Epic Gem Speculation, Not just for Breakfast Anymore

The Free online Dictionary at TheFreeDictionary.com gives the basic definition of speculation.

Engagement in risky business transactions on the chance of quick or considerable profit.

To the world of warcraft auction power seller.  This is the bread and butter of their fortune.   Some of the biggest sellers have discussed having over 35% of their income created in the first few days of new content patches.  Or major changes in the economy.

In this case we're going to center in on jewelcrafting and epic gems.   Both for the jewelcrafter and the non jewelcrafter.    It's important to understand that speculation is a high risk,  high reward scenario.   You can win big such as for glyphmas,  the introduction of new glyph slots for every character. It's also possible to lose big,  such as those that purchased multiple amounts of scarlet rubies waiting to transmute them to epic gems at the last patch of wrath.  Finding out that the transmute limitations were not removed as previously been speculated.  This is where you take chances and you enjoy why speculating can be very addicting win or lose. 

So let's get to the nuts and bolts of what we are speculating with Patch 4.3.

To understand logical speculation study the past and how patches have changed when it comes to epic gems.  Not just the raw gems themselves,  but also the recipes.  For many,  the recipes will be just as valuable to have as the gems themselves.

With Burning Crusade,   Epic gems were first drops from  raid and Heroic instance  bosses.  More powerful gem patterns were able to be purchased with Reputation rewards from Scale of the Sands Vendors.    Added in a later patch were vendors for the Shattered Sun Offensive.   Both of these required work and running instance or raids multiple times to get them.  (They were never an automatic drop except the last boss of the heroic instance or from a raid boss).

Why is this important to know?   Because it created a  limited amount of Gems on the Auction house.  Raiders purchased these quickly while the regular average player didn't spend the money it cost to buy them.    The Uncommon cuts still dominated sales due to supply and demand.

The warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King created a much different Jewelcrafting atmosphere.  Epic Gems were able to be acquired through multiple abilities. They were able to be mined from Titanium nodes (an ore that was introduced in patch 3.01 but the gems themselves were not available to patch 3.2).    Epic gems were also prospectable  by  jewelcrafters from the same ore.  Gems could later be purchased with Badges of Justice  and Honor Points in future patches.

It's important in this case to see that the creators of the game presented not just the ore to produce the epic gems from the start of the expansion.  But also gave multiple ways to propagate gems to even the average players.   Alchemists created Prisms that would give them the opportunity for epic gems.  They could directly transmute one gem per 20 hour period through a mix of gathered materials.    This caused a larger amount of the blank gems to be available to crafters  

Jewelcrafters were required to spend tokens earned via daily quests.   This gave them access to the patterns to cut the gem blanks and sell on the Auction House.   Also made available was the selling of titanium powder (Prospected from titanium ore) to further obtain tokens.   Purchasing all the epic patterns available a Jewelcrafter had to turn in (47 patterns x 4 tokens = 188 tokens).     PVP Jewel crafting Gem patterns  were also available for purchase from marks of wintergrasp (later to be converted to honor points). The Patterns were Bind on Pickup but the crafted gems were sellable on the Auction House.

In this case it's important to see that these gems had both multiple access points to get raw gems,  but crafted items always circled around the jewelcrafter.    With the introduction of all patterns needing to be purchased via Jewelcrafting tokens,  it created a balanced setting.   Do the dailies or prospect/purchase the titanium dust to get access to the patterns.  To many non raiding crafters it gave the opportunity to even the playing field for money making opportunities.

With the Cataclysm expansion,  the lessons of the past will spur the speculation of the future events.  It's assumed that patch 4.3 will be what introduces Epic Gems into the world. And the speculation has to start from there.  

So let use what we learned from the past from the game developers to come up with some logical conclusions.    Developers of warcraft have stated many times they want to give access to items for everyone.  So to me this would eliminate the idea of just having raw gems being mined or dropped from Raid only bosses/areas.

