Monday, 26 August 2013

What WoW can learn from Wildstar's sub model

It's been a while since I've posted a blog post and in the meanwhile the subscription model of Wildstar, an MMO that I'm really looking forward to, has been announced and I'm delighted by the news.

Wildstar will have a very similar payment model to EVE: The game will have a subscription and after your first free month has run out there are two methods to pay for your subscription, the first is to spend 15 dollars (or your regional equivalent) per month, which is obviously cheaper if you purchase a bunch of months (11 dollars per month if you purchase a year) and the second option is to purchase a C.R.E.D.D. with your in-game currency and then consuming this CREDD for a month of game-time. Just like with EVE's PLEX players will be able to purchase CREDD with real money and they will be able to sell this on the Auction House to other players, a CREDD will cost 20 dollars.

Personally I really like this change as it gives me something more to spend my gold on and it allows me to play for free. In WoW I've hit the point that I have a lot of gold, but nothing to spend it on and this totally killed the fun for me, I could purchase some extra mounts but I don't feel like doing that as I already have my favorite mount (Magic Rooster) and some others. In Wildstar CREDD is probably the first thing I'll spend my gold on (besides repairs and items required for playing), so this is going to leave me with less gold earned each month, besides that it also seems like there will be more stuff to spend gold on (Housing!!!) so hopefully this will stop me from getting burned out like I am in WoW.

This business model is also great for the game because it offers a legal alternative to purchase gold and to purchase game time with in-game currency. There is the concern though that there is too much to spend gold on on the Auction House and that you might even be able to buy Best in Slot gear and that this business model would turn this game into a Pay-to-Win game, but let's face the people buying this would probably otherwise purchase gold from other less legal sources. This is also no concern if this would be implemented in World of Warcraft because the gear that can be purchased on the Auction House is far below Best-in-Slot (besides a few mistakes like the Darkmoon trinkets).

Another great thing is that this might get the game some extra subs, people that normally wouldn't be able to afford 15 bucks a month, but that do have a lot of spare time (people that we happen to have a lot of in this financial crisis) are able to grind gold and use that to let others with more money, but less time to pay for them.

I was quite surprised that Carbine announced this subscription model even though a good amount of MMOs use a similar payment system already, but it has increased my interest for this game even more, too bad I still have to wait until Q2 2014.

By the way, sorry for not having posted anything for a while, I wasn't able to come up with a good subject for a post as the game has been mostly stale lately and I've lost all my interest for playing it.

As always thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment or question in the comments or on Twitter

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Burnt Out from Goldmaking (for now)

This post is an entry for Cold's Blogging Carnival, now hosted by Copper to Gold. This weeks topic is: What keeps driving you to make gold? What do you do to avoid getting burnt out?

I really wished I could answer these questions and give you some great tips on how to keep gold making interesting, but I can't, I just don't think actual gold making stays that interesting for more than a month or two. The actual theorycrafting and coming up with a plan to tackle your realms economy is something that I find very interesting, but once you've figured everything out it's just a matter of pressing the buttons that your routine and TSM tell you to press and do that for weeks. Doing that can be quite fun when you have a goal, such as trying to hit gold cap for the first time, but once you have run out of goals, you know how to print gold and you have nothing anymore that you want to purchase it becomes really boring.

I've hit that point multiple times before and last week I've hit it again. Luckily patch 5.4 is getting close and that should spice things up for a while, but after that I get bored again. For now I want to level up two additional characters to 90, my Death Knight is currently sitting at 87 and is almost done, my monk is currently sitting at level 1 and should give me plenty to do before 5.4 comes out.

I'm also really looking forward to Wildstar, a new MMO that should release at the end of the year. It's going to be great to get a change in scenery after having played WoW for years. I'm also really interested in the fact that it won't have a TSM for the first few months (and hopefully longer), that should make the gold-making feel less automated and should offer some fun opportunities for some spread-sheeting. No clue if I'm going to play that as long as I'm playing WoW now, so I'll have to see if it's going to make me quit WoW, I'll see what I do with this blog when release gets closer.

