I sell runes. A lot of runes.
In the past 59 months I've sold over 251,000 runes and have
grossed just over 200 million in gold just from runes. I sell
about 152 runes a day, every day, and the average rune sells
for 794 gold. And that doesn't even cover the runes I sold
for about 13 months where I wasn't keeping track. Have I got
Many shops "dabble" in rune sales (i.e., one vendor
selling some city runes or with five or six locations inconsistently
stocked) and there are some notable rune libraries (some of
which have my name on the runebooks) around Lake Superior
but you have to recall to the library and then to the location
you're heading to, thus wasting a set of recall reagents.
In my mind, it's always been better to have the runes available
to you wherever you are. And now with runebooks staying with
you when, God forbid, you die, there is no reason to leave
those frequently used runes in the bank. However, in speaking
with other shop owners, I often hear the misconception voiced
that a shop, which primarily sells runes, won't make any gold.
As you can see from the above numbers, nothing is further
from the truth.
My purposes in writing this article are to update the information
from the original article (there have been tons of changes
since the original article was written over two years ago),
to describe my shop, Runeland (tm) West, and to pass on some
tips on how others can be successful at setting up similar
How I Got Started
I got into the travel business by accident. I, like many
other fledgling mages, struggled to hone my craft through
the normal steps:
- Hunt to earn gold to buy reagents.
- Use the reagents to practice magery.
Oftentimes, the shop in Trinsic (where I started) ran out
of reagents. So I had to make the Trinsic-to-Britain run (literally)
a few times a week. As you can imagine, for a relatively young
mage, this trek was not only fairly tedious (moongate travel
was much less predictable in the early days so overland travel
seemed to be almost as fast and certainly more interesting)
but was also treacherous as both hostile creatures and those
who preyed on weaker people were in abundance (Trammel had
not been discovered yet).
When I was finally able to build my magery skill high enough,
I began to experiment with the Mark spell, casting it very
inconsistently at first, but with more accuracy through practice.
I, as many before me, marveled at the ease with which marked
runes aided in travel.
I then set out to explore Sosaria. I got into the habit of
marking a rune at each city that I encountered and was eventually
able to get all 14 cities plus the entrance to Wind marked
(the Lost Lands had not been discovered at this time). I also
moved from Trinsic to Moonglow, where reagents were more plentiful
(due in no small part to the presence of six mage shops).
It was around this time that I began to see and hear people
congregate around the bank to sell their wares. After mentioning
my collection of runes, which now also included the seven
dungeon entrances and the nine shrines, I was asked by friends
to make sets for them. After doing this a few times (and after
NOT hearing others selling similar items) I decided to try
to sell runes at the bank. The idea quickly caught on and
I was almost immediately swamped with orders. Not only was
I earning gold at a very good rate but my skill in magery
(by now at an adept level) was also improving on a consistent
rate. It was a win-win situation. The gold I earned allowed
me to purchase a tent (yes, I've been around THAT long), which
was placed outside of the west gate of Moonglow (the shop's
original location), and to hire the services of a vendor,
once they became available, to sell runes and rune sets for
me. This endeavor was successful enough to eventually lead
to the replacement of the tent with a shop and the addition
of six more rune vendors. Finally the shop became so successful
that I was able to open a second shop (Runeland (tm) West)
How Do I Sell So Many Runes?
It's actually quite easy but is a lot of work in practice..
I no longer sell runes individually (I'll explain why in
a bit) but I have sold a considerable number of individual
runes (around 21,000) so, for those that would like to do
so, I'll discuss how I used to do it...
When the original shop in Felucca was working at peak capacity,
I had 6 rune vendors. Four of these sold individual runes
while the other 2 sold sets. The individual rune vendors were
organized in the following manner:
- Each vendor had a book (designated as "not-for-sale")
that was labeled with the types of runes being sold - "Felucca
Cities," for example.
- I used rows of single coins as "place markers."
