Everything (and we mean everything) you need to know to strike it rich in FFXIV.
Now before the next major patch rolls around, and you'll see videos and articles pop up that will age poorly. I'll reveal to you the dark secrets your Lalafell overlords don't want to know about.
- 1 Getting Rich in an MMORPG isn't Hard
- 2 Morals and Ethics of the Market Board
- 3 The Value of Market Study
- 4 Timing the Market
- 5 Finding a Niche
- 6 Diversifying your Sales
- 7 Trickle Down Economics
- 8 Business Strategy and Execution
- 9 Investments and Calculated Risks
- 10 Market Manipulation
Getting Rich in an MMORPG isn't Hard
Welcome to Eorzean economics 101, please take a seat and get out your notebooks. Today we talk about how to consistently turn a profit. By either running content and getting lucky or by using questionable business tactics on the market board. There is a lot of ground to cover, some of it we've already been over in our 8 Ways to Make and Save Gil in Final Fantasy XIV piece. But some refreshing on the topic won't hurt either. While that article was more aimed at making some money on the side, this one will focus on how to turn consistent profit. And more importantly, how to play the market in your favor. Just be sure to have those crafters and gatherers levelled!
Morals and Ethics of the Market Board
In an ideal society, everyone makes money together. We all hold hands, sing songs and decorate our houses in Final Fantasy XIV. But not me, everyone is competition.
This ain't market day in pre school, this is the market board. A fair market, and ethical wages for your retainers should not concern you. We're talking about pure, unadulterated capitalism here. So let the dark secrets you learn here be a warning, that a free unregulated market might sound good on paper… but only one person can win that one. And if I had a say in that, it would be me.
One of the frequent complaints you'll hear about the market board are those damn undercutters. The practice of putting up an item on the market board for a lower price than what's currently the cheapest to sell faster. Now that's a valid complain, you can lose potentially millions of gil like that. That's on you you, because you expected to get the maximum value out of that item you just got from Heaven on High. But nothing is guaranteed. Personally, I'm all for undercutting others just so my wares sell faster. And there are two reason's for that. First, you're ensuring the stagnation of someone else's net worth. Why you may ask? Because in order for you to be rich, everyone else must be poor. And the second reason is just as simple, spite.
The Value of Market Study
Now lets get into the real nitty gritty of things. Before we start discussing how to put up wares, we have to identify what to put up in the first place. Your mind will probably go to equipment first, crafted gear is always used by new raiders. Hence it's also a market that's flooded on most servers. You can observe on patch day, how fast the prices will drop after a few hours because there is more supply than demand. So we get an endless series of undercutting, because everyone wants to cut their loses. And sooner or later the material cost is probably more expensive than the gear crafted.
So instead, what we're looking for is a steady market, current raid foods and consumable's are a great one to start with. Foods and tinctures are not hard to make, but getting the resources for them can be a little bothersome. So most raiders probably won't bother with it and buy them instead. Timing is also a factor here. So I suggest you take a look at the market of one or several foods over a week or two. Better yet, make a graph with the spreadsheet software of your choice. Figure out on what days the price is highest and the most volume gets sold. This won't be 100% accurate, but you can use last weeks data to predict the next week. Since most raiding groups are on a schedule, you can now play into this. By simply looking at the sale history tab, you can look up past prices and the volume being moved.
Timing the Market
From the data we collected from just looking at different markets, we can now figure out on what days, we'd potentially make the most money. Keeping the example from earlier, consumables. We know that weekly reset for raids is every Tuesday, and the day following is when most raiders will probably stock up on consumables. While towards the weekend, as more people are playing and crafting, supply will probably start to meet the demand again (and then some.)
What we're looking for here is the sweet spot. The day, maybe even the hour ,when we can sell fast and at high prices without being undercut.
Another thing to look out for is the general patch cycle and community happenings in Final Fantasy XIV. Even though it was a little botched on Square Enix's part, the recent increase in player housing was no joke. Very profitable for many gil purses actually. Stuff like the mini aetherytes that allow teleporting to player housing, orchestrions and popular decorations sold really fast, and at decent prices. Lots of business oriented players had their eyes on this for weeks, and had been preparing for that day. Crafting things in advance, buying out small markets and inflating prices just before the servers went down for maintenance. All valid strategies.
