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A Market Manipulation Discussion


Andreah
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Market manipulation puts the "E" in Ebil Marketeering. 

 

This is not a how-to guide, but I am curious about what people have seen, experienced, or perpetrated; either here on HC or back on Live.

 

I also want to draw the distinction between manipulation within the game rules, and any abuses or exploits which violate the code of conduct specifically or in spirit. If you believe someone is breaking the code of conduct report it through proper channels, please don't bring it up here.

 

It might even be hard to define "manipulation". I'd leave ordinary buy/relist-higher flipping/speculation out; because it's not really trying to create a new buy/sell price spread, but rather make money through it, and there is arguably a service being performed this way -- economization of sellers and buyers' market slots, rationalizing listed volume, and stabilizing prices.

 

To me, manipulation is not just finding a great niche to make money in; it has the deliberate intent to create one. It doesn't have to be malicious; this is after all, just a game. 

 

So, with those out of the way, what kinds of Wentworth's/ Black Market manipulations have you seen/experienced/etc.? My awkward wording is so that I'm not asking people to confess, only generally describe and discuss. 🙂 

 

  • Have you ever seen/etc a large-scale manipulation?
  • Have you ever seen/etc an attempt to hoard supply of an item to drive prices up?
  • Have you ever seen/etc an attempt to crash a niche in advance of buying on a larger scale?
  • Have you ever seen/etc more than one person conspire to corner a market niche?
  • Have you ever seen/etc resetting of the price history on an item to look more favorable?
  • Have you ever seen/etc Market-PvP, where one player is contending over a market niche with another?
  • Have you ever seen opportunities to manipulate the market? (As a kind and good soul, of course you did not.)

 

What limits on these naturally occur? Do you feel those to attempt to manipulate markets make money through it, or lose their shirts? I think the classic real-world case of this is "Silver Thursday"; March 27, 1980; which I encourage everyone to look up; there's a short and easy to read Wikipedia article about it.

 

There's others, I'm sure. If you have an interesting experience in-game, please explain.

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Posted (edited)

Back on live I was the first one to screw up the luck charm market on virtue. Low level salvage was always in a vulnerable place but I'm not sure how many people were engaging with the market to the degree they do on HC. Certainly a greater portion of the player population was market illiterate, if that's not an unkind thing to say, and the devs were apathetic to the in game economy. It wasn't a genius move on my part. More an inevitability because of the state of things. It honestly shouldn't have been something the game allowed to happen, and it would have been easy to fix on Paragon Studios' side of things. As evidenced by the fact it's simply not possible on HC, because of decisions HC has made.

I'm a bit afraid people are going to know what I'm talking about and, um, hold a grudge. To which I say: I'm very sorry. I was a teenager and a bit of a dick.

Edited by Katharos
clarity
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26 minutes ago, Katharos said:
29 minutes ago, Captain Powerhouse said:
On 3/16/2021 at 4:10 PM, Katharos said:

why isn't sentinel bioarmour's athletic regulation getting a look?

Oversight, it will be addressed in the next build.

Oh no. Oh god. What have I done? 

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1 hour ago, Katharos said:

to screw up the luck charm market on virtue

I think I did that there too, but only for a few hours -- I think a lot of players tried it, it was almost a rite of passage for new marketeers. I remember losing money on the effort though. It would take deep pockets, a lot of marketing slots, and constant attention from me to keep ahead of it, and I just couldn't keep it up.

 

I've tried short term experiments on HC to corner markets, and it's harder; possibly due to the greater overall market/game literacy here and market bucketing and seeding. 

 

36 minutes ago, Glacier Peak said:

The small to medium inspiration market. 

I've not looked far into the inspiration market. They're hard to store in quantity. It might be possible to do on the more expensive higher-end ones, and even though I buy a few of those from time to time, I haven't seen anything suspicious in those markets. I so see the prices of EoE's ripple before and after scheduled Hami raids now and then. But manipulation there might be hard, since most Hami raids can get more than enough on the spot and not need to go buying them off the /ah.

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40 minutes ago, Glacier Peak said:

The small to medium inspiration market. 

 

Edit: With context, this is just buying inspiration from a vendor and selling for higher on the market 🤑

Lol. Is that a thing?  Too funny.  

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Does buying up every piece of a certain something, no matter the cost, and then relisting it at 1 Inf count as "Manipulation?"

If so, then I was a manipulator last evening for something that originally had about 1700 listed, and less than 700 bids.  Most expensive one was bought at around 17,000,000 while the cheapest ones I sold were at 11.  All bids are now filled.  Only cost me about 300,000,000 to do it, too.  Although the time investment of three or four hours was less than ideal.
I'll be taking a stab at repeating this for the other three of its kind later on.

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So, currently, I see "something" that I consider manipulation. Uncommon Salvage. 

We know the devs have seeded the salvage, and that essentially, one piece of uncommon salvage is the same as any other, as far as listing them for sale on the AH or bidding on them. 

