Category: Professions

As I predicted on Bitter and Salty, the market price value (MPV) for gathered materials continues to plummet. This is directly affecting the value of many of the higher-end, Mists of Pandaria (MoP) items in the game such as Living Steel, Dark Moon Faire cards, and flasks. In some cases, it’s not worth the trouble to craft these items because of the amount of time it takes you to process components at each level.

Living Steel was a hot commodity soon after MoP launched. Prices were extreme with single bars going for multiple thousands of gold. Then, on October 3, 2012, equilibrium was reached, and the MPV began to plummet. A post-equilibrium surplus such as the one Living Steel experienced a couple months ago can be an indicator of an aggressive loss of value. The market price for one Living Steel bar across all servers is now 476 gold. The price is even lower on high population servers (300-350 gold). Many players have probably bailed out of the Living Steel market altogether, frustrated with the fall in prices and reminiscing about easy gold-making.

This is not the time to panic, however. It’s the perfect time for some math! If you’re crafting Living Steel, then you’re an Alchemist specializing in Transmutation. If you’re not then you’re doing it wrong! If you are, then you’re watching the Ghost Iron Bar and Trillium Bar market. If you have access to a Blacksmith, then you’re watching the Ghost Iron Ore market. In reality, all of the markets are falling relative to each other, but the lowest tiered material is falling the quickest. You don’t want to ignore secondary and tertiary materials (the Ghost Iron and Trillium bars, in this case) as values on these will even out over time.

I’ve put together another spreadsheet using market prices published by The Undermine Journal for the Horde on Earthen Ring (US). The formulas within the spreadsheet calculate the cost to craft one Living Steel bar using one of the three components. As you can see in this example, the cheapest method, by far, is to use Ghost Iron Ore. However, we know that most Alchemists are lazy (especially Trolls), and they will buy the Ghost Iron bars directly off the auction house. An Alchemist would never buy the Trillium bars because they can transmute them with no cool down. Wait, what? You’re an Alchy and you buy Trillium bars to make Living Steel? Stop it.

MARKET PRICE COST TO CRAFT
Ghost Iron Ore Ghost Iron Bar Trillium Bar Living Steel
Price 1.57 4.39 48.04 318.75
Qty x GIO 1 2 20 120
Cost (GIO) 1.57 3.14 31.44 188.63
Qty x GIB 1 10 60
Cost (GIB) 4.39 43.90 263.41
Qty x TB 1 6
Cost (TB) 48.04 288.25
ACTION Craft Living Steel!

Simply put: f the cost to make a Living Steel bar is less than the value of the bar itself, go ahead and make it. However, I also take into account the values of the ore and bars in-between so that a sudden spike in Trillium Bar cost/value (for example) would put a stop to what I like to call my “Living Steel Dailies.” Oh, and this does not factor in a transmute-spec’d alchemist’s change to proc bonus Living Steel bars, of course. That’s just pure, unadulterated profit at that point.

I finally got around to moving my Shaman to Pandaria in World of Warcraft. I was a lazy Shaman during Cataclysm, only leaving Orgrimmar on special occasions. He’s my primary Jewelcrafter and backup Alchemist and leveled from 80 to 85 by doing the Jewelcrafting daily quest. While I still perform the daily, the Jewelcrafting recipes and rewards that MoP provides are too enticing to pass up.

Getting my Shaman over to the Jade Forest doesn’t mean he’s still not a lazy Shaman. He’s spec’d as Elemental/Restoration, and I don’t bother gearing him up with two sets of gear. I prefer to focus on picking up spirit-friendly gear, heal regular instance PUGs, and casually quest in my Elemental spec. It’s slow and inefficient, so it’s perfect for me.