Next Saturday I should hopefully have another real post, last Saturday I sadly had no inspiration for a post, so I skipped doing a post that day. I've also worked some more on my gem pricing which I made a post about a while back, I've now turned it into a real guide which I posted on the Consortium forums, you can find it here (click).

As always thanks for reading and feel free to leave comment or a question!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Mithrildar's Monthly Blog Musings - July

A month has passed since I started blogging. I've had some amazing comments and other reactions on my blog, on twitter and the IRC, so I want to thank everyone for having supported my blog in it's first month.

Today I'm going to try something new: I'm going to recap on the gold-making related blog posts of the last month, my goal is to give quick updates on my own posts and to give my opinion on some of the posts of other blogs to hopefully (re)start some discussions in the goldblogging community.

If you're a blogger with one of your posts on here and you don't like it then please tell me, I've tried to quote less than half the post here so that it's still clear about which post I'm talking, but to still redirect traffic (who doesn't like pageviews) to your blog.

Also if anyone feels that I've missed a post or a blog then please tell me so, I've tried to go over every gold making blog to find good posts to comment on but with so many gold-making blogs and so many general WoW blogs that comment on gold-making I could have missed a few, also I haven't commented on every single blogpost, I've tried to keep it limited to the posts that I could give the most interesting opinions on, but if people like this column then I can do it more often and comment on more posts.

Before we get started I'd like to give a special shout out to Stede and Droth, who have also started blogging this month. You can find Stede's Blog, Late Nite with Stede, here, Stede is one of the best gold makers that I know and he posts one in depth post and one late-night-show-style podcast each week. Droth's blog, Droth's Treasure Troves of Gold,  can be found here, Droth has only recently started with gold-making and blogging, but I can't wait to see more!

More on Crafted Epic Gear changes in Patch 5.4 - Myself 

In a post two weeks ago I talked about how the latest craftable epics were moving away from SoH usage and how the epics market would be affected by the launch of 5.4. Now that we have more information it's a good time to talk more about this topic.
Click here for the rest of the post
After writing this post I've done some more digging and the PTR had some updates. It now seems like all tokens for the 496 gear are indeed Bind-On-Account. These tokens can be purchased with Timeless Coins, which drop from mobs. This means that you can buy only the tokens that you need, so you don't have to be lucky to get the tokens you need to drop. The tokens seem to be very easy to get as long as you have a decently geared character, but badly geared characters should die a lot.

There also seems to be an item, Burden of Eternity,  that allows players to produce 535 epics with these tokens instead. Luckily it is Bind-On-Pickup, so it won't damage 522 sales for alts, but it will probably damage crafted 522 sales for people trying to catch up, but it's all going to depend on the drop rate.

In the end I think that this is going to damage both 496 and 522 sales, so I'll be holding my Spirits of Harmony once patch 5.2 gets closed so I hopefully won't be left with a lot of unsellable stock.

The Transcendental Goblin - Late Nite with Stede 

Earlier this week, I talked about the unprecedent granularity of the gearing path for L90 toons in the coming patch 5.4.  In reality, I actually drew up that post a couple weeks ago and scheduled it to post this week.  There's been some recent noise that I felt may have been sending mixed signals about the gold-making-worthiness of item enhancement markets. 
Click here for the rest of the post
While I focused on what the new 496 BoAs meant for the epics market Stede took a whole different approach and looked at the enhancements (enchants, gems, leg armor and buckles) market instead. Stede is worried that the new 496 BoA epics will allow players too skip too much of the grind, which would allow them to skip gear which they otherwise would have needed to enchant, even though he also sees that it could boost sales as it is a catchup mechanism.

I  don't think there's anything to worry about at all. People will only be able to skip heroic dungeons, T14 LFR and T14 normal with this catchup gear and let's face it who the heck is still doing that content? You could almost skip heroic dungeons already with crafted PvP gear and with 5.4 introducing 476 ilevel crafted PvP gear and I think that everyone will be getting that instead of dungeon gear unless they are broke, but in that case they probably wouldn't purchase our enhancements anyway. People stuck in T14 are probably too demotivated to catchup on all those tiers and getting some free 496 gear might motivate them to try to catch up again, which might even generate some extra sales instead. I've also heard a ton of people complain that raiding on alts was too hard this expansion and these 496 epics might give them another incentive to try again too. Finally we also have flex raiding this patch like Stede mentioned, which might get some people that were tired of raiding or that couldn't find a good guild back in the gear grind.

