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.
|MARKET PRICE COST TO CRAFT|
|Ghost Iron Ore||Ghost Iron Bar||Trillium Bar||Living Steel|
|Qty x GIO||1||2||20||120|
|Qty x GIB||1||10||60|
|Qty x TB||1||6|
|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.