The one thing you should always be aware of, is the big rush whenever a new set of crafting gear comes out. Or when new cosmetics like glamour's from treasure hunts or rewards for other type of content are added. Its important to get in on that early. The longer an item is out, the bigger the chances are that the supply will exceed the demand. Causing the prices to drop.
Finding a Niche
Market research is important, we've clarified that. But just because a market has a high turn over rate, that doesn't mean its worth the risk. Sometimes big plays take off and sometimes they don't. So you should rather try and find a safe niche market on your server that no one else really caters to. Certain dyes that no one crafts, that one crucial crafting material for something a little out of the way like airships and houses. Or rare raw materials that are just a pain to grind out. If you are a crafter yourself, you should have a general idea of the kinds of material I'm talking about. If not, crafting materials that are dropped from older hard dungeons and the Binding Coils raids are also a great source of income.
Diversifying your Sales
This is starting to sound more and more like a pitch to buy crypto, but I swear its not! Anyways, diversify your assets! What the hell does that mean? Simple, just don't focus on one item or market. Don't put all your eggs in one basket, try to cover as much as possible and experiment around. And switch up things should it not work. That way we can ensure nice, long-term profits without having to rely on rare item drops or big plays. What we're looking for is a stable income, so we can develop a budget which we can then use to mess around with. While the small markets you cater to won't probably not make as much money as other things, they are a steady source of income. And you can usually attend to these by sending out your retainers to gather rare materials or by doing the occasional crafting binge.
Trickle Down Economics
If you have a large stock of, lets say the current ilvl 580 fending top. Your first instinct will probably be to throw all of them on the market board to clean up your inventory. Easy mistake to make, but the last thing you want to do is over-saturate a market. We want to create false scarcity of cheap items. If you would list lets say 5 of those tops, undercutting the next lowest competitor by 10%. Everyone in this market will be more likely to try and undercut you now. Instead put them up one by one, or even better undercut yourself with your second retainer. Just make sure it doesn't look like you're stepping on anyone's toes while you're making all that profit underneath their noses.
Same goes for materials as well; the last thing you want to do is put several stacks of one item on the table at once. And try and sell smaller volumes. Some crafters sometimes only need 10 or 40 or a materials. And they usually don't bother paying a little more, instead of having to go through the hassle of selling off their leftover materials.
Business Strategy and Execution
Now that we've gone over how to analyze the market and how to work with it. We can apply this and formulate a strategy. For example; On most servers, crafting materials from older extreme trials sell for decent prices once crafted. Especially the fancy weapons with effects, chocobo barding's and housing items that you can make with them. So first we take a look at the market board and find out that most of the Tsukiyomi stuff is barely available and goes for decent price. So we go gather a small party, maybe shoot up the party finder with the dubious ‘just for clears maybe farming after' tag. And gather a band of misfits. With a few max level characters, that and most other encounters are pretty much a joke unsynced.
And while we farm the fight, where most other players will probably go for the weapon drops or the mount. We're hunting for the material drop instead. While doing this farm for lets say two hours. We send out our retainers to gather some rare materials for us to sell. The A Realm Reborn endgame materials usually sell pretty well.
Depending on your luck, you might end up with a few housing items and the materials. Now we craft as many of the weapons as we can, but before we check the market history tab. Here we can see which one's are bought fairly frequently and which ones aren't. Of course we only make the frequently sold ones and slowly sell them one by one, to not incite an undercutting war. On the side we sell the materials gathered by our retainers, and the housing item's we may have gotten. And that's easily a few million for just two hours of mindless farming.
Investments and Calculated Risks
Gil that sits in your Free Company chest, or in your inventory can't grow. Its static and if you like it or not. As in the real world, inflation is a thing and with every second that money isn't put to use, it loses value. So we invest like the good, forward thinking and ruthless economists we are. While we do our basic sales, we should always but some money aside for these kinds of investments. Housing items, minions or certain glamour's that are expensive too craft?
