Category: Making Gold

As I predicted on Bitter and Salty, the market price value (MPV) for gathered materials continues to plummet. This is directly affecting the value of many of the higher-end, Mists of Pandaria (MoP) items in the game such as Living Steel, Dark Moon Faire cards, and flasks. In some cases, it’s not worth the trouble to craft these items because of the amount of time it takes you to process components at each level.

Living Steel was a hot commodity soon after MoP launched. Prices were extreme with single bars going for multiple thousands of gold. Then, on October 3, 2012, equilibrium was reached, and the MPV began to plummet. A post-equilibrium surplus such as the one Living Steel experienced a couple months ago can be an indicator of an aggressive loss of value. The market price for one Living Steel bar across all servers is now 476 gold. The price is even lower on high population servers (300-350 gold). Many players have probably bailed out of the Living Steel market altogether, frustrated with the fall in prices and reminiscing about easy gold-making.

This is not the time to panic, however. It’s the perfect time for some math! If you’re crafting Living Steel, then you’re an Alchemist specializing in Transmutation. If you’re not then you’re doing it wrong! If you are, then you’re watching the Ghost Iron Bar and Trillium Bar market. If you have access to a Blacksmith, then you’re watching the Ghost Iron Ore market. In reality, all of the markets are falling relative to each other, but the lowest tiered material is falling the quickest. You don’t want to ignore secondary and tertiary materials (the Ghost Iron and Trillium bars, in this case) as values on these will even out over time.

I’ve put together another spreadsheet using market prices published by The Undermine Journal for the Horde on Earthen Ring (US). The formulas within the spreadsheet calculate the cost to craft one Living Steel bar using one of the three components. As you can see in this example, the cheapest method, by far, is to use Ghost Iron Ore. However, we know that most Alchemists are lazy (especially Trolls), and they will buy the Ghost Iron bars directly off the auction house. An Alchemist would never buy the Trillium bars because they can transmute them with no cool down. Wait, what? You’re an Alchy and you buy Trillium bars to make Living Steel? Stop it.

Ghost Iron Ore Ghost Iron Bar Trillium Bar Living Steel
Price 1.57 4.39 48.04 318.75
Qty x GIO 1 2 20 120
Cost (GIO) 1.57 3.14 31.44 188.63
Qty x GIB 1 10 60
Cost (GIB) 4.39 43.90 263.41
Qty x TB 1 6
Cost (TB) 48.04 288.25
ACTION Craft Living Steel!

Simply put: f the cost to make a Living Steel bar is less than the value of the bar itself, go ahead and make it. However, I also take into account the values of the ore and bars in-between so that a sudden spike in Trillium Bar cost/value (for example) would put a stop to what I like to call my “Living Steel Dailies.” Oh, and this does not factor in a transmute-spec’d alchemist’s change to proc bonus Living Steel bars, of course. That’s just pure, unadulterated profit at that point.

My good buddy Rexor has been telling me about this fantastic way to flip cheap, Mists of Pandaria-level Enchanting materials for nice profits in World of Warcraft. I understood his fascination with this scheme: taking advantage of players that don’t understand how Enchanting materials — or the profession, in general — work in the new expansion. If you’re making gold, the two best markets to be in are selling items that are confusing to players, or selling items in high demand to lazy and/or desperate raiders. The Sha Crystal conversion covers both of these markets.

With MoP, we are introduced to a new tier of Enchanting mats just as we were in the previous expansions. The Sha Crystal is the epic-level Enchanting mat, currently used in five Enchanting recipes. The enchants produced when using Sha Crystals are only necessary when players reach end-game, or when they pick up an item that they probably won’t upgrade for some time. While most players are busy leveling alts, battling pets, or tilling their farm, you can spend a few moments with me and figure out whether or not you want to make some gold with Enchanting.