If you’re into raiding, you’ll want to make sure you have your best-in-slot chest piece. This can be an interesting choice on how you want to spend your time gearing up when you hit level 90. You can hope that you stumble over Galleon with 39 other people in Valley of the Four Winds. Good luck with that. You can also consider Leatherworking for a number of options. Two epic-level items can be crafted for Resto Shamans, but one requires Blood Spirits and the other does not. While the crafted Robes of the Setting Sun is an upgrade over the Lifekeeper’s Robe, they are very similar and either one will probably be your pre-raid chest piece that you end up going with.

ITEM LVL SOURCE SCORE
Armor of the Single Cloud 90 Galleon World Boss 16,347
Stormbreaker Chestguard 90 Crafted Leatherworking 16,254
Robes of the Setting Sun 90 Golden Lotus Revered – 2,250 Valor 15,356
Lifekeeper’s Robe 90 Crafted Leatherworking 15,066
Uncasked Chestguard 90 Yan-Zhu the Uncasked Stormstout Brewery (Heroic) 12,454
Crackling Chain of the Golden Lotus 90 Battle Axe of the Thunder King (Quest) Vale of Eternal Blossoms 11,283
Mountain Stream Ringmail 90 Justice Quartermaster 2,250 Justice 11,147
Shivbreaker Vest 90 Lilian’s Soul Scholomance (Heroic) 10,113
Contender’s Scale Chestguard 90 Crafted Leatherworking 9,378
Earthmover Armor 88 The Point of No Return (Quest) Townlong Steppes 9,031
Patchwork Flesh Armor 90 An End to the Suffering (Quest) Scholomance (Heroic) 8,578

My good buddy Rexor has been telling me about this fantastic way to flip cheap, Mists of Pandaria-level Enchanting materials for nice profits in World of Warcraft. I understood his fascination with this scheme: taking advantage of players that don’t understand how Enchanting materials — or the profession, in general — work in the new expansion. If you’re making gold, the two best markets to be in are selling items that are confusing to players, or selling items in high demand to lazy and/or desperate raiders. The Sha Crystal conversion covers both of these markets.

With MoP, we are introduced to a new tier of Enchanting mats just as we were in the previous expansions. The Sha Crystal is the epic-level Enchanting mat, currently used in five Enchanting recipes. The enchants produced when using Sha Crystals are only necessary when players reach end-game, or when they pick up an item that they probably won’t upgrade for some time. While most players are busy leveling alts, battling pets, or tilling their farm, you can spend a few moments with me and figure out whether or not you want to make some gold with Enchanting.

The Conversion

Before we can confirm whether or not the Sha Crystal conversion market is worthwhile to you, we need to understand the conversion itself. Basically, it takes the following quantities of materials to “craft” one Sha Crystal:

Spirit Dust Mysterious Essence Small Ethereal Shard Ethereal Shard Sha Crystal
Spirit Dust 1 5 25 125
Mysterious Essence 1 5 25
Small Ethereal Shard 1 3 15
Ethereal Shard 1 5
Sha Crystal 1
Reading the table from left to right, you can see how many of the material on the left it takes to craft the item in the column heading. For example, it takes 125 Spirit Dust to “craft” a Sha Crystal, converting (or “upgrading”) all of your dust along the way.

The Formula

Now for the fun part. How do you know which material you should use to create your Sha Crystals? It’s easy! Simply multiply the base material by the number needed in the column to the far right (listed under “Sha Crystal”). If that number is below the market price for the crystal itself, buy it up. If it’s not, or it doesn’t present a significant profit to offset your time, then don’t do anything or sell some of your crystals.

The Spreadsheet

Nobody wants to spend their time calculating Enchanting material cost when they could be out in the world doing pet battles. If you review my post on using IQY data to retrieve market price information, you can create a spreadsheet using the conversion information and formula that will interact with current market prices. Here’s a sample of my data using the Horde auction house on Earthen Ring (US):

SPIRIT DUST MYSTERIOUS ESSENCE SMALL ETHEREAL SHARD ETHEREAL SHARD SHA CRYSTAL
378.49 367.86 259.88 334.09 447.19

As you can see, the average market price for one Sha Crystal is 447 gold. In this example, you will gain the most profit from buying 15 Small Ethereal Shards, converting them to five Ethereal Shards, and converting those to a Sha Crystal. With this information, you now have the power to drive down the price of Sha Crystals all by yourself.

