Greedy Goblin

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Investing in 3.1

This post got the most work from me. I've been writing it for a week. If you expect some shining "all in one" knowledgebase of getting rich on the eve of the patch, I have to disappoint you.

In short the article says: "(except for a few tips) I don't have a clue".

Well, knowing that I don't have a clue is better than telling something for sure and not having a clue.

It would be quite easy to create a long list of changes without telling actually anything. However I want to create quality informative posts to keep the readers here (to make them read my goblinish rants). So instead of telling you what to invest and hoping that you'll get lucky, I show why I don't know much about 3.1:

Inscription: Practically everyone will have dual specs on the eve of the patch. Not having dual specs would look "noob" or "poor" or "not having all the potential", so everyone will create a second spec, even if he has no clue what to put into this spec. This will affect the inscribes hardest. While Blizzard originally planned that scrolls to be the the "consumables" made by inscribes, I doubt if they have serious market. Inscribes make their living by selling glyphs. The main users of glyphs are the respeccing people. If you PvP-ed on arms and tanked on prot, you bought 3 major and some minor glyphs on every respec. This is going to disappear, so on the long run profit from selling glyphs will decline seriously.

On the other hand there will be a huge need for glyphs on patch eve and the following days. So one could tell you to stack up on glyphs and sell on patch eve. Except most probably everyone and his mother-in-law will do the same. Or not. The main problem with 3.1 is that now everyone are bored. While a usual patch hit 80% of the playerbase totally unprepared, being busy in whatever they were doing, currently there is nothing else to do in Northrend than chat about the patch. So everyone prepares some way. Maybe you'll make a killing with glyphs on patch day. Maybe the AH server will crash from the 100K+ glyphs listed by everyone. I don't know.

There will be new glyps learned from dropped tomes. However you cannot "prepare" for them, except creating a farming group and start grinding to get them before others.

What I know is that the herb-ink-glyph route is one-way. If you stacked glyph of X and the market is flooded, you can't do anything. If you stacked ink, you can sell any glyphs that the market is short of. If you stacked herbs, and no glyphs sell, you can still sell them to alchemists. If you are not an inscribe, I'd hardly suggest to buy your own glyphs and don't speculate with other glyphs. Which lead us to:

  • Northrend herbs now yield more herbs on average.
  • The herbalism requirement for gathering Tiger Lily has been reduced to 375.
  • The time it takes to gather herbs has been reduced.
(by mmo-champion). This is the root of all evil in the herbalism-inscription-alchemy business. Since the herb production will increase significantly, the prices will drop. So you cannot take long position in either. If you don't make a killing on patch eve, only the magnitude of your losses can be debated. The killing on patch eve depends on the amount of players planning to do the same as you.

People will start raiding Ulduar. They will use flasks. You sell flasks and get rich. Simple? Not. Flasks are made of herbs. People won't all raid on patch eve, since the instances will be full and the servers unstable. So only a small portion of your flasks will sell in the "patch eve rush". The rest will be sold later on the week and in the following weeks. Since the herb prices will eventually fall, it's only a matter of time when someone who buys the herbs can make a cheaper flask than yours. There is only one item that seem to be a good investment: the frost lotus itself. It's random and rare enough that it won't be seriously affected by the herbalism downfall.

  • Several recipes in the 250-300 skill range have been rebalanced, and the reagent requirements have been reduced.
  • Some enchants now have level restrictions. Note: the enchant is never removed from the item to which it's applied, however, the player no longer receives its benefit until they reach the required level. Any enchants modified in this way have had their tooltips updated.
If we assume that not everyone will have Ulduar on farm on the first week, the pieces waiting to be enchanted will come slowly. So slow demand, decreased item costs. This demand can even be lower than the current, since now everyone farm Naxx and Maly getting new (maybe offspec) items. After 3.1 T7 will no longer be interesting but T8 won't be looted so fast. The level restrictions decrease demand further. The only opportunity is in dual specs, if someone is "forced" to put together a second spec gear and enchant it up to avoid looking "noob". The number of these people compared to those who speculate for these people is obviously unknown. Don't forget that the "we assume that not everyone will have Ulduar on farm on the first week" is a pretty bold speculation considering what we saw in WotLK.

