Trading and Selling
From World of Dungeons - Enzykloplaedia
Section 1 - Introduction
What is a merchant?
A merchant in World of Dungeons is a player who buys and sells the items of his group. Most organised groups will and should have a merchant. Their general aim is to make a profit in gold, acquire item upgrades and provide gold for raising skills. This is all done for the group so this job is not meant to only support one's own heroes. On rare occasions a merchant is merely a single players that attempts to do the same thing for him, usually with items from minis or just items that they find in dungeons. The concept stays the same, however - profit.
Why should all groups have a merchant?
If everyone in a group simply does whatever they please with their items, generally this will result in poorly made sales by those unfamiliar with the merchant job, and most likely, a large gap between group members, where some may have a lot of money, and others will struggle. One merchant can take all the loose drops and such from a group, make a profit, and use it to improve the group as a whole. It's usually assumed that the one player is willing to pay more attention to the task and will make more money in total than would be made by allowing everyone to just sell their findings at fixed price ("FP the items"). Besides that it is way easier for a single person to get and keep a good overview of common prices and items that aren't needed by the group.
A competent group merchant will make the entire group better in the long run.
What does being a group merchant involve?
The very basic job of being a group merchant simply involves selling off drops that are no use to your group. So a merchant is mainly responsible for sorting out all items the group possesses in the Group Storage and Treasure Vault. You will need to be at least a group representative, so that you can unflag group items in the treasure vault for trading. With the profits, you will be buying needed items and assisting group members who require gold to raise skills properly.
Depending on how quickly you work, assuming you clean out your group's vault or treasury only once a week, this will take around one or two hours of your time each week. The needed time solely depends on how much effort you put in, so perhaps you need even longer, if you want to do a perfect job. Real maniacs browse the market, auctions, forum and chat constantly to not miss items that his group needs or that can be resold for profit.
The group merchant will be in charge of most of the group's gold, so it's a very responsible position. Some merchants even manage to pile up gold into the millions. The amount of gold a group possesses is often called "group fund". Therefore, a group merchant is one of the most valuable people in the group, at least if a good job is done. The merchant should, of course, be someone that the group leader can trust. It is also important that the group can track current activities, which can be achieved by keeping a running tally of the group's total gold to hand. Communication within the group and with other merchants will also be very important.
One main rule of trading is that the buyer sets the price. You are bound to the amount of gold he will offer and pay. So you either accept his price suggestion or you convince him that your price is more reasonable. This also leads to the fact that the known prices and price suggestions are worth nothing if there are no buyers that pay that much. The other way round, you can make even more profit if a buyer wants to pay a higher price.
Finally, being a group merchant will entail some degree of common sense. This point I cannot possibly stress enough. A merchant without common sense will blindly follow the recommended prices, and probably do something daft like putting a thick club on the marketplace for 12,000 gold. (Common sense would dictate that a thick club is a pretty lousy item, and isn't worth very much at all.) So getting a feeling for fitting prices is one of the most important attributes of a good merchant. Buyers will always buy an item at lowest price available - on the other hand you shouldn't sell off the more valuable items for nothing, just to get some gold. There is always a trade-off between those two facts, not to mention that prices also change over time.
Section 2 - Basic duties
The whole merchant task requires a very good overview of the classes and the used items of your group members. You also need to know the current prices of as many items as possible. Some of them are rather worthless and they should be sold for fixed price, the 'current price' listed in item details, right away. You should aim to sell useless trash for its fixed-price ("FP it") - things that no one in your group will ever use, and items that few people would buy - as such items will bring in little to no profit when you attempt to sell them on the market. This also provides fast gold for little effort. On the other side there are items that are worth selling at a high profit over the market, auction, forum or chat. Getting to know these details needs a lot of experience and some time spent watching all the other offers.