Yesterday, I wrote an introduction on how to use The Undermine Journal‘s IQY data source for your gold-making strategies in World of Warcraft. Today, I’ll walk you through a scenario where I calculate the price point for Mists of Pandaria Darkmoon Faire cards.

Previously, I worked through the various calculations to determine a conservative herb milling-to-Darkmoon Faire card crafting rate. I figured that it takes about 212 MoP-level herbs to craft a single card. If you are buying herbs at or under market prices, you can then set your price for a potential, substantial profit when you list your card.

Create a Master Market Pricing File

To get started, generate an IQY file from the Undermine Journal and open it using Microsoft Excel. You will be prompted with a security notice, and it is your responsibility to understand what this means and allow/enable the security exception if you wish to proceed.

You should now have a new Excel workbook with a single worksheet that is populated with WoW auction house market price data. This will be your master market price data for all of your other workbooks. Now, save this workbook to your computer.

You will need to update this file manually in order to retrieve current market pricing, but if you link to it properly (as you’ll see below), then all of your other spreadsheet calculations will use current market prices instead of you having to search for them one at a time and enter them as static values.

How to Use the Master Market Pricing File in Your Formulas

Next, create a new Excel workbook, and type in an item name into a cell. The name must match the actual item name found in the game, or the search will fail. In another cell within the same row of the item name, type the following formula:

=VLOOKUP(<item name cell>, ‘[<pricing workbook file name>]<pricing workbook file name’s worksheet name>’!$F:$G, 2, FALSE)/10000

In my DMF Card calculator, my formula looks like this:

=VLOOKUP(A2, ‘[The Undermine Journal – H-Earthen Ring.xlsx]H-Earthen Ring’!$F:$G, 2, FALSE)/10000

For me, this returns a match for the item name in cell A2 when searching my pricing workbook, “The Undermine Journal – H-Earthen Ring.xlsx,” where my worksheet name is “H-Earthen Ring.” Columns F and G should represent the item names and market prices as returned by the IQY.

Sample Use to Determine Cost of Creating a Darkmoon Card of Mists

I multiply the market price value of each herb by 212 (135 for Fool’s cap) to determine the minimum price I should sell a card for given the current market price. Theoretically, I’m buying herbs below market price, so this value should already indicate a small profit.

Here’s an example of what my table looks like given the current market prices of herbs:

HERB M PRICE MILL VAL TOTAL COST
Green Tea Leaf 2.42 2.42 212 512.85
Rain Poppy 2.27 2.27 212 481.16
Desecrated Herb 2.48 2.48 212 525.70
Snow Lily 2.74 2.74 212 581.49
Silkweed 2.41 2.41 212 511.47
Fool’s Cap 4.25 2.85 135 573.75

The “MILL VAL” column is used to determine the milling value of Fool’s Cap when comparing the ink yield rate against the other herbs.

As you can see, it takes a decent investment just to make a single card. You also have to factor in the Scribe’s time to mill the herb, craft the inks, and diligence to make their Scroll of Wisdom each day.

You can use this method for just about every profession that makes use of raw materials to help you determine what you should sell your crafted item for at minimum. If you’re not someone that is interested in crafting, this can still be useful to you to determine whether or not an item is above or below cost.

An online friend of mine asked me how many herbs are needed to make a single Darkmoon Card of Mists in World of Warcraft. I guessed and said 400, but that seemed like too many. I figured I would crack open a spreadsheet and solve this riddle with some conservative math and a good Scotch.