  • Added a new recipe for the Titansteel Spellblade, an epic one-handed caster dagger, available from trainers.
  • Added new recipes for epic gear, found rarely on Ulduar bosses. These recipes are unbound and can be traded..
These new gear will most probably be BoE like everything in WotLK. So once someone got the recipe he will be able to create it to anyone with mats for a fee. The mat will include lot of titansteel bars. Since it cannot be mass produced, even a small increase in demand can significantly increase the price, so it's the second item I would suggest investing in. Maybe eternal earth is also a good investment as most BoE needs it and it cannot be farmed instantly.

  • Added new recipes for epic gear, found rarely on Ulduar bosses. These recipes are unbound and can be traded.
This will make an increased demand for leather, and especially Artic Fur. I doubt that the increase is enough to make the simple leather a good investment, especially since it's easily farmable. The fur on the other hand look perspectivic. Maybe Icy dragonscale is also a good investment as most new BoE need it.

  • Added new recipes for epic gear, found rarely on Ulduar bosses. These recipes are unbound and can be traded.
  • Added recipes for superior-quality PVP cloaks to Northrend tailoring trainers.
Same as above, with ebonweave, moonshroud and spellweave.

So as you can see, besides Frost lotus, Titansteel bar and Arctic fur, maybe the 3 CD-ed cloths, there is no sure investment item. If we add that the market is deflating (my idea why), killing all long positions, we can reach the conclusion of Sydera: "stockpiling just one thing: gold".

PS: And everything you don't expect for some reason to be a good investment is a bad investment in a deflating market. Sell everything from your bank that is not a good investment as everything will be a bit outdated as 3.1 hit the servers (especially ilvl 200-213 BoE).


Yoco said...

Nice post, despite its gloomy message :) Here are a few of my views on the topics you mentioned.

The glyph market will certainly shrink, when dual specs come. I'm not sure if it will shrink as much as everyone seems to be predicting. I recently tried to analyze my beancounter data how often I get 'repeat customers' for my glyphs. Being only a smallscale seller, I didn't expect many buyers to buy the same glyphs more than once (a sign of respeccing often), but the number I found was even lower than expected - so maybe the drive behind buying glyphs is not necessary just respeccing.

The tomes to learn new glyph recipes are very bad news for me. If they are so rare that the only place where they 'drop' is the AH, their price will be insane, only to be bought by the likes of Gevlon :) (and yes, I play on the same server/faction as he does ...). If they only drop in ulduar or other instances or raids it is even worse, as I don't raid. If they are world BoP drops there is a little hope, as I have yet to level my scribe (she's 71), so I may bump into some while leveling.

About herbs: only the first point is relevant. the tiger lily change is just a smoothing of the leveling curve (currently goldclover requires 350 herbalism, the next herb requires 400 - this change makes leveling herbalism easier for those folks that forget they can level it perfectly well in outland). The pick time reduction doesn't change anything really - while herbing most time is spent traveling between nodes, not spent picking the nodes. The increased yield reportedly brings the expected yield from one plant from 1-3 to 2-3, so yes: certainly an increase, but not a huge one.

The titansteel spellblade is is just a filler for a missing recipe: the titansteel weapon family currently has one caster weapon, but that is a mace, so not usable by mages or warlocks. The spellblade is essentially the equivalent of that mace in dagger form, usable by all casters (except healing paladins, but they already can get the mace). It is purple, but intended for folks that just arrive at 80 and need a starter set.

The ulduar drop recipes for BS/LW/Tailor will be as popular as the sunwell recipes epics were: not as popular as the stats suggest. The bottleneck ingredient for drafting them are the orbs that drop in ulduar, and it will be a long while before non-raiders can get their hands on those. Raiders on the other hand are likely to find a crafter in-guild...

Tobold said...

One more investment tip: Patch 3.1 introduces a new tailoring recipe for a very large herbalism bag. You can get the recipe being revered with the walrus men Kalu'ak (sp?). You can craft the bags using 4 moonshroud. Getting your rep up now, and stockpiling some moonshroud might be a good idea. Or as a wise goblin once said, there is no such thing as an unsold bag.

