To some playing the market can be seen as too time consuming at first glance. Not everyone can play every day so they're reluctant to spend the bulk of their play time sat at the Trading Post. Your investments don't need to be babysat however and there are a few approaches to trading that require very little time. Over the coming weeks I'll be doing blog entries on a few of these approaches (a list of my entries will be put under the 'Guides' tab above).
Approach #1: Salvaging for Ectos
I was a little reluctant to start with this one as it's a fairly solid earner but involves some luck at times and can become a time investment if you have a big startup investment to play with. However I wanted to list this one now as it's more relevant with the current 'Items Salvaged' part of the monthly achievement. But I'm getting ahead of myself, first things first:
What's an Ecto?
Why is there an element of luck involved?
I just wanted to address this right away, I mentioned that there was luck involved in this method. This is because you will be using salvaging kits to get your globs of ectoplasm, you are not guaranteed to get a glob of ectoplasm every time you salvage and other times you may get lucky and get 3 from one item. Salvaging for ectos has a real 'up and down' feel to it, sometimes you'll make a loss others a gain but overall you should be making a decent profit if you can ride out the bad luck.
Because of this element of luck some people don't like salvaging for ectos and this method may not be for you either, take a moment to consider if you'd be open to taking some losses on the path to profit. if you want something a little more 'dependable' then you may want to wait for my future entries on low time commitment investments.
First you'll need to grab your seed money. I grabbed 5 gold to represent a quite new investor, but obviously the more money you have the more chance you have for potential profit. My first stop was
to a vendor to pick up a Master's Salvage Kit. If you're in a capital city you can pick these up from any of the master craftsmen for 15s 36c. If you have a spare Black Lion salvage kit that's event better, but for easily buyable kits this is your best bet.
Next stop is the trading post, you need to get some things to salvage! But before you do that you need to decide how much you're willing to pay for the items you're going to salvage. On average you'll get about 1 ecto per salvage, sometime less, sometimes more. So the best way to approach this would be to check the price of globs of ectoplasm first and do a few sums. I personally hate math but it's a necessary evil in salvaging ectos.
Look at the highest bidder price on the ectoplasm and use that as your base, you'll probably get more than that for your globs but work on that value as your baseline minimum. When I did this that value was 37s and a variable amount of copper, so erring on the side of caution I used the value of 37s. Times this amount by 0.85, this represents your listing fees and lets you know the maximum you should be paying for your salvage items. for me this was 31s 45c.
Make note of these values and aim to work with them. I wanted a larger gap between my buy and sell price so after looking at the list of ectoplasms for sale and where the 'walls' were (large blocks of people selling for the same amount) I realised I could quite reliably sell at 39s and upwards with only a small wait. To make my window even bigger to allow for more profits and to cover potential downfalls I decided to only put in offers less than 30s on the items I planned to salvage.
What to salvage
Globs of ectoplasm can be salvaged from level 68+ rare items, I personally prefer weapons but armour and trinkets are equally viable.
So, a quick search with the above parameters gives a good long list of items, you just need to go through and place buy orders at or below your maximum buy price. Do not put all of your seed money into these bids, remember you'll need to keep some back to cover listing fees. Putting in buy orders with 5 gold only took me 5 minutes and then I was free to do other things while I waited for those orders to fill.
Come back later
Give it a few hours, go enjoy another aspect of the game, go enjoy that weird RL thing, or maybe if you're play time is really limited come back the next day (ecto prices will fluctuate but not so dramatically that that would be an issue). When you get back you should have a pile of rare items waiting for you. Here are the 10 items I got (plus the salvage kit).
Commence ripping them apart! Here's what I got; 8 sigils, a smattering of wood and metal and 13 ectos. This was actually a very lucky run so I decided to do a couple more batches of salvaging after this one to show the ups and downs of this method, but more on that later. The sigils are also a noteworthy point, I tend to buy items that have sigils in them (have the 'of something' suffix) as while they don't sell for a huge amount the 3 - 5 silver each helps bolster profits. (NB: I'm using current market price this may go up or down but having extra items to sell from your salvaging will always increase revenue).
At this point I cancelled all my outstanding buy orders and listed these materials on the trading post. Salvaging and listing took about 5 minutes, for a total of 10 minutes spent on this batch of salvaging.
Once everything had sold my 5 gold had become:
But as this was an extraordinarily lucky batch I did a couple more runs:
Batch 2 was 12 weapons that when salvaged yielded 9 sigils, a few bits of metal and wood and only 9 ecto. This was a less lucky run and whilst brilliant for this article so I could show you the ups and downs of salvaging ectoplasm it wasn't so good for my money on hand. I actually made a loss at this point, though the loss was only small and didn't come near to dragging me down to my 5g starting point:
Batch 3 was larger still at 13 weapons. From this lot I got 12 sigils, wood and metal and 12 ectoplasm, a lot closer to my 'one per item' I was hoping for. Overall this netted me a decent enough profit. Not huge but certainly a welcome one after the previous loss. So after 3 batches of salvaging my initial 5g had grown into: