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3.07.2011

How Leatherworking Helped Me Lose 18k Gold



There once was a Death Knight who wanted to get the most our of her professions. She had leveled so fast she hadn't taken the time to level professions. Now she had time and was going to correct that.

When the day came to finally choose her professions. A skinner was something she was born to do so that was her first choice. As for her second she read all the best theorycrafting and decided that the best DPS increase possible was Leatherworking. Wait. Leatherworking?

This didn't make logical sense. She wore plate. She smashed things with big swords and hammers. Why in the world would she choose Leatherworking?

The answer might surprise you. What might surprise you even more is the series of events that would lead to me losing 18,000 gold because of Leatherworking.

The King
At the time my Death Knight was choosing her professions a series of changes to the stat priorities placed Strength squarely at the top of the Death Knight priority.

The best of the best (or it was for a month or so).

Strength was so good that any possible profession had to be judged solely on how much Strength it could bring to the table. At the time leatherworking provided a whipping 130 strength via Draconic Embossment - Strength. 130! (Intellect, Stamina and Agility were also available.)

That was 50 strength more all other comparable professions (Blacksmithing, Alchemy, Enchanting and Inscription) could provide. That extra 50 Strength made Leatherworking the clear winner for any Death Knight who wanted to get the most from their professions.

The Correction
You might be wondering why EVERY Death Knight didn't pick up Leatherworking if it was so clearly superior to all other professions? Blizzard felt the same and corrected the situation in patch 4.0.6 by adding new bracer enchants into the game.

The enchanting formulas would be world drops and would add +50 Strength, +50 Intellect and +50 Agility to wrist slot to bring Leatherworking's power back in line with all other comparable professions.

And so the saga began. Formula: Enchant Bracer - Major Strength, Formula: Enchant Bracer - Mighty Intellect and Formula: Enchant Bracer - Agility came crashing into our lives.

Whether the original over-powered nature of the LW emboss (and the subsequent new formulas) was an oversight by Blizzard or planned is irrelevant at this point. What isn't irrelevant is how it affected the economy and the auctioneer community.

The gold-making blogs started speculating as to whether or now this would be a new source of income. People speculated as to how much gold could be made.

The Opportunity
As with any new potential source of income the gold blogging community let out a collective "AWWWWWWWWWW YEAHHHHHHHHH!"

Dramatic Reenactment: The Dream

We dreamed of the Scrooge McDuck-style swimming pools full of gold we would dive into once these patterns started showing up on the AH. We salivated over the chance to get our greedy little hands on them. We were the auctioneers! We were the ones who kept up on these kind of things. We were in the 'know'. How could we possible go wrong!

And thus is was that when the formulas started showing up on the Auction House we were often the first to snap them up no matter the cost. We may have even made a scroll or two. We had the money. We had to be first. We had to strike while the iron was hot.

We also may have had the mats if we were savvy enough to know hot to make our own Maelstrom Crystals. We were smart enough to have been Alchemists/Enchanters. Even with that nerfed we were smart enought to be Engineers/Enchanters or Enchanters that DE'd PVP gear.

Regardless, we knew how to get the mats that were needed to make money on these new enchants. We were ready.

The Downfall
There was only one small problem. No one wanted them. For those who took the plunge expecting huge profits all we got was all wet as the demand for the enchants never materialized.

Dramatic Reenactment: The Reality

Those of use who had purchased the formulas for 10k (or 20k) gold, those of us who had poured literally 5-6k worth of materials into one single enchant, found that the player base wasn't buying what we were trying to sell them.

Scrolls sat on the AH week after week. The few early sellers slowly and methodically undercut each other searching for the price point at which they would finally sell.

Scrolls, whose mat cost at creation had been 6k, slowly dipped to 5k then 4k. Today I saw one listed for 3.5k

(For further reading see my post entitled The Drag Hiding In Your Bag (Or Hello Mr. Albatross!) and more recently Stokpile's Investments & Bracer enchants.)

A Looming Threat
Then just when us, the brave auction house vanguard, thought it couldn't get any worse Blizzard announced the content for patch 4.1 which included new Heroic 5-Man dungeons which would drop epic loot.

This epic loot would bring more Maelstrom Crystals into the market which would only lower their value and further devalue and scrolls that were already made.

I wish I could say there was a silver lining to this story. At present there really isn't. In the future maybe there will be a time when they enchant may make those who picked it up a few gold here and there as more Maelstrom Crystals come into the market.

The Domino Effect
I wanted to lay this out in such detail to help show that everything that happens in the game affect everything else.

1) Because of the changes in stats in 4.0.1 the Leatherworking bracer emboss was too strong.

2) Because the bracer emboss was too strong Blizzard implemented new bracer enchants to bring other professions in line with LW.

3) Because these new bracer enchants were world drops they were rare and sold for large sums. Because they had recently nerfed the Alchemist/Enchanter source for Maelstrom Crystals their price was high at the time these formulas were introduced.

1+2+3 = Leatherworking cost me 18k gold. (10k pattern + 12k mats for 2 scrolls - 4k for one scroll that finally just sold yesterday.)

The Takeaway
We can never look at any single transaction or opportunity in a vacuum. We can't just see that TUJ shows bracer enchants selling listing for 10k and assume that they will sell for that amount.

We have to have knowledge and we have to have a view of the economy of our server (and the game) as a whole. We have to read patch notes and understand how the landscape can and will change.

We have to take risks in order to make gold. We learn from experience. We can go into these decisions with the best information we can.

We won't always hit a home run. No one can ALWAYS hit a home run. What we can do is practice and hone our skills so that when the right pitch comes out way. When the right opportunity comes our way we can evaluate it properly and then swing for the fences.

Talking Points
  • What sources can we use to help keep a view on the whole economy?
  • What tools do we have to evaluate the profit potential of a new opportunity?
  • What did you learn from the new bracer formulas that you will use in the future?
  • Why do you think Blizzard made the bracer formula materials so expensive?

6 comments:

  1. I avoid huge buys like these. Anything that targets a select group is far too risky for me. In this case, the group would be end game hard-core raiders.

    I cannot imagine more than 3-5 end game guilds per server. Of which, have what, 5-6 maybe of any particular class that would be using this enchant anyway?

    If I were to buy in to such a selective highly priced item - 20k for the formula once it first arrived on the AH - I wouldn't purchase unless I had 3-5 people already waiting to give me their gold for the scrolls. At least then I would at least break even, regardless of what Blizzard chooses to do in further content updates.

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  2. Love that 2nd picture, haha. Other than that, I feel like the guy in the 4th image because I still haven't bought those formulas.

    We really have to trust our own instincts in situations like these, and I'm glad that my own proved to be trustworthy so far. Or perhaps it was only my laziness, who knows?

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  3. Don't you just love speculation? I would recommend something like wowpopular to make more accurate decisions about these things. While EJ and the other theorycrafting sites might clearly show what is BiS, doesn't mean that is what everyone will be buying.

    Looking at the popularity (or lack, thereof) with the other maelstrom enchants, I stayed away from these new ones. Sounds like that saved me about 18K...

    What people SHOULD use, and what people are willing to pay for don't always line up. If you compare the 2 versions of the haste enchant, the regular one costs about 1.5g per skill point on my server, compared to almost 100g per skill point for enchant bracer - greater speed. That's a huge difference.

    Thanks for the post. Sorry to hear you got burned, but I'm sure you can find a way for LW to make up some of that deficit for you.

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  4. Not all that is new and shiny is a done deal, there are some people that will go full extensions to have the newest shiny toy.
    But they are very few, to me what will make you the most gold are the average Joe, the one that buys what he needs wend he needs it, he doesn't lose is head for the cool new thing , he is patience and knows in the end ,that that thing will because cheaper,or that he cant still use it, and will wait before deciding to buy it.
    I had a similar situation whit whiptails that i still haven't sorted out,i went after the speculation out there ,i take a blind dive in a river i did not know ,and I almost drown, luck for my Alto saved my sorry arse, and teached me the virtues of patience .
    So now i choose what i invest more carefully, i try to play it safe,i know this way i wont get rich fast ,but at least i am growing slow but steady ,and in less then 2 weeks i made 5k ,selling all sort of stuff .
    So we shouldn't bite more that we can chew , i like this metaphor :)
    Even if you lost gold you at least gain important information for the future.
    Experience will always be your best teacher i know this for a fact.

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  5. One thing you've missed is that with the undoubted drop in prices of MCs, these enchants will become more affordable to craft. More affordable to craft means you can mark them up for profit, but still be in the range of what most people would like to pay. Though we don't know what will drop from H-ZA/ZG, it's possible that we'll get some epic bracers, which people will be more inclined to enchant with BiS scrolls. Even if they don't drop bracers, these heroics will make the transition into raids much easier for most guilds, so you could expect to see more bracers coming from that (and by extension, more demand for BiS bracer enchants). 4.1 will be great for enchanters exactly because of cheaper MCs. Though you might not be making as huge a profit margin as is theoretically possible now, the increase demand will more than make up for it.

    Also, it's not that the mats for the formula are expensive, it's that they're rare, ergo, they're expensive. It's tied in to the reason Bliz nerfed the ability to DE alchemist stones. The best enchants are *intended* to be out of reach for most people. Bliz doesn't want people to strap on these amazing enchants and just faceroll new content, they want it to be challenging. Though +50 to your primary stat isn't as great as, say, Landslide or Powertorrent, it's still BiS, therefore it's not supposed to be easy to get.

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  6. The enchant bracers 'strength' recipe is 6k & intellect is 12k gold on my server. I put a bid on the strength recipe yesterday. Someone outbid me and I was relieved for not winning.

    Maelstrom crystals are 2.5k gold on my server.

    My plan is to wait for the recipe/s to be more available. I have no idea where the maelstrom crystals are gonna come from.

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