Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Critical Break: Time is Money

Critical Break is our crafting and economics column written by Qtipus. Q is an experienced crafter and also well versed in using the Auction House to turn a decent profit. Enough so that he was able to fund his own relic, Gungnir. Every Tuesday you will find Q's rants, raves and good crafting practices here. This week, Q waxes lyrical on time and effort versus stalking the AH for profit.

One of the most rhetorical questions that's asked in regards to crafting is:

"Am I better off farming up materials for synths or just buying off the AH?"

With so many synths out there, that question is very subjective. One thing that most fail to understand is while farming up materials for a particular synth may not take any money out of your wallet initially, it doesn't directly increase the amount of money you make per hour unless you're farming things with a nice drop rate.

With that said, here are some guidelines to follow in the Farming vs. AH Buying debate:

  • Check profit on end result. This is a no-brainer. If end result sells for a loss from buying off AH, as most NQ cursed items do for example, farming items up as best you can is generally the way to go if you're intent on making money off said item.

  • Keep a stock of the highly farmable synth ingredients. A lot of lower level gear will use various skins, hides, and leathers. All of these things generally have some critter somewhere with a 1/2 drop rate from just subbing THF. Odds are, if you're trying to make money off these items, you're competing against people who are just buying stacks of these things off the AH. Lowering your cost through farming these ends up giving you the most bang for your buck. Sure you can buy these things off the AH and save some time, but in that hour you spent crafting say...Beetle Armor+1 at a 1k profit margin, you could have farmed the lizard skins up and doubled it.

    The perfect time to do this is when you're already stocked up with inventory that you're waiting on to sell.

  • Level your fishing. This is something that's become a bit of a new revelation to me. There are a number of items across many crafts that use something coming from various fish in this game. RR Pins have pearls/black pearls. Shihei has black ink. God knows how many items in Smithing and Alchemy use Mercury. I initially overlooked this aspect in favor of relying on the AH for the fish to appear. While there's certainly more time involved in fishing up what you need, there are other things you can fish up while targeting specific things that will net you some money as well and, more often times than not, will be at a higher gil/hour clip than just simply buying off AH and crafting. Which brings me to the last point...

  • Pay attention to the other things that are around the area you're farming in. A long while ago before I took on the crafting market, I farmed tons of Hakutaku eyeballs for gil. While in the various spots farming, I made a specific point of killing the fluff monsters around if time permitted or if there actually were any. Farming behind the Sahagin Door in SSG meant I could farm up a lot of scrolls that I could AH for a decent chunk or NPC for instant gil along with various bat parts and the occasional dragon blood.

    While Hakutaku parts aren't exactly something you can buy off the AH, it's a rather good example of what I'm trying to illustrate. In the Beetle Armor example listed before, farming up lizard skins in Crawler's Nest not only will eliminate most of your cost, but it will mean you're going to have a few minutes down time to go kill off some Exorays, Bees or Crawlers...all of which have synth items of some sort you can NPC or AH.

So yes, time is money. It's not always the most apparent when choosing your particular market niche, but choosing between the rapid, quick buck and the more deliberate bang for the buck is essential to maximizing your profit.

Deal of the day:

Demon Arrowheads.

For you Bonecrafters out there, this is a T2-able synth. Even NQ'ing everything at current AH prices means a profit of approx 10-15k/stack you sell. Jump on the fast track by using key item Filing and some shagren files, but be warned...you cut yourself the number of chances to HQ. Woodworkers will eat these arrowheads up. This is definitely a synth to camp the AH for horns over as drop rates are rather horrendous. Pass on it if a douche bag drops the 99 stacks to 100k or less unless you're confident in your ability to HQ the piss out of them.


Evilpaul said...

Fishing is pretty much the only way to make money off sushi. You make profit roughly equal to what you would selling the fish, but get the additional profit of tier 1 and 2 HQs which are quite a bit more profitable.

Qtipus said...

I forget the math, but Kaelis has a spreadsheet he uses to calculate how much gil/minute or gil/hour a person makes on a particular synth. We did Squid and Sole Sushi the other day and it came out to something like -400gil/hour (don't quote me, I'd have to double check)on Sole and -100/hour or something on Squid just buying things from NPC and the AH and not factoring in HQs.

With consumable crafts though, most of the time it's better to try to blend the material acquisition together. Mix in some farming along with AH buying. The main result that matters is how much money you made against how much you spent.