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Item Level Jumps - Why Flipping Items Sell
Understanding the underlying principles behind item level jumps will help you better understand why certain flipping items are desired by players and why we can charge more for them. Head past the jump for more.
The basics of "item level jumps" are fairly simple. When Blizzard releases a new expansion the new expansion includes items that can be used by players still in the previous expansion.
These items are often much more powerful than the items that were available in the previous expansion.
This power difference is what makes the items so valuable.
Using items that are more powerful than their current level allows players to quest more quickly, enter dungeons via dungeon finder, kill players more effectively in PVP and much more.
Before we dive too far into the numbers I wanted to talk about the methodology I used when gathering data for this analysis.
Because the vast majority of items I flip are of uncommon quality items (often refereed to as "green items" or simply "greens" due to the green color of their item name text) I focused my research on uncommon items that were Bind of Equip (BOE).
To do this I searched Wowhead for a representative type of item that would be fairly straightforward to track across all of the level ranges.
In this case I searched specifically for BOE uncommon cloth chest pieces that could be obtained as drops.
This eliminated items from quests and crafting. I only wanted items that could be sold on the auction house.
In order to do this I applied some search filters to a Wowhead search. (Click here for an example of a search similar to the ones I used.)
After I obtained the item levels for all items with a required level of 50 to 90 I then used spreadsheets to analyze what the highest item level was available for each level.
(I didn't factor items below level 50 because all of them come from Vanilla and thus there is no chance for item level jumps.)
Once I had the data visualized I searched for places where the item level jumped dramatically due to items from newer expansions superseding older expansions at the same level.
While I researched level 50 to 90 I'm mainly interested in flipping items that drop in Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria.
I have tried selling "item level jump" items from Wrath of the Lich King and The Burning Crusade in the past but found that is wasn't as lucrative as I liked.
Item Level Vs. Required Level
I'll be talking a lot in this post about "levels". There are two types of level I'll be using: "Item Level" (also known as "iLevel") and "Required Level" (also known simply as "level").
Item Level indicates the amount of statistics ("stats") that are allocated to an item. It is indicated by a number.
The higher the number the more powerful the items.
AS an example an item with a required level of 77 and an item level of 272 would be more powerful than an item of the same required level but with an item level of 170. (Those are actual item levels.)
Required Level is the level a character has to reach before they can use an item. An item with a required level of 77 would only be usable by players level 77 and above.
When someone says something like "That item is level 77." or "That's a level 77 item." they are most often referring to the required level.
If I use "level" alone it indicates the required level.
Below is a chart that shows the maximum item level for each level between 50 and 90.
Pay special attention to places on the chart where there are large vertical jumps (hence the name item level "jump").
These are the specific places where the newer expansion gear is better than the previous expansion's gear.
|Maximum Uncommon BOE Item Level By Expansion|
In the chart above level ranges for individual expansions are the same color: Dark blue for Vanilla, orange for The Burning Crusade, green for Wrath of the Lich King, Blue for Cataclysm and purple for Mists of Pandaria.
There are a few other things to note about this chart. For one there is no item level jump for Mists of Pandaria.
This is because the next expansion hasn't been released yet. Once is it we'll likely have items from it that are more powerful than but usable by Mists of Pandaria players.
Also noteworthy is the fact that level 89 is not represented on the chart. This is because Blizzard didn't include any level 89 BOE items in Mists of Pandaria.
Looking For The Jumps
In this next chart I've highlighted the particular levels where item level jumps occur.
|Item Level Jumps Inside Expansions|
I think this chart does a very good job of showing the item level jumps. The rise in items level from expansion to expansion is clear to see.
There are four main item level jumps indicated in the chart above.
The first is at level 57 where The Burning Crusade items become available to Vanilla players.
The next jump is at level 67 where players in The Burning Crusade can now obtain items from Wrath of the Lich King.
The third jump in item level happens at level 77. Here players in Wrath of the Lich King can use Cataclysm items.
The jump from The Wrath of the Lich to Cataclysm is particularly steep. Item levels jump 106 points between level 76 and level 77 if players use items obtained in Cataclysm.
The fourth and final item level jump happens at level 83. Here Cataclysm players are able to start using items that drop in Mists of Pandaria.
