Thursday, February 20, 2014

Are Role-Playing Servers Better For Transmog Sales?

     Someone on my YouTube channel left a comment yesterday claiming that transmog is worthless. While some people just rage that "lol greenz can't sell for 500g!" his basic point was more thought out; while transmog will sell on any server, it's only really a viable market on a Role Playing server where there are enough people transmogging to drive sales. As goldmakers this is an important thing to consider and I think we would all agree with that on the surface, or at least we would agree with the general rule of thumb that "Transmog sells better on RP servers." However I don't know of anyone who has delved into the topic analytically to find out if it's actually true or if it's just hearsay. So let's do that now!

If you aren't reading the Daily Blink, you should. 
     Before we see how many individual pieces people buy, let's look at actual mogs they wear at any given time, which is the driving force of the issue. We'll study how many people actually take each slot of their gear and transmog it and then see if there a significant difference on Role Playing Realms. While there are 11 moggable slots if you include the duel wielders, some classes only single wield, so I lumped together "Weapon" into one to simplify for a total of 10 moggable slots.  i.e.Fury Warriors who only mogged one of their two maces got counted as having a total weapon mog.

     I looked at a large sample of toons on each of four different servers: my home realm Tanaris (PVE- Ally pop 54,000), a large pvp server Darkspear (PVP - population 171,000), and then two popular Role playing servers Earthen Ring (RP - population 48,000), and Moon Guard (RP - Ally pop: 89,000). Before we get into the important analysis, there are a couple unimportant things that I learned inspecting a couple hundred toons, like:

  • You'd be surprised how many mog just the hands
  • You'd be surprised how many mog just the belt
  • Heroic raiders go all the way or nothing at all
  • PVPers never bother mogging their equipment (except of course for their weapons)
  • The majority of moggers actually have a pretty decent sense of style, or I have none.
     Ok, on to the good stuff. after looking at all these toons, the total mog rate is higher on average  for RP realms (some rates were the same or lower on Earthen Ring). Combining everything, 43% of the population on PVE/PVP didn't mog anything at all, while RP servers had only 23% completely unmogged. Interestingly though, when you take those people out of the sample, both RP and PVE/PVP players both mog exactly 54% of their available slots. and those that mog do so in the following priority system:

1. Weapon 80%
2-4. Head/Shoulder/Chest 70% (RPs order is Shoulder/Chest/Head with head devalued but let's call it a tie) 
5. Hands 62%
6. Legs 58%
7. Waist 53%
8. Boots 52%

     Something missing from the list? Oh right! Well the Legendary cape quest chain absolutely KILLED the cape transmog market; only 6% of people have a cape mog right now. Come to think of it though, cool cape transmogs might be something to stock up on for Warlords of Draenor that a lot of sellers might not have once everyone starts hitting 100 and the 608s become obsolete. #SadDay

     Moggers mog the same no matter where they are, however there may be more of them on RP servers, although not as overwhelmingly so as the grapevine may lead us to believe. If you're looking to enter the transmog market, focus on things near the top of the list and ignore capes and bracers, and be wary of boots and belts. Don't server transfer to take advantage of the phat mog markets on another server though, because that is mostly a myth. Although, we may need to do another test looking at sales data...

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  1. Excellent post. I have an intuitive sense for most of the xmog market almost piece by piece (working it since implementation), but I've always wondered about all sorts of data along the lines of what you put together.

    The percentages for hands and legs are close enough to be a statistical tie if I had to guess, but I'm surprised that you found legs mogged so much less than the other 3 "central" pieces. Legs are probably the least likely of those 4 to be mogged by players that mog a single piece or just a few, but it's hard to imagine a 12% difference just from that. I wonder what the numbers would look like if you could use Blizz's Armory data directly.

    1. First off, thank you! It's interesting to me that it's not biggest armor piece that is most popular but essentially top down from the head to the feet in order of popularity. I was surprised at some of the numbers but not at the size of the differences. 12% is pretty reasonable. It just blew my mind that wrists were only mogged at 15% and capes where they were. That just seems unreasonably low considering the numbers blizzard has given us on the number of people who have completed the Legendary quest chain. It makes me wonder what they consider active players.

    2. Great post! I think the most reason why legs were lower than the others is because for clothies most chest pieces cover the legs to the point where you can't see them so if nobody can see you legs xmog there isn't a real reason to buy/farm the matching set legs.