In the end I don't think it will be as bad as Cataclysm which introduced ilvl 353 gear in patch 4.1 (that tiers normal gear was ilvl 359) and ilvl 378 gear in patch 4.3 (the item level of the gear in the previous tier's normal mode), which allowed players to skip all previous content, instead these 496 BoAs allow people to skip a single raid tier, while still leaving two raid tiers for players to progress through.

Do Suffixes Matter When Selling Flipping Items? - Power Word: Gold

As I discussed on Episode 067 of the podcast I've been thinking about optimizing my flipping item auctions in order to help cut down my posting fees.
Today I'm going to be analyzing my own sales based on the item suffixes (...of the Invoker, ...of the Eagle, etc.) in order to see if I can eliminate any suffixes that are particular bad sellers. Read on past the jump for our research and analysis.
Click here for the rest of the post
I think this is a really good post by Jim, it's cool to see other gold makers post their own research for everyone else to use and I also think that his conclusion is really usable for players that are in the leveling greens market.

I do think there are a few issues with his research though. The first issues is that he focuses to much on his sales and I don't think that's a good idea to find out the best selling suffixes. The better selling suffixes get bought more often and people try to flip them more. For this reason it could happen that he could not find any cheap items with the suffix which would have negatively impacted his sales. It would improve the research if he could post his maximum purchase prices and the amount he bought, but he probably only purchased new items when they sold, instead of when they're under max cost, so the research might have to be done again to really get a good view of the best selling suffixes.

The other problem I have is that there's no info on the prices he tried to sell these suffixes for. The suffix is not the only reason why an item sells, if the price is too high people buy another suffix with similar stats. Of course it is very hard to pick the right prices, but it would still be interesting to see if the worst selling suffixes cost the most.

So I think there are some things to improve in his research, but in the end I think it's all really solid and anyone that is in this market should give it a look to either use his data or even better to do a similar experiment themselves.

No Plans for Updating Sunsong Ranch - Kaliope's Crafting Blog 

It seems that Ghostcrawler recently stated on Twitter (in response to a player question) that there are no plans to update Sunsong Ranch. I'm actually a bit surprised by this on multiple levels. First - I had this question in my list of Blizzcon queries. I wasn't expecting the Devs to start talking about future expansion plans until after the final MoP patch went out. But I'm even more surprised that they are letting farms fade into obscurity.
Click here for the rest of the post
In one of my previous posts I talked a bit about the demise of Spirits of Harmony and the Sunsong Ranch, but Kaliope has written a really good post on this subject. This post contains some excellent analysis of the future of leatherworking, blacksmithing and tailoring in the next patch and expansion.

Personally I really enjoyed the farm and the spirits of harmony and I thought that was an excellent way of gating, which was a good barrier for people entering the epics market, but at the same time it didn't feel like a chore to harvest and plant crops on the farm every day. It allowed me to get some amazing profit out of the epics market without too much effort. I'm sad that Blizzard swapped this for the much less gating and much more boring daily cool downs, but luckily we can still enjoy SoH and the farm with Blacksmithing 522s in patch 5.4

If you haven't checked out Kaliope's blog before I would really advice you to do so, the blog has some amazing analysis on professions, especially when a PTR or Beta is online.

TradeSkillMaster 2.0 Public Beta 

After nearly 9 months of development, thousands of new revisions, and tens of thousands of man-hours of testing, v2.0 of TradeSkillMaster is now ready for public beta!

TradeSkillMaster 2.0 represents a massive overhaul of every aspect of TradeSkillMaster. Many aspects will be instantly familiar, but many more have been redesigned from the ground up. One of the core changes is the new group and operation system. In the past, many TSM modules had their own version of groups. Auctioning had its groups and categories, Crafting had enabled/disabled crafts and restock queue settings. Mailing organized items by target player, Shopping had shopping/dealfinding lists. Warehousing had its own groups. All those separate groups/lists caused a lot of redundancy and unnecessary complexity. With TSM 2.0, groups have become global, and modules get operations which can act on groups. Now, a group is nothing more than a collection of items, and the operations are what define the settings you wish to apply to those items for a given module. The feedback on this change has been very positive so far and we hope you'll appreciate the new simplicity of it.
Click here for the rest of the post 
I've been using TradeskillMaster 2.0 for roughly two months now and I have to say that it is an amazing tool, the new groups and operations system is great for making things more simple, but what I really love about it is the custom prices, it really allows me to do so much which I normally had to spreadsheet and enter as a manual gold amount.

In the end it's still a tool and I don't think that talking about tools is as fun as talking about actual gold making (even though TSM2.0 is great), so I'm not going to post any guides for this addon, but if you want to check out a guide for TSM2.0 I would suggest checking out this guide by Cryan, who has been using TSM2.0 for months.

The public beta is nearly without of bugs, so if you're still using TSM1.x I would really recommend to get it.

A Look at World of Warcraft Subscription Numbers - The Golden Crusade

As many of you have probably heard by now, when Activision-Blizzard announced it bought itself back from Vivendi they slipped in their latest subscriber numbers for World of Warcraft: 7.7 million subscribers at the end of Q2 2013.
I wasn’t initially going to weigh in on it, I mean it’s not exactly within my purview (though, to be fair, that’s never stopped me before), but reading Jim’s article on the matter piqued my interest again in the matter, and I decided to do some poking around myself (I’m also desperately avoiding studying for a Calculus final next week).
Click here for the rest of the post
We've seen some other posts trying to find out when WoW will die, one of them was by Jim of Power Word: Gold, but I think that Xsinthis has an interesting mathematical approach. I do not think however that his mathematical approach is going to work, because people just don't behave like a mathematical function. A lot of the older MMOs still have a small community that still plays them and I think we're going to see the same with WoW, the only difference is that those older MMOs were quite small while WoW is massive, so I expect that a good amount of players will keep playing until the end. Ultimately WoW is probably going to die when Blizzard pulls the plug, instead of when the subscription numbers hit zero, so trying to find out when WoW has no subscribers left is probably not worth it.

Even though it might not be the best way to predict the death of WoW the post still gives a good indication that WoW is probably going to live for a couple more years even if Blizzard doesn't change its strategy for WoW.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave comment!

Special thanks to PhatLewts for helping me come up with a name

Saturday, 27 July 2013

What I'm stockpiling for Patch 5.4

With patch 5.4 getting closer I see more people panicking about what they should stockpile for the next patch, so I thought it would be cool if I shared what I would be stockpiling for patch 5.4. Before continuing with the post I want to warn you about the upcoming virtual realms, if you're on a low population this might change the prices on patch release so I would watch out with stockpiling, if you're on a medium or high population however I think the virtual realms aren't going to affect the prices much for you.

Stockpile, don't speculate
I know that some people like to stockpile items that they plan to resell on patch day, but I'm not going to do that. Personally I feel that such speculation is too risky, sometimes you can make a good profit with it, but most of the time everyone tries to stockpile those items and prices tend to stay the same or even drop because of it.

What I stockpile however are items that I use myself for my crafting and which I expect to increase in price. Between patches I also stockpile these items (because stockpiling allows to buy when materials are cheap instead of when I need them), but for each patch I increase the amount I stockpile.

So, how can you find out what the items are that you should stockpile? I trust that you can compile a list of items that you use in your day to day crafting, so now we just need to find out which of those items are going to increase in value. The simple answer is that most of the items will increase in price, this is because the demand is going to significantly increase so much that supply can't keep up. The demand increase so much because people will return to the game (creating an overall larger demand for all items) and people will get upgrades that they need to gem/enchant from raids/PvP again (even more this time around with flex raiding in 5.4). Stede posted a nice post on Monday on why we can expect prices on gear enhancements to increase.

Predicting the future
Although we can expect all materials to increase in value, we want to be absolutely certain that the items we decide to stockpile wont decrease in value. To be able to predict the future we need some data to work with, luckily for us we have PTR patch notes and historical data. Patch notes (and undocumented changes which you can usually learn about on mmo-champion and wowhead) are really important, if blizzard decides to adjust the spawn rates of farming nodes then you'll probably find that in there and if the spawn rates go up then that's a good indication that prices are going drop for that item and if there's this awesome new use for an item (this has to be something major though, not just a cool new mount that you can craft with Living Steel) then you can probably expect the prices of that material to go up.

We also have historical price data to use if you're still not sure if you should stockpile an item. An example is Exotic Leather, in patch 5.2 we saw a daily cooldown that used Exotic Leather (or Prismatic Scales) and which allowed the user to discover new recipes which also used Exotic Leather (in the form of Magnificent Hides) in patch 5.4 we are getting a similar cooldown which uses Magnificent Hides instead, but the only way to mass produce those is with Exotic Leather, so if the demand for Magnificent Hides goes up, then we can expect the demand for Exotic Leather to increase too. So we can be fairly certain that we can expect a similar price change for Exotic Leather after the launch of patch 5.4 to what we saw after patch 5.2. So how did prices of the leather to patch 5.2? Luckily we have the Undermine Journal for this. I like to use the global price history for this as prices are more stable than the realm price history, this allows us to see a trend instead of a random guy that decided he want to buy everything on the Auction House. As you can see the prices of Exotic Leather increased after the launch of patch 5.2 so we can assume that they will increase again for patch 5.4. Be sure though to check what else changed in that patch though, the price change could be caused by a nerf of a popular farm spot or something else that would affect prices.

Keep it raw
Finally I want to advice you to keep your materials as raw as possible, if a market that you predicted to do really good ends up to suck then you can always use your materials for something else, an example would be if the gems market ends up sucking (it probably won't) then you can still smelt the Ghost Iron Ore instead prospecting it. Only process the rawest materials if they take up too much space (Exotic Leather takes up way more space than Magnificent Hides do) or if it takes some time to convert your materials (you don't want to spend your time prospecting on day one), but I would still suggest to keep as much of the materials as raw as you can (so prospect some ore that you need until you can prospect again, but keep the rest as ore).

So what does Mith stockpile?
So if you want to find out what to stockpile for the next patch then first find out which materials you are going to need for your own crafting, then find out which items are likely to increase in value using PTR patch notes, news websites and historical price data and then stockpile the items that you expect to increase in value. For me these items are: MoP rare gems (as I don't prospect at all), Spirit Dust, Mysterious Essences, Ethereal Shards, Sha Crystals, Exotic Leather, Prismatic Scales, Magnificent Hides, Windwool Cloth, Ghost Iron Ore, Living Steel, Golden Lotus and probably some other stuff that I forgot to mention.

I hope this helped, as always thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment or a question!



Monday, 22 July 2013

More on Crafted Epic Gear changes in Patch 5.4

In a post two weeks ago I talked about how the latest craftable epics were moving away from SoH usage and how the epics market would be affected by the launch of 5.4. Now that we have more information it's a good time to talk more about this topic.

Spirit of Harmony, a postmortem

The first thing that has become clear is that Blizzard won't revamp the Sunsong Ranch in the next expansion. For me the Sunsong Ranch was my prime (and pretty much only) source of Spirits of Harmony, because I didn't feel like wasting my time by farming them. I harvested and planted Songbell seeds every day on multiple characters. This allowed me to craft many 496 epics, which still sell for more than 8000 gold each (which is more than 5k profit), even on my high population realm. Because of the fact they wont be updating the Sungsong Ranch for the next expansion and the fact that they're moving to a daily cooldown based system makes me think that they'll entirely move away from an orb based crafting system and that they will be instead moving to cooldowns with a non-cooldown that can be crafted with orbs (like Living Steel now). And this really saddens me, this changes professions to exactly what made Mists of Pandaria so boring in my opinion: the daily grinds and being able to calculate the amount of days until you will receive a new item or an upgrade. Every day you login and do your dailies because you know that after doing that for 30 days you can expect to get a shiny mount in return, every week you cap your valor points to be able to upgrade your item in return. The game is getting less and less random every patch, everyone is entitled to see all content and get the best items if they just invest some time. And it's weird that this change for SoH saddens me, when Spirits of Harmony were first datamined they absolutely angered me that these were Bind-on-Pickup and that you had to go out and farm them, but thanks to the Sunsong Ranch I started loving them, I loved the way how they gated crafts with a 5 minute deal that everyone was too lazy to do. You will be missed Spirits of Harmony!

More Spirits of Harmony nerfs

So it's clear that we shouldn't expect any uses for Spirits of Harmony in the future, so let's look again at the current uses of SoH, as some things have changed since my last post on this subject. We know that there won't be many new crafts in 5.4 that use Spirits of Harmony, we know that Leatherworking and Tailoring don't use any Spirits of Harmony for 522 epics (you could make extra Imperial Silk with SoH, but that's a waste of SoH), so this only leaves us with 496s to use those spirits on, right? Sadly they probably won't be a good option to spend them on either, in 5.4 Blizzard is introducing Bind on Account tokens (like Timeless Cloth Belt) that you can use (one time only) on any character to create a BoP 496 epic, you can do this for every single slot. These tokens can be purchased with Timeless Coins, which can be farmed on the new Timeless Isle. I haven't been able to find good information on how quickly these can be farmed, but the few Wowhead comments that I could find suggest that these seem to be quite easy to farm. This means that it will be quite easy to farm 496 epics for your alts and that means that it will be much harder to sell 496 epics as most of the buyers are alts and these will be supplied with the Timeless epics instead. There's also another set of tokens for creating similar gear floating around on the PTR which are Bind On Pickup instead (so both the tokens and the gear are BoP), so it's not certain if it will really be that easy to gear your alts. I'll keep watching the PTR section of wowhead, but fingers crossed that Blizzard won't ruin the alt epic gear market, but sadly I expect them to add these BoA tokens to the live servers as players have been complaining about how hard it was to play multiple alts for ages. This wowhead page gives a good summary if you want to check it out yourself.

How to capitalize from the new cool-down system (in 5.4)

Jim from Power Word: Gold made a post a while back on how to prepare for the profession changes with 5.4. Jim suggested readers to get the new cooldowns early and to stockpile the materials for these cooldowns and I agree with this: you might remember the release of the cooldowns in patch 5.2, recipes learned from these cooldowns had massive profits in the first few weeks after the launch of the patch, but once people started learning more recipes the prices started dropping quickly, so you'll make the most profit by getting these cooldowns as early as possible. It's also a great idea to stockpile some materials for these cooldowns: everyone is going to get these cooldowns on the first day after the patch release and use them for the first few weeks until they get bored of doing it, during this period they'll probably purchase the materials for these cooldowns when they need them, so there will be a lot more demand for these materials in the first few weeks (so the prices will likely be higher too) and you don't want to be paying a premium for these mats.

I'd like to add another thing to his advice: level alts, level many alts. Currently these cooldowns are random drops from every mob, just like Magnificence of Scales and Magnificence of Hides in patch 5.2, this means that you'll be able to get and use them at level 80. Because you no longer need Spirits of Harmony for crafting the new epics it's going to be really easy to produce epics on level 80 alts. If you still have your Inscription army lying around from early MoP it's a great idea to swap them around to leatherworkers, blacksmiths and tailors to boost your epic production and recipe discoveries. I would suggest using Recruit-A-Friend (either with a friend or by multiboxing) to quickly level some extra level 80 characters if you still have some open character slots or low level characters.

As always thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment or question




Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Shuffle Smarter, Not Harder

Today we're going to talk some more about the shuffle. Last week I've told you how to setup TradeskillMaster to do a lot of the work that a spreadsheet does and also help you with not making a loss with the shuffle. This week we'll talk some more about spreadsheets and how not to use them.

As you might know I host an amazing MoP-shuffle spreadsheet on the Stormspire together with Stede, a fellow blogger and Wind Trader). You can use this spreadsheet to find out the best way to use the materials which you get from prospecting in the shuffle. If you allocate your gems it can even tell you how much profit you can make by shuffling. Sadly some people use this number to decide whether they should shuffle or not.

What exactly is the shuffle?
Please think for a moment what the shuffle is. Do you have to prospect to shuffle? Craft? Disenchant? Maybe. The shuffle like we know it now consists of first prospecting ore, cutting gems, crafting jewelry and disenchanting that. This process gets a single name: the shuffle. But it's not a single process at all, it consists of three main processes: 1. Prospecting 2. Cutting gems 3. Crafting jewelry and disenchanting that. Some people even like to think that making enchants is a part of the shuffle. Doing the first process without doing 2. and 3. doesn't make much sense, but cutting gems without prospecting is something that you could do and in fact something that you should explore doing instead as it saves so much time.

Back in early Mists of Pandaria (before the big bad nerfs of 5.1) I was able to get Ghost Iron Ore for 16g per stack, I could prospect that and use the uncommons to craft jewelry which I could vendor for 18g, more than my ore costs, the rare gems were just pure profit. For this reason it made sense to prospect, there simply was no way that I could get rare gems for less than -2g on the Auction House.

Today it's completely different. At this point I have to confess a lie, in my last post I said I could purchase Ghost Iron Ore for 30g per stack, but I can't, it's actually 45g on my realm. Why didn't I use that number in my post? Because it would put my average gem price from the shuffle higher than the average gem price on the Auction House, which would have made my math look horrible. If I open my realm with my spreadsheet however it shows me that I would be making a 30g profit per stack. My math tells me the shuffle is unprofitable, but my spreadsheet tells me the shuffle is profitable, how is this even possible? It's not because my math is bad, because my spreadsheet also makes use of my math (it could be that the math in both my post and my spreadsheet is horrible, but I don't think so). The difference though is that my math in the previous post was only about prospecting ore, while my spreadsheet also includes cutting gems and a whole bunch of other stuff. Cutting gems is something that is very profitable on my realm, which makes it seem like I should shuffle, which includes prospecting, but in reality I shouldn't. This is because the main gold maker of the shuffle for me is the cutting of the gems, it's actually making the gold back that I lose from prospecting the ore.

How to really find out whether you should shuffle
And this brings me to the point of my post: if you're still shuffling at this point in the expansion, go find out if it's even worth it to shuffle. You can easily do this with my spreadsheet, instead of allocating your gems the most profitable way you should allocate them to selling them raw (you could allocate the uncommon gems to disenchanting, because if you're not prospecting you probably want to purchase raw enchanting materials instead of disenchanting too). This is going to tell you if you should prospect or if you should buy the materials raw on the auction house.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment! Special thanks to PhatLewts of phatlewtsgold.net for helping me with a title for this post!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Shuffling without a spreadsheet

We've been using a spreadsheet for ages to ensure the profitability of the shuffle. Personally I think it's quite annoying to start Excel and to import new data each week and I wanted to figure out if I could turn TradeskillMaster into a mini-spreadsheet which I could use to make sure that I wouldn't ever make a loss on the shuffle. In this post I will explain how you can do this in TSM too with the use of a little bit of math.

Before we start doing the math and entering numbers in TSM we have to look at the history of the shuffle first. The first shuffle was used during Wrath of the Lich King. The shuffle was meant as a way to increase the profitability of enchanting, by getting access to cheaper materials. For this shuffle Enchanting was seen as the primary market and Jewelcrafting was seen as a secondary market. This meant that you would just shuffle until you had satisfied the enchanting market, even when the jewelcrafting mats were overflowing. This was kept profitable by ignoring the value of gems, so that you only had the make sure you broke even with the enchanting materials. Currently the shuffle has shifted a lot and it is mainly Jewelcrafting focused, but we can apply the same concepts to the current shuffle by seeing the rare gems as our main market and the uncommon gems/enchanting mats as our secondary market.

