Editorial: Was the Firelands recipe grind worth it?

Warning: Contains Math.

Updated with live figures from our server – see below.

One of my big things in WoW at the moment is the Auction House – having started about 2 months ago from the premise of “I wonder if it’s possible to make serious AH gold from professions that most people think of as money-losers?”, I’ve been tracking it pretty hard. And like most serious AH players, I’ve been hacking through the Firelands dailies as a furious rate, trying to get the Blacksmithing professions first, so I can make phat bank, as I understand the kids say it today.

Now we’re in the final day or so of the grind – I’m already hearing reports of the recipes being available to some players. And so the question becomes – was it worth it?

Doing the Math

Let’s have a look at the crafting recipes from the Firelands. They’re all roughly the same in mats usage, so I’ll just pick the two-handed sword as an example, the Masterwork Elementium Deathblade.

I’d expect this weapon to sell for about 20-30k when it first appears on the AH. Mats are 8 Truegold, 2 Ocean Sapphire, 4 Hardened Elementium Bars, and 5 Chaos Orbs.

Not too shabby, eh? We’re in the money!

Not so fast.

First up. Truegold. Truegold’s going to spike when these recipes become available, and tailor off roughly in proportion to the demand, most likely. On my server, it’s already been seeing highs of 800g, so I’d be expecting a price during the first rush of – let’s be conservative – 1200g. So, for 8 of them, that’s 9600g.

The other mats aside from Chaos Orbs are trivial. 400g for the lot. So, mats cost 10k, potential sale price 30k, that’s 20k profit. Win!

Except for those pesky Chaos Orbs. Now, you’ll probably have some of these already – but on the other hand, you’ll probably be wanting to craft one of these recipes for your main or an alt. So, how much does a Chaos Orb cost?

In most dungeon runs, you’ll have between 2 and 4 people rolling on them, in my experience. Thanks to the VP kerfuffle, we have pretty good numbers on how long a standard dungeon run – the most efficient way to get a chaos orb – takes. It’s about 50 minutes. So, to get enough Chaos Orbs to make one of these weapons, on average, you’re looking at 3(average number of rollers) x 50(minutes) x5 (Orbs) = 12 hours, 30 min of dungeons for a single weapon craft (not counting queue time).

(This is optimistic, by the way. I’ve been seeing more rolls on them recently thanks to the dailies – often 4 people, sometimes even 5.)


That ISN’T going to go down, either. So how much money could you make in that time?

A quick Google and my own experience suggests that a dedicated and skilled farmer working intelligently can probably make 1500g per hour. You’ve got to be fairly heavily optimised doing that, but if you’re planning to be a serious epic weapon seller, you’re going to be in that camp. So your 12 hr 30 minute opportunity cost is 18,750g.

Total cost for getting the mats for your first weapon, right out of the gate – 28,750g. Expected sale price – 30k. Auction House cut: 5% or 1500g. Net profit: -250g.

And after the rush dies down? Well, let’s assume that Truegold drops back to its 500g price, where it has been stable for months. At that point your mats cost is 23k approximately. Expected sale price? 20k. Oh, dear. -3000g profit.

But it’s not as bleak as all that. The chances are that you’re doing dungeon runs anyway, and with the new recipes out, your Chaos Orbs would otherwise just sit in your bank. So is it an efficient way of making money if you’re already going to be doing the dungeons?

Hardcore VP-Cappers – WIN. Other people – Not So Win

Of course, that’s assuming you’re not getting Chaos Orbs anyway. Let’s assume the best possible case here and assume you’re a hardcore, Valor Point-capping raider. That means you’re running 7 Troll Heroics a week, and possibly also means that you involuntarily stab yourself in the hand every time you see a boss shaped like an animal. But it also means you’re going to be getting Chaos Orbs just as a biproduct of doing that.

How many? Approximately enough to make a weapon every 2 weeks, for roughly 14k profit assuming you consider the Orbs to be free.


Erm. Except that we haven’t considered the opportunity cost of spamming through to GET the original recipes yet. Most people estimate 45 minutes per day to do the dailies, and it rises after the 11th day, probably to about 1 hour for the sake of simplicity. So, in order to go through the 25-day process to get the recipes, you’ve spent 11×45 +14 x1 hours = 22 hours approximately. (This is a VERY optimistic estimate, and doesn’t include learning time, time to do the quests you only do once, time to complete Hyjal if you haven’t done that yet…)

At our figure above, then, the opportunity cost of getting the recipes was 33k at best.

So, in the end, how much are your recipes worth? Well, if you’re doing at least 7 Heroics a week, every week, after 12 weeks you’ll have made 51k, or 600g a day – not bad, but not a great return. It’s about twice what I make off Ebonsteel Belt Buckles on their own – for 5 min work a day.

And if you’re not a hardcore VP-capper, it’s even worse. 3 Heroics a week? Then you can make one weapon every 5 weeks, meaning after 12 weeks you’ll have made 7.2k.

But what else could you do with the Orbs?

Of course, that means that you could, essentially, be looking at a steady income from Chaos Orbs, which is nice. But the problem is that at some point, the market’s going to change.

Pretty much everyone’s expecting Chaos Orbs to become BoE. Even if they don’t, with the next raid patch the iLevel will go up again, and in all likelihod there’ll be another recipe grind.

So what’s going to happen then?

Well, for starters, if they do become BoE, you could then sell all the Orbs you’ve aquired even if you didn’t do the recipe run. Everyone will be unloading at once, so there’ll probably be a glut, but nonetheless you’ll be able to make 500g or so for each orb.

At the same time, the new recipes are likely to make the older ones, compared to their mats cost (including newly-tradable Orbs, if that happens) significantly less valuable. It wouldn’t be unfair to assume that the utility value of the recipes essentially stops at the next patch.

And whilst we’re examining all this, it’s worth remembering that you can still make the old 359 Chaos Orb items now, even if you don’t have the new recipes. They don’t sell and won’t sell for nearly as much as the new items, but still, making something like Elementium Deathplate or Assassin’s Chestguard will net you a grand total of about 4-5k, meaning approximately 1-2k profit, again working out at, very roughly, 500g per orb. That means that your increased profit for selling the new stuff is effectively reduced by 500g per Orb from the totals above, because you could have simply skipped the Firelands recipes and sold the old items instead.

So, grand and final total maximum profit from grinding for these recipes, over simply farming the same amount of time?

For a 7-Heroics-per-week raider: 110k total over the 6-month lifespan of the recipes, or 600g per day.

For a 3-Heroics-per-week more casual player: **22k total over the 6-month lifespan of the recipes, or 120g per day.


Overall, if you’re a VP-capper, grinding for the recipes was probably significantly less profitable in the long term than levelling a new toon to 75 and getting them two professions maxed, unless you already have all professions covered. If you’re not capping your VP, it was probably a LOT less profitable.

Of course, all of this could be wrong. Demand for the weapons could be much higher than I expect, and they could sell for 50k for months. Equally, they could sink like a stone now that everyone’s PUGing raids for 359s. But my best guess is the above.

So what to do now?

If you’ve already ground out these recipes, all is not lost.

The most important limiting factor in all this work is the rate at which you can aquire Chaos Orbs. If you can somehow arrange it so that you get a Chaos Orb every single run, the recipes become a massive money-maker. At 7 Orbs a week, if everything else stays the same, you’re going to make 370k profit from having these recipes rather than anything else over 6 months.

That means that it’s worth using almost any means necessary to get those Orbs. Offer to boost people in exchange for the Orb. Organise runs with guildies you know don’t use Orbs. Pay people off not to roll.

If you can optimise your Orbs, you win.

And what should we watch out for next time?

The Firelands recipes looked like obvious winners for gold-making, which is why so many of us have been grinding hard to get them. But in actual fact, it turns out that they’re less a gift and more a treadmill for comparatively little reward, unless you’re already doing some other very grindy activities.

If the next patch contains more tempting recipes, it’s worth looking very closely at the amount of effort needed to obtain them. Do they require materials that can’t be easily obtained (Living Embers, I call you to the stand) or are only obtainable through farming (Orbs)? What else could you be doing with the time investment needed to get them, and would it be more profitable, more flexible, and/or more fun? I know I would have had more fun levelling a DK at my own pace than HAVING to do the dailies every day to get the recipes as soon as possible.

In this case, if Blizzard puts a sparkly pony on a string in front of you as an AH player, it’s definitely worth counting its teeth.

– UPDATE as figures come in –

Numbers are coming in on our server at least. Currently the weapons are going for 10k-15k, less than HALF what I predicted below. Truegold hasn’t spiked as predicted, although I would expect that to happen at the weekend.