A Note On Names
You may have heard me refer to flipping items as "77-80 Cataclysm" and "83-84 Mists of Pandaria" items.
The chart above should make it clear why I call them this. The first part of the name is the level range but because there are items from the previous expansion that share the level range the second expansion is needed.
For example if I simply called an item a "77-80 flipping item" or "77-80 flipping green" or even simply a "77-80 green" someone might assume that they should simply look on the auction house and find uncommon items that are between level 77-80 and try to flip them.
This wouldn't work out too well for them due to the fact that there are items from Wrath of the Lich King that are also level 77-80.
We only want the best of the best and in the cast of level 77-80 items the best are dropped in Cataclysm zones hence "77-80 Cataclysm" items.
Where To Obtain Items
The next question is where exactly do we obtain these items?
The following chart highlights levels where item level jump items are available to players as well as what expansion these items come from.
|Where Item Level Jump Items Are Obtained|
In the chart above the expansion names are indicating where the item level jump items can be obtained.
Item level jump items from level 57-60 can be found in The Burning Crusade zones. (Most likely in Hellfire Peninsula.)
(You'll likely pick up on a theme here: Item level jumps come from the expansion following the one in which they are best utilized.)
Item level jump items from 67-70 are obtained in Wrath of the Lich King (in Borean Tundra of Howling Fjord), 77-80 in Cataclysm (see below) and finally 83-84 items are found in Mists of Pandaria.
In the following chart I've zoomed into just the section covering Wrath of the Lich King and above. This is because this is where almost of all of my flipping takes place.
(It should be noted that I also sell 87-88 Mists of Pandaria items at the moment but not due to the fact that they are "item level jump" items. They are not. They are simply desirable because many people are leveling from 85-90 at the moment.)
|77-80 & 83-84 Flipping Item Locations|
As with the previous chart, the expansions listed indicate where the items are obtained.
In the case of level 77-80 item level jump items they can be obtained in either of the two starting areas in the Cataclysm expansion: Mt. Hyjal or Vashj'ir.
These items are only available in the starting areas due to the fact that the mobs in those areas are level 80. This allows them to drop items that are level 77-80.
As you progress further into the expansion the items the mobs drop increase out of the level range we are looking for.
For level 83-84 item level jump items you will want to farm in The Jade Forest in Mists of Pandaria.
Level 77-80 Farming Spot
One of my favorite 77-80 Cataclysm item farming spots is Ascendant's Rise in south-central Mt. Hyjal.
You'll know you're in the right place if you see two dragons chanied up in a pen. When farming you simply clear the camps in a circle over and over.
Below is a map indicating where Ascendant's Rise is in Mt. Hyjal.
|Ascendant's Rise in Mt. Hyjal|
Item Level Is The Key
It is worthwhile to go back and take a close look at the item levels in the charts above.
Item level really is a strong indicator of an items power. I know that when I am outfitting my characters from the auction house I sort the results with the highest items levels at the top.
Buying items with higher item levels means I'm buying the absolute best items I can for my character's level.
Coupled with a reasonable price, items with superior item levels are very good buys for players.
This is why we can get good prices for these items and why trying to sell items that are of the same level range but lower item level can lose us money.
I hope that they analysis I did today has helped you learn more about item level and the fact that simply because two items have require the same level does not mean that they are equal.
I hope teaching you the attributes of these "item level jump" items will help you in the future as well.
As Blizzard releases future expansions there is a good chance that the expansion will have items that will be usable by players of the previous expansion.
My guess would be that the next expansion will include items level 88 and 89 that will be superior to anything currently available in Mists of Pandaira.
If so I'll be there buying up the cheap items, waiting a month or so and then selling them back to players for a higher price just like I did with 83-84 items in Mists of Pandaria.
If you are interested in learning more about the ins and outs of flipping markets the following links will give you more than enough information to get you started.
- The Big List of 77-79 & 83-84 Item Flipping Information
- 77-80 Cata & 83-84 MoP Item Flipping Pricing Lists
- Buying 83-84 MoP Items With Auctioneer Saved Searches
- Level 83-84 MoP Armor Sales Data and Analysis
- 87-88 MoP Item Sales Analysis & Adjustment
- Do Suffixes Matter When Selling Flipping Items?
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