Developers have yet to ever have raid level gems accessible only through world drops. With the WOTLK expansion they used the Jewelcrafting token system to propagate the patterns to all jewelcrafters.    To me this created the best balance because it again made it accessible to everyone.  Not just Raiders or powersellers who could put multiple amounts of gold to be the first on the server to own a pattern.   Supply and demand will be your direct reasoning on what you should acquire first when they become available.

Developers have before used a current ore and created the ability for prospecting to be done for raw epic gems from the material    In this case the highest ore in the game is  Pyrite Ore,  which is used for multiple patterns in different crafting items.   Alchemists use it for Truegold transmutes.   Blacksmiths use it to craft ebonsteel belt buckles.  My personal belief is that this is the method that the developers will use to propagate raw epic gems into the warcraft marketplace.

It is possible that the developers will use a new type of ore to add raw epic gems into the game play.   This would be something new from their previous game models and would shake up a lot of the market.   It would create a large supply and demand for the new ore and miners would own the market for multiple weeks.

Another possibility is the introduction of a higher version of Jewelcrafting tokens with a larger set of dailies to level the playing field to everyone.   Again this would be a new step
in direction for the developers.   They limited the sales of cut gems with the introduction of armor level limits for socketing.   This prevented lower armor than Cataclysm armor to be socketed with the higher gems.  It is a possibility that they will do the same for 4.3
raid/instance armor and require only epic gems in this armor.   Or only allow epic gems to be put in this higher level armor.  Either way would limit the amount of gem sales and would shake the Auction house speculation to it's core. 

Also possible with the amount of power that is put in armor currently,  epic gems may be complete left out of future patches.    Considering that the developers usually end up creating epic gems one and a quarter more powerful than the uncommon gems.   For instance:  burning crusade gems went from +10 for their epic cuts such as Delicate Crimson Spinel to Delicate Cardinal Ruby during wrath epic gem availability.   This addition more than doubled the stats granted per gem socketing.     The developers may want to limit the power that the gems have and might eliminate the introduction of Epic Gems as a whole    Believing that this would be a very small possibility but still should be considered for your overall strategy.

So with that information I will introduce my overall strategy for both the Jewelcrafter and the non jewelcrafter.    This makes it available to every player instead of just a Maximum skilled Jewelcrafter or miner.

[Addendum:  Epic Gems drop in Raids Only.according to Ghostcrawler in an interview    I will keep the initial strategy up on this entry.    Blizzard has added before that their intentions were to do one major change in the production of content or raw materials.  Where later they offer a different production due to difficulty or user discussion.]

Jewelcrafting Strategy:

First step is to either restart or continue to do your daily token quests.   If inflation  continues like normal it will cost between 5-6 tokens per epic gem pattern.    I'm expecting approximately 200 tokens to be able to acquire every epic pattern for patch 4.3.    Even if these patterns become available from other methods,  there will be chimera eyes available for purchase for crafting as well as PVP patterns that have been introduced in the past patches.  With a low risk for these investments moneywise other than your time spent and the cost of the materials to finish the quests you end up being farther to your monetary goals.    As you continuing to do the Obsidium/Elementium shuffle (discussed in the JMTC forums here) then you should have multiple mats to use on these dailies.      When the information is first data mined and presented (keep an eye on JMTC to be one of the first journals to present breaking information to it's readers).  Plan ahead to make sure that you know exactly what ones you want to purchase first.   I always suggest purchasing the big three single stat gems patterns first (+agi,  +int and +str) then purchase your next stackable tanking gem (+stam).    Future purchases can be done using a supply and demand method depending on your server economy requirements.   Ultimately the strategy would be to have enough gem tokens to purchase most if not all of the patterns.   Preparing you to be able to supply anything on the Marketplace that is required.

