One of the most popular ways of making money in World of Warcraft is effective management of the auction house. A large part of doing so is mastering the art of timing or knowing when to buy and when to sell. However, while we know to buy low and sell high we don’t necessarily know ahead of time when these highs and lows will occur… or do we? On Wall Street analysts use a complex set of tools and information to get themselves in tune with the market’s movement and, with a little luck, predict the market’s direction. We can do the same in WoW by simply being in tune with the game in general. If you understand the materials required to make an item you can better assess that item’s value. If you have the additional knowledge of the amount of effort involved in crafting the item and perhaps some insight into the target market you can more effectively predict not only the current but the future potential value of the item.
So, what does this have to do with the price of Ebonweave?
Looking at the price of high-end, crafted cloth (Ebonweave, Spellweave, and Moonshroud) one might notice an interesting quirk. Ebonweave is almost always the most expensive of these items. If I only used my knowledge of the required materials for each item I would find this disparity confusing because Ebonweave requires as it’s primal component two Eternal Shadow and the shadow eternals are usually cheaper when compared to the required eternals for the other cloth. Using my understanding of the effort involved in making the item however, I can tell you that this price disparity makes sense to me. Until very recently (the last patch), these items could only be crafted in remote specific locations of Northrend. Moonshroud was in Dragonblight, Spellweave in Coldarra, and Ebonweave required a visit to Icecrown. Further, to craft the item in Icecrown safely and without agro one needed to complete a quest line that changed the phase of the crafting area to something more friendly. As Icecrown is a 77-80 zone and arguably inaccessible to anyone without the level 77 flight training, that meant it was out of the question for tailors that were not level 77 or otherwise did not have the training. Thus supply, compared to the other two types of high-end cloth, was drastically lower. This has since been changed in that Blizzard has made it so all of these types of cloth can now be crafted in different areas within Dragonblight but the price inflation still continues and will do so until supply levels off.
Taking the line of thought a bit farther I will go out on a limb and predict an overall price drop on all high end cloth and the materials they create for the following reasons:
1. Unlike previous iterations of WoW, in WotLK there are currently not many additional items to craft with the high end cloth that can’t be trained from a tailoring trainer. Beyond crafting a few level 80 robes and gloves that are all replaceable in the starter raids and heroics there is not much else to make with the cloth. Demand for high-end cloth will be dropping.
2. Most of the core player base is already level 80 and has more than likely already progressed into content beyond the item level of these items. Again, demand will be dropping.
3. As more and more people progress through the game the base items, eternals and Frostweave, will continue to drop in price. Supply is increasing.
With increased supply and reduced demand I’m predicting a price drop in all high end cloth items as well as the cloth itself. I think you can expect to continue to get a few gold more for Ebonweave but if you’ve got any of this stuff (or any other similar high-end cloth) in reserve consider clearing it out now.