Tag Archives: Alchemy

A.B.C. (Alterac Brings Capital)

A quick trip to the Alterac Mountains can often bring in a fairly hefty sum of gold if you know where to look and what to do while you’re there. Here are the sights and NPCs to visit if you want to know how to conduct a profitable trip to the mountains. We’re willing to bet that you haven’t heard of all of these…

Frost Oil

Deep in the Alterac Mountains, just beyond the Hillsbrad Foothills, high atop a wall guarded by once mighty ogres (seriously, they used to be elite) sits Bro’kin. Bro’kin, a Boooty Bay aligned goblin, is an otherwise unremarkable Alchemy vendor with the exception that he is the only NPC that sells the Frost Oil Recipe. This oil, while fairly outdated by current standards, is still highly profitable due to the fact that it is a required turn-in for an old leveling quest, Coolant Heads Prevail. This quest line is still completed by alts and veteran players alike because part of the chain awards a fairly unique trinket, the Nifty Stopwatch. This old trinket still has use for running long distances when you can’t mount. PVPers will like it for running flags; Bankers will like it for the occasional speedy mailbox/bank/AH run. The oil is also used, albeit a lot less frequently, for the old Dire Maul Tribute run.

The point is that you’ve got a fairly steady demand and a limited supply which means a good potential for profits. Pick up a few copies of this recipe from Bro’kin for less than a gold each and learn one (if you’re an alchemist) and sell the others for as much as you can in the AH. We typically wait until no one else has one posted to post ours and then we price it in the area of 30g each, one at a time.

Note that you’ll have to wait a few minutes before purchasing the recipe again as it is a limited supply item. So what do you do while you wait? Well we’re glad you asked…

Nodes

There are various ore and herb nodes appropriate to the level of the quests and mobs in the zone but the standout winner here is a key component of Frost Oil, Wintersbite. This herb can be picked by herbalists of requisite level and is found only in the snowy mountainous areas of this zone. The nice thing about this herb is that this is the ONLY area in which it grows, so if you have extras after crafting your own Frost Oils they can be sold for pretty high prices.

If you’re an alchemist/herbalist (or are friendly with one) you are now in the business of selling the Frost Oil recipe, the oil itself and the requisite herbs for crafting of the oil. You, essentially, control this tiny market. Savvy traders will even take steps to ensure that the price of the herbs remains formidably high such that even if other players buy the recipe from you they find it unprofitable to craft a bunch of the oils to compete with you. Muhaaaahaaaahaaaaa!

A Bonus Rare Engineering Schematic

But wait, there’s more… Did you notice the little guy in the cage during your Alterac Travels? Rizz Loosebolt is another obscure Alterac vendor, this time of the engineering variety. Like Bro’kin, he is friendly to both factions and sells various trade items but has one recipe in limited supply. This time it is the Ice Deflector Schematic which is a bit of a harder sell (there’s no quest associated with the crafted item) but it does sell to completionist Engineers (many haven’t even heard of this schematic). While you’re talking to Rizz, you might also want to buy out his supply of Gyrochronatoms which usually sell at a hefty markup in the AH to lazy players that don’t bother finding them elsewhere for less.

In an interesting example of WoW synergy, it is worth noting that Frost Oil is a required crafting component of the Ice Deflector and one of the Gyrochronatoms are required for completion of the afore mentioned Nifty Stopwatch quest line.

Something Else to Think About

Did you do your Alterac Valley quests? There are a whole slew of them available in your race’s AV cavern. Quest givers are located about half way down each tunnel. Both factions’ tunnels are located symmetrically on opposite sides of a path between the mountains that make up the border of the Hillsbrad Foothills and the Alterac Mountains. An informal poll amongst friends and family showed that most players, particularly those that started playing within the last two years, have never even heard of these quests. They are easy to do and are often completed along the course of attempting to win the AV battle. In fact, the hardest thing about completing these quests is simply finding the quest givers. So what are you waiting for? That’s some easy XP/gold right there? These quests might prove particularly lucrative to those players attempting to level with PVP as it just becomes an added bonus to what they are already doing.

You’ve now got yourself a little, agreeably unusual but highly profitable, farming circuit from the old world. It may seem counterintuitive to spend time visiting these old areas but we would argue otherwise, because who knows what the availability of these items, vendors, quests and even zones will be after the Cataclysm hits? May as well head out there now while you still can.

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Raw Epic Gems on the Rise

Uncut epic gems are showing increases in price on every server we tested. This is occurring even as the prices of many cut epic gems are decreasing in price. The reasons for this pricing anomaly are simple.

