Sunday, April 17, 2011

Speculation on the Epic Gem Market...what market?

For some time now, there has been a buzz about where the Epic Gems for Cataclysm will come from and how we will be able to obtain them.   I have been following several gold blogs, looking for ideas on what can be done to prepare for the arrival of Epic Gems in Cata.  Some people in the gold making community think that Epic Gems will only come from existing professions, such as transmutation in alchemy, while others think it will come only from prospecting pyrite ore.  There are some good discussions on the JMTC Forums regarding whether we should be stockpiling them or not. 

I am not a betting man, but I believe that we can realistically see some combination of ways to obtain epic gems.  Let us take a look at what Blizzard has done to see why I believe this to be the case.  First, Blizzard is looking to maintain a sense of accessibility for players in WoW.  To introduce Epic Gems in a truly rare manner, whether it be a vendor or new rare ore, would be to go back to limited accessibility, similar to the vendor only gems from the Burning Crusade expansion.  Also, if Epic Gems were only obtained through defeating raid bosses, then it would limit the availability to raid groups.  Blizzard is already making cross-over accessibility with 4.1 in the form of honor-to-justice point (and vice versa) conversions.  I tend to believe that if they are expanding end-game accesibility in pve and pvp, they would not reverse that trend to make gemming that gear more difficult with limited supply.

Secondly, just take a look at the growth of Epic Gem accessibility from BC though the end of Wrath.  It is again about growing accessibility for players to maximize their gear.  The original Epic Gems in Burning Crusade were obtained only through drops in Mount Hyjal and Black Temple raid instances.  Slowly this expanded in future patches of BC to inlcude drops from all raid instances, from the unlocked JC vendor on Isle of Quel'danas, and through the Brilliant Glass recipe that was available to jewelcrafters only.  At the end of BC, Epic Gems were available to more people, but still gathered in a limited amount of ways.  The Wrath of the Lich King expansion saw a greater supply of Epic Gems available than previously, through professions and gathering.  The release of patch 3.2 introduced Epic Gems to the Wrath audience.  Even at the beginning of this patch , people were able to collect Epic Gems through prospecting Titanium Ore, transmuting a rare gem and an eternal element (on cooldown), found in an Icy Prism created by jewelcrafters, bought with emblems of Heroism, or purchased with Honor Points.  Blizzard opened the Epic Gem market with more ways to obtain these gems, and later removed the transmutation cooldown near the end of Wrath to allow for more supply.

Third, an idea that came up from my listening in on the JMTC Weekly Q&A Meeting this past Friday.  It was mainly that Blizzard has not made any major changes in the working of the professions.  As someone pon the podcast said, "What made you gold in Wrath will continue to make you gold in Cata."  The only possible change coming to professions is the addition of newly crafted pvp gear at the beginning of each arena/rate battleground season.  The leveling process was similar to the past, with the exception of tweaking recipe materials and the addition of multiple skill-ups on a limited number of items.  Blizzard is not known for making sweeping changes to professions in the middle of an expansion.  Profession changes have come with the introduction of new professions at the start of expansions (ie., jewelcrafting for Burning Crusade release and Archeology for Cataclysm release) or changing the existing usage of them at the end of expansions (ie., inscription market at the end of Wrath).

Finally, after reviewing the developer Q&A sessions that Blizzard has released recently, I believe that it is not in their plans to tinker with Epic Gems in any major way with this expansion.  In all of the Q&A sessions, the answers boiled down to 2 responses by them: 

  1. If it is a yes, "we are looking into it or this feature will be available in patch..."
  2. If it is a no, "it is something we are interested in, but it is not on our list..."
I picture a large whiteboard in the Blizzard offices of features that they would like to work on.  I do not think that the idea of "uniquely offering a way to get Epic Gems" is one of the things on that list.  Instead I envision the idea of "make Epic Gems available in patch 4.?" with a note saying "deliver to as many players as possible while not flooding the market." 

This leads me to believe that Blizzard will implement the Epic Gems in a very similar way to what they did in the Wrath expansion.  They already have a "rare" mining node in place, making it easy to adjust the numbers on prospecting and node spawn rates.  I do not think they are willing to spend the time on creating a new ore and place them in unique locations, while creating an entirely new set of prospecting rates.  I also do not think Blizzard has plans to release new zones just to have new node spawns for the Epic Gem market.  It is possible that they will release a new zone, but I think they would ensure that people have access to that zone and the materials gathered there can be gathered in similar zones throughout the world, even if it is at a reduced spawn rate elsewhere.  If Blizzard utilizes alchemy again for creating Epic Gems, I believe that they will gate it as they did when released in Wrath.  This gating will be done through a daily cooldown of some sort.

