Why Cobalt is More Expensive Than Saronite

For several weeks now we’ve been tracking the prices of Cobalt bars and ore and Saronite bars and ore and dropping these numbers into our spreadsheets. Aside from a slight deflationary movement that we’ve seen with similar items previously, there is really nothing remarkable about these minerals from an economic perspective. Well, maybe one thing: Despite the lower-level availability of Cobalt, Saronite remains the more inexpensive of the two on all three test servers. So that got us wondering, if Cobalt is more readily available, why does it cost more than Saronite?

Our first inclination is that Saronite might be the lesser ore as it is rumored to have been cursed by one of the Old Gods who is believed to have the power to drive men mad. However, being analysts and not mythologists we decided to delve further. We started our research at the end of the supply chain and compared demand for the two metals. Is Cobalt in more demand than Saronite? Put another way, are there more in-game uses for Cobalt than Saronite? WoWhead shows us this is not the case:

Number of recipes calling for Saronite Bars: 96
Number of recipes calling for Cobalt Bars: 50

A further examination of the prospecting properties of each ore reveled that Saronite also yields a higher percentage of rare gems when prospected by a Jewelcrafter. This is similar to the relationship between Fel Iron Ore and Adamantite Ore from the Burning Crusade expansion.

So it is clearly not demand that is driving the price in this case. If demand were the driver, Saronite would be the clear winner in the price wars.

Next we decided to take a look at the other side of the gold coin and explore supply. And here, on the supply side, we found our answer. According to the WoW Top List from Blizzard (also easily found on our Resources page), Saronite is not just farmed much more than Cobalt, it is currently the number one ‘Most Gathered Item’ in the game. Cobalt, on the other hand, comes in regularly somewhere around 11th (hint for those of you following along at home: change ‘# of days’ to 7). In this case, supply is so great that it skews the supply/demand curve and drops the price of Saronite. Or does it elevate the price of Cobalt? Either way, the financial moral of the story here is that just because demand for an item is huge it doesn’t necessarily mean that the price will be higher.

A few tips on making gold from the purchase or sale of these ores:

-Whereas Saronite Bars require two ores of the equivalent metal, Cobalt only requires one. If you’re hunting for Cobalt Bars, don’t pay the inflated price for the bars. Simply buy the ore and have a friendly miner smelt them for you.

-Both of these ores are frequently available on the auction house but, as mentioned above, Saronite is the more popular of the two. So, assuming both are priced reasonably, while you may be able to sell the Cobalt for more, Saronite will usually sell faster. Thus, our conclusion is that it is best to sell Saronite in bulk (3-4 or more stacks at a time) and Cobalt should be bled into the market more slowly.

-As mentioned previously, it is almost always best to sell ore as opposed to bars as it widens your potential market. There are exceptions to this rule but it stands true for most WoW metals.

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5 Comments

Filed under WoW Gold Making Tips

5 responses to “Why Cobalt is More Expensive Than Saronite

  1. Cipri

    As a part-timer miner, I completely agree. Saronite is indeed farmed a lot more often, for several reasons other than “There’s lots of supply”. The main reasons I’ve always noticed for myself are:

    1) Easier to farm. Simply keep flying in circles around Sholazar, and rack in the Saronite. Other zones have me zig-zagging all over. Also, the average-time-between-gathers is a lot lower in Sholazar, and /that/ ultimately is what determines the best proffit. I’ll take 5G every minute over 10G every 5 minutes.

    2) Chance for rare Titanium Spawns! This is the most important reason to farm for Saronite. There’ve been times when I simply needed enough Titanium to make a bunch of Titansteel Bars. I farmed up nearly 20 stacks of Saronite while I farmed for the Titanium I needed.

  2. auser

    Additionally, cobalt has a value that is correlated with another item in the game: greater cosmic essences. On my server, GCEs are currently at a (very deflated) 10g each. A certain blacksmithing pattern can be created from cobalt that, on average, produces more value in GCEs once disenchanted than the value of the cobalt. As such, cobalt that considerably below 1.5g/bar is undervalued, whereas there is no similar conversion for saronite. As long as the value of GCEs stays at or above 10g, cobalt will stay high, too.

    ~a user

  3. Argon

    On my server, Saronite bars are often cheaper than the equivalent Saronite ore, which doesn’t make any sense to me. Either people aren’t good at multiplying by two or miners don’t bother to check prices before putting things up on the AH.

  4. ORazvan

    The reason why cobalt >> saronite is this :

    http://www.wowhead.com/?item=41243

    Look at disenchant proc of GCE and some comments of this item.

    I’ve been using this item to get many GCE , stocking them for 3.1.

    • jederus

      A fantastic idea ORazvan. There are actually a few items out there similar to this where disenchant > source mats and we plan to examine them in a post in the near future. We hadn’t thought of this particular item yet and thank you again for brining it to our attention!

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