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Gold Capped: Cashing in on the Molten Front

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 or tweeting him at @foxvanallen.

If you'll allow me a moment to editorialize, I'm pretty damn sick of the Molten Front. This new questing area for level 85s, released with patch 4.2, is the grind-iest damn place I ever had the misfortune to grind lately.

Basically, how it works is this: First, you clear a solid chunk of the regular Mount Hyjal quests that have been available since Cataclysm's launch. This opens up a small new quest hub, the Sanctuary of Malorne, with a couple of non-repeatable quests and a few dailies. Grind those dailies long enough, and you'll get access to a new daily quest hub inside the Firelands. Grind those dailies (and the old ones), and in another week or so, you'll gain access to another set of dailies. Keep grinding, and ... yes, you guessed it, another set of dailies becomes available.

Eventually, after about 40 consecutive days of grinding dailies in the Molten Front, you'll gain access to your choice of three vendors: one with tailoring and leatherworking patterns, and one with blacksmithing plans and engineering schematics. The stuff you can make from the patterns, plans, and schematic are neat -- 36-slot profession bags and some epic i365 gear.

There's an awful lot of grind-y garbage keeping most players from these rewards. But for those of us who play the auction house, that's a good thing -- players are always willing to pay a premium to avoid a long, boring grind.

Of course, just because all these patterns, plans, and schematics are blocked behind a month and a half of questing doesn't mean that all of them are worth your while at the moment. Let's take a look at all the craftables available for 525 professionals willing to grind their way through the Molten Front, and see what's profitable right now and what isn't.

Tailoring patterns

There's only one pattern available for tailors in the Molten Front: Pattern: Luxurious Silk Gem Bag. It's sold by Ayla Shadowstorm, but only after you've completed the Filling the Moonwell quest.

Prior to patch 4.2, the idea of a 36-slot gem bag would have had jewelcrafters falling over themselves. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your choice of professions), patch 4.2 brought the advent of stackable gems. As a result, these Luxurious Silk Gem Bags can be a bit of a gamble for sellers. Prices have dropped sharply since last week on pretty much every server, with some sellers stuck with a large stock they can't easily sell. Case in point: my own server, Proudmoore (US).

From a 20,000 gold fishing expedition to the current price of 1,350 gold, it's been a hell of a downhill ride this past week. With each Luxurious Silk Gem Bag requiring three Dreamcloth, sellers are only getting a return of 450 gold per Dreamcloth on this bag. By comparison, on the same server, you can sell Powerful Enchanted Spellthread to get a return of 500 gold per Dreamcloth, without having to spend a month and a half grinding. (And Spellthread sells quicker, to boot.)

Leatherworking patterns

Ayla Shadowstorm sells two leatherworking patterns; again, you'll need to complete the Filling the Moonwell quest to access them. The first of the two is Pattern: Royal Scribe's Satchel, which teaches you how to craft a 36-slot inscription bag; the second is Pattern: Triple-Reinforced Mining Bag, which teaches you to make a 36-slot mining bag.

Again, as with the 36-slot gem bag, these two are server-to-server crapshoots, with prices dependent on how flooded your market is. On my server, the Royal Scribe's Satchel actually sells for less than the cost of its mats. That may not be the case on your own server, of course, but be sure to do all your homework. It sucks to waste 125 Marks of the World Tree on a set of patterns that don't even turn you a profit.

Engineering schematics

All the engineering schematics can be bought from Damek Bloombeard, who is hiding out inside that little cave in the quest-giving area of the Molten Front. Each will set you back 300g, though the price is subject to a Thorium Brotherhood faction discount. To buy anything, though, you'll need to complete the quest Additional Armaments first.