The Conversion

Before we can confirm whether or not the Sha Crystal conversion market is worthwhile to you, we need to understand the conversion itself. Basically, it takes the following quantities of materials to “craft” one Sha Crystal:

Spirit Dust Mysterious Essence Small Ethereal Shard Ethereal Shard Sha Crystal
Spirit Dust 1 5 25 125
Mysterious Essence 1 5 25
Small Ethereal Shard 1 3 15
Ethereal Shard 1 5
Sha Crystal 1
Reading the table from left to right, you can see how many of the material on the left it takes to craft the item in the column heading. For example, it takes 125 Spirit Dust to “craft” a Sha Crystal, converting (or “upgrading”) all of your dust along the way.

The Formula

Now for the fun part. How do you know which material you should use to create your Sha Crystals? It’s easy! Simply multiply the base material by the number needed in the column to the far right (listed under “Sha Crystal”). If that number is below the market price for the crystal itself, buy it up. If it’s not, or it doesn’t present a significant profit to offset your time, then don’t do anything or sell some of your crystals.

The Spreadsheet

Nobody wants to spend their time calculating Enchanting material cost when they could be out in the world doing pet battles. If you review my post on using IQY data to retrieve market price information, you can create a spreadsheet using the conversion information and formula that will interact with current market prices. Here’s a sample of my data using the Horde auction house on Earthen Ring (US):

378.49 367.86 259.88 334.09 447.19

As you can see, the average market price for one Sha Crystal is 447 gold. In this example, you will gain the most profit from buying 15 Small Ethereal Shards, converting them to five Ethereal Shards, and converting those to a Sha Crystal. With this information, you now have the power to drive down the price of Sha Crystals all by yourself.

A crafter should always know the value of his tools and materials. This is true for crafters making goods to skill up and for those creating items to sell on the auction house. Material value can be easily seen in the game by using the World of Warcraft addon LilSparky’s Workshop (LSW).

What is LilSparky’s Workshop?

Simply put: this addon calculates the cost to create an item and lists the item’s market price next to it. This is powerful information when determining what items to craft when attempting to make gold on the auction house. This addon supports auction house scanners AuctioneerAuctionLiteAuctionMaster, and Auctionator.

Configuring the AddOn

Assuming you have one of the four support scanners, LSW will start working right away with no configuration. It will modify any of the following trade skill interfaces:

If you right-click on the value or cost column, you can select auction, vendor, or disenchant pricing model. By default, the greatest value returned from the three models will be used for that item.

Using the AddOn

You should see both the value and cost columns in your trade skill interface. Your potential profit is the value of the crafted item, minus the cost. LSW formats the value text in bold for items with a profit greater than zero. I use AdvancedTradeSkillWindow (ATSW), and sort my craftables by “difficulty.” I can then eyeball items with a higher profit and make those while leveling a profession.

I haven’t found a way to use LSW and ATSW together to return items sorted by greatest potential profit first. Skillet, on the other hand, will allow you to sort by LSW values, including “LSW: Profit.” The ability to sort by profit is extremely helpful if you are mass producing items.

Download the AddOn

You can download LilSparky’s Workshop from WowAce. The current version as of this post is r138 (September 29, 2012). This addon is not current on Curse or Wowinterface.

Yesterday, I wrote an introduction on how to use The Undermine Journal‘s IQY data source for your gold-making strategies in World of Warcraft. Today, I’ll walk you through a scenario where I calculate the price point for Mists of Pandaria Darkmoon Faire cards.

Previously, I worked through the various calculations to determine a conservative herb milling-to-Darkmoon Faire card crafting rate. I figured that it takes about 212 MoP-level herbs to craft a single card. If you are buying herbs at or under market prices, you can then set your price for a potential, substantial profit when you list your card.

Create a Master Market Pricing File

To get started, generate an IQY file from the Undermine Journal and open it using Microsoft Excel. You will be prompted with a security notice, and it is your responsibility to understand what this means and allow/enable the security exception if you wish to proceed.

You should now have a new Excel workbook with a single worksheet that is populated with WoW auction house market price data. This will be your master market price data for all of your other workbooks. Now, save this workbook to your computer.

