Maelstrom Crystal Prices Plummet in Patch 4.1 - How To Capitalize?

In the wake of Patch 4.1: "Rise of the Zandalari" there have been some major shake-ups in the World of Warcraft economy.

Some were predicted and some have been unexpected. Today we are going to be discussing the absolute free-fall that has happened to the prices of Maelstrom Crystals and how we may be able to take advantage of it as gold-makers.

(Farming, mining or checking the AH? We all love to multi-task. Listen to the spoken-word version of this post while you play via the embedded player below or download/play either the Normal Speed MP3 or the "Time is Money" 2x Speed MP3.)
Normal Speed "Time is Money" 2x Speed

It's Raining Men Crystals
As predicted in "4.1 Maelstrom Crystal Price Crash Imminent? A Link Roundup" the price for Maelstrom Crystals has never been lower than it is right now.

The increase in supply from the new Heroic Zul'Aman and Heroic Zul'Gurub has been greater than even I had expected with prices falling from 1200 gold to as little as 350 gold per Maelstrom Crystal.

As of this writing the prices seem to have leveled out to around 400 gold per Crystal. This is a loss of nearly 66% of their value in one day.

Maelstrom Crystal prices as low as 395g on my server.

How to Convert?
The real question we have to ask ourselves is how to make gold from this new lower price for Maelstrom Crystals. I think the answer lies in finding what the Crystals are used in and how we expect players to react to these new prices.

The few initial ways I can see gold being made off of these new prices are:
  • Crafting enchanting scrolls that require Maelstrom Crystals and selling them at a markup.
  • Buying cheap Maelstrom Crystals and reposting them at a slightly higher price.
  • Advertising yourself as an enchanter who can perform the popular Maelstrom Crystal enchants and asking for a crafting fee.
  • Selling items crafted with Maelstrom Crystals.

The Player's Perspective
Looking at how I personally react to these prices as a player (and not simply as a gold-maker) can give me my first clue to solving this puzzle.

Seeing prices for Maelstrom Crystals drop I start to wonder if it's time to finally get around to upgrading some of my enchants. I would go about doing this in one of two ways.

If I wasn't an enchanter I would look the name of the enchant up on the auction house and see if a pre-made enchanting scroll was available at a reasonable price. If not I would either look up the materials online or ask in trade for an enchanter to link their book or the recipe.

Once I had the formula I would proceed to purchase the materials (including Maelstrom Crystals) from the auction house and bark in trade for an enchanter to do the enchant.

The Maelstrom Crystal price crash as recorded by The Undermine Journal

The Enchanter's Perspective
If I was an enchanter who had the formula already I would purchase the needed enchanting materials from the auction house and do the enchant myself if. If I didn't have the formula I would ask in trade for someone to perform it.

I would only buy expensive formulas (ones that are purchased for 5 Maelstrom Crystals) if I was planning on crafting scrolls for many of my alts or barking in trade chat/selling scrolls.

In the two scenarios above it seems to me the clear winners would be those selling the Maelstrom Crystals themselves and not enchanters making the scrolls to sell.

Tying up expensive materials (even at reduced prices) is always a risky endeavorer. The majority of players wanting these expensive enchants are raiders with access to not only guild enchanters but guild Maelstrom Crystals as well.

If you do decide to explore selling scrolls or barking enchants be aware that the formula price for most popular enchants (Formula: Enchant Weapon - Landslide, Power Torrent and Windwalk) cost (5) Maelstrom Crystals each. That is a 2000 gold investment per enchant. Are you sure you'll make that back in crafting fees/scroll profits?

Bark at the Moon
With Maelstrom Crystal prices dropping by 66% players may be more apt to pay a "crafting fee" for enchanters to perform the enchants they need. This will be especially true if enchanters are keeping pre-made enchanting scroll prices far above material costs.

I wouldn't think twice about paying a 100-150g crafting fee because I've already saved 600 gold per Maelstrom Crystal by waiting until after Patch 4.1 to do these enchants.

Convenience is a key to many players. They want what they want and they want it now. Now that 99% of players are concentrated in the two major cities paying an enchanter to perform enchants is much more likely. You already know where they hang out.

If you've had success barking your enchanting services in the past now may be a good chance to revisit this technique. I'd make sure to concentrate your barks on either popular enchants involving Maelstrom Crystals or simply "Maelstrom Crystal enchants". I would recommend stating in your bark what your crafting fee is. You don't want to surprise players by asking for a 100g crafting fee that they weren't expecting.

No Magic Lamp pets available on my server? I smell an opportunity.

Pet Shop Boys
The other possible way we can make money off of the Maelstrom Crystal price drop is crafting the two enchanting pets that require them as part of the recipe.

Enchanted Lantern can be crafted by Horde enchanters while the Magic Lamp can be crafted by the Alliance. Each pet requires 1 Maelstrom Crystal.

These may have been a lesser-crafted item previously and may still fetch pre-Patch 4.1 prices. To really maximize your return on these items you should explore selling them on the opposite faction.

Be sure to check material prices against current auction house prices for these before you decide to jump in. (See "Calculating Maelstrom Crystal Price Vs. Engineering Goggle Price" for more info on how to efficiently compare prices.)

Also if you decide to sell these pets cross-faction be sure to check out "Making Gold Selling Alliance Cooking Recipes To The Horde" for tips on setting up your own cross faction trading network.

While I've put out some solid ideas on how we may be able to make some profit from Maelstrom Crystals I myself am stepping very carefully into this market. I've been burned this area in the past (See "The Drag Hiding In Your Bag (Or Hello Mr. Albatross!)" and "How Leatherworking Helped Me Lose 18k Gold"). As the saying goes "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

I'll most likely start by crafting a few pets to sell cross faction (after checking prices) and perhaps start flipping a few of the cheaper Maelstrom Crystals I pick up via trade the auction house. Worst case scenario the flipping fails and I use the Maelstrom Crystals for my own personal enchants.

Remember there are a lot of inexperienced and desperate "regular" players selling Maelstrom Crystals now. They undercut heavily and are anxious to "make big bucks" from their newly gained Maelstrom Crystals. These players may be some of our best chances as generating revenue with Maelstrom Crystals.

Talking Points
  • How have you been able to take advantage of the new lower Maelstrom Crystal prices?
  • What ideas did I miss in this post for how to utilize cheap Maelstrom Crystals?
  • What are the current Maelstrom Crystal prices on your server and what do you predict the price will stabilize at?

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  1. Right now the market on my server is still really small. There is usually only a page or so of crystals up there ranging from 400-800g a piece. I will buy up anything under 500g and repost them for 600g and they are selling relatively quickly, so I could probably get 650 or 700g a piece if I wanted to push the market.

  2. This is totally pedantic, but I hate when people "require a tip." That's not a tip, that's a fee. A tip is a buyer-voluntary "Thanks!" A 'Tip Fee' is an oxymoron.

  3. @Jon. You make a good point. All references to "tip fees" have been changed to "crafting fees" for clarity.

  4. If you look at the TUJ chart you posted, the number available hasn't increased at the same rate at which the price has decreased, which means the price isn't dropping because of an increased supply - it is a lack of demand. People aren't buying crystal right now, but they will and the price will come back up a bit.

    You should be watching the TUJ maps pretty closely if you have any interest in this market. The moment the quantity starts to drop - that's when the price will come back up.

  5. @kathroman Isn't it also likley that we're not seeing an increase in supply because the resolution of TUJ scans don't register MCs that are posted and quickly sold?

    Meaning there may be many more MC flowing in and out of the AH than before 4.1 but it's happening too fast for TUJ to record?

    In this scenario the supply could gave dramatically increased but so did demand.