Lord of the Rings Online: How to Buy
MMORPG.com Lord of the Rings Online Correspondent Andrei Hamagea writes this look at buying items in Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online and the best ways to get the most bang for your Middle-Earth buck.
In Part One, I began talking about the importance of timing, speculation and observation in deciding prices for the items you sell on the auction house in Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online. For the second part, I will try to put matters from the perspective of the buyer, leading him to take advantage of the often poorly marketed products he might come across.
Buying bases itself on an imperfect auction house system and by that I am referring to the repeatedly over and under pricing of items. Your job out there is to study these trends and come up with an "average" price for the item that you are trying to purchase. This is the reason why when you are a lonely seller you gain monopoly of the selling value. Hence our constant struggle is to successfully exploit these under sellers and take advantage of any situation as long as it brings profit.
One of the most important tricks I have utilized in playing MMORPGs in general is to never be afraid to contact the seller for a deal. It has saved me 50% and sometimes even more on the item simply because I mailed the player with an offer which he could simply refuse and desperately attempt to sell on the open market again or give in and save me a good stack of silvers. Personally, I have to say that as long as you proceed in mailing multiple players with these offers, there is a high possibility you will be getting the item at the price requested by you. Never expect an immediate response, some might try a few more times to sell and if they are ineffective then they will most probably settle with your offer. In the image below, I have included an example of a how I would formulate such a request that I found to work the best; short and to the point. It is crucial not to sound desperate, do not put words such as "please" or "I beg you". All it does is make you lose credibility as a buyer and open up a negotiation, which is not what you want.
Well, some of you might ask me, how much can I ask for off the original price? That is a tough decision to come to and I generally find it that 50% usually tends to be the golden number. In the end it depends on the type of item you are attempting to buy, whether it is crafted or not, and also the competition for it. When the item is crafted there are situations where you can push, within reason, the amount of silvers you are willing to spend. For example, in the image below the player is attempting to sell a crafted crossbow which I have in fact purchased before for about 300 silvers. Knowing the actual value of an item helps you immensely in deciding the offer. On the other hand, the seller has made the correct decision by placing the item so high since he is the only one auctioning off that crafted item, and so it might make it very difficult to bargain. He will think he has a shot at selling, which he might, and you are trying to reach a realistically priced agreement. Generally speaking push harder when dealing with crafters since they come by recipe ingredients quite often and a fair price might just be good enough.
Kinships come quite in handy when it comes to obtaining items for a lot less, and sometimes even for free. I tend to stay away from guilds since I see the politics and social classes to similar to real life, yet there is no reason why you cannot join one specifically for having access to numerous crafting classes. Do NOT be shy! There is a general sense of commitment to helping other players in such games, especially if they appear to be novices, so use that to your advantage. I have sometimes gone as far as asking guild members to craft items simply for the sake of selling them on the auction house. Offer to provide the ingredients if necessary and then make a profit! Why not? In many cases you can even attempt to use the trade channel, posting offers for something in particular you might need or sell. I do not find it to work that well but sometimes it has offered some pleasant surprises.
Going back to the auction house, as mentioned in Part 1, most of the bids are placed within the last hour(s) of the auction and that can sometimes result into quite a fight. In the end it comes to saving the most money and that is generally achievable if you wait for the very last few minutes of a bid to through in your share. In this manner you do not raise the bidding prices, keep the other bidders unaware of your presence and maximizes your profit. If you are willing to take the time look at auctions with small differences between bid and buyout as they will most likely have less activity. Auctions with no buyout or ones that have an immensely over priced one will most likely stir bidders into the gamble. Always watch for people that are selling multiple items with no activity whatsoever, they can also be targeted for the deal routine mentioned earlier. Do not be greedy or scared to buy items of a higher level than you that can be usable later on. It is especially important to do this if those items are rare and you feel they might not be around again for a while. I have done this mistake on numerous occasions simply because I thought it was not worth the price, many times levelling to the next tier before ever seeing that item on the market again.
A final point that I would like to make is be sure you calculate proportions between stack size and price size. As you can see from the picture a player is selling a stack of 15 ingots at 200 silvers buyout while a stack of 50 goes for 500 silvers. A correct pricing would be of 150 silvers. These tricks can sometime get away especially if you do not look at all the auctions and make an assumption of the current market "average" of the item. Buying right off the first page of results is done on a regular basis therefore be sure to avoid it. On a last note, never ever get discouraged for not having enough money for buying what you want. Game play gets more user friendly as you progress in level and it is easier for you to afford things as you manage your resources and crafting skills better. Under no circumstances should any player resort to giving in to gold sellers. These infringements do not only put you at risk of losing your account but also ruin the whole purpose and structure of the game's economy. If everyone were to purchase their in-game currency there would be a destabilization in the supply/demand relation. Everyone will have the money to buy yet no one would sell anything since there is no need to. It is our responsibility to keep these virtual economies as clean and transparent as possible to ensure an enjoyable play space away from these fat cats.