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How to REALLY make Astral Diamonds in Neverwinter

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Pugsukker's Freebie Guide to Making Lots of ADs Quicker Through Long Term trade strategies

Perfect World recently issued a guide to making modest amounts of ADs, which might slightly offset the stealth increase in costs of resocketing gems. And all the while they have been nerfing of chests and delves which used to be the main 'unintelligent' ways of earning ADs. Also their servers got more stable and fewer exploits means a tougher time to make ADs through their errors.

By these methods I have made 70 million ADs quickly and always within T&C, despite starting the game a long time after delves were cost- effective, this guide shows the ways of legitimate trading It covers 4 or 5 different phases, which if followed make around 1 million ADs a day at weekends, and perhaps 500-750k on weekdays, in two hours work a day.

Most of these trade ideas are longstanding, and back-in-the-day I was one of the first players to use these methods in WoW to break the account limits for wowgold.

However it's still a question for many people as to why one should bother to make ADs. For myself I play for the financial tactics and because I am a hopeless raider I use this method to buy the very best gear for my toons to compensate for my incompetence... if you don't care about trading, that's okay, enjoy the 'main' game instead.

1. Starting off

If you want a headstart, since many of the methods I'm using require about 300,000 AD starting capital, you might need to buy a little ADs. Here's some extra ideas of how to build free ADs, apart from getting your credit card out, or doing the repetitive tasks PW recommend. These are different repetitive tasks at least !

- Sell off that peasant garb you got for free around level 5, that can be 4-6k for nothing. It says it's bound, but it ain't, which also goes for treasure caches, so....

- trade all your zone badgers for caches not for gear tokens (which you level past before you collect enough to get any usable gear). The caches can be sold for decent ADs.

- and yes do the praying, and dailies if you enjoy them

- and if you have a lot of character slots use them all to produce level one crafters or materials in the crafting window as well as praying, around level 11

- look at building a 3-phase cycle of buying underpriced items for AD, then selling them for gold, then buying items with the gold to sell for ADs, rinsing and repeating:

example: In my first month or so, I bought a lot of castoff uncommons and rares from the Auction House (AH) whenever it was an item whose gold value was above their AD value. So if an item was priced (or biddable) at a low price I bought it, and then vended it to an NPC. The exchange rate I worked from at that time meant a lv 60 rare (worth about 34 silver) needed to be below 340 ADs, so I bid or bought out in the 100-300 AD range.

Right now I see hundreds of unloved lv 60 rares at buyouts below 125 AD, and many with 1 AD starts. These vend for 34 silver, which you can gradually turn back into ADs at reasonable profit

Being in gold is trickier, as you have to find items which you can buy with gold that other people want to buy for ADs at the AH. In the past mounts and companions were good (not any longer really), then the rare items from vendors which showed up according to your level (now all bound I think), crafting tools (still works quite well), potions scrolls etc etc.

You will need to find your own little specialism, but you can expect to double your AD total every day if you choose carefully and think about the changes in the game at any point in time. For more detail see the general points at the end.

From the above methods, after 1-2 weeks of visiting the AH twice a day you should aim for a target of 50-100k ADs. If the markets are sleepy or tough then it may take longer, hence why you might go to the credit card for at least some ADs to save time. Or just run up capital in the same old boring ways PW suggests, especially if you have higher level toons.

2. Moving up to bigger things

At this time you have 50-100k ADs spare, and it's time to move into high profit-low outlay items. These are items that the sellers have foolishly listed at a low starting bid and a highish buyout - like '1 AD starting and 1000 AD buyout' for an item generally worth 800 AD. In consequence, their items will only attract (lots of) bids and no buyouts, and in my experience these sellers get between 30 and 60% of their value - you can get the rest of that value !

What you are basically doing is bidding at 'fire-sale' prices, and then selling them for profit at a more sensible buyout price.

