Welcome to The FeaR Turbo Elite Guild Merchants guide to making gold in Tamriel. This is an introductory guide and will cover the basics of merchant trading. The guide is set in the blog so other guild members can continue to add tips and tricks or delve into some of the more advanced merchant disciplines like commodity arbitrage.
Guilds and Guild Traders
We will start with formulating a sellers guild strategy based upon your preferred style of play. If you like a balance between PvE and PvP then we recommend you fill your five guild slots with at least one PvE oriented guild, one PvP guild and up to three trading guilds. You can weight this blend any way you like based upon how you love to play, but we encourage you to have at least two true trading guilds. These combined with FTElite will give you good exposure in the broader marketplace. Perhaps most importantly, it will also give you access to a broader base of market data that merchant add-ons require and which we will cover in some detail in the tools section.
When selecting trading guilds I encourage players who are serious about making gold to give careful consideration to finding guilds whose traders serve different level zones to allow you access to sell a wide range of goods. The FTElite guild, for example is committed to its new presence in the wilds of northern Grahtwood. This zone has players largely in the levels of 25 through 35, so when stocking the guild store you can emphasize goods and materials that will be in demand by players who need clothing, smithing, woodworking, provisions, potions, glyphs, set pieces, etc. that work for those levels and the levels just ahead. Think levels 10 through 30. Ideally you can also find trading guilds that serve lower or higher leveled zones; and again if you sell at a high enough volume, one with a trader in Reaper’s march for the highest level players.
This is not to suggest that you cannot sell veteran rank and rare materials and item sets in the FTElite Grahtwood store, quite the contrary is true; but this is about an overall strategy and is not a set of hard and fast rules. A well-stocked guild store will build a reputation over time and will pull players at all levels when they are looking for a good selection and fair prices. The growing use of the Tamriel Trade Center app and website is also making it very simple for all players to find great merch and very specific items in even the most remotely located vendors. Keep in mind that the zone-level examples given above hold true for each of the three alliance levels; Grahtwood is also Cadwell’s Silver or Gold for the other alliances, so higher level items do have an addressable market and do sell even to those whose gaming takes them past our trader.
One final comment on zone levels: with the introduction of experience scrolls into ESO I have seen a definite acceleration in player leveling and now frequently see level 15 – 25 players crushing their way through Grahtwood – and buying materials & items appropriate for those lower levels.
Zone Chat Trading
There is a second option beyond guild traders for those who are really focused on the Tamriel economy and for whom making gold is an essential part of how and why they play ESO. Selling direct is very viable for those who actively acquire and sell inventory in quantity or any player who may occasionally acquire a rare item that they would like to convert to gold quickly. Direct selling is largely selling through posting your ware(s) in zone chat with an item link and then responding to players who are interested in your offering. There is often some negotiation and you should know your item(s) value and have your minimum sale price in mind before you post the offer. If you are having trouble getting a value on your merchandise you can ask in zone chat for help with a price check or request a price check ( abbreviated PC in chat) into the zone or into your guild chat by provided a link to your item along with your PC request. Most often other players will then post sales histories from their merchant add-on tools.
If you want to try your hand at selling in zone chat and you have the right items – quantity materials in stacks, rarer blue/purple/gold set pieces, purple and gold tempers, etc. then start in one of the major trading centers that have developed over time: for the AD it is Rawl’kha in Reapers March and Elden Root in Grahtwood; for EP it is Mournhold in Deshaan and Riften in The Rift ; and for DC it is Wayrest in Stormhaven and Shornhelm in Rivenspire . Lastly, Belkarth in Craglorn is an active trading center for all factions.
Tools of the Trade
Before we jump into looking at specific add-on’s and their use in ESO and for making gold in Tamriel, let’s add a little color around add-ons. If you game on a PC you are likely familiar with add-ons but if not or just new, the first add-on you need for ESO is Minion. This is an add-on manager and a very good one. You get it at ESOUI: http://www.esoui.com/addons.php – drop in and you will see a banner link to the Minion AddOn Manager Beta. Get it now; then explore ESOUI. ESOUI is the premier resource site for ESO add-ons with a number of ways to filter and sort – happy browsing!! If you are new to add-ons and want to explore beyond what we recommend here, check out the FTElite blog post on essential add-ons or What’s Hot list on ESOUI and have fun! The add-ons that follow are all available on ESOUI. Remember to install Minion, then install the add-ons you have found using the Minion interface.
Most active traders will tell you there is only one tool: Master Merchant. This is currently the premier add-on for active traders in ESO. Master Merchant (MM in chat) collects all the sales data from all the guild stores for guilds YOU participate in and displays the data for you in a number of very useful formats. When you are in game you can mouse over an item in your inventory or one that is linked in chat and MM will display its sales history and average price from your various guild stores as a unified set of values. It will also provide a graph of sales trends so you can see if prices for your item are rising or declining and allow you to price the trend accordingly.
