Blacksmithing Income Down? Try Felsteel

Written by Kammler of Nesingwary US

Blacksmithing income down? 

You’re not alone

There are many ways to earn good income as a blacksmith, and armor from high end patterns has always sold well. But if you aren’t an endgame raider with access to those rare 264s, or if you do have some really unique patterns and have noticed sales dropping off as Cataclysm comes closer, you are most likely looking for a steady income source. Let’s face it—the market has become depressed because more and more players are hoarding their gold and waiting to see what comes in the XPack. On my server, I have seen my Eternal Belt Buckles sales stagnate as more players learn to craft them. And Primordial Saronite? Forgeddaboutit—on my server, its going as low as 400g, down from 1,200g or more. Wouldn’t it be great to have a solid 350g to 500g crafted armor item that was somehow protected from market fluctuations?

Tanks will love this set as they level in the 70s

                As tanks level up they always want to find the best gear they can, but certain levels are very important as new dungeons open up. As tanks hit L68 and can go to Northrend for the first time, many find that their Outland gear isn’t quite up to the new challenges in Utgarde Keep (at L68), The Nexus (at L69) and Azjol-Nerub (at L70). Having (most likely) wiped a few times, visits to the AH are usually the result. There are some good items there but the ones that really stand out are the gemmable items. Anything with blue sockets is great. 

                Faith in Felsteel is a great item set for any L70 tank.  Comprised of 3 items—gloves, helm and legs—the set offers a total 3484 armor and +93 stamina. Alone, this is pretty good gear, but add to it the 4 blue sockets, 3 red sockets and one yellow socket and this gear becomes excellent. Tanks can stack stamina or gem according to the 4/3/1 format and also get +4 hit, +4 dodge and +3 parry, as well as the 3 item set bonus of +25 strength. As a leveling tank, my toon wore this gear for several levels as the other drops I saw just didn’t outweigh the benefits of this set.

But wait…..there’s a catch

                The patterns for this set are L350 Blacksmithing required, and only drop to blacksmiths in Outland instances. That’s right, they are BOP. Since few players spend a lot of time in Outland, and when they do, it is usually just to level up or get the achievement for completing all the dungeons, these patterns are rare. The fairly low drop rate means blacksmiths have to farm them.  Therefore, not many Felsteel items get made, and seldom are they seen in the AH. 

                The gloves pattern drops from Auchenai Monks in the Auchenai Crypts. The helm drops in Shadow Labyrinth, but only from the Cabal Fanatics. The legs drop in Arcatraz, but only from Unchained Doombringers. There are limited numbers of these mobs in each instance and the patterns don’t drop from any others. Plan to spend an afternoon farming the patterns, but the reward is worth it. ((and don’t forget the extra bonus of Netherweave and Mageweave cloth, and greens you can disenchant)). I had to run AC 3 times, SL 4 times and Arcatraz twice.

How expensive are the materials?

This set requires Felsteel Bar, not Fel Iron bars. To make one Felsteel bar you need 3 Fel Iron and 2 Eternium bars. Fel Iron bars require 2 Fel Iron ore, and Eternium bars require 2 Eternium ore. So, one Felsteel bar requires 6 Fel Iron ore and 4 Eternium ore. The gloves require 6 Felsteel bars, and the helm and legs are 8 bars each, for a total of 22 Felsteel bars. That’s 132 Fel Iron and 88 Eternium ore.

                One or two passes through Hellfire Peninsula on an uncrowded day will yield about 50-60 Fel Iron ore. In just an hour on a weekday, I was able to gather 184 Fel Iron ore in my loop through HP and Zangamarsh. Eternium ore is a random spawn from other ore nodes, so it is harder to farm. Specifically, you will find it in nodes of Adamantite, Khorium, Fel Iron and Nethercite. 

                For some reason, Eternium ore sells very cheaply on my server, usually around 4g per stack. This will make 10 bars, so I usually buy whatever I need after I finish farming the Fel Iron. The other patterns for which Eternium bars are used are not very “high demand” items, not best in class, so the ore is cheap on the AH. I also watch the AH for low cost Fel Iron bars or ore, buying them when cheap.

How much can I earn?

                Tanks will buy this gear, and pay handsomely. On my server I am the only player who ever lists these items. Either no one else has the patterns or just don’t know or care to list them. The gloves sell for around 140g, the helm for about 190g and the legs for about 175g. That’s over 500g for the set. 

                Again, the key to this strategy is to maximize profits in a niche, so your experience will vary based on competition. If people undercut you then you will earn less. And if you ask too much your auctions will expire. With no competition, I sell every item within the 48 hour listing period almost every time. I advertise in trade chat something like “Faith in Felsteel tanking set now in AH. Best tank gear you can get at L70” and then link the items. Many times I get a wsp asking me to sell direct. Sometimes I make two or three sets and sell one direct and leave the other listed. Other times I just answer back “sorry, already listed, only have one each”.