These were labeled with the name of the rune that was for
sale (which was placed below the coin) and with the price
for that rune. Not only did this give me an easy way to determine
what was selling (and what to restock), it also let the potential
buyer know what was available, even if I was out of a particular
rune at the time. As an interesting aside, I occasionally
found that careless people would buy the placeholder coins
for the price of a rune (oops!).
- I placed the runes on the vendor in alphabetical order.
This made finding the right rune easier for the customer.
On the set vendors, I again used the book to indicate whether
the sets are for Felucca or Trammel. However, I didn't use
coins as place markers. Since I was never sure from day-to-day
what sets would be sold, I would just group the same sets
together. In addition, I used a pack bag to hold sets that
include 2 or more books (like Mage and Armor Shop sets). I
also dyed the bags that contain the same sets the same color
(i.e., Felucca Mage Shop set bags were dyed purple while the
Trammel Mage Shop set bags were dyed green, etc.). Since I
do still sell multiple sets to guilds fairly regularly, they
and others come to associate the color with a certain set
so it makes it easy for them to locate the set they want.
With the introduction of rune/runebook dye tubs, I continue
the practice of using a consistent dying scheme for runebooks.
The day-to-day operation of the shop was fairly routine once
the organization of the vendors was set up. Each day, I would
check the individual rune vendors and restock runes that were
out of stock. Then I would work on special orders (if I had
any). Once those were caught up, I would work on sets that
I thought would sell.
As noted above, I no longer sell individual runes except
under special circumstances, such as getting a request for
an especially interesting location that I don't sell otherwise
(i.e., as part of some sort of set). The primary reasons for
this are pretty simple - space, convenience, and profit. With
the discovery of the "recipe" for runebooks, I could
place a full city set on a vendor and only take up one item
slot instead of 16 item slots for individual city runes. Plus,
my experience has been that most people prefer buying a full
set of something with one click versus piecing that same set
together through 16 clicks (human factors as a science works
well in this setting). Finally, once runebooks were introduced,
the volume of sales (and profit) increased exponentially.
It's just basic math - if, on a vendor, I sell individual
runes for the 16 traditional Trammel cities (the 14 Sosarian
cities plus the two Lost Land cities), I gross 2950 gold (175
x 14 plus 250 x 2). However, if I sell 16 Trammel City runebooks
(which include these same 16 runes) at 4250 per book (my current
price), I gross 68000 gold. Thus, the decision regarding continuing
to sell individual runes or selling only runesets in runebooks
quickly becomes a "no-brainer."
A Sample Marking Session
The process of marking is simple to the point of being automatic.
I break everything down into 6's and 8's (rows and columns
of blank runes, respectively, within a pack bag). The reason
for this is more practical than mystical. I currently have
an intelligence of 120, a magery skill of 120, and a meditation
skill of 100. I can mark six runes and still have about 25
mana left (this is important in the event that you're marking
a dangerous spot and need to either fight or flee quickly).
Eight columns are used because it's a real trick to neatly
get 9 or more in one of those bags. It takes some practice
to quickly line up the runes but it makes keeping them organized
(a CRITICALLY important issue) so much easier. Here's how
it looks with 96 runes:
In addition, runebooks carry 16 runes so lining up the runes
in 8 columns means 2 rounds of blank rune buying for a run
of 6 full books. So, prior to going on a marking run, I make
6 runebooks, usually buy at least 48 blank runes, and carry
75 of each of the recall reagents (black pearl, blood moss,
and mandrake root, which, coincidentally, are also the 3 mark
reagents - This does not take into account the use of armor
with lower reagent cost properties. I'll talk about this later).
I take about 5-8 minutes to get the runes organized and then
I'm off to mark.
During a "rune run" (a marking session), I recall
to the location I'm marking, move away from the landing area
one or two steps in some direction (except for ore location
sets or treasure map location sets - more on these later).
