Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tradeskill cycles - Part 1 : The ABCs of shuffling

In this "Gold-making for dummies" segment, we're going to discuss tradeskill cycles.
It's a little bit like stretching your mind across your characters and your knowledge of tradeskills, coupled with some Auction House investigating.

Level 1 : You've got your basic mats: ores, herbs, skins.
Level 2 : You've got your tradeskills that use your basic mats and turn them into items.
Level 3 : You've got your items that combine your items into other items.
Bonus Level : You've got tradeskills that use items created from other tradeskills to create items.

That's the furthest that Blizzard has gone so far with tradeskills and I'm happy for that.
If you think they should go further, go play Hello Kitty Online, get at least to the Beijing city quest hub, then come back and try to say that again.
Yes, I've played HKO and it was fun, but I wanted to blow my brains out on the quests that required multi-level-tradeskill juggling - and you couldn't advance any further in the game until you completed them.
(I didn't complete the Paris hub, in case you weirdos wondered.)
So, yes, very happy for the simple design that Blizzard gave us.

Welcome to the wonderful world of OH GOD Shoot Me Now!

Level 1

Basic mats.
Well duuuuuh : someone has to go out and gather them.
Mine, mine, pick, pick, kill, skin, repeat.
Basic stuff is basic.

...except for Enchanters.
They have to go kill mobs, do quests or farm the Auction House, disenchant their items and then they can start rolling.
There's no other way to get enchanting materials than by disenchanting items or buying the materials straight from the Auction House (I'm disregarding the vendors of beginner materials in the cities).
Already, that's one opportunity for the starting gold-maker.

Level 2

Tradeskills turn your mats into items.
Well let's look at who is interested in those mats.

Ores : Blacksmiths, Engineers, Jewelcrafters(Raw)
Herbs : Scribes, Alchemists
Skins : Leatherworkers

This list is pretty straightforward.
Already you can see that there would be a natural constant demand for ores because 3 tradeskills use them.
You could also surmise that people might be more likely to take mining for that reason, leaving herbing and skinning behind, but that's not the case.
One should not leave the skins markets empty - there's plenty of gold to be made selling skins and skin scraps.
It's considered the black sheep of gathering skills because it's only used for one tradeskill and mostly because (/whiny tone) because you have to kill mobs, loot them, and then at long last finally you can skin them, and it takes sooooo looooooong I'd rather herb or mine (/end).
Okay - for those people who whine, there's the Lazy Tax that applies when you decide the pricing of the skinned items.

Ores are needed by blacksmiths and engineers, but only in bar form.
Miners have the smelting ability and there's even a few specialty bars that can be crafted for high-end items, so one should look into that.

Jewelcrafters like it raw.
Ore, that is.
So they can prospect it in stacks of five in order to get their gems.
But one should not forget that in the lower levels of jewelcrafting, bars of ores are also needed.
In the higher levels it's only needed to craft rings and necklaces, but a jewelcrafter can go a long way just by cutting gems (Burning Crusade content and higher).

Alchemists are straightforward with their herbs: they just use them with a vial and they're done.
Leatherworkers also can use their skins with a few vendor reagents to make items.

Scribes, however, have to mill their herbs to get pigments, then use the pigments to create inks.
The gold-maker can use the pigment and ink markets as a way to squeeze some extra gold from scribes.
Add to that the fact that there are rarer pigments that can be milled from some herbs and rare inks that can be made out of that and you've got a pretty big range of niches to cover.
While we're on the topic...

Level 3

Scribes are an example of combining items with items to make other items.
The inks are used to craft scrolls, off-hands, relics, cards (and I suspect probably more types of items in the future).
It's also common for leatherworkers to use a big range of items that are farmed or gathered and combine them with their skins to craft items.
Ditto with Blacksmiths.
Engineers have it a bit harder than the other crafters because the nature of their profession is all about crafting.
So they have to craft items to craft other items, that then combine into a final item.
The shining examples of this are the craftable mounts and Jeeves, amongst others.

Bonus Level

And then you have the cross-tradeskill items.
To find them out, there's really no other way than to peruse the tradeskills one by one and single each of them out (Wowhead helps a lot with the visual references to make it quicker).
I'd be interested to see a full list (I might just make it myself, now that I think about it).
It's not a guarantee that people will buy those items, but you might get a few people interested.
The item that is crafted in the end is the big factor to consider, as well as the likeliness that people will craft it, especially if the item is learned from a trainer.
Example: The Jewelcrafter item Heavy Iron Knuckles requires 2x Elixir of Ogre's Strength created by Alchemists.
Enchant Gloves - Skinning requires 3x Green Whelp Scale that need to be skinned off mobs.
To find those out, you really need to do your research, and then the rest is easy.

Now you're thinking with gold goals

Now at any point in these different steps of tradeskills, you can check for the price the item goes for on the Auction House and see if there's any demand for it or if it's going for higher than any finished product you can use the item in.
I'm still selling Handful of Iron Bolts, Handful of Cobalt Bolts, Fel Iron Casing and Froststeel Tube - most of the time I'm the only supplier, so I can decide of the selling price.

At this point comes the moment where I have to bring out the notion/debate of Raw VS Crafted.
"Should I sell the raw materials to the crafters or should I use the mats to craft the item myself and sell it ?"
It's always a topic of discussion when new craftable items are introduced in the game.
And depending of the servers, the answers will vary.
It depends of your buyers and their habits, it depends of the prices of the materials, it depends how many crafting steps there are in getting the item completed, it depends of how greedy some people want to be.
But the most important point of this notion/debate is that you have to take everything into account in order to make the right decision in order to make the most money out of it.

Now that we've laid out the base of a good chunk of what you're going to be dealing with on the Auction House, we're going to bring the tradeskill game to another level.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article where we will look at shuffling.

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