An experiment gone wrong
Hey guys. I did something rather stupid, in retrospect, and I wanted to share this with you. It's information, a warning, and something to think about when working the AH.
Last weekend on a Friday night I got bored/curious about the AH and the auctioneer addon. The addon tallies up how many items are selling and for how much. It also makes automatic adjustments to price according to market average, mass postings quickly/efficiently, and assigns a color code to items that sell above or below that market average.
Experiment: Can I raise the price of item X by tricking the auctioneer addon through artificial inflation?
I bought all the copper bars on the market at one time (it was 60 bars at that moment) and I resold all the bars separately at 5000 GP each. The current going rate was averaged 2 GP a stack. To set another experiment, I did the same to tin ore (40 pieces)(10 GP a stack average). Both were set to 48 hours.
People were not looking when they were auto posting. Stacks of bars were posted at 133 GP for a 20 stack. People had to cancel the auction once they realized something was wrong. The trade chat exploded instantly. Tin ore settled at 30 GP a 20 stack and copper bars at 10 GP a 20 stack. Once the undercutting began, the price again settled at about 2 GP (give or take 50 SP) by Sunday. The Tin Ore settled at 20 GP a stack, even to this day.
The addon was fooled. Due to the frequency of my single posts at the percentage increase posted, the overall average rose as well. This result did not take root until Saturday. All postings at 10 GP appeared in blue for "very under priced." By Monday, all price colors returned to normal.
Now this was the kicker. Copper bars and Tin Ore went up in average and price; so did everything else! Titanium Ore usually sold at 200 GP a 20 stack and on Saturday sold an average of 500 GP a 20 stack. Green items sold 10 to 50 GP higher in average. Herbs also went up about 10 - 25%. One adjustment effected everything.
I was curious about this. I asked my buddy at work why this happened. He said "people panicked." In theory, people saw the outrageous price of the much needed copper and tin and rose their wares in order to get paid to buy them. Other, more greedy people, also replicated the process as seen in the copper and tin posts, knowing that it would also help maximize their profits.
My buddy also told me that this practice, in real life, is illegal. Mental note.
The farming, peddling, and panhandling was just nuts that weekend. All the common farming places were booked during peak hours. The trade chat go reduced to constant mindless drivel, unreadable due to the speed of the posts appearing. "I need gold." "Cutting gems!" "Will port!" "I need gold!" "lockboxes for you" "Anyone gold?" "Cutting gems better than that other guy" "I'm selling evrything!" "Someone give me gold!" "I'll port everyone!" "Gems get some gems!" "Giveme gold or your gay." "I'm clearing out the bank!" and so on.....every 2 mins. I know trade chat can be bad, but wow, that was bad.
Overall the prices in the AH settled mid week at about 5 - 10% higher than the old average. The ore business is forever changed. Tin ore at 20 GP a 20 stack and titanium ore at 350 GP a 20 stack. Copper bars up 1 GP to 2 GP a 20 stack.
ANYwho, just a little bit for you. Something high on the "holy crap" meter.
In the meantime, I'm still compiling data for my "special project," but until I can be far more accurate, the second half of it probably won't be complete until July/August. I'll let you know soon enough.
Until next time.....