With Jewelcrafting as our main market we can know that our shuffle is profitable if we can at least break even with our rare gems. This means that if we can sell one gem of each color for more than the value of 6 stacks of Ghost Iron Ore we make a profit, as we expect to get 1 rare gem per stack and we expect to get an equal amount of each gem if we prospect a large enough quantity of ore. The price of our ore is very easy to find, we can just use our maximum purchase price. Figuring out the value of the gems is going to be harder however.

We know that the average value of a rare gem is going to be the value of a stack of Ghost Iron Ore, because our 6 gems had the value of 6 stacks of ore. Sadly, not each gem is worth the same, you probably want to charge more for a Vermilion Onyx than for a River's Heart. To value a gem we have to compare it to the other gems. You can compare gems in multiple ways: raw value (very easy to do), average cut value (harder and might be skewed with some gems having more crap cuts than others) and quantity needed for crafting (hard at start, but you can adjust the weight of each gem once you notice that you have a lack of some and a surplus of others). I'll be explaining you how to do this with their raw value. First we need to get the raw value of each gem, on my realm these values are: 35g (Primordial Ruby), 10g (River's Heart), 20g (Sun's Radiance), 45g (Imperial Amethyst), 45g (Wild Jade) and 75g (Vermilion Onyx), the average gem is worth 38g raw. This means that a Primordial Ruby is slightly cheaper than the average gem, and a Vermilion Onyx is almost twice as expensive as the average raw rare gem. We can use this now to calculate a weight for each gem, we can do this by dividing the raw value by the average raw value, so our weight for a Primordial Ruby is 35g/38g = 0.92, for the other gems they are 0.26, 0.52, 1.18, 1.18 and 1.97, with a quick check we can see these add up to approximately 6, exactly what we want. But we weren't purchasing raw gems, we are purchasing ore and prospecting that. Let's say we are buying ore for 30g per stack, this is also the value of our average rare gem when prospecting (when ignoring any other items we get from prospecting). We can now apply the weights we found out earlier, the value of a Primordial Ruby is now 0.92 * 30g = 27.6g, the value of a River's Heart is 0.26 * 30g = 7.8g, the calculation is the same for the rest of the gems. Finally we need to calculate the value of a Primal Diamond, you can do this by adding the value of 2 Vermilion Onyxes, 2 Imperial Amethysts and 2 Wild Jades, if you have a transmute-spec alchemist you can divide this by 1.2 (you proc 2 extra gems per 10 on average).

Now we can enter these values in TSM (don't enter mine though, you'll have to calculate your own) under Jewelcrafting -> Materials, if you then set TSM to add 5% automatically to your thresholds (for the AH cut) and you set your minimum profit to at least 1%, and your thresholds to at least 106% (AH cut + 1% profit) of the crafting cost you can ensure that you never make a loss on the shuffle without having to use a spreadsheet, I strongly advice you to put the minimum profit and threshold much higher though, shuffling is tedious and you don't want to spend all that effort to barely break even.

You can also choose to enter the materials as a multiple of Ghost Iron Ore, in that case you have to multiply the weight with 20 to get the amount of Ghost Iron Ore per gem, so for a Primordial I would enter 0.92 * 20 = 18.4 Ghost Iron Ore, for a Primal Diamond I would enter (2 * 1.97 * 20 (Onyx) + 2 * 1.18 * 20 (Amethyst) + 2 * 1.18 * 20 (Jade) )/1.2 (Transmute) = 144.3 GIO.

With this method you shouldn't have a need for a spreadsheet anymore to ensure that you're breaking even. It's a great way for starting Jewelcrafters to setup TSM, especially if you have random numbers or raw gem values (AH prices) as thresholds.

This method is not perfect: with a spreadsheet you can value your gems much lower, as you're also considering the value of the Serpent Eyes and the enchanting mats. You could do something like 6 rare gems = value of 6 stacks of Ghost Iron Ore - (ah value of 25 dust + ah value of 3 essences) instead.

I hope this helped you doing your shuffle, feel free to ask any questions in the comment section.