Tag Archives: Cooking

Cheap Eats

Look, everyone loves a tasty, high-quality meal. It’s always nice to head out for a fine steak and a glass of wine but sometimes the situation calls for a quick burger instead. PUGs, PVE questing and Battlegrounds are fine examples of this- certainly not steak time, but still no reason to go to battle hungry. But don’t go to the expense of burning your best food for PUGs, BGs or a few lowly mobs, save that stuff for raids and more difficult encounters. If all you want is to have a food buff (particularly the stamina component for use in battlegrounds) just purchase or cook up some of the cheaper versions of your favorite foods.

Flexibility is key when finding ‘Cheap Eats’. Even if you’ve got your heart set on +Spell Power food, be willing to accept +Spirit, Crit or Haste instead. No matter what way you still get the Stamina buff and a little something extra to boost your other stats. Also, as long as we’re talking about flexibility, don’t forget to look in the AH for the uncooked version of the food you’re after as well.

Keep in mind that a large part of keeping these foods cheap to craft is attaining spices as inexpensively as possible. While not all lower level foods will require the spices, it helps to constantly keep an eye on this item in the AH for deals. We find at least once a week some idiot will post a stack of Northern Spices for less than half the going rate. Even if we don’t need them at that particular moment we’ll scoop them up for later use or simply repost them higher. It’s easy money.

Finally, the profit-minded WoW trader will be interested to learn that there is often a significant disparity between the prices of this lower-tier uncooked and cooked food. Look at this difference as an opportunity to conduct some profitable market corrections. Develop an understanding of both the base costs of preparing the cooked food and the timing of the sale cycle for the food and use this knowledge to exploit the market.

Here is a short list of a few of our favorite lower-tier (and often very inexpensive) cooked Northrend foods:

  • Cuttlesteak– Many WoW fishermen pick up Cuttlefish while doing one of their daily fishing quests. Since the material is utterly useless beyond cooking into steak of feeding to hunter pets, it often gets dumped in the AH at near vendor sale prices.
  • Baked Manta Ray– This one is great because it grants a buff that is beneficial to both casters and melee (haste) and does not require spices.
  • Grilled Sculpin– Another one that requires no spices to craft. Nice boost to AP. Watch the market closely, however, as the fish required to craft the item are also a key component of Fish Feast so sometimes it is better to sell the raw fish than to cook into this item.
  • Blackened Worg Steak– What’s that you say? The buff is useless? Not at all… pop one of these prior to your Wintergrasp farming runs and never be surprised by a gank-seeking enemy again. Of course, maybe you’re the ganker in which case this might prove even more useful for finding new targets.
  • Pickled Fangtooth– The raw fish required to craft this item are often vastly oversupplied and extremely cheap on the AH. Pick them up and cook them up and keep your mana up. Again, no spices required at all.
  • Snapper Extreme– Requires 3 raw fish AND spices but the fish are extremely oversupplied to such an extent that the crafting cost is often little more than the cost of the spices and your time invested.
  • Worm Delight– Another ‘no spice’ recipe with a buff that can benefit all classes and builds (Crit). This one used to be more expensive until more players started regularly killing worms for the Sons of Hodir. These days a savvy trader can find the raw materials on the AH at a much lower cost fairly regularly.

P.S. (free bonus tourist info): If you happen to be visiting the New York area sometime, be sure to check out Luger’s steak house (linked above). There are a lot of great joints in the city but this place is a bit out of the way so many tourists miss it. This New Yorker favorite has got a fantastic authentic Brooklyn atmosphere and serves up one of the finest steaks you’ll ever taste. Even the burgers here are great (and relatively cheap). This is not a paid advertisement, just us telling you where you can find a great meal during your visit. Not that we would complain if you invited us to come along for a bite mind you (hint, hint, nudge, nudge).

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Dragonfin Dishes Now More Tasty Than Ever

About a week ago an article was published on WoW.com advising readers of the financial benefits of farming a certain highly profitable fish. While we’ve also previously advised that WoW traders focus on fishing and cooking Dragonfin, we do not have quite the same community reach as WoW.com.