One thing to bear in mind is that you need to avoid the obvious items because other people will outbid. What you are looking for is somewhat overlooked categories of items which still sell fast, but are not desirable to everyone on the server. Forget winning dragon eggs or epics for 1000 ADs for now.

The first characteristic of the game you must understand is that the speed of your AD accumulation is directly related to how quickly you can both buy and sell items. So you want to start off bidding for items that have an expiry in as short a time as possible, as this ties up the minimum amount of your working capital, as well as reducing the chance of your being outbid. (for specific details on outbidding read the section on how to massage the Gateway model to your advantage)

As far as selling is concerned generally I use the longer expiry times and then delist and relist as necessary. This is better than short expiry times mainly because more people will see your goods across the days, and because sales often go in pulses for each type of good, depending on day of week and so on. It's no use having expired items in your mailbox waiting for you to physically pick them up.

That also has implications for how many items you want to win, as you can only list 40 per toon and switching between toons is a real pain. So the ideal guideline I used early on was....

- to have 80% of my total ADs committed to about 200 item-bids expecting to win and list about 40. That is also the main reason to be sure you have 50-100k to start with, as you have to cover a lot of bids compared to the amount you will win.

- as your AD total rises, this will mean that you move steadily up from cheaper goods to ever more expensive goods, so as to maximize your leverage and get optimal returns

- if you have multiple alts put the majority of your bidding cash on just one alt, because this will stop you running out at the right time, and logging across different characters. Then you can use your other alts to sell or store if you really need to. Try to assign each alt a clear category else you will burn through bag space (this is the standard 'mule' type setup, no rocket science here...)

- at times you will need to transfer ADs and items between alts, so make sure you know the quirks of those systems. Since it is now public knowledge, the main way of moving ADs across was to create currency exchange offers of Zen for your ADs at the exchange (that no sane person would buy) and then log onto another character, cancel the currency offer and retrieve the ADs on your new owner. This is because the currency market can be made to behave as an account-wide bank (though you have to trust PW not to mess up in this respect).

By using the above trading methods you should aim to reach about 500k - 2 million ADs before the next phases, but if you are confident go for it when you feel ready.

3. The Auction House ninja/Sniper and how Gateway helps you win bids

Now it's time to accelerate your understanding of how the Auction House really works.

You will already have some experience of being outbid on items, especially at the last minute.

The secret I am about to tell you was the key to moving into a bigger league, and I estimate that only 40 or so people per server really know how to do it well. Doubtless this article will accelerate that process quickly, and flatten returns and annoy the others in the know. It might even get PW to improve their bidding system which really suxx, despite best intentions.

Unless things have improved, the ingame auction house is hopeless at submitting last minute bids.

The biggest and stupidest problem is that the Gateway allows bids for up to 1 minute and 20 seconds after the auction has ended on the ingame auction house. 

This is basically 'overtime bidding' and completely fubar, but now at least you don't have to worry about that yourself...

This is supposed to be an anti-sniping feature, extending bidding, which favours the sellers a tiny bit but really favours the button-mashing AH snipers and ninjas - like you...

So, how do you work this system to your advantage?

Well firstly you get lots of desirable items onto your bidding list at a lowish outlay early on, even if its 3 or 4 days away. (That's one reason why you need more ADs to start with, to start more bids, and higher bids on sexier items).

Then you sort your bids by shortest expiry time, get a stopwatch app and wait for the last 2 official minutes of the auction, and the 1 minute 20 of overtime bidding on Gateway.

By browsing on the item in Gateway, sorting properly (which again the in-game AH fails at), you can refresh the details as the last-minute and 'overtime' bids come in.

Your objective is to be the last bidder, not the most frequent, else you will burn through your ADs which will sit in your mailbox as the auction hots up, blocking you from bidding until you pick the outbid monies back up.

Conceivably you may need to bid 3 or 4 times, often one after another to try to block out other bidders from making a higher bid. Also be aware that (against T&C, though PW do nothing about this so far) some people have clearly set up an automated time routine, to bid last minute.

