This is a question that is incredibly relevant right now. Reddit and discord is literally filled with players talking about markeds being dead or dying. So today I will present my thoughts on the question.
When is a market dead?
A market is obviously dead when it is no longer profitable. To really get at this then we need to decide on what constitutes “no longer profitable”.
I personally find all the “X market is dead” posts on reddit obnoxious, not to mention that I deeply disagree that ANY BfA market can be considered dead.
When is a market profitable?
My personal opinion is that if you can sell items for 15% profit after the AH cut, then the market is worth your time.
If the profit margin is greater than that, that’s great. I would rather sell 100k items for 15% profit than sell a 1000 gold item for 100% profit. The absolute gold value is the most important parameter after all.
Launch week and profit margins
The launch week of a new expansion will typically have some ridiculous profit margins. Darkmoon decks had margins in the 300-400% range on a lot of realms.
This will never be sustainable and it wasn’t this time either.
So when prices started falling closer to a 20-30% profit margins players start talking about how the sky is falling and the market is “dead”.
I am still selling all my decks for more than 20% of my crafting cost, so the market is certainly not dead on my realm.
Truly dead markets
There are some markets that can be considered truly dead. This is typically the case for items that are no longer useful in any capacity.
An example would be vanilla best in slot enchants. While there may be a miniscule market for level 60 twinks, that’s never going to be significant and you won’t even be able to sell your items.
Outside of cases where an item is made completely redundant markets will typically not die, but rather trend towards the 20-30% profit margin that has been the long run average in crafted markets in my experience.
Markets can revive if changes are made to the game. Examples in legion included the second and third obliterum gold rushes when Blizzard increased the item level maximum for crafted gear.
“Resurrections” are most common when markets are not truly dead, but just in a lull. As with the obliterum example above.
Obliterum was profitable throughout Legion, but in periods it was more profitable.
Focusing on your markets being dead is a waste of energy
Falling profit margins are always a consequence of a market getting more saturated.
Focusing on this too much is a waste of energy.
“These guys are undercutting me, why are you running my market?” is generally not a good focus to have.
You should rather look at what other markets you can enter. Players have limited time, if more of them are competing with you on darkmoon decks, that means less of them will be competing with you in other markets.
This is perhaps the main reason why having all the professions is so good. You can always just skip over to another market if you find that profit margins are too low.
Just make gold
At the end of the day, you just want to make gold. While gold rushes are exciting I have personally made almost all my gold through long term markets that do not die.
As long as you are making items that are useful for other players, you will be in business. Human laziness guarantees that players will be willing to pay a premium to get their stuff NOW.
You just have to give them the possibility of paying you for those items!