Monday, February 11, 2013

The Algebra of Alchemy

Today I'm going to talk about the algebra of alchemy. By that I mean my favorite forumula for getting the most profits from Alchemy by way of two different gathering professions. (one and a half; as mentioned on the Consortium, many are of the opinion that mining is not a gathering profession) First, the forumula:

(Alchemy + Mining) - Herbalism = Profits

Alchemy is a crafting profession based solely on herbalism to level. You can't really get to 600 without it, and you will pay an arm and a leg to do it by buying herbs on the Auction House only. The thing about alchemy though, is once you hit 600, its not really worth pairing with herbalism anymore.  Its a funny profession in that it has three separate specializations. Elixir (flask) and Potion spec'd alchemists still rely heavily on herbs to craft their wares, while transmute alchemists (like me) don't really need them anymore.  I would go so far as to argue that even flask and pot alchemists don't really rely on herbalism to maximize profits. If you are going to try to corner the flask market, you need a ton of herbs, but mostly, golden lotus. Similarly true for potions but without the lotus and without the large marke for them. (does anyone actually spec this!?)

I can get more golden lotus from my farm in five minutes a day than you can get flying around picking herbs for two hours. Whats more, I can make more gold with mining and alchemy in that extra hour you spend picking flowers, than your flasks would sell for anyways. I perfer to maximise my alchemy profits by pairing it with a miner. Not necessarily on the same character, but having access to both is vital.  As with the case of going through mass herbs, you need mass ore to really profit.  Basically as much ore as you can possibly get for a reasonable price.  Right now, Ghost Iron Ore is obtainable in decent quantities for around 35g/stack on my server, yet Trillium bars are selling for 45-50g each. There is a lot of profit potential in there since 1 stack of ore smelted into bars can be transmuted into a trillium bar through a largely automated process.

Queue up as much ore as your miner can hold and go do something else while it smelts. Mail it off to your alchemist (or have postal do it for you) and click "smelt all" and continue doing something else.  When all is said and done, you have AFK'd yourself a 33% profit on some of the most common crafting materials in the game. Being transmute spec'd will only increase those profits. Personally I like the idea of setting the extra trillium procs aside to use for my daily Living Steel transmute. This adds another hundred or so gold profit per day for no work at all. Even more if you craft with it.

According to PTR 5.2 patch notes there is a really good reason to stock up on trillium bars. Wrathion is going to require 40 of them to advance to the next stage of of the legendary questline. This means that as soon as the patch hits (early March I think) demand should raise and with it, hopefully prices.  Add to that any new recipes that require lifing steel and we will hopefully see a resurgence in the market.  Until that time, if you are going to sell Trillium bars, I would suggest doing so in stacks of six, in addition to any other denomination you chose.  This makes it a little easier on Alchemists who don't know the value of a good miner.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Darkmoon Decks - Update

Two posts today for the price of none, to help catch up a little. I spent the week making Darkmoon cards and most of friday and saturday trying to trade and track down missing cards to complete those final decks. At the begining I think I said I was hoping for something like six decks....

...I ended up with twelve. I managed to buy 24 scrolls off a guildie in one shot, then a couple more as the week went of from him. Then traded to complete 5 decks on the last day of the faire.  (I had to buy one card, cost 1500g).  At that point I was left with multiples of two cards, and half the oxen deck so I broke down and bought the remaining four cards to the deck for about 2800g. The profit on that last deck won't be stellar but I should still turn 4 or 5k on it.

I ended the week about midnight saturday at the faire with:
2x Relic of Chi-Ji
4x Relic of Yu'lon
3x Relic of Xuen (I chose 2 agility and 1 strength)
3x Relic of Niuzao

I expect to sell the two healing trinkets for somewhere around 14-15k each, the 4 caster dps trinkets for 12-13k, the 3 agility/strength trinkets for 14-16k and the 3 Tanking trinkets for around 8k each. Its hard to say exactly how much I invested in these, but for the first half of my ink I was vendoring shoulder enchants and getting the rare ink for free or a profit.  After I began making glyphs all the common inks went to that.  I'm expecting to make around 150k off these in the next month, the vast majority of that should be pure profit.

I haven't completly decided whether to pursue darkmoon trinkets next month as well. I think it will be determined by how well these sell before the next faire.  I am planning to stock up on herbs and ink just in case and have lined up my guildie's scrolls plus the two of my own. 

Inscription - Part 2

So it has been a couple days working through the inscription maze and I think I've got everything moving along now.  I crafted somewhere in the neighborhood of 155 different glyphs, at 10 per; totaling to over 1500 glyphs.

I would have been done sooner but ran out of ink a couple times and had to wait for sufficient quantities of reasonably priced herbs to show up.  Turns out that WotLK level herbs are really cheap. I was getting a lot of those for less than 2/3 the cost of Panda herbs, which should really help my profit margin in the end. My only real competition seems to be from one seller who posts rather frequently. I think he tried to scare me out of the market on the first day by crashing everything to 25g but I just waited him out for a day and resumed posting my glyphs at a 1c undercut to his. Typically glyphs are posting around the 44g mark.

Since I started selling late thursday, I have made approximately 2500 gold in this market, with a very large stockpile remaining to sell. I estimate that I invested about 930 stacks of herbs; which, because I got them for never more than 32g/stack and sometimes a lot less, makes it hard to put an exact price tag on it.  I had initially said that my crafting cost was 6.50g/ink // 19.50g/glyph, but I would say that is an incredibly conservative estimate. Probably somewhere closer to 16g per glyph would be more accurate.  The next time I need to restock I will have to keep better records. The math is telling me I spent about 25,000 gold stocking up, but my bankroll hasn't dropped more than about 10 or 15k in the last couple weeks. I guess supplemented by my other investments, it is possible. 

Lets say I spent 25k. I''ve received a 10% return so far, after less than 4 days, with a very active competition for the market. Thats not too bad.  I still have a ways to go, but I don't think I'm going to lose any money on this. If the market stays fairly healthy, and with my main competitor seeming to control it, I have no reason to see why it would change, then I expect to make about double my money over the long term. 

Now I just need to figure out how to tell TSM to restock me without having to go through and manually click which glyphs to make.  Back to the configuration settings...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


So I spent a good portion of yesterday looking at inscription and trying to get a foothold in the market.  There is a lot of work to be done at startup. I am most of the way through milling about 10k worth of Pandaria herbs, crafting them into inks, and then trading them for what I need (more on that in a minute). I took a more in-depth look at the glyph market on my server and discovered that not all glyphs were selling at 10g or less like I initially thought. It turns out that it was just all the ones I was making. A LOT of glyphs are currently selling at 45g. I suspect someone has taken the trouble to reset the market recently, as the shear number (around 150+) of glyphs posted at the same price seem more than coincidental.  I would very much like to capitalize on this reset. 

To begin, I went into TradeSkillMaster (TSM) and did a profession scan for inscription. This scanned the auction house for everything related to the profession including glyph prices as well as all the inks, pigments, scrolls, volatiles, and any other component of a scribe's recipe book. I scanned on Monday and Tuesday, and will try to do so again tonight before I finish crafting.  I then did the math, based on my previous herb buying prices from my Darkmoon deck making (synergy!).

So at 3 inks/glyph I get a crafting cost of 19.5g per glyph maximum. That turns out to be a 25g/glyph profit if prices can stay that high. To get truely invested, I am attempting to craft about 1500 glyphs. I am going to craft 10 of each profitable glyph and try to maintain (restock once per week) a supply of them to keep up with demand and price fluctuations of the AH.

While setting all this up in TSM took a bit of time, the payoff was seeing immediately which glyphs were profitable and which inks I would need. This is proving invaluable as I trade inks down. I have all the lower inks I need aside from the WotLK levels, which I am still milling for.  I happily discovered a lot of LK herbs for very cheap just before raid last night and spent the majority of the raid milling away. Currently I have about 1-2/3 guild bank tabs filled with ink. I should be able to begin crafting tonight and hopefully auctioning as well. (hello bank guild achievements!)

Monday, February 4, 2013

The more I know

I have been a member of the Consortium community for almost a year now and still find that every day I learn something new about some aspect of the WoW economy.  My gold-making abilities shot through the roof when I joined and started taking part in the various forum discussions, but I wouldn't even be on the radar of some ofthe really advanced guys on the site. Today I was wandering around and discovered that one of the top ranked guys in the community highlighted one of my comments and is taking my advice about selling a very rare and expensive item. I noticed for the first time that he has started a blog as well and I read a bit of it. My biggest takeaway* from it is something I already knew in part, but the point was really driven home. That is: I am spending way too much time doing things that aren't making a profit, and way too little time on the things that are. I spend all my time either directly producing or raiding. Even when I'm raiding I'm often milling half the night away between pulls.

