Friday, October 4, 2013

Troubled Waters on the TCG Front

     Last week, I made the biggest investment I've made in the game so far, or at least the biggest purchase of a single item. I bought a slightly underpriced Ghastly Charger's Skull the awesome new flaming ghost horse mount from the Trading Card Game. Almost immediately I regretted the decision, as I know very little about the TCG market, but in the end, what better way to learn, right?

     The first step was doing what I normally do with items, spamming trade. Most things sell pretty quickly but expensive items take a while, so I wanted to make a macro for it. Unfortunately, you can't actually shift+click to link items into a macro (ikr? Try it if you don't believe me). If you don't know how to make a macro for items, PowerWord:Gold did a good video a while back. But if I can try and explain in a few sentences, with the cursor where you want the link to go, press "Escape" to back out of that macro window then "Enter" to open up the normal chat pane, and type  Anyways, I looked up how many there were being sold in the US and had a nice fancy smancy bark "WTS Ghastly Charger, Rare TCG Mount! Only 27 available Worldwide! Pst with Offer" Got a couple offers the first day but no one followed through and actually purchased.

     Then something funny started to happen. In economics, there's something called Ownership Bias, also called the Endowment Effect. It's actually a really simple concept that everyone experiences almost much every day: when you start to claim ownership over something, you begin to value that object more than you did beforehand. I have a really cheap Ibanez-knockoff guitar that is scratched-up, hardly works, and was $79 when I bought it with my saved up allowance 12 years ago, but it's priceless to me because it's mine. A professor did a fun example of this with in one of my classes where he had a bunch of really cheap cups and a bunch of decent pens. He asked us how much the pens cost. "Meh. About a buck or two." And how much did the cups cost? "Probably about a dollar or two." (He clearly ran through the 99 cent store on the way to work.) Anyways, he passed out the pens and cups randomly to the students at the beginning of class, and at the end of the two hours went back around asking everyone if they wanted to trade in their cup or pen for a different cup or pen. Almost nobody did the trade! Even though monetarily there was absolutely no difference (and the students had been told so upfront!) the cups had transition in everyone's minds from just part of an experiment to a possible favorite coffee mug or a gift for the little sister.

     Back on topic, my TCG mount, went from a quick investment, and only an investment, to "man, you know, it would look pretty cool if I was on that outside of raid." And then the little devil popped up on my shoulder a little later adding on "Didn't your raid team's main tank lowball you? If he wants it, just think how jealous he'd be." And then the angel chimed in the next day, "Your priest is almost lvl 90, doesn't she deserve a new mount to ride around on? Oh, wait a second, this is a lvl 20 mount and you're leveling your monk next! How great would it be to see him on it at level 20!?"  I'm just completely fascinated that, over the course of a week, I have gone from being willing to sell it for 250-275k to putting it up on the AH for 375k and legitimately wondering if I should post it for more. Usually, with almost any other item I've sold it's the other way around; you start high and then when it doesn't sell, you lower the price until it does sell. Here, I'm subconsciously raising the price so that it doesn't and I can convince myself that I'm better off learning the mount myself.

"For real though, guys. I'm just trying to go do proving grounds. Get off me."

     I'm not saying I'm gonna stay out of the TCG market forever, but I'm gonna have to get a better deal next time, cause I am five minutes away from learning this thing and wasting that initial investment.

Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter, and until next time, remember that the best way to make money in the World of Warcraft is to

Search. Craft. Post.
Every Day. (and NOT just buying random mounts!)


  1. So don't get me wrong, this is a very interesting post, I love the real world example, and I must confess I'm guilty of ownership bias at times as well, but what I'm really waiting for, i that pet leveling guide you promised a few posts ago. :3

    1. lol, stay calm, it's coming! I had everything just about done but it wasn't good enough for a duplicatable system. Here's my notes from the past three days on the battle pet post. I really want it to be the definitive guide and not just some hum-drum article that was thrown together and only a few people can follow. As such, it's taking longer than I expected. :( Sorry about the empty promise though. Hang tight! I'll get there!

  2. LOL I am doing the exact same thing everytime I get it back from the AH I want to learn it but then the gold maker in me says why the gold will be better....

  3. I just wanted to thank you for this post. I felt quite odd today while trading a Dragon Kite away I had for so long, named Nalak for a Rocket chicken as it was level 25 and did a lot of battles and running around with. I had a spare level 1 Dragon Kite, but still. I honestly couldn't put my finger on why I felt so sad over trading it away especially after I wanted a Rocket Chicken for so long and now I know. Thank you so much again for unwittingly helping someone out. :) - Fen

    1. No problem, Fen! Glad I could help. It feels kinda silly to feel bad over a pet or mount, but when you're dealing with evolutionary stuff, you, anyways yah, glad I could help. :)

  4. You hit the nail on the head with this post. That sense of inherent value because something is possessed is a tricky beast. The only way I was able to best it, was to succumb to it. I hunted for each TCG item at a low price across the realms, then learned them for myself. This gave me a feel for the market as it exists, and what thresholds to set based on what I would pay to have one of my own.

    I've been trading the TCG loot for a while, but honestly it moves particularly slowly. I have given away most of the items to friends, especially after the Spetral Tiger Cub debacle. But like most markets, if you find the exceptional deals and manage to keep that Ownership Bias in check, you can turn a pretty steady profit in the market.

    P.S. TCG pets (and pets in general) are a really good way to move wealth between economies. No neutral AH or realm transfers required. :p

    1. Thanks! That's a really interesting strategy to just understanding the buyer mentality. Very "method acting" :-) I'm not quite there in my gold journey that I can reward myself with mounts like that, but it's nice to be able to at least start participating in the TCG market. Any good guides you'd recommend?

      And I appreciate that tip at the end there, as I'm sure the rest of the readers do. Any pets in particular sell well? I'd imagine that yah, lvl 6 Spectral Tiger Cubs used to be a great way to transfer but now probably aren't as useful. Then again, the Crazy Cat Lady title has brought up the price of just about every kitty in the game.

    2. The best guide for the TCG market is to watch wowtcgloot's retail and eBay prices, then price accordingly. On high pop realms prices are suppressed do to abundance, and lower population realms don't have the buyers to support high prices. The medium population realms seem to perform best for pets overall. It is a high gold market, so things move slow, but in large sums. Each realm reacts differently.

      The best sellers, in my opinion, have been the $7 to $15 dollar pets, generally netting about 10k each in game. So if you have a high population realm, such as Illidan Horde (US), you can move the pets over to somewhere a little calmer and post a profit.

      I learned the market manually, so there was no guide on it that I read. I've been in the transmogrification market for a long time, so it came about as a way to use the gold I earn across multiple realms. On my site, Mog's Addiction, I touch on the best selling items, mostly through the sets people design. The most expensive ones are, by far, the most desired (and usually skimpy) ones. :p

    3. Awesome info. I actually JUST came up with this idea and thought I was being original. :( Made a few toons on a few high pop servers to take advantage of the transmog markets there, and then was going to use pets to transfer the gold back to my main. Slow process, but I have time, and on a strictly gold-per-hour-played, I can't imagine much else being more profitable.

      And yah, plate-kini will always reign supreme in the expensive transmog market. I actually just sold a chest piece yesterday for 10k. :) Was a good day. Oh! And if you're big into transmog, you should know that Blizzard finally introduced a non-intrusive plate boot. I personally like the clean look. The only thing until now that I've been able to find that weren't "Stompers" were the Overlord boots, but they just put in the Greaves of Sublime Supremacy off the Sha of Pride, which are plate sandals. Great for the minimal look.


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