Let’s face it: math is hard. Instead, we can simplify things by generalizing that the milling rate for a Mists of Pandaria herb works out to be about 1:1 in terms of stacks to Starlight Ink “value.” What I mean is, on average, if you mill a stack of herbs, you are most likely going to yield enough Shadow Pigment and Misty Pigment to craft and/or trade for one Starlight Ink. This is more or less a fair way to figure out how much herb you need to gather or buy in order to craft a card.

HERB SHADOW MISTY STACKS FOR CARD TOTAL FOR CARD
Green Tea Leaf 10 1 10.6 212
Rain Poppy 10 1 10.6 212
Silkweed 10 1 10.6 212
Snow Lily 10 1 10.6 212
Fool’s Cap 12 2 6.75 135

There are a couple of additional points, though. Fool’s Cap has a slightly higher ink yield than the other herbs. This can make a difference as to what herbs you want to use to mill if you tend to buy your herbs. Scribes also need to use one of their Scrolls of Wisdom to create the card. The scroll consumes three Ink of Dreams, so, technically, you will need eleven stacks of herb in total to craft a single Darkmoon Card of Mists.

Let’s go back to Fool’s Cap for a second. To be more precise, it takes 36% fewer Fool’s Cap to make a single card when compared to the other herbs found around Pandaria. Basically, when you’re trying to decide which herbs to purchase from the auction house to make your card, use the following logic:

  1. Find the lowest price of Green Tea LeafRain PoppySilkweed, and Snow Lily.
  2. Find the price of Fool’s Cap and subtract 36% from the price.
  3. Buy up all the herbs in #1 starting with the lowest price as long as that price is below the value derived from #2.

If the price generated from #2 is less than any of the herbs listed in #1, then, don’t be a fool and buy Fool’s Cap. See, that wasn’t so difficult. Now go out and make a killing buying herbs cheap, milling, and selling cards while the Darkmoon Faire card prices are outrageous.

My initial foray into the ore shuffle in Mists of Pandaria has been completed with some success. I wouldn’t say that this is overwhelming enough to make this my primary source of income, but I have concluded that it is profitable.

I did end up growing somewhat impatient with my sales, but this is partially due to my inability to remain patient and the large amount of supply that is currently screwing with the market. My philosophy with the auction house is to endure all others, so I will keep posting new auctions, re-listing, and buying out cheap materials daily.

In terms of the ore shuffle itself, here was my TLDR bottom line:

Materials Cost: 2,770
Confirmed Sales: 2,844
Total Sales: 3,950
Profit 1,180

My “Total Sales” is the sum of confirmed sales and my current AH listings where I’ve severely undercut both the average and market price.

At this point in the game, my plan is to use the ore shuffle to level my Jewelcrafting for free. I can achieve this by selling off most of the Sparkling Shards and rare, uncut gems. I can then take the uncommon, uncut gems and use them to level and discover recipes.

I will also use some of the materials to craft jewelry for my Enchanter to disenchant and use to level up Enchanting. Enchanting is going very slow for me in MoP, but utilizing the ore shuffle should increase this significantly.

The disappointing part of the experiment was the fact that the potential profit was not even close to being realized. This is the problem that I continue to have with the get-rich-quick schemes. Actual sales data in World of Warcraft does not exist to the public. Market data is made up solely on potential, thus increasing the amount of risk for players. Remember in my first post, I had calculated a profit of 5,771 gold?  I only made 20% of that.

So what to do with this information now? Well, I can continue to load in current data into the spreadsheet or modify the calculations to assume a 60%-80% drop in expected profit. My plan, however, is to simply watch the price of Ghost Iron Ore and monitor the supply and demand of uncut rare gems. The value of any rare, uncut gem should equal the price of a stack as you typically receive one rare when prospecting an entire stack.

If the average price of all uncut, rare gems is above the average price of a stack of Ghost Iron Ore, sell all the gems at their market price and buy the ore. If the price dips below, then cut the gem for leveling or for alts, or wait until there’s an opportunity to sell.

Yesterday, I wrote about the great potential for making gold in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria using the “ore shuffling” technique. Even though this was wildly successful for me in Cataclysm, I was hesitant to get into the market. After listening to others claim the viability of the process, I figured I would conduct a small experiment using actual values and compare them to the projections.

To begin the experiment, I bought 500 Ghost Iron Ore for a total of 2,770 gold from the Horde auction house on Earthen Ring (US). Using the spreadsheet provided by The Golden Crusade and values provided by The Undermine Journal, I expected a profit of 5,771 gold. Using actual values from prospecting and the auction house, I could expect to make 5,557 gold. That’s only a difference of 214 gold from the projections.

Yes, there were some variances, but nothing out of the ordinary. I would definitely recommend using the spreadsheet to give you a general idea of what kind of return on your investment you could expect by shuffling ore.

Here are some interesting points from this experiment:

So what’s next? If I craft Ornate Bands and Shadowfire Necklaces, I could make another 230 or so gold. However, for convenience’s sake, I will simply list all the raw gems and watch the Jewelcrafters that are trying to rush to 600 gobble them up.

I will report back with my sales to see if I was able to realize the 5500 gold profit. For now, this seems like a more than worthwhile market to enter, so long as the supply of ore remains high and I continue to bring my authenticator and spreadsheets with me wherever I go.

One of my favorite gold-making routines in Cataclysm was shuffling ore. Even if you consider yourself to be an average gold-maker in World of Warcraft, I’m sure you’ve heard of the ore shuffle. In Mists of Pandaria, the ore shuffle has returned, but with high volatility. However, there are tools out there for you to use to help you decide on whether or not it’s worth your while to participate in this gold-making scheme.

The basics of ore shuffling has been covered many times over on the Internet. If you are still not familiar with how it works, you basically use your Jewelcrafter to prospect various types of ore, and perform certain tasks with the prospected materials to turn a profit. These tasks can be as simple as crafting a rare gem, or constructing an item for disenchanting or selling on the auction house.

The Golden Crusade released an excellent guide that includes a spreadsheet that will help you determine whether or not it is profitable for you to shuffle your ore. The instructions are detailed enough, but you’ll need to create an account with the Undermine Journal before you can access the market data for the particular realm you are trying to retrieve data for.

One point to note: the market data that you download and import into the Excel spreadsheet is not used to calculate your profit. It is only there as a reference for you so that you can determine what amount you are comfortable paying for the various types of ore.

So guides on the Internet are great and all, but what about reality? The Golden Crusade outlined sample results when using 100 stacks of Ghost Iron Ore at 200 gold a stack. At a cost of 20K gold, a profit of 4.3K gold was made. Sounds awesome, right? Yeah! However, instead of using the spreadsheet to speculate and calculate, I’ll be using actual values from the Earthen Ring (US) Horde market.

Here are the prices I paid for the ore using actual cost and market prices:

PRICE QTY PPI DATE
115 20 5.75 10/8/2012
115 20 5.75 10/8/2012
115 20 5.75 10/8/2012
115 20 5.75 10/8/2012
115 20 5.75 10/8/2012
109 20 5.45 10/8/2012
109 20 5.45 10/8/2012
109 20 5.45 10/8/2012
109 20 5.45 10/8/2012
109 20 5.45 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012

This works out to a total of 25 stacks (500 ore) at a total cost of 2,770 gold (at 5.54 gold per ore). The Undermine Journal reported a market price of 5.95 per ore on October 8, 2012. So, in theory, I already made 205 gold based on buying the ore below market price. If I used the spreadsheet, though, I have a potential profit of 5,771 gold. Hooray! Wait, what? That’s not how it works? Okay.

So now it’s time to prospect! I will report back on my ore prospecting yields this week and break down the actual materials gained from the ore and compare them to the spreadsheet.