    3. Doh, apparently I hadn't sobered up as much as I thought when I wrote the previous comment. Anonymous, you are correct; of COURSE clothies wearing robes is the primary reason legs are mogged significantly less than those other four.

      For the 15% bracers figure, I think it's a product of the same basic issue, namely that the vast majority of hand pieces fully cover even the largest bracers. Hell, even some chest piece designs can cover up bracers even if the hands do not. On a typical PVE or PVP server, I'm surprised even that much of the population mogs them. A handful of players do in fact take advantage of the unique looks available using bracers that can be seen, and the rest of the group could be completionist types and severe OCD cases (usually me, but not about the bracers :P).

  2. Try doing this experiment on an RP server that isn't dead like WrA and MG and you will have very different results.

    1. Suggestions? Moon Guard is the #1 most populated and WrA is #4. I'm assuming you mean the RP is dead? When I personally play on those servers I've found that the people on MG seen to be a lot more into it. Maybe that's why their numbers were so much higher. I'm intrigued. Through a couple servers my way that I should look at and I'll continue the test. Maybe even roll a toon, take over the market for a couple months, and be able to say definitively where you can sell the most volume per capita. :)

  3. I'd guess that one reason legs and feet get mugged less is because of robes: If you're wearing a dress, why pay the extra gold to mog pants and shoes no one will ever see?

    I wonder, though, if there would be a difference in what people mog INTO between RP and non-RP servers. My gut feeling is that tier transmog would be more popular on non-RP servers, while RPers who want to look like a common soldier or scholar or whatever would be more likely to be in the market for the kind of mog pieces that can be bought, as opposed to farming old instances.

  4. Since your sample wouldn't take into account all of the spare mog gear purchased for RP outfits, I don't think it's really an accurate comparison for sales. It's an interesting look at things, but missing one of the factors driving RP realm mog sales.

    1. You're right that this isn't an accurate look at the amount of transmog purchased on the auction house. I'd say that this is however fairly accurate view of the true demand, the amount of people actually using transmog at any given time. Since spare transmog purchased would, en masse, mimic the averages above we can actually ignore those. The other (false) demand that could skew sales data is all the stuff bought by resellers. If A buys Jade Gauntlets for 40g and sells em for 20% market price to B, who sells em for 50% market price to C, who sells em for get the idea, everyone is making money, but no one is actually using the transmog gear; they're all just flippers waiting on poor old Z to pay 200% market price and eventually wear them. All the intermediate sales data comes into our TSM_Accounting though and has to be sorted out.

    2. I'll start this comment by saying that I appreciate your sharing these data and the work you did to collect the information.

      I agree that the stats you gathered are a reasonable indicator for a server's overall demand for transmog of all types, which is important for gauging whether to enter the market at all. However, I'm not sure these data are sufficient for gauging demand for the xmog gear we can actually sell. You would have to parse out which mogged players and pieces use BoE's and compare that to the overall picture for a better indicator.

      The only way to obtain data that accurately reflects the concepts we're discussing is to survey an entire server population's mogging habits over the course of time, ideally 3+ months. This would obviously be difficult without access to Blizzard's private data, but it could be done more easily than one might think. Such a project would require some type of automation to gather the Armory data, which might be manageable for someone with the requisite knowledge of coding and web design. Other than that, it's just a matter of determining what questions to ask and how to answer them using the available data. Distinguishing the BoE xmog pieces from the rest would be the real trick. I would love to work on something like this with someone who could put together a solution for grabbing the Armory data ;)

    3. If this post has spawned a project of that magnitude, then it's a success. /ThrowDownMic

      I did all of my work manually in Excel, but would love to see what you could come up with. Maybe start with Sapu or Eronus if you need a start with this thing?

    4. Unfortunately, I have the will but not the skill, so to speak. I know research methods and could refresh myself on more advanced statistical analysis, but I wouldn't even know where to begin with creating a tool capable of gathering the requisite Armory data. Someone with the necessary programming skills would have to collaborate on the project from its inception. Any idea how I might go about finding someone just to consult about the feasibility and basic requirements for this hypothetical Armory crawler tool?

      Add my Battletag if you don't mind, and we can discuss in-game (#incog1197). Please include a quick note with the invitation so I know who I'm adding :)

  5. Hanfort- Moon Guard-US Alliance. I am a major transmog merch and here is my summary from November 2013 to 2/21/14.

    1. Thanks for sharing this! Much appreciated!


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