Yet, there IS someone who has painstakingly placed bids for the unseeded salvage at some low price and relisting it. Generally, I can buy uncommon salvage for 1-2k with no waiting. The price in the past couple of days crept up to a 10k "buy it now" price. Whomever it is, is buying the uncommons my farmer sells for 1.5 to 2k, and relisting them for a much higher price. 

Now, we can assert this is just someone that believes uncommon salvage, being seeded at 100k should cost 100k to buy, and they aim to make it so. At 10k, it's not enough for me to use my brainstorms to make uncommons, so I let it pass. If that's the way someone gets their kicks, have at it. But, in my mind, this is untenable in the long run, a short term hiccup. But to me, it's manipulating the price. If I wanted, I could do this same thing with just about anything in game, but I couldn't keep doing it. And I might not make any profit after all is said and done. 

To me, this kind of thing seems ...immoral. It gets whomever is doing it a lot of buys and a lot of sales, with some tiny profit per sale. But you got to have a LOT of sales to make meaningful influence at 4-7k profit per salvage. Even at 100K sales, that's not worth my time. I can do better. 

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4 hours ago, Ukase said:

So, currently, I see "something" that I consider manipulation. Uncommon Salvage. 
 

 

Hmm, I haven't seen this at all.  I'm buying all I need at 1,000 and selling all I need at 1,000 and I'm not waiting more than a few minutes?

Who run Bartertown?

 

See this link for my giveaway!  FREEMoney!

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There was a concerted effort to drive up yellow salvage by persons unknown last year that lasted a couple of weeks. I'm not sure if they gave up or if our efforts buying them and relisting at one were successful. If it's for a limited time this is happening I'd guess it's either new to HC players using a live server method to try and get startup cash or someone trying to get AH badges.

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In my opinion, there are two major factors preventing long-term successful market manipulation in HC:

 

1.  You can't fake demand.  At the end of the day, if you want to buy 10,000 LotG 7.5%, you either have to use them, sell them, give them away, or delete them.  I see plenty of people try to drive a market up by bidding out existing supply, but then they neglect to leave protective bids.  And if those bids are too high, I'm going to hit them.  My extremely unscientific observations say that there are about 100-200 new lvl 50s being equipped each day.  For me, that expresses the limit of how many of something I should expect to sell.

 

2.  You can't stop supply.  Especially with converters.

 

Now, if you don't care about making a profit and you just want to cause chaos, well, there's nothing we can do about it except take the opposite side until you get bored or run out of inf.

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Who run Bartertown?

 

See this link for my giveaway!  FREEMoney!

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The prices for luck charms on old live did wonders for Mission Architect.  On HC, I am discovering that the optimal ratio of enhancement holders to salvage holders in a SG base needs to be revised.

 

During the last weeks of my sojourn in WoW, I had a very nice thorium and mithril racket working.  This worked because anyone who wanted to develop weapon or armorsmithing had to pass through the level that needed them in bulk, and thanks to the expansions the zones where thorium and mithril grew were abandoned.  AFAICT nothing of the sort is possible on HC.

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I'd say the only thing I've ever done, purely out of interest of "is it possible in volume in the most harmless consideration possible" was buying large quantities of common salvage a rate just a bit below fee and vendor cost (like 200 I think it was, vendors 250 isn't it? Can't recall at the moment), then taking that bulk assortment and vendoring the whole lot out just to see what the time investment would look like, and how that could be translated into earning a billion Influence. Not really a nefarious act, provided a set and stable minimum asking price for thousands of common salvage for well over a week, and all it cost anyone was my own personal time to eventually go "nah, 250k a day isn't worth the workload."

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8 hours ago, Sir Myshkin said:

"nah, 250k a day isn't worth the workload."

Workload is the usual reason many market schemes don't scale well. Now imagine if you could post stacks of 100's, or 1000's, or even millions of an item in the auction? Suddenly people would be trying to corner the common salvage market. And might succeed, too. As they say, you can make more money trading wheat than gold, but not one grain at a time.

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Back on Live I manipulated the Level 35 and 40 (later just 35) Common Recharge IO's for ages.  I always sold them for less than the cost of the recipe for the Level 35 Recharge IO itself, but more than the cost of the memorized crafting cost + the cost of Salvage + the AH fees.  I literally used every alt I had on every server to flood the Market with these IOs, and sometimes I'd spend hours every day just doing nothing but logging in alts, placing bids for salvage, crafting the IOs, listing them, and logging out.

 

Eventually someone tried to muscle me out, at which point I poured all my saved INF, stored salvage, and already crafted IOs onto the market and was listing them for 1 Inf less than the memorized crafting cost of a Level 35 Recharge IO, and for months I was flooding the market with a slightly less than cost product.  This is when I pulled out of the Level 40 Recharge IO niche.  But in the end, I eventually sunk back into making my IOs at a slim profit.

 

At times I'm almost sad that with how the Market is seeded on Homecoming that the common IO market isn't worth doing as much as it used to be on Live.  But considering how slim my profits were at times I probably make more, and more quickly, just taking part in a Kill Most ITF these days.