Demand is Up

Uncut (or raw) epic gems gain value as demand increases. We are currently seeing a demand increase because many jewelcrafters now each have several learned patterns and are increasingly gaining more. As jewelcrafters learn more patters, and seek to cut more gems, the demand for raw gems increases. Demand for cut gems is also on the rise due to the new Arena Season, new PVP gear and additional PVP content but the cut demand is not increasing as fast as the uncut demand… for now. It is reasonable to expect that cut gem demand will equalize with, or possibly even overcome, uncut gem demand as more players gain new gear and as players develop a coherent strategy as to how they wish to gem their gear with epic cuts. Of course, any increase in cut gem demand will also increase demand for uncut equivalents but the opposite relationship is not necessarily true.

Supply is Down

Again, with the release of new PVP gear, many players are back to spending their honor points on attaining this gear as opposed to purchasing gems for resale. Further, most players are reporting their experiences with prospecting Titanium Ore to be unprofitable and are thus not pursuing this avenue of gem creation either. This leaves a significant dent in the supply of raw epic gems and a market ripe for exploitation by the savvy WoW trader.

Conclusions

If you have excess uncut epic gems keep an eye out for opportunities to sell them at a premium. The servers we tested each showed at least 3 out of 6 possible colors of epic gems to have at least some cut gems that were selling lower than the price of uncut gems. One server showed at least one cut gem in each gem color category to be selling cheaper than their raw counterparts.

The signs of a good selling opportunity include (but are by no means limited to):

  • A very low (perhaps < 5) amount of uncut epics available
  • Multiple cut gems selling for less than their uncut counterparts
  • A sharp rise in prices of a popular cut gem(s)

The market is moving, make sure you are moving accordingly. In put it in PVE terms, don’t stand in the purple AH fire.

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WTS Titansteel Cooldown

For several weeks now, every server tested is showing the price of Titansteel Bars to be higher than the price of the materials required to create them. The bars are hovering at a consistently higher price while the more volatile Titanium Ore and Titanium Bars fluctuate wildly. Whilst a miner can only create one bar daily, this is a fast and easy means to profit provided you purchase or farm the materials inexpensively.

Even if you cannot find the materials at a price that makes the bars worth crafting there is still an opportunity to profit by selling your cooldown to another player with the materials. The thing to remember here is that, with the bars as profitable as they are currently and many new patterns circulating in the game, the price of that cooldown should be adjusted upwards instead of the decline that we were previously seeing. Let this message serve as your reminder to stop selling your cooldowns for pre-3.2 price levels and readjust at prices that reflect the new profitability of Titansteel and the loss of income that you experience by not crafting the bar yourself. When you are selling a cooldown, you are not selling the item but rather the opportunity cost of the item. It costs you gold to not craft your daily bars and it is for that loss of income that you should be compensated.

Along those same lines, if you’re an alchemist, even if you’re not transmute specced, be sure to transmute titanium bars on days when you are not transmuting epic gems. Ideally you’ve found plenty of opportunities with the overpriced epic gem market at present but on those few occasions when you either don’t have the mats or cannot attain them inexpensively don’t waste the opportunity that is your daily cooldown by ignoring this skill. Again, at the bare minimum, sell your cooldown to another player and profit from that.

Finally, with the price of Titanium and Titansteel bars being elevated, and the cooldown sales becoming more expensive, this is a fine time to reevaluate your pricing of secondary market Titanium-based goods as well.

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The Loot Council- Patch 3.2 and Other Good Reads

The Loot Council is regular column highlighting interesting and informative posts from around the WoW finance blogosphere.

Here is a quick selection of interesting WoW finance articles from around the web over the past few weeks:

  • Right off the bat, we’d like to give a shout out to Warcraft Econ. They’ve got some great information posted regarding coming changes to professions in patch 3.2. There are at least five good pertinent articles over there, so it is hard to pick just one, but our personal favorite so far is probably the comprehensive look at epic gem stats and transmute requirements. Be sure to give the whole site a look though, as they’ve really got some amazing stuff up regarding inbound changes to the economy.
  • One of the things mentioned by Warcraft Econ is the prospecting rate of Titanium on the PTR. Kaliope did some testing of her own and the two articles together present a pretty clear picture of what Jewelcrafters should expect from the ore.
  • There is further interesting information regarding 3.2 profession changes over at WoW.com from Insider Trader. This time, as relates to engineering and Alchemist transmutations.
  • Speaking of patch 3.2, our friends over at the Armory Data Mining project announced that they would begin tracking hunter pet stats shortly after the release of the patch. We can’t wait!
  • Alterac Volley posted a great gold-making tip using the old cheap-craft-for-purpose-of-D/E trick.
  • On the matter of old tricks, Dominate Your Server posted a good one on inflating prices.
  • Tobold’s done a nice analysis of various MMO economies. How they differ and how they might be further improved.
  • This week we bid a fond, but unfortunate, farewell to the short-lived AH Trading, Simplified blog. Best of luck to ya!

