World of Warcraft gold and Auction House blog

Ultimate Undercutting Guide

Ultimate Undercutting Guide

Undercutting on the World of Warcraft Auction House – Your Ultimate Guide

When you undercut you get less money for a quicker financial return.

In this guide you’ll discover:

  • Who is undercutting and for how much and why
  • Types of undercuts
  • How to deal with an undercutter

 

The semi-anonymous nature of the Auction House in WoW takes the personal nature out of buying and selling.  Some players refuse to use trade chat for this reason.

As we’ll see, other players put their personality back into the AH by using undercutting to attempt to control a market or put their personal stamp on selling prices.

Undercutter can be a derogatory term, and is almost always used to describe a World of Warcraft player who has posted on the WoW Auction House for less than your price.  However, undercutting on the AH is something all goldmakers must do to get rich.

Fashion Shopping Girls Illustration 300x186 Ultimate Undercutting Guide

 

How much do players undercut for?

I asked my 2000* twitter followers  “by how much do you undercut?” and had a wonderful breadth of replies.  Here are some of those answers:

* Ok it’s only 1990 followers, but you could help make it 2,000 by following me today.

Undercut by 1c

Majority of replies. Usually because players want the maximum amount of gold in the shortest time as possible. A common response was “why should I lose more by undercutting more?”

 

between 1 to 50g depending on what item and how big/popular the market is..

Mashi

 

Every copper you undercut by more is a copper less profit

Yngvede the Insane

 

Undercut by 10%

The player confessing the 10% undercut said he was a noob, but there is actually a facility in Auctionator addon to specify a % undercut or starting price discount.

 

Deep Undercut

Players thought that after a few weeks of driving the prices down and the competitors will give up.  Sometimes deep undercuts are made by frustrated sellers.

 

I lose a lot of money if I list items and they don’t sell.

Tenorikum

 

Never Undercut

Some items are ones that players refuse to undercut.

 

I always post neatherweave bags at 25g each. Regardless of everyone elses price. I know they always will sell eventually.

JimmyOlsensBlues

 

Overcut

Overcuts were suggested by some followers. Trimble suggested +3%.

 

I usually go 20% above The Undermine Journal’s  global.

Josh

 

Responsive under and overcuts.

I’ve 4 chars that I use to f-ck with automated programs each one posts the same items and each posts higher then the last.

Trimble

That’s sneaky, Trimble!

nomoreah 300x222 Ultimate Undercutting Guide

Image: Spankiepants. Click to enlarge.

Another player doesn’t undercut, and lists  his auctions at the same price as competitors but puts his bid price much lower than theirs. This has the effect of showing his item first when a player without any warcraft auction house addons searches for items by low bid price.  This can backfire if the player has an addon to show the lowest buyout price instead.  However,

 

Undercutting is like sex with your girfriend.  You do it all the time.  You hate it if anyone else does it.  If someone else does it more than once, then it’s war.  But if your friend does it, woah someone’s gonna get seriously hurt.

The Gold Queen

 

How to Undercut on the World of Warcraft Auction House

1. Camp the AH

On the rare occasion that you have spare time, it is possible to engage in AH “war”. Remember, time is money friend.

  • Post your item 1c below the competition
  • Continue with other chores, dailies, or other Auction House buying or selling.
  • Check if you were undercut using Auctionator. Click the More tab, then check for undercuts.
  • Repost your auctions.
  • It’s war!  Repeat until you die from stress.

Pros: Good for high volume items during peak hours if you need to get your armor, weapons, or other items sold fast.

Cons: You can slowly but surely crash the price. Could waste your time.  Cost of posting auctions. All that running back and forth to the mailbox. Undercutting by 1c is the most yawn-inducing unimaginative method of AH undercutting.  The only thing more unimaginative is letting your addon (Auctioneer) choose your price.

Undercutting can get a bit silly when people undercut you by 1c! I refuse to buy those auctions on principle!;)
Nik W, twitter follower

 

2.  Pounce when their back is turned

This method needs the personal touch.  Be ready to step in and take your competitor’s auction sales when his back is turned.

  • Check if you were undercut using Auctionator.
  • Click the More tab, then check for undercuts.
  • Find out who undercut you.
  • Add them to your friends list.
  • Watch until they leave the city.
  • Repost your auctions.

Pros: Good for when you have lots of time to wait around.

Cons: Could end up waiting forever as you are constantly undercut.

 

3. Deep Undercutting

Aggressively dropping prices, either to your minimal selling price, where you barely make a profit, or to a 1/2 or less than 50% of your competitor’s AH listing.  Note: this isn’t price gouging, which means selling an item excessively high due to little or no competition.   An example of deep undercutting would be driving gem prices down just above the price of ore.

  • Click the More tab, then check for undercuts.
  • Find out who undercut you.
  • Add them to your friends list.
  • Watch until they leave the city.
  • Repost your auctions.

Pros: Destroys competitor’s ability to make gold. Makes buyers think they have a bargain. Competitors may retire from market.

Cons: Destroys the market, prices may never recover. Annoys competitors. Competitors retire from the AH for a good reason!

Deep undercutting is often driven by fear or idleness.  Fear of not selling, and a lack of determination to post and repost at a True Value. True Value is one of the methods I teach in my new gold guide scheduled for release later this year. True Value is not the lowest price of your competitor’s demands!

 

cowlevel Ultimate Undercutting Guide

Secret Cow Level

4. Overcutting

Purposefully refusing to undercut.  You post your sales on the Auction House for more than your competitors. Works on the principle that lower priced items will sell first, then yours. Some overcutters do it purely from pride, refusing to take a loss on an item they previously bought for more.

 

I often over cut commodity items that I know have a high turnover. E.g. Truegold

Marcus Ty

 

  • Be clear that the market price of the item is rising.
  • Check WoWuction.   From the Global tab choose either EU Item Trends or US Item Trends.
  • Check The Undermine Journal. Use the Item/Seller Search option once you’ve chosen your Warcraft server realm. Read the Price and Availability History graph.
  • Triple check with Market Watcher if you use it.
  • Look for a price break in the list of sellers, eg 10 at 8g, 4 at 20g.  You would post at 19g 99s.
  • Add 10% on to the market value and post for that price.
  • Experiment with pricing according to successes.
  • You can undercut with singles, or in stack sizes different to your competitor.
  • Cross your fingers / claws / paws / tentacles and hope.

 

I overcut volitile air quite often and crafted PvP gear. Most people lvling just stick it up for a fraction of the cost

Soco, Twitter follower

 

Pros: Could make more gold than your competitor. Good for times of scarcity. Could create your very own monopoly. You create perceived scarcity. Price Fixing isn’t illegal in World of Warcraft.

Cons: Your auction won’t be the first to sell. You can’t be 100% sure the price will continue to rise. You have to keep track of every item.

 

 When you have something for sale and it is literally flying off the shelves, there’s no reason to undercut.
Euripides, WoW Insider

 

A smart overcutter can encourage his competitor to buyout the cheaper auctions and repost them at a higher price in hopes of a profit (this is called flipping). You could worry the overcut competitor into thinking he has priced too low, and he may raise his prices.  This makes the sellers market stronger for both of you.

 

5. Walling

Walling is an emotion-based market control method of undercutting.  You can also use walling to feed false data to your competitors, or simply annoy them out of the market.

  • Requires that you own 25% or more of the available stock
  • Follow the Deep Undercutting guide to find a price that is profitable to you but unattractive to competitors.
  • For example, 10% higher than cost price.
  • Post a large number of items at a deeply undercut value.
  • Your competitors are unable to undercut you without losing a significant amount of profit.
  • Hopefully this drives your competing players out the Auction House.

Pros: Can empty “your” market of competitors, either temporarily or permanently.

Cons: Cost of AH posting. Unless you also control the supply of that item, you could get mindlessly undercut anyway.

lordaeron Ultimate Undercutting Guide

Checking Mail in Lordaeron

 

6. Stealth

Stealth undercutting is one of my favourite undercut methods.  It works best for high demand items at high demand times.   The aim is to get yours bought without alerting competitors that you have a high level of stock and without alarming them that they are missing out on a lot of sales and gold.

  • Post each item one at a time
  • Post for 1c under the lowest competitor
  • Keep the rest of the items in your bags
  • The moment one of your items sells, you replenish that item in the AH

Pros: Makes an enormous amount of gold if done right, without getting any negative attention from other sellers.

