Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Duping Witch-hunt

Recently, Jim from Power Word: Gold came out with an article entitled Robes of Insight Now Being Duplicated?.  Although the number of Robes is rising, as indicated in his blog and via data from The Undermine Journal, I'd like to take a moment to take a critical look at his observations.  No hard feelings, I just strongly disagree with the views expressed.

'The Evidence'
In Jim's article, he notes that the number of Robes of Insight on EU servers have doubled since June, from 105 to 199.  He also notes on US servers the number raised 90% from 130 to 249.  Okay fair enough, this is a very reasonable observation, and it is a fact.  But does it imply duping?  No.  Here's my thought process.  Below is a TUJ graph of Bloodscale Breastplate, another popular transmog item.
Bloodscale Breastplate from TUJ, click picture to enlarge

As you can see, there is a substantial increase from May starting at ~475 and going up to 812 on September 8th.  A relatively high 70.95% increase.  Hmmm.  Let's take a look at another popular transmog chest, from the Saltstone set.
Saltstone Surcote from TUJ, click picture to enlarge

From May to September 8th, the number of these increased from 50 to 121.  For those of you who are good at mental math, you already know that's well over double what it was, an over 140% increase.

My last piece of anecdotal evidence is another great transmog cloth chest piece, Buccaneer's Vest:
Buccaneer's Vest from TUJ, click picture to enlarge

Again from May to Sept. 8th the number on the US AH went from 110 to 214.  I hope you're starting to see the picture I'm trying to paint (94.5% increase).

Conclusions I've Drawn
What I think is happening, which is also more likely than duping, is that the demand for transmog items is decreasing.  This is something most of us have observed and felt in our pockets in WoW.  In economics, when demand decreases, to stay at the same level of sales from before, prices must decrease.  Because of us though, the prices didn't decrease.  We are all stubborn transmog sellers who are set in our ways (TSM is a blessing and a curse).  For all the items listed above as well as Robes of Insight, the number has been increasing, but the price has stayed around the same number.  So what we're seeing here is more likely the result of you and I, the gold making community at large, than dupers.

Further: On the "Ban Wave" Theory
Jim also suggested that the dip in amount of items on the AH after the 28th (bot ban wave) suggests duping:

"In the US servers, in days before Patch 5.0.4 and the possible ban wave, there was a peak of 245 Robes of Insight on the servers on August 25, 2012. After the patch? In the US, Robes auctions had dropped from 245 on August 25, 2012 down to 174 on August 30, 2012 a decrease of just over 40%."
"In the EU the numbers peaked at about 190 Robes on August 25, 2012 and had dropped down to 154 on August 29th, 2012. A decrease of around 23%."
*Emphasis added by me.

Clearly looking at all the above graphs you can see that ALL of these items decreased in number after the 28th (in my 3 examples by 21%, 20%, and 27% respectively). This most likely due to huge down times for the patch, or perhaps people choosing not to play during that time due to laggy servers and server resets.  All in all this doesn't imply duping, even take a look at the least likely to be duped item:
US: Netherweave cloth July 30-Sept 10

Netherweave Cloth went from this 1,083,550 peak on August 26th, to 846,994 low on August 29th.  A 22% decrease.  Most all items on the AH felt the hit of 5.0.4 being released.  Before we go around screaming "He's a duper! He's a duper!" perhaps we should take a look at all the evidence.

What Duping Really Looks Like
The previous armor graphs all show linear growth patterns, whereas something that is actually being duped (Reins of the Crimson Deathcharger) look more like this:
Reins of the Crimson Deathcharger on TUJ, click to enlarge

Quantity available is increasing exponentially, and Prices decreasing steadily.  That's what a supply and demand curve SHOULD look like.
Also note that on this actually duped item that on August 27th there were 870 on the AH, the day of the patch, the 28th, there were still 810 on the AH (a 7% decrease), and the day after the patch there were 940 (a 16% increase) , and it hasn't dropped below that since.  Your honor, I rest my case.


Phat Lewts

If you like my blog follow me on twitter, @PhatLewtsGold!!


  1. I just wonder if he's foolish enough to actually believe that garbage or if he's just crafty enough to be baiting comments with a controversial post.

  2. Excellent analysis.

  3. Might also be that more people are farming the lower level areas getting ready for the expansion, I know that I'm farming essence of air and others are farming leather for their new LW monks.

    1. Definitely adds to it as well, I think(no data) there was a surge in leveling after 5.0.4 dropped too, when people are rediscovering alts that are now OP at lower levels.

