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Gold Capped: Ore-splosion

Basil Berntsen

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Basil "Euripides" Berntsen aims to show you how to make money on the auction house. Email Basil with your questions, comments, or hate mail!

The auction house is starting to have to stack all the ore they're listing for sale out back of the warehouse. Elementium Ore and Obsidium Ore have, in the last few days, been listed in quantities most people would consider unimaginable at prices that make auctioneers cackle. Until they realize that everyone has gotten this amount of stock. Level ones have been cropping up like mushrooms and listing hundreds of stacks of ore per night on every server I've checked into. I'm not the only one who has written about this.

Everyone loves cheap Cataclysm ore. It means cheap blacksmithing goods, cheap gems, cheap enchanting mats, and cheap engineering items. It also has the unique benefit of having the highest price floor of any ore ever introduced to the game. Obsidium prospects into 6 green quality raw gems and an average of 0.3 rare gems per stack, and elementium into 4 green and 1 blue. This means that if you do nothing but cut and vendor the greens for 9g, the "floor" for obsidium is 54g, and elementium is 36g. Then you have the rares. This floor is the bare minimum of what the ore is worth, but it's used for so many things. What else can we do with all of it?

It's all gravy

Assuming you get your ore for under this magic threshold, you'll be able to make back your investment doing nothing more than cutting and vendoring prospected gems. That's a relatively low gold per hour, though, even if you're watching movies in a tab and don't really count it as full time auctioneering. Let's discuss your options:

  • You can sell blue quality gems cut or uncut. Many of them are very cheap, however the reds, purples, and orange gems will hold out their prices the longest. Eventually, however, if this supply continues, every single gem will sell for about the vendor price.
  • If your market's price for meta gems is not too low, you can transmute all your rares into metas. Each craft will cost you 160g because that's what vendoring the mats would have gone for (assuming you cut them first). Note: the transmute mastery for metas is bugged and does not provide 20% bonus meta gems. Each craft is worth 2 gems, but the procs only go up to 6 (unlike, for example, Wrath of the Lich King flasks, which proc up to 10).
  • So long as you can source cheap herbs, you might be able to move your green quality gems 3 at a time if you transmute them into blue quality gems. The minimum price for the blue quality gem must be more than 27g plus herbs, otherwise you're better off vendoring the cut greens.
  • You can turn all your Carnelians into Carnelian Spikes. Don't pay the Wowhead disenchanting page any attention here - instead turn to the comments. These disenchant like a higher iLvl green weapon and will net you a lot of Greater Celestial Essences.
  • You can "shuffle" your green gems by making them into low level green jewelery for disenchantment. I'll post a proper article about this, but Hessonite and Alicite are most commonly used. Zephyrite and Nightstones can sometimes be sold at a decent margin to people doing the dailies.
If you don't want to have to prospect the ore, you might be able to smelt and smith for a profit. Elementium can be turned into bars, as well as Hardened Elementium. Obsidium can be smelted, and you might be able to move some of it as Folded Obsidium if you have a blacksmith.

I never see ore at this price

Some realms aren't getting ore anywhere near this cheap. Even on the ones where you can see the market price on the Undermine Journal slipping down to the target zone, sometimes you won't see cheap ore when you search the AH. The best time to pick up these deals seems to be the morning: the earlier the better. The ore goes up for sale a couple hundred stacks at a time, and as soon as a jewelcrafter with time to burn sees it, they buy it.

Additionally, it can be worth checking several times a day. I picked up 200 stacks one morning, and when I checked back a few hours later, another couple hundred stacks were posted at the same price from a different level one mule.

The effect

I don't want to speculate about the reason for this recent surge in supply, and focus instead on its effects. Assuming it continues, the net effect is that all products with ore as a base material will become cheaper. The margins should remain about the same because those are determined by the number of crafters, not the number of farmers. Cutting gems, for example, will probably continue to be profitable because even if the price of the raw gems approaches the vendor value, the cuts continue to require a JC who has the recipe and the space to manage it.

There are a few markets that work now that probably won't continue to work. Lots of people like to try and flip green quality gems by buying them cheap and selling them when they're the JC daily. Depending on how fast people can process (cut/vendor, craft/DE, or whatever) these gems, this may stop working. The prices just won't go up that much for the gem taken by the daily if everyone has several hundred waiting to be sold.

The price for enchanting mats, already quite low, will probably continue to drop if people continue to disenchant the craftable greens. The demand for dust is low in comparison to what we saw in Wrath, and adding more dust to the AH won't make the prices go up.

The other effect that a long term supply raise would have is drastically lowering the price of Volatile Earth. It's a by-product of mining, as well as a direct product of prospecting Pyrite Ore, which you get when you mine Elementium.

The last effect is that this might prompt Blizzard to notice that they're allowing us to vendor cut green gems for more than cut blue gems. If this were to change, everyone who bought ore above the current minimum price threshold would lose money unless they could figure out a way to move those greens at about the same price. That would certainly flood the market, though.

Maximize your profits with more advice from Gold Capped, plus the author's Call to Auction podcast. Do you have questions about selling, reselling and building your financial empire on the auction house? Basil is taking your questions at

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