I then mark (usually) six runes. Never, never, never mark
where you first land (other than the exceptions noted above)
as you don't want your master rune blocked. I try hard to
mark in a slightly different place on each "run"
that I make to decrease the chances that the buyer will be
blocked but it's not practical from a time perspective to
change the location each individual time you mark. The odds
of someone recalling to the same spot at the same time within
a lot of 6 marked runes are fairly remote and I have not had
complaints of this happening. I then relabel each rune using
UO Curse (thank you Xena!). A friend suggested this to me
and it has cut my marking time by 30 percent (I actually timed
it once when I was bored). I then actively meditate (my mana
has usually passively regenerated to about 65-70). When I
hit full mana capacity, I recall to the next spot and repeat
the process. Using the above steps, I can mark 6 full Trammel
City sets (96 runes) in about 35-40 minutes. For the treasure
map location sets, I mark them one-step south (or east if
south is blocked by terrain) of the actual location of the
chest in order to avoid blocking by the chest. I also make
sure the customer knows this. For the ore location sets, I
mark the rune at the place where my miner found the vein.
There is a chance of blocking but customers are paying for
the exact location so blocking is tolerated a bit more.
Why Does the Shop Work So Well?
I am convinced that there are five reasons the shop is as
successful as it is.
The first reason is location. Runeland (tm) was located outside
the west gate of Felucca Moonglow for over the 3 years. It's
on the way to great animal hunting and to the Lycaeum. It's
close to the city gate and is relatively pk-free. I've also
been very firm about antisocial activity in the shop. If I,
or any of the other vendor owners, observe any attempts to
harm or harass customers, the offending individual is banned,
period - no warnings, no exceptions. Given the relative uniqueness
of the shop, this threat (followed through with on several
occasions) has been a very effective deterrent. So most of
the time, the customers mind their manners. In the original
shop, the customer make up could be very interesting with
both reds and blues intermingling. The Trammel shop, Runeland
(tm) West, is located due west of the Moonglow moongate along
the coast. As with the original shop, the woods of southern
Moonglow are full of resources (both wildlife and trees) and
the shop is also near some other popular shops. Pks are, of
course, not an issue. The shop has now been open for about
3 years and I have yet to ban anyone.
Second, the shop usually offers a good selection of merchandise:
In addition to the rune vendors, the shop has several general
item vendors, a scroll vendor, an add-on vendor, and a bowcrafting
vendor. I often also have the services of a potion vendor
but the turnover has been high - I think I've had 5 during
the 6 years the shop has been in operation. I've never really
understood why this is. I should note that others run the
scroll and potion vendors. When I've had six rune vendors
running at the same time, they've been organized in the following
way: Two individual city rune vendors (one each for Felucca
and Trammel); two individual dungeon and shrine rune vendors
(again one each for Felucca and Trammel); and two set vendors
(one each for Felucca and Trammel, yet again). In the past,
I have also had a vendor set up solely for the Lost Land entrances
and locations and a vendor for Specialty Areas, such as islands
or other landmarks of note. Currently, I have two vendors
selling runes: one vendor selling Felucca runesets and one
vendor selling Trammel runesets (I place the one regular Malas
runeset that I sell on the Trammel vendor).
Third, for the most part, the shops have been stocked on
a pretty consistent basis. Note: an inconsistently stocked
shop will kill a business! I'm not the first to say this but
the concept applies to the travel business just as it does
in any other business. Now, every shop owner has had times
when he or she has had to be away for extended periods of
time and the vendors have sold out. If this happens every
once in a while there's usually not a problem. However, if
you have empty vendors for long periods of time, kiss any
regular clientele goodbye. You not only lose out on immediate
sales but there's a ripple effect in that a customer coming
for a runeset you're out of is less likely to return in the
future. I work hard to keep the vendors stocked with the "basic"
runesets (described below) at least. If I'm not going to be
in game for a bit due to RL work, vacation, etc. then I leave
a message to that effect at the shop.
Fourth, my customers know that they can trust my runes. This
is going to sound obvious but it's important enough to warrant
mentioning directly: complete and accurate labeling is critical!