In conclusion, I believe that making investments in Pyrite Ore is a good investment to make, although a still risky investment without clarification by Blizzard.  I do not suggest buying all the ore on the market, but I do suggest finding a threshold you are willing to pay for stacks of ore and buy them.  I am also planning on keeping an eye out for alternate ways to gather Epic Gems in the future.

What are your thoughts on Epic Gems?  What are you looking to invest in for future returns?

Thank for stopping by the Epic Gem edition of the Long, Strange blog.

Time to head out for skating lessons and a hockey game for my son...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gold Making Week 2: I told my Accountant so...

I apologize for the lack of posts, but RL has been kicking me in the arse.  I have yet to begin my research into Troll lore.  I have also had very limited playtime in game.  All of my playtime was spent raiding or performing gold making activities.  It's time to ask my accountant how I am doing:

 As you can see from the above screenshot, I certainly made my money back on the 30 K worth or investments over the past 2 weeks.  You might look and see that I spent alot of gold to make only 6,273 gold in those 2 weeks.  That is the profit I turned with items I was able to sell so far.  I still have a bank's worth of materials that I have not sold from my AH purchases you see above.  Everything else I make from here on out is pure profit.  I am looking forward to see what I can make over the next week or two.

 So how did I actually do for the week?  Let's take a look at how I did this week with only about 1 hr at most to spend on making gold:

I turned a profit of 14,069 gold this past week.  I was able to do this through working the Obsidium shuffle and vendoring cut gems, selling cut rare gems, transmutations, enchants, and selling bags.  I did not sell any big ticket items this week.  I was able to move a lot of smaller items that people could use to upgrade items they may have been looking to gem and enchant.  I am not seeing many familiar names on the items purchased, which tells me either people are gearing alts or purchasing through their own bank toons for use on their mains.

I may spend some time the next few weeks spending gold in anticipation of the 4.1 release.  Take a look at the official Blizzard patch notes and see what you might be able to profit from.  What are you planning?

Thanks for stopping by to see what I have been doing this past week.

Time to log on and catch up with those strangers in my guild...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Gold Making Week One: My Accountant says I spend too much...

I spent some time today consulting with my Accountant in WoW.  He tells me I spend too much money.  But, I found deals all week I could not pass up...  I will explain after I share the numbers with you:

As you can see above,  I did indeed spend much more than I made this past week.  In fact, I operated at a net loss of 13, 051 gold.  Most people would panic at seeing that amount of loss in one week.  I do not for several reasons.  First of all, I admit that I did spend a lot of gold on items from the auction house.  There are several reasons for this, including replenishing stock to resell or craft for resale.  I am also stocking some items for future speculation at prices that I feel are a good level to invest in.  I spent gold mostly on trade goods that I can turn around to make a profit from through my professions.  Also, the Darkmoon Faire is this week and I wanted to make a few more decks to sell during this week.  

Secondly, I did speak in an earlier post that when starting out I did not have money to invest, but utilized my time.  Now I can utilize my money to invest by saving me time and generating profits for some time to come.  Imagine the amount of time it would have taken me to farm all the materials that I purchased through the auction house.  This could have easily taken me weeks to farm by myself.  In short, I traded my gold for time that would have been spent gathering materials to supply my gold making professions.

Although I spent gold the entire week gathering materials, I also started to produce items to sell.  As you can see above, I did make 8,008 gold in the last 2 days of the week.  I did this trough tailoring, enchanting, and jewelcrafting.

I will continue to spend gold on items that meet my threshold for purchasing, as long as the market makes it profitable to do so.  I do expect the next few weeks to produce more profit for me.  My goal is to turn this past week's spending of 21,000 gold into a long term profit of 2 to 3 times that amount.  Normal weekly cycles should help with some of this and the potential release of patch 4.1 soon should also produce some nice profits for me.

What have you been doing this past week to make gold?  More importantly do you know why you made gold or did not?

Thank you for stopping by to check in on me.

Time to hang out with the real Breja before his bedtime...