- Know the rules of the game and familiarize yourself with the market possibilities of KoL. The two primary ways to trade with other players are through the Flea Market and through the Mall. The Flea Market is available to all players who are not Ronin and not Hardcore. The maximum sale price for an item in The Flea Market is 100,000. Items must be entered individually. The Mall is available to anyone above level 5 who is not Ronin and not Hardcore. The minimum sale price for an item in the Mall is 100. The Mall is searchable by buyers and easier to maintain as a merchant than The Flea Market. There are also several stores available at various stages and ascensions in the game and you may find other players with whom to trade through chat.
- Buy a store as soon as you can afford to do so if you are interested in trading in KoL. Items can be sold in the Flea Market for a 10 Meat up front plus 1% of the cost of the item when it sells. Opening a store costs 50,000 Meat, but there is no additional cost to list or sell items in the Mall. If you are trading regularly and/or in high quantities the cost of opening a store is negligible compared to the cost of listing items in the Flea Market.
- Buy low. Adventuring is a very expensive way to get items, unless the item is a very rare drop or a limited time drop. The number of adventures per day is limited and the number of drops and amount of meat received is low compared to gaining meat to buy items by trading with other players or buying items in the stores. Items in the Mall are generally cheaper than items in The Flea Market. However, because the minimum selling price in the Mall is 100, low priced items are often cheaper in the Flea Market. Sometimes players will list items far below their general trading value in a market. Also, take advantage of players selling their items for extremely low prices. Many players don't know why an item is useful or will want to raise meat quickly. Be familiar with the going rate for each item and compare your available options for obtaining an item for sale before purchase, especially in quantity.
- Buy useful items. Useful items are much easier to sell than collectables. There is a continuous demand for useful items, as opposed to occasional demand for collectible items. Unless you find a great deal on a collectible item, spend your money on useful items.
- Sell high. Buy low, sell high is a basic principle of market economics. Sell each item for as much as possible under the current market conditions. This usually means selling for one meat less than the lowest price in the market. The exceptions are when the current selling price is ridiculously high and probably won't sell, so you should sell your item significantly less than the current price. Or, if the current sale price is ridiculously low, buy the item to raise the current sale price or wait until the current sale price rises so you can have a better profit margin for the item.
- Take advantage of market inefficiencies. Because there is no variation in the quality of particular items and no spoilage, the average sale price of an item is mostly dependent on the demand for an item and its rarity. Some people just buy items in stores and sell them in the markets. There are always some people who don't know that the stores exist or can't get to them, which provides a basic inefficiency to exploit. Take advantage of market inefficiencies by buying low in one market and selling higher in the other.
- Stock up to raise the sale price of mall items. Because Kingdom of Loathing is a relatively small market, buying out other merchants to raise the current base price of an item in the Mall is a strategy accessible on many items. Here is an example of how to determine if an item is ripe for taking advantage of this strategy. The search for carob brownies turned up this listing:
The lowest price carob brownies is 250 meat, while the highest price brownies is 750 meat. Look for where the price of the item jumps. If you look at the cumulative cost curve for carob brownies, you can see that the cost for buying out merchants increases linearly through buying them for 500 meat, then jumps to 750 meat.
If you have 11194 meat to invest in carob brownies, you should buy out all of the stores through those who charge 500 meat and set them for sale in the mall at 749 meat. The average cost of the carob brownies will be 386 meat, giving a profit of 10527 meat at a profit margin of 94% assuming that there is enough demand for the carob brownies to sell them all at that price. Be sure to stay within your budget and invest in items that will sell well when employing this strategy.
This article has outlined some simple steps to making money easily in Kingdom of Loathing based on market microeconomics. I typically make several hundred thousand meat per day trading in Kingdom of Loathing. If you find it useful, leave a comment or send me, Janine White (#1098079), a message in the game letting me know how well you've done.