Tag Archives: Smelting

Titanium Dropping in Price

The WoWenomics team was discussing Titanium Ore recently and all team members agreed that the prices are down from their peak just a few weeks ago. Whereas typical prices for a stack of ore were reported as being in the area of 350 gold or more, we searched ten auction houses across five servers last night and found stacks available for buyouts at sub-300 levels on seven of the ten auction houses. We cannot say definitively how much prices are dropping since we have not been statistically recording the prices across servers but, anecdotally at least, it would appear that the ore, and goods and services related to the ore, are currently on the decline.

The reasons for the drop in price of Titanium are probably a combination of:

  • Increased supply– Titanium Ore has been so profitable for so many weeks that many more players are jumping into the farming for resale market, causing a certain amount of over-supply.
  • Decreased demand– As epic gem prices drop and stabilize perhaps Jewelcrafters are finding high ore prices intolerable.

In fact, one interesting correlation that we noted in our research was that of the seven servers that showed lower ore prices, every single one showed decreased epic gem prices. Prices for uncut gems on these servers were typically within the area of 140-150 gold. It may be that epic gem prices can be used as an early indicator of the direction of Titanium Ore. If you are in the ore market, either buying or selling, you might want to also look into the prices of epic gems to determine your optimal pricing and/or farming strategy before you set out on your daily quest for profits.

It is impossible to say if the observed decline in Titanium prices is here to stay of if this is just part of the cyclic nature of the WoW economy but, for the time being at least, we are rating Titanium Ore as a sell.

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The Bronze Age

Bronze Bars present an interesting value proposition to students of WoWenomics in that they benefit from having both a relatively high demand and a limited supply. Due to this combination of factors, and the fact that this material is often overlooked or forgotten about by maximum-level players, the bars can be an otherwise neglected market from which to profit. Bronze Bars will frequently sell out completely from the AH. In fact, we tested 14 auction houses at different times over the past week and found that approximately half the time the metal was sold out. In the occasions that the bars were in stock, the prices varied wildly suggesting that the bars go through lulls with no buyers and then peak when someone is power leveling an alt or switching the profession of their main. This presents a further opportunity for the astute WoW trader. Put another way, the majority of the prices we observed were on par or higher than those of Saronite Bars.

Demand

Bronze Bars are an essential part of the leveling process for Blacksmiths, Jewelcrafters and Engineers. For several of these professions the bars are integral to not only direct crafting of goods but also the crafting of component goods that go into other items so the metal has the somewhat unique position of being necessary for a higher than average part of the leveling process. This causes additional demand and is a key part of the reason that the bars will often sell out in bulk, regardless of price.

Supply

Unlike most other metals in WoW, Bronze cannot be made directly from an ore. As with the real world, no such raw ore exists. Bronze is made from mixing two metals, tin and copper. This slightly more complex process leads to a lower supply of the bars themselves. Many ore farmers just dump their supplies of the farmed ores into the AH without giving a thought to the possibility of making more gold by combining the two cheaper metals. Indeed, our favorite way to profit from the bronze trade is to find the two cheaper metals in the auction house and combine them, reselling the produced bronze for a hefty mark up.

Watch the Bronze Bar market yourself and see if you can’t identify some opportunities for profit that would otherwise be overlooked.

Here’s an interesting side note for you: Every student that has ever completed an elementary history course understands that the Bronze Age proceeded the Iron Age. What most people do not know is that the iron remained the inferior alloy at the time, with bronze being both stronger and more resistant to corrosion than the more popular and accessible wrought iron. So instead of an evolutionary process leading to the adaptation of a new metal, disruptions in the historic supply chains of tin (a key component of bronze) caused the cultural shift to the less sturdy ore. Ultimately, as smelting techniques improved, humanity progressed wholly into the Iron Age. But, in an interesting correlation to the WoW valuation of bronze, the tight supply of tin caused the metal to retain the property of being a semi-precious metal throughout the ages and, to a significant degree, even today.

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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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