Mastering Master AS, a young MAS’s guide.
There’s lots of guides on this forum about making armor, about how to make really high kinetic composite, about how to make good PSG’s, Ubese, pretty much everything you need to know about creating armor. But I do find a big lack of support from older armor smiths to the newer armor smiths on how to run a successful armor business.
I’m a master armor smith, I’ve been one for a couple months now, and I know it’s not easy getting into the armor smithing business. I hope I can help share some of the information I have learned becoming a master armor smith in a time when the industry is full of giants who have been around for many months more then I have.
This guide first assumes that you have managed to make your way to master armor smith, there’s plenty of guides for how to grind to master, and how to go about it learning the tricks of making good armor. So let’s skip that, and get into the first steps.
Setting your self up for success:
First and foremost, you’re going to need starting capitol. You should think of your business in economic terms, real life economics do in fact play a big deal in a digital world, and knowing a bit of economics will go a long way to help you. Getting your initial capitol is generally the hardest thing to do. It’s not easy to get the ball moving, but once it’s going, you’ll be rolling very well.
What you will need to start:
-A large number of Mineral Mines
-A couple Chemical Extractors
-Some place to store all your resources, components, and everything in general
-Wearables factories, the busier you get, the more you’ll need.
My best advice to you, is find a good guild to get into. One where the members of the guild are there to help each other out, and not make lots of profit off of each other. Many may not like to be in a guild, but in my opinion the benefits of being in a good guild, far out weigh being alone in this crazy universe. Generally if you agree to help them with their armor needs, they will gladly help supply you with equipment, and even resources to produce armor. This will help drastically cut your starting costs, and allow you to get profit faster.
Once you have gotten yourself situated, get on top of those resources and do your best to harvest what you need yourself. Bigger AS’s can afford to pay large amounts of money for big chunks of resources, but if you want to get into the market and be successful, and more importantly make enough profit to pay for your start up costs, you will need to harvest resources for yourself.
As your resource hoarding begins, you want to have a well organized place to store resources. Nothing is worse then not being able to find your big stack of awesome Naboo fiberplast when you’ve got a big order of composite to fill. My system works very well for me; I have a small generic house with backpacks in it with backpacks marked for easy identification of what resource is where. One for aluminum, steel, iron, fiberplast, petrochem, hide, ect. Every day I collect resources from my harvesters, and put them strait into the correct backpack, this keeps me organized, efficient, and after I started getting really busy, it helped me keep up with the increasing strain on my business.
As you begin to acquire the resources you need to produce armor that is competitive in the market place, start scouting out the other armor smith shops. Make notes of how much they charge for composite, Ubese, what sort of resistances and encumbrances they have. Also look for busy areas that are not over saturated with armor smith shops that you might be able to set up shop. Generally on most servers, the busiest planets in order are: Coronet, Naboo, Tatoine, and Dantoine. Ask around, talk to people, and get to know what people want in an armor shop. Do your home work, and also, see if there is a niche that needs to be filled. Maybe there’s not many AS’s supporting the younger players with affordable Ubese, maybe there’s a lack of Stun Layered Composite on your server. Ask around, and find areas that you can feel and make a profit off of.
Now that you’ve done your home work, acquired resources, and found a good place to set up shop, it’s time to get down and dirty, and make some armor. You should make friends with a tailor (or even dabble into tailor for the components as many do) for tailor components that you will need to produce any type of armor. Getting a large amount of crates of same serial number will be handy down the road when you’re making large amounts on the factory at one time.
First, you should start small. You’re not going to be selling 100 suits of composite a week out of the gate, get a vendor stocked up with ten or so suits of each type of armor you plan on selling. Have your factory pump out the components you need, then sit down and make the armor. Most Armor smiths agree, the only acceptable type of crafted armor, is one with experimentations that are all great successes or better. Generally if it doesn’t get a great success, I throw the armor away, and start again. So count on wasting some resources on failed experimentation, and if you have to, work the loss into your pricing to make sure you are still making enough profit to pay for your investment.
Once you have your vendor stocked, your armor priced at something that will make people go out of their way to come to your vendor, and your shop set up nicely, comes the hardest and most difficult part of any business. Getting people to take the time out of their play time, to make the trek to your vendor and purchase your goods. Most people seem to think spamming the nearest star port as the best idea, and this does generally work, so if you don’t mind sitting with a shout macro all day, go right ahead. I would however, like to suggest some alternatives.
One idea is to have a master merchant set up an advertisement bot for you. The bot does everything you would shouting, except you don’t have to be there, and best of all it can give a waypoint to your shop, which many people find more convenient then writing down the way point you shouted out.
A second idea, is tell all those people you talked to when you where asking around the cities that you’ve set up a shop, and you’ve filled the void they stated. Send personal emails to people, make them know that you care about having them check out your shop, and encourage them to tell their friends to check out your shop also.
If you’ve managed to get over the biggest hurdle of starting up, and have people coming to your shop, and buying your armor, now comes the newest and most fun challenge of your armor smithing career, something that will keep you busy for months on end. Keeping that vendor stocked.
Generally for composite, it takes about three to four days to run all the components through the factory if you are making large quantities at a time. So I generally suggest, keeping track of how much armor leaves your vendor on a week, and every week make that much armor, plus a few extra sets (in hopes that business will steadily increase).
So say your first week was a bit slow, but you made some sales. You sold 3 suits of composite and 2 suits of Ubese. So next week, have your factories make enough components to make 5 suits of composite and 4 suits of Ubese. As these numbers start growing into large figures, you will find that it’s going to be time to get more factories.
Once again, being in a guild can help you here. My guild has a large area of factories that can be used by any of the crafters of the guild. All you have to do is ask to be put on the admin list, and you are free to use it, just help keep them maintained and powered when you use them. Because of this system, I have 5 wearables factories at my disposal. Normally I would only have 3, the extra 2 really help when making composite runs, and I’ve started to become busy enough to expand it to 9 in the near future.
If your guild doesn’t have a system like this, and isn’t willing to try one, you can always go the lot trade route. There are plenty of people on other servers who would like to do the same thing you want to do, have more factories owned by someone else so they can have more lots for homes, harvesters, ect. It is a risk to take, but I have heard very few problems from somebody creating a brand new character on another server, when you have been entrusted with their stuff on their server, and you have entrusted them with your stuff on your server.
One thing I suggest, as the number of armor you produce increases into the double digits, it is time to stop making each piece by hand, and making all armor on the factories. I live in a research center, and I figure that I throw away about 1 in 8 pieces of armor because of botched experimentation. As the number of suits you make at a time increases, the wasted resources for a schematic starts to seem a less of a cost then throwing away several pieces in one crafting process.
This is also when taking time to organize your resources really starts to pay off. You can quickly sum up how much you have of each resource, and how many suits of armor you can make at a time. What you need to stock up on, what you’re starting to run low on, and what you won’t have to worry about for a while. Make a list, mental or actually written down of specific resources you should keep your eye out for. For most armor smiths, wooly hide is the biggest pain in the side to get large quantities of. Once again, being in a guild can help you here. If you can get hide from guildies at a good price, take it. And take care of your guild mates who give you hide for armor, and they’ll take care of all your hide needs.
So now, you have customers coming to your shop on a regular basis, the untold riches of being one of the most lucrative professions in the game is starting to pour in. Time you’ve taken to prepare for becoming bigger have paid off, and you’re managing to stay organized even though selling large quantities of armor at a time. What do you do now?
The biggest thing you can do is to keep tabs on the armor market, and make sure you keep your armor priced according to the market. One of the oldest economic virtues comes into mind, supply vs. demand. How fast is your armor selling? Is it flying off the shelves as soon as you put it on, or are you piling up armor from week to week?
If it’s flying off faster then you can keep up, it may be time to raise prices. Raising prices is a very slippery slope, and I suggest doing it slowly, and carefully. Don’t try to trick your customers by increasing a few hundred a day, and make sure to explain to those who don’t like the changed price that you can’t keep up with the demand and have to raise the price. While on the other hand, if armor is not moving, your prices may be too high, or other armor smiths have lowered their prices and you have not followed. Keeping the perfect price is difficult to do, but if you are able to handle it right, you can maintain a good economic benefiting store.
Hopefully by now, you have reached a point where you can manage the large numbers of armor on your own, and expand to becoming one of the greatest armor smiths on your server, and making plenty of people happy. Now you can say that you have mastered being a Master Armor smith.