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Monday, December 1, 2014

Episode 31 - Making Gold the First Week of Highmaul

After getting a baseline for professions in Warlords of Draenor last week, I'm back just in the very nick of time this week to talk about what to expect in this first week of raiding in Highmaul.  I talk in depth about Enchanting, Alchemy, Cooking, Crafted Epic Gear, and Darkmoon Trinkets - all after covering the big news on the dust buffs, the mine nerfs, and the updating of wowuction to include info on all the new professions.

I also give a preview of content to come later this month for the show, including a spreadsheet I've been ironing out that's pre-loaded with all the stuff we can make with professions in Warlords of Draenor.  Full show notes are, of course, available after the break - Enjoy!!



Episode 31 of Late Nite With Stede - Show Notes

Intro
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Episode 31 of the Late Nite With Stede Goldmaking Podcast.  I’m your host, Stede Bonnet - and I want to thank you for listening.  

Before we launch into the opening of Highmaul this week, I wanna take a minute to let you know that you can find more Late Nite With Stede on my website - www.LNWS.net - you can also find the show on Stitcher & on iTunes - so if you like the show, be sure to subscribe.   

Alright, today is Monday, December 1st.

===PODCAST NEWS===
-  On the last episode, I spent some time talking about how WoD was shaking out so far.  It seems like it was weeks ago in terms of how much has happened since then.  I’ve had a number of folks asking me what they should be making in order to make gold.  The category pages on The Undermine Journal have yet to be updated, and given the variable nature of cooldown yields on toons - and via work orders - it’s a bit difficult to accurately calculate costs.

Not that it’s a big problem at this point since most craftables that use soulbound cooldown reagents are bringing rain on the Auction House, but it’s one of those structural sticking points that may cause TUJ to take awhile in updating its information.  Not to mention that Erorus, the creator of TUJ, now works at Wowhead and is probably pretty busy.

Back on topic about the preview of tonight’s topic - I’ll be talking about what you need to know about making stuff now - the first week of raids - and how I think the rest of December is going to shake out in terms of profession markets.

<Bumper?>

===WoW NEWS===
We had a few big changes in game this week.  Most notably the buff to disenchanting yields for dust.  It seems like 4 times out of 5, rare items - that’s blues - will now DE into a bunch of dust - like 6-10 or so.  This is causing a major correction in the dust and shard markets as shards become less common and therefore, more expensive - and dust settles down to values where it actually makes sense to start hitting your work orders.

Which, a lot of you would think means cheaper crystals - since the work orders are now flowing once again.  And you’d be right on the money - there are a lot more crystals sitting under 600g on my server than there were before this change.  And that’s a market I’ll talk more about a bit later in the show.

We also had a nerf to the yield rate from farming ore nodes in your garrison’s mine.  Regular nodes give 2 ore, and rich ones give 4 - sometimes 5.  The result was that - where I used to be running a surplus of ore on my toon with Blacksmithing & Jewelcrafting, using a L2 mine, I’m now running a slight deficit.

It seems like a small tuning change, but imagine how that reverberates over tens of thousands of toons on a server.  This is a correction that may take a bit longer to play out.  And I think Blizzard was smart not to use the heavy hand here, because there are other factors that will be coming into play that will naturally nerf the amount of ore on the AH - which I will talk about a bit later.

Last bit of news for this past week was that most all of the crafted gear got a 5 ilvl boost to the 3rd upgrade stage - which should help keep them competitive.  Remember that your raid drops have fixed secondary stats, and may not be very useful for some specs.

===Goldmaking NEWS===
Wowuction has updated the profession pages on its site and the CSV feeds that some of you may be using in your spreadsheets are now correctly populating the item names for the crafted gear.  This makes life so much easier for spreadsheeters and I want to give a tip of the hat to the wowuction folks on a job well done in a short amount of time.

Myself, I’ve made a spreadsheet for all of the WoD crafts for every profession - because I have every profession.  It’s given me a distinct advantage.  Every single one of you has asked yourself this past week, “Okay, I have 100 soulbound cooldown mats - what do I make to get gold?”  I know I ask myself that about 10x a day.  And my SS is there to guide me.  

I know not everybody has Excel or likes SS’s though - so check out wowuction if you wanna dig around without having to ascend the the spires of geekdom that is Spreadsheeting the WoW AH.  

I also know that not everyone who likes using Spreadsheets is good at making them.  I wanna share this with you guys, but I want it to be stable.  And right now, it’s not.  The reason I want it stable is because I don’t enjoy the tech support aspect of releasing spreadsheets.  That’s why I built and released the Sandbox awhile back - to make it easier to make your own, so that I wasn’t answering questions instead of writing show notes :)

I realize a lot of folks will be waiting on this, so my plan is to have it released by the end of the year.

===AUDIOBLOG===

This hands off nicely into a segment I want to start doing each show that’s more about my experience in the game.  As you may know, I do more than make gold in-game.  I lead a  casual raid, I’m an officer in my guild, I’m looking to put together a Challenge Mode group in a month or so, and I’m slowly gearing up for PvP.  I’m not a pro at any of it, but I hold my own and have fun.

This week, I managed to get my core six to Garrison level 2 - that’s my main at L100, one alts at L98, and four more alts at L96, now.  The L2 Profession Buildings are a huge help, as they give me more wiggle room for maintaining my alts.

Now, 2 of my alts are Blacksmiths, and 2 more have The Forge on their Garrison.  And yet somehow, none of those 4 guys had a Blacksmithing Follower.  So this week, I ran out to Frostfire Ridge real quick and snagged one for each of them after a short quest line.  I’m told it’s not that easy for you Alliance listeners, and I’ll try to follow up on that - but it’s important to be levelling your followers on your alts because once they’re at 100, they’re good for 10-12 Work Order mats a day instead of just 6.

Blacksmithing is a priority for me because this week I decked out my main (which is my rogue) with a crafted cape, a Darkmoon Trinket, and a crafted Mainhand dagger - which I’d like to upgrade to max level just as soon as I can.

At the same time that I’m managing all this, I’m also trying to help guildmates.  Some are Jewelcrafters who really want top notch enchants, others are Engineers who really want some plate gear.  So I’m trying to make trades when I can to help folks out there.  Then I’ve some who’ve seen just how insanely melee-heavy my raid group is shaping up to be and have voluntarily re-rolled either ranged or healing classes - and I’m trying to help them too.

So crafted gear is a bit more than make it and post it for me - but it’s been fun, and I still have plenty of stuff to sell.  I started the expansion with about 275k gold liquid, after rerolling on the new server over the summer and getting my alts to L90 with maxed professions.  Now I’m sitting just over 475k - up about 200k from launch.

Which is pretty good when I think about how much I’ve sunk into blueprints and upgrades and stuff - as well as the gold I’ve missed by using a handful of crafts for myself.  With raids opening this week, I expect that train to keep on rolling.

A week ago, I made a guild event to hit Molten Core and we had a solid 10 folks show up and Queue, but I guess we weren’t the right classes because we sat in Q for 90 minutes before I ended up calling it.  Over the weekend, I tried again, but made us a premade group using the LFG tool and barked it in Trade and on OpenRaid - we filled in 20 minutes and the Q popped after 10 minutes - which was really not too bad.

I also got assigned as the RL in there, so I spent most of my time marking targets and herding folks around while my GM handled banning the inevitable trolls from vent while Zerohour rallied the group to votekick them.  The funny part on that guy was that he got kicked from vent and the instance, but was still in the raid group for a few minutes while I fumbled through console commands to kick him while he wasn’t actually on my instance frames.

Moral of the story - and this is what I told the guy - don’t troll the RL’s vent and expect to stay in group.  So after a couple hours, we cleared the raid, I got personally thanked for leading by a handful of folks, which was nice, grabbed that ridiculous helm, which was quickly mogged back to my Gold CM gear from the last expansion, and snagged the mount.  As I left the instance, I gave myself a pat on the back for navigating the Queue and the group as well as anyone could expect, and vowed never again to return to - close your ears kids - such a colossal clusterfuck just to have a chance at looting the pet.

No, for that amount of time, I’ll buy it off the AH.  That’s why we make gold, ladies and gents - to spend it on grindy crap we really want but don’t have time to deal with.  Well - I have the time - but the rest of this expansion is just made so much better that I’d rather spend it doing those other things.

Which brings me to Ashran - if you guys can just bear with my ranting for another minute or two.  Ashran was a steamroll at launch so Blizzard added in some kind of load-balancing.  I thought - this was gonna be like Tol Barad - where you’d just get put in a Queue for 10-15 minutes, max, until the other team got enough folks that you could get in without it being unbalanced.  

No, Ashran is a train wreck where folks can sit in Queue for an hour or 2 and never get in.  I’ve no idea what the heck happened because Blizzard can do a better job than this - I know - I’ve seen them do it - ironically, in the most universally reviled expansion, the World PvP zone Q system was better than this.  

And that leaves me as a sad panda - because pandas didn’t have a PvP zone - which is effectively where I’m at now.  And I loved Tol Barad, and was really excited for Ashran.  I know they’re still working on it - and I just hope they listen and get it sorted soon.  Blizzard has made a bunch of really awkward steps since launch, but I can say they’re busting their asses to get it right and make it fun.

