Friday, September 21, 2012

To Level or Not To Level: A Matter of Professions

Welcome back, gold fans!  First of all, hey, I'm not dead!  Yay!  I think, like a lot of bloggers, I just haven't had a lot to write about.  The patch came and went, and now we're just waiting for Mists (while quite possibly also enjoying things like Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2).

Since my last post, I can at least say that I've achieved my pre-expansion goals.  All of my professions are where I want them, and I my Refer-a-Friend account has a level 80, a level 40, and a level 20, all ready to boost a Pandaren Monk from level 10 to level 80.  I'm still working on freeing up some bag space, but other than that, my pre-Mists activities in game are done.

Now I find myself looking ahead, to Tuesday's launch of Mists and beyond.  My participation in the rush of launch gathering and realm first attempts will likely be minimal, but I still need to set my priorities.  Who gets leveled first, and who gets to stay behind in Orgrimmar for the time being?

The choice of who comes first is obvious for me.  My Druid gets top priority simply because she's my main and my raiding character.  I love making gold, but the main reason I play this game is still to raid with my team.  We're not "hardcore" enough to have any strict deadlines, but I want to be leveled and geared quickly so that I'm ready as soon as everyone else is.  No one wants to be "that guy" who's still leveling when the rest of the team is ready to go.

Other than that, though, it comes down to professions.  Which ones benefit the most from getting out into the world, both for leveling and for reputation?  I honestly wasn't sure, so I did some research, which gives me something to share with all of you.

Gathering Professions (Mining, Herbalism, Skinning)

These ones really go without saying.  You can't very well harvest the things in those max-level zones if you can't get to them, can you?  We saw this somewhat in Cataclysm, although for most of the zones, a determined adventurer could work around it (Deepholm being the exception).

In Mists, though, there's another big consideration:  flight.  Players will be unable to fly in Pandaria until reaching level 90.  You know how efficient it is to gather herbs or ore on a ground mount?  Not very.


As far as I can tell, all Alchemy recipes (including the Living Steel transmute) should be learned via discovery, so right now, these are looking to be prime "stay home" crafters.  That being said, thew Spirit of Harmony item, which is bind on pickup and drops off any mobs in Pandaria, can be used to circumvent the daily cooldown on Living Steel.  In addition, the Tillers faction will eventually let you grow Motes of Harmony (which are combined into Spirit of Harmony), so it certainly wouldn't be a bad idea to eventually get your Alchemist out into the world.


The recipes for the crafted epics and for the new Living Steel Belt Buckle require your Blacksmith to be Honored with the Klaxxi, which in turn requires level 90.  It will be interesting to see what the new belt buckle market looks like, since they'll now require an item that's on another profession's daily cooldown (Living Steel from Alchemists).  Overall, though, I would say a Blacksmith deserves to be taken out sometime relatively soon after launch.  If nothing else, the prices for those crafted epics will never be as high as they will be when raids open up a week after launch.

(As a side note, all of the crafted epics will also require Spirits of Harmony, which is another reason to get them out into the world, and perhaps to get them a Tillers farm going as well.)


 While most of the recipes for Enchanters will be available from the trainer, high-end weapon and bracer enchants (the ones that have traditionally had the hefty price tags) will both require rep grinds.  The bracers require Revered rep with the August Celestials, while the weapons are held by the Shado-Pan.  Both of these require level 90, as well as Revered reputation with the Golden Lotus faction.

Enchanters have their work cut out for them, so starting early is a must.  On the plus side, this also means that your Enchanter is able to Disenchant their quest rewards near launch, when they should fetch a very decent price, either raw or as scrolls for progression raiders.  In short, an Enchanter definitely deserves a spot near the top of the list.


Let's face it.  Engineering has never been a major money maker, and that will probably continue to be the case.  However, the good news is that as far as I've been able to tell, none of the Engineering recipes are locked behind a level or rep requirement.  You may still want to at least give them a Tillers farm, though, since Spirits of Harmony are needed for most of their new toys (and in massive amounts for their new mounts).


 None of the recipes for Scribes in Mists seem to be gated behind level or rep, so they're generally fine "staying home".  However, their epic weapons and off-hands require Spirits of Harmony, as does making a Darkmoon Card without the daily cooldown Scroll of Wisdom. 