This significantly changes my summary to a very simple “It’s basically not worth it no matter what you do and how you’re getting the orbs”. Even if you’re a hardcore raider, to make the time you spent back will take more than 3 months (@10k price – 5k mats every two weeks).

Please comment with the numbers you’re seeing on your server – I’ll be interested to see if this value estimation FAIL is happening across the board.

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Retro-spectacular! Keys, Vanilla Heroics, and reaching Gold Cap

To round off our half-week of retrospectives, today we’ve got 3 really rather cool ones – each of which, frankly, probably deserve their own post, but that way I’d be rather overloading your RSS readers.

So, with no further ado:

  • Keys are about to disappear from WoW forever, and Kurn’s looking back and remembering the pain in the ass that was aquiring the things in the first place – and all the good memories that went along with that. I actually sat back and grinned for a moment, reading this and remembering all my own memories of the Onyxia attunement – really great post.
  • Klepsacovic at Troll Racials Are Overpowered is discussing the oft-quoted theory that Vanilla didn’t have Heroics – and he disagrees. I never did the Dungeon 0.5 quests, so it was an interesting read!
  • Finally, Fox Van Allen over at that little-known site WoW Insider is writing about his three-month journey from 20k gold to the gold cap. This is a REALLY interesting post, both from a practical method-comparison point of view and also looking at something that very few people manage.

So – will you miss keys? Do you miss Vanilla-style progression? And is there any chance you’ll ever hit gold cap (in any game), and if so, how?

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Gold-making mishaps competition: The results

A little while ago, Rebecca asked you for your most amusing gold-making mishap. In return for humbling yourself (or your fellow auctioneers) on the internetz, we offered you the chance to win a free copy of Zoxy’s new ebook Gold Making The Basics.

There were some excellent (painful) stories submitted, but in the end we’ve chosen a definite winner … and that winner is Cynwise!

Buying out all the First Mate’s Hats when Cataclysm dropped at 2 grand each, thinking I’d be getting a deal, without checking that the drop rates had been increased? Well, I didn’t need all that gold, I guess.

I feel that pain. I still have a bank mule with bags full of things I thought would sell at the start of Cataclysm. I had a list of about a dozen items which I’d carefully prepared, using market prices and expected demand and maths. I had to figure out how to do standard deviation in my spreadsheet application: this was serious number-crunching. I was convinced I was onto a goldmine. What I’d failed to take into account, of course, was the fact that I’m an idiot. Ah well. Maybe they’ll all sell at the start of the next expansion.

Congratulations Cynwise! We’ll be in touch very soon to give you your prize. Hope it goes some way towards numbing the pain of all that gold dropped on overpriced headgear. Thanks to everyone who shared gold-making woes with us … and remember, it’s not always bad. I once sold a mining pick for 150g. If you don’t play WoW, take it from me – that’s quite a mark-up.

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Potion of Treasure Finding Marks The Spot

Rhidach’s testing something fancy and I think I might just try it for myself. Gold’s all over the place in WoW, what with every quest and dungeon rewarding you a fortune large enough to buy a seaside holiday, but there’s always room for more gold in your purse.

Rhidach’s recounting his experiments using the Potion of Treasure Finding and then finding a prime monster-grinding spot. Rhidach tells us exactly where he went to grind monsters and relieve them of their hidden treasure chests, thanks to the potion. He even gives tips on How Not To Die ™, given the area he chose is so full of monsters and they have a way of knocking 15% of a bod’s health off a time.

I had four Potions of Treasure Finding in my bags, and on a lark I headed over to Deepholm to do some AOE farming and see if I could make some decent coin out of it. I did some research on what spots were optimal, and it turns out the the best place had been hotfix nerfed two days ago. Drat. … Between the mobs dropping 15-40 silver each, looting about 18 tiny chests (and thus the contents), and various greys and greens, I probably made…

Made how much? That’d be telling! It might not be the best way to make money out there but it’s something a bit different, and something to do out in the field. This is a trick for anyone, provided a bit of due care and planning. But let’s face it – getting smashed in the face by hundreds of irritated monsters is right up a tank’s alley – why not make it a gold making setup, meatshields?

What about you – have you tried combining grinding with potion of treasure finding – how did it go, and do you have any tips to share?

