Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Fox Van Allen and Basil "Euripides" Berntsen aim to show you how to make money on the Auction House. Feed Fox's ego by emailing him, tweeting him at @foxvanallen, or sacrificing your first-born to him.
As we approach the end of the Cataclysm expansion -- there are maybe four months left -- playing the Auction House gets a bit trickier. There's less enthusiasm on the part of buyers. More scary, though, is that the launch of Mists of Pandaria is about to render a lot of markets obsolete. It happened in Wrath and in The Burning Crusade too -- those potions and flasks that were top of the line suddenly became worthless. Gear that once cost thousands of gold could be had for hundreds. It's the nature of our in-game hobby. If you sit on stock, you're going to lose a fortune. (Shamefully, it happened to me out of laziness.)
But not everything is set to crash. A few select items are going to increase in value, if not in the days leading up to MoP, then shortly after launch. These are the items you need to fill your bank tabs with. But which ones are they? What should you sell ASAP, and what should you buy?
3 markets set to crash in (or before) Mists
Some of us have a natural urge to hoard materials and crafted goods. It's a good idea in general -- short-term shortages can and do happen, and by having a reserve of the most useful materials, you can avoid short-term price spikes.
But this late in the expansion, you have to be careful. Like a game of fiscal hot potato, the prices of a large number of items are set to fall through the floor. If you've been stocking up on any of these three, well ... the time to sell is now.
1. Queen's Garnets were absolutely untouchable when Dragon Soul first launched. At issue was supply. You're only guaranteed an epic gem by beating Deathwing on normal or heroic mode. Few raiders were completing the content, and those who were used the epic gems to prepare for heroic-mode raiding. An epic gem cost thousands of gold.
Fast forward to April 16, 2012. The Dragon Soul raid has been nerfed, nerfed, and nerfed yet again, allowing more casual players the opportunity to kill Deathwing on normal (and heroic) mode. More people are getting epic gem tokens. The price of red Queen's Garnets have fallen lower than 1,000 gold on many servers.
From here, the price will only go down. The 10 extra points of your primary stat of choice mean less with each passing day, and when Mists of Pandaria launches, a whole new selection of better gems will be available. Anyone looking for a Cataclysm-era gem will just go with the cheaper Inferno Ruby.
2. Mysterious Fortune Cards are one of my favorite things to make. The demand almost always outpaces supply. They're fun. They're useful. They sell for a profit. What more could you ask for?
But here's the thing -- shortly before MoP launches, ink trading is going to undergo a reset. You won't be able to trade Blackfallow Ink for lower-level inks anymore. And since that's where a large amount of Blackfallows wind up going, people with supplies of Blackfallow are going to need to do something else with their stores. At that point, Mysterious Fortune Cards are going to be the only real outlet left.
Will MFCs stay fun? Yeah, they will, and there will likely always be a market for them. But in the short term, they're a lousy investment. Don't hoard them. Keep your on-hand supply low, and make them as you need to sell them.
3. Maelstrom Crystals are the backbone of the Cataclysm enchanting market. They're used in just about every high-level enchant imaginable. And when maelstroms aren't needed, they're shattered to make the just-as-needed Heavenly Shards. Any enchanter worth his salt has a decent stock on hand at all times to churn out enchanting scrolls.
But of course, their usefulness is limited to the Cataclysm expansion. Enchanters will be churning out thousands of MoP enchants at a loss just to level their profession, replacing all the existing scrolls. And at the same time, all those absentminded hoarders with huge stocks of Maelstrom Crystals will be unloading them on the market. The price will crash, just as Void Crystals crashed and just as Abyss Crystals did.
3 markets set to spike before (or after) Mists
We know that most materials will fall in price. That's almost a given. But not everything will crash. In fact, a few markets will spike. Here's what you should stock up on:
1. Embersilk Cloth is used for a handful of things right now in Cataclysm. It goes into the caster leg enchants. It goes into PvP starter gear. But most importantly, it goes into creating bags.
If the opening weeks and months of Cataclysm have taught us nothing, it's that the bag market is nearly insatiable. Every character needs four at a minimum for questing and a whopping 11 to fill a bank vault, too. There will be a lot of pandas rolled in those opening days, weeks, and months, and a lot of new monks too. Simply put: There is no way us sellers will be able to overserve this market.
Because demand will outpace supply here, bag prices will spike. And if bag prices are spiking, you sure know the cost of materials will spike too. Chances are we'll still be buying Embersilk when MoP launches at 10 gold apiece, and chances are we'll still be able to make a profit. No reason to not stock up now while they're relatively cheap.
Oh, and here's a free tip: Hypnotic Dust will get really expensive, too.
2. Low-level inks are easy to obtain right now. Mill some cheap Cinderbloom, make some Blackfallow Ink, and then convert it into what you need at the ink trader. But as we've already discussed, that won't last. Ink of Dreams will be the new Blackfallow. There will be weeks where there's high demand for new glyphs but no ability to trade down to get low-level inks.
Without a question, that means low-level herbs will get more expensive. That might be a good way to play this, but it's hard to argue with making low-level ink -- it takes up way less space in the bags.
3. Vanity pets are typically expensive now, but as they say, you haven't seen anything yet. When Mists of Pandaria introduces Pet Battles, there's going to be increased interest in pets. Not much is known about Pet Battles right now, so it's hard to say which pets will sell best -- surely, that aspect will be well theorycrafted. But for now, just about any rare pet is worth picking up. After all, they're not going to get any less rare.
Here's the neat thing about vanity pets here: In MoP, all the pets currently soulbound to you will become sellable. That means if you find a rare pet, you can add him to your collection and trot him around Orgrimmar until launch. No point wasting bag space when you could be having a little bit of fun instead, right?
Maximize your profits with advice from Gold Capped. Want to know the very best ways to earn 10,000 gold? Top gold making strategies for auctioneers? How about how to reach 1 million gold -- or how one player got there and then gave it all away? Fox and Basil are taking your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.