Look at the cost of material and then what the item crafted will sell for. As long as we can turn a profit after taxes, we turn a profit and make our money grow. A current example would be the Varsity Jacket, a popular glamour item that, at least on my server goes for 1.9 million per jacket. The only expensive ingredient is the Exciting Fiber for around 1.5 million per material. We only need one of them and the jacket is fairly easy to craft, since no one will bother with high quality for a glamour item.
So now by just buying the material and selling the crafted the jacket, we make a fat profit of 400k gil for little to no work. And even if someone else has the same idea. The chances that we are losing out on profit, with a 400k margin are little to none. It's not important how much of a profit you make, as long as you are turning one. It was a good investment. Now you are free to apply this principle to other strategies. Material or food way cheaper on another world in your datacenter? Go buy it for cheap there, and sell it on your own for a profit. Just keep in mind the 5% tax you'll have to pay when buying or selling items.
I assume, most players don't really care about the free market as much as you and I. They are just pawns in our game. Calculated risks are fine and all, but what about the big plays? The ones that turn a big profit by slimy methods? Sure.. All the elements mentioned before will play into this, and if you're willing to become unethical and unhinged. Here are some examples to inspire you:
The Dump and Pump
Here's an easy play that worked for me when the new housing district went live. For weeks, I've flooded the market of Miniature Aetherytes, slowly driving the prices down till they were only a fraction of what they were before. Technically, you can just get them from your grand company, but in the excitement of getting a new house people will eagerly pay for one to show it off to their friends.
So, after dropping the price down to an acceptable level I bought out the entire market not even an hour before the lottery was drawn. Then I put them back up for an inflated price, little by little throughout the day. Turned a pretty decent profit by just turning in the loot I got from dailies for the aetherytes and a little foresight. I'm not saying you should try this when the next lottery gets resolved… but.
This is a bit more difficult to pull off, might require a bit of capital but can be really useful. Let's say, for whatever reason, I'm sitting on a stock of Savage Aim Materia X. Late into the patch with everyone geared prices will usually fall. But if you have the gil to invest, and enough stock to make it worth it. We go and buy out the market, assuming its not as active as it used to. Until we land on a price that is acceptable for us. Now instead of trying to sell off everything as fast as possible, we want to ensure the price stays stable. And assuming no one else is trying to make a play here, we can over time casually inflate the prices for Savage Aim Materia X. And make our big money once patch 6.2 rolls around, when all the raiders are rushing to get to BiS and round out their equipment by overmelding gear. I'm not saying you should do this.. but..
Lets say there is a certain item that has a decent turn over rate. But there is a problem, someone already has the market for that item cornered. Now, it would be a shame if someone would, over the course of several weeks. Flood the market and deflate the prices, so the initial seller might want to look for other options. Just make sure to remember retainer names. And try to use all of your retainers to make it look like multiple people are trying to play that particular market. But, if you are the sole supplier sooner or later, you get to make the price.
Me, myself and I
Having multiple retainers is a nifty thing, especially when you have several alts with retainers. Doubly useful if you have the means to move items between them. So here's my super exclusive strategy, free for you to use and cause chaos with. You unlock retainers at level 17 by doing the MSQ. This can take you around 4-5 hours with skipping cutscenes. Now assuming you pay just the full subscription for the game. You get two retainers that you can now use to your hearts content. Make sure to give all your retainers very distinct names, to make it look like they belong to different players.
Now you can start cornering markets, undercut yourself to create price scarcity and move sales faster. Or simply have way more slots to sell with than anyone else. And if you're really serious about this. You can hire extra retainers on the Mog Station, the subscription for an extra retainer will apply to all your characters, so make sure to get the value out of it!
By applying strategy and a failed business degree, the market board of Final Fantasy XIV turns into a playground. A playground for those with high ambitions, want for profit and most importantly flexible ethics.
Now that I've revealed my secrets to you, some might start to wonder why I did this. Why would I expose my secrets and risk my profit? That's all part of the plan. Now let's get out there and be somebody.