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.]
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.
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