The State of the Market, January 2011 (Part 1 of 2)
The WoW marketplace is, Dear Reader, complex and ever changing. As a consistent reader of P3P, I’m sure you already know that. But this was something I had to deal with recently, with my return to a consistent, post-wedding WoW schedule. So I think a quick survey of macro trends might be useful. I started thinking about lots of things, ie: market movement, Wrath vs. Cataclysm, complexity, and more. Since tonight is the State of the Union address here is the US of A, a State of the Market post seemed appropriate.
(Note: Since this is a fairly long list, the P3P editors have decided that we should break it up into two parts. So we’ll do half today, and half later in the week.)
We are exactly seven weeks into Cataclysm. At this point in WotLK, the market was just starting to take shape. This is what I remember from the first few weeks of WotLK:
(1) Commodity prices were very high;
(2) There were wild price discrepancies and money-making opportunities across professions (especially Inscription, which was brand new);
(3) Craftable BOE raid-level gear was very expensive (and profitable);
(4) Raiding guilds were able to make money by selling raid drops (especially enchanting mats);
(5) Niche markets were popping up all over the place, and formed a nice side business for many auctioneers;
(6) Finally, because of daily quests and questing generally, there was a huge influx of gold in the market.
Let’s go down the list now and talk about how things stand in Cataclysm.
High Commodity Prices
Prices for commodities are still high, but they’re falling. Already the standard price for most of the basic Cata commodities has dropped by about 40% from the standard price a month ago. Prices are still high, but are also prone to wild price swings, depending on the day and time of day. For example, Obsidium Ore sells on my server for about 4.5g/piece (90g/stack). However, on a recent Saturday evening, I was able to buy about 200 stacks of Obsidium Ore for less than 3g/piece (60g/stack). This is true across the board: need Whiptail? Or Cinderbloom? Or Elementium Ore? Try to buy them at night, ideally late night (around midnight server), and/or on weekends generally. And keep an eye on trade chat. Why? Because those are the times that more people are playing. More people= more farmers= more supply= lower prices. You don’t have to be John Maynard Keynes to understand that.
There are still a few commodities that have such strong demand that their price hasn’t dropped off, and I’m not sure that it will. Volatiles of all types are staying stubbornly pricey. Volatile Life, specifically, has huge demand pressure on it (Darkmoon Card of Destruction, Transmute Living Elements, etc.) and so I don’t see price falling off too much. So keep an eye out for price deals if you can find them, and go from there.
Professions make money, and the market is so varied that I’m confident that if you have any profession at max (or near-max) level, you can make money with it. The big-money professions are, more or less, the same- Jewelcrafting, Inscription, and Enchanting, followed by Blacksmithing and Alchemy in some order of profitability. (All followed, very distantly, by my beloved Engineering… which is still a dog compared to the other professions. It’s fun, it’s profitable, but it’s probably not going to get you goldcapped.) So all that is, more or less, the same as WotLK
However, there are some serious differences, specifically regarding gathering professions. In short, farming was heavily. Mining and Herbalism (and Skinning to a lesser extent) have been buffed! They now reward experience (if you’re leveling), nodes are very common, it is possible to display both types of nodes on your minimap (herbs and ore) and 310% flight speed is commonly available.
Also, the new profession isn’t a hulking monstrosity that requires multiple addons (read: Inscription). Instead, the new profession is a gatherer’s dream (read: Archaeology). Supposedly, it makes money. I don’t know yet, personally, because I found it to be really boring. But if I was leveling, say on a dual-gatherer Deathknight with … it’d be great.
BOE gear is still expensive and profitable… but I’m not sure how much. There’s wide variety between items. Here are three examples: I bought an Elementium Girdle from someone for 2,400g (and resold it for 8,500g); I made a Three of Winds and sold it for 2,800 gold (about 1,000g profit at the time); and I made and Silver Inlaid Leaf for 1,400g (so far below the cost of the mats that I don’t even want to think about it). There are two points I’d like to bring up with this: first, the BOE market (including Darkmoon Decks) is inconsistent; second, I don’t have a Blacksmith, so I don’t really know what I’m talking about. In sum, I’m looking for some feedback. Let me know, Dear Reader, about any BOE experiences.
So, Dear Reader, that’s the Part 1 of the P3P State of the Market. Hopefully 2011 will be as good to you as 2010 was to Markco, Gevlon, and Euripides combined. We’ll be back later in the week with Part 2. As ever, thanks in advance for any and all feedback. We read every comment.