The Art of Undercutting

I recently came across an interesting forums thread on MMO-Champion today, and it got me thinking about my own undercutting practices in the auction house.  While this guy doesn’t seem to have a solid plan in place for working the auction house, many players do, and I’ve noticed many different strategies in terms of auction house selling.

Auction House Undercutting

For my own auction house strategies, I follow one general rule:

  • Selling lower = Selling faster
  • Selling faster = More gold

If I see stacks of Elementium Ore going for 50g per stack, with sellers undercutting at 49.5g, then 49g, then 48.75g…I undercut them all at 45g per stack.  Why?  Because, I try to think like a thrifty shopper.  By undercutting over 3.5g per stack, this appears to be a better deal that players will want to jump on quickly.

Now, I know some items are just simply needed more than others, and chances are I would still sell at a higher price.  But with that logic comes a risk. 

Let’s use the same example above, and say I undercut the 48.75g to 48.5g.  This leaves me vulnerable to several possibilities:

  • No visible “special” or “deal”
  • Easier to undercut me
  • May not sell as quickly, thus increasing the auction time and likelihood I myself will be undercut.

My goal is to sell items within 2 hours of being listed.  Pick apart my strategy all you want, but I sell 90% of my stuff within that time frame.  It makes me gold faster, and for higher-priced items, I am not wasting gobs of gold on AH deposits that I may never see again.

For harder-to-sell items, like Globe of Water, there may be 2 on the AH at 10g.  In an effort to sell a not-in-demand item, I tend to undercut muchlower, sometimes as much as 50%.  Inthis case, I would list my Globes of Water for 5g/each.

To me, selling faster is worth the 3g or so difference.

High End Items

Let’s say I get an epic BoE drop that is already available on the AH for 30,000g and another for 29,500g.  What that means to me is there are 2 items for 30k gold.  That’s what I see.  I see an undercutter trying to make as close to 30kg as possible.  Not enticing if I am a buyer.  What do I list mine for?  25,000g.  That’s a possible 4k loss, but I don’t see it that way.

What I see as a seller is 2 high quality items that are probably not selling.  I can undercut by 500g and sit in the same boat as the other two sellers, and sit on my auction for who knows how long…Or, I can list for 4k less and give my item higher appeal at a lower price.  This reduces my item’s time on the AH, and further reduces my chance to be undercut by new sellers or the original two sellers.

This logic helps me sell everything fast.  Some might say I undersell, I say I make money FAST.

Ultimately, what you decide to do is up to you.  Some people are patient and can wait weeks for items to sell…but my experience tells me that in almost all scenarios, the more time that passes, the cheaper things get.  Sell quick, sell fast!  That’s my policy!


  1. McBlue says:

    If my math is correct you seem to undercut by about 1.1%-1.2% less which may seem not like much be does get the job done. I do it about the same and it seems to do the same.

  2. McBlue says:

    oops 10% less lol

  3. Former says:

    “””””What do I list mine for? 25,000g.”””””””

    Then, what do I do? I list mine for 19,999g and game continues…LOL.

  4. Luke says:

    Well I think that your AH tacts may be wrong Khor :).
    I do believe that you are selling fast. But i also do believe that you would keep selling fast if you would undercut by 1%. At least on herbs, mining stuff, not epic stuff in general. Why ? Because what most people do when buying herbs is sort the items by price. And even 1% undercut would make you top of the list. You don’t have to undercut such items by 5% – it’s just wasting money and also cutting other people profits :p

  5. Humanaggro says:

    While I completely agree with Luke on herbs, mining stuff and such, I think that your idea about undercutting more on higher valued epics might be good. For example, at the beginning of Cata I bought my epic waist for 10k. Nowadays there are 5 up for 5k. Following ur policy, you would have put it up for mabe 8.5k at the beginning, which means 3.5 more than what it is at now. What I am trying to say is that if you list items just below their price right now, people won’t buy it and will wait for the sellers to decrease the prices. Maybe its better to sell it quickly before prices go down? This is only an idea though.

