Insider Trader: Patch 3.3.3 changes for professionals

Michael Gray
M. Gray|02.22.10

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Insider Trader: Patch 3.3.3 changes for professionals
Matt's covered the basic profession changes in patch 3.3.3, but I wanted to spend some more time with those changes. At face value, they may not seem like a very big deal. However, the ramifications of the changes run a little deeper than many people would necessarily realize. The changes affect a lot about the way we habitually perform our trades, and will definitely affect how we sell items in trade chat and on the auction house.

The most startling change for professions in patch 3.3.3 is probably the new NPC. Frozo the Reknowned takes your Frozen Orbs and turns them into more useful materials. (There was a time I thought I'd never get enough Orbs, but I guess times change.)

Let's take a look behind the jump and do a little more trade-based analysis of these patch 3.3.3 changes, and what it means to the future of professions in Wrath of the Lich King. While it seems that the changes will make a great deal more convenient in the new patch, it does seem like the auction house prices for items are likely to go down.
The two big items that leapt out at me about profession changes are the removals of the creation cooldowns associated with the Titansteel Bar, Moonshroud, Spellweave, and Ebonweave. Before now, it wasn't uncommon to see enterprising professionals selling the use of their cooldown as often as the created items themselves. Since you could only create so many of the items in a given week, people who needed the materials would have to find other crafters who could still smelt or create cloth.

The crafted items created using Titansteel and tailor-cloth are still fairly valid for bootstrapping new raiders up to the level of current content. I suspect that a strong motivation for this cooldown removal is to help encourage new players (or new alts?) to take a crack at killing the Lich King. And while I'll admit that it's a bummer to see a big moneymaker take stage left out of the auction house, I still applaud the idea that it might help new-to-raiding players get a crack at Icecrown.

Of course, this change will devalue the associated cooldown almost completely. Non-miners will still need to find someone who can actually perform the smelting of Titansteel, but the payment for that will probably be entirely on a tipping basis. Hopefully, we'll see a slight increase in the cost of the materials involved in creating Titansteel and the tailor-cloth. I think it'll mostly be a slight rise in the value of Titanium, since that's mostly priced on the effort it takes to go mine Titanium nodes in the first place.

Of course, on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, the Glacial Bag recipe will now have a seven day cooldown. This will serve two purposes that I can detect. First, it allows the developers to open up the personal, character gear available from tailoring when they've removed the cooldown from Moonshroud and Ebonweave, while still preserving the overall cost of Glacial Bags. The cooldown has been moved from raw materials to the final product.

The second thing the Glacial Bag cooldown will do is to help guide a few more folks to Haris Pilton. With it getting to be toward the end of the expansion, it's a pretty good time to drain a lot of the extra gold out of the economy. If Glacial Bags do get more expensive, then perhaps we'll see more people frequenting the Shattrath socialite to pick up their own Gigantique bag and Portable Hole. Sure, those bags are so ridiculously expensive, we won't expect many people to buy them en masse. But if Glacial Bags are more expensive and you want the associated achievement, then it might be enough to tip the scales in favor of Haris.

The big, big news, though, is the addition of Frozo the Renowned. This new vendor will take your Frozen Orbs and give you craft items in return. The items available will be the other crafting Orbs, Eternal elementals, and Frost Lotus. Crusader Orbs will cost you 6 Frozen Orbs, Runed Orbs will cost 4 Frozen Orbs. Everything else will run 1 Frozen Orb per Elemental.

The net effect of this, I think, will be a significant drop in the cost of Elemental Fire and its cousins on the auction house. I think everyone has had pleasant experiences rapidly collecting Frozen Orbs from the Dungeon Finder tool. However, we will likely see even more drama over whether you should Need or Greed the Frozen Orbs that drop in the Heroic. (I suggest always having everyone in the group roll Need on the Frozen Orb -- it'll save trouble in the long run.)

The new ability to purchase both Crusader and Runed Orbs means that you won't be forced to run raids to pick up these crafting items. Some of the gear created with them is still pretty good stuff for select classes. Doing a little research and knowing what items -- like the Breastplate of the White Knight -- are still considered "sexy" could let you turn your raw Frozen Orbs into some final profit.

Tailors get a nifty new pattern called the Frosty Flying Carpet. It's for tailors only, and the recipe will cost you six Frozen Orbs. I'm not sure what's going to separate the Frosty Flying Carpet from the more mundane Magnificent Flying Carpet, but we'll probably get more details soon.

Ultimately, for professions, I think this patch is about accessibility. This late in the expansion, there's no reason to restrict the relatively low-level crafting gear from people who are just trying to get into Icecrown. This is one of the final pushes to make sure every players gets a crack at Arthas. It's regrettable that we might lose some money makers as part of that push, but I think it's worth it in the end.

Each week, Insider Trader takes you behind the scenes of the bustling sub-culture of professional craftsmen, examining the profitable, the tragically lacking, and the methods behind the madness.

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