Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Tale of Two Economies

As I may have mentioned before, every single time I log into WoW, the first thing I do is collect the sales from my JC business, cancel any undercuts from the day before (I list for 24 hours, but I don't log in exactly at the same time every night), relist unsold goods, and then see what is profitable to craft based on that day's prices. Just because three Purified Demonseyes sold during the night does not mean I will cut three more - if the price of uncut Demonseyes is higher than what Purified ones are going for, I will toss up 3 more uncut Demonseyes instead. If uncut Demonseyes are lower than some arbitrary number that feels good to me, usually ~20g, I will buy them all out to restock my supply.

Otherwise I allow the other JCs to do the legwork of clearing out the garbage when certain cuts tank the market, as opposed to being the fully-engaged goblin who buys out the entire market of thirty 15g-20g Pussiant Dream Emeralds in the hopes of reseting the price. To me, 15g-20g means the gem is not selling, and thirty of them means the price has not yet hit the floor. This sort of dovetails nicely into a reader email I received:

[...] My problem that I am currently having is that while I hear that JC is a fantastic profession, I can't seem to find what is so lucrative about it at the current moment.  I am aware of the 4.2 lull that might be hitting along with some people, so gems are not in as high demand, but my server (Blackrock... where everything is worth pennies) seems to have no demand for cut gems at all.  I scour over my Undermine Journal on the jewelcrafting page, and the scene is pretty stark.  Almost nothing seems to be moving right now.
Should I be cutting my losses at this point and stockpiling rare gems for 4.2, or am I missing something here?
The unspoken preface to every gold blog post out there is the same as the ending to any fast food restaurant commercial: "Local participation may vary." Surely, I said to myself, things could not be that bad on other servers. Assuming that this gentleman is a proud member of the Alliance (as all gentlemen are wont to be), I walked doe-eyed into... a mental landmine.

The TUJ image on the left is from Blackrock Alliance, the imagine on the right from Auchindoun Alliance. So... yeah. I can see how - perhaps - someone might be questioning the lucrivity lucrativeness of the JC profession in the face of those post-apocalyptic figures. Bold Inferno Rubies selling for 25g apiece? Gazing deeper into the economic abyss reveals, if not why, at least how it is Blackrock maintains such absurdly low prices.

The above is number of auctions posted for Bold Inferno Rubies in the last 96 hours, or four days. You can see me on the right, plodding along with my 3 Bolds per cycle, just as described. Conversely, we have this Athenae character on Blackrock posting an average of 32 Bold cuts every twelve hours. At around 25g apiece. From my prior experimenting with TUJ, we all know that TUJ counts canceled auctions as "sales," so it is possible some portion of that number represents vaporware. Regardless... that is pretty absurd. Where were all these Inferno Rubies coming from?

Well, good sir, if you were curious as to the cause of this market collapse, look no further than what appears to be the bank alt Stillfurious. Four-hundred and fifty-seven uncut Inferno Rubies in the last 96 hours. Stillfurious only auctions gems, and ironically, red gems like Inferno Rubies apparently makes up only 18.7% of the colors of warez he has available; granted, he posts in the neighborhood of 800+ gems a day. I remain baffled as to where all these goddamn Inferno Rubies are coming from, though, especially considering Heartblossom is 100g/stack, Carnelians are at 9g apiece, and Elementium Ore is at an eminently reasonable 26g/stack, but still relatively cost-ineffective in terms of 26g Inferno Rubies. Then again, TUJ is indicating there to be over 8,000 auctions of Elementium Ore at various times in the last few days...

So I suppose the answer to the implicit question of "what is so lucrative with JC?" is... well, it is clearly not lucrative at all on your server, unfortunately. Or, at least, not any of the Inferno Ruby cuts. Some random smattering of other cuts like Defender's Demonseye appear to be going for 75g apiece with uncut gems at 9g. The formal question of "should I cut my losses and stockpile for 4.2?" would be a definite maybe.

Here is the thing. I named this blog Player Vs Auction House because my first choice was taken I reject the notion of PvP combat via the AH. Does PvP happen? Yes. Would crushing Stillfurious beneath your righteous boot-heel for making the cut gem market less profitable than selling Linen Cloth (no, seriously) feel good? Sure. Does it really accomplish anything in the end? Probably not. Stockpiling gems for 4.2 is not a bad idea at all, but it depends entirely on whether this supply glut is going to be maintained into the future. If it is, you may be kinda screwed by stockpiling. That is not to say that you should abandon JC entirely though.

It may be tough to read without clicking on it, but according to TUJ an Elementium Moebius Band worth 3299g only actually costs you 644g and some change to craft on the same server with those 25g Inferno Rubies. Blue 346 gear may not be as in season as it was a few months ago (and perhaps even less so moving into 4.2), but if your server is sufficiently large to support 8,000/day Elementium Ore stockpiles and 25g Inferno Rubies that depress prices for weeks, then it's likely enough newly dinged 85 toons are available for you to hawk your warez upon. Even "fire sale" prices like 1000g each is still nearly a 400g profit margin. It is risky this late in the tier with new patterns coming out and not being able to fall back on cut gems, but it is an option if you do not have another profession to easily fall back upon.

Good luck.


  1. The answer to the question seems pretty obvious. There's probably a big botting operator running multiple farmer bots and using the "free" raw materials to churn out inferno rubies.

    He then posts them under everyone else's cost in an attempt to force the competition out of business. Once the competition is gone he sell them for whatever he wants.

  2. Holy crap I wish I had that many inferno rubies! I cant keep mine in stock generally going through at least 50 or so a day at around 100-200 gold per cut.

  3. Yet again, undermine journal proves itself to be superior to auctioneer. You can see Stillfurious's posting and reposting schedule like clockwork. You can also see his sales hardly justify the posting costs and AH cut, even with UMJ tendancy to count many sales at the same price as one sale.

    Thus, I theorize he's doing it for a different reasons, not related to making money. Perhaps he's trying to kill off all other JCs? Best thing to do is talk to him and find out why, you might be suprized at the answer you get. And it could be profitable...

  4. Send Stillfurious a whisper/mail and offer to buy his uncut gems direct, saving him the posting fees.

  5. As a Fellow Black rock JC, I too can vouch for the lack of lucrativeness on the horde side as well. There is also 1 JC that is over flooding the market of all gems named cowabangaz.

    He constantly is putting up ridiculous amounts of gems and often will undercut by 35g+ even if a market only has 1 seller in it

    I really would not be surprised if cowabangaz and stillfurious are the same person running or a part of some botting operation as someone has previously mentioned.

    The question is, if it is true, how the hell do I prove it to a GM?

  6. It looks like the market is being driven by a sophisticated ore-farming operation. The farmers cannot sell the ore fast enough in the AH so they convert some of it to cheap gems and bars. Even if their gem and bar operations are not very profitable in terms of GPH, those operations keep the price of ore from tanking, so they are worth it to the operation as a whole.