Going over to the RL side of things here are a few other interesting finds for you:

  • The NPC comic crew has a good take on the people behind those WoW subscriber numbers.
  • If your driveway looks anything like this, it is safe to say that you’ve reached the real life gold cap.
  • [Very NSFW warning] And finally, this article from playboy.com is almost too over the top to be real, but it is an interesting read nonetheless. We’ve all seen traders behave in this sort of fashion so it is at least plausible anyway. NSFW Reminder: Just like your significant other, your work IT admins and supervisors will not believe the “I swear I visited it for the articles” excuse.

Note that the above blogs are not listed in any particular order outside of the way the team brainstormed them. Please let us know if there are any sites that you feel we should feature and we will do so in a future edition of The Loot Council.

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The Secondary Market of Titanium

As we discussed a few days ago, Titanium Ore prices are at an all time high. As a result, the going rate for Titanium Bars is also experiencing a surge.

The WoWenomics team was discussing this price spike the other night when the conversation took an interesting turn. Our resident enchanting expert mentioned that he is seeing some benefit from the Titanium rush as it has allowed him to double his normal price for the vellums of Enchant Cloak- Titanweave that he regularly sells. He usually stocked about 20 Titanium Bars of which the enchant only requires two so he is still working off his stock but even if he had to purchase the bars at the AH at today’s high prices he would still be reaping a hefty profit. He presumes that players are willing to pay the higher prices because they assume that his costs for materials must have skyrocketed so the premium must be fair. The high Titanium prices, he says, also have the additional benefit of driving away competing enchanters who are, apparently, hesitant to spend the gold on the inflated Titanium thus further allowing him to dominate the market.

This revelation prompted our Blacksmith to speak up and say that he’s doubled the fee he requests for selling his Titansteel Bar cooldown to 30 gold. He told us that other blacksmiths will do it for less, and some potential customers balk at the higher price, but that he still sells the cooldown on any night he wishes to do so without too much effort. He is also making money from crafting and selling Titanium Rods and shield spikes at inflated prices and further reported a sharp decrease in the amount of competitors in both markets.

The engineer says his Titanium built items are also up in price although he didn’t have the foresight to stockpile the ore or bars so he only makes them from the mats he farms. But when he does the prices that he asks are higher and competition is also down.

Both of our jewelcrafters reported similar findings on Titanium related items in their markets.

Even our resident alchemist is reporting that he is once again finding it highly profitable to blow his twenty-hour cooldown on Transmute: Titanium instead of another transmute.

The point is that with the higher prices comes opportunity in many forms. Look for opportunities to profit off inflated Titanium prices in your own market and thus benefit even if you’re not a miner. If you’re unsure how Titanium might affect you take a look at the comprehensive crafted items list courtesy of WoWhead.

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Making Money with Mixtures

When patch 3.1 was introduced the four most popular end-game flasks were nerfed (or buffed depending on your point of view) to reduce the duration of the buff that a specific flask grants to one hour instead of two. In doing so, Blizzard introduced a mechanic wherein existing flasks were doubled in quantity to make up for the halved duration. This mechanic was called mixtures. There are four mixtures and each of them grants two of the equivalent flask upon usage. Using a mixture destroys it and replaces it with the flasks. There are still quite a few mixtures on the market. We presume that this is because they can reportedly drop in alchemist’s caches that are sometimes found by alchemists in Ulduar boss loot drops.

One of our team members reports advertising in /trade and purchasing these mixtures for reduced prices (i.e. less than twice the amount that the equivalent flask is selling for). He buys these mixtures when they’re cheap and sells them as flasks when the prices of the flasks are higher than half the price of the mixture.

