Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mists of Pandaria Release Date and Preparation

Finally!  After months of waiting on the edge of our seats, we've finally got a release date for Mists of Pandaria:  September 25th.  I had know for a while now that my earlier prediction of September 4th was going to be wrong, but it had remained to be seen whether we'd even get a September release date at all, or be pushed back into October.  Thankfully, Blizzard squeezed right in at their usual two month mark, and now we can all stop wondering.

First thing's first.  I was wrong, so I owe you guys a haiku:

Off by just three weeks.
Soon pandas will be bouncing.
Let's make lots of gold.

Alright, with that out of the way, let's get into my steps to prepare for MoP.

First of all, I'm going to completely stop restocking anything based on Cataclysm endgame gear.  This includes the various Vicious PvP gear, Cataclysm-level enchants and gems, etc.  Slowing down on these up to this point hadn't really been an issue, since my restock quantities for gear and enchants were already at 3.  But I feel now is the time to stop entirely.

There's a strange phenomenon that surround a release date announcement.  People have always known, in theory, that MoP was coming Soon, and that when it does, their gear is going to be replaced by questing greens.  Until they have a release date, though, that fact is just sort of sitting in the back of their mind and not readily acknowledged.  Once a release date is announced, though, that realization comes to the fore.

At that point, people may still run raids, both for gear and because, honestly, there's not a whole lot else for the average player to do in-game right now.  Where they'll start to draw the line, however, is at actually spending gold on gear and gear-related expenses.  To that end, the last thing I want to do is invest heavily in restocking those items, especially when they're likely to be worthless come MoP.  If I actually happen to sell through what I've got right now, that would make me ecstatic.

I'm also going to be trying to unload any Heavenly Shards or Maelstrom Crystals while I still can.  With the new expansion, Cataclysm-level enchanting mats will likely only be used for skilling up.  Hypnotic Dust and Celestial Essences should retain their value, and even go up in price as existing supplies run out and no one's running that content for gear to DE.  Take a look at a popular enchanting guide, though, and keep in mind that anything after 500 will be doable with MoP mats.  The only thing Heavenly Shards would be used for is the enchanting rod, and it looks like Blizzard's taking those out of the game.  The result?  Heavenly shard prices will likely plummet.

Next on the priority list is my preparation for the upcoming glyph changes.  I've finally finished learning all of the Book of Glyph Mastery glyphs, and should be done with the research ones in time for the patch.  The actual acquisition of ink and making of glyphs is coming right along, too, and is really limited only by how many herbs I can find below my price threshold each day.  Currently, I'm down to only needing Ink of the Sea.  This sounds more impressive than it is, though, since that still leaves about a third of the glyphs in the game.

Aside from that, I'd like to reach 85 on the four non-85 alts I have left, my Death Knight (58), Paladin (56), Hunter (55), and Priest (38).  If I can actually manage to get them to max level, or at least to 80, then I may in a position to shuffle my professions around, eventually ending up with each character having alchemy + other profession.  Time will tell, though, if there's enough time before MoP.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Massive Nerf to Soloing Old Raids for Gold

Hey there, gold fans.  I just wanted to provide you all with a quick update about a blue post I caught today.  Let's get right to the quote from blue "Watcher" on the forums:

In general, enemies in raids and dungeons drop significantly more gold than outdoor foes, specifically because we are assuming that the gold is going to be split 5, 10, or 25 ways. As player power rises over time, it obviously becomes possible to complete old content with significantly fewer players, such that the gold rewards become disproportionately high.

In the past, our only solution was to drastically reduce the gold dropped by legacy content across the board (e.g., Magtheridon, much of Karazhan, etc.). In Mists, we have a new system in place that normalizes gold yield based on the number of players involved in the kill. If a Black Temple enemy drops 100 gold today on live, and you kill it with a 25-player raid group in Mists, it'll also drop 100 gold and each player will get 4 gold. If you solo Black Temple, that enemy will also give you 4 gold. If you do it with 4 friends, it'll drop 20 gold and each of you will get 4.

In other words, the gold obtained from killing raid or dungeon creatures no longer depends upon how many people you bring, or do not bring, with you. This system does not apply to anything in the outdoor world.

You see, once upon a time, there was a raid called Molten Core.  In its time, it took a raid team of 40 people.  Bosses were set up to give each of those people a little bit of gold.  Nothing to write home about, but ideally enough to cover repairs and that sort of thing.

