Today I will go through how you can go about learning TSM. This is not going to be a guide to TSM for complete newbies, although I am planning to write one for TSM4. This will be some guidelines on how you can apply the best principles for learning a new skill and apply it to truly learn TSM.
How your brain learns
To learn something deeply you need to work on it repeatedly over a period of time. Generally speaking you also learn best from applying the concepts in various situations. Alternating periods of focusing on whatever you are trying to learn and taking breaks allows your brain to process the concepts properly.
To become a master goblin then you need to repeatedly work on applying gold making methods, and tune your approach as new information becomes available. A bit of practice each day is important. It is also incredibly important to spend time actually practicing. In the case of learning TSM this means taking time to create your own operations from scratch.
If you want to learn more about learning I highly recommend this course on coursera (affiliate link).
Learning by doing
In gold making there is literally no substitute for learning by doing. The most lucrative markets in the game by far are the various high-end item flipping markets. The 101 BoE market in Legion has been the staple.
Application: Learning TSM
We can apply this to learning TSM for instance. Tradeskillmaster is the premiere tool for goldmakers everywhere. If you are not already using it you are severely hamstringing your gold making ability. The addon is incredibly powerful, but it can also be very daunting for new players, as the possibilities are pretty much endless.
Obviously there exists guides, but they will generally not be enough if you want to develop true mastery of TSM. So, how would we go about becoming really good at TSM?
Learn the basics
The first thing we need to do is to understand the basics. What are the various parts of TSM and what do they do. In general this means understanding the differences between groups and operations and the various operations.
Learn from the best
There is no point in trying to learn something from scratch when you do not need to. There are tons of published TSM groups with operations out there. My pastebin is full of groups and Sheyrah’s also has a full TSM profile. Go download some groups and import them into TSM.
Look through the operation settings of the included operations. Read the accompanying guides to figure out why the various settings are the way they are. You can compare my alchemy auctioning operations to my operation for selling crafted 850 gear for instance. My alchemy group uses overcutting to ensure a larger profit margin, whereas my 850 group will generally undercut. See if you can figure out what the differences between the two approaches are and how I solved it in TSM.
Start breaking stuff
The next step is to start changing stuff. You can prices from your operations and custom prices yo your item tooltips. This will allow you to quickly check how a change in pricing formulas changes the price points TSM uses. You can easily see how it looks in the screenshot below.
Build your own from scratch
The next step is to build your own operations from scratch. This is the most important part if you want to internalise this knowledge. Being able to create your own groups and operations is invaluable, especially with a new expansion approaching. This will allow you to enter new markets with confidence knowing that your TSM settings will guarantee a profit.
Now go out there and get learning!
This is a very general framework for truly learning TSM. Let me know if you think it can be improved or you want me to go even more in depth with what you want to look for specifically. Eventually you will reach the level where TSM turns into more of an art than a science.