_Quote taken directl from Rhidach’s post

You can find Righteous Defense’s homepage here_

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Roundup: Reactions And Advice For The Shattering

No bones about it: the world’s changing tomorrow. Maybe even today if you’re over the Pond. A lot of folks are saying their farewells or looking ahead to the changes – it’s all the same thing, really. It wouldn’t  be right to go into it without rounding up at least some of the reactions around the blogosphere though. I don’t think I could catch ’em all so I’ve got a selection of posts about the Shattering for you – some are advice you might find useful, some will take you back down memory lane, and others will plain get you giggling.

  • Let’s Review: Portal Ettiquette – tomorrow’s changes will mean less portals. Yep, getting from city to city won’t be a blink of an eye anymore – unless you ask a mage or a warlock. Well, Askevar at You Yank It You Tank It has some great tips on how to get a portal from a mage or a summon from a warlock. Given that mages and warlocks are suddenly going to become popular and overwhelmed with requests to act as bus conductors, we’d all do well to remember Askevar’s tips.
  • Low Risk Investing For Cataclysm – technically a bit ahead of time as we’re just getting half the experience tomorrow but now’s as good a time as any to start investing in Cataclysm. Markco has put up a guest post by Just Another Goblin with some quick and downright sensible tips on the kinds of things you can squirrel away for a rainy day. Or, say, Cataclysm, when the world and his dragon are going to want to buy these items. Quick, clear the bank and get to stockpiling this stuff.
  • Take Heart, Young One and Farewell Cairne – these posts are short but really touching. Warning: if you’ve stayed away from all Cataclysm news, this might spoiler you a bit. But both posters, Latus and ‘Paw, are saying their own farewells to a lovely and stoic NPC. If you want the full details of what’s happening ‘Paw’s post has a link to the full backstory, and both posters are saying that throughout the day tauren players have been holding vigils near their leader.
  • Steamboat Blizzie – Fulgaralis has a slightly different take on the whole ‘big change’ thing. Instead of looking back or forwards she’s taking the opportunity to get a clear look at Blizzard. She’s comparing them to Disney – yup, Disney. It’s an interesting argument and I kinda find myself agreeing with her. We might not have the jumbo comedy ears in WoW but there’s magic there – right?
  • The End of The World As We Know It – Moraith over at I Brake For Epics has been busy this morning, creating an album of screenshots to remember Azeroth as it was. The screenshots are in three posts – you can find part one where she says some goodbyes in the first link, part 2 here and part 3 here. Angelya over at Revive and Rejuvenate has been posting screenshots by zones for the past couple of weeks too – you can find them all on her blog, and I believe soon to be in their own album.
  • Leafshine Hoped Her Panic Over The Impending Cataclysm Didn’t Show – a very simple post going for the light side of the big changes. Had me laughing, and looks like i wasn’t the only one. Great if you’re looking for giggles before logging in to find how badly things have broken :)


There are more out there. I know there are. I’m happy to add more items to this list –** just let me know in the comments if you’ve got an artcle you’d like added. But I’m also really interested in hearing the reactions of the non-bloggers out there: we’re all players and we’re all in the Shattering together. Though you might not be blogging I’m sure this is an emotive time for you too. Please do feel free to speak up in the comments, as ever!

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Acadia’s Gold: Ways To Quick Gold For Lowbie Characters

Gold! We all want it in WoW. And strangely, a lot of us are going to be levelling new or lil’ characters at some point in the not too distant future. Hrmble, some of us might even be doing that already to stop ourselves catching flies in the pre-Cataclysm wait. But how to combine the gold rush and your lowbie characters? Well, Acadia’s got a tip for you. Yes, you. ‘Cos she’s got one for Alliance and one for Horde.

Both of them are very quick tips highlighting something you can only get in your faction. Both of them are things that you can resell for, she says, a tidy profit on your own AH. Or, you know, a minor fortune by selling it to the other faction who can’t get hold of it, via the neutral AH.

If you are frequenting the wow Gold blogs you’ve probably read about selling low level meats in the AH, Buying fishing poles, Coper rods and Other vendor items that have a good markup and can net you a couple gold. These are great little money makers and will help you to slowly build up some gold to work with.

But did you know that there is a…

Both these tips seems like good tidbits for anyone, veteran or new player, to get our lowbie characters a new shiny lining in their purse. You can find the Alliance one linked above; the horde one is here. I actually quite like checking in Acadia fairly regularly as she posts quite a few tips like this one, and another one recently netted me a quick profit too… nice work, Acadia.


What about you – have you found any gold tips you’d like to share with lowbies, or are you keeping them to yourself for fear of market competition?**

_Quote taken directly from Acadia’s horde tip post

You can find Acadia’s Gold’s homepage here_

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Just My Two Copper: Guide On What Will Sell Before Cataclysm

Cataclysm coming and impending doom upon your character’s finances? Not sure what to cull from your bank? Think you might be able to use your professions for some pre- earth Shattering profit? Well, Markco’s got the answers on this one in his latest guide on what to sell before Cataclysm.

He goes through the professions and briefly describes what should sell for each of them. Where applicable he also talks about when to not sell items, or exactly what time of day to list them. In all cases he also makes a note if you can expect to see a change for the better – or worse – come December the 7th.


Dream shards will have zero value in cataclysm. Abyss crystals will be similarly valueless and will provide an opportunity later on for those enchanters who are savvy enough to buy out the crystals and shatter them for the much more valuable infinte dust and lesser cosmic essences which levelers will need. I’ve been selling quite a few berserking and spellpower to weapon enchants as well as…

Markco also goes over a few of the Wrath non-profession but auctionable staples at the end of his guide, like frozen orbs and eternals. His points are all succinct, so you can find the professions that apply to you and get on the way to your local auction house within a few minutes, ready for the gold to come a’callin.

What do you think – have you found something selling well that’s not on his list, or are you just selling everything possible to make room for new items?__


Quote taken directly from Markco’s post

You can find Just My Two Copper’s homepage here_

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The Real Quaaid: What To Stockpile For Cataclysm And Why

Quaaid at The Real Quaaid is one of the newest and most promising gold bloggers to pop up recently. Today he’s talking about what items he thinks are useful to stockpile for Cataclysm and why. He jumps right in with the theory behind why he’s making his choices before getting into the nitty gritty of what items he’s eyeing up. Stick with him though – his reasoning is thoughtful and clear, comparing the WoW economy to real life economy, backed up with examples.

I am very concerned that my decent amount of gold now will become not-so-decent once inflation hits in Cataclysm (and, boy, will it ever).

Markco’s response to my question above on the Call to Auction podcast was to listen to their last few episodes for items to stockpile.  He’s right.  They’ve covered this a lot.  However, my unstated point was how do you dump gold now into something that can be easily liquidated in a few months?  The key point here is liquidated.  The two considerations in my mind are…

Quaaid’s made some interesting stockpile choices, too. I’d say Some of the items on his list are ye olde traditional stock fodder but that’s what makes them interesting – I’d thought the value had dropped out of some of the older items. He also makes some good points about things that are going to Go Away in Cataclysm, which you might want to stockpile for future sales.

Quaaid’s article might sound like a headache from the title. But break it down and it’s very readable, with something for everyone to think about as we prepare for Cataclysm.

It looks like Quaaid’s hoping this kind of discussion will take off on his blog, so why not go over and chatter to him about what you’re stockpiling, or what you think the best commodity in which to store value is?

_Quote taken directly from Quaaid’s post

You can find The Real Quaaid’s homepage here_

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Just My Two Copper: How To Make Some Gold As A Lowbie

Markco over at Just My Two Copper is addressing something that every new character has in common: starting out as fresh adventurer without a copper to their name.

Whether you’re a new or experienced player, starting a new character on the road to heroic deeds is an expensive time what with training, professions and upgrading the clothes on your back so you don’t keel over quite so quickly. But Markco’s showing us how to make some cash simply and affordably; by reselling some of the items available from vendors around big cities.

I remember the first time I entered Orgrimmar on my warrior. All I could think was wow… this place is huge, look at all the buildings and people! As a new player I focused on getting my quests done, exploring the city and then moved on to other areas to keep leveling. I missed out on major gold making opportunities I wish I’d known about back then.

These tips are great for everyone. Not just new characters. Sure, they alolow your new character help themselves off to a comfortable start. But they also help the person choosing to buy your auctions spend their time doing something other than running around a city in return for a couple of gold.

_Quote taken directly from Markco’s post_

_Markco’s Just My Two Copper homepage is here and his Youtube channel is here_

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