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11 minutes ago, Aoide said:

Back on Live I manipulated the Level 35 and 40 (later just 35) Common Recharge IO's for ages.  I always sold them for less than the cost of the recipe for the Level 35 Recharge IO itself, but more than the cost of the memorized crafting cost + the cost of Salvage + the AH fees.  I literally used every alt I had on every server to flood the Market with these IOs, and sometimes I'd spend hours every day just doing nothing but logging in alts, placing bids for salvage, crafting the IOs, listing them, and logging out.

 

Eventually someone tried to muscle me out, at which point I poured all my saved INF, stored salvage, and already crafted IOs onto the market and was listing them for 1 Inf less than the memorized crafting cost of a Level 35 Recharge IO, and for months I was flooding the market with a slightly less than cost product.  This is when I pulled out of the Level 40 Recharge IO niche.  But in the end, I eventually sunk back into making my IOs at a slim profit.

 

At times I'm almost sad that with how the Market is seeded on Homecoming that the common IO market isn't worth doing as much as it used to be on Live.  But considering how slim my profits were at times I probably make more, and more quickly, just taking part in a Kill Most ITF these days.

 

I know a guy that gave up making these because they were so cheap to buy them off the market that it made no sense to bother making them. 

And, yeah, he was making about 40x what he was buying them for on each one sold. 

I don't think you were cornering the market the way that you thought you were.

Just saying...

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5 minutes ago, UltraAlt said:

 

I don't think you were cornering the market the way that you thought you were.

Just saying...

 

Maybe I did corner it, maybe I didn't.  But with the amount of time I put into this, and the total amount that I sold, it at least felt a lot like I had cornered it.

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2 hours ago, Aoide said:

Maybe I did corner it, maybe I didn't.  But with the amount of time I put into this, and the total amount that I sold, it at least felt a lot like I had cornered it.

The important thing was you were there, made a notable impact, and have fond memories of it today.

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There was this one time I almost got a niche cornered! Just needed a few more stray bids to filter out. It got closer, CLOSER, CLOSER...

 

(And?!)

 

I THREW A ROCK AT IT!

 

(...)

 

I-it was a big rock...

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1 hour ago, EmperorSteele said:

I-it was a big rock...

A classic! Love the reveal, too!

Disclaimer: Not a medical doctor. Do not take medical advice from Doctor Ditko.

Also, not a physicist. Do not take advice on consensus reality from Doctor Ditko.

But games? He used to pay his bills with games. (He's recovering well, thanks for asking!)

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Aoide said:

Maybe I did corner it, maybe I didn't.  But with the amount of time I put into this, and the total amount that I sold, it at least felt a lot like I had cornered it.

Yeah, well.

They were buying int from someone selling cheap enough so it was around the cost to make and selling them for 4 mil a pop, so ... and not just a few ... a lot of them.

with all the gold farming going on people didn't know the worth of influence there toward the end before the sunset.

So much better here a Homecoming

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On 5/15/2021 at 9:27 PM, Katharos said:

Back on live I was the first one to screw up the luck charm market on virtue

 

There was no such thing as the market on a given server. The market was (and is here too) cross-server. The only separation was the old hero/villain divide.

 

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2 hours ago, UberGuy said:

 

There was no such thing as the market on a given server. The market was (and is here too) cross-server. The only separation was the old hero/villain divide.

 

Oops.

26 minutes ago, Katharos said:
29 minutes ago, Captain Powerhouse said:
On 3/16/2021 at 4:10 PM, Katharos said:

why isn't sentinel bioarmour's athletic regulation getting a look?

Oversight, it will be addressed in the next build.

Oh no. Oh god. What have I done? 

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I have purposefully bought things a bit higher than they would sell at, to intentionally reset the history list. 

 

A lot of players seem to bid whatever they see in the history, and some will list there too; and changing what the history shows them can have an effect on their buying and selling decisions. 

 

Results have been mixed and I doubt it would work at all on high volume items with well-known price points

 

 

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One of my habits was, the moment I had Some Inf, I would pick a random low-tier common salvage, bid 300 each on as many as I could, and list them all at 1 inf, and make money hand over fist. It was amazing. Clearly not the same thing, though.

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11 hours ago, Andreah said:

I have purposefully bought things a bit higher than they would sell at, to intentionally reset the history list. 

 

A lot of players seem to bid whatever they see in the history, and some will list there too; and changing what the history shows them can have an effect on their buying and selling decisions. 

 

Results have been mixed and I doubt it would work at all on high volume items with well-known price points

 

 

 

The problem with painting the tape (changing the last 5) is that it only works so long as you constantly keep painting the tape.  And in order to keep trade prints either artificially high or artificially low, you need to keep selling things too cheaply or buying them too expensively which means you are losing inf with the deception.

 

Of course, sometimes the display bug does it for you.

Who run Bartertown?

 

See this link for my giveaway!  FREEMoney!

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