With the recent announcement that the Real Money Auction House is going to be delayed at least a week at the launch of Diablo 3, many players who had thought up elaborate plans to make a pile of money during the first week after release on April 15 had to go back to the drawing board. The basic strategy prior to the delayed RMAH was to play as much as possible during the first week and post as much gold to the RMAH as possible, as players who want to get ahead of the game will need large amounts of gold to level artisans, buy gear, buy and combine gems, and repair their gear once they start hitting a wall (probably near the end of Normal or a little into Nightmare). The conventional theory is that gold would have sold for the highest price during the first week with the price steadily declining as players advance in the game and farming larger amounts of gold becomes easier and easier.
My personal thoughts were right in line with the above theory. My plan was to try and make a little scratch at the beginning by selling nearly everything that my Barbarian picks up and hopefully come close to my first goal, which is to make $100 profit. After reading the gold secrets forum over at Markco's blog, which is one of the best collection of entrepreneurial minds out there for people wanting to make money playing Diablo 3, I've cherry picked some of the best "new thinking" out there, combined it with my own ideas, and developed a strategy of my own for the first week.
With at least a week before the RMAH becomes available, we have time to explore the game and find out where the "choke points" are. Choke points are where players who do not spend extra time leveling or invest in gear for their character start to die. When players start to die, they realize that they need better gear to continue. The easiest and fastest way for players to improve their characters is by going to auction house and spending the gold they have earned by killing mobs on better gear and gems. They also have the option of crafting their own gear, but in the beginning they may not have the necessary gold or crafting supplies to craft enough gear to get them through the first choke point, meaning that they will turn to players like us who are posting the items they need on the gold auction house.
My plan in the early stages is first and foremost to find this choke point. I will also be closely watching Markco's forum (included in his gold making guide, which is an investment that I highly recommend if you are serious about wanting to make money playing Diablo III) to see when and where other players are hitting the wall. Once the first choke point in the game is established, I will be focusing on finding what items are most profitable to either craft, farm, or flip to help players get past the choke point. We only get 10 slots to post items on the gold auction house, meaning that it is important to think critically about which items we decide to put up.
Stock Pile Gold
Just because the RMAH isn't there at launch doesn't mean that you should spend every dime you earn on your character. I plan on figuring out a system for "saving" gold so that I have enough to post on the RMAH when it goes live so that I can start working toward my goals. I envision my strategy to be something along the lines of "saving" 25% of all the gold that I earn and re-investing the rest. So, if I earn 1,000,000 gold in the first week, I will have a pile of 250,000 that will be designated to sell when the RMAH goes live. My percentage may be higher based on how the game goes, but I do not see it as being any lower than 25%.
I am going to go the Jewelcrafting route (at least in the beginning) as my specialty for making gold and money. I think that most players will be focusing on Blacksmithing in the beginning and there will be a market for a savvy Jeweler. In World of Warcraft, I made millions of gold from Jewelcrafting. The mechanics of Jewelcrafting between WoW and Diablo 3 are different but similar enough that I feel like I have an edge over the competition from the get go.
In WoW, I would purchase popular designs early for ridiculous amounts of gold but then make my initial investment back in a weeks time just by buying uncut gems, cutting them, and re-listing for a huge mark up. In Diablo III, I think there will be a similar market. After a couple weeks of watching the AH, standard prices for different level gems will start to emerge. Once these prices are established, it will be easy to log in and check the AH for gems selling below the average price, buy them, and either combine to create higher level gems and re-list for a profit, or simply hold on to the gems and re-list when the price goes back up.
Investing some of my gold into leveling Jewelcrafting early will give me a distinct advantage later in the game. Just imagine the amount of gold that can be made once the first choke point is established. Gems for gear at the choke point level will sell like crazy and people will be willing to over pay for them.
All in all, I am not disappointed that the RMAH is not going to be live at launch. I think that it gives casual players like me a chance to learn about the game and find our niche in that first week or two before we can start selling items and gold for real money. Make sure to check out Marcko's gold guide and forum if you want to get a leg up on the competition and have a community around you doing research. Many hands make light work...and in this case, make you and me more money.