You will need to update this file manually in order to retrieve current market pricing, but if you link to it properly (as you’ll see below), then all of your other spreadsheet calculations will use current market prices instead of you having to search for them one at a time and enter them as static values.

How to Use the Master Market Pricing File in Your Formulas

Next, create a new Excel workbook, and type in an item name into a cell. The name must match the actual item name found in the game, or the search will fail. In another cell within the same row of the item name, type the following formula:

=VLOOKUP(<item name cell>, ‘[<pricing workbook file name>]<pricing workbook file name’s worksheet name>’!$F:$G, 2, FALSE)/10000

In my DMF Card calculator, my formula looks like this:

=VLOOKUP(A2, ‘[The Undermine Journal – H-Earthen Ring.xlsx]H-Earthen Ring’!$F:$G, 2, FALSE)/10000

For me, this returns a match for the item name in cell A2 when searching my pricing workbook, “The Undermine Journal – H-Earthen Ring.xlsx,” where my worksheet name is “H-Earthen Ring.” Columns F and G should represent the item names and market prices as returned by the IQY.

Sample Use to Determine Cost of Creating a Darkmoon Card of Mists

I multiply the market price value of each herb by 212 (135 for Fool’s cap) to determine the minimum price I should sell a card for given the current market price. Theoretically, I’m buying herbs below market price, so this value should already indicate a small profit.

Here’s an example of what my table looks like given the current market prices of herbs:

Green Tea Leaf 2.42 2.42 212 512.85
Rain Poppy 2.27 2.27 212 481.16
Desecrated Herb 2.48 2.48 212 525.70
Snow Lily 2.74 2.74 212 581.49
Silkweed 2.41 2.41 212 511.47
Fool’s Cap 4.25 2.85 135 573.75

The “MILL VAL” column is used to determine the milling value of Fool’s Cap when comparing the ink yield rate against the other herbs.

As you can see, it takes a decent investment just to make a single card. You also have to factor in the Scribe’s time to mill the herb, craft the inks, and diligence to make their Scroll of Wisdom each day.

You can use this method for just about every profession that makes use of raw materials to help you determine what you should sell your crafted item for at minimum. If you’re not someone that is interested in crafting, this can still be useful to you to determine whether or not an item is above or below cost.

If you’re like me, then you’re handsome, famous, and play World of Warcraft. If you’re not like me, then you hate spreadsheets. Don’t worry, I’m here to help you. Now, let’s take a stroll to the forbidden, seedy land of Microsoft Excel and Web Query Files.

The Undermine Journal (UJ) is a great resource for data mining market prices and the economy in World of Warcraft. You can search for an item at a time, or use their canned reports to find various types of deals. One of the many hidden gems UJ has to offer is the availability of market data as a data source. I had been using the CSV format of their market price data, but recently switched to IQY.

IQY is a Web Query File that is nothing more than a text file that includes a data source address for a Web Service or API. The IQY file is then recognized by Microsoft Excel and data returned from the service call is displayed in a worksheet.

Here’s how to generate an IQY file for Excel:

  1. Register an account on The Undermine Journal. You will not have access to the IQY data source unless you are logged in
  2. On the User Controls page, find the “Market Data XML and CSV” section, choose a realm, and click on “Excel Data Source” to access your IQY file
  3. Save and open the IQY file in Excel

Now that you have your data, you can start mining the market locally. While you could certainly use this to simply look up item values for buying and selling, this data is extremely useful for crafting. In my next post, I’ll describe how this process applies to my crafting of Darkmoon Faire cards, and formulas you can use to query the data.

My initial foray into the ore shuffle in Mists of Pandaria has been completed with some success. I wouldn’t say that this is overwhelming enough to make this my primary source of income, but I have concluded that it is profitable.

I did end up growing somewhat impatient with my sales, but this is partially due to my inability to remain patient and the large amount of supply that is currently screwing with the market. My philosophy with the auction house is to endure all others, so I will keep posting new auctions, re-listing, and buying out cheap materials daily.

