that won’t be the most common explanation. I’m certain that the majority of gold entering the market will be down to frugality. People will be saving up to sell. In doing so they’re not spending and aren’t experimenting with their gold. What about those who NEED gold? What’s the buyers story?
Well they might need to level their artisans more. They might need to buy some sweet item they’ve been watching on the gold auction house. They might just need to repair. I’m interested in the 2nd example. In fact, I want to be listing those sweet items – some I will find but a lot will be crafted.
Here’s a list of some of the things that I foresee myself doing during the first week of Diablo 3′s launch (before the RMAH hits):
- I’ll be converting gold into MORE gold – in other words trading in the gold auction house;
- I’ll be storing a substantial amount of gold in valuable items that will not deflate as fast as gold (in other words – buying!);
- I’ll stock pile a modest sum of gold – just in case the market does something unpredicted;
- I’ll be levelling my character intensively (hopefully into Nightmare or even hell in that first week);
- I’ll level my artisans;
- I’ll experiment with the market – after all, it’s better to take risks before the ‘real game’ begins;
- I’ll find the most efficient (profitable) crafting niche with each artisan;
- I’ll identify areas in the game where I can make gold quickly – again, we can’t be 100% certain gold will be worthless;
- I’ll identify, to the best of my ability, the future needs of those who are being frugal and those who are dying to spend gold and cater to them both.
A lot of people are planning on selling gold when the RMAH launches and that’s not a foolish plan. But it’s very important to understand that when a lot of people do a thing, that thing is common place. In this case, it means that there is a high probability that gold will follow a downward trend at least for the first few days…
For those days (or weeks, or even longer) we need to be flexible and we need to be prepared. After that, who knows?
Perhaps those who gave their gold away so freely will begin to level their artisans or engage with areas of the game that otherwise drain their gold supply. Maybe those selling in a market over supplied with gold will come back looking to buy it back and be shocked to find it’s worth the same or more than what they got for it. Maybe they’ll need better gear, gems or materials and won’t have the gold to buy them (I’ll be sure to cater to their needs on the RMAH).
What about you? What kind of strategies are you planning for the first week in the Diablo 3 auction house (and beyond)?