Thursday, January 13, 2011

Elitest Jerks, and the People that Love Them

The website is and if you are at all serious about the PvE aspect of World of Warcraft, you should already have it bookmarked. Why? Because this is where all the the mathematical modeling magic takes place. Why are you stacking Strength as a Retribution paladin? Why do you hear about Enhancement shaman running around with spellpower weapons?* Why is that Unholy Death Knight wielding two 1H weapons and dealing 2,000 DPS more than you?* Because Elitest Jerks (hereafter EJ) said so. Fire mage rotations, Resto druid stat weights, and more can be had for free from people who enjoy simulators and spreadsheet more than you. The format is not always conducive to to finding summaries of the information you care about, but when they do summarize, they do it better than anyone else.

Whether or not you have the site bookmarked, you have probably heard the EJ haters. Maybe you even indulged in it a bit yourself. "If you aren't getting the socket bonuses, you're doing it wrong." "No thanks, I'm going to spec the way I want to." Sure, no problem. I mean, unless you care about maximizing your character's potential, there is no wrong way to spec. If your intention in picking one talent or enchant or gem over another was to improve performance, then there are, in fact, ways of doing it wrong.

Why bring the EJ forums up at all? Simple: the site is a really, really good market indicator.

I alluded to the Defender's Demonseye in my Transitive Property Farming post, for example. The Wrath version of that gem was complete garbage because Parry as a stat suffered diminishing returns faster than Dodge, so you were almost always better off using anything else in red sockets. That was Wrath. In Cataclysm, Parry and Dodge suffer diminishing returns at the same rate so balancing the two stats (11%/11% is better than 12%/10%) becomes very important. I did not know about the Defender's Demonseye before I was looking for something to put into a red socket for Protection paladins, and it was the EJ forums which indicated that the gem was useful at all. So, I bought the pattern, socketed my gear, and decided to toss a few extra on the AH for 150g since Purified Demonseyes were being tanked down to 60g. There was no competition for Defender's Demonseye. I listed some more for 175g. They all sold, usually to the same tank. Raised to 250g each. Still sold. It has been more than 30 days since Cataclysm has shipped and the hardcore JCs will have had gotten 10 cuts by now... and yet I have the Defender's Demonseye market all to myself. The tanks have done their EJ research, but apparently the (other) JCs have not.

Sometimes the EJ advice is not particularly useful to Auctioneers. "Stack Strength gems." Yeah, okay, there are 40 Bold Inferno Rubies going for less than the uncut gem at the moment. But if you dig a little deeper, you may surprise yourself. In browsing weapon enchant scrolls on the AH, I noticed Berserking still up there at 600g. That seems a bit silly, I thought. I tossed a few up and they sold. It was not until I looked at the stat weights for Retribution paladins that I realized that Haste was worth 0.27 per point whereas AP was worth 0.69. In other words, Berserking provides more DPS than Hurricane for Ret paladins by about 150 DPS (based simply on 400 AP vs 450 haste, not uptime considerations). The upcoming patch 4.0.6 will probably shake things up, but until it does, I will continue buying Abyss Crystals at 15g apiece and pumping out Berserking scrolls at 400g margins to the people doing their homework.

Do you have to understand why something sells before you sell it? Nope. But understanding the why of things helps you get an idea of how deep a market might be and when you may want to hop off the train before it hops the rails.

*Not after 4.0.6, of course.


  1. On behalf of the gold making community, "thanks!" for your insightful post--the market indications from EJ may prove useful.

    On behalf of me and my gold making grind, "ouch" as another semi-secret tool gets outed, lol.

    Not that it was ever that big a secret I suppose.

    I have used EJ, Shadowpanther and Tankspot to name but a few, for some time as research for what is now and may soon be hot.

    The predictive value is hit or miss--and for me, but on a low-pop server (with a New Player designation) the trends take a while to catch up. Sort of like living in Omaha and getting last season's fashion ideas from NY and using them this season. ((no offense to Omaha, just came to mind))

    Anyway, the slowness of my server to catch up often means I have time to tease out the predictions based on what is actually happening on high pop servers--Wow Popular is helpful for that. Makes them a little less risky.

  2. Good article!

    With the berserking scrolls bit, it is the ret paladins who have not been doing their research. Uptime of level 80 enchants is vastly reduced, to the point where even hurricane is better. But glad you're making money off of it!

  3. Sweet post,

    I've let my EJ etc cap slip off since Cataclysm rolled in. Im going to have to start paying attention in class again.

  4. EJ is useful, but it's far from a perfect reflection of the market - for the sole reason that plenty of WoW players have more gold than sense. It does give you a decent idea of what serious raiders are looking for. Since tanks have had to really work to get through dungeons in Cataclysm, I'd expect a lot of them to have read up on EJ.

    I sell more pure hit gems than anything else. I know hit is important, and I know the cap is high, but using the right trinkets and reforging your gear for hit should be enough - and a lot cheaper (10g to reforge vs. 95g for a Rigid Ocean Sapphire).

    Gemming Hit means you're not gemming for your primary base stat - be it Strength, Intelligence, Agility, or Spirit. I think that if EJ were a true reflection of the market, then pure hit gems would not be selling so well.

  5. You know, being a Resto Shammy, I spend a lot of time at EJ for min/maxing my character but I had never thought about using it to figure out what to make and why...great damn post, thanks!


  6. Add me to the list of "Great, now EVERYONE knows!"

    Stede is right though, most people have no idea how to min/max and are the ones calling people elitist jerks instead of visiting the website.