Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pricing your items

The key to success in almost any venture lies in having an edge. If you‘re the same as everybody else, you should‘t expect to have exceptional results. One of the best ways to give yourself an edge when running a bot on MTGO is by setting your own prices and making them competitive. 
The first step is deciding which cards you will price manually. There are a lot of cards in existence, and keeping tabs on all of them is probably not worth the effort for almost anyone. A common choice for those who do any manual pricing at all is to track standard only, relying on the mtgolibrary.com pricelist and the modifiers in the GUI for anything else. You can cut your work down even further by identifying any cards within which don’t require attention. Anything at the minimum value usually stays there, and the vast majority of cards go for that same minimum price. If you compile a few organized lists of cards you feel warrant your attention, you can check everything you feel you need to in very little time.
Once you’ve decided upon which cards you’d like to price and chosen a resource to check for changes, it’s time to create a PersonalPrices.txt file for your bot. If you have a lot of confidence, you can just go in and start creating pricelines for each card one by one until you’re done. The main reason I avoid doing this is to prevent typos which could cause the bot to pay too much for something, or sell it for too little.

 The following is an example of a price-base chart, a tool I use for setting my own prices.                                  
-- Sell; SellFoil; Buy; BuyFoil
-- 0.095;  0.7;    0.055;   0.12
-- 0.11;  0.75;   0.07; 0.15
-- 0.135;  0.8;  0.095; 0.20
-- 0.175;  0.9;  0.135;  0.35

What we have here is a small portion of a table of the prices we might assign for any given price for rares. I’m not suggesting that 0.095 is the right price for a junk rare, it’s just a visual aid. The pricing gods tend to use the same numbers over and over again, always jumping from 0.10 to 0.12 to 0.15 for example, so you don’t need a priceline for every single value possible. By typing them up in advance, you can eliminate the risk of devastating typos as you edit prices. Tables like these take only a few minutes to create, cutting out the bulk of the guess-work involved in manual pricing. Of course you’ll need a different price chart for each rarity, but it’s also advisable to have a different one for each set, and to swap out the price charts as demands change

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