Friday, July 27, 2012

Smuggling: A How to & How not to

Many bankers refuse to attempt the smuggling game. They have either heard about, or had an experience with, the smuggle sniper and are afraid to risk their product. In my opinion cross faction smuggling is far too useful a tool to be ignored by any banker wishing to reap large profits. When done correctly the risks are minimal and the profits are tremendous. In this post we will take a detailed look at smuggling, how to do it right and how to do it wrong. What addons / mods will be most useful when smuggling.

What is required to perform a successful smuggling operation?  
            First, two separate accounts are required. In World of Warcraft you cannot purchase items that you have placed on the auction house with any of your other characters (alts) from the same account. This prevents you from posting on one side and buying on the other. Second, you will need a couple very useful addons and optionally another person.
            If you have two accounts it is best to hot box both accounts when smuggling or run each account on a separate computer and locate them very closely to each other. The proximity makes it easy to perform the posting and buying in rapid succession. Speed is a factor because of the opportunity to have your product snipped out from under you.
            Three specific addons are extremely useful when smuggling. Auctioneer Suite, Auctionator, Igore’s Mass Auction and Mail Opener. The Auctionieer Suite has the option for one click buy, Auctionator has buy and sell tabs. Igore’s has the option to post 18 items for the same price even if they are of different types and quantities. Lastly Mail Opener is used at the end to help clean out your mail boxes.  When configured correctly a single person can list hundreds of items and buy them without fear of the items being intercepted by a sniper, unless the sniper knows you are smuggling and has their addons configured to intercept your product. How will they know you are smuggling? Read on and learn…

What does bad smuggling look like?  
So you roll into your local neutral city and you come across two characters of opposing factions standing in front of the same auctioneer. Periodically one of them raises their hand in the animation of having just purchased something. A few moments later either both leave at the same time or one logs off then the other heads to the mailbox. This is the most common appearance of smuggling. Keep an eye open for this, chances are, if you are quick you can snipe the cheap items and make a profit. Yes I believe that stupid, lazy, and cheap smugglers deserve to have their product sniped.
Having both parties of a smuggling ring standing in front of the same auctioneer is tantamount to advertising that you are smuggling. It invites unwanted attention and snipers are more likely to pay attention when there are two individuals from opposing factions in front of the same auctioneer.
Rule #1 when Smuggling: Attend different neural auctioneers.
Rule #2 when Smuggling: Always snipe bad smugglers, there are profits to be made.

What does good smuggling look like?  
Smuggling, when done right, has the appearance of a series of basic purchases by a single character. A good smuggle deceives the passerby into thinking that all is normal and there is no smuggling happening. The equivalent of the Jedi mind trick “These are not the smugglers you are looking for.”  

What resources need to be available?   
To smuggle effectively you will need a character from each of the factions, one Horde and one Alliance. These can be level 1 alts that you just leave in place when the smuggling is complete. Each side needs gold to list and buy, I keep a cool 1K on each of my alts to allow me that extra needed to snipe as well as list and buy. If each of your alts has its own guild, then smuggling becomes a once a month or once a week setup. Having guild banks helps maintain a stock of product that is not in use but will be smuggled with out having to leave it in the mail box of the alt.
Rule #3 when Smuggling: Be prepared with enough funds on all smuggling alts.

Precautions to take before smuggling   
Always assume there is a sniper getting ready to purloin your soon to be contraband. Flood the Neutral Auction house with “flack”, this is simply dumping stacks of 1 grey loot or single copper vendor trash. Dump 4 groups of 25 units each in the price ranges of 1copper, 1gold, 5gold, and the price range that brackets your product. Make the duration 12 hours. This adds confusion that the sniper must sift through in order to find your product. Because you are using the Auctionator addon you will never have to see this mess.

Don’t be a cheap ass?   
One of the reasons that people lose items to snipers is because they are listing there products at unreasonably low prices in an effort to minimize the Auction house costs. If you are smuggling realize that you are “Gaming the Game”. You are in essence doing something that limitations have been put in place to deter. The auction house fees though a little steep can be easily made up for when selling your wares on the opposing auction house. Don’t be cheap, list your items for an amount you would like to receive if you were buying from an auction house. This will keep your items out of the lower brackets where people have their bottom feeder addons working.  
Rule #4 when Smuggling: Being cheap is stupid

Process of smuggling?   
There are three different processes for smuggling.
1) With another person in the room.
2) With another person in a different location.
3) Alone

            When smuggling with another player in the room simply let them know when the item is placed on the house. They then search for it using the search function, and purchase it, preferably using the “One Click Buy” option previously mentioned. Other wise they are taking time to select, buy and confirm. Those three actions take time, time that the sniper will use to buy your item before they say “yes”.
            When smuggling with another player in a remote location it is best if you are connected by voice chat. Then it is simply let them know when the item is placed on the house. They then search for it using the search function, and purchase it, preferably using the “One Click Buy” option previously mentioned.
            When hotbox / multibox smuggling the process is different. On the first account you prepare the items you are going to sell, preferably stacks of the same item like wool. Set your listing time for 12 hours, this saves on listing fees. Prepare the receiving account by performing a search in the Auctionator buy tab for the item you will be smuggling. This activity sets up the search without having to risk your product. Now on the seller hit the sell button. Quickly go the buyer account and click the search that you prepared. Auctionator will display how many are available, click to buy and then just continue to buy until there is none left. When there is none left hit the search again just in case you missed one. Hundreds of items can be smuggled in seconds and with relatively little danger of a sniper attack.   
Rule #5 when Smuggling: Always be familiar with your addons.

            “But you didn’t address the Igore’s and Mail Opener addons”. This is true, Igore’s is a mass listing addon, it is self explanatory and easy to use in place of the basic listing options or the appraiser options available in Auctioneer Suite. Mail Opener is also self explanatory and easy to use when you are dumping your mail into your bags.
             So by selecting the right addons, configuring them correctly, and being diligent with your preparations you can smuggle huge amounts of product across the faction lines in a short time with very little loss. I have been using this technique for years and have yet to lose a single item to a sniper. I hope this article has given you the itch to see if you can smuggle across the line, the gold is there for the taking.

            Next time I will cover the economic spy. What they are, how to use them, and why bother. Here is a hint, there is gold to be made. Until then, remember, Time is Money, and if you spent time reading, then this article was worth the money.

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