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Now that gold shows your total amount across all characters (and not just what you're carrying), it can be a little confusing to calculate how much gold you've made or lost on the Trading Post. I received a question on the new gold display from Johannes which prompted my response.
"Hey Markco. I'm wondering how u manage ur profit after the change of the gold display. I mean normally i used my bank and had my money in it but now i have only my whole gold in my inventory and while I'm playing the game and playing the market I lost control over my profit.
Think of the gold you put into and receive from the Trading Post like a checkbook. Remember check books? Before everything showed up on paperless bank and credit card statements?
Let's say you invest 10 gold in copper. You buy the copper and put it on the auction house for sale. That counts as a 10 gold credit (credit = money owed). The next day, you open the trading post and receive 8 gold. This 8 gold should be counted as a debit, which is money you're owed. 10 gold credit and 8 gold debit mean that you have 2 gold sitting in the Trading Post instead of your pockets.
Instead of keeping track of every single transaction you make in and out of the Trading Post, it is easier to simply have a number that you adjust.
Every time you buy something to sell on the Trading Post, subtract from the number. So buying 10 gold in copper means you are at -10. Let's say you also buy 2 gold in armor for your character to use. That does not count! But then you buy 2 gold worth of lettuce and now you're at -12. Finally, you buy 100 gold worth of garlic because you read my Damn This is a Gold Guide post but not my Careful What You Read on this Blog post. Now you're at -112. The next day you take out 56 gold in profit from the trading post. Now you just add a positive 56 to end up with a -56. Why did I pick those numbers? What a terribly confusing example haha. Anyways, as you continue collecting gold from the Trading Post, you will just keep adding positive values to the number.
Any interaction with the Trading Post should result in a negative or positive factor to your number that you're tracking. What does this number truly represent? Since you aren't including purchases made to better your character but not make you gold (such as the two gold worth of armor in the example), this number is truly your success on the Trading Post. But having a large negative number is not a failure, provided that the items will eventually become a positive. Oh, if you cancel any listings, then the unrefunded fee must count as an additional negative hit to your magic number.