Today I am not talking about Monopoly, one of the worst games in existence, and surely the worst game there is when considering its quality / financial success ratio, but rather a monopoly, the economic situation. On my WOW server Sorcerous Elements (Air, Earth, Fire, Water, naturally) usually sold for about 40g for quite a while. However, the latest patch has been out for awhile so the pressure on prices is down, and everything has been slowly drifting down in price. I had assumed that Elements would do the same, but then I saw the current prices around 100g and was astonished.
Then I noticed that one particular seller had hundreds or even thousands of Elements, and completely controlled all Elements of certain types on the AH. Aha, I said, someone is trying to leverage a monopoly to make a fortune. In the past I have seen people try this but it never worked and everyone (Sorry Corporate Plunderer) who made the attempt lost their shirts in the process. The problem in the past was that if the AH was empty of a thing people could just go make a truckload of that thing and load it up again. The amount of money and AH camping required to defeat the entire server simply wasn't available.
But in this case things are different. Elements come into the game at a very predictable rate. Some people might be neglecting their production, but even if they suddenly start up again they can probably only make 2/day or so because everything is totally gated by cooldowns. The only serious restriction you have is having to buy up all the stocks of all the people who notice the prices rising and try to cash in. If your bankroll is absolutely tremendous that does seem plausible because other people can't just step in and try to bleed you dry.
And they will try, oh yes they will.
I don't want to make money by just playing the AH. It isn't bringing value, it is just scooping money out of the system. However, when I see someone making a play like this I can't help myself but want to try to milk them for every gold piece I can. This isn't taking candy from babies, it is just making sure the monopolist has to work for any gold they might make. I don't have a big stash of Elements, only about 200, but I am very happy to twist the monopolist into paying me off to keep their prices up. The trick is that I can't just undercut by a tiny bit as I don't want to camp the AH. If I go under by a fraction, they undercut me. If I go too low, I don't get paid off. I need to undercut by enough that the monopolist wants to buy me to out to maintain their margin but close enough to their value that I get all the money I can.
This is going to be a short action though. I will quickly run out of resources and the AH prices will, should this work, remain massively inflated.
Unless, that is, I try to buy in myself and out monopoly the monopolist. How crazy am I?