Mahonnant said...

I agree with Yoco, I think a lot of people make too big a deal of the "frequent reglypher market will disappear". While it is certainly true on some level I think that the volume of demand is overestimated.
We would need a more thorough analysis of this but my guess is that it barely accounts for 5% of the market, most of which is simply :
- alts being fitted
- reglyphing resulting of normal evolution of the player's stuff or role (I know for priests there are glyphs that are interesting at a certain gear level, at a higher gear level you get more bang for your buck with another)

mute said...

I will talk for the BoE epic recipes that will drop from Ulduar bosses only - as I see them the main factor in the change of the prices.

A few questions come to mind quickly:

How long will it take for these crafted epics to drop to the AH? (read it as: how long will it take for the demand for mats to craft these epics to arise?)

As we know, the BoE epic recipes will be first distributed within the guilds before hitting the AH. And most likely, first epics will be crafted for the guildmates using the guild sources (be it for a cost or not - I believe most guilds that will raid Ulduar have a good storage of mats in guild bank.) Crafters or customers won't go to AH for materials at first place.

But crafters will want to craft more epics and make profit of their profession. They will either target AH for less effort once their guild storage ends - whether they pay for it or not. This is when the "real" increase in price of crafting materials will occur.

Who will supply these materials then? As a AH buyer/seller, it's not me, I'm just evaluating the prices. The main suppliers will be farmers who will farm the mats and want to make profit of the expected-to-increase prices. Why would a farmer want to make more gold? Two choices: To sink money in mounts, jewelry etc. or to buy those epic items (that you supplied the mats for).

However, there seems to be an irrational decision here: If you are a raider, you would only farm enough to pay your repair bills and consumables. You wouldn't go buy epics from AH. Why would you? If you are a farmer (casual, non-raider) why would you need those epics? Even green gear is enough to kill those elementals. The only rational decision belongs to casual/raiders (or however you define it) who actually raid but cant wait long enough to loot BoP epics.

Next step is the recipes -that are not needed by guilds or pugs- dropping to AH which increases the number of crafters. More crafters mean more demand for materials (at first stage). In a given time (and in theory only) every BS should be able to craft those epic items.

More crafters mean more supply and competition of the crafted epic items. This results as a decrease in epic item prices. However, the material prices will start to decrease when the crafters decides to craft no more as the profit is not *that* desirable any more, thus decreasing the demand for the materials. In addition, number of farmers that can buy the crafted epic items has a limit. The descrease in demand for epic items will also be affected by this. However when it downs to an end, less people will farm for the mats to earn money - which will decrease the supply of mats and prices will stabilize in a lower degree than they were when both supply and demand were high but still higher than it was pre-patch.

I can't make a time estimation for all these to occur as I didn't observe previous content patches but it will be very enjoying to watch it. Me, as a businessman, will be richer than before if I get my investments and time my sellings right. The "poor" of today (farmers) will be wearing epics instead of blues but the definition will be set at 5000g instead 50g (as mentioned in one of the comments before) as the epics they have will not result anything particularly productive. They will be just going home-work-home again for 3 minutes with a Toyota instead of a Lada. More comfortable but was it worth it really?

All these estimations were based in supply-demand only while still touching human behaviour for a little bit.

mute said...

All these said, I still predict among with hundreds of people that the prices of Eternal Earth, Icy Dragonscale and Frost Lotus to increase in patch day (or night before) even though the first future-crafters have already secured themselves in terms of mats for the first few pieces they will craft and there won't be any immediate increase in demand. The prices will suddenly increase (if they haven't already) because everybody expects them to increase - which actually justifies the increase alone itself.

Sydera said...

I would compare this patch to the Sunwell patch--a lot of people were waiting for that one too.

Thanks for the favorable mention, by the way. Maybe I should frame it!