  4. People have also been leveling new characters in droves, this time with the knowledge that any greens they find might fetch a nice price on the auction house. I love the transmog market but it has been slipping for the past few months. There are more suppliers in the form of more leveling new toons, more farming old dungeons, and more getting ready for the expansion. And I'm guessing that a lot of people already have gotten those choice transmog pieces for their mains.

    As for the robes of insight, I agree they follow the same pattern that the rest of the transmog market is showing.

  5. People are hearing about the transmogging gold piles to be had and they're out hunting the rares in the blasted lands, etc. Half an hour with NPC Scan visiting a few different zones and your bags are overstuffed with transmog gear. They do a google search, visit a blog or two and find out you can farm the elites in AQ20 that respawn instantly.
    That's the increase.

    Then the 28th hits. Cross-realm zoning is implemented.
    Now you've got rare hunters from 5-10 different realms in the same zones looking for the same mobs. As a result, there are less rares to be found, and the ones that are found usually are taken to some other server rather than yours.
    Also, as the fad of mogging slows down, people who were just fiddling with it either drop it or stow away their wares to wait for the population boom coming with MoP.
    That's your decrease.

    These mogging items aren't being duped. It would be *stupid* to dupe them. They don't sell fast enough nor bring enough money to bother duping them or risk doing it, and there are 10-50 other people farming them and posting them on the AH. That's why dupers deal only in high-ticket, very rare items like the crimson charger.

    1. The drop was only temporary right after the patch was released, all the items rebounded shortly thereafter.

  6. What about TCG items such as the swift spectral tiger? Those are supposed to be limited supply yet they have increased a lot in the last couple months

    1. While the spectral tigers can techinically be duplicated, I highly doubt they are being duped. Only items that can be contained within a container can be duped. While, the Spectrals can be found within Landro's Loot Box, the odds of receiving any of the possible mounts is absurdly low and I double dupers are willing to spnd real world cash in order to try.

      A more feasible explanation could be the massive sales that have been going on online on some of the WoW TCG Booster packs and boxes, specifically the Archives expansion, which is an all foil set of reprints of the "Best of cards and loot cards" from the previous expansions.

      Both Spectral Tigers and Landro's Loot Box are included as loot cards within the Archives set. These booster boxes have been on sale all summer for around $45 a BOX, which gets you 36 booster packs. These dirt cheap booster boxes are more liekly a contributing factor than duping Tigers that you happen to find within a Landro's Gift Box.

      I did a post on these booster packs, what can be found in them, as well as the results of a livestreamer (@Elvinelol)that bought 4 booster boxes in hopes of getting his own spectral tiger mount. Might be interested in checking it out:

  7. Power Word Scam, Nuff Said.

  8. WRT bot banwaves:

    There wasn't one. The mechanics of the game changed enough to cause most of the major bot programs to go offline for a while.

    All those bots that posted loads of items, they'll be back. Many are already coming back with buggy results.

  9. Jim is wrong, nice try. You would think someone that makes a living off making gold would at least know the basics about duping or what not to buy because of it. If you are a high end gold maker and you did not know that items being duped only come from containers you are really not a high end gold maker. Anyone can spam the AH with items others are doing well with but good gold makers pay attention more than that. Maybe you should go back to the transmog market, o wait you failed at that also while everyone else in wow made tons.

  10. "that items being duped only come from containers"
    i have been looking for proof of this. where is it?

    1. Haven't seen specific proof on duping tactics (I only figure that if it's in a blue post or I have done it myself first hand), but it is common knowledge to anyone that has been around the gold game enough (see earlier comment-same/same).

      Duping from my knowledge (once again, second hand intel) can be one of two (okay, three) ways:

      1. Through a container (see above)

      2. Quest given/Trade Window- (although this was a few years back, I believe it still exists)

      Cold mentioned above about 'While the spectral tigers can techinically be duplicated, I highly doubt they are being duped.'

      In my understanding, duped and duplicated are the same things. Without going into complete detail, the 'dual item' glitch appears when code is changed with a login/logout/lag all at specific timed intervals.

      There is also the trade window/quest scam (duplication or 'dupe') that uses similar techniques as above with slight changes.

      Once again, this is second hand info. Although I might be called at times a 'sleazy' gold maker (just see my inbox during my fire sales), I do not justify duping items to make my gold....

      The old fashioned way works just fine.

      Anyway, hope that might give some insight to your question.


  11. Nice informative layout of the information. +rep


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