With practice and a stopwatch app I won about 50% of items, normally versus 3-5 other bidders. If there are only skilled bidders for an auction or illegal use of software then you might only win 20% of the time.

So, with this method you can accelerate into the 5-10 million range very quickly, but do be careful to diversify your bids and spread risk across lots of different goods.

4. Trading for fun and intellectual creativity

Once you are comfortably in the 10 million range you could just grind it out day after day. But all things lose their shine after a while, and actually the economy is quite small and won't let you monopolise every market.

So my choice was to have fun and use the AH as a financial sandbox. This is the time for you to use your own creativity, so I won't detail everything I enjoy doing, but here's a few fun ways to make more ADs....

- Invest in crafting, making sure you have just one grandmaster, and 4 mithral assets for the higher level items. Perhaps try having an uber-crafter who has all professions maxxed and all 9 slots, and all the assets, particularly since some of the assets can be shared across different crafts reducing your outlay. Crafting only makes big money at the highest levels or at threshold levels (like level 40). You can expect to make 50-100k per day per fully specced profession, a bit more if you really have nothing better to do than watch Gateway all day.

It's also fun to develop tactics that best use your assets and resources. Oh, and Leadership is for carebears who are happy with the crumbs from the high table, 'nuff said.

- Track and exploit the botting goldfarmers. Make sure you win and process all those stacks of level 5 enchantments into better things (hint-hint). Report the botters once you have made your money to make the goods more scarce. Report them again. And again, for fun :-)

- Establish monopolies and move the whole market up and down. Or even better spot another trader trying to do this and oblige him to pay you off by gradually hooking him into buying everything you have collected for this express purpose at ever increasing prices until he has run out of bagspace.

- Play the AD/Zen exchange, forming what some finance traders call a 'box-spread' or 'box-position'. No this isn't a karma sutra thing, in this case it means having large currency proposals at both high and low exchange rates. You win in a volatile market either way, and sometimes both ways!

The only time you don't win is if the market is stable. And then you just cancel the offers out at no loss.

- Speculate on how game-changes or player-base changes will affect the demand for certain goods. Buy up things that are likely to increase in value due to these changes. Damn PW for introducing a specific pack for artificing and weaponsmithing, rather than having new bonus assets to existing profession packs...

If you land up winning with 60% of your ideas you will make a lot of money, and if you win 85% of the time, then you are as good as me ! Please don't post that you win 100% of the time, because if that's so then you are not being bold enough.....also ofc it hurts my pride.

- Buy things with Zen to reprice higher/unbundle in the normal AD market

- buy yourself every luxury and time saver you can now afford

- and keep trying new strategies, add them here if you think they're amusing or effective....

Appendix - General hints on Trading

- Keep your AH visits short and fairly frequent. Your returns/hour diminish sharply the more time you spend. I would never want to spend more than 2 hours a day, and sometimes 30 minutes is enough.

- When selling, do not accept the automated prices. The spread between bid and buyout is too wide, and the buyout price is often too far above the other players who actually checked the prices first. Never ever do 1AD starting bids on something you are aiming to profit from (doh)

- When you sell don't aggro other sellers directly by 1 AD underbids or similar. Give the impression of a fair or straightforward price. Else some potential buyers will reject you as small-minded and mean.

- Keep your bids diversified across different types of goods, spread your risks so you can invest a higher proportion of your total ADs (ideally keep 20% safe as your float).

- Understand how prices change throughout the week and when new events or expansions arrive

- When bidding, experiment with the best approach to discouraging other bids, and try to use the quirks of the interface to your advantage

- Be ethical - don't scam in trade chat, and do report people who are making ADs by unethical means. If you have built a bespoke botting programme yourself then you have my grudging respect. If you're just using someone else's program and giving some hacker your dad's bank details, then you're a 'cock-a-roach' as Al Pacino would say.

Good luck.

You can find me on Beholder on Pugsukker, a new egg for my dragon collection would never be turned down !!!