The bare minimum you need to make maelstroms is an enchanter with access to Firelands
who is at least friendly with the Avengers of Hyjal
. At the entrance to the instance, Naresir Stormfury
the quartermaster (edit: or his counterpart outside the instance), will sell you a couple of epic cloaks
for 250g. These can be disenchanted into Maelstrom Crystals.
This is not a stupendous price unless you're unable to get enough maelstroms to complete a batch of scrolls
at a fair price from the Auction House. It's a decent way to put a cap on your unit price, though. So how do we bring this down to 146g?
The better your reputation, the more of a discount you get. Here are the mechanics we are going to use to drive our cost down to 146g:
Exalted reputation will get you 20% off the price. I raided casually on my main in Firelands and got to revered quite a while ago, which is 15% off. My enchanting alt, who has only ever tanked a few Firelands raids for friends, is friendly, which gets him a 5% discount. If I were a goblin with Best Deals Anywhere, I could have skipped raiding all that pesky content and gone straight to 20% off.
Guild perk: being in a level 24 guild will get you a very nice 10% perk, Bartering. This stacks with your reputation discount by adding to the total discount. For example, a goblin in a level 24 guild would get 30% off, or 175g each.
Even better guild perk: Bountiful Bags gives you a 20% yield boost when disenchanting epics. This is an average, but so long as you look at the long run and do more than a couple of these, it's what you'll get.
So assuming you're exalted (or a goblin) in a level 24 guild, your final cost for a Maelstrom Crystal will be under 146g.
If you're going to do a run of these, you'll want to spend as little time as possible or make as many as possible within a given amount of time. The key to this is macros. Sure, you could have the vendor screen and your bags opened and click, but you have to be looking at your screen for that. If you keybind macros to buy and disenchant, you can watch TV while doing this.
To buy a cloak, keybind this [edited]macro:
To disenchant that cloak, keybind this macro:
/use Sleek Flamewrath Cloak
Lastly, the most efficient way to do this is find someone with a character that qualifies for the prices who is short on gold and long on time
. Offer to pay them a premium on the maelstroms if they will make them for you.
Be aware that if you pick the wrong person to ask, they may simply keep all the maelstroms and sell them themselves on the Auction House. You want to find the sweet spot -- a person who wants or needs money but doesn't think that gold is worth working for, the kind of person who has two gathering skills and only ever uses them when they're saving up for something.
The market price for Maelstrom Crystals is mainly driven by two things:
The number of them being generated organically through disenchant rolls in a random group, enchanters DEing old gear, etc.
The number of upgrades people want to enchant.
The more upgrades people get, the more scrolls they'll buy and the more enchanting mats they'll buy from the AH if they elect to have a friend or guildie enchant their new upgrade. This means that demand (and usually prices) tend to spike on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. That said, the longer this expansion lasts, the fewer drops end up being needed and worn by people. Also, every time something isn't needed and worn (or greeded for an off spec), it contributes to the organic supply of Maelstrom Crystals on the AH.
As you can see from the header image for this post, the market price on the majority of realms is well above the price at which you can make maelstroms yourself. This is for three reasons:
Most people don't have the ability to get rock-bottom prices, as their reputation, guild level, or race might not be optimal. The Horde prices should drop faster than Alliance prices, because in addition to all the raiders at the 20% exalted discount, they also have a bunch of banker alt goblins.
Most people who would have the best price don't know about this trick.
Assuming you can make about 500 Maelstrom Crystals an hour, you need to sell them all at 6g profit after AH fees in order to equal the gold per hour you get running heroics. I need to sell them for 30g profit each after AH fee to equal what I can make crafting for an hour.
Still, there's plenty of room for some casual gold making here. This is the kind of work you can't do while waiting for a queue (since you need to be in a raid group); however, it's the kind of work you can do while chatting with friends or watching TV.
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 email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.