From my experience, the market for consumables will be weird for a week or two as sellers dump what they've stockpiled, but after that, raid consumables should sell better than they did before. Most people just don't keep the gold pool to have more than a week's worth of flasks on them at the time. If the instance is VERY hard, some weird consumables will go up in price. Sunwell made Ironshield pots, Nightmare seeds, and scrolls of Agility go up by huge amounts. However, if the content is medium, which Ulduar seems to be, look to the flasks as your big seller. With WOTLK, the flasks are arguably just as good as the elixir combo anyway. I prefer them for raiding because they give a big jolt to a single stat, allowing me to alter my gear pretty dramatically when I combine that up with trinket changes. I can either go totally regen, totally spellpower, or half and half easily with the flasks. There seems little point to doing a flask combo with half regen half SP if you can use the trinkets to manipulate your stats as well.

I'm waiting along with the rest of you, though, to see what weird consumable becomes king once guilds are progressing through Ulduar.

mute said...

Here comes a question for the blog author and readers then:

Considering the most favorable items (titansteel bar, arctic fur, some flasks etc.), how many did you or planning to stock?

Of course, this depends on the size of your realm/faction and the number of raiding guilds you have there. But let's say for a full realm with 40/60 horde alliance ratio server (which is I think the closest to the most common).

As my capital is low and I'm in a 30/70 H/A server, I stocked only around 120 Arctic Furs, around 1500 Dragonscales, 60 Eternal Earth and unfortunately only 10 Titansteel Bars.

Gevlon said...

@Yoco: while titansteel spellblade is a filler, lot of people will try to have it. About beancounter: if someone is returning customer of the market, it doesn't mean he is returning to you. If you have 10% of the market, you see only 10% of the returners in the beancounter.

@Tobold: theoretically true. Practically, the 28 slot bag market was nice but not a blockbuster. This new bag will cost 450G just in mats. I doubt if people will rush to pay 5-600G for something that cannot be shown to others.

@mute: while the recipes will not appear in the AH, the products itself do. The items are BoE, so the raider picks up the recipe and start crafting for everyone who have mats.

@Sydera: in the long run, the consumables converge to the herbs they are crafted from. So unless the people use much more consumables than before, their price must decrease after the crazy weeks.

@mute: I don't go for quantity, I go for price. I buy up all the titansteel/frozen herb I consider "cheap"

Anonymous said...

Do you have any advice for those of us out here with Jewelcrafting? Gems seem to be in high decline as well as prospecting materials.

Passieta said...

I think what many people should concentrate on is gold. It's great if you have the "right" item that will sell quickly following the 3.1 rush...however, the only thing that is guaranteed to still be valuable is GOLD. That said, if something is profitable now, you're foolish not to take advantage now. Don't pack it in your bank to predict 3.1. Make your money now. Saving it could be a gamble, but could lose value, too.

The only things that I'm planning to flood would be glyphs. However, I'll only be prepping enough for the initial rush.

Most other things will remain business as usual. Bags sell, pets sell, eternals turn into crystallized and sell, etc.

Notmyrealname said...

Bad news for scribes: Less respec-related sales after initial rush. Good news for scribes: Double the "Alt with a Rich Main" sales after 3.1 since these customers will likely dual-spec as soon as they're high enough level to. My income is split about 50/50 between the respec and alt markets currently.

I don't expect to see herb prices drop until after the dual spec inscription sales decline simply because the higher demand for glyphs should result in a spike of demand for the herbs needed to make them. Scribes will take the biggest risks in the week following 3.1, but herbalists might expect higher gold/hour from farming for at least the first week or so before their market starts to dries up.

I'm hoping to cash in with the respec market and then invest a chunk of the profit into a different profession for the long haul. There's about a dozen regular glyph professionals of my server, but only five or six competitors worth taking seriously and hopefully volume enough for most of us to make good coin as long as no one does anything stupid.

I'm very curious to see the new low-level blacksmithing recipes that will be added as there might be a profitable alt market for these.

Dorgol said...

@Yoco: "The tomes to learn new glyph recipes are very bad news for me. If they are so rare that the only place where they 'drop' is the AH, their price will be insane, only to be bought by the likes of Gevlon"

If I remember correctly, the new Tomes will be BOP.

Mike said...

Don't forget there will be new badge gear, so the market for enchants won't change as much.

