Presumably, this glut in supply will be relatively short lived. There are plenty of recipes out there that require Chaos Orbs. Players aren't constructing a lot of i397 BoE gear yet, but when they do, they'll need Chaos Orbs. A lot of i365 gear from the Firelands dailies require Chaos Orbs. Tailors can even turn these orbs into Powerful Ghostly Spellthread, an enchant that will be in high demand as players score new gear in the new 5-mans, the Raid Finder, and in the regular 10- and 25-man Dragon Soul raid. The market is good at finding uses for cheap materials, and this case should prove no different.
Moving forward, Chaos Orbs should become more and more limited in supply. They drop in 5-man instances, but as players progress through Dragon Soul, they'll have less of a need to run content they outgear. Why run heroics if you're already valor capped and don't need the gear? Chaos Orbs are found in the Raid Finder as well, but in lower quantity; 25 people are all rolling for one orb. And while the Raid Finder is popular now, its popularity will likely fade when hardcore raiders no longer need the valor or lower-ilevel tier offered.
If you were stockpiling orbs for patch 4.3, you fell into the trap of thinking just like everyone else. When too many people get the same idea for making money, few people actually wind up making money off the idea. Keep that fact in mind when you see everyone rushing to sell off their stockpiles ASAP.
Current and future demand
The release of a new patch created a small uptick in demand for Chaos Orbs. As I said, they're needed for the new i397 gear. They're also still required for crafting i359, i365, and i378 gear from previous raid tiers. Sure, the demand for i365 is less now than it was this summer, but it's still a non-zero factor.
But will that demand hold up moving forward? I say yes.
Don't be fooled by the slow decent into worthlessness that Frozen Orbs experienced in Wrath. Chaos Orbs are different, because Cataclysm is different. You can't run regular instances without achieving a certain item level -- 226 for Throne of Tides and Blackrock; 272 for Stonecore and Vortex Pinnacle; and 305 for Grim Batol, HoO, and Lost City. Even now, you need a minimum ilevel of 372 to participate in the Raid Finder.
To meet these ilevel hurdles, a player could run countless regulars, countless heroics, and then slowly progress through the tiers. Or, a dude could just head to the Auction House, drop a few thousand gold, and instantly gain access. Which sounds more appealing to you?
Lower-ilevel epics will always have a market in Cataclysm. And they're far from the only useful thing you can craft with Chaos Orbs.
Profiting off Chaos Orbs
Right now, Chaos Orbs are cheap -- near 60 gold each, on average. That has created some terrific opportunities, so long as your server's economy will allow them.
For tailors, cheap Chaos Orbs means cheap Dreamcloth. The cost to make Dreamcloth with orbs is about equivalent to -- and in some cases, less than -- the cost to make Dreamcloth with volatiles. This gives tailors the ability to craft epics with abandon.
According to AHSpy.com, the cost to craft one Dreamcloth using Chaos Orbs is approximately 375 gold. This bargain-priced cloth can easily be turned around and crafted into Illusionary Bags, the i359 Belt of the Depths, and the i359 Breeches of Mended Nightmares, all of which seem to be offering modest profits right now: 700 gold on the Illusionary Bag (3,700-3,000), 900 gold on the Belt of the Depths (2,400-1,500), and 1,150 gold on the breeches (3,400-2,250).
Even bigger money can be made by blacksmiths who went through the trouble of grabbing the i365 Firelands patterns by grinding dailies. The profit margins on i365 gear are tremendous: The Masterwork Elementium Deathblade sells for 8,850 gold on average, with a material cost of only about half that.
Obviously, this gear doesn't fly off the shelf -- you'd be hard pressed to sell more than a one or two epics a day on my server, and it's a high-population realm. But still, over the course of the rest of the expansion, these markets are likely to prove highly profitable for those willing to stick with them.
Maximize your profits with more advice from Gold Capped. Do you have questions about selling, reselling, and building your financial empire on the auction house? Fox and Basil are taking your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.