Ideally you want to keep your guild store fully stocked as much as humanly possible. You want to have a steady flow of inventory coming in and going out, which means building a back stock so that you’re never scrounging for items to list. As stated previously, there are only two real ways to go about this: farming or buying.
It’s not my cup of tea, but I can give a few tips and pointers for those just starting out in the farming venue. If you’ll be harvesting nodes, you’d be doing yourself a favor by investing champion points to unlock the passives: Plentiful Harvest and Master Gatherer. These will increase your harvest speed and amount.
There are dozens of ways and places to farm for inventory. Below are just a few of the more common areas of interest.
- Fishing: Perhaps the most relaxing (read boring) form of farming. Pop a squat at a hole and reel ’em in. You can sell the unrefined fish or roll the die and fillet for perfect roe. Read a full guide here.
- Orsinium/Hew’s Bane: aka V16 mat heaven – requires 10 points invested in first passive line of woodworking/clothing/blacksmithing tree. There are loops that are more effective than others, but you’ll have to do some trial-and-error to figure them out.
- Hollow City: The easiest place to farm alchemy reagents. Just run the outside loop of the city until your eyes bleed. Mount up or boost with rapids to keep ahead of other farmers.
- Cat Farming: North of Riften near the Outlaw’s Refuge is a very simple loop of cats to farm endlessly for scraps. You can sell either the unrefined stacks or refine for the chance a upgrade mats.
Again, there are a ton more options from low level mats to lich pieces. Just make sure you’re farming items that are in demand and at a location where they respawn quickly enough to be worth your time running.
Now let’s get on to the more fun stuff, my personal bread and butter, the art of flipping. It’s a very simple, age old principle: buy low, sell high. Theoretically, you should be able to just keep a price sheet handy and scour every trader in Tamriel for good deals. But in practice there’s a bit more to it than that.
There are three avenues through which to purchase inventory: guild stores, area chat, and social media. So we’ll break down our buying strategies based on the where we’re buying from.
Probably about 90% of my inventory comes directly from traders – mostly because I don’t have any guilt pulling a poorly priced item off of the market. On the other hand, cutting someone a bad deal face to face leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Here are some easy trader hopping strategies to up your buying power.
- Always sort all items by “Time Left” – A really simple sorting mechanic that’s often overlooked and underused – hit your right stick, then A to see the most recently posted items. The idea is that any truly good deals would be bought off the market with haste. As a general rule, I only look at items that were posted within the last 24 hours. This allows you to speed through a trader instead of sifting through every last item.
- Set a loop and stick to it – I run a simple circuit: DC – AD – EP – Coldharbor – Craglorn – Orsinium – Hew’s Bane – Cyrodiil. Start in the main city, then outlaw’s refuge, then wilderness stalls for each area. All you have to do is remember where you left off. This ensures you’re giving each area time to “restock” so to speak.
- Keep in mind margins and taxes – Sometimes a deal isn’t always a deal. Sure Kutas sell easily at 12k. Does that mean I want to pick one up at 10k? In my opinion, no. Why? Because I always aim for at least 30% profit margins. If I pick up that Kuta at 10k then sell it at 12k, I’ll end up paying 840g in taxes, leaving my returns at only 1160g. That’s less than 10% profit margins. If I were to continue that trend, it would take me investing 1 mil gold to turn a mere 100k of profit. It’s not cost effective. Just because an item is priced favorably for use does not mean it is so for resale.
- Manic Mondays: This one requires a little more observation, but my absolute favorite time to shop is Monday mornings right after traders pop. I keep a list of guilds that had a trader the previous week (which I may start posting). Any guilds that pop up that aren’t on that list, I pick through thoroughly. Why? Because they’ve had at least a week with no eyes (or very few) on their inventory. They are often the most fruitful in terms of discounts.
Buying “on the street”
Both area chat and Facebook are largely considered to be the “street market” in terms of buying and selling. The prime differences between the street market and the trader market are A) lower item evaluations, generally 10-15% below trade value and B) the ability to haggle. Here are a few tips for buying on the street:
- Research your prices before offering and stick to them – Street sellers can and will try to take advantage of those ignorant about market values. I see this most commonly in area chats, where the seller will try to strong arm the buyer into higher prices with misleading statements about value. Know your top dollar and don’t let yourself be bullied off it.
- Haggle with confidence – The intelligent seller doesn’t lead off with their bottom dollar. Don’t be afraid to engage in a little back and forth to secure a more favorable deal.
- Decide who pays COD – As mentioned before, if you’re using the game’s COD system (cash on delivery) the seller will be charged an up front fee of 5% on the requested gold. Make sure it’s clear beforehand whether the seller expects you to cover this fee or intends to eat it themselves. Often times you can at least convince the seller to split the fee between parties.
- Be vigilant of scams – Always check the items attached to your mail before accepting a COD. This will essentially eliminate the usual culprits – citrine instead of tempering alloys, wrong motif pages, etc.
What to Look For
With the vast and varying amount of items on the market, it may seem overwhelming on where exactly to start throwing around your buying power. For the seasoned trader, anything and everything with earning potential is fair game. But if you’re just starting out, here are a few markets worth looking into:
- Upgrade materials and aspect runes – Probably the most obvious choice to a new comer. These items are in constant high demand, move quickly, and are historically the least volatile investment on the market. That being said, you are less likely to pull high margins on these kinds of items. If you’re comfortable with low margins and quick returns, then consider seeking out those 10k Kutas I mentioned earlier.
- Refined Mats – This market can be a little tricky but extremely profitable, especially if you know which mats can be broken down and parceled out at high price points. V16 mats are the obvious go to, but there are even more lucrative cloths and ores out there. The key is in the stack size. Buy cheap stacks of 200. Sell expensive stacks of 10-50.
- Raw Mats – If you’re down for the gamble, this is one of my favorites. As a general rule, you can usually expect to pull 1 gold and 2 purple tempers out of a stack of raw materials. Add that value to the value of approx. 150 refined pieces of said material. If the stack you’re looking at is cheaper than that total combined value – go for it! I particularly keep an eye out for stacks of raw Jute and Cotton, knowing I will pull at least 6k off of the refined materials alone.