A merchant needs to know two main things. First of all there is the need to know the strength and value of an item. This enables the merchant to decide if the item is worthless, rare and how strong the current demand will be. Besides that the current situation on the game world also has a great influence on the real price. You can imagine the best prices, which are worthless if there is no buyer that will pay that much. To get a first price suggestion you need to combine your personal rating of an item with the current prices that are paid for it, if known.
Group storage duties
All you have to do here is make note of what your teammates use in dungeons, and maintain a steady supply of their needed consumables if you can. It is also a good idea to keep items the group will use later on, so that these consumables are available right when they are needed. Unused items can be sold or traded away. So for example, you can probably sell all arrows if you don't have an archer or hunter using bows, but should keep black powder and bullets for your blunderbuss archer, if there is one in your group. See also Hero - Group Storage and Treasure Vault.
Treasure vault duties
Valuable Treasure Vault-items that your group does not need can be placed on the marketplace or auction, or can be advertised on publicly viewable displays of your group's treasure vault (see Displaying goods to others) to attract players who will spot desired items and approach you with an offer. Always make sure that you aren't undercutting yourself with a sale, or trying to sell too high - look around to compare it, or ask in the appraisals forum if you're unsure of an item's worth. With a little effort, you'll quickly be able to appraise more mundane items fairly accurately by yourself. See also Hero - Group Storage and Treasure Vault.
Marketplace and auction
The Marketplace and the Auctions are the two most common places for buying and selling items. One thing to bear in mind when using auctions is the fee - you will pay a minimum of 50 gold or 4% of the starting bid whenever adding an item to auction, regardless of it's FP value and regardless of how much it will sell for. You should also know that it can last up to 30 minutes until the buyer finally receives the item and that you can only have a maximum of 50 auctions at the same time. If you ever make a mistake you can cancel an auction within the first 20 minutes after creation. Be aware that an auction might end at a lower price than you desired. That's the danger when using auctions for selling items. You should also think about when you create the auction and how long you want it to be open. An auction ends at the same time you create it but the desired number of days in the future. You should choose a time when most of the players are online and can bid near the end.
On the market there is also a fee of 4% but the minimum gold value is set to 10 gold. This also enables a merchant to sell some consumables which aren't worth the 50 gold fee of the auction. In addition to that there is also a tax on the market which must be paid by the buyer when the item is bought. This tax is set to 10% of the actual price which will be lost, so in the end the seller only receives 90% of the final price. Such a tax was added to prevent the market from being used to abuse direct gold transfers between two heroes. Without the tax the market would enable a way to transfer gold without much loss.
Finally, any item placed on the marketplace for a value worth less than its FP value will automatically and immediately be bought by the game for that price. After 5 days in the marketplace, any unsold goods automatically return to the storage of the seller. Unsold items on auction also return to you (but the fee of 50 gold does not).
With these things in mind, we can see that trying to market 'trash' items is pointless. If you take a light throwing knife, you can see that it is not very good. Maybe you could sell it for around 15-20 gold? You would make a net loss by trying to auction it and barely the slightest hint of a profit if you tried to market it (10 gold for placing it on market, 2 gold deducted from a 20 gold sale, for a grand total of 4 gold profit...if anyone buys it). So sometimes it is better not to bother, and simply FP such kind of items, which also saves time that you can invest in other, more important duties.
When buying from the auction, remember that you can be outbid at any time. So the safest way to win an auction is to be there when it ends. Tough last-minute price battles for claiming an item are quite common, especially if it is really precious. Bids near the very end of the auction will result in a shift of the ending time by 60 seconds, so that other players have the chance to outbid you. Keep this fact in mind because it can push the end by several minutes and if you stop watching you could lose the item. Finally, these price battles are over as soon as there are no other bets for 60 seconds.
Consumables are rather uncommon in auctions. Most of them aren't worth that much and the fee will eat up most of the profit. The more valuable ones can be sold on the market, or over other ways of communication, quite easy and with high profit. Another reason for this is that consumables have a rather stable value in gold, whereas all other items can vary much based on the offers of buyer and seller. So placing them on the market will provide the amount of gold you set as price. In contrast to auctions where you never know if you will make good profit.