My next suggestion is to start purchasing as much pyrite ore as you can at a set price depending on your server market.    My server (Shandris - US) goes for around 9 gold per ore but can consistently be found for 5-6 per ore.   This may seem like a large investment but this is going to be the bulk of your sales possibilities.   Also this will be your safety margin.    Pyrite will end up being in very short availability if epic gems are prospected from the ore.   This will cause not just a rise in the raw materials.  but also will cause the truegold and ebonsteel belt buckle prices to go higher.   Your safety net is that you will have this available to sell to not just Jewelcrafters,  but to blacksmiths,  and alchemists as well.    Your risk/reward is still large if something happens that no epic gems are introduced.  Or some other limitation is placed that limits access to Epic Gems.  But you will still have these items to sell to regain some of the losses.

On a non commodity strategy.  Be prepared to not sleep patch day.  At minimum  be prepared to post as much and as fast as possible.  You will be undercut that day quickly.   and continually.   Jewelcrafting will again be the belle of the ball when it comes to money making.    Patience is also a great weapon to have when it comes to making gold.  Let people burn through their stocks on patch day.  And then save your amount of pyrite for server raid days and weekends.    Time your stocking of raw materials and raw/cut gems for when they are at their highest demand.    Take the opportunity to know who your heavy hitters are on a server,  and add them to your friends list to keep an eye on when they continually add their auctions.   If you are the only one online,  post multiples of those Gems or Stacks of ore  that are selling well.      Assume that your sales will be out of date and undercut 2 hours after you have posted them.    If the item are not sold within that 2 hour period,  then the odds become less and less that it will sell on that posting cycle.   Cancelling and relisting the auction will give you a better sales average than letting the auction run it's normal timed course. 

Be prepared for people to list stacks of ore very low.    Undercutting is an art form to the power auctioneer.   Jumping on a low price will be very necessary if you want to maximize your profit.     Keep a 20% rule in mind.  If a stack of ore can be purchased and flipped for 20% profit.    Invest the money and reap the rewards.    Watch your server trade channel for people wanting to empty their stockpiles quickly.    With a heavily fluctuating market;  resourceful powersellers will be prepared to step back and regroup and let the other less experienced auction sellers eat at their own resources too quickly.    Then as the stocks dwindle control the prices for a larger profit.    You have an extended amount of time to show your profits while others will be faced with a panic of  a "get my money now" philosophy.

Non Jewelcrafter Strategy

The Non Jewelcrafter will have to rely on using stocking principles for Pyrite Ore and prepared to buy Raw Epic Gems to resell.    With limited revenue streams, there is a higher risk than for a Jewelcrafter.  But the same ideals apply when it comes to pyrite being a safe investment.  A smart investor will always have an "out" to limit losses if speculation does not occur exactly as hoped.

Another option would be to hire a jewelcrafter to prospect the ore for you.   Allowing you access to epic gem blanks.   I would suggest to work with a guild member.   They would appreciate the gold for a little work,  and would be less likely to take your materials and run to make a profit for themselves.    One of your chat channels should give you exactly what they "loot" from the prospected ore.  So there is no question of whether an item was obtained from the prospecting.     Offer a tip compensating the amount of work they did,  and then sell the raw epic gems on the auction house or through trade chat.

Continuing speculation will be going on as we march to patch 4.3 and beyond.  Part of the enjoyment is to be able to discuss not just what your planning on doing,  but why you think it will be a winning strategy.   Leave me a message to show just how you did.  Or offer a drink to those that didn't plan ahead and can only wish they were a part of Jewelmas.

Want to get in contact with me? . Email me at Dragonbearjoe @ gmail. dOT com or find me on twitter at "@Dragonbearjoe" or leave a comment here.   Would love to know how your experience with this tip works out.

20 comments: on "Epic Gem Speculation, Not just for Breakfast Anymore"

  1. Nice article and it is good speculation, my only concern is that Pyrite is also known as "Fools Gold". Blizzard knows this and it would be just like them to introduce an ore that people will speculate to be like titanium only to find out in the end it's nothing more than "Fool's Gold". I plan to invest but I am prepared to take my losses on it, frankly I expect to but the upside is so big I cant just walk away.

  2. You didn't mention the epic gems released in 3.1 as a very rare product of fishing. They were cut gems identical (but with different names, such as "Stormjewel" if I remember correctly) to the epics that jewelers would eventually be able to make in 3.2 .