                The key is to limit supply and drive demand. I do this by listing only one of each item at a time. And if someone buys just one piece, I replace it ASAP. The set has value for the set bonus and most players will pay to have the full range of sockets. I start listing on Thursday and then again on Friday or Saturday, so I cover the whole weekend. This translates into about 1000g-1,500 over a 3-4 day period. All for maybe 2 hours farming time. Best part? It is almost all profit because I don’t buy the expensive ore, just Eternium if needed.
Conclusion and Summary

                Maximizing profits now is very important pre-expansion. It gets harder every day. This strategy won’t replace all your gold needs, but it has worked well for me for over six months, and should continue after Cataclysm. Tanks always need gear, and socketed gear just rocks at L70.

                To summarize:
·         With 350 Blacksmithing skill, learn the patterns for the three Felsteel items in the Faith in Felsteel set.
o   Go to Auchenai Crypts, farm the Auchenai Monks for the gloves pattern.
o   Go to Shadow Labyrinth, farm the Cabal Fanatics for the helmet pattern.
o   Go to the Arcatraz, farm the Unchained Doombringers for the legs pattern.
o   Note: my L80 DK was able to solo the first two instances, and with a recruited healer, the two of us did the Arcatraz with no worries.
·         With 276 Mining skill, farm Fel Iron ore in Hellfire Peninsula, Zangamarsh, Terrokar Forest. Here is a handy map of the best routes.
o   Farm at least 132 Fel Iron ore.
o   Avoid buying in AH because it is very expensive and eats profits.
·         Farm or buy Eternium ore or bars (you need at least 44 bars, or 88 ore).
·         Make your Felsteel, then craft your set.
·         Briefely “tease” and ad in trade chat, then list in AH.

To illustrate the income potential of this tip, I just did a search using  BeanCounter in Auctioneer. Over the last 30 days I have earned 5,118g on the sale of these items. My total investment during this period on materials was 235g for Eternium, 44g for Fel Iron (both bars and ore) and 0 for Felsteel. So my net profit for the last month is (5,118 – 279) 4,839g. This does not count the hundreds of extra gold I have gotten from the actual farming of the instances to get the patterns. 

I think you will agree the payoff is worth the time required to farm patterns and materials.

Of course, you want to first check to see if anyone else is marketing these items, and if so, how much they sell for. If it looks profitable then give it a go.

18 comments: on "Blacksmithing Income Down? Try Felsteel"

  1. The problem is it less proftable than
    fel iron rod + eternium rod + adamantium rod... because all that mining could be used for rods which always sell around 50-100g on my server.

  2. Ugh. Why don't people understand their time isn't free? Just because you farm something yourself instead of buying the mats from the AH doesn't mean it didn't cost you anything.

  3. Rachaels_dad: Do you only sell the top selling glyph? Or do you diversify and sell some lesser glyphs for the sake of getting gold back for your investment sooner so that you can then go reinvest right away.

    If all you do is sell the rods then you are limitting the overall gold per day you could be making.

  4. Grump: I know it's a hard concept for most, another big one I hear all the time is I 'afk-craft' which isn't true either.

    I might have to do a post on both and oppurtunity cost some day.

  5. Do people really buy this gear over the level 70 cobalt armor set? That set has 8 pieces, each of which has a little less armor, but enough strength to make up the loss of 3 sockets (assuming you only plop in 3 Bold Bloodstones).

    I'd rather spend those dungeon runs farming cobalt (or doing some other money making activities and buying up any cheap cobalt.

  6. The only problem i see with this is that server economies vary widely. I am on Zul'jin, which is a very old, very high pop server. Felsteel bars can go for 100g EACH if you list them at the right time. This is due to a very large raiding and pvp population (ie tons and tons of engineers and blacksmiths) who need it to level with. On my server, I would never in a million years craft something with this highly valuable material. Check your AH prices for felsteel before doing this!

  7. Just a side note: The 25 strength set bonus only applies if the wearer has 350 blacksmithing skill.

  8. I gotta agree with Markco on this one. Just as he said, you want to diversify. With titanium bars for example: you sell shield spikes, armor plating, and weapon chains, not just the one that sells for the most. Diversify for Security!

    Also, this is an excellent article for "finding a niche market."

    Selling your felsteel for 100g outright? Hell yeah, go ballz out on those prices. On my server I see felsteel all the time under 5g a bar, and often 2g each, if bought in a stack. Why? Cuz its damn near useless in most recipes because of the cost of all the other expensive materials that go along with it. These are excellent options for using that cheap felsteel I can find and turning those pre-made bars into something sellable while I use my non-combined BC ores for other uses, like rods.