Want to go Nerd in Nirn? – then get Guild Sales Assistant for Master Merchant and build an offline database with a great analytic tool set so you can really track what you are selling in your guild stores.
You do not want to accidently vendor or deconstruct a valuable item picked up during that last trials run so install and use FCO ItemSaver to manage items in your inventory and lock/designate those that you want to keep or reserve for selling later. It can save you a river of tears, trust me! Invaluable!
Your bags and bank getting full? Then you may want to look at Advanced Filters and Dustman for rapid sorting and inventory management.
If you love both buying and selling, there is nothing in game that beats Awesome GuildStore. This add-on adds a host of very useful features and you will love it – guaranteed. It makes searching guild stores a breeze and allows you to quickly see if a vendor has what you are looking for.
If doing daily Writs is one of your preferred ways of getting lots of great inventory to sell or use in crafting then you will want to look at Dolgubon’s Lazy Writ Crafter. It does exactly what the name implies – it hugely simplifies and speeds up doing your daily writs. So much so you will wonder why everyone in game is not running this add-on. You don’t have to be lazy to use it, just smart.
Lastly; we encourage all FTElite traders using our vendor to install both the add-on and desktop client for Tamriel Trade Center. This app will scan and add to a central database all the items on our guild store (and the stores for each guild you belong in that has one, as well as stores you visit & view) that then become available as a searchable database of currently available items with pointers to the actual stores that carry them. Anything you and your guildies list in our vendor then become visible as part of this online shoppers guide.
This add-on is also super useful when you are building up sets to test and need to find specific pieces. This saves huge time in traveling through all vendors around Tamriel, you just search on the item, scan the list of vendors who have it and wayshrine to make the buy.
Tamriel Trade center also gives you pricing guidance by showing the range that any selected item is currently being offered at around Tamriel vendors.
Tuning your Toon(s)
One of the keys to making gold is building inventory and the mantra of the most successful sellers is “Collect Everything”. This means opening every bag, basket, and chest; harvesting every node and leaving no stone unturned in your quest for salable inventory. Right now Tamriel is a mix of item-level madness in the various zones. Nodes can drop to the zone level for your faction, they can drop to the level of your crafting skills in a particular skill line, or some esoteric mix of both. In general, you will want to have one or more toons that have their crafting skills maxed to ensure you get the highest level materials from all nodes as you quest or farm in any zone. Your level in skill-leveled zones makes the difference of you harvesting Iron or Rubedite – and that makes a big difference in your future profits. If you have one toon that is becoming your crafting toon – make them your faming toon. Farming in this context is simply questing with the purpose of harvesting nodes and containers across a zone. You adventure out looking for stuff to sell. If you are feeling a bit zen on any given day, toss in your fishing pole and some bait. Fishing can become very profitable if you enjoy it, drop a line and start collecting Perfect Roe for sale or use in making very saleable food and experience potions.
So – maximize your crafting level passives to maximize your profits. In addition to craft skills, do not forget the Keen Eye passives – one skill point in each is a must – certainly for Alchemy, Smithing, Wood and Cloth. Spotting nodes easily while questing is critical and will quickly pay for the skill point investment. You can also invest Champion Points to improve your inventory gathering skills and yields from your questing. In the Thief Constellation under the sign of The Shadow look for the bonus from Fortune Seeker, Merchant Favored and Treasure Hunter. More importantly, in The Thief look under the sign of The Lover to get Plentiful Harvest and Master Gatherer.
Gather more, gather faster. We have already touched on some tips for gather more and gathering at the highest quality level; but how about gathering faster. If you want to really pimp out your gathering toon then take a look at some of the ways experienced gatherers max out their movement speed to get from node to node quickly. Rapid Maneuver in the PvP Assault Skill line is a must have. Like mundus stones? The Steed stone will give you a speed bonus. You can also use Champion Points to increase movement speed for gathering – again the Lover tree in the Thief Constellation will buff your speed at 120 points. Then there is the premier gatherers set: Fiord’s Legacy set increases your movement speed by 15% and reduces sprinting costs by 15%. Other sets that reduce sprinting costs are Darkstride and Prisoner’s Rags. Yes, if you are a Sorcerer, then here is a premier use for Streak! Lastly, you can make or buy speed potions. If you want to see the practical application of speed buffing in gathering take a holiday to the Hollow City in Coldharbour and watch the gathering mania for a few minutes – you will quickly get the picture. Yes, they also maxed the speed on their mounts.