When buying consumables from the market, make sure that you don't accidentally rip yourself off. Some of the items are also offered by the NPC merchant, who always has an unlimited supply. There are always some merchants that try to be smart and put some consumables on the market for a price higher than the NPC merchant offers them. You should bear this in mind while selling consumables as well - the NPC's prices are quite high already, and smart people will prefer to buy those than yours if your price is too high.
The most important hint is to use common sense when pricing your items. Just because the recommended price - which can be viewed by activating the "sale options" in storage - might say some outrageous number, does not mean that it's really worth that much. Look at what you are selling, and ask yourself if you honestly see anyone paying 1000 gold per use of your ballads of evasion. It also helps if you ask yourself if you would buy this item for that price. Treat the price suggestions as guidelines, rather than absolutes, and again, use common sense. Failing to do so may well result in you losing a lot of gold because of the fee and there will be no one that really buys your stuff. If the suggested price looks sensible, then you could likely follow it, but don't do it blindly.
Finally, when setting an auction price, don't be greedy and set the starting price at what you want to sell the item for, or even start at the FP value. Setting a price that is too high will result in no one bidding and you will loose gold because of the fee. Even more painful is the fact that you need to pay another fee to set the same item on auction again at a lower price. Draw attention to your auctions via the town crier to get people to consider looking for them. Don't spam the crier with messages though, anyone that is going to look at it will see it, there's no need to be rude by bumping off everyone else's messages.
Displaying goods to others
The third generally employed method of selling items consists of a forum thread with a well-structured list that shows the items you offer. Just make a post in the public section of your group forums, and use a formatting tool to format your treasury - and group storage, if you wish to sell consumables too. These tools are called item converters or market stall tools and can format an item list in a way, so that it is easier to find wanted items. Links and further tutorials for these tools can be found in the fan site entry Fanpages or in the game forum.
All these converters work nearly the same. First of all you must go to your Treasure Vault and click on one of the options (you typically want "csv") on the top right corner (see also Link Lists). This will open up another window which lists all items using a special formatting. The whole content of this popup must now be copied and pasted into the item converter. Then there is normally a link for processing the copied text and generating the output with the desired structured item list. This final list can then be added to a thread in the forum. Repeat this for your Group Storage if desired. The BBcode option generates a list that can be used right away in the WoD forums, but it’s a quick and dirty list with little detail.
Just one more hint before your eagerness overwhelms you. After creating your group market stall take a look at the generated list once more. This time you should remove all items that you don't plan to sell. It is always annoying if you ask a merchant for a listed item and he answers that it isn't for sale. You don't want that to happen as buyer so please try to do it properly as seller. Another trick consists of putting reagents and grafting materials in the GS before export. Because those two types of items aren't consumables you get a nice and seperated list without them being disappearing in the mass of pocket items of your TV.
Once you have your publicly viewable lists - try to include some general rules in your thread, e.g. saying that certain items might not be for sale, or that offers should be made to yourself or another player, that the thread should not be replied to, etc - you can then create a topic in the Adventurer's Riches section of the bazaar forum. Here, you can use the post link(s) of your post(s) to direct people to your listings, and they can browse your goods there. This process is necessary because the threads in the Adventurer's Riches are deleted after some days of inactivity, whereas a thread in your own public group forum can stay forever and you have full control over it. So update your post in the bazaar from time to time to keep it alive.
You may not get any sales quickly this way, but it's better than leaving valuable items rotting in your vault without anyone considering buying them. You stand to make more gold from private trades than on auction, as the buyer will be paying the trading tax, and not you. Another advantage is that you have full control over the price and you are more flexible if it comes to trades with more than one item.
Another way to display items to other can also be found in the Royal Marketplace forum. There are two subforums called "Buying Board" and "Sales Bazaar". The first one can be used to state what items you are currently looking for. The second one offers a chance to list some top items you want to sell. This subforum normaly draws more attention than the Adventurers Riches and you can show your highlights more easily than in a big list.