In terms of the ore shuffle itself, here was my TLDR bottom line:

Materials Cost: 2,770
Confirmed Sales: 2,844
Total Sales: 3,950
Profit 1,180

My “Total Sales” is the sum of confirmed sales and my current AH listings where I’ve severely undercut both the average and market price.

At this point in the game, my plan is to use the ore shuffle to level my Jewelcrafting for free. I can achieve this by selling off most of the Sparkling Shards and rare, uncut gems. I can then take the uncommon, uncut gems and use them to level and discover recipes.

I will also use some of the materials to craft jewelry for my Enchanter to disenchant and use to level up Enchanting. Enchanting is going very slow for me in MoP, but utilizing the ore shuffle should increase this significantly.

The disappointing part of the experiment was the fact that the potential profit was not even close to being realized. This is the problem that I continue to have with the get-rich-quick schemes. Actual sales data in World of Warcraft does not exist to the public. Market data is made up solely on potential, thus increasing the amount of risk for players. Remember in my first post, I had calculated a profit of 5,771 gold?  I only made 20% of that.

So what to do with this information now? Well, I can continue to load in current data into the spreadsheet or modify the calculations to assume a 60%-80% drop in expected profit. My plan, however, is to simply watch the price of Ghost Iron Ore and monitor the supply and demand of uncut rare gems. The value of any rare, uncut gem should equal the price of a stack as you typically receive one rare when prospecting an entire stack.

If the average price of all uncut, rare gems is above the average price of a stack of Ghost Iron Ore, sell all the gems at their market price and buy the ore. If the price dips below, then cut the gem for leveling or for alts, or wait until there’s an opportunity to sell.

Yesterday, I wrote about the great potential for making gold in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria using the “ore shuffling” technique. Even though this was wildly successful for me in Cataclysm, I was hesitant to get into the market. After listening to others claim the viability of the process, I figured I would conduct a small experiment using actual values and compare them to the projections.

To begin the experiment, I bought 500 Ghost Iron Ore for a total of 2,770 gold from the Horde auction house on Earthen Ring (US). Using the spreadsheet provided by The Golden Crusade and values provided by The Undermine Journal, I expected a profit of 5,771 gold. Using actual values from prospecting and the auction house, I could expect to make 5,557 gold. That’s only a difference of 214 gold from the projections.

Yes, there were some variances, but nothing out of the ordinary. I would definitely recommend using the spreadsheet to give you a general idea of what kind of return on your investment you could expect by shuffling ore.

Here are some interesting points from this experiment:

So what’s next? If I craft Ornate Bands and Shadowfire Necklaces, I could make another 230 or so gold. However, for convenience’s sake, I will simply list all the raw gems and watch the Jewelcrafters that are trying to rush to 600 gobble them up.

I will report back with my sales to see if I was able to realize the 5500 gold profit. For now, this seems like a more than worthwhile market to enter, so long as the supply of ore remains high and I continue to bring my authenticator and spreadsheets with me wherever I go.

One of my favorite gold-making routines in Cataclysm was shuffling ore. Even if you consider yourself to be an average gold-maker in World of Warcraft, I’m sure you’ve heard of the ore shuffle. In Mists of Pandaria, the ore shuffle has returned, but with high volatility. However, there are tools out there for you to use to help you decide on whether or not it’s worth your while to participate in this gold-making scheme.

The basics of ore shuffling has been covered many times over on the Internet. If you are still not familiar with how it works, you basically use your Jewelcrafter to prospect various types of ore, and perform certain tasks with the prospected materials to turn a profit. These tasks can be as simple as crafting a rare gem, or constructing an item for disenchanting or selling on the auction house.

The Golden Crusade released an excellent guide that includes a spreadsheet that will help you determine whether or not it is profitable for you to shuffle your ore. The instructions are detailed enough, but you’ll need to create an account with the Undermine Journal before you can access the market data for the particular realm you are trying to retrieve data for.