I like to know where I'm going to land when I recall and I
assume that customers are the same. So, here's how to label
a rune: double-left click on the already marked rune, which
then leads to a prompt for a new label. I use several naming
conventions depending on the set I'm marking. Most runes are
labeled using the following format: "<name of location>
- <specific area within the location>". For instance,
a typical city set rune might be labeled, "Moonglow -
Center of Town." A rune in a mage shop set might be labeled,
"Britain - The Sorcerer's Delight." When the Lost
Lands were opened, I started using the prefix "[T2A]:"
for any rune marked within the Lost Lands so that the buyer
knew that he or she couldn't recall to it from a regular Sosarian
location. Now that direct recall is possible in Trammel, I've
dropped this convention. I've also used the "[T]:"
prefix for Trammel runes but my customers are now pretty familiar
with the Felucca/Trammel/Malas color schemes in runebooks
(green, purple, and gray, respectively), so I have stopped
An additional, but no less important, aspect of this issue
is to make sure that the rune is labeled correctly!!! I have
a good friend who told me that, before he discovered Runeland
(tm), he bought a rune to the entrance to Hythloth (he thought).
The first (and only) time he recalled off the rune, he ended
up in Hythloth just as the rune said. However, instead of
the entrance, he recalled to the 4th level. Now, I don't know
how many of you have been to the 4th level of Hythloth but
I was there once for about 15 seconds before I was killed
by a daemon and I went there knowing where I was heading...
To say my friend was surprised would most likely be an understatement.
Runes aren't like GM armor where you can see a maker's mark,
so you're really asking your customers to trust that the rune
goes where you say it does. Now, runes are imprinted with
the facet they were marked in which helps but there are still
a lot of places to land within each facet. To my knowledge,
I have sold 15 runes that were mislabeled. I apparently wasn't
paying attention while marking (I think South Park was on
at the time) and I replaced those as fast as I could (luckily,
12 of those were to the same location). Everyone makes mistakes
now and then but mistakes on a regular basis are a disaster
for any shop.
This issue is especially critical if you choose to sell high-end
(i.e., expensive) runesets, such as ore location or treasure
map runesets. I used the Treasure Hunters of Britannia's maps
for setting up my treasure map set. These are placed in the
runebooks in the order that the THB has them but are labeled
with coordinates of the chest. For the ore location sets,
the labels are the abbreviation of the ore plus my location
number, as in "A #13," "Ve 3," or "B
Finally, I try to add new sets on a regular basis. Right
now, I can sell about 30 different sets for either Felucca
or Trammel. I don't have the time to keep all 30 stocked at
all times so what I do is keep some sets in stock regularly.
These usually include city and dungeon entrance sets, mage
shop sets, and bank sets. I'll mark other types of sets when
someone requests them or when I have some idle time. I get
ideas for new sets when a customer asks me to mark a set that
I don't presently carry or when a situation arises that makes
sense for a new set. The most recent set I've added was one
for Trammel that includes locations for the seven static quests
(i.e., the Solen Quests, the Collector's Quest, and the Hag's
Quest). The set is a 48-rune, 3-book set that sells for 35k.
I've sold about 200 sets so far. I'll also experiment with
sets to see what sells. FYI, on Lake Superior, Bank sets sell
very well while Bowyer sets don't (well, they do sell, just
not as fast as other sets). This experimentation is also attractive
to regular customers, especially those looking to build rune
libraries. Anything new is "another book for the library!"
Pricing Issues (Warning: Technical!)