    While not quite world drops, it was rather similar.

    I believe (although I wouldn't swear to it without doing some research) that a similar arrangement occurred in BC; pre-cut epic gems appeared as fishing rewards shortly before uncut epic gems and the recipes to use them had appeared in the game.

    I don't expect this pattern to repeat in Cata because Cata introduced other methods to popularize fishing (something that was missing in BC and WotLK)

  3. Very nice article. Well written and structured and some good information.

  4. Just a thought to add. If the jewelcrafting specific gems are +68 stats at the moment then I'd imagine that they would have to be increased to be in line with the other profession bonuses. I wasn't around early enough in Wrath to see the introduction of epic gems, but what was the precedent there?

  5. Fishing up Epic Gems. You are correct that they were available from fishing nodes and even the fishing bag of treasures. In theory everything that was on the normal (non specific raid/instance drops) were available from the fishing treasures. But the drop rate was next to nothing so for accuracy sake it should have been added. But for money making speculation to me it becomes a non entity. Still I appreciate the comment, if there is more research then I will add to the article.

    Thank you for the comments

  6. Pyrite being "fools gold". Having been a victim of the scarlet ruby transmute mistake. I understand fully the possibility of making a large investment. But that was part of the idea of using that speculation. I was able to over time sell all my scarlet rubies and eternal fires and recoup my money as well as make a small profit.

    Pyrite ore (and it's conversion pyrium bars) will sell over time. There is very little doubt that there will be another rush of crafted items from the new content patch. Similar to the fireland raids patterns. Between the truegold transmutation sales and also the ebonsteel belt buckle sales. If something keeps pyrite ore from being the key to epic gems, you will still have the opportunity to make your money back, if not showing a small profit.

    Thanks for the comments.

  7. @toasty

    The Jewelcrafting bonus gems (in wrath they were dragon's eyes. In Cataclysm they are the chimera's eyes, both are BOP for the crafter.

    With Wrath the epic gems ended up being +20 total stats with the bonus gems being +34. They doubled the numbers with cataclysm to the uncommon gems being +40 and the Specialized Jewelcrafting gems being +68. I'm guessing that they numbers will end up being somewhere around +50 for epic gems combined stats (+25 agi +25 haste) etc.

    If the developers are planning ahead for the next expansion this would put your uncommon gems at +80 (doubling the previous stats) and your epic gems somewhere around 120. That's starting to become a larger problem when it comes to game balance.

    the only reason I mentioned this is in a partial support to the idea of the developers not offering epic gems at all. I do not believe this will occur but wanted to offer all options to the speculator.

    Thanks for your comments. They are very much appreciated

  8. I have just over 13,000 pyrite ore between my horde and alliance guilds, farmed or else bought when the price was below 5g each. I also have a 525 JC on both sides. I'm REALLY hoping that Epics come out of Pyrite, and if recipes are bought from dust (like in Wrath), I'll be REALLY happy!!!!

    If Alchemists also get a transmute to create Epics, that could drive up the cost of Volatiles. I bought a TON of Volatile Life for 5g and have 2 Transmuters making Water and Air that sells for between 20 and 30g each. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one doing this....LOL

  9. @James

    I Will be offering another article later about other areas of speculation. But you are correct that certain volatiles will become valuable.

    Fire and earth took a huge hit with the firelands expansion. Since the next patch is supposed to introduce a new world event and also the deathwing raid. I think Fire and earth will continue to be low.

    Alchemist specualtion will be very tricky. Epic Gems will probably be on a transmute timer (as it was in wrath) and that limits to one per day. Usually triggering other transmute timers (I'm just guessing but it will probably be the truegold timer as well).

    If you have an army of alchemists that can transmute 3-5 gems per day then it's a very good strategy to convert. Depending on the cost of the materials not saved previously.

    I think that water and air will dominate speculation of sales. Really dpending on the patterns that are issued with the new patch.