One point to note: the market data that you download and import into the Excel spreadsheet is not used to calculate your profit. It is only there as a reference for you so that you can determine what amount you are comfortable paying for the various types of ore.

So guides on the Internet are great and all, but what about reality? The Golden Crusade outlined sample results when using 100 stacks of Ghost Iron Ore at 200 gold a stack. At a cost of 20K gold, a profit of 4.3K gold was made. Sounds awesome, right? Yeah! However, instead of using the spreadsheet to speculate and calculate, I’ll be using actual values from the Earthen Ring (US) Horde market.

Here are the prices I paid for the ore using actual cost and market prices:

115 20 5.75 10/8/2012
115 20 5.75 10/8/2012
115 20 5.75 10/8/2012
115 20 5.75 10/8/2012
115 20 5.75 10/8/2012
109 20 5.45 10/8/2012
109 20 5.45 10/8/2012
109 20 5.45 10/8/2012
109 20 5.45 10/8/2012
109 20 5.45 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012
110 20 5.5 10/8/2012

This works out to a total of 25 stacks (500 ore) at a total cost of 2,770 gold (at 5.54 gold per ore). The Undermine Journal reported a market price of 5.95 per ore on October 8, 2012. So, in theory, I already made 205 gold based on buying the ore below market price. If I used the spreadsheet, though, I have a potential profit of 5,771 gold. Hooray! Wait, what? That’s not how it works? Okay.

So now it’s time to prospect! I will report back on my ore prospecting yields this week and break down the actual materials gained from the ore and compare them to the spreadsheet.

Everyone needs a fishing buddy. Maybe it’s your favorite pet. It could be your favorite fishing pole. Cheap Beer is a decent fishing buddy. Maybe you have an online friend that also likes to fish. For me, it’s the addon with the actual name, “FishingBuddy.”

What is Fishing Buddy?

FishingBuddy (FB) is an addon for World of Warcraft that is very similar to the other statistical tracking addon I wrote about, MobInfo2. FB tracks your fishing casts and items acquired by location, and stores this data locally on your machine. Also like MobInfo2, you can view your data in reverse, displaying all the locations you’ve caught that particular fish, along with the chance to catch it.

While fishing, the addon displays your current skill level in Fishing, along with any buffs received from gear or consumables. If you’re like me and can only fish while wearing a particular outfit, you can use FB to swap between your current and fishing gear.

Configuring the AddOn

There’s not much you’ll want to modify in the configuration. FB is simple enough to start using as-is. I do turn on the option to display failed casts though. Much like MobInfo2, I like to see as much information as the addon can accurately display. You can also adjust the audio options to increase the “splash” volume while fishing which is useful if you aren’t always staring at your screen while fishing.

Using the AddOn

When you equip your preferred fishing pole, FB automatically displays a small window with all of your local fishing statistics for the particular location you are about to fish in. With every cast and catch, you’ll see the addon update the window with statistics for your current session, as well as a summary of all your sessions.

As someone who fishes for fun and for generating gold, I then take this information and determine how valuable the location is. For example, in The Jade Forest in Mists of Pandaria, I’ve determined that a successful catch is worth 17.5 gold. Yes, that’s per catch and not per session or per stack.

FB has tracked about 150 of my casts in the river near the starting area, and has calculated a 42% chance to catch Golden Carp, a 40% chance to catch Jade Lungfish, and a 13% chance to catch Redbelly Mandarin. The remaining 5% is given to Sealed Crates or quest items.

Based on the average value of fish on Earthen Ring, and the chance to Here’s the breakdown:

  • Golden Carp: 10g mean / 5g market
  • Jade Lungfish: 5g mean / 10g market
  • Redbelly Mandarin: 1.5g mean and market
  • All other (random items found in Sealed Crates): 1g

Download the AddOn

You can download the addon from Curse or WoWInterface:



FishingBuddy sample image courtesy of