Since there aren't selectable loot roles or anything like that for gold the way there is for other loot, the game had to do this in a rather roundabout way.  The boss (or any mob, for that matter) would have its gold automatically distributed evenly to every member of the raid.  This meant that if Blizzard wanted a boss to give each player, say, 5 gold, the boss would actually drop 200 gold and the game would give an equal amount to each of the 40 players.

This works fine until years later, when people discovered they could down those same bosses with just a very small group, or even solo them.  The same 200 gold being distributed to one player instead of 40 was a bit much, especially when it got to the point where just about any class could faceroll it, so Blizzard nerfed the amount of gold given somewhat.

For Mists of Pandaria, though, Blizzard has a more elegant solution.  Regardless of whether there's one person or 40, each player will get the amount originally intended to be given to each player (5 gold in our example).  For a group of 40 still running Molten Core (do those actually exist nowadays?), this will actually be a slight increase in the amount of gold each person gets from the boss, compared to what they'd get now.  For the person soloing it, however, the amount of gold they earn compared to what they'd get now will effectively plummet.

And what does this all mean from a gold-maker's perspective?  Honestly, not a whole lot.  I would hope you're not running old raids exclusively for the gold dropped by the bosses, as the gold per hour from that would be horrible. 

That's not to say that running old raids can't be profitable.  Things like Sulfuron Ingot, Lava Core, etc. still can sell for high prices if you're patient enough to find the right buyer.  People can and will still make a profit from it, just without the little bonus of the boss gold

The only cases where I can see this making a difference would be when what you're farming is considerably more common, like cloth.  With the added bonus of the boss loot gone, that's one less incentive to farm those things from a raid, as opposed to a five-man or even out in the world.

What do you think?  Are there any old raids you've been running on a regular basis?  If so, would this change make you stop?  Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quick Update on Inks

Just wanted to point out, as a follow-up to my previous post, that I just logged into beta to check a few things, and the ink trader is now trading various inks for the new Ink of Dreams, not the old Blackfallow Ink.

For some reason, Snowfall Ink, Inferno Ink, and Starlight Ink (the MoP rare ink) are still listed as costing 10 Blackfallow Ink, but this is likely an oversight, and I wouldn't be surprised to see this changed in the next build or two.

So, the point in all this?  Keep an eye on MMO-Champion and other WoW news sites, because in addition to hopefully getting some news about an MoP release date soon, we will get at least a week's notice before patch 5.0.3 goes live.  Be sure you trade down your Blackfallow Ink before that patch goes live!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Preparing for Glyphmas 2

Greetings, gold fans.  I realize I haven't been keeping up all that much with posting lately.  I apologize, but for the most part, there hasn't been anything to talk about.  My usual routine's been pumping along, albeit slowly.  My liquid gold total's actually down, and currently sitting at 606k, but I've been making some investments, which we'll get to in a bit.

Today I'd like to talk about glyphs.  I know, "Ugh...glyphs".  Believe me, I'm normally right there with you.  I'm not lucky enough to be on one of those magical servers where there are still a decent number of glyphs going for hundreds of gold. 

In point of fact, I haven't seen a single glyph for more than 50 gold.  And sure, with prices of herbs the way they are, I can keep my prices below 20g, and certain glyphs are at least profitable.  Still, it's a profit of usually a couple hundred gold a day, and thus something I had been ignoring.

But that magical time of the expansion cycle is almost upon us.  What am I talking about?  Why, Glyphmas, of course.  And as we all know, Glyph Santa only rewards those who are prepared.

Now, if you've been in the gold-making scene for any length of time, chances are you've probably heard of the first Glyphmas, or maybe even were there.  You see, when patch 4.0.1 went live, Blizzard majorly overhauled glyphs in preparation for Cataclysm.  Glyphs were now something you learned permanently, and a whole new class of glyphs, called Prime Glyphs, were added.  In addition, Ink of the Sea could no longer be traded down for every other ink.  That honor now went to the new Blackfallow Ink, which was unattainable until Cataclysm launched.

The result was a surge in demand for glyphs.  Even those glyphs that were utterly useless were being grabbed up at that moment by completionists.  While the demand soared, the supply was at an all-time low, as those who hadn't prepared scrambled to find the lower inks they hadn't thought to trade for before the patch.  It was a paradise for those scribes who'd planned ahead.  And the great news is, it seems set to happen again.

With 5.0.3, glyphs are undergoing another big change.  Much like with talents, Blizzard wants glyphs to truly be a choice, rather than anything being "mandatory" or "useless".  To that end, prime glyphs are gone.  Major glyphs generally change abilities in a way that's not clearly better or worse, just different.  Minor glyphs remain fun and mostly cosmetic (and there are more of them now).