Until then - no Ashran for me.  And those are my personal stars this week - let’s get to talking about what you guys need to know about making gold this week.

TOPIC: Making Gold the First Week of Highmaul
Last week we talked about what was happening after launch.  This week we turn our focus to the raids that are opening.  In a lot of ways, this is like a content patch - with new raids opening up.  You want to be stockpiling consumables to get ready for the coming onslaught of demand as millions of players smelt their plowshares and mining picks into swords and charge headlong into Highmaul.  My hope is that the content will be challenging.

That would help us all as goldmakers, as several professions are focused around crafting gear rather than item enhancements now.  Of course, this would mean that LFR  - which releases later - would become a relevant part of the gearing path - a fact that Blizzard explicitly stated they wanted to avoid, and a concept that I, as a raider, happen to agree with.  But I also want to see craftable epics have some legs, and I know that the first tier of every expansion is usually a doozy.

Which is why I’ve to chuckle at the guilds recruiting in Trade chat for “Casual Mythic Raiding”.

Gear
But let’s talk some more about gear while we’re there.  While my first pieces of crafted gear flew off the shelf at 40 to 45k, we’ve fallen into a 15-30k range over the last week.  If your trade chat is as warped as mine, you’ve no doubt seen the masses crying foul over these prices and predicting with righteous indignation the coming freefall once raids open.

I don’t think that’s gonna happen.  As Zerohour said to me - once raids open, folks are gonna start to lose track of their Garrisons and focus on raiding on their mains instead.  Just like the farms in MoP - eventually people get bored or find other things to spend their time on and they just - move on.

I expect us to soon get to the point where the big money market shifts to the upgrade tokens - and if you’ve listened to the shows I did before launch, then you’ve heard me say this - make base-level items on your toons with the building, but not the profession - and make the tokens on your toons that have the profession.

This is another reason why it’s important to get those alts up to L100 - to unlock L3 of your Garrison and be able to build that 3rd Small Building.  You’ll notice that the biggest limiting reagent for these upgrade tokens is, as I predicted, the Savage Bloods.  With a L100 follower assigned to my L3 Barn, I’m averaging just over 1 per day from trapping.  Which isn’t bad; but it isn’t great either.

You’re probably gonna want to try to keep up with your alts’ garden and mine - just to build up a stock of Primal Spirits to trade for the bloods.  Of course, there’s always the AH, but you have to use your judgement there as to whether or not you can make a profit.  This is an entirely new market.

In all, I think crafted gear will actually see a boost in the next few weeks - if not necessarily in pricing, then in velocity.  Raids should show folks just how unprepared they are and encourage them to seek upgrades wherever they can find them.  And no place is more convenient, and guaranteed, than the AH.

Enhancements
Of course, with each new piece of gear there’s potential that it will need to be gemmed or enchanted.  

Jewelcrafting seems to be in a bit of a bad way in terms of gems.  Many lesser gems are flooded because they can be crafted until max skill - and the mats are cheap, and most don’t include Taladite Crystals - the soulbound cooldown material.  So folks powerlevelling JC to boost their CD mat production on the cheap have really done a number on that market.

The greater gems just don’t seem to be moving for me, but I only have the mastery cut.  And I may be pricing myself too high.  When a lesser gem goes for 50g - tops - and gives +35 to a stat versus a greater gem that give +50 - how much more can we expect folks to pay?  Don’t forget that the Sorcerous Air alone jack the cost up by 4-10x of the lessers.  On top of that, the Taladite Crystals required are just half of what it’s cost to make a piece of ilvl 640 jewelry.

So the tuning on this just feels weirder than seeing Pee-Wee Herman back on TV.  And while I’m in that market and hopeful - the reality is that it’s just a way to diversify because all the leftover JCs from MoP are posting a lot of jewelry.

And Jewelry is hot.  Mainly for healers who are looking for Spirit.  We haven’t heard the wailing and gnashing of gums that we had in early Cataclysm over the lack of mp5, but I’m sure Spirit is gonna be in much higher demand once we get into raids.

Enchanting is red hot.  Folks are damn proud of their ilvl 680 rings and want the best enchants on em.  And what good is patiently waiting for your BiS stats to roll on a crafted piece of jewelry if you don’t spend another 20% on the enchant?  I’m seeing ring enchants sell like hellacious hotcakes on Christmas in Siberia - the dust buff was just in the nick of time to boost the supply of crystals so I could turn enchanting into my new favorite market - where the main players are the high rollers who aren’t scared to drop 20k on mats in a day and still feel like they’re not hitting it as hard as they should.

