Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dec 27th Hotfixes

I always get excited when hotfixes roll out, as they tend to shake up otherwise fairly stable markets. For example:

Dec 27th Hotfixes
If you were not aware in a general sense, the items listed above were limited stock vendor items necessary to make the following Inscription relics/offhands:
Even if you did not have a Scribe or were not interested in making those offhand/relics, people (above level 84) still camped the vendor for hours and hours in order to flip the limited stock items on the AH for some serious cash. The Ogre Eyeball, for example, is bought for 26g and some change and was going for 200g-300g on my server. The idea, then, is to jump on this opportunity now before the rest of your server and the market at large corrects what it may otherwise still believe to be a limited item.

The other angle is that this lower vendor price may make the crafting of those offhands and relics profitable whereas it was not before. While the first two on the list are fairly low-level, the last three are all ilevel 346, which means they are at least equivalent stat-wise to anything you can get out of heroics. The Notched Jawbone in particular is pretty amazing for not just plate DPS, but also Protection paladins. With the Jawbone itself accounted for, the biggest question mark becomes the Inferno Ink. Twelve Inferno Ink is pretty pricey considering you could play the Darkmoon Card lottery with 10 and possibly hit the 4000g-6000g jackpot, but I would say the Jawbone should rake in more than what you would get for any of the "of Stones" cards, and would level your Inscription besides. Then again, other Scribes could be flooding the market for that same reason (creating the Notched Jawbone for leveling purposes) so definitely check it out beforehand.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Alchemy and JC Synergy

How have I been making gold so far this expansion? Several ways, but my favorite is the Alchemy/JC cycle.

I originally picked Alchemy and Jewelcrafting for my main back in TBC because I did not want to rely on the AH to supply the metagems I wanted to cut and sell. The metagem transmutes back then required nine gems and four Primals and were on the Alchemy daily transmute besides. These days, the synergy between these two professions has only deepened and become refined into almost a pure cycle.

What is the cycle? You start with buying Obsidium or Elementium Ore off the AH - in my experience Obsidium Ore is preferable for our purposes, and the bot farmers have driven it down to 70g a stack on my server. Once the ore has been obtained, you prospect all of it with a goal of getting the uncommon Cataclysm gems. As mentioned in other articles, each one of these gems vendors for 5g by itself, or 9g if you cut it into anything at all. Rather than vendoring, we are going to use Alchemy transmutes to bake in some additional profit.

As with all things, you are going to want to check your own realm's AH prices to judge which direction you take the next step. The first thing I recommend is the Transmute: Shadowspirit Diamond. This transmute takes three of every type of uncommon gem, including Nightstones, which are likely to be at or around 100g apiece due to their use in leveling JC and the daily. Fortunately, the Shadowspirit transmute makes two metagems before any transmute mastery procs. Once you have these metagems you can either sell them uncut or cut them yourself if you have snagged any patterns by now.

The second option you have is to utilize the other gem transmutes to turn three uncommon gems of the same color + a few herbs into a rare gem of that same color (e.g. Transmute: Inferno Ruby). The uncut rare gem market right now is a state of flux given the lack of socketable gear for the majority of players combined with a lack of JCs with the appropriate cuts. What this means is that you are not likely to be able to make much of a profit off of selling uncut gems - this state will naturally correct itself over time to resemble what we all remember from epic gems at the end of Wrath. The good news is that cut gems are probably going for 100g+ minimum, turning those three somewhat useless carnelians into, say, Brilliant Inferno Rubies which will sell for 7-9 times as much as the vendor price.

As a sort of thought experiment, imagine that 10 stacks of Obsidium Ore at 70g a stack gives you enough uncommon gems for a single Shadowspirit transmute and two other rare gem transmutes. If you are able to sell the Shadowspirits (cut or uncut) for only 350g apiece, you come out even before considering the rare gem transmutes (cut or uncut), not to mention any rare gems gained by prospecting and/or excess uncommon gems in quantities below three. Odds are good that you will be gaining more than that, widening your possible margin and allowing you to maintain a profit in case Obsidium Ore prices higher on your server.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

There Are No Shortcuts... Except This One


I have been a huge fan of the classic Auctioneer since I started playing the game back in the beginning stages of TBC, and it worked for me all the way until patch 4.0.1, Destroyer of Addons. With Auctioneer out of commission during that Black Tuesday, I decided to give Autionator a try. And I have never really looked back.