One Fish

The result over the past week has been, as you might have predicted, a sharp drop in the going rate of uncooked Dragonfin Angelfish. Generally, the price of raw Dragonfin stays higher than the prices of equivalent Northrend fish not only because the demand for the cooked fish is so high but also because the supply is diminished by not being connected at all to any fishing daily quests. The currently lower price, however, presents a fantastic opportunity for in-game chefs to turn a quick gold by simply purchasing the price-depressed fish, cooking and selling at a hefty mark-up. The key to this, and really any high-end cooking-for-profit, strategy is in attaining the Northern Spices inexpensively. One idea is to purchase Dragonfin Angelfish for less than 50 gold, the spices for less than one gold and then sell the stacks of cooked product for 100 gold or more. This nets a nice 30 gold per stack minimum profit and the time investment is minimal because we know you’ve already got your Chef’s Hat right?

Two Fish

Be sure to consider both types of cooked Dragonfin for the most profitable variety. Both Dragonfin Filet and Blackened Dragonfin can sell profitably but our experience is that there is usually higher demand for the Filet variety. The profitability of the Blackened fish, however, was increased with the patch 3.2 changes that reduced the amount of raw fish required to cook the item.

Bad Fish

The irony to this easy tip is that the author of the post over at WoW.com quite correctly advises readers not to sell the fish when the market is flooded and to examine the entire value chain to determine whether it is best to sell the raw or cooked fish. Naturally, these key points seem to be lost on the community and the result has been a mass influx of uncooked Dragonfin onto the market. If, indeed, the uptick in raw fish on the market is attributable to this article, it can also be expected that the over supply period will end and prices will return to normal levels as the more casual players exit the market. In the mean time, we’re scooping up all the cheap fish we can find.

More Fish

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The Chef’s Hat

Cooking can be incredibly profitable. Whether you’re simply completing the daily cooking quest for a few gold plus converting and selling herbs for the lucrative proceeds or you’re pursuing additional opportunities for greater profits through cooked goods, cooking can bring in the gold. The real bonus is that this gold is above and beyond that generated from your main professions since cooking is a secondary skill. So, assuming you’ve pursued the opportunity of cooking, should you purchase the Chef’s Hat?

Chef’s Hat Facts:

Worth It?

The most direct route to answering the question of whether or not the hat is worth it depends on the value of the hat on your server and the amount of cooking that you perform. To find the answer to the question of your server’s cost, we have to examine the going rate of Northern Spices. The AH cost of spices vary from server to server but, on average, we’ve found their cost to be in the area of 1.5 gold each. So assuming the cost of each spice is 1.5 gold, and the hat costs 1,000 spices (or 100 cooking tokens) the base opportunity cost of the hat is 1,500 gold. Now, this is hardly scientific since there are several variables. Namely, there are more profitable ways to spend your spices if you also have meat and a savvy trader will have the ability to get spices much cheaper. However, 1,500 G is a good base price to start your hat price evaluation from.

Is it worth 1,500 gold to save up to 3.5 seconds on cooking per item? That depends how much you cook. The dedicated chefs in our group claim to cook hundreds of items in a single session and swear by the hat. They say that, while the cost of the hat may be 1,500 gold or more, all the time saved is worth significantly more.

So purchasing the hat is certainly worth it if you cook regularly. If you’re just a casual chef, then it probably isn’t for you and you’re best off selling your spices. However, if that phrase made your cringe, and the very thought of selling your precious spices made you shudder because you cook in the game regularly, you might want to think about getting yourself a new hat.

The Pampered WoW Chef

Finally, if you are truly a dedicated chef you’ve got to go all the way and get yourself an nice weapon to fit the part. There are a few options out there but our favorites are the baker version and the butcher variety. Actually, if you wanted to take it to the extreme you can find entire WoW cooking outfits to match your obsession.

Side note: This hat was initially intended to be a cosmetic, or ‘flavor’, item. Blizzard said as much in a forum post but ultimately changed their minds after pressure from the community. From a WoWenomics perspective, we would not have advised purchase of the hat if it had remained just for show.

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Maximizing Exploration Profit

Although we’ve mentioned this sort of thing before it is worth mentioning again, given the goals of the current WoW world event, that there is significant profit to be made from traveling the zones of WoW. Many vendors around the world sell various items and recipes that can be resold for a hefty profit in your faction’s auction house. As you make your way through old world areas, be sure to stop by the vendors of each area and purchase the things that can be resold with a markup. Cooking recipes are particularly profitable these days as many more players are cooking than there were previously and a large amount of these players leveled cooking after they were already experience level cap and thus may have missed key purchasable recipes along the way.

A few key profitable vendors to watch out for are:

Don’t forget to, where possible, purchase multiple recipes or items and mail them to your AH alt for reselling over the long term. Don’t crash the market and post them all at once. Rather, extend your current business by slowly bleeding these into the market one or two at a time and reaping a nice profit over the long term. Making money this way is particularly attractive because the tricks above require no specific skills or professions and can be done as you travel along completing other quests or goals.