There is also an overview just to keep track of own items on the market and on auction. It can be found in the navigation and can be accessed here: Bazar - My Sales.
Purchasing goods from others
Keep an eye on the sales and adventurer's riches sections of the bazaar. Sometimes you may see an item for sale that your group can use. It's not often you'll find exactly what you need on the market or auction, especially when you seek rarer goods. Be sensible when contacting the other player/merchant, be polite, and make an offer if you know what the item is worth. Some people prefer to only trade for items and not for gold, or refuse to deal with people who don't make an offer first. Make sure you abide by any rules they have set out, even if you don't really like those rules - it's their goods, and you want them, so let's play along.
Make sure that you don't let yourself get ripped off by other players - some people will deliberately charge really high prices to try and make high profit. Don't buy from these people unless you have no other choice, and desperately need the item in question. You can likely find it cheaper elsewhere with a bit of patience.
It is also a good idea to browse the auctions for interesting items from time to time. If you see a good-looking auction, and you don't want to place a bid yet, then you can set it on your watch-list. This will spawn event mails every time a bid is placed for the item. Just keep the ending time in mind to not miss it and loose the item. At the same time, you should start bidding as late as possible but as early as necessary.
The market can also be searched for items quite often. If you aren't looking for specific items you can always browse the pages, starting from the highest price. The most interesting items can be found at the end with a high price, at least most of the times. If a price seems too high and you really want the item you can always message the seller and try to get a better price. Most merchants tend to be open for discussions and always long for good trades. When digging through the market you should always look for needed consumables at low price, even if you have enough lying around. It can always happen that you must obtain some in the future and the prices are pretty high for that very moment. So try to buy cheap and have foresight.
Another motivation for buying items is reselling, which isn't that popular in World of Dungeons and needs a lot of experience in pricing. This means that a merchant buys items his group doesn't need, just for the purpose of selling them again at a higher price. The profit is rather low most of the times so you need a lot of sales to make it worth it. A merchant using this routine can become really unpopular, be it because of his high prices or just based on the fact that players don't like this strategy. Don't ever forget that this constantly raises all prices and you will also have to pay more for getting things you need, so do it sparingly.
Section 3 - Miscellaneous
There are still some other things you should know. This section will try to answer some of the questions that are left.
One thing you should definately keep an eye on is your overall item limit. This is set to 600 items for non-prem players and 6000 for prem-players. The second value might sounds pretty high at the moment but it is possible to reach it quite easily. As a merchant you will handle a lot of items, put them in your storage and put a lot of them back to GS or TV. You also buy a lot of consumables and put them in GS until they are used. Therefore, it pays to avoid hitting the limit and loosing items in dungeons.
A merchant is browsing the market and the auctions as often as possible. So he should know how to handle the market and how to find items effectively. To achieve this you should try to make the search function your friend and filter a lot. As first step you should get to know all possible filters you can adjust before the search. Using all possible filters can save precious time and helps to find specific items, especially consumables, quite easy. As first hint you should know that you can filter out all consumables pretty easy by setting the "Condition at least" setting to a high value. Consumables aren't at full uses most of the times, which is signaled by a lower condition. In addition to that, the search field is much smarter as you would guess. Here are some options you can use to alter your search:
- a simple combination of words seperated by + or blanks aren't supported
- use * as placeholder within a search string (for example *liquid* for all sorts of alchemical potions or *blue*liquid* for blue ones only)
- the character - can be used to remove items with the given text from the result (for example -stubb -evasion for filtering stubborness and evasion ballads), you can as many removals as you wish to and saving some of them for future searches is also a good idea
Trading between players
When trading with another player, make sure you know the value of the goods involved. Just as you wouldn’t let yourself get ripped off, don't try to rip people off on purpose, if they understand the value too, they will probably be unlikely to trade with you, possibly never again. Your job is to make profit, not to become notorious, right?
When buying directly from other players, remember that you will be paying the 10% tax as well. The other player will not have any taxes at his end, so you can afford to buy/sell at slightly lower prices than you'd see on auction. This method is usually the best way to buy and sell consumables, as you're skipping the 10 gold fee for placing each item in the marketplace, not to mention usually being able to buy in bulk. Before buying anything it is always good to check the market before. There is no need of buying expensive items if you can get it cheaper on the market.
Establishing consumable trades
Most groups lack certain hero types or weapon types. For example, not all groups have a bard or a scholar, so bard songs and some books are unusable by them, but they need a lot of other consumables like arrows. If you have a bard or scholar in your group, you can consider asking groups that lack them, if they'd be interested in establishing a trade relationship for their consumables. If they agree to it, you can try to make it a permanent deal - every time they have a certain number of the items you seek, they can sell it to you for an agreed upon price per use. This is beneficial to both sides, as one gains a guaranteed sale for unused items at a decent price, and the other gains desired items.
You can try to do this with almost all types of consumables, but it is unlikely that you will be able to set up such a trade for the more highly-used types of consumables. For example, it is quite hard to find a group which is selling black powder and bullets, because most groups have a BB archer.
If you don't wish to do this, you can simply post in the buying and selling sections respectively, stating that you wish to buy or sell specific kinds of consumables. When selling, remember to include how many uses you have and maybe a desired price. Another possibility is the town crier, which can be found in the tavern. You can use this little messaging system to send ticker messages which will be shown to all players. All town crier messages cycle so those messages are not one-time message because it appears again and again for some time. If you state that you are looking for a specific item or consumable you could be lucky and get some answers.
Avoiding the greedy merchants
As stated before, you will encounter some merchants who will try to rip you off. They may believe they are acting fair without realising the truth, or they may be out to buy things dirt cheap, in order to sell for exorbitant prices. If you're unsure about the worth of an item, ask someone else first or post in the appraisals forum. The last thing you want to do is sell an item for 10k, to find out you could have sold it for 50k later on. By the same token, you don't want to buy an item for 50k, and find out you could have gotten it for 10k.
Attempt to persuade the other player to either offer more reasonably, or to sell for a fairer price. Usually this won't work, but it doesn't hurt to try, just try your best not to snap at them. If they continually do this, simply avoid dealing with them at all, unless you absolutely must or until they get smarter and deal fairly with you. Consider informing them of this and maybe also inform other merchants. Perhaps they may pay attention if enough people refuse to deal with them.
Deciding what to keep, and what to sell
Some of the most important questions for a merchant are 'should I keep this?' and 'should I sell that?'. The answer is quite simple: If you or your group does not need it, sell it. With more valuable items you may wish to keep them and try to score more gold in a private trade, but try to avoid being a pack rat - if no one is going to use those crossbow bolts, and if no one is going to use that amethyst hand axe of dexterity, why keep them around, when you could earn gold? Always keep in mind that you can use the gold you get to buy other good items. Afterwards, other valuable items will drop, so you will always have something for selling and trading. Don't hold onto your pile of items for too long and keep the gold on the move.
A merchant also needs to be aware of hidden effects. There are a lot of items, especially consumables, that have a hidden effect. As a main rule a consumable without an effect in the item details has a hidden bonus if used. Some of them are listed in the game forum: Ministry of Information
Here is a small list of to give a short overview on the more precious consumables that you definately shouldn't FP. The list is sorted by item class and provides information about the most valuable items of each class. The given items are ordered by value with the last one being the most precious. Just keep in mind that this list isn't complete.
