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How does selling commodities differ from selling equipment?

When you sell a commodity such as crafting materials or gold, you select a stack size and a buyout price, and the auction house automatically adds the items to a unified marketplace pool. When a potential buyer searches for that item, the auction house system automatically tries to find the best prices on the market. If your items are priced lowest at the time, the system will draw from your listing to fulfill the buyer’s request. Because of the way the system works, it’s possible only part of your stack will be included in a purchase; in that case, the rest will remain in the auction house until another player buys the rest, the auction expires, or you cancel the auction.

Source: http://eu.battle.net/support/en/article/diablo-iii-auction-house-functionality#q8

From what I understand Bilzzard is saying that they are showing the average sale price for commodities e.g. gems, and picking the one with the lowest price when they are sold. Is there any way of determining the real sales price? The numbers Blizzard is giving are misguided. How can you figure out which price to list your gems at?

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What D3 needs is a market/ Auction House API similar in complexity to the API offered in eve online. And then the community will make the tools necessary for the auction house to really thrive. –  Francis Yaconiello May 21 '12 at 14:25
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Question should be close as there is no longer an auction house for diablo 3. –  z - Mar 18 at 15:31
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Question should not be closed. See this answer to your own meta question about D3. –  Billy Mailman Mar 18 at 15:55
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2 Answers

Determining the "fair market value" of an item is a chore at this point, although I'm certain that at some point in the near future auction house analysis tools will be created by Blizzard or the community.

Market value is likely to fluctuate considerably as people play the game in different patterns, so saying "X is a good rule of thumb," especially in the early going, is a losing proposition. Right now, for instance, low level crafting components are probably vastly undervalued as many people are playing low level areas. When the game starts to age, we'll likely see far fewer low level items, and more bits of high-level components.

Essentially the three pieces of information you're seeing are:

  • The current lowest price available for you to buy the quantity of the item in question.
  • The average sales price of the last 10 of those commodity sold, which is supposed to indicate the short-term trading value of the item. However, this is unclear as to whether the price is inclusive of "bulk orders" or not - if someone buys 100, what 10 of these count?
  • The average sales price of the last 24 hours worth of sales, which is supposed to indicate the long-term trading value of the item. However, this appears buggy - at times, this has read 0 for extended periods, even though it's clear there are many sales going on.

If you're listing a commodity below the lowest price on offer, and then not seeing the buyout price change, that's because you can't buy your own auction - so you're seeing the next cheapest item for sale from another vendor. This is what you'd want if you're going for a quick sale, but might not be what you want if you're trying to maximize profit.

As far as pricing your own commodity auctions, I've found that only empirical data sampled over time is available at this time. For instance, I'm often buying Square Rubies, and I know that around ~8k gold is an "average" price - I see them listed for far less and occasionally try to buy, but frequently am out-sniped. If all I see is 10k+ gems on offer, I'll probably wait for a price break.

Selling is similar to buying, just in reverse. If you've got something you think is particularly valuable, sample the current values of the 3 pieces of information you have available, and then watch for times when the current market price is above what you've determined is fair. Then you can list your item slightly below this and turn a profit, or list it at what's typically "average" for a quick sale.

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"If you're listing a commodity below the lowest price on offer, and then not seeing the buyout price change, that's because you can't buy your own auction - so you're seeing the next cheapest item for sale from another vendor." Friends can't find the listing either. –  Anders May 21 '12 at 13:02
    
@Anders, if you're selling for significantly less than market price, especially gems, I've found that auctions last fractions of seconds - I can't click "search" and "buyout" fast enough to buy when the price is way under market. –  agent86 May 21 '12 at 14:08
    
That is my experience two with gems of lover quality. The only reason must be that there is no demand for this and since it just expired I will test by putting it up for less than the crafting price and see what happens. –  Anders May 22 '12 at 8:56
    
I have a perfect square out for sale for 20k gold for 24 hours now. It costs 30k to make. Can someone tell me why it is not selling? –  Anders May 22 '12 at 11:28
    
@Anders because it's not worth the cost of producing gems. Gems are sold as drops, which is way less than cost to produce. –  Chris Marisic May 25 '12 at 3:01
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The best you can tell is the current lowest price (by checking for quantity 1) and the current daily average. If you suspect the current lowest price is gravely underselling in a very small quantity, the price per unit for a quantity of 100 should be considerably higher.

That said, selling commodities is definitely an imprecise science in Diablo 3.

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You can't tell the actual current lowest price. "By checking for quantity 1" I get a price that is 50,000 above my selling price. –  Anders May 21 '12 at 12:30
    
Interesting. I wonder if it excludes a handful of the current cheapest items from view, or if it's just slow to update? –  Ashel May 21 '12 at 12:40
    
My gem has been on the AH for over 24 hours so if it is slow to update Blizzard has a problem. –  Anders May 21 '12 at 12:58
    
After experimenting on some cheap gems, I think your auction may indeed have a problem - if my auctions weren't full I'd run some tests with selling to be more certain. It's possible that the gem in question simply hasn't seen an attempted purchase and that there is some obfuscation on the actual cheapest items, but I find that somewhat unlikely. –  Ashel May 21 '12 at 13:06
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