Ironforge, Auction House - So, here's the deal: Do you buy 6 Runed Mana Band at 20g a piece? It's a risk, but I'll tell you why I did it. A few days ago, this same seller was selling 2 of them for 20g a piece. I purchased them and each sold for 50 or 60 gold. Will this person make more? Probably. But the cost of components are probably 35g-40g, so, he probably isn't buying them directly off the AH, which means he's farming them, which means that there is going to be some lag time (hopefully) until he posts again. Or, perhaps he is just dumping his inventory in preparation of Cataclysm expansion.
Blues continue to sell here and there, I'm still picking up vendor items when they are 2g or more to run them to a merchant, and of the couple purples I have listed, Glowing Brightwood Staff sold quickly at 200g for 100g profit. I found a bunch of very inexpensive Unidentified Plant Parts and Mark of Kil'Jaeden to test whether faction items from previous expansions have value. And, for fun, I found a Howling Blade for 2g which has been relisted for 50g.
The challenge is feeling tedious at this point. Given it is such a short-term goal, it's hard to push too hard into any one market. It seems that the smart strategy is to keep wide diversification and not let gold get locked up in any one market. Unfortunately, I've broken this rule given that the most attractive items from the beginning have been pieces of equipment. So, you could say that I'm overly invested in gear. But, of the possible areas to be over-invested, gear is probably the safest, especially when I'm looking to buy below 50% of market value and sell at 100% of market value. In past experience (and in other games), I've looked more at what an item is intrinsically worth: How much would someone realistically pay for this item if there was only one of them. When you start to think this way, the profit margins can get HUGE. However, the item usually needs to sit on the shelf for a long time before a willing and able buyer comes to meet your crazy price. The WoW economy offers less opportunity for the crazy priced item given that the best items in the game usually can't be traded, and in situations where they can be traded, it is rare that an item is considered so desirable that it would warrant an outrageous price.
The other thing that makes pieces of gear unique in World of Warcraft is that they are an "end"(player chooses to wear the gear) or a "beginning"(player chooses to disenchant the item). Because of the enchanting profession, they often have value above the "vendor" value simply because of disenchanting. It can be a little added insurance in dealing in that market.
I have about 600 gold worth of bids in at about 50% market price on various Northrend herbs. Will be a very nice bump if I get them, and should let me explore those markets more if I get a chance to see how fast things are moving in it.
Total Assets at the end of 12 hours: About 3500 gold
Go to Hour 13 of the Alpha Competition