Pricing sets has represented an evolutionary process. Here
are the issues I have considered when pricing runes and runesets:
Runes currently cost about 28 gold each to make - 1 blank
rune (average cost: 15 gold), 1 black pearl (average cost:
5 gold), 1 blood moss (average cost: 5 gold), and 1 mandrake
root (average cost: 3 gold). Runebooks cost about 89 gold
to make - 8 blank scrolls (average cost: 40 gold), 1 blank
rune (average cost: 15 gold), 1 gate travel scroll (average
cost to make: 16 gold), and 1 recall scroll (average cost
to make: 18 gold). I'm aware that the above doesn't take into
account the cost to recall to the location prior to marking
(but I do include that in my Excel spreadsheet). Factoring
in the cost of the runebook and the recalling to and marking
of a location results in a cost per rune in a runebook of
just a tad over 39 gold. I don't completely fill every runebook
I sell - some full sets have only six runes in them whereas
some two-book sets have only one rune in the second book (the
Trammel Bank set for instance) so those of you who make of
point of filling books completely should expect a slightly
lower cost per rune in a runebook result.
My pricing policy has evolved over the past six years as
Initial Rune Pricing
When I started selling runes in Felucca, the pricing of individual
runes was originally fairly straightforward. Cities were 100
gold (Delucia, Papua, and the entrance to Wind were 150);
Shrines were 125 if on the mainland and 150 if on an island;
and Dungeon entrances were 175. Sets for these were calculated
by adding up the individual runes that made up the sets and
adding 750 for the runebook. For example, a Felucca Dungeon
set sold for 1975 (175 x 7 + 750), which led to a rough profit
of 1655 (1975 - 320). Not a bad way to make a living (and
I couldn't keep them in stock)! A last constant that I used
was 150 for islands.
When the Lost Lands were discovered, I continued to use the
above as a base but added another factor: dangerousness. So,
when selling a rune to Cyclops (or Titan) Valley, the price
jumped to 300; and a rune to the Terathan Temple cost 350
(the same price as a rune to the butte near the Ophidian Stronghold).
The other locations were variants of the prices.
The above prices form the basis from which the other Felucca
rune sets were derived. When selling a new rune, I considered
already established prices for a comparable rune. For instance,
when a specialty set was created (bowyer or tinker shops,
for example), I used the formula 125 times the # of locations
in the set + 750 per runebook included. I chose 125 for the
price of an "in-city" specialty rune since it goes
to a very specific location. In this example, Felucca Tinker
shop sets sold for 1875 (125 x 9 + 750). The Felucca Mage
Shop set (the very first specialty set I sold) was set up
in a slightly different fashion. I initially made this set
up for my own use (to purchase reagents primarily) and eventually
started selling them at the shop. I assumed that others would
pay reasonably well for the convenience of going straight
to the shop they're heading to and simply picked a price that
I felt was fair - 6000 gold per set in this case.
The Trammel Variations
All of the above applied until Trammel was introduced. You
may recall the amazing prices being charged for runesets right
after Trammel opened. For instance, I remember seeing someone
actually charging 10000 gold for a set of Trammel cities (and
keeping a straight face)! I chose not to charge triple (or
even quadruple, in some cases) the prices of my Felucca sets
for Trammel sets. Instead, I assumed the demand would be higher
for these new sets and felt it was reasonable to charge more
as a result. So, I chose to multiply the price of the corresponding
Felucca set by a factor of 1.75 to arrive at the Trammel price.
So the Felucca City set that I sold for 2425 gold became the
Trammel City set that I sold for 4250 (2425 x 1.75 = a rounded-up
price of 4250). I have no idea where I came up with that multiplier
but it's worked well to this day and sales of Trammel sets
have outpaced Felucca every year except the first.
Ouch! I've Been Pk'd...Again!
The last major pricing policy occurred about two years ago,
following an especially difficult week during which I was
killed by reds on several occasions while marking Felucca
runesets. After the last death, I started questioning my decision
to have different prices for Felucca and Trammel, especially
when I was charging about 40% less for the more dangerous
facet! So, I decided to increase the Felucca set prices to
"Trammel-level." It's worked out fine - sales are
still better for Trammel but now, if I'm killed while marking
in Felucca, I'm consoled somewhat by the fact that I'm paid
pretty well to take the risk.
The final pricing issue is the pricing of high-end runesets.