Cons: You need to have a lot of time.  Which can eat into your opportunity cost.  You need to be ready nearby to repost.

 

7. Smart

A hybrid method of under and overcutting based on an items true value. My prefered method.

  • Lean the True Value of an item
  • Adjust for Day
  • for time
  • for expected demand, eg raid start and finish times
  • for expected supply, eg seasonal items at the end of a seasonal festival
  • for current amount on the Auction House and how many are under or over the True Value

Pros: Sell items at their maximum price, sell as much as possible.

Cons: All that research and time?  Just to make some gold?

 

How to Deal with Problem Undercutters

 

The Mindless Undercutting player

This guy is so predictable it’s untrue.  As un-surprising as a Saturday night 5 minute fumble, he heads to the Auction House straight after raiding and just blows his load as cheap and as fast as possible.

Look for: Epic Gems 2-5% lower than all the others.

How to deal with him:  He’s a buyer’s dream because he doesn’t give a crap if he’s making a good profit, as long as he makes some gold.  Buy all his auctions then offer to buy everything else he has, a few silver cheaper than the Auction House price,  “just send them cash on delivery”.  When or if he mails you, you have got yourself an unreliable pet farmer.  Take your choice of his offerings, preferably over 75% if you want next week’s off-load of armor weapons and trade items. Then send him a gushing letter of thanks, and ignore him until next week.

 

bandit Ultimate Undercutting GuideThe AH Camper

This is a WoW player determined to empty his gold into the AH, spending the most on Auction House fees.  As usual, the person who wants to spend the most gold gets what he wants, so if he’s determined to undercut you by 1c  and relisting  within seconds of you posting your sale on the AH, then you’ve got a camper.

Look for: Easy to spot, he’s 1c underneath you. Within seconds.

How to deal with him: He’s completely determined to “control” the market.  I say control in quotes because whilst he thinks he’s in control, he isn’t really.  So give in.  You have two strategies, both very similar.  Wait until his auctions sell, and then post.  Or overcut him and have your item ready to sell the moment that his has sold.  If he has a very big supply and is very determined, then diversify.  Go into a different market for a short while unil he is fed up of feeding his gold coins into the one-armed-bandit.

 Warning!  If your items are undercut faster than Trade Skill Master can match, then you have yourself a bot.  Raise a ticket to the GMs to get rid of him.

 

Undercutting War between Competitors

Sometimes two or more competitors can erupt in a fury of fast undercutting, cancelling and reposting in an undercutting war.

Look for: Two items undercutting each other by 1c, only to magically disappear and be relisted 1c under the other player’s AH post.

How to deal with him:  Don’t get involved.  Wait it out.  Or post at the “market break”.  Market break is 1c under the next highest AH post apart from those two competitors squabbling like children.  Naturally, if either of these over emotional people post too low, buy them out like with any low priced.  As long as you know they don’t have another 100 in their bags.

 

I’m Alyzande, I’m the writer for The Gold Queen, and I’m an undercutter.  I often undercut 4-5,000 items on the WoW auction house each time I log on.  You hatin’?  Don’t, because undercutting’s perfectly natural.

 

Worst Undercutting Mistakes

  1. Stock Dumping / Accidental or Purposeful Walling
  2. Excessively Deep Undercutting
  3. Wrong Stack Sizes (not covered by this guide)

Posting a large quantity (see “Walling“) or deep undercutting does not immediately drive down prices, and therefore your profit.

But both methods do stop prices from rising.  

Big mistake.

The true value of an item does not change when you stock-dump, or deep undercut, but public perception can devalue the item if you don’t act!

Correcting Undercutting Mistakes

  1. Found an occasional deep undercutter? Buy them out.
  2. Regular deep undercutter or waller?  Wait them out. It won’t take long before they get fed up of the cost of re-listing prices.  Without an AH competitor to battle against, they’re soon get bored and greedy and post at the normal price.
  3. Offer to buy bulk from the seller

Want more undercutting tips? Learn about Stack Sizes, about True Values, and get the blog & guides delivered to your email. Stick your name here.

 

twitpi 16646 57x57 Ultimate Undercutting Guide
About the Author The Gold Queen is written by Alyzande. With many level 85s, 6 years expertise in making gold, and max level professions. No longer gold capped, she spent 1,100,000g in one weekend for her dream Swift Spectral Tiger and other end game epic gear. The Gold Queen blog teaches you how to make gold playing World of Warcraft using legit ethical trading, auction house, crafting, reselling, and farming gold making.

4 Comments

  1. Dear Gold Queen,

    I recently discovered your blog, having followed the also recently discovered undermine journal website.

    I have made more gold from the AH in the last week than I used to do daily questing with 4 85’s.

    Your website has been very useful. But recently I find my self at risk of losing any chance of profit due to an Mega AH seller drastically deep undercutting me at every turn. It’s somehow become personal for him either that or he finds me a severe threat and can’t handle the competition.

    I don’t see how my mere 300 auctions to his nearly 3k auctions could ever be a serious threat to him; yet he is make an alarming and serious effort to shut me out of every market. If I find a niche in herbs for example, he’s right behind me deeply undercutting. With MoP right around the corner I’m trying to build a nest egg so I won’t be completely bankrupted by the flurry of price gouging to come.

    I can’t afford to be so shut out of the market by a player I’ve never even seen around org. I’ve tried to follow the guide, but with every repost of my auctions within hours he’s deeply undercut the item’s market value yet another 50% or more. Items worth 1k have dropped in value to 50g.

    Please, Please help I could use your expert advice on how to deal with this guy.

    Thank you,
    Pelei

    • I normally deal with this if I have the gold by buying out the others auctions and reposting them at my usual price , earlier I noticed I was undercutted on some chocolate cookies on my mage…I hate this, its one of my huge markets on my mage, that and bags. I didnt have the gold to buy his out, however, I did undercut him with 5 more stacks, I play the same game they do Usually works for me.

  2. I am not sure how I undercut. I use Auctioneer’s default settings and I always go “Undercut competitors” even If I put same item up later that I already have and I been undercutted, I leave my usual item there and just make sure I tell auctioneer to undercut again, I usually end up making a sell.

  3. I’m always of the mind that someone out there has more time to camp than I do. The most challenging UC is the one who camps and replenishes as soon as his auctions sell. Using TSM one can cancel/repost 200 auctions in a matter of seconds.

    Anecdote regarding the very competitive gem market: I began to tire of camping, cancel/reposting every few minutes. Profits were down, sales were down, the market was saturated with other sellers, many of whom practice tactics you list above.

    In high volume hours it was not uncommon to have multiple UCs in a matter of minutes, with 3-4 players doing the cancel/repost dance every 90 seconds or so. Then along comes player x who would post a wall of gems at a pre-set price. For example, Reckless Ember Topaz selling for 94g 49s 49c, UC to 94g 49s 48c, to 94g 49s 47c and then player x lists 30 Reckless Ember Topaz at 45g each.

    As I said, my patience had worn out and I was tired of camping. Using the TUJ heat maps I found one of my competitors who was literally posting all hours of the day. His graph was all blue–one or two white squares but the rest shades of blue. I approached him to see if he was a bot. He answered in /wsp chat and we began a dialogue. Turns out he was as fed up with me as I was of him.

    The first step was to try and act in concert to alleviate the need to camp so much and to combat other campers. We over cut each other in some cases and even bought each other’s gems to reset the market on other occasions. Then we began to share intel. Come to find out we each had very good intel on who the alts were for most of our competitors.

    As you know, if one can track the on/off activity of the alts one can better determine when to post. This intel proved vital in our ability to effectively counter the other players in the gem market. Since we each use multiple alts to post we can do things like UC our own auctions and buy other player’s auctions without giving out critical intel ourselves.

    For example, knowing that player x above (45g Reckless Ember) had a certain toon that did all his prospecting, when either of us saw that toon log on we would simply buy out all the ore before he could get his purchases complete. WTH, we need to prospect too–but by controlling the supply and blocking his toon’s ability to buy cheap ore we helped limit competition.

    Our partnership has continued with great results for both of us.

    I guess the moral of the story (for me) is there will always be someone who can out camp you so have some other strategies in place. Don’t be afraid to forge alliances.

    A category you may have overlooked in your article is the multi-box UC. I know of at least two players with multiple accounts who leave the AH toon in one window to cancel/repost while his other toon in another window is raiding, questing, farming, prospecting, you name it. This set of circumstances is by far the most annoying I have encountered.

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