This is me

What I need to do is sit down and figure out what are the areas I want to focus on, and how can I be most productive in them.  I have the Darkmoon Trinket thing going well for me, and I am probably going to end up with half-again as much gold at the end ofthe month from where I started, but I'm still small potatoes. Since I have alts with every profession capped or almost capped, I should be putting them to much better use.

Where I want to be
So, starting this week I want to reexamine what items I can easily produce in each of my profesions for a maximum rate of return. The idea will be to devote a couple days to each profession and track down large amounts of the base materials so that I can produce a lot of each item once; or easily and quickly replicate the production in the future when needed.

Since I started off talking about milling and the Darkmoon Faire decks already, I will first reexamine the rest of Inscription and move from there. I guess that means tomorrow I have to look at the (ugh) glyph market again.

*Footnote: There were many other takeaways, some directly related to how a gold blog should and shouldn't be done. I will be taking a lot of them under advisment, even though I may not directly mention them.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Darkmoon Faire

Its time once again for my favorite recurring holiday, the Darkmoon faire!  Now, I've always made gold off the faire. Even back before it got it's own island in Cataclysm. Back in the good old days (when you had to walk to Elwynn, downhill, in the...leaves?) You could sit on the two vendors and just buy very small quantities of common and rare items that would crop up from time to time, bundle them up, and resell them on the AH for huge profits. Ok...not "huge," but when you are in your middle levels, it can be a nice break from levelling to sit on the faire for a week and make several hundred gold, when most quests reward a few silver.

Darn you kids, get off my lawn!
With the update to the Faire in Cataclysm, there are even more ways to make gold, though sadly (?) no more herbs and leathers to bundle. Each month you can do the profession quests (total of 6) that reward a bit of gold, some rep, some darkmoon prize tickets, and of course, 5 skillups in that profession. This is a great and cheap way to max an alt's profession without getting it to 90 or spending hours farming Spirits.
Now with 100% more sparkles.
The other thing you get from the faire are the Darkmoon Prize Tickets. These can be stored up and redeemed for mounts and pets, as well as heirloom gear and transmog lookalike gear. There is always a market for pets, especially with the pet battle system, so trading in tickets for pets to sell is a probably source of income.  Personally I'm hoarding my tickets just in case something new and cool comes along in a future patch, but judging from how long it took to update the faire, it isn't really likely. I think at best there will be a new pet or mount with each patch.
I wouldn't recommend buying heirloom gear with tickets. It seems like using justice points or honor would be a much better use of currency, but to each their own.  One thing to note is that the transmog lookalike gear is BoE.  Though I haven't really seen it go up on the auction house much before, it is always possible. My philosophy is that anything BoE can be sold for a profit. It is just a matter of finding the right sucker buyer.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Need MOAR Scribes!

It's almost time again for the Darkmoon Faire, and for the first time I finally understand why some goldmakers insist on having an army of scribes.  Because I never shuffled herbs in large quantities before, I alway had the restriction of not enough rare inks to make cards.  For two expansions I have made a card or two, here or there and sold them on the AH for a small profit.  This expansion I have been milling like crazy (see my last post) and have more free Starlight Ink than I can use.  I actually levelled inscription on a second character just so I could make two cards a day.  As it stands I have two decks completed and am close on four more. 

Of course now is a terrible time to buy the cards on the auction house since the prices will spike with the advent of the faire. I've never bothered trading them via tradechat before but that may end up being the way to go if I can't proc the proper cards over the course of the next week. 

I have always prided myself with having every profession covered at max level on all my alts. With the Spirit of Harmony barrier to some high-end crafting professions, some of my alts are stuck slightly below cap. Unfortunately all seven of my 80+ characters have their professions used up now.  I'm seriously considering dropping engineering on my lv. 80 Death Knight (covered to max elsewhere) just so I could have a third scribe.  It just seems so out of character for a DK to be a scribe...

Maybe after this faire I will look into it. I stand to make a substantial amount... six [basically] free decks worth 10-15k each. I'm a little leary about jumping on the trinket bandwagon this close to 5.2 but I feel like the trinkets will be good until 5.3 at least.  I'm hoping they maintain most of their value for at least another couple faires. I guess time will tell.