By high-end, I'm referring to any set that I sell for over
25k. Currently I sell seven such sets: In Trammel, I sell
the aforementioned Quest Set (35k), a Lockpicking Set (75k),
an ore location set (300k), and a Treasure Map Locator set
(500k); in Felucca, I sell an ore location set (400k) and
a Treasure Map Locator set (600k); and in Malas, I sell an
ore location set (350k).
When I initially decide to sell a set in these price ranges,
I frankly research the heck out of the locations included.
The first set I sold was the Felucca ore set. This was constructed
in the following fashion: 1) I did an initial survey of the
mining areas with a miner (duh!) while working his skills
up to GM-level; 2) I mapped the sites using UO Automap, making
special note of those sites that yielded at least 6 large
ore; and 3) Once at GM-level, I revisited each site with a
colored ore that initially yielded at least 6 large ore and
those sites that seemed low in their yield (i.e., a site that
only yielded 7 large iron piles) as these seemed to be likely
locations of Agapite, Verite or Valorite veins. If the site
yielded at least 6 large ore a second time, a rune was marked
at the spot, numbered (e.g., Ve #1, for Verite #1), and placed
in a runebook. I was able to fill two books for each color
up through Agapite and more than one book each of Verite and
Valorite. This process took about 2 months of fairly concentrated
effort per facet to complete. I was then able to start advertising
the set. The "gimmick" to this set is that I use
random number tables to assign individual sites to the set
so the likelihood of two people getting the exact same locations
is astronomical. People, myself included, like to know that
they're receiving a "one of a kind" item. One factor
that also helps with this "uniqueness" notion is
that I do not sell individual ore books (i.e., a single book
with just Valorite in it) although I get asked pretty routinely.
My reasoning is that it's not fair to those who have shelled
out 300k or 400k for a full set of books. People have gotten
"cranky" with me on this but I've been pretty firm
on the issue.
To be honest, I can't remember exactly how I came to the
original price of the Felucca Ore set (300k) but I do recall
getting the notion that around 2000 gold per site sounded
about right, especially when considering the research time
involved. Rounding that up to 300k worked pretty well. After
Felucca resources were doubled, I increased the price to 400k
and have since sold about 50 sets.
Finally, the other high-end sets (t-map, quest, and lockpicking)
were priced based on the amount of time it took to set them
up, the amount of time it takes to mark a set, the number
of books/runes included (13/200, 3/48, and 2/32, respectively),
and the dangerousness of the locations included. The Felucca
T-Map set is somewhat unique in that I hate making the set,
so I set the price at 600k thinking that no one would pay
such a crazy price and I wouldn't have to mark a set... Shows
what I know - I've sold about 30 sets :).
Here are some general tips/issues to consider if you're thinking
about becoming a "travel agent":
- I strongly recommend that you GM Inscription. If you are
a mage, you get a bonus to some spells. In addition, you
fail much less when making the components for runebooks,
especially the 7th circle spell, gate travel. Finally, as
a GM Scribe, you have a chance to affix a maker's mark on
each exceptional runebook you make. This maker's mark (i.e.,
my name) acts as an ad for those who see it. I can't tell
you the number of times that people have walked up to me
and said, "I have a runebook with your name on it."
- When deciding what runesets to sell, I suggest you start
off with the two basic sets: Cities and Dungeon Entrances.
You will sell these night and day, all day long. While a slight
exaggeration, I probably do sell anywhere from 12-18 of each
per week per facet. Once you've sold these for a while and
built up some funds, I recommend selling Banks and Mage Shops
next. Then it's up to you (or to your regular customers who
will tell you what they want). The choice is really broad
and I cannot overemphasize this point: I have NEVER made a
set that didn't sell. I don't mean that to sound as arrogant
as it may come across but my point is that even 6 Grocer Shop
sets will sell eventually, just not anywhere near as fast
as 6 City sets.