Now, very few glyphs seem to be truly going away, so we shouldn't have the whole "Charred Glyph" fiasco from 4.0.1.  There seem to only be two glyphs becoming Faded Glyphs, Glyph of Frostbolt and Gylph of Shadowburn.  Everything else seems to be either staying the same, keeping the same name but getting a new function, or becoming a different glyph entirely.  The treatment this is being given on beta is that these new glyphs have the same item ID as the old ones, so existing glyphs change automatically.

Now, Blizzard could pull a fast one on us and change this last-minute, but we've seen no indication of this.  At this relatively late stage of the beta, it's probably safe to assume they're more or less set.  Still, if you're worried, you can always keep your stockpile in Blackfollow Ink until the day before patch 5.0.3 goes live.  Just make sure you're not caught with all that Blackfallow after the patch, as we may very well lose the ability to trade it down again.

Now, while as far as we know, Blizzard plans to fill everyone's glyph tab with the new version of whatever was there before, there's still potential.  For every completionist out there who had every glyph, there were perhaps a dozen more who just had the ones they planned on using, because they were useful or fun or whatnot.  With all the changes, plenty of glyphs that were useless before have at least some use, and almost every glyph at least has some fun use.  Therefore, we should see demand for glyphs rise as soon as 5.0.3 launches, then rise again when Mists actually launches and we have Pandaren of various classes looking to glyph up.

So, what am I doing to prepare?  Well, for starters, I'm making a stack of every single glyph I know.  Now, my scribe got into the business late, so I still have a few book and research glyphs to go, so I've been sure to do my research every day, and snatch up Books of Glyph Mastery whenever I can.  (Wowuction will let you set up alerts, so that you'll get an e-mail whenever an item shows up on your AH for less than your maximum price set.  The Undermine Journal has this same functionality, but Wowuction doesn't charge for it.)

I've been queueing up my crafting via TSM, basically disabling crafting for everything but glyphs from inscription, putting my max restock quantity at 20, and enabling all glyphs except the two that will become faded.  Since I'm using TSM for my mat shopping, it displays a very helpful "Price per crafting mat" column that actually tells me how much each ink ends up costing if I buy the herbs at that price.  Anything under 6 gold per ink, I buy.

Of course, queueing everything at once through TSM isn't necessarily ideal.  Clicking Buy Vendor items will try to buy all the parchments as well (at least, as many as will fit in my inventory), and will sometimes actually disconnect me.  If you don't have an obnoxious amount of bag and bank space, you may want to consider sorting by ink and just doing, say, one type of ink at a time, or something similar.  Still, it's far better than doing it manually.

Anyway, so far what I've described doesn't sound that much different from what everyone else is doing, other than that I'm perhaps going ahead and doing my actual crafting a bit earlier.  However, things get a little different because, well...I'm impatient.  I don't like to stockpile in general, because I don't like to see things just sitting around in a guild bank gathering dust.  They call out to me, saying "Hey, a lot of us are potentially profitable now!".  What to do, eh?

Well, in my case, it's quite simple.  Like Jim from Power Word Gold once said on his podcast, the AH can actually make for decent cheap storage, only with the additional bonus that occasionally, the things actually sell.  So, that being the case, everything's getting thrown up on the AH in huge, 48-hour, set it and forget it "walls".

My auctions go up for 48 hours, with a threshold of 20 gold and a fallback of 245 gold.  If something's under my threshold, I post at fallback.  You never know when all those cheap ones may sell, so it's better than not having them up at all.

Do I expect to make a profit out of them at this point?  A little, but probably not much.  Do I expect my "walls" to drive anyone out of the market?  Probably not, and even if I do, they'll likely come back for Glyphmas.  Still, it's better than having all of that just sitting in the guild bank.  If nothing else, it gives me more room for stuff I honestly can't sell now, like ShuffleDust.

That's my take on the situation, anyway.  How about you?  Doing anything special for Glyphmas?  Let me know in the comments.  Until next time, good night and good gold.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Heirloom Enchants and You: Cashing in on Pandas

Greetings, gold fans!  No weekly update post this week, as I just don't feel like anything's changed enough to merit one.  Things have been steady, if not outstanding, and my liquid gold total is sitting at about 631k.

I did, however, want to talk about a category that started making the top page of my sales data a little while back:  heirloom enchants.  Here's a quick summary for the uninitiated:  In 3.2, Blizzard introduced the concept of Heirloom gear, gear that binds to your account and scales with a character's level, always being roughly equivalent to a good blue item of that level.  Some of the pieces even gave experience bonuses.  In short, it's the perfect leveling gear.