There is one last important key to having the best build possible for supporting your merchant activities: maximum bag and bank space. This is less difficult, less pressing and less expensive now that ESO has introduced the Craft Bag with its infinite space for materials; but it does not solve the space requirements for non-crafting items like sets. The truly dedicated start gathering the minute they start their initial escape from Coldharbour and never stop. This results in a lot of inventory that has to go somewhere. Maxing out your toons bag capacity is job #1. The first few bag space upgrades are inexpensive and you have to just do it. Once you get to a certain level the upgrade costs get crazy and this is one of the best uses for your crowns: the highest levels of character bag upgrades and account bank space upgrades are perfect for spending crowns if you get them from your subscription. Crowns will also upgrade your mounts carrying capacity as well if you are in a hurry for space; but feeding the mount every day will get you there.
The ever-controversial Hireling passives in each crafting profession are not so controversial for this author. While the rate of gold item drops has been nerfed down measurably for hirelings since the beginning of the game, this was balanced by the gold drop rates going up from writs and refining so the changes have not diminished the long term value of hirelings in the basic crafts. While directly getting a gold drop is less common, you have an increased chance for drops from processing all of the ore, raw wood and scraps they deliver twice daily. In the case of Provisioning, the hirelings are one of only two reliable sources for the purple provisioning materials. The key to hirelings is a regular and disciplined login and collection practice every day you can manage. Many Master Merchants who have hirelings across multiple toons set alarms twice a day on their phones and have a way to log in and collect when the clock chimes.
Yes, everything that can be sold does sell; but when you are limited to 30 slots per guild and you are an active gather/trader then they start to fill fast. You want to make sure you get the best return from each slot by putting the most salable and highest cost items you have available in first. That said; keeping your guild slots full is the single most important discipline you can have if you want to make gold in Tamriel and help support your guild. Most active traders log in at least twice a day to collect sales and refill their guild store slots. If you have an empty slot and no higher-ticket items to put in – put in a stack of trait stones, or extra recipes. Every 20 gold adds up over time and keeping inventory high in your guild store makes that store even more attractive to buyers, which builds your business over time.
The high-ticket items are the purple and gold tempers, solvents and waxes along with the rarer and unique drop items from dungeons and trials. You do not need to have these constantly in inventory to make gold but doing dailies, and group boss runs are well worth the fun and adventure when the spoils hit your guild store. Beyond these items – here are some thoughts on what sells and what to sell:
Raw and Refined Materials – selling raw vs refining to level you toon and try for purple and gold drops is a personal choice. Both strategies work. If you do not have all your extraction passives maxed it can be a better return long term to sell the raw mats. You can always forgo the leveling benefit and level faster at the Sunday Noore Craft Faire. Until you have extraction maxed, taking the gold by selling the raw mats is a safe bet. All Provisioning mats sell well. Tip: sell in neat stacks – 10, 25, 50, 100 and 200 depending upon the mat. Packaging is proven to increase sales.
Drop Sets – Check everything interesting with Master Merchant if you are not sure about the value; then, sell or deconstruct appropriately:
White Items: sell plain items to a vendor, sell ornate to a vendor and sell intricate through your guild store. Do not use intricate items for your own leveling; sell them and bank the gold. Come to the Noore Sunday Craft Faire to level; faster and have a lot more fun.
Green items: sell plain items to a vendor, ornate to a vendor and intricate through your guild store. Set pieces from better sets can be sold through your guild store.
Blue/Purple/Gold items: set pieces from more common sets that are not in regular demand can be deconstructed for the tempers and mats; but higher quality set pieces can find a buyer. Check Master Merchant and price accordingly.
Recipes and Motif Books: They will always sell and the lower valued green recipes make good vendor slot fillers when you are low on higher value items. These can also be donated to the Guild bank for other guildies to use as they are leveling their skills. While this is true for everything you pick up on your quests, these items are especially helpful to your fellow guildies trying to level a new toon.
Intricate items: these always sell well. If you are not going to use them, sell through the guilds vendor or donate to the guild bank for guildies leveling alts.
Everything Else: Remember, everything sells. Just manage your precious guild vendor slots and get those high value items in first then keep the slots full with the lower value items when you need to. Most importantly: keep those slots full!!!
Well; there’s gathering and then there is artful gathering – aka stealing your way to wealth. This little missive is about making gold from a life of gathering and managing your inventory to get the best return and not about how to come by your goods. No questions asked, no judgements made. Suffice to say a day of artful gathering has proven for many to be almost as profitable as tradition quest gathering; and for the adventurous, a lot more fun.
To summarize the essential point of this little introductory guide, the most successful merchants in Tamriel have one common characteristic: discipline. At the most basic level, this is discipline in checking your vendor slots regularly and filling them every time you check. It can also be said that it is about the discipline to take an extra moment and gather everything, open everything, look everywhere. This is not so practical when you are running dungeons and trials with a group, but as a broad way of thinking about how to approach the game with gold as an objective – it is all about discipline.
Now go get the gold!!!