True that Emblem of Heroism gear isn't changing, but there will be some changes to Emblem of Valor gear (it will be the badge for Ulduar 10-man) and there will be a whole new tier of gear for Emblems of Conquest.

The good news about the new recipes is we'll know their mats before they go Live. The bad news is we need to start stockpiling *yesterday* to take some sort of advantage of it.

Yaggle said...

I am not doing dual-specs and I think there will be others like me who consider it a waste of 1000g. I play many characters so if I want to play plate DPS, I play my fury warrior, if I want to tank I get my DK. I don't like the whole idea of dual specs, I like having to decide what I am and I don't like to be told I should spend 1000g to keep up with the Joneses. So I think your glyph business will still have plenty of re-speccers unless I am so M&S I don't realize I'm the only one.

Andy said...

can someone point me to the source on new glyphs being learned through tomes? i haven't seen that anywhere. why not just add them to the northrend inscription research?

Sosha said...

@Anonymous: I'm not sure how the market is going to bear out for JCs. I'd imagine that there will be a market out there for rare gems as people pick up new crafted and Emblem gear. It might be smart to prospect some of the cheap Saronite Ore out there and hold the rare gems.

Sydera said...

I expect the demand for raid consumables to increase dramatically as raiding guilds have less farm content and more progression content. The price on flasks could even drop a bit and I'd still profit as long as it stays the same relative to the cost of materials. As for me, I farm some of my own but buy the majority. I'm looking forward, though, to potentially being able to sell 50 flasks per night whereas now I can only realistically sell 25. That means more money in the long run. Consumables are a great business when raid content is new. As guilds get geared up again it will taper off. Most people who flask right now only do so if their guilds require it. I'm glad some raiding guilds have that rule, because that means that I'll always be able to move some flasks.

Fixee said...

My prepping for 3.1 (not advice to others, just sharing):

Anything related to new gear, I'm stocking up on: hundreds of leg kits and spellthread, 400 belt buckles (belts will be purchasable with badges), 800 Greater Cosmic, 1000 dust, 600 uncut rare gems.

Mats for consumables, as well: 700 frost lotus, 1000 northern spices, but no herbs and no fish. (Since herb prices will go down, I'm not interested in getting involved in the chaos...)

I haven't studied the crafted items well enough to commit to investments there. I do have 200 Arctic Fur (which I'll make into leg kits if nothing else) and I use my titansteel CD every day (no risk there really), but I'm not buying CDs or buying bars. Same with tailored cloth: my tailor is lvl 70, so can only produce Primal Mooncloth cheaply, and it doesn't move (nor do the bags).

I spent about 40,000g in acquiring the above and I'm holding 120,000g in cash. Hopefully I haven't over-invested, but it's just play money, right?

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I myself have been stocking up on a few things, High end herbs, Belt buckles, and Eternal of all kinds. Here is my .02.

1. Herbs, yes the market will shrink for scribs, its going to happen. However everyone is still going to need pots / flasks as the blog states but the Frost Lotus will still stay in demand. - Already pointed out in the post.

2. Buckles - This has netted me more money then both my bag business and my epic business. So many people from 70-80 get new items that they want to put a buckle on it. I have been buying the mats for around 20g ( when in bulk 100 or each or more ) then selling them for 100g each. If someone under cuts me I do the same but don't go below 90g.

3. Ethereal, this has always made me solid money. Being a Herb/miner I can farm pretty much everything I need on my alt with no issues. I am still awaiting the Eternal Might that may come out, however many flasks and other items will use Eternals.

One huge note. Remember Blizzard just won a HUGE case against the botting community, shutting them down! This will drive the mats up on items they have farmed since wow started. Leather/Cloth ect. You can make a good profit just holding on till 3.1 to make a huge profit when the market gets slammed.

ps. Sorry for my grammar / spelling I am half awake :-0

Evander said...

I think many bloggers are missing one of the most important point from 3.1. Everyone seems to agree that this patch is similar to 2.4 and yet no one seems to mention the inflation that followed it.

3.1 will introduce many dailies. I think this patch will shift the balance for many players and they will start doing dailies instead of farming to get gold. For every player that make that change, it has 2 direct effects on the economy: more gold avaible and a decrease of the offer.