The problem is, for the purposes of enchanting and a few other things, these pieces of gear are always considered to have an item level of 1.  This means that if you want to make your leveling experience even quicker and easier by enchanting the gear, only those enchants with no level requirement can be used.

This is good news for gold-makers, because it means we get to sell obscure Vanilla and occasionally Burning Crusade enchants for a ridiculous profit.  Normally, these sell at a trickle at best, but with Mists of Pandaria on the horizon, people are already starting to buy them up.  Since this expansion adds a new race (Pandaren) and a new class (Monk), I think we'll see a large demand for heirloom gear as the expansion gets closer, and certainly upon release.

With that in mind, let's go over the various options.


Enchant Weapon - Agility and Enchant 2H Weapon - Agility:  I've covered these before, but for those of you just joining us, the recipes for both of these enchants are available at Honored and Friendly with Timbermaw Hold.  A few quests for them in Felwood should easily get you there.  The real bottleneck in producing these is the Essence of Air.  If you can't find any on the AH, your best bet is usually going out and farming a few from Dust Stormers in Silithus. 

These enchants are, and should continue to be, useful for Rogues, Feral/Guardian Druids, Enhancement Shamans, and most notably, Brewmaster and Windwalker Monks.  (Note that Hunters are not on this list.  They will no longer use melee weapons come MoP.)

Enchant Weapon - Mighty Intellect:  With the changes that Cataclysm made to Intellect, this has officially supplanted Spellpower as the Best in Slot for caster heirlooms.  In my mind, this is a good thing, as the formula for Mighty Intellect doesn't require any fooling around with drop rates.  All you need to do is get at least Revered with the Thorium Brotherhood.  As of Cata, this is simply a matter of doing the quests in Searing Gorge, starting with "A New Master...But Who?".  After you're revered, hit up Lokhtos Darkbargainer in the Grim Guzzler in Blackrock Depths.  (The recipe is limited quantity, so if someone else happened to grab one recently, you may have to wait a bit.)

This is the go-to heirloom weapon enchant for Mages, Priests, Warlocks, Balance Druids, Elemental and Restoration Shamans, Holy Paladins, and Mistweaver Monks.

Enchant Weapon - Crusader:  Unfortunately, the heirloom weapon enchant for strength classes is also the one that's the biggest pain.  This recipe has a small chance to drop from Scarlet Archmages in Eastern Plaguelands.  If you manage to get the recipe, you'll also need two Righteous Orbs from the "living" side of Stratholme.  This should probably be one of the last recipes you try to get, and the Auction House may be a better bet if you're lucky.

If you're fortunate enough to score this enchant, it's the best heirloom weapon enchant for Warriors, Death Knights, and Retribution and Protection paladins.


Enchant Cloak - Stealth:  There are actually two ways to get this enchant.  It can drop from the bosses in AQ40, or you can purchase it at exalted with the Cenarion Expedition.  Personally, I'm not a fan of leaving things to chance, plus my enchanter is not one of my characters that can solo most of AQ40, so I choose the reputation grind.

This enchant is the best heirloom cloak enchant for Rogues, Feral and Guardian Druids, Enhancement Shamans, and Brewmaster and Windwalker Monks.  It's also close for Protection Warriors, Protection Paladins, and Blood Death Knights.

Enchant Cloak - Superior Defense:  This one is theoretically fairly easy to get.  The recipe's sold by Lorelae Wintersong in Moonglade, and doesn't require any specific reputation or anything like that.  The only trouble is that it's sold in limited quantities, and the respawn timer seems to vary quite a bit.  Your best bet may be just popping in every so often and checking.  The recipe isn't BoP, so if you've got a druid, you can just teleport right over to Moonglade to check it out.

It's hotly debated as to whether this or Stealth is better for plate tanks.  If in doubt, put both up.  You never know who might be looking specifically for one or the other.

Enchant Cloak - Subtlety:  In all honesty, this one's kind of lame, but it's about all there is for strength and caster DPS, so some people are willing to pay for it.  The easiest way to get it is to purchase it from the Thrallmar or Honor Hold quartermaster at exalted.


Enchant Chest - Greater Stats:  This is the best heirloom chest enchant for everyone.  Unfortunately, it's also a very difficult recipe to get your hands on.  The recipe is a very low chance world drop from Outlands.  Farming for it is nearly impossible, so if you happen to see it on the AH, grab it.  For the rest of us, the second-best option is Enchant Chest - Stats, which is learned from the trainer.

I think that covers it, but let me know what you think in the comments.  Anything I missed?  Anything you've found is selling particularly well?

Until next time, good night and good gold.