Preparing economically for Cataclysm

September 23, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This is another non-tanking post, sorry.

With the future release of the Cataclysm expansion, both the supply and demand for a wide variety of items, particularly crafting mats, can be expected to change radically.  Mats, whether bought as an investment or simply collected over time, could yield substantial profits or losses.  Lately there has been some discussion about whether or not to unload saved up mats (eg, dream shards) or to invest gold in them.  I want to discuss the role of inflation in determining the value of mats and gold for looking-ahead-to-Cataclysm investment purposes.

Suppose you currently have a stockpile of both gold and borean leather and want to know what to do before Cataclysm. Should you buy borean leather and hope you can sell them later for more gold?  Should you sell the borean leather now before the price drops?  Should you do nothing?

Risk One
The big (apparent) risk is that the price of borean leather will drop.  If so, you could be stuck holding a lot of borean leather that nobody is using for leatherworking.  Keep in mind, though, that the price can’t drop to zero; the vendor price on a stack of borean leather is 4.5g.  If you could sell the borean leather today for 9.5g/stack, your risk is limited to 5g/stack.  Aside from this last little wrinkle, though, everybody is aware of the risk of holding onto mats.

Risk Two
The other risk, howver, is in holding onto gold.  While the amount of gold will not change as we move into a new expansion, it’s value will change.  Everything at max level — repairs, loot, vendor prices, mats, etc. — becomes more expensive.  We can also expect a rise in productivity as a max level character can earn more gold per hour than before. If it is possible to make 500g/hour farming today, farmers in six months could be making 750g/hour and more.  As in past expansions, we are likely to see inflation as a result.  In Vanilla or Burning Crusade, it was possible to get copper ore for substantially less than the 10g/stack that is more common now.  The copper didn’t change, but the earning potential of the player leveling up blacksmithing did.  So the gold you have saved now can be expected to decline in value.

Conclusions?
At this point, it’s hard to say which is the better route to take. The safest route would be to spread investments across a wide array of things including mats and gold.  Consider the following:

Questing at max level: the typical Wrath quest awards 7.4g.  The typical Cataclysm quest (in beta) awards 9.4g.  This is an increase of 27%.

Crafted gear: for crafted blue cloth chest armor, you can expect to vendor it for about 5.4g in Wrath.  In Cataclysm, that amount increases to 9.9g.  This is an increase of 83%.

Buying gold: while many are opposed to buying gold, the price is useful to know.  In the middle of the Burning Crusade expansion, it cost roughly $260 for 1000 gold.  Presently, it appears that the cost is roughly $10-20 for 1000 gold.  This is a huge reduction in cost, which may reflect an improvement in botting techniques more than an increase in the earning potential of a max level character.

So, for those that wish to take an informed risk, my guess is that earnings for a max level character will increase at least 30%.  Items which will retain most of their value will, if I am correct, make good investments.

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