- Alchemical Potions (Yellow / Red / Blue phials of bubbling liquid, ordered by skill effect)
- Amulet of Power (all of them, especially Strength and Vitality)
- Arrors (always needed by bow archers)
- Ballads of Courage (Recovery, Courage, Victory)
- Ballads of Mockery (Unsure Footing, Hungry Shadows, Thundering Projectiles, Gusty Winds, Undivided Attention)
- Banner (all types better than simple)
- Black Powder (good and dwarven)
- Blowpipe Darts (crab apple, curare)
- Bolts (always needed by xbow archers, especially poisoned and improved)
- Books (Defensive Sorcery, Almanach of Sorcery, Over Hills and Dale, Art of War)
- Bullets (always needed by blunderbuss archers, especially dwarven and alchemist)
- Drinks (Kestrar, Beer, Dwarven Ale)
- Fortune Telling (all, especially high number of uses)
- Gravel (Frost-Tempered)
- Healing Herbs (Ironweed, Trollbeard, Red Petals)
- Healing Potions (normal and better)
- Ice Crystals (Ice Crystal if there are only few on market, all scrolls)
- Magical Potion (all of them)
- Medical Supplies (field surgeons kit with 20+ uses)
- Poison (fresh poisons, especially Fireweed, Stingweed and Spongemoss)
- Provisions (Cough Drops, Large bag of Food near max uses, Vegetable soup)
- Reagents (especially fresh, purified and extract)
- Scrolls protective (Scroll of protection, weasel, wolf)
- Scrolls support (Scroll of awareness, focus, fury, accuracy)
- Sulfuric Ash (if there are only few on market, all scrolls)
Regulations about item handling in a group
So now you have some insight in the merchant job and all tasks of a merchant. But what can a group do to support its merchant as much as possible? There are some common things that make the merchant job easier. First of all, regulate where to put which items. There are two main setups to address this.
The first, and most common choice, is that every player puts all consumables in the Group Storage and the rest into the Treasure Vault. This way the merchant has a better overview of the non-consumables and valuable items. A small drawback of this situation is that the Group Storage tends to be overwhelmed by all sorts of consumables, including those that are unused in the group, because the merchant focuses on the Treasure Vault nearly all the time. The less common strategy is to put every item into the Treasure Vault. That way the merchant only needs to clean up one pool of items and can filter out unused consumables much better. It is definitely a matter of taste, but the group should choose one of these systems to prevent confusion.
Another important fact that needs considering is FP items. Every player needs a lot of gold for raising skills and the gold found in dungeons alone isn't enough. Consequently, if the merchant distributes gold for skills frequently, he will lose a large amount to taxes alone.
To counter this effect many groups allow everyone to sell specific, unused and/or worthless items directly for FP, which eliminates the middleman and saves money from taxes. In general you can afford to sell minor items that your group merchant would also FP. If you are not sure just discuss this matter with your merchant, who should have a better feeling for prices.
Concerning skill gold the group should also set some rules. Some classes require a constant stream of gold because they spend so much on skills, because they are skill-focused and improving attributes won’t improve their abilities. So they need to raise their main skills, which get more and more expensive. On the other hand, classes like all attackers can always invest in attributes for extra strength. A group should always be aware of this fact so that no one thinks he is not receiving his fair share in terms of skill gold. This topic is very important and constantly raising skills can push the group further step by step.
There should be some special threads in a group forum for supporting the organizational task of a merchant. One of them is a thread with a whishlist where the group can add items they desire. That way a merchant knows better what items he should try to buy or trade. Another very common thread lists all consumables that are running low. So if you are nearly out of arrows you should state that in this thread so that the merchant can try to organize some fast. You will also stumble upon another type of thread which lists valuable items found in dungeons. Such a thread gives hints to dropped items so that your group mates don't overlook them. This can also be a place for discussion about who will receive an item, so if you ever get to this point just ask yourself which hero will benefit the group the most by getting the item.
As last hint I want to add that you shouldn't be too disappointed if things aren't going well or if you make a bad trade. There will be better trades in the future and things will run more smoothly the more experience you gain.
Thanks go to Veridian. This guide is an extended and adjusted version of Veridian’s merchant guide.