- People like owning runesets to dangerous locations. Whether
they actually recall to the spots is another issue... I use
a couple of strategies for marking dangerous areas. First,
if I'm marking Felucca areas that are outside guard zones,
I find that marking during off-hours, especially early in
the day (relative to the time zone of the server, of course)
leads to less problems with aggressive players. Second, if
I'm marking Trammel or Malas dungeon areas, making the sets
during the evening seems to make most areas less dangerous
due to the increased likelihood of there being other players
around your marking areas who are attending to the spawn.
The one exception to this is that I run into treasure hunts
in progress pretty routinely in the evening. The strategies
for dealing with this is simple - run and hide! Then apologize
:). Additionally, I've developed a Stealth Mage that I use
to mark deadly areas such as Hythloth Level 4 or Destard Level
3. He can recall to a relatively safe area, walk to the dangerous section, and
mark when it's safe.
- Get a copy of UO Curse and load your rune labels in to
use when marking. You can also use it to set the price and
labels for runesets on your vendor. As I noted above, using
UO Curse to label runes has cut about 30% of the time it used
to take to mark runesets. I'll further the argument for its
use by saying that when marking Treasure Hunting Location
sets, I've cut about 50% of the time it used to take by using
UO Curse. Imagine having to manually key in 200 different
coordinates per set in an accurate fashion! It gets the old
carpal tunnel acting up just thinking about it...
- As you would probably guess from this essay, I like writing
creative ads to describe high-end sets. My belief is that
when people see the detail that you put into the ad, they'll
recognize that you put the same effort into making sure
your sets are as promised. I lay out the pluses, such as
ore yield data, and minuses (if any), such as dangerousness
of the sites or the changes to the ore spawn that occurred
with publish 14. I try to set up the ad so that people have
all the information they need to decide if the set is for
them at the, usually high, price that I set. You can see
examples of my ads on the Lake Superior section of Tradespot.
- Once you get some gold in the bank, strongly consider
investing in a 100% Lower Reagent Cost suit of armor. While
it doesn't have any effect on your use of reagents while
you scribe, it does mean that you don't need to carry ANY
reagents when you mark. Soon after AoS was released, I purchased
two sets for 2 million each. I see them for sale now on
Lake Superior for anywhere from 600k to 1 million per set,
depending on the other modifiers. On a related note, if
you're not yet at a point where you can buy one of these
beauties, you may be able to purchase reagents at a lower
price than the mage shops sell them for. Go to any of the
faction towns in Felucca and check the faction reagent sellers
(on Lake Superior, they tend to be around banks). Many of
them sell reagents pretty cheaply (for example, 3 gold per
Black Pearl instead of 5 gold per at the regular mage shops).
- I like creating high-end runesets that give the buyer
the opportunity for making his/her gold back. For instance,
I've been told by several purchasers of the ore sets that
you can make your investment back (300k to 400k depending
on the facet) within a week or two if you're motivated. I've
personally tried out the quest set and found that even casually
completing the Hag's Quest two to three times a day can lead
you to recoup your 35k investment within about a week (plus
it gets you close to the first level of Sacrifice and self-resurrections).
- Last tip is to make sure you know your rune locations!
I'll start by speaking about the high-end sets. I (via my
miner) personally found every one of the ore locations that
are included. I can't say the same for the t-map sets but
I have confirmed about 75% of the sites (i.e., I've seen
the chest and either confirmed the coordinates or updated
them). I've also tested the chests in the Lockpicking sets
(my stealth mage is also a high master in Lockpicking).
The point is that if you sell someone a high-end runeset
and you've not personally confirmed the sites, you run the
risk of having cranky customers who just spent a ton of
gold on one of your runesets and found that the runes didn't
lead to the locations you said they did. This leads to damaged
credibility and to very poor word of mouth. If I get a set
in mind, I'll work on developing a character with the skills
needed in order to set up the rune locations. I've been
asked to develop a tamer's skill development set. I don't
presently have a high-level tamer to check out the sites
but I will eventually :). As for regular sets, I encourage
you to spend a little time observing the NPC traffic around
the site you're marking. For example, on Lake Superior,
the Minoc and Jhelom Banks have many NPCs inside. This means
that there's a better chance of being blocked by the random
movements of an NPC at these two banks then at most of the
others. Therefore, I mark these runes just outside the doors
of the building. I get some customer complaints for this
since the mark isn't actually in the bank but I know I'd
get even more for a consistently blocked rune.
