Friday, June 18, 2010

Supply, Demand, and the Auction House

DISCLAIMER:  If you're looking for a detailed discussion on how to make gold using the AH, this isn't it.  There are plenty of great blogs that describe how to work the AH, and I recommend perusing a lot of them.

The other day, when a guildie and I were steamrolling our way through Arcatraz --gotta love Druid tanks-- talk turned to Greed vs. Disenchant.  "Have you seen what Dream Shards are going for these days?" I asked.

"Yeah," he replied.  "I pretty much stopped DCing blues, because I get more money from vendoring them than selling the shards."

After a short pause, I realized he was right.  A quick scan of the BC blues I was acquiring in Arcatraz revealed that I would be selling them for more than I'd get for a Dream Shard from the AH.  This morning, I paid close attention to the blues that I got from the Northrend 5-man instances, and I discovered I'd be getting around twice what a Dream Shard was going for.

I also spent some time farming for Saronite and Titanium to replenish my metal and gem stocks, and I discovered that Titansteel is going for 75G on the AH, half of the price it was two months ago.

How did prices get this depressed?

Yes, the simple answer is supply and demand, but I wonder about the underlying causes.  Is it that the gold farmers are trying to manipulate the price by flooding the market?  Is it that enough people are grinding for Frost Emblems alone that there's an excess of disenchanting materials?  Or that enough people per server are in ICC and don't need Titanium or Titansteel crafted items?

I suspect that there's a bit of everything --yes, even the supposed pre-expansion blues-- to blame for the current state of the market.  When ICC has been out long enough that even altaholics are able to get a good T9 set from Emblems alone for all of their toons, then the need for Titanium and Titansteel are depressed.  Add to that the availability of Primordial Saronite, and you've got the current state of the metals.  When Cataclysm comes out, this will be replayed again:  after all, have you seen the prices for Eternium and Khorium these days?  I can sell Mithril for higher prices than what Eternium is going for.

The gem prices in general drive me nuts.  The basic Epic gems are running only about 15G less than their JC'ed counterparts, and some days they can actually sell for higher.  Sure, it's 15G, but you have to ask yourself if your time is better spent doing an extra daily or two to get the same amount of profit.  Considering how little the Epics drop when you prospect Titanium, I guess the Alchemists are the ones making a mint on the market by crafting the Epic gems.  But right now, regular Jade and other low end gems are looking better than Dream Shards.  Nobody seems to be farming those gems, yet there's still enough of a need that I can beat the Dream Shard price easily on some of these low end gems.

What about your server?  Are you seeing the same trends?


  1. I am a hoarding Horde. I rarely use the AH and have saved random odds and ends collected while leveling my many toons. So usually when I need a random old world component for skill ups, I have some in one of my toons' banks. However I have notcied that my supply is running (relatively) low. By this point in the expansion, I have personally leveled so many tradeskills and supplied friends with random materials along the way that my resources are being tapped. I would have to imagine this is happening to other altoholic hoarders. That combined with less leveling toons creates an interesting AH market. It seems like the 'hot' items fluctuate among old world items, while end-game items lose value.

    My server has the same issue with Dream Shards and gem prices, though I think cut gems are around 25 gold more expensive. Not that I would really know, considering I hoard all of my transmutes for guildies. lol

  2. The bottom dropped out of the disenchanting materials market the day they introduced the Dungeon Finder. Not because everyone started running Heroics - people were already doing a lot of that. It's because a whole host of Enchanters (like me) couldn't control the creation of dust and essences. I never ever offered to disenchant items in my dungeons. But just having me in a party now pretty much guarantees that I will create about 3 Dream Shards and 3-4 Greater Cosmic Essences and 10-20 Infinite Dust per run.

    I can only assume that metals have dived because nobody is really crafting the starter lvl 80 weapons these days. When I leveled my second character to 80, before ToC5 was released, I still bought up and crafted a ilvl 200 blacksmith weapon for her.

    There are probably other reasons why metals for crafting as less sought after at the moment, but I don't know enough about it to guess :)

    ps. I still buy Titansteel for Blade Ward enchants though

  3. @NaturalGamerGirl: Yep, I horde all the time too. When I moved to A52, it was painful to go through all of the stuff and whittle it down to a manageable level.

    I was on Ysera last night and I checked the prices for Cardinal Rubies, and they run about 30-40G more there than on A52. I know the ratio of Horde/Alliance is more balanced on Ysera as opposed to the Horde heavy A52, so I suspect that has something to do with it too.

    @Cassandri: Thank you for inadvertantly telling me how DC shows up as an option in instances. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to it, and I was wondering how in hell Blizz figured out whether an instance should have that option enabled. I never considered the presence of a toon with Enchanting skill being the kicker, because I figured that the game wouldn't be set up to take advantage of a toon's abilities without the toon's expressed consent.

    Boy, first there's the Pristine Black Diamonds you use, and now Titansteel. I've got a stash of Titansteel that I keep nearby in case I need some quick gold. Ah, well.

  4. It also took someone else explaining to me why some Dungeon Runs would have the DE option and others wouldn't. I thought it was something to do with a Loot-Roll option the Leader had enabled. It's a real kick in the teeth for the Enchanters.

    My Rogue used to do DE-stealth Runs through RFD and SM (I'd change it up for variety), but they're no longer the money earners they used to be, not now that every man & their dog can DE Blues if there's an Enchanter in the group.

  5. @Cap'n John: I think this is a feature that needs to be nerfed. Not that it's not fair to the enchanters --I could care less-- but that it's done without the enchanters' consent. It'd be like me auto-distributing blessings or something. If Blizz frowns on third party apps doing that sort of automated thing, why have it actually built into the game?

  6. I completely agree about the DE option... I personally think it was a horrible idea. No other tradeskill is whored out like this without the player's consent. When a miner harvests a node, an herber picks an herb, a skinner skins, the product is not offered to others in the group. If a gem dropped (say from a loot bag in Occ), group members do not get the option to have it cut without the JC's permission. I understand that DE'ing is slightly different in the sense that you cannot trade soulbound items to an enchanter to DE unless they were in that run with you, but that professions services are no longer voluntary. My husband particularly dislikes this feature as it provides this service to rude players, which he might refuse to help out if given the option (think of the idiots described in the latest post).

  7. If anything, "DC in an instance" should be an option in the settings for an Enchanter to select. That way, you don't have to DC if you don't want to.