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  • Monitor Your Competition's Cross Faction Trading Activities (And Stop Them)

    A fine gentleman by the name of Sinshroud appeared on the forums and wrote a very nice guide in response to last week's article about cross-faction trading. You know, I play this game a LOT, and it's not too often that I learn so much from a single post. So check it out fellas - this one's definitely worth a read.

    Before you run off, make sure to leave Sinshroud some well-deserved rep (clicky).

    Without further ado, the goodies:


    Hey guys, I have been lurking for about a week and decided today is the day that I will start posting helpful stuff. I might apply for a Wind Trader position later on if I feel it's necessary. This is my first guide contribution to The Consortium Forums and it was inspired by your Shady Business - Cross Faction Trading! post on the homepage.

    [Note:] This guide is going to teach you three different things, even though I'm only want to teach you two, it cannot be done without teaching you the other. One of the lessons in here can be considered unethical so read it for educational use only and it is up to you on how you use it. Keep in mind though nothing in this guide is bannable or against Blizzard's ToS or EULA in any way.

    Lesson 1: How to Monitor your competition's cross faction trading activities. (main priority)
    Lesson 2: How to "snipe" or "steal" people's cross faction trading goods. (ethical theory only)
    Lesson 2 will also cover how to stop your competitors from transferring goods cross factions.
    Lesson 3: How to protect yourself from falling prey to those stealing and sniping.

    As you most know, Cross Faction Arbitrage and using the Neutral Auction house as your own personal trading system is very common amongst most serious gold makers. It is also very common amongst players who play both factions and simply want to transfer gold or items to their other characters. There is actually a lot you can learn from this, however this guide is mostly aimed at played who want to begin cross-faction arbitrage since the more veteran gold makers will already have a good idea of what sells and what doesn't sell etc.

    Bob has two accounts (account A and account B). He mainly plays on his alliance characters on Y-realm on account A, but he also uses account B to keep an eye out on the horde auction house on Y-realm.

    He sees that Primordial Saronite is selling for 500g each on horde side, but only 180g each on alliance side (because alliance on his server have a bigger population and a bigger supply).

    He buys 10 PS on alliance side, goes to the Neutral Auction house, puts them up for 1 gold each and buys them out on his horde character on his other account and then resells them, making ~ 320g profit from each.

    Imagine Bob is your main competitor and you know he does a lot of cross faction arbitrage, but because he sells so many different items and they go through several manufacturing processes, you not entirely sure what all he is buying and selling between factions. He clearly is being successful so you want to start competing with him or even beating him at his own game.

    Most of you successful gold makers will have more than 1 account, it just makes life so much easier doesn't it? The problem is you don't always USE all your accounts at the same time. So here is what you do when not using your spare account(s).

    Run an alt to a Neutral Auction house (I prefer Booty Bay - and for those that didn't know, there are 3 Auctioneers spread out all over in Booty Bay).

    Make sure you have the latest version of Auctioneer installed (at the time of writing this guide I am using the Beta version available from Auctioneer's website since the released versions are somewhat broken from 4.0.1 patch.)
    Open the Auction House window and go to the "Search" tab at the bottom of Auctioneer.

    Create a new profile on your Auctioneer and setup your Searchers Section tabs to look like this: (anything not shown under the Searchers Section can be disabled / "unchecked")

    Setup your Filters Section tabs to look like this:
    ItemAuctionHistory - leave everything blank / unchecked.
    ItemLevel - leave everything blank / unchecked.
    ItemPrice - Enable, and check Arbitrage and Vendor (could probably ignore this tab but I'm not 100% sure).
    ItemQuality - Enable, and check Arbitrage. Scroll down slightly and setup your Ignore item quality by type to what ever you want. Usually I choose to ignore all Poor quality, as well as common and uncommon weapon and armor. Ignore projectile because it's obsolete now. You can tailor the rest of those settings to filter out everything that you are not interested in seeing. If you not interested in seeing what glyphs your competitor is transferring, then choose to ignore all glyph types, etc.
    Timeleft - uncheck / disable it.

    Setup your Options Section tabs to look like this:
    General Options - uncheck / disable it.

    [Note:] by default you can only make your Reload Interval a minimum of 6 seconds. You have to edit a .lua file to change it to 1-2 seconds or what ever. If you REALLY want to know you can PM me and I will show you but for what we doing here it isn't necessary.

    Leave your Settings (and Global Settings sub-section as it is).

    Now go back to the Browse Tab of your Auction House window and click the small magnifying glass icon at the top (this starts the Realtime Search function).

    I'm going to explain to you what the Realtime Search Function does, because every time I get this question from people. Once you activate the function (click once on icon to start, click once again to stop, simple) Auctioneer then starts scanning the Last and Second last page of the Auction House over and over again. This is NOT automation and is NOT bannable in any way, I will explain why in a second.

    [Note:] When it starts scanning, you will see the Auctioneer Scan results in your chat window and they will look something like this:

    "Auctioneer scanned 40 auctions over 1 Secs before stopping:
    90 items in DB at start (90 matched query); 90 at end
    40 unchanged items
    (Incomplete scan missed 50 items)"

    PLEASE do not worry that it says "missed 50 items" or what ever your number is. This is because it ONLY scans the last and second last page of the Auction House. Why? Because any new items that get put on the AH will go straight to the last page.

    When someone tries to trade items on the Neutral Auction House while you are scanning (let's say they put up 10 gems but individually for 1 gold each

    Well there we go, anything your competitors try and trade across the Neutral Auction House will pop up on your screen and you can see what they are trading with ease.
    You can then click Yes or No.

    This brings us to our ethical dilemma and lesson 2.

    Lesson two is the ethical theory on how to steal people's neutral auction house trades. There can be several advantages of doing this.

    1. You could buy their cheap auctions and make yourself a quick nice bit of gold. Though this can be seen as a very "low" or immoral thing to do.
    2. You could buy their cheap auctions then send them a whisper saying you will give their items back for free, but if you see them trading again you will keep their items. This way you can eliminate your competition by scaring them off or allow them to do is less often at least.

    [Note:] For this to work properly I would suggest having multiple characters at different Neutral Auction Houses that you regularly switch between otherwise they will simply add you to friends, wait until you log off and then try trade.
    [Note2:] I would highly recommend using an anonymous alt which has no guild affiliation or link to your main in anyway because it can cause you to become hated very quickly.

    Here is a tip to make purchasing the items quicker by using a macro which clicks the YES option. Alternatively you can modify it to click NO instead.

    Code: [View]
    /run if (AucAdvancedBuyPromptYes) then AucAdvancedBuyPromptYes:Click() end
    [Note3:] The reality is that you are going to upset quite a number of people, and many of them will threaten to report you for "botting" or "hacking" because they do not understand how you managed to buy their auctions so fast.

    You CANNOT be banned for this as long as you do not break Blizzard's ToS or EULA by automating this process (aka getting an autoclicker or bot to click yes / spam macro). As long as you physically click yes/no or click the macro by hand, you cannot be banned.

    Few Blizz posts confirming (and almost supporting this)

    Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard Poster
    Given the preface you've provided, Frugal—that is, a lack of automation programs and currency acquired legitimately—p​urchasing such items from the Neutral Auction House is completely benign practice. As your fellow posters have noted, the Auction House system is considered a form of free market, so players may price and purchase items however they please.

    It's also important to note that using the Neutral Auction House to trade items cross-faction or otherwise liquidate assets is not supported by Blizzard Entertainment. Players are welcome to use the Auction House in this manner, but should anything go awry, our In-Game Support staff is unlikely to intervene.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard Poster
    We will be more than happy to look into this as a possible bot, Wildbloom, but you already know this is not a supported transaction. You put up something for 1c and it's fair game, first come, first serve.

    Transferring that way isn't prohibited, but it's not supported either.

    Honestly, it's best to pay a bit in the AH fee and not low-ball an item to try to avoid it. Far less chance of it getting scooped up.

    There are 3 neutral AHs, it could have been a player at any one of them looking for just such an opportunity as you presented.

    If you think you've noticed a 'bot' however, we do appreciate those being reported and will look into it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Customer Service MVP
    Just realize that everything on the AH is for sale, and it is also perfectly legitimate if anyone else buys it first.

    Just do a google search and you will find hundreds of people complaining about their items being stolen, and Blizzard telling them it's their own fault for putting items up for so low on a public auction house.

    Now you know how to scare off your competitors and this brings us to lesson 3.

    In this Lesson, I'm going to give you a few tips on how you can transfer items across factions WITHOUT falling prey to those who sit all day and snipe auctions.

    1. Test the waters. Let's say you want to transfer 20X Bold Cardinal Rubys. Put one up and see if anyone snipes it. NEVER put more than 1 valuable item up at a time. So often while I monitor the Neutral Auction House do I see people absolutely LOADING it with like 60 Primordial Saronite for 1gold a stack before actually trying to buy it out. This is just plain stupid...
    2. Do a background check. Type /who Stranglethorn Vale, /who Winterspring and /who Tanaris. This is where the Neutral Auction Houses are located. If you see a level 1-10 in any of those zones you should be VERY suspicious and careful because most likely they are there to steal your auctions.
    3. Check your forums. Check your realm forums to see if anyone has complained or sent out a warning to other players on your forum about such sniping activities. Many victims to this sort of thing will go and post on the forums to prevent others from falling victim to a similar sort of thing.
    4. Run a few scans with the settings that I provided above, just to check that no one else is also trading at the same time. If you are both trading Cardinal Rubies, there is a chance that they will buy your auction without meaning to.
    5. Trade at different times of the day and with different characters. If for example you fall prey to someone sniping your auction, that person will often add you to their friends list so they can see when ever you come online and where you are. If you lose your auctions at say 10pm at night. The sniper then knows you trade at 10pm at night and will most likely be waiting for you there the following night just incase.

    I hope you all can benefit from my guide in some way or another and that you use the information provided in the way that most suits you. I am in no way promoting sniping or stealing items from the Neutral Auction House nor do I support botting or any form of breech in Blizzard's ToS and EULA.

    If you are looking for items to add to your list of "what should I arbitrage" I highly suggest taking a look at Sterling's: Shady Business - Cross Faction Trading! Thread.

    Please note that this guide was written only for forums and may not be reproduced in any way on any other website without my permission as well as The Consortium Forum's permission.