Finally, I have two additional issues for you to consider:
- Do you require a deposit on either large orders or high-end
runesets? I don't have a warehouse that I use for storing
runesets. The sets I sell are either on a vendor or they
aren't made yet. Therefore, if someone either places a large
order or orders a high-end runeset, they will have to wait
until the sets they're ordering are made. This could mean
that they find the set(s) they want somewhere else before
you have it (them) made and you could lose out on a sale.
My policy has always been that payment is due upon delivery.
I don't require a deposit either. However, once the order
is made, I expect to conduct the transaction within a week.
In the rare event that I have someone either disappear off
the face of the earth or tell me they purchased the set(s)
I made for them elsewhere, they get moved to a section labeled
"Bad Orders" on ICQ and I no longer accept orders
from them, period. Since I usually have a list of orders
for the same set, I simply sell the "bad orders'"
set(s) to the next person. The bottom line: I don't think
this issue matters as long as you are consistent. A side note, I
strongly recommend confirming the price of the set being
ordered before you agree to make the set. I've had about
7-10 people who have initially placed an order for a high-end
set only to immediately cancel it once I ask if they're
aware of the price. Sometimes people only read the subject
line on Tradespot and don't actually read the ad (which
is where I list the price).
- Do you or do you not accept library orders? Library orders
are orders for "everything you sell," which include
regular sets (cities, dungeon entrances, banks, provisioners,
etc.) and high-end sets. I sell 26 regular Trammel sets,
24 regular Felucca sets, 1 regular Malas set, 4 high-end
Trammel sets, 2 high-end Felucca sets, and 1 high-end Malas
set. I estimate that I've completed about 15 full library
sets consisting of every set I sell. I hate them. They take
forever to do and invariably the customer gets cranky about
the time it takes to complete the order (I usually estimate
4-6 weeks to complete a full library). The payment is never
really adequate compensation for the time you spend (the
26 regular Trammel sets sell on the vendor for 146800 and
take about 1-2 weeks to make depending on whether you want
to try to fill your vendor at the same time, i.e. making
5 additional sets while you're at it, as compared to a Trammel
Ore set which sells for 300000 and takes about an hour to
make). Plus, many people want a "volume discount"
which I have chosen not to offer, again due to the effort
involved (I expect full payment for my time). On the other
hand, library orders are a great way to get very positive
word-of-mouth referrals, as long as the customer is happy,
as most people enjoy bragging a bit about their rune library
(I don't blame them a bit). The bottom line: If you choose
to accept library orders, get a price set up front and make
sure the customer agrees to an estimated time of delivery
- then keep them updated as you go along. The alternative
that I use is to explain that I no longer accept orders
for regular sets but that I try to mark each regular set
that I sell and place them on the vendor during a month's
time. I, of course, always accept orders for high-end sets
Hopefully, those of you who aspire to help your fellow men
and women travel across the globe will find this essay useful
(and not just long :)). The main message I hope you take from
this is that a travel business can be as successful as you
want it to be based mostly on how much effort you want to
put in it. I wish you great luck!
Oh, and In case you're interested, the current listing of
the regular sets that I sell are as follows: Armourers, Banks,
Bowyers, Carpenters, Cartographers, Cities, Cemetaries, Cultural
Locations, Dungeon Entrances, Grocers, Inns, Islands, Jewelers,
Lost Land Areas (Trammel only), Lost Land Entrances, Mage
Shops, Moongates, Provisioners, Sand Areas (Trammel only),
Shrines, Specialty Areas, Stables, Tailors, Tanners, Taverns,