Starting with Helm’s Deep Update 12, lower-level crafters have been able to use vocation-specific tools, which replace the separate tools that their three professions use. This saves two inventory slots for the tools you aren’t using at the time, and avoids having to switch tools when you do something using a different one of your professions.
The tools provide bonuses, increasing the crit percentage or making crafting go faster. The crit versions, called Superior Tools, provide better bonuses and are more durable, so need repairs less often. Tools are crafted by metalsmiths. I noticed that they were not commonly available on the Auction House. I decided to try making them more accessible, although I had no idea what the demand might be.
There are 7 vocations (Armourer, Armsman, Explorer, Historian, Tinker, Woodsman, and Yeoman). A VIP character has 30 slots available for selling on AH, so I decided to start with the first four crafting levels: Apprentice, with no minimum level; Journeyman, level 13; Expert, level 25; and Artisan, level 35. The ideal would be to have one those 28 possibilities available on AH at all times.
Tools are made from ingots, usually refined (for example, steel instead of iron). They also require some vendor-purchased ingredients such as a short ash shaft. The chances of a crit are increased by a crit ingredient, the appropriate level of brimstone. Using crit items, my metalsmith Varmentor has a 70% chance of making the Superior version, so I decided to sell only those and vendor the non-crits.
I started selling tools using extra mats I had accumulated, but soon realized the demand was higher than I expected. I needed to be able to buy ore or ingots and crit items on AH if I were going to continue doing it for a while. As I learned selling dyes, if you check AH regularly, you can on occasion find mats at reasonable prices, even if they are unavailable or too expensive most of the time. After a week, I adjusted prices so I can purchase mats when they are available cheaply enough and still break even over the long run.
Because there are 28 different kinds and they don’t stack, it isn’t practical to make the tools in advance. The recipes are all different, using 2 or 3 vendor ingredients in addition to ingots and the crit item. As a VIP, I can read mail even while standing at the forge; when I read the message saying that one was sold, I immediately make another one of that type. When I’ve cleared my mailbox, I go to the auctioneer and post the replacement items, then check for any bargains on the mats I need.
Developing the market
I want the tools to be affordable, but make enough to cover the costs. I don’t want them to be so cheap that no one else will try to sell them. It’s OK with me if other people under-price me, since my motivation is to make them available. If people want to charge more, that’s OK, too, since there’s a reasonable chance mine will be sold when someone comes looking for a particular set of tools.
For now, I charge 100s for Apprentice, 250s for Journeyman, 500s for Expert and 1g for Artisan. With Hobbit presents, those should be within the budget of any player these days. There are a few other sellers asking more and less than those prices, although they sell only a few different kinds. So far, it appears I can maintain those prices with AH-purchased mats. It also doesn’t take more than a few minutes each day to check mail, make and post any that sold and repost any that didn’t sell.
As of this writing three weeks after I started, I have sold over 200 tools, an average of 10 per day. Because I post only one of each, it is still possible someone may not find the tools they want. I hope that others might see an active market and decide to enter it.
Due to the limits of selling only one of each type at a time, it is hard to know what the true demand is. However, I have sold some of each kind, and they have been spread pretty evenly across levels and vocations. Explorer is the most popular, and there are somewhat fewer Artisans, but the sample size is small.
I would welcome competition/assistance to help make it so every crafter can have superior tools.
UPDATE June 27, 2015
I sold my 1,000th tool set today! It has been a little over 3 months since I started. Sales continue to average a little over 10 per day. There are a handful of other sellers, although none selling as many different kinds, and none selling as regularly as I do. Sufficient mats have been available on AH at reasonable prices, and I have a stockpile that can last a few weeks. I have things arranged so that it takes only a few minutes most days to repost the expired auctions and make replacements for those that sold. After posting them, I check for reasonable-priced mats.
I plan to continue this indefintely as a service to help crafters on Landroval.
Update October 4, 2015
I sold my 2,000th tool set today! It is now over 6 months since I started. Sales have continued at a slightly higher rate, about 12 per day since server transfers started.
by Michaleo on 2015-04-15 03:51:25