What is the difference? Auctionator is designed to be easy to use. Drag and drop your items into the box (or Alt-Left Click) and it will automatically undercut the lowest auction, with your competition listed to the right. If the lowest is too low, just click on what price you want to undercut. Hell, you can even buy other peoples' auctions or cancel your undercut ones from this same screen. Auctioneer is capable of auto-undercutting, but you actually have to hit Refresh to get the current prices, which doubles the clicks necessary to offload your loot.

The Buy tab is similarly elegant in its simplicity and power. Want to see the current prices of Amberjewel and what it can be cut into? Bam! If you have auctions up that are being undercut you will see a red X next to it, compared with a green check-mark to show you are still the classiest act in town. Your most recent searches are saved along the left-hand side, but you can make shopping lists if you want to be pro. One of my favorite uses for these shopping lists is using the "advanced" search function which looks like this:

This search string will bring up every scroll for that gear slot and clicking the price will re-sort them so the most expensive (and thus most profitable!) are at the top. You can do the same thing with Glyphs if you want to remind yourself how much you hate the Blizzard designers.

I am known to troll the AH for deals on occasion though, and unfortunately Auctinator does nothing to change the hideousness of the default AH screen. That is why I do recommend installing Auctioneer too so you can easily browse 50 items at a time and sort things by prices. As has been reported on some of the other blog sites though, the future of Auctioneer is currently unknown considering the sweeping behind-the-scenes code changes that make scanning the entire AH in a few minutes unreliable at best, impossible at worst. While I recommend using Aunctionator simply because it IS a good AH tool even compared to Aunctioneer, you may want to become familiar with it should Auctioneer suddenly find itself no longer working or being discontinued.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finding the Margin

What is the minimum monetary reward you are willing to accept for one posted auction?

This is the single most important question you can answer for yourself on your journey of wealth creation, for it instructs you in a direction that will ultimately be more personally rewarding and you will be more likely to stick with it long enough to actualize that wealth.

My personal minimum is now 30g. That may not make sense to you, and it's not supposed to. That is my margin. You might not believe there is much difference between one auction with a 30g margin and five auctions with a 6g margin that you have automated, but there is a difference well beyond the actual time it takes to post said auctions: motivation, willingness, reward. If you are the type of person who is self-motivated to the point that every copper of profit feels like your birthday, and you can maintain that motivation over the long-term, more power to you; the entire world will be your market.

For the rest of us, we must choose.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Better Living Through Alchemy

There are two transmutes you need to be doing whenever possible, if you have not been already:

Transmute: Living Elements - Volatile Life x15 (in Uldum)
Transmute: Inferno Ruby - Carnelian x3, Heartblossom x3

Like a lot of people, I imagined that Transmute: Truegold was going to be the king of the cooldowns. Maybe it is on your server, but on mine Volatile Air fluctuates between 65g-85g apiece which shoots the minimum price of Truegold to somewhere around ~1300g in mats in order to break even, let alone make a profit. If you can sell your cooldown to someone else at more than 800g, then by all means do that instead.

As far as Inferno Rubies go, you do not even necessarily need to have a JC character depending on the price of Carnelians in the AH, although obviously prospecting Obsidium/Elementium Ore itself brings the greatest returns. For example, Carnelians are around 45g on my realm's AH, Heartblossom is 150g a stack, and Inferno Rubies fly off the shelves at 195g. Pressing a button with no cooldown and collecting 37.5g an hour later for each time I pressed it? Yes, please.

I would normally caution the flooding of items like Inferno Rubies, but there is little actual downside at this stage of the game. The stat consolidation post-Shattering has made stacking primary stats like Strength and Intellect even more of a no-brainer to most class/specs, so you can expect heavy demand for Inferno Rubies (and the epic equivalent later on) for pretty much the entire expansion. The best thing is that your market for Inferno Rubies includes not just people looking to socket their newly grinded Justice Point gear, but also the JCs trying to recoup their ~1500g cuts (since they could have sold the JC tokens for Chimera Eyes) under heavy competition.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Level 81 Crafted Weapons

I was having some early success selling the Blacksmithing weapons I made via leveling the profession, and it was not until I finally started leveling my main (the gatherer is nearly 83 from herbing/mining alone) that I realized why: they are amazing! I am a Protection paladin primarily, so the best weapon I had in Wrath for Retribution was a 251 sword off Marrowgar. While there was an early ~15 dps quest upgrade in Hyjal, the Obsidium Executioner was mind-boggling 150 weapon-DPS upgrade the moment I hit level 81. I found the same sort of massive upgrades with my other alts:

Citadel Enforcer's Claymore vs Obsidium Executioner
H Midnight Sun vs Lifeforce Hammer
Sister Svalna's Aether Staff vs Fire-Etched Dagger (+480 spellpower going from 2H --> 1H!)

The three weapons you should focus on are the ones listed above: Obsidian Executioner, the Lifegiver's Gavel, and the Flame-Etched Blade. You can eyeball the materials in the table below:

Obsidium Ore Elementium Ore Volatile
Obsidium Executioner 40 20 6 (Earth)
Lifeforce Hammer 16 24 10 (Earth), 6 (Water)
Fire-Etched Blade n/a4012 (Earth), 4 (Fire)

Even in current ore/volatile markets, chances are good you can craft these weapons with ~650g in mats and turn around and sell them for 2000g. Even if you have to peddle them at 1,000g apiece you would be snagging a significant profit margin. As a bonus, each one of these will also boost your Blacksmithing by 5 levels the first few times, so even if you just make one or two you will recoup your costs and then some.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

JC + D/E = Profit

This is somewhat a continuation of my prior post on the Elementium Shuffle, but today I will be focusing on the relationship between Jewelcrafting and Enchanting.

All of these cuts are learned from the JC trainer. The Jasper Ring and Alicite Pendant give skill-ups until 485, while the Hessonite Band and the Nightstone Choker give skill-ups until 505. Note: you need 475 Enchanting to disenchant the last two jewelry listed above. Now, according to Wowhead the disenchanting percentages of the above jewelry is ~75% Lesser Celestial Essence and ~25% Hypnotic Dust. In my experience disenchanting however, the Jasper and Alicite jewelry broke down into Hypnotic Dust more readily than indicated. Carnelian Spikes is one recipe not mentioned above, as it takes Carnelian x3 plus three Jeweler's Settings when you could use those same three Carnelians (plus some Heartblossom) to transmute into an Inferno Ruby. Wowhead does indicate the fist weapon disenchants into 1-3 Hypnotic Dust ~84% of the time though, so if you do not have access to an Alchemist it may be the way to go with your extra red gems.

Some final thoughts:

1) Although I am calling this the Elementium Shuffle, Obsidium Ore works just as well. Until more people hit the endgame, the uncut rare gems will not be improving your prospecting haul anytime soon, so pick the cheaper ore.

2) Make sure you are checking your AH for situations like this (click for full size):

A lot of people are putting the level 78 Cataclysm greens up on the AH for pennies on the dollar (copper on the gold?) - in the above case, they were selling an item that disenchanted into Hypnotic Dust x2 (80g) for 12g buyout. Regardless of whether these items D/E into Hypnotic Dust or Celestial Essence, you can probably expect to make 40g per piece of enchanting material. Anything under 35g is an instant buy.

3) Leveling enchanting past 475 at this point is, well, somewhat pointless. You can disenchant everything at 475 skill and actually have access to your Cataclysm ring enchants at that same level. Practically no one is going to buy enchants for their sub-85 gear, and we all know these Enchanting mats prices are unsustainable in the long term anyway - selling a stack of Hypnotic Dust for 1000g is simply absurd. Ergo, I am recommending you sell all the Enchanting mats you end up with right now before they become cheap later. There will still an scroll market later, trust me.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Forecasting Cataclysm Trends: Elementium Ore

The Elementium shuffle has already begun.

Within the first 24 hours of Cataclysm going Live, prices on Auchindoun for Elementium have gone down from the 550g/stack I was selling them at to 100g/stack, which is almost the price one would expect Elementium to stabilize at once the dreaded "Cata inflation" is properly taken into account. The reality is I am finding it entirely possible Elementium will reach near-Saronite levels within the next month based on its ease of acquisition in Twilight Highlands alone - I am talking in the neighborhood of 40-50g a stack. Unlike Saronite, Elementium Bars vendor for only 7.5g/stack, which means its price will only be buoyed by the Shuffle itself, which is great news for us.

Speaking of the Shuffle, if you have a Jewelcrafter and are not buying Elementium Ore at 200g/stack, you are probably giving gold away; at 100g/stack, you can literally buy 200g with 100g. The new uncommon gems should be going for 50g apiece minimum, and likely quite a bit more given their necessity for leveling JC. It takes 475 JC to prospect Elementium, so you will have to either start buying said gems or prospect some likely more pricey Obsidium Ore to get to that threshold. Once there, each stack of Elementium Ore is four uncommon gems minimum, which means you hit a profit at any point you get an extra gem (possibly a rare!).

Incidentally, the uncommon gems vendor for a whopping 5g apiece, which sets their deposit fee at a ridiculous 3g 30s whereas rare gems vendor for less (3g). The irony here is that none of the uncommon gems are useful in of themselves* since they require ilevel 285 gear to be socketed into, and there is basically zero gear rewards until the endgame that even have sockets. The uncommon gems vendor for 9g apiece when cut, so to a JC the True Vendor Price of Elementium (and Obsidium) Ore is 36g a stack minimum, although you can probably bank on 45g.

*Obviously the gems are good for leveling JC and making jewelry to be disenchanted. Uncommon gems are also used in Alchemy for transmuting 3 of the same color gems plus some herbs into the rare gem of that color, i.e. Transmute: Inferno Ruby. And, of course, to transmute the one-size-fits-all metagem. One additional thing to keep in mind: these gems transmutes have no cooldown. The herb cost is basically immaterial, so the rare gems should always be pegged at uncommon gem price, e.g. Carnelian x3 = Inferno Ruby.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Twilight Highlands = OMGold

Four hours later... what was the haul?

That is Whiptail x130, Cinderbloom x97, Twilight Jasmine x205, Elementium Ore x333, Pyrite Ore x48, four uncommon gems, Volatile Earth x21, Volatile Water x18, Volatile Life x36, Volatile Fire x19. My farming toon is at 525 Herbalism and 525 Mining, and 74% of the way to level 81 from getting 2200 XP per node and exploration alone - I was keeping pace with guildies who did two of the new dungeons, complete with the quests inside. Believe me, hitting 470 Mining and 490 Herbalism in Northrend was painful as hell as it seemed like Saronite nodes stopped spawning altogether and getting four stacks of Icethorn hoping for green skill-ups is equally bad. However, I was eventually able to CoT-portal my way to Uldum, hit up some Whiptail nodes, and then cruise to Twilight Highlands.

Twilight Highlands is beyond a goldmine right now. You honestly and truly have no idea how ridiculous it is. Maybe a picture or two would be good?

The first minimap is three Elementium Ore spawns almost right near the zone entrance. The second ended up being three Pyrite Deposits all clustered together, which I came across 13 minutes later as you can see from the time. What you won't see are the Twilight Jasmine dots on the minimap because I had to turn Track Herbs off to even see the terrain. Twilight Jasmine is not the Icethorn of Cataclysm, it is the Peacebloom of Cataclysm, at least going by the amount of spawns in the zone - if you can take a screenshot of your minimap anywhere in the Highlands without at least two nodes showing up I will be very surprised. This of course poses some very interesting economic questions for herb futures down the road, especially considering I was able to farm all of these herbs (and ore for that matter) quickly and effectively without any danger of aggro from the high-level mobs. In the meantime, the only futures market I care about is the one in, oh let's say 40 minutes.

Power-Farming the Cata Launch

When WotLK launched, I did not take my main into Northrend, I took my Herbalism/Engineer shaman alt instead. While everyone else was questing through Dragonblight, I stumbled upon the path leading into Sholazar Basin from Borean Tundra. Herbing there was picking gold out of the ground, and to my total shock I found the southern hills filled to the brim with Saronite and even Titanium deposits, all of which would be untouched until the sea of humanity hit 77 and got their flying mounts. I zipped back to Stormwind, dropped Engineering, bought all of the ore I could off the AH to powerlevel Mining via smelting. Some six hours later, I was selling Saronite Ore at 150g a stack.