    Excellent article Markco, despite what these naysayers have to say! Keep up the good original posts.

  9. This is a great gold tip, too bad I dont personally see these selling as often or as well as the Cobalt Tank set would.

    While yes this small set have gem slots, which you can put wrath uncommons in, but most tanks leveling up using randoms will more often search for Cobalt Armor when they hit wrath content over this set.

    Hell, I leveled my tank this way and I never even heard of this armor set until just now. That said, I don't know how well these would sell given the amount of time it seem required to farm them.

  10. I'm definitely going to give it a try. I just searched The Undermine Journal and there are none of my server for sale. After hearing Marko's results...there is nothing to lose. Farming the dungeons for the patterns = gold. People will look at a level 70 blue...verses a level 70 green...and most likely buy the blue... at least that's what I'm hoping. :-)

  11. Interesting posts.

    Because this was an idea in response to a niche market, there are always going to be different server issues and/or supply & demand issues that make this either work or not work on any given server.

    If farming ore for rods or selling felsteel outright makes more financial sense, then by all means keep doing that. On my server those strategies have become less effective, and less profitable. For me, and perhaps others, diversifying has become more important.

    Good point on the socket bonus being tied to blacksmithing 350. My tank was a blacksmith so he got the bonus.

    As far as cobalt goes, the set is pretty good, and a tank can certainly get and use all of it. However, the gloves, helm and legs give 3000 armor, 110 strength, 156 stam and 107 def rating.

    The felsteel set gives 3484 armor, 93 stamina and 91 defense (forget socket bonus for now). For very short money, a tank can gem like I did: for red, 2 and 1; for blue, 4; and fill the yellow slot with an orange gem,

    This gem combination gives an additional 28 dodge, 14 parry, 84 stamina and 7 defense rating. This gives more stamina than the cobalt pieces, and the increased dodge and parry make up for the slight decrease in defense rating. For users of the Felsteel set, damage mitigation has to be an important goal.

    For my DK tank, the loss of strength was not noticeable since threat generation depends on frost presence and special attacks.

    As with any strategy, your mileage may vary. At the very least, this concept appears to be what I intended: a niche market that not many people knew about.

    Thanks to Marcko for the shelf-space.


  12. Even better, just add felsteel to your snatch list. Two groups of people smelt a lot of it and dump it on the AH cheap: people power leveling BS, and people leveling in outlands that don't understand the market and figure that felsteel will sell for more than fel iron without realizing the low demand. I often find them listed for 1g/bar by people desparate to unload them.

    -- SidviciĆ²us

  13. I see some people are saying that they think that the Cobalt would be better. The way I see it is if you have heirlooms (which most do), then this set may be more appealing as it is the not going to replace your heirlooms slots. I do understand that the heirlooms don't have the defense you may need but I just leveled a Prot Warrior a few months back and I did it with said heirlooms. Just a thought.

  14. It won't have an effect for quite a while, but in Cataclysm there will be an heirloom for the helm slot as well. So I'd imagine that'll decrease demand for this set a great deal.

    Otherwise, although I can't give it a shot yet, since my would-be DK blacksmith hasn't been created just yet, this definitely sounds like a good niche for the next few months.

    @Markco - I think Rachaels_dad was referring to using items you farmed (as the poster did). In which case you actually should limit the markets you're in, because going into less profitable ones kills gold/hour.

  15. One of your best articles in a long time Marcko. Not that most of them aren't good...

    I just might farm for these recipes with my 80 DK. My only concern is that Arcatraz might be too hard and my DK isn't that well equipped. And no, I don't have any friends willing to help me.

  16. I believe the Cobalt set is just so convenient, that getting the Felsteel Set cannot make up for it. The player that has the right mind set to want to get better tanking gear, will first find immediate solutions in quest rewards (some even blue quality items)from Nagrand, SMV and Netherstorm. These items will more than do their job till 70, where you can put up the Cobalt Set. It's very good for the level, it's elegant and cost 37 Cobalt Bars. It's just so convenient. Plus remeber the tanking quest rewards from Borean Tundra, one can get at 68 (rare items): Tundra Pauldrons, Gauntlets of the Disturbed Giant and Boots of the Unbowed Protector.
    All these may very well contribute to easily overlook the Felsteel Set. I don't say it's not an interesting idea, just there are enough other factors leaning towards completely ignoring this set.

  17. Armorsmith27 said... October 9, 2010 at 12:38 AM

    You reminded me that I actually had this set, as an armorsmith when that meant something. Just farmed it all, stuffed in the ah, and will update as to the results. Took maybe 2 hrs to grind all the fel iron, and had 1/2 the eternium.

  18. One out of the 3 sold, the Helm I had in for 190G, so not bad over all. Will try once more this weekend.

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