A livestream viewer pointed me to a rather interesting 5.3 PTR patch note that I think is significant to the 77-80 Cataclysm item arket.
In 5.3 the are planning on adding vendors that will sell level 80 gear in the Cataclysm starting zones. Read on past the jump for the details.
Everything Old Is New
In a post entitled Patch 5.3 PTR Notes Update - April 2 MMO Champion reported the following official patch note in the "Items" section:
"Players starting on Cataclysm content can purchase level-80 gear from vendors located in Hyjal and Vashj'ir."
So there you have it. Players that are looking to start questing or (more importantly) start Cataclysm Looking For Dungeon that might normally have scoured the auction house looking for items to replace their item level-less heirlooms will now simply walk up to a vendor and purchase a full set (or sets) of gear.
My guess is the gear will be very similar to the level 85 gear that is purchasable from "Adventuring Supplies" vendors that sell level 85, 87 and 88 gear around Pandaria.
It Just Makes Sense
When I am starting to level a level 85 character the first thing I do when I land in Pandaria is run straight to an Adventuring Supplies vendor and get myself a full set (or sets) of gear.
I'd be silly not to. The gear is cheap, available and at an item level that will let me start leveling in Pandaria right away without getting squashed like a bug.
I think anyone that understands item level, value or ease of use will do the same thing once they are exposed to the Aventuring Supplies vendors.
Spending any amount of time and/or money simply doesn't make sense.
This is the exact reason why when planning and executing the new version of my "77-80 Cataclysm item" market I opted to stick with 83-84 and not 83-85.
85 gear was covered by the NPC. Raise of hands: who wants to compete on price and availability with an NPC? Not this guy.
Effect On My Gold-Making
So how will this change effect my gold-making now and in the future?
The simple answer is that I won't be buying level 80 Cataclysm items for flipping anymore.
I have already made adjustments to my Auctioneer shopping lists for Cataclysm items to only include items from 77-79. This will keep me from picking up any more items that will likely be superseded by the vendor items.
I'll still continue to sell any level 80 items that I already have in my 77-80...ahem...77-79 Cataclysm item markets but I won't be picking up new level 80 items.
When I first mentioned this change on twitter someone replied saying that players don't read patch notes and won't even know that the vendors exist and therefore level 80 items will still continue to sell.
I think this is a valid argument but I think once a player finds these vendors they will never buy a piece of 80 gear from the auction house again.
I'd rather start preparing now than end up with a huge supply of level 80 items that, if they do still sell, will likely sell less often and only to players who are coming back and don't know the vendors were added.
I'd rather focus my attention on markets I think will remain viable.
So, in short, I'm stopping buying level 80 Cataclysm items in preparation for this change. I'll continue to sell what I have but after they are gone I won't be selling them anymore.
Goodbuy 77-80. Hello 77-79.
UPDATE: GoblinRaset from The Drunken Mogul has done a great post on the new vendors from the PTR. Check it out here: Changes to the 77-80 Green Market coming in 5.3.
He also notes some items that may not be on the vendor:
"I will not stop buying all lvl 80 items, only most. This is due to the fact that, right now at least, the vendor does not sell shoulders, wrist, belts, and trinkets."
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