Okay, I'm rich. I got through the 4.0.1 patch madness making about 200k in revenue. I spent a fair amount of that already (32k on a mammoth and motorcycle for my warlock, 310 flight for the warlock and the priest, a tithe to my guildbank). But I've still got about 150k in liquid gold right now and some long-term investments sitting in my bank (I'm buying Razzashi Raptor pets when they're on the market for a reasonable price, since they won't be in the game after cataclysm). If only I could make this kind of money with foresight and investment in the real world, huh? Income is down to pre-patch levels, and I'm pretty sure I'm retiring for the time being- I don't want to spend all my time milling herbs and stuff. I will still post and repost the glyphs I have in stock, but I've got bigger fish to fry for now: achievements before the expac, and another giant windfall income spike after Cataclysm goes live.
Today's post is not about making money with a profession, which is what I've been talking about for a while. Today I want to talk about market timing and event analysis. That's what led to my giant windfall income from 4.0.1. I didn't even really need to be a scribe to make this profit (although a non-scribe would not have made as much and would have more limited options). All I did was realize that the market supply of glyphs would be nowhere near sufficient to meet the needs of consumers when the patch launched. I could (and actually did) buy those glyphs off the market pre-patch to relist at a healthy markup. That doesn't require any tradeskills, just foresight and fortitude in your speculation. In some real way, though, that speculation is what drove up prices too- when the patch launched, I was buying all glyphs listed under 10g and relisting them considerably higher. People were too busy fiddling with their addons and getting new specs and downloading the new client to upkeep their auction posts, so I was able to create an artificial demand bubble.
I predict that the same conditions exist for cataclysm launch day. Non-professional marketeers (scribes, JCs, etc who aren't run by for-profit goldselling companies) will likely be far more interested in getting to the new zones, racing to level 85, grinding up their tradeskill to 525, and rolling their goblin banker alt than they will be in providing market services. At the same time, we will see a double-influx of new demand on the market. People who had been taking time off from the game will come back during launch week. People who have well-established characters will roll new alts to experience the new races or the new race/class combinations.
Some of the latter category will plan ahead and create a CARE package for their new characters, including bags, glyphs, useful gear, and so on. Many will not. The market for bags and glyphs in particular will likely take off. Gems will also sell, to a lesser extent though. Unlike the 4.0 patch, I don't predict that many people will be willing to pay 150g or more to put the "proper" gem into a piece of armor that is likely to be replaced in a few hours by questing (quest rewards in the first cata zones are only slightly worse than ICC-25 gear).
While I used to think that my 5k/week income was the bees knees, and in some way it really was, it only served to position me in the market. I had enough liquid worth that I could sink a 10k investment into patch preparation. The market break at that point was worth waiting for.
There are similar (but smaller) market breaks that should be predictable. Every new arena season provides a smallish run on certain gem cuts, tuesdays in general see a lot of raiding and therefore a lot of flask demand. I think I'm going to move away from providing a constant supply of items to the market (which takes a lot of time and effort) to identifying and capitalizing on trends. This might actually take *more* effort as I probe the supply/demand relationship in this very weird marketplace we call the AH, but it should be interesting.