I’ve yet to sell a weapon enchant, but I’m betting that it’s coming.  My advice - stock up on crystals.  They may drop in price later but for me, the margins are fat enough to eat it.  And if they work like every other enhancement market in the history of this game - the margins will only increase as the competition runs dry of supply.

Speaking of supply - I want to address one question I’ve heard while we’re talking about this stuff.  What about all the crystals folks will be DE’ing out of raid?  What - you mean in like two months when they’re not climbing over each other to blow their entire billfold of DKP on it?  I think it’s gonna be awhile before we see that - even longer considering that some groups may opt to use personal loot and I don’t think epics can be DE’d at a buddy’s Garrison.  But keep your eyes open.

Consumables
Of course we can’t talk about raids launching now without talking about consumables.  Thanks to Blizzard’s tuning, we’re seeing most potions cost more than the lesser flasks.  Of course, we also have a bit of a limit on how many greater flasks we can make, but since the Alchemy cooldown material required to make them is NOT soulbound, that restriction is more of a nuisance than a real deterrent.

But potions are where I think the money will be.  Because meat just isn’t in the kind of supply that’s necessary and Alchemists are used to focusing on flasks for the lion’s share of their profits.  Of course int pots take fish, not meat and those prices are in the crapper because fishbots.

If you’ve been selling pots, then for Pete’s sake - stop.  Wait until raid nights (Tuesday - Thursday in the US) and then gouge all the Johnny-Come-Latelys.  Until then, you ought to treat this as any other patch - stockpile now - don’t sell for 100g now what you can sell for 200g tomorrow.

And lastly there’s food.  Fish feasts are, of course, not profitable - because why?  That’s right, because fishbots.  They don’t feed a lot of people anyway and the stats are just +75.  Raiders with a L3 Garden can probably manage to use the food from their fruit tree to get by in a pinch anyhow.  Meat feasts are god-awful expensive and the mats are likely better used for pots.  But - if you can manage to find cheap leftovers of other folks levelling their cooking on the AH, and you’re a max lvl cook yourself - then it may be worth having a look at.

Otherwise, cooking is dead.  The L2 Barn killed you, and exclusively produces +100 stat feasts that feed 30 ppl - the max number for a flex raid.  The good news for Goblins is that these are made only via work orders, and as such, there is a daily cap on them.  May God have mercy on the raid that hasn’t stockpiled these in advanced for the shrewd goblin will offer none.  I’d treat these like the old Cobalt Ore or Huge Emeralds - buy em to stock during off-peak times and then reset just before showtime - they’ll sell - especially once we get a couple weeks into raiding and folks burn through their initial stockpile.

Trinkets
Last - I wanted to take a minute or  two to talk about trinkets.  While crafted weapons start at a mere 630 ilvl, trinkets get to 640.  Many of these are BiS pre-raid barring some lucky warforged socket drop from heroics.  Plus they can be upgraded and have main stats.  For casters, who don’t rely as much on weapon damage, I’d expect that these trinkets may even take some priority over crafted weapons.  But I’m not a simulations guy, so I won’t swear to it.

The base-level trinkets are good and they scale decently with their ilvl compared to others.  They’re not BiS overall by a longshot - mostly because they max out at ilvl 670, but that’s not their fault.  Of course making these trinkets is easy since we don’t have to wait for the DMF to come to town to do it - so it’s worth keeping an eye on to snatch the occasional cheap card to build decks.

Whether these are more important than weapons isn’t entirely the point though - even if they’re not, they’re still gonna be the second slot that gets upgraded (if not the first) for all classes - assuming they bought a base level one.  So you scribes out there - just remember - ever DMF trinket you sell now is a potential upgrade sale later.

Winding Down
That about wraps up thoughts on crafted gear and consumables going into this week.  I’d like to do some in-depth guides to each profession as we move forward, but I’m not yet decided on whether that’s something I’ll just post on the blog or if I’ll do a show on it.  The previews were helpful but I think some contemporary advice would be a lot more useful.

I also wanna work on that Spreadsheet that I mentioned at the top of the show, too.  So I figure I’ve got 2 or 3 more shows left in me before Christmas and then I’ll take a break for a couple weeks and start the 2015 season of Late Nite With Stede.  

Lots of cool stuff in the Queue to talk about, though - notwithstanding the regular flow of events that gives me more to yak about.

===Q&A===
Question & Answer


Special Thanks:
I’d like to give a special thanks to my new listeners and followers on Twitter this week - I don’t wanna embarass you too much, but it’s always great to see fresh faces asking bottom-line questions.

Outtro
Good luck out there against all those bosses this week.  Don’t overdo it, and remember- if you’re not making gold - I’ve got a name for you: Customer.

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