Prior to posting this we checked the auction houses of four servers on both horde and alliance sides to gauge the prices of mixtures vs. equivalent flasks. Of the eight AH tests run, only three of them showed a reduced price for mixtures vs. the going rate of the equivalent flasks. Half of the eight tests showed prices roughly the same as the corresponding flasks and the final AH showed the mixtures to be higher priced. As these tests were hardly conclusive, it is difficult to say which one (flasks or mixtures) holds the better value long term. One thing for sure, if you find yourself in the market to purchase flasks, you’d be smart to search the equivalent mixture as well since you just might find a pretty sweet deal.

Here are just a few more details on mixtures:

  • Mixtures produce two of the equivalent flask while consuming the mixture itself.
  • We tested 40 various mixtures and can confirm that alchemy specializations have no effect on the number of flasks gained from the mixtures. Our elixir master reported exactly zero procs of free flaks in using them and, instead, ended up with exactly eighty of the expected flasks.
  • Anyone can use a mixture. You needn’t be an alchemist to turn a mixture into two flasks.
  • Mixtures reportedly drop as one of several items in an Alchemist’s Cache. Other than that, there is currently no other way to attain a mixture beyond the ones that were automatically created with the release of patch 3.1.
  • Mixtures stack in fives. Flasks stack in twenties.
  • You might consider looking in your guild bank for mixtures since the conversion happened automatically with the launch of patch 3.1. Our team member that buys these items said that when he asks sellers where they got the mixtures from, nine times out of ten they respond, “Just found them in our guild bank.”
  • If you want to scan the AH for all mixtures at once, simply type “Mixture of” in the search box. This will display all of the various mixtures in a single window. Be sure to compare the prices of equivalent flasks prior to investing to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
  • The four mixture types are:

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Drop it Like it’s Hot

One of our team members is a real pack rat. He stocks up on anything that might potentially have value whenever he can get it inexpensively. He’s got bags, bank tabs and his own guild bank filled to the brim with eternals of all flavors, BoE epic items, various consumables, and -get this- a guild bank tab filled entirely with stacks of Runic Mana Potions. Yes, that’s a total of 490 mana potions. We were blown away when this came up in a recent meeting between the WoWenomics team members. The rest of the team were kind of giving him a hard time about hoarding so many items as though he were planning for doomsday. We asked him if, when Blizzard finally allows player housing, he plans to build an underground bunker. He took our teasing in stride and said it’s all part of his personal gold-making strategy. He is not ‘stock piling’ anything. He likes to buy items at their cheapest and simply resell them when the value is higher than whatever he paid. In his words, he collects these items and is thus poised when the market goes up to “drop it like it’s hot”.

He makes thousands of gold per week just selling items at the height of their value. He never crashes a market by over-posting his sales- he simply bleeds them back into the economy no more than five at a time and reaps the profits. For this strategy to work he has to follow a strict bid/ask policy and adjust his buy and sell levels almost daily. Even items that he ‘needs’ are subject to his buy and sell policy. For example, as a tailor he stocks vast quantities of Moonshroud, Ebonweave and Spellweave for his crafting needs but is more than happy to sell them, even if he might need them later, when the price is right. See, he understands that the WoW market, like almost all markets, is cyclic and thus prone to ups and downs. Why stockpile any item if you can simply sell it when it’s high and buy it again later at a lower price. In this sense, let the AH be your bank and make a few gold on the items that you would otherwise keep. So, as he explains it, he’s not actually hoarding anything- everything is up for sale. He’s simply waiting for the right ‘ask’ level and he’ll begin selling off.

To enhance his success he understands the entire value chain of his investments. To go back to his tab full of Runic Mana Potions, he says that the market hasn’t been right to sell them off yet in raw form. But he’s been watching the markets for Lichbloom and Goldclover on his server and, as those markets are up, he expects to see a rise in the price of the mana potions soon. But he doesn’t stop there. At all times he makes sure there’s at least one mana injector up for sale in the AH and even these items are subject to the buy low/sell high or ‘drop it like it’s hot’ philosophy.

Every WoW gold maker out there knows to sell his or her items when the market is right. However, the unique lessons we took away from the discussion with our team member were:

  1. Invest even in markets that you may not have any profession-based interest in provide there is a cycle that can be exploited.
  2. Sell your own profession materials when the price is high enough, buy them back not ‘when needed’ but when the price is right.

Follow these tips and you’ll be living like a king in no time. Or, to put it in the fine words of the ever-articulate Snoop Dogg:

“So don’t change the dizzle, turn it up a little
I got a living room full of fine dime brizzles
Waiting on the Pizzle, the Dizzle and the Shizzle
G’s to the bizzack, now ladies here we gizzo…

Drop it Like it’s Hot

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