    Thank you for your comments. I really appreciate them.

  10. Very informative article. Thanks for all the work you put into this piece. I am stock piling Pyrite ore, and will just wait to see what happens. I can always use it for Ebonsteel Belts if speculations turn out wrong.

  11. Mommar!

    Excellent and heavily detailed article. It's nice to finally see something worth reading coming out of this site lately.

    I too am of the "Fool's Gold" conspiracy theory group that thinks Blizzard will have the last laugh.

    The other idea I think may be a possibility and is based on recent history is that the recipes (if introduced) may have some sort of limiting factor behind them - something that doesn't allow us to spend all of our saved up JC tokens on the first day the patterns are released.

    Remember at Cata's start, many recipes were locked away behind the Twilight Highlands vendors. Then the Firelands recipes were locked away behind a months worth of daily quests. So Blizzard may throw us another curveball and require another grind to unlock these patterns.

    What if they require a bunch of pre-requisite quests in Vash'jir to unlock a new daily quest hub underwater that takes another month to unlock the JC vendor? Won't that be fun? lol.

    Keep up the good work, Mommar!

  12. @Felesity

    I'm banking on the idea that Pyrite ore is going to be the key to getting into raw epic gems. It seems to make the most sense from what historically the developers have done in the past.

    The only real question is how to disperse it to gain maximum profit. Glyphmas was very exciting because you just ended up restocking your items time after time after time that first week. I think that epic gems day will be very similar in that to maximize the profits you will need to be living at the auction house as much as possible.

    Again thank you very much for the comments.

  13. I'm also on the pyrite bandwagon. Really really hoping for this to happen we need this in more ways than one. One thing I could see happen that I haven't really seen mentioned is I could see epic gems used in more crafting patterns than we're used to. Across all professions. And I really like the idea of ilevel requirements on epics like you talked about.. I could see this happening for sure.

    The part about being prepared to not sleep was my favorite part. I thought 4.2 was going to be my big sales, no sleep day, and to an extent it was. It was nice but not what I had planned for. Really hoping 4.3 is the end all, possibly cause health problems, patch lol.

    Thank you for the article wasn't too excited about reading another epic gem speculation article, but I enjoyed it a lot! Keep it up!

  14. @Anonymous

    We all will probably get enough sleep that day since the latest patches have been notorious for having "extended extended and more extended" maintenance. I think the server I am on came up online somewhere around 3pm my time. But then I'm not so bent on the idea of having to be the first one on.

    Glyphmas was a prime example of just how hectic things could get. People were crafting and posting continually that they broke the AH at least once. Think of it as a large disturbance in the AH force when that happened. Like a million voices suddenly couldn't sell a thing.

    the Ilevel limitation would definitely make things more difficult on a smaller server that doesn't have a strong raiding community. But then I do not think that's going to happen. The developers are leaning towards making things much more casual player friendly to keep their masses happy. To limit the majority from receiving epic items would really cause problems in the long run.

    Part of the enjoyment of writing this article is that I could show how logically I developed my investment strategy. It helped me to open up to a couple of ideas plus the comments have sparked a little bit of possibilities as well.

    I'm looking forward to getting the first datamined or PTR information so that we can get some definitive plans ready to execute.

    thank you again for the great comments.

  15. lol, tanks don't stack stamina gems. Nobody uses those.

  16. Epic Gems in crafting patterns.

    That would be a very interesting idea. I could see maybe it being used for part of the rogue weapon questline that's supposed to be out in 4.3. But I'm thinking more of the patterns are going to use the uncommon gems. Jewelcrafting profits have been lackluster for certain gems (blues and greens and yellows) on many servers, and the ocean sapphires were nice to use for the crafting pvp crafting patterns.

    It is possible they might use them for the final tier of epic crafting, that will certainly drive up the prices of them even more.

    I will have to add that to the list of things to pay attention to when the PTR patch gets released sometime in my lifetime.

  17. @Handera

    Thank you for the comment.

