the exclusive possession or control of the supply of or trade in a commodity or service
How To Spot an Opportunity to Create a Monopoly
Have you ever browsed Tamriel Trade Centre for a specific item? Maybe you’ve used TTC to check to see if there are any listings for that exclusive monster shoulder that was released a few years ago that you’ve been dying to get (fashion is endgame after all), or perhaps you are looking to buy a handful of uncommon style materials so that you can craft some furnishings. At one point or another, you have likely searched up an item on TTC and observed that there were very limited listings available.
Now there could be many reasons as to why there would be so little listings for whatever you are seeking to buy.
Perhaps the supply for what you are looking to buy has been completely terminated. This would be the case when it comes to buying exclusive motifs and style pages that can only be acquired by means of participating in ESO events or partaking in “Undaunted” activities that correspond with the monster arms pack that is currently in the crown store (completing that monster’s dungeon and opening that monster’s undaunted coffer). Because there is a short window of opportunity to acquire these items, they become limited and exclusive in nature. The rarity of these items make them expensive and hard to find.
Alternatively, perhaps the supply has diminished and there is a shortage of whatever you are looking for, much like in the case of furnishing materials. Refined Bonemold Resin, a Hlaalu style material used to craft many furnishings, may be extremely easy to acquire in the midst of a Morrowind event, where the promise of event tickets is enough to encourage everyone and their mother to venture to Vvardenfell and complete daily quests. These event enthusiasts subsequently deccon their Hlaalu rewards for these mats and are happy to get rid of them for low prices. But how about one year after the event, when no one is in zone chat looking to group up for a daily world boss quest? There will likely be very few listings of this material.
When there is a shortage in the supply of a specific item on ESO, it becomes very feasible to create your own monopoly of said item. Often times, you will not even need a lot of gold to get started with this endeavor. All you need is the ability to recognize the opportunity when it presents itself.
When there are limited listings for a specific item, that is your chance to buy out all instances of the item so that you become the sole distributor of the item. If you are the only seller (or one of the only sellers) for a specific item, buyers will have no choice but to purchase your wares at your price.
How To Start and Maintain your Monopoly
Chose the item
Find an item with low supply and very few listings that you would be comfortable working with. Creating a monopoly on ESO requires some financial input, so make sure you are alright with the amount of money that it would cost you.
Buy out all instances of the item
Use TTC to locate every single instance of that item that is for sale (or as many instances as you are willing to buy from) and purchase the item. The more of this item that you purchase, the more control over the price of this item you will have.
List the item
Now that you own all (or most of) the specific item in the game, you can list it for whatever price you desire. Try to come up with a price that is reasonable. People will not buy your item at all if you list it for a ridiculous price. When applicable, listing your item in bulk offers you the chance to charge even more per unit as it provides a great convenience to the buyer.
Monitor listings for the item
You should be checking TTC continuously to monitor any new listings for your item. If people are listing your item for much lower than you are selling your item, make sure to buy them up before anyone else gets a chance to. Don’t worry about buying out your competition if they are listing your item for around the same price as you, as there would be no financial gain in doing so.
An Example: Refined Bonemold Resin
Chose the item
At the time of writing this, there is a shortage of Refined Bonemold Resin in ESO. People want this material to craft their Hlaalu furniture but there are not enough people acquiring the material (by means of deconning Hlaalu gear) to sell it and meet these market demands. Thus, I have decided to create a monopoly on this item.
Buy out all instances of the item
I type “Refined Bonemold Resin” into TTC’s search bar from time to time to see if anyone is selling this material. I buy out all cheap instances of it. For me, anything below 1.5k gold/unit is considered cheap, as I am selling them for ~4k gold/unit on my guild traders and making a generous profit.
List the item
I have been listing my Bonemold Resin in stacks of 10 (for convenience) for around 40,000g to 45,000g depending on whether anyone is undercutting (selling for less than) me in my trader. My stacks have been selling reliably fast, and I am making around 25k-30k profit per stack.
Monitor listings for the item
I will check TTC anywhere from once a day to several times per day to see if there are any new listings for Bonemold Resin that are significantly cheaper than my own. If I find any, I buy them and relist them at my price of 4-4.5k each.
Things to keep in mind:
When to bail on your monopoly
Items that are exclusive on ESO, and subsequently have a limited supply, don’t tend to stay exclusive forever. ZoS has a habit of reintroducing certain items (1), creating events that flood the market with certain items (2), and changing the fundamentals of acquiring certain items (3), all of which end up influencing the market. Examples of each of these scenarios are given below.
These three situations impair the chances of creating a monopoly for the items that are affected by effectively resolving the shortage for the items in question. It is important to look out for these kinds of situations so that you do not end up investing in an item with limited listings, only for ZoS to make it so that the item is no longer limited.
Keep up with the ESO forums and the ESO news page to stay up to date with what events and changes are to be expected in the future.
If you suspect that any of the situations listed below may fix the shortage of whatever item you have been selling, that is when you should bail on your monopoly.
Look out for:
(1) Reintroduced Items
Items that were previously limited in nature can come back to the game at any given time. For example, there was a period of time when players could acquire a Style Page for Bloodpsawn’s Mask. It was an extremely rare drop from defeating the final boss of Spindleclutch II on veteran difficulty. Once this period of time ended, it was no longer possible to acquire the mask organically. With only a certain amount of Bloodspawn mask style pages in the game, most of them being consumed by players, the price for this style page skyrocketed to 3 million gold. However, with the creation of the brand-new Undaunted event a year later, the Bloodspawn Mask style page was once again acquirable by means of completing Spindleclutch II and getting lucky. This brought the price down to 100k gold from 3 million. Who knows what other exclusive items ZoS may bring back?
(2) Events that flood the market
ESO has multiple events throughout the year that promote a specific endeavor, like completing daily quests in DLC zones or pvping in cyrodiil. The prices for these items that tend to come from these events drop significantly because of the vast increase in supply. Culanda Lacquer used to go for 5,000g/unit because of the shortage of it’s supply until a 2-week long Summerset event created a flood in the market as a result of all of the people that were getting Lacquers from turning in their daily quests (for event tickets). This effectively ruins the exclusivity of said item for a long period of time.
(3) Changing the method of acquisition
Items that have only ever had one method of acquisition can suddenly have another. The “Honor Guard” motif is a perfect example of this. When it was first introduced into the game, the only way to organically acquire this motif would be to complete one of the most difficult pieces of pve content: veteran Blackrose Prison. Ew. Because these motif pages were locked behind the completion of this incredibly difficult pve content, they were worth a fortune (I paid 600k for my Honor Guard shoulders). Some time later, ZoS revealed that they were going to be bringing the Honor Guard style to the crown store. Now, instead of having to complete vBRP or buy the motif pages from someone who had completed it (and not many people can), people could buy the entire motif from the crown store with real money. This drastically lowered the prices of Honor Guard motif pages (you can buy Honor Guard shoulders for 100k now).