    However, with herbs etc I always sell for 1% less and it sells in less than 2 hours every time so thats the best way for those items i’d say.

    Great site btw Khor, please keep it up and keep working on it. I love it!

  6. Kimina says:

    Actually all this does is temporally disrupt the value of a particular item(s). In the example of under-cutting an items perceived value by 5K gold you may in fact cause all subsequent items to be posted at a lower price. But, time will cause the value of that item to increase back to its normal selling price within a few days. I’m not one to play the auction house much, but my fiance is a AH master mind. Sitting roughly around 70K she just doesn’t care. She sells everything and anything, old world, BC, WotLK, Cata it doesn’t matter to her. If she can’t use it for one of her various professions or toons she sells it. Seems weird, but if you ever need 100 Gold Bars she is the goto person.

    I also don’t know if I agree with the quick cash equals more cash thing you got going on. So you sell some ore for 5G less then everyone else today, but tomorrow there is none posted on the AH. Guess who cleans up in the first 2 hours before you get yours up there for 5G less. Just something to think about. The stock market works pretty much the same way. Buy low sell high. Might have to jump to your server and profit off of your impatience to make gold.

  7. Mark says:

    Lol a guy was giving me crap in trade cos I undercut him by 3k on an item. Apparently I was breaking the economy by selling so cheap. Mine sold quick and I go tot but the item I wanted before it got sold to someone else. Kob Done

  8. Gwar says:

    Way to encourage undercutting 🙂 I buy mats all the time and sell well, and quick by only slight undercuts. Hehe.

  9. Gigi says:

    My main source of gold in the game is farming low level dungeons for boe’s and cloth. Depending on the dungeon level I can make up to 300g. I also farm mats for blue level blacksmithing items. They sell pretty good on ah. I also have made some good gold off of opening lockboxes 10g/box is usually what I charge but I have had some people tip me an extra 25g. One of my friends farms the heroics for chaos orbs and charge 2k/orb to make something for someone if you have the mats. If you don’t he charges for them as well.

  10. Ffont says:

    In general I only undercut in two cases 1) I need the money or 2) the AH deposit on the item is significant. The time to sell doesn’t factor in for me, I will re-list an item several times in order to sell it, providing I’m not getting hammered by a high deposit.

    If I see someone selling at a 50% discount I will often buy their items knowing that I can sell them at a profit. This probably accounts for the majority of the quick sales on highly undercut items.

    It’s also nice to make a profit off of someone elses’ profession. I’ll often see items (for example bags), that are way under-priced by the maker. That’s really easy money.

  11. Dharlee says:

    I sell glyphs and make pretty good money, and I do undercut, twice a day. It starts high and we all do it a tiny bit lower and lower, until they sell. switch out for other glyphs, the price goes back up, wash, rinse repeat. Works for me, but then you have those few who will come in and sell 10 200.00 gold glyphs for 10 gold and ruin the whole economy. It’s all in what you need.

  12. Marduk says:

    I love it when people sell things for 1/20th of the price… all the more easy to buy the entire load and resell it at more appropriate prices to ..erm.. correct the economy 😉
    Same goes for people selling way above price, they’ll just make my auction prices look all the better (which is basically what Khor is talking about)…

  13. HajimeSaitou says:

    There’s one thing I often do when I get an epic item that nobody is buying.
    Let me explain this with an example:
    The last epic I got was a Claws of Agony, it’s worth about 8k, depending on the realm. But my tought was “it has no value as it is, at least for me, and any 1k, 2k it can make, will be profit.”, so I went and put it on the AH for no buyout but with a bid of 100g.
    Everyone on my guild was talking about it without noticing I was the one that put that on the AH.
    After 24 hours the higher bid was already 5k.
    You see, I caused a big ruckus and I think that everyone tought “OMG, AN EPIC ITEM THIS CHEAP?! I MUST HAVE IT!”.
    Even if the guy would’t equip it, he would try to bid it, keeping the next one to make a higher bid and stuff.
    Ended up selling it for 5.2k, not a bad deal, right?!

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