Cataclysm is upon us in a few hours, my friends, and I fully intend to spend the first major part of it farming. Had I known before Wrath came out the ease of getting into Sholozar, I could have prepared better. Have you prepared for Cataclysm? My goal is to get into Uldum and/or Twilight Highlands and get to farming before people make it out of Hyjal, and after the jump will be how I plan on doing it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ghetto Portaling and You

Live under a rock? Just now returning to the game? Resistant to change? Philosophical rejection of material goods leave you too poor to pay the exorbitant mage portal fees? There are a number of reasons why you may still have your hearth set to Dalaran, but fret not intrepid players! Dalaran is not quite the oubliette it is made out to be. For there is still one portal to rule them all...

This portal is still operating post-Shattering and is located in the Violet Citadel, taking you outside the Caverns of Time in Tanaris. From here, the world is your slightly-pain-in-the-ass oyster.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

For the Hoard!

Cataclysm is out in three days, and if you do not have three guild banks full of Eternals and Saronite Ore and Abyss Crystals and old newspapers/pizza boxes then you may as well submit to a life of poverty and panhandling for the next two years... right?

Not so much.

The concept of investments and speculation in World of Warcraft is fine, but precious little consideration has been given to the concept of time horizons. Most people understand "the flip" where you buy something at 50g and relist it at 100g - that is easy money indeed as you realize the profits immediately with a time horizon of zero. Hoarding Eternals and Saronite Ore and Abyss crystals for sale at potential profit six months (or more!) from now is something else entirely. Will you even be playing WoW six months from now?

No, really, this is a serious question.

Time Horizons
I do not care if you have been playing since WoW Friends & Family alpha, each and every one of us has conditions under which we would no longer find the game worth playing. There are about five people who are the only reason the in-game song and dance continues for me, for example, and if IRL concerns take one or more of them away the whole house of cards will come crashing down, taking all value of gold with it.

Not that I am recommending some hedonistic spending splurge which ends with you living day-to-day and taking Payday Advance loans to cover your repair bills (41g per wipe in Cataclysm, by the way). What I am recommending is that you do a little self-analysis before following "investment" advice from people with obviously longer-term time horizons than you.

Speaking of "investment" in air quotes, allow me to play the other side for the moment. After the jump I will analyze some of the investment advice being given out in preparation of Cataclysm.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Savory Deviate Delight & Giant Growth

The golden period of this scheme has aged somewhat, but with patch 4.0.3a the drop rate of Savory Deviate Delight and the Elixir of Giant Growth recipes has increased dramatically. These are zone drops in North Barrens (and presumably South Barrens), which means any given mob in those zones has a chance to drop them. Given the nature of Horde questing through the Barrens pretty regularly, the Horde market for these two now-common drops is probably low enough on your server that you would be better off selling Wool Cloth. But as for the Alliance...?

If you have a second account and/or toons on both factions of the same server, you can probably make a decent margin buying the patterns Horde-side and then selling on the Alliance AH. The alternative may be a little bit easier in this case: farm it yourself.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

This Is Only A Test

Welcome to PVSAH (Pffv-SAHH!), otherwise known as Player Vs Auction House. I am your host, Azuriel of Auchindoun. I know what you are thinking. "A blog about generating wealth via the World of Warcraft Auction House? That has never been done before. Why didn't I think about it?" Why didn't you indeed! Fortunately, you need not think anymore as I shall be doing enough thinking for the both of us. And I won't even charge you $37 for the privilege!*

At this point in the introduction, I am generally supposed to whip out my credentials as if the size of my golden e-peen is some kind of barometer for my ability to transfer wealth to you. All bloggers are fundamentally exhibitionists at heart though, so here you go:

"Not even the gold cap?!" I hear you say. Putting aside, again, whatever mystical correlation exists between gold-capping and transference of said ability to other people, I am operating on the completely intentional handicap of zero glyph sales, aka AH hard mode. I will save the "why" for another day but suffice it to say it is not because I lack a toon with max Inscription and all of the glyph recipes - it would truly be dumb to make a stand against the profession while buying 80g glyphs off the AH.

That about wraps up the obligatory introductory post. I have no delusions regarding my ability to make daily posts or turning this blog into some kind of community-oriented ponzi scheme, so neither should you. Three on-topic posts a week is my general goal, although my more specific goal is for someone out there to gain from my beneficent omniscience.

*Although if you want to send me cash via Paypal, I will not stop you. In fact, I insist!