Confessions From an In-game Reseller

I can’t stop making money. Is it an illness? I don’t know. Every MMORPG I have ever played has seen me buying low and selling high. EverQuest is where I really got good at it. How good? Well I had acquired so much platinum (the EQ currency) that I was able to sell it to a broker for $3,000 USD. Crazy, huh? At the time I wasn’t even the most successful of the resellers on my server but I was in the top 5. I took a portion of those funds and used it to build a business, a business that now provides me with enough to live and live comfortably at that.

This article is not intended to be about selling game currencies in the real world. I wanted to write about my experiences selling game items for game currency. I mentioned the sale of EverQuest platinum above only because it is a part of my history and to give you an idea of the mass of game wealth I had accumulated.

Buy low, sell high. Is it a cliche or a mantra? I suppose it’s both. Those 4 words are a simple concept but to really master it, there are many complexities involved. I thought I would share some of my own observations and experiences.

So what experience do I have? I’ve been playing multiplayer online games starting with the text-based games back in 1996. I played EverQuest from 2001 to 2005. Between 2005 and 2010, I dabbled in a few other games but Conquer is really the only game where I bought and sold in game items on a consistent basis. In 2010, I began a 3-year love/hate affair with Allods. Allods is probably the greatest MMORPG that you have never heard of. Terribly flawed,highly
pay to win, great fun. I spent a few short months playing Star Trek Online where I began buying and selling within the auction house almost immediately. I loved the space combat that STO offered but there was no endgame content and I just could not stay interested.

My current MMORPG of choice is Star Wars: The Old Republic. It’s funny, I had always considered myself a bigger Star Trek fan than a [Star Wars] fan until I started playing this game. It’s not the greatest game ever but I do highly enjoy it. I’ve written a number of articles about SWTOR already.

“I’m not going to work the auction house in this game” is what I told my Allods friends that also played SWTOR with me. I wasn’t lying, I really wanted to just enjoy the game. But I can’t. It’s an addiction for me. It’s part of the fun of playing online games. I enjoy scrolling through the lists of goods. Since Star Wars is my current game, I will probably spend a good portion of my time discussing the economy of my server, Jung Ma. Business is business and a lot of what I say should apply to any game and in many cases real life as well.

In game and in real life, I am often asked, “How do I start my own business?” or “How can I make more money?” I always say, “sell what you know.” If you look at [my eBay store] you’ll see over 3,000 listings for a number of different subjects. However, most of them fall under the catelog of “nerd stuff.” At least that’s what I like to call it. There’s [anime], , tv, movie, [comic] collectibles and apparel. Nearly everything there is from something I have an interest in. Growing up I collected a lot of “nerdy” things and what I sell today is derived from my collections. So how does that apply in game? Well, if you’re a melee warrior then you’ll probably know about the weapons and armor that pertain to your class. Those are a great place to start when reselling.

I could sell ice to an Eskimo! Arbitrage is a wondeful thing. What if I told you that you could buy an item from an NPC vendor and sell it to players for a profit? I remember an item called “celestial essence” from my EverQuest days. I don’t recall the cost but there were a few vendors (I think 2) that sold them. The one in particular was in the East Commonlands which was a newbie zone and yet end game players used the essences in their trade skills. I would travel from the East Commonlands up to the Bazaar and sell them and boy did they sell. Unfortunately their value was very low but I sold thousands of them and they definitely provided a small stream of income.

Years later in Allods I was a level 14 player. I was in a place called ZIT (I forget the acronym) with a vendor that sold earrings. Characters must be level 15 to wear earrings and I was in a really far away place. A place not frequented by all characters either. So I grabbed an earring for myself so that I’d have it ready for when I reached level 15. The cost was 11-12 silver coins each. I decided to grab 3 more for the auction house to see if maybe they’d sell. In my first night I sold all 3 for 1 gold each (10 silver = 1 gold). I began making trips to that vendor and nightly for over a month, I was selling 1 to 4 earrings per night. I only ever listed 1 of each of the 4 types on the auction house(AH). I like to make the supply appear scarce. Earning just 2-4 gold a day from this covered my expenses of leveling and upgrading armor. While many of my peers struggled and often grinded killing mobs, I was doing alright. I eventually reached a point where I was earning over 1,000 gold each day from buying and selling on the AH, and I stopped selling the earrings. A few months after that I stumbled onto a vendor in the main city that sold the earrings as well. Slightly off the main path, I guess he was just always overlooked.

In Star Wars, I found a few items I was able to snag from vendors to resell. The first I noticed was another ear slot. On Dromund Kaas along a path leading west from Kaas City I found a vendor selling them. The vendor sold the ears for 800 credits each. There were 8 different types and before long I was selling them on the GTN (the auction house is called the Galactic Trade Network) for 1500-2000 credits each. As far as I know, that is the only vendor that sells the level 15 ear slots. I’ve stopped selling them and to my knowledge, not many others were selling them.

My next item in SWTOR was worse (by worse I mean ridiculous at the ease of profits earned). I was now selling ice to Eskimos during a snow storm. Within a 30 second walk from the main GTN were vendors selling relics for level 19 players. There is a vendor for dark side relics and a vendor for light side relics. I was only able to buy the dark side relics as my first two characters were under the influence of the dark side. The relics were 800 credits each and sold for 2000-2400 on the GTN. I found myself selling 2-3 per night! You actually had to pass one of the two vendors to reach the GTN to buy from me. Madness! When I stopped buying these and selling them I decided to take pity on a poor friend of mine and I told her about the ears and the relics and where to buy them. She began selling them and if I recall she was able to charge more than I was asking (albeit at a slower rate).  Just the other night I saw a newbie asking in general chat where he could buy his first relics so it doesn’t seem that people are reselling them currently.

My final foray into the NPC vendor goods would be a special in game mount available only from a vendor in a special VIP area. To get in the VIP area you either had to buy the [SWTOR Collector’s Edition] or you need to fork out 1 million credits for a VIP wristband available from the cantina vendors on the Fleet. The mount is 2,500,000 credits to purchase. I bought one a month ago and priced it at 3,000,000. It sold within 4 hours. The buyer must have confused the mount with another as he listed it for sale at 8 million credits. I bought another of the mounts and again sold it for 3 million though this one took about 7 days to sell. The SWTOR AH charges 6% of the sale price so I ended up with 2,820,000 which is not even a 13% profit but 320,000 credits can buy 90% of the items available on the market.

I’ll offer one last tip for this article: SAVE ANY AND ALL CRAFTING INGREDIENTS! As you level, mobs will drop loot. Some of the loot can be used for trade skills. I think it’s normal now for games to let you know what the items are used for so look before you sell. Even if you are gathering them at level 1, there are probably people out there looking to buy them. If you are able to learn a gathering skill, do so. These things are always selling (though some are rarer than others and markets like SWTOR can fluctuate daily).

A decent number of people have inquired about my game wealth. That’s always hard to answer since it changes daily. Here’s my current record in SWTOR: Munianci 43.8 Million Credits Now for my next article, I plan to discuss why having so many credits makes me unhappy. I promise it won’t be some knock off of the Wolf of Wallstreet. So stay tuned!

I’m not sure yet where I’m going to go with future articles related to reselling. I would like to discuss some theories on pricing. I’m sure there’s a few tips I could share. I’ve got many anecdotes of experiences with buyers. Feedback is appreciated and if you’ve got suggestions/questions or perhaps your own wisdom, please share.

[mp_ebay keywords=”star wars necklace”]

What do you think?