If you haven't heard, Area-of-Effect, or AoE Looting has been added in Mists of Pandaria. Check Mommar's post yesterday for his excitement about the feature, along with a video about it.
So what does this mean for the economy and our gold-making going forward? A few areas that will be impacted, plus a surprising twist on where AoE Looting could take us in the future...
As a bonus, pop a potion of treasure finding if you go looting in the Cataclysm zones once you hit 90.
The AoE Looting Surprise
Of course, this stuff is all well and good, but what's the surprise twist? A while back, a question came up on the main forums about automating the prospecting and looting process for Jewelcrafters and Scribes. There were some limitations that prevented queue-able milling/prospecting (think like a Miner's smelting). I suspect the problem was that prospecting is really just a form of looting on a time-delay. You hit your prospect button, choose which ore to prospect, then wait a couple seconds before looting what you "find" in the ore.
If you think about it, the game is treating 5 pieces of ore or herbs like a mob. You "loot" it to find what's inside. So what if there were an interface similar to the trade window, where you drop in stacks of ore or herbs. The game could query the server for a loot-table on your products, then return it in one batch loot window, similar to how the mobs are being looted with this new feature.
This same system could be applied to items that need to get disenchanted as well. Drop a bunch of items in, hit the "Mass Disenchant" button and take all the materials from one window.
There would probably need to be a longer delay for a mass disenchant/prospect/mill feature to prevent these professions from becoming insanely unprofitable [Note: Thanks to Anonymous1 for catching the mistype] (can you imagine if prospecting 20 stacks of ore took only a few seconds?) but this could be the first step to making a more sensible system for handling these time-consuming processes.