Bonus- Here are two handy BoE recipe guides:

Book of Warcraft
Blizzard Guides

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Hot Item of the Week- Fish Feast

All of the WoWenomics team members are avid cooks. Many of us cook for profit even more than we cook for our own personal needs. Accordingly, we tend to keep a pretty close eye on the prices of raw foods.

We recently found that the prices of the raw fish required to craft a Fish Feast continue to drop. They’re not dropping in a straight downward cycle but rater an up and down downward spiral. The same is true of Northern Spices all though the spices seem to hold there value a little better these days.

Of the 12 auction houses we checked over the past week, ALL of them showed the total cost of all of the materials required to cook a stack of Fish Feast was less than the amount the Fish Feast sell for. In fact, while the prices of the raw fish continue to drop, the price of the Fish Feast itself seems to be on the rise.

This price disparity is a common occurrence in WoW until prices of both the materials and the crafted item reach a stable value. Most items, over time, reach this form of stabilization and it may be that Fish Feast prices have already stabilized on your own server but, from what we can tell at the moment, this is not the case for most servers. Exploiting the difference between crafting costs and out and out purchase costs is one of the fastest and easiest ways to make money in WoW.

Currently, the lowest price premium of the 12 servers we looked at showed the Fish Feast selling for 8% more than the cost of the materials required to produce it. The best premium was 31%. That is a huge amount of profit to be gained from very, very little effort.

Bear in mind that it may take a little while for your feast to sell. We set our auctions at 48 hours and only post one at a time. Generally, we undercut any other feasts by one silver when we post. It also pays to be aware that Fish Feast is only useable by cooks with a skill level of 425 so, if you’re not a chef, this may be a more risky investment on which to attempt a straight buy-low-and-sell-high trade.

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Hot Item of the Week- Delicious Chocolate Cake

The Children’s Week event starts early Saturday Friday morning. As such, many players will be attempting to wrap up the related achievements in pursuit of their 310% speed boosting world-event mount. One of the required achievements is Bad Example, which requires you to eat certain unhealthy snacks in front of your orphan. The opportunity for profit is that two of these treats are not available from vendors and can only be crafted by WoW chefs. The Delicious Chocolate Cake and Tasty Cupcake are both crafted items and should hit a premium in price during the Children’s Week event. We expect that, while both items will show a steep rise in price, The Delicious Chocolate Cake will show the strongest increase for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the recipe is a fairly rare drop from daily cooking quests so not all chefs will have it (in fact, we hear that some people even think that ‘the cake is a lie’).

Even if you are not a chef there will be plenty of opportunity to profit from the cake. We expect a limited supply of cakes in the AH during the event so an enterprising player may just buy them out as they become available and reprice them. At any rate, you’d do well to collect the materials and craft one (or have one crafted) now if you’re interested in the achievement and, while you’re at it, make a few more for profit. In terms of opportunity, this may be your one and only chance to have your cake and eat it too.

Yes we know a max-level player can farm the mats for this item very easily. Yes we are aware that the materials to make the item normally cost less than five or six gold if purchased from the AH. Yet, we also know that many players will be too lazy or otherwise distracted to craft or purchase the materials to craft the cake (and the cupcake) and will simply look to buy it from the AH. And this is why, for this very short window of opportunity, Delicious Chocolate Cake is our Hot Item of the Week.

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Analysis of the Post-3.1 Economy

We’ve now had two weeks to assess the impact of patch 3.1 on the WoW economy. The general consensus has been that, while there were a few areas of opportunity, the Northrend economy overall is in a state of continued decline. We are certainly no fans of assumption here at WoWenomics so we chose a few items, specifically those items we based our own pre-patch predictions upon, to track with standard financial analytics. It is this analysis we share with you now.

When looking at the statistics below you may notice that there are three weeks of listed tests. The purpose of conducing three weeks of testing was to establish a baseline in the week prior to the release of the patch. Bear in mind that the day the patch was released to the (US) public was Tuesday, April 14th. The data listed below reflects the week of prices leading up to this date and the two-week period following.

Items we Predicted Would Rise in Value

Borean Man O’ War

3 week high: 40.84 on Sunday, April 19, 2009
3 week low: 18.51 on Monday, April 27, 2009
3 week average price: 23.22

after-3-1_1-borean-man-o-war

Of all the items we predicted an increase in price for, Borean Man O’ War saw the biggest increase in value in terms of percentage increase. This was particularly true if you invested when we initially recommended a buy on this item.

Eternal Earth

3 week high: 7.16 on Saturday, April 25, 2009
3 week low: 4.68 on Wednesday, April 8, 2009
3 week average price: 5.53

after-3-1_1-eternal-earth2

While we initially recommended investing in this item prior to 3.1 we amended our recommendation based on data that was released shortly before the patch was released. Yet, Eternal Earth still managed to increase in value over our testing period. Not a huge increase mind you, but an increase nonetheless. Interestingly, all three of the eternals we tested showed a spike in value on all servers in the days immediately following the release of the patch.

Eternal Fire

3 week high: 28.64 on Wednesday, April 16, 2009
3 week low: 18.97 on Wednesday, April 8, 2009
3 week average price: 21.95

after-3-1_1-eternal-fire

Prices for Eternal Fire have remained mostly stable showing only a modest increase over the three-week examination period.

Eternal Shadow

3 week high: 6.89 on Thursday, April 16, 2009
3 week low: 3.94 on Wednesday, April 8, 2009
3 week average price: 5.19

after-3-1_1-eternal-shadow

Interestingly, all tracked eternals showed their lowest prices on the same date. As the price increased from both the date of our prediction and the week prior to the patch date, we consider this prediction a success.

Gems

Initially gems did not show much promise for profit following 3.1. Recently however, the gem market seems to be showing promise. This reflects the fact that players are now attaining more new gear through both Ulduar and Arena Season 6.

Glyphs

The profits to be made in the initial days following the release of 3.1 were meaningful and well documented. Our resident inscription expert remarks only that “things have cooled” significantly since then.

High-end Cloth- Moonshroud

3 week high: 96.45 on Wednesday, April 8, 2009
3 week low: 81.82 on Tuesday, April 28, 2009
3 week average price: 88.97

after-3-1_1-moonshroud1

We chose to track Moonshroud for several reasons; the most prevalent being that we feel it has the highest potential for increase. That said, the price of Moonshroud has thus far not increased outside of specific price spikes described in our summary below. Further, the decline in price is representative of the decline of the other two types of high-end tailoring cloth. In fact, were you to lay the charts for all three cloth types over one another you’d find that they decline at an almost impossible to differentiate rate although the price points are different.

Icy Dragonscale

We chose not to track Icy Dragonscale statistically due to the fact that it experienced a very modest increase in price. In fact, the only remarkable thing about this leatherworking item, in our opinion, is just how unremarkable the price changes were. The prices of the dragonscales have remained at almost the exact same levels for the past three weeks indicating that, perhaps, the market had ‘bottomed out’ previously and this item has achieved some level of price stability.

Mana Regeneration Items

We did not track a specific item to represent mana regeneration as we feel there are simply too many options available to the player to enhance mana regeneration. We do note, however, that we’ve seen a modest increase in the going rate of +MP5 food and gems.

Popular Enchantments and Enchanting Materials

As we noted recently, we’re doing a brisk and healthy business in already-enchanted vellums. Beyond that, we are seeing server price spikes in specific enchanting materials but nothing consistent. If you’re in the enchanting mats business you’ll have to frequently check the AH so as to determine when best to buy and sell.

Relic of Ulduar

These reputation turn-in items have not yet shown a significant increase in price. They have performed instead in similar manner as the Icy Dragonscale listed above. The only interesting thing about these relics is that it is the single item that seems to have found a consistent price that is very close to being the same on all servers (the Icy Dragonscale, by contrast, is consistently in the same price range day after day but that price point varies from server to server). The Relic of Ulduar price is about 2 gold per item across every server tested. Prices for the past three weeks have varied by less than 5 silver from this standard on any given day and, remarkably, this remains the same price level whether the items are sold in stacks or as singles.

Titansteel Bars

3 week high: 102.39 on Tuesday, April 7, 2009
3 week low: 77.82 on Tuesday, April 28, 2009
3 week average price: 92.66

after-3-1_1-titansteel-bar2

Titansteel Bars have been the biggest loser so far in our pre-3.1 assessment. Prices have continued downwards in steady decline for the past three weeks outside of occasional price spikes unique to each server.

WoTLK Flasks

Flask prices have not been specifically tracked as they are a different beast entirely. The two-for-one flask split further complicated the issue. That said, we made a huge amount of gold off of flasks with the release of patch 3.1 and will, perhaps, explore the potential for flasks in a future post. Suffice it to say, for now anyway, that flasks are one of the best items to apply the bid/ask strategy to as it can prove very profitable.