Considering those effect and the amount of people that will make that change I really think 3.1 will be the start of inflation in Northrend. While most people suggest turning everything you have into hard gold, I suggest and I do the opposite, I'm stockpiling on all the mats I use.

Karl said...

Regarding glyphs and gems and dual-spec.

One thing that was missed by all is you need to look at your market better.

1) What classes are going to get major changes to talents that would require respeccing? (a lot of them)

2) What classes will make use of dual-spec the most? (my pally will get it, my hunter, not)

3) What classes have the most glyph changes coming?

4) How will the new mana changes effect gearing? (more MP5 gems selling?)

If you answer these questions correctly, you'll be able to predict your market better and be ready to make some goblin happy.

Cameren said...

Judging by the way you speak of duel specs I would have to assume that you are not a big fan? Just out of curiosity, are what is your duel spec going to be, if you do use it.

I am still having a personal debate on whether the duel spec system is very goblinish. You might save money in the long run if you respec a lot but that would take approximately 25+ respecs to compensate for how much you would usually spend respecing and reglyphing.

Karl said...

@ Cameren - gotta consider time as well.

Example 1: My pally might respec twice a night with this change, or more. Dual is worthwhile.

Example 2: My hunter might respec once a month. Not worthwhile to dual.

It's also the time saving of being to swap fast, and without mistakes.

Not wasting time is goblinish too. :-)

KingRamsesIII said...

When you consider whether dual-speccing is worth it, in addition to accounting for the amount of money you spend on respecs and glyphs, you should also account for the amount of time and hassle you spend. You generally have to spend time messing with your action bars, time to visit the class trainer (usually requiring a hearth), time placing your points... it adds up.

Factoring that in, I'd say it won't take 25+ respecs to pay for itself, especially if you're making as much money as Gevlon. Though I suspect he almost never respecs his druid (based on my reading here), so I'd guess he's not planning to pick up dual specs.

Real Haos said...

Hi, atm i am sitting on 3k gold, for most of you that's nothing ... i understand. I am hooked on this blog for about a month and started to lvl Inscription on my Dk alt. My main is skinned/LW, alt Herb/Alch (375). The AH on my server is big, 30k auctions, it is a pve server, although pets + recipes sell in the neutral AH, the demand is not as big one would want it to be.
After reading this post,i would want to invest my money into something so i could at least afford an epic mount, but i would like to know what, with such little amount of gold. Thank you

jrblack said...

@Haos: with 3k gold I would not invest at all for 3.1 unless the investment is completely risk-free. While 3k made you a millionaire in vanilla, it's a very small amount of gold nowadays and you really cannot afford to lose it if it's all you have.

If you want to quickly make money for your mount, just use the tried and true methods given here and elsewhere: learn your server's economy inside and out, leverage your professions, do dailies for gold if they're efficient, do waste money, get a gatherer (no risk), etc.

I would not speculate on 3.1 without a substantial cash reserve, personally.

ecr2 said...

Do any of you regular readers have over 150,000g?

Myself, I'm sitting at about 142,000 and I feel kind of unique in that regard as I haven't found more than a handful of players who have documented proof that have more.

There are always bigger fish out there so I know I'm not top brass.

Ben said...

most of my glyph business is Death Knight glyphs, as long as people keep making and leveling them I'm not too worried about the glyph market. In the long run, the _rate_ of profit might fall, but the deposit prices are so minimal you can just sit on what you made and compensate by not restocking so often. Profit margin shouldn't be hurt too much, if not increase once herbs fall in price (since glyph purchase cost is negligible already), its rate will just eventually be affected.

Yoco said...

@Dorgol "If I remember correctly, the new Tomes will be BOP."

The item now finally appeared on wowhead's ptr site (, and it is not marked as BoP. It seems they are random rare world drops, though the fact it only has appeared now suggests that the drop rate may be extremely low.

Felpe said...

Gevlon is right: there is no such thing as an unsold bag.

I was a bit sceptical when I put on an ebon soulbag with the 3.1 change in mind, but it got sold.

Real Haos said...

would investing into inscription be reasonable, atm my dk is lvl 58 and inscription 235