  18. Similar to the engineer's bike, the alchemist dragon will continue to sell in later expansions. Titansteel bar, made from titanium ore, has gone up in price because of this. Truegold, made from Pyrium Bar, will also do the same in later expansions. The difference is; Titansteel Bar is made from mining, but originally it has a cooldown, that was later removed.
    Truegold is made from transmuting, originally it has a cooldown, but I strongly believe this will also be removed at a later point. Perhaps as early as 4.3, but also perhaps as late as 5.0.

    Historical facts about transmutes;
    Arcanite Bar, added to the game in 1.11.1, CD removed in 2.4.0
    Primal Might, added to the game in 2.0.1, CD removed in 3.0.2
    Titanium Bar, added to the game in 3.0.1, CD removed in 3.3.0

    Titansteel Bar smelting, added to the game in 3.0.1, and CD removed in 3.3.3

    Truegold transmute, added to the game in 4.0.3, and CD removed in 4.3.0?

    In any case, I believe the CD on truegold will disappear, and when it does, truegold prices will first crash, but eventually in later expansions they will become a rare comodity because of the alchemist dragon. So in any case, I would say its safe to stockpile pyrite ore.

    I realize this is info for a whole new thread, but it kinda fit here aswell. ;)

  19. @Sponser.

    You are correct in what you typed. I wanted to limit a lot of what I talked about with Jewelcrafting in general and where I listed the historical parts of jewelcrafting, I could have easily went with Alchemy as well (which I might tackle at somepoint).

    The transmutes are going to be tricky because it really depends on what will make the most money. If a truegold transmute sells better (which it should in the first couple of weeks since I'm pretty well assuming it will be used for the "new" patterns with 4.3) and the Epic Gem transmute triggers that cooldown
    (historically it always has before and still does if you transmute a cardinal ruby) then
    it will be balancing act of just what is going to be worth the most today.

    My investment strategy covers a lot of areas and cross sections between my crafters. I like to invest in items that I can use for multiple crafters. Volatiles will be big across all the crafting so that's going to be a heavy investment needed. Pyrite ore fits at least 3 different criteria for crafters investments (not even counting the truegold)

    I completely disagree that the truegold transmute will drop. They have never dropped a major crafting agent on an intitial big patch. It's always happened later in incremental patches (dream weave and shadowweave were much closer to wrath). dropping the truegold transmute would definitely tank the market, but it would make access to the uber crafted items much easier.

    Thanks for your comments.

  20. Re: Removing the cooldowns...

    Every time they dropped a cooldown, there was always a viable reason that was crystal clear... after it happened. OK, I'm lousy at predicting these things, but there is a pattern visible in hindsight.

    When the titanium cooldown was removed, titanium and titansteel were in huge demand and transmuting gems was much more profitable than making titanium. People were mining huge amounts of Saronite just to get the titanium nodes. The new recipes required tons of the stuff, and the only practical way to get it was mining.

    This drove the price of Saronite ore so low that I could reliably buy up all I wanted, start my miner smelting as I left for work, and when I got home, vendor it. Bliz seems to hate the idea that something they planned to be a major mat is so worthless that people vendor it.

    While they could have lowered the vendor price (like they more recently did with uncut uncommon gems), I don't think they wanted to make saronite worthless, so removing the cooldown was a great idea.

    They do seem to be reactive to the economy, though. They didn't predict saronite prices would tank; they made the change after it had become necessary for the economy.

    Based on this, I'd be shocked if they removed the cooldown for truegold in 4.3 .

    But if people stop making it because they're all making epic gems, and if the price of truegold goes up due to its rarity, and if it's needed for making the new 4.3 gear, then I wouldn't be at all surprised if the cooldown on truegold vanishes in 4.3.1 or 4.3.2 . If I see this situation beginning, I might buy up all the cheap water and air I can find. If I'm wrong, it can only go up in value for 5.0 or 5.1 .

    If anyone thinks I'm completely wrong, or especially if you think my argument's sound but I'm going to screw up the timing again like I have in the past, I'd be glad to hear from you.

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