WoTLK Herbs

There was no significant increase in herb prices outside of the occasional herb spike. We theorize that the majority of the scribes and alchemists intending to profit from patch 3.1 bought their herbs earlier rather than later. Herb prices have remained, for the most part, consistent throughout the patch.

Items we Predicted Would Fall in Value

BoE Valor Bracers

The decline in price that we predicted for these bracers is difficult to quantify as there is no simple way to track all the various bracers available and the items are typically sold ad-hoc rather than pre-bought and resold on the AH. Anecdotal evidence, however, supports our initial prediction for decline in that the messages observed in /trade chat by all WoWenomics team members clearly shows the asking price for the bracers to be dropping.

Dragonfin Angelfish

3 week high: 60.81 on Friday, April 17, 2009
3 week low: 44.16 on Sunday, April 26, 2009
3 week average price: 53.82

after-3-1_1-dragonfin-angelfish

This item is in slight decline although it is not for the reasons listed in our initial assessment. Rather, the decline here is caused by over fishing. We’ve provided a more in-depth analysis of the post-3.1 fish market here.

Frozen Orbs

3 week high: 92.75 on Sunday, April 12, 2009
3 week low: 70.16 on Sunday, April 26, 2009
3 week average price: 88.23

after-3-1_1-frozen-orb

Frozen Orbs continue to decline in value although it is difficult to differentiate whether this is due to the deflationary effect or because of the reasons mentioned in our initial hypothesis.

Mycah’s Botanical Bag

3 week high: 284.77 on Friday, April 10, 2009
3 week low: 159.18 on Monday, April 27, 2009
3 week average price: 225.16

after-3-1_1-mycahs-botanical-bag

This item has declined significantly since the release of patch 3.1. There is a steep drop in price a few days after the release that we attribute to the introduction of the new and improved herbing bag to the general WoW market.

In Summary

It should be said right off the bat that it is much easier to predict a decline in the price of an item in WoW than it is to predict a gain in value. This is mostly due to the previously established deflationary effect occurring within the overall game economy. Unfortunately you can’t short WoW items. So, while we did end up being entirely accurate in our predictions for declining value, this alone is not much to be proud of.

As far as our predictions for price increases go, we still reason that some of these increases may still occur as the new crafting patterns drop from Ulduar but, the fact is, the demand spike for materials will be small and short-lived. We’ve already seen examples of this on all of our test servers actually. Situations occurred on all four servers wherein the prices of a certain item like Ebonweave spiked significantly in a single test but prices were almost always normalized by the next test approximately12 hours later. These price spikes were not shown in the results above because they occurred at different times for each server and were thus normalized when combined with the statistics of other servers. What this does tell us, however, is that there is still opportunity for an individual to profit by timing their sales of specific high-end items with the spikes that occur on their own servers. Whether or not you’re interested or capable of watching your server’s economy that closely is, of course, a different story. We do advise that you check frequently, or otherwise liquidate strategically. We do not advise holding items for the long term as that strategy is counterintuitive to the overall WoWenomics game.

We will be continuing our testing and tracking of the prices of the above listed items (and a few others) over the next few weeks as we continue our analysis. If there is enough interest in these types of posts, we’ll put something together and share our results with you.

A Few Notes on Our Testing Methods

It should be noted that all of the listed prices are in the ‘Fair Price’ format, a price measurement scheme that is explained on our Terms page in detail. The listed value of items is the fair price of the items as listed in the Auction houses of four servers. The prices that we show are the average of the listed prices on all four servers. Prices were measured at two points during the day and on both horde and alliance sides. Thus, the final listed ‘Fair Price’ that we tracked and shared is the average of both day and night prices over four servers on both the horde and alliance sides. Prices were measured at the same time daily on each server for the sake of consistency. A fifth server was also tested but not factored into the above listed prices as a control test for our results.

On the day that patch 3.1 was released to US servers, April 14th, data was not recorded due to server stability issues. Therefore, the data listed for April 14th is an average of the day prior and following day’s data. Similarly, on Tuesdays following the patch, servers were unavailable for AM testing times so only evening data is listed. We don’t feel either of these averaged scores significantly affected the outcome of our tests and only mention it now in the interests of full disclosure and transparency.

On a personal note I’d like to send a big thanks out to the WoWenomics team members for measuring and recording their data and returning it in a clear and timely fashion.

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