The only things locked behind a rep grind (and therefore level 90) for Jewelcrafters are the new panther mounts, which, while very cool, are probably a bigger investment than you'll want to be looking at early in the expansion.  However, all of the meta gem cuts seem to be BoP world drops from mobs in Pandaria.  You can still make a tidy profit without these, of course, but eventually you likely will want to do some farming for these.


Leatherworkers will need to reach honored with the Golden Lotus faction (which requires reaching level 90) in order to unlock their crafted epics and their raid-quality leg armors.  In addition, both of these things take Spirits of Harmony.


Like Leatherworkers, Tailors will need to reach honored with the Golden Lotus to access their epic crafted gear recipes and their raid-quality Spellthreads.  Also of note, however, is that Tailors must reach Exalted with the August Celestials if they wish to make the new 28-slot Royal Satchel.  All of these things also require Imperial Silk, which can only be made on a daily cooldown or with Spirits of Harmony.  The new Royal Satchel, in fact, requires a whopping 12 Imperial Silk.


Hopefully, this gives you some idea of how you want to prioritize leveling your various alts going into Mists.  After my main (which also takes care of Blacksmithing), the first alt through will likely be my Enchanter, since that seems like a long grind that it's best to start early.  My gatherers will likely come after that, though I'll admit there's a good chance I'll have missed out on some of the launch highs on gathered materials.  My Leatherworker and Tailor will then follow as time permits, with everyone else bringing up the rear.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Darkmoon Faire and You: A PSA

Hey there, gold fans!  Just a quick reminder tonight for those of you like me who are shuffling professions around or otherwise trying to skill up before Mists.  The Darkmoon Faire is in town, and this is the last opportunity you'll have to take advantage of it before Mists releases.

The biggest draw to the Faire, especially this month and next, is the variety of monthly profession quests, each of which earns you 5 skill points in that profession.  Some people prefer to save these for the last 5 skill levels in a profession.  Others prefer to use them to ease a bottleneck (anything that lets me level Alchemy with a few less Goldthorn is a good thing in my book).

Either way, just be sure you get these free skill points by the end of the week.  Don't do what I've done many times, insisting to yourself that you're going to use them on a particular level, then not having time to get to that level before the Faire is gone.  Better to "waste" it on some relatively easy levels and at least save the mat cost than to not use it at all.

Also, do remember that many of these quests require outside materials not available on Faire grounds.  Save yourself a bit of trouble and pick them up before you go.

Tailoring:  One Coarse Thread, one Red Dye, and one Blue Dye, all available from any tailoring supplies vendor or most trade supplies vendors.

Alchemy:  5 Moonberry Juice, available from any innkeeper in "old world" Azeroth.

Inscription:  5 Light Parchment, sold by any inscription supplies vendor.

Leatherworking:  10 Shiny Baubles, 5 Coarse Thread, and 5 Blue Dye, available either separately from fishing and tailoring vendors, or all together from a trade supplies vendor.

The rest of the primary profession quests supply you with everything you need.  So go out there and get crafting!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Of Risky Bets and Price Resets - My Patch Week So Far

Greeting, gold fans!  As most of you are hopefully aware, this Tuesday (Wednesday for the EU) was Patch 5.0.4, the pre-expansion patch for Mists of Pandaria.  After a bit of a rocky start with the usual extending of maintenance, I first logged into my glyph seller to re-post anything that had expired during the maintenance, so that I could be sure everything I had was represented.

My next stop was, of course, taking my scribe to the glyph trainer.  After learning all the new glyphs, I crafted a stack of each, including the new monk glyphs.  That last part may or may not have been wise.  I don't expect them to sell now, of course, but I had the ink and I figure this way they're already done when I need them at launch.

I mailed those new glyphs over and posted them, seeing as I did so that even in that short time, there had been quite a healthy amount of glyph sales already.  However, something just didn't sit right.  As some of you may know from my question to Faid's LiteCast last week, there's been someone on my server effectively creating a price ceiling by selling about 3-4 of every single glyph for 40 gold each.  It had been galling, to say the least, and in what was presumably a time of high demand and low supply, I'd had enough.  I set out to reset the market.

Now, I should make it clear that my experience with market resets had been limited and very small-scale so far (a couple of times resetting the price of volatiles).  Realistically, this was probably not a market into which I should have dove head-first.  Still, I had made my decision and would stick to it.  I bought out every glyph under 50 gold and re-posted them with threshold of 50 gold, fallback of 245.  This effectively reset the price of 99% of glyphs to 245 gold.

Now, of course, they didn't stay that way.  I didn't expect anyone to just stop trying to undercut.  I also didn't realize at the time that while the tooltips at the ink traders said Ink of Dreams, they were in fact still taking Blackfallow Ink.  This is apparently intended (though the info's a bit out of the way).  This means the supply low we all were hoping to see never really materialized.  In fact, the more attractive glyph prices seemed to draw more competition out of the woodwork.

Thankfully, the one person who seems to be staying away (knock on wood) is Mr. 40 Gold Glyph Ceiling.  This leads me to hope that perhaps he was actually someone trying to get out of the glyph market.  I really hope that's the case, since it would mean he finally got what he wanted and is gone, but only time will tell.

Looking back, I don't know that I'd do this reset again if I could go back, knowing what I know now.  I spent about 130k gold overall on resetting the prices.  So far, I've gained about 30k of that back, and still have a stock of about 10,000, meaning I'll almost definitely profit in the long run (particularly if at least some of the prices stay high through MoP launch).  Still, having all of that capital in glyphs instead of liquid gold stings a bit, and more importantly, I'm spending far too long each day just trying to move thousands of glyphs from my mail box.

Still, it's not all bad.  Many glyphs didn't stay high, but that's fine.  I never expected them all to stay high.  All I wanted, and what I've largely gotten, is a glyph market that's set by supply and demand, rather than someone's artificial ceiling.  It chafed me to see the rarest and most in-demand book glyphs going for little more than useless trainer glyphs, and for the most part, that's been fixed.  I'm not thrilled with the massive overstock in a market for which my enthusiasm is mild at best, but I'll work through it, and at least I'm well prepared for the flood of alts in Mists.

We're already seeing a few alts trickling in, thanks to the unlocking of the 11th character slot and the new class mechanics to try out.  I've seen a bit of a bump in heirloom enchants, but nothing staggering.  I think, though, that many people are saving that extra slot for a Monk and/or a Pandaren, so we'll see many more alts come launch.

Speaking of alts, things have been going fairly well there, though it's not without its hiccups.  All of my sub-80 alts had hit 80 before the patch.  Special thanks goes to my partner for running my Paladin and Death Knight through each Northrend instance for 300% experience dungeon quests.  My hunter was at just over 50% of the way into 84, so when the patch lowered the experience needed at that level by 50%, it meant my hunter logged in ready to ding 85 as soon as she did anything that earned experience.

Since then, the paladin's gotten the most play, mostly because it's still on my other account and can be played while I'm posting glyphs and retrieving mail.  Pally's 83, DK's somehow managed to get to 82 between posting sprees, and Priest is at 81.  Soon I'll have an 85 of each class, just like I said I would someday.  At least until September 25th, when I'll have yet another new one to make.  If I have some extra time, I may actually get a couple characters leveling up on the RAF account almost solely for granting a monk levels.

I've also been forced to re-assess my profession plans somewhat.  With 5.0.4, Blizzard has changed the Alchemy specialization quests to require Mists items.  Only one of my Alchemists already has his transmute specialization learned, so all the others would have to spend the first week or more of Mists making Living Steel solely to have it go to the trainer.  I still want multiple Alchemists, so I will still have to suck it up somewhat at launch, but I've decided to make about half of them Scribes instead.

It was a galling idea at first.  After my recent adventures, the last thing I wanted to see was more glyphs.  Realistically, though, these extra Scribes will be making few, if any, glyphs when they're done skilling up, and while what they make to do so will unfortunately be more overstock, it's a drop in a bucket compared to what I already have.  The new Scroll of Wisdom cooldown in Mists should be a decent source of daily income, being usable for Darkmoon Cards, BoE gear, and BoA gear.

It's difficult to say at this point which will be more profitable, Living Steel or Scroll of Wisdom, but I should be well prepared in either case, and on the off chance that there's an extreme difference in value, I can always shuffle the professions around a bit.  Special thanks to Jim from Power Word Gold for letting me bounce some of this off him on Twitter yesterday.

Bit of a long post, I know, but that's been my week so far.  Hopefully the weekend will bring more people back to buy glyphs.  How has everyone else's patch week been?  Have you found any old markets reviving somewhat?  Any new ones popping up?  Let me know in the comments.