Monday, June 22, 2009

An Interesting Prospect

Oh sweet, sweet Titanium, how do I love thee...

One of the most substantial changes to the WoW economy in 3.2 will be the addition of epic quality gems that can be prospected from titanium ore. There will be other sources for these gems which are PvP (purchased with Honor), emblem of heroism and transmutations.

So, what does it all mean? Well, just like gas prices rise just before Memorial Day due to speculators buying up gasoline, the price of titanium ore is absurdly high right now. I’m seeing stacks of 20 going for between 150 and 250 gold. Plus, the amount of titanium ore on the auction house is very low on Bleeding Hollow. Just like higher gas prices mean higher prices for consumer goods due to higher transportation costs, the titanium ore situation will affect a lot of other areas of the WoW economy.

Mining is one of my professions and before the patch notes for 3.2 came out, Titansteel Bars sold for about 90 gold each. I suspect the quantity of Titansteel will drop dramatically and the price will shoot up quite a bit. It takes 6 titanium ore to smelt into enough bars to make 1 bar of Titansteel. At 250 gold per stack, that’s 75 gold per bar of Titansteel in titanium materials alone. Miners who would normally smelt Titansteel aren’t going to buy titanium because their costs have skyrocketed and they’ll likely save any titanium that they mine for themselves, either to sell at greatly inflated prices or to have prospected when 3.2 hits. A lack of Titansteel on the AH and in personal stocks will also affect the prices of crafted BoE items like the Titansteel Destroyer, Shield wall, etc.

How will this affect rare gem prices? It’s hard to really say. On the one hand, it could kill them because rare gems will become the new “perfect” cut uncommon gems. On the other hand, these new rare gems will likely be going for over 400 gold each, probably higher for the +strength and + spellpower gems. Add to that the fact that all dungeons and raids (save for the Argent Crusade stuff) will drop emblems of conquest, which can be converted into lesser badges if needed. This means that we will be able to run heroics until we’re blue in the face and buy ilvl 226 gear. That means multiple upgrades for the vast majority of players and those players aren’t going to want to drop 1000+ gold just to gem their new chest armor. If anything, we may see a modest increase in rare gem prices for at least a month. Rare gem prices will likely deflate over the long term once players stop using badges and honor to buy new armor and start using them to buy epic quality gems.

Should we be speculating? How should we plan for 3.2? Without details on prospecting rates for titanium ore, transmutation materials and honor/badge costs, I think the best bet is to hold on to your ore and only buy new ore if you see it listed for close to the old market prices. If you aren’t a jewelcrafter, don’t want epic gems for yourself and see ridiculous prices for titanium ore on your server, feel free to sell. My guess on the prices and prospecting rates for epic quality gems is about a 25% chance for an epic per prospect (1 per stack of 20) and cut gems will list for 500 gold and up. Just look at the prices of Stormjewels, which have the same stats as the new epic gems, and use that as a comparison. To prepare for 3.2, the only thing I’m doing differently is saving the titanium ore that I mine and as a result, not making any more Titansteel. My behavior may change once we find out how much the new epic gems will cost and what the prospect rate will be.

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