Schematic: Extreme-Impact Hole Puncher will teach you how to build a i365 gun with agility that will have hunters drooling (ideally, anyway).
  • Materials required 5 Hardened Elementium Bars, 8 Truegold, a Hair Trigger, a Walnut Stock, 5 Chaos Orbs
  • Cost/profit forecast As of July 24, Extreme-Impact Hole Punchers are available on some servers for as little as 5,500g and as much as 30,000g. Most prices seem to be in the ~10,000g range. Before you go making one, though, do a quick calculation to see how much gold you're getting out of each of the five precious bind-on-pickup Chaos Orbs this schematic requires. Compared to some of the blacksmithing plans, the return per Chaos Orb is rather low.
Schematic: Flintlocke's Woodchucker is a "gun enchant" that ... uh, periodically shoots rabid woodchucks at your enemies. I mean, that's what Flintlocke's Woodchucker is supposed to do. In game, though, the damn thing shoots chickens instead. Which can't even get rabies. (I was about to get indignant about that faux pas, but then I remembered that this is a game with Internet dragons, so some suspension of disbelief is merited.)
  • Materials required Hardened Elementium Bar, 4 Electrified Ether, 5 Handfuls of Obsidium Bolts, 2 Dream Emeralds
  • Cost/profit forecast The price range of Flintlocke's Woodchucker is broad. On smaller servers, it can sell for as much as 2,000g; on larger servers, it can sell as cheaply as 150g. There's currently some discussion going on about whether or not this is the best gun scope available for each individual hunter spec; the resolution of that debate (if it ever comes) could influence pricing. Still, even at these low prices, the Woodchucker can still be decently profitable.
Blacksmithing plans

Like the engineering schematics, all the blacksmithing plans can be bought from Damek Bloombeard once the Additional Armaments quest is complete.

All of these are Chaos Orb sinks, which is a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that supply is naturally limited -- these markets are damn hard to flood. The bad news is that making all of these requires you do some Chaos Orb farming. On some servers, though, that farming pays off handsomely -- a lot of these plans will let you squeeze 1,000 gold or more out of each bind-on-pickup Chaos Orb you get.

Personally, I'm a completionist. If plans are available and I can learn them, I'll pay for them. If you're being more cautious with your money -- and since these plans are 300g each, you have a right to be -- take a look at your auction house first. The smartest plans to buy are those that let you get the highest value per Chaos Orb with the lowest amount of competition.

PS: If you're going to cash in on these, don't dawdle. The value of this i365 gear is likely to continue to drop as more people get better gear in the Firelands raid.

Plans: Brainsplinter teaches any blacksmith of 525 skill how to craft a Brainsplinter, a one-handed agility i365 dagger with hit and haste.
  • Materials required 8 Truegold, 2 Inferno Rubies, 3 Hardened Elementium Bars, 5 Chaos Orbs
  • Cost/profit forecast The selling price of a Brainsplinter currently ranges from 30,000g on the high side to 8,000g on the low side. Due to the high logistical cost of materials -- five Chaos Orbs -- most markets are currently underserved.
Plans: Elementium-Edged Scalper allows you to craft the i365 Elementium-Edged Scalper, a one-handed strength axe with hit and mastery.
  • Materials required 8 Truegold, 8 Volatile Fire, 4 Hardened Elementium Bars, 5 Chaos Orbs
  • Cost/profit forecast The selling price of the Elementium-Edged Scalper ranges from 30,000g all the way down to 10,000g. Like most of the items listed on this page, the more mature your server's economy, the lower the market price. Again, few markets have more than two or three available for sale.
Plans: Masterwork Elementium Deathblade allows you to craft the Masterwork Elementium Deathblade, a two-handed sword with strength, haste, and mastery. Though I am far from an expert on the melee classes, from what I understand, the weapon's higher speed and lower per-hit damage make the weapon unattractive to retribution pallies; the haste stat makes the weapon unattractive to many warriors.
  • Materials required 8 Truegold, 2 Ocean Sapphires, 4 Hardened Elementium Bars, 5 Chaos Orbs
  • Cost/profit forecast As said, the market for this is mostly limited to death knights. On the extreme high end, these swords are being listed for 40,000g; a handful of servers have these as cheap as 8,000g. The most common price seems to be just under 20,000g.
Plans: Lightforged Elementium Hammer teaches a blacksmith how to make the Lightforged Elementium Hammer. It's a one-handed i365 healer mace with spirit and mastery.
  • Materials required 8 Truegold, 30 Volatile Water, 5 Chaos Orbs
  • Cost/profit forecast Like most other items, Lightforged Elementium Hammers have a wide selling range, from 10,000 gold all the way up to 30,000 gold. Though the combination of spirit and mastery is not perfect for everyone, this mace will likely see some pretty decent demand from both healers and hybrids, such as elemental shaman and shadow priests. Remember, though, these will have some competition on the AH in the form of the superior i378 Chelley's Sterilized Scalpel, a BOE Firelands raid drop.
Plans: Masterwork Elementium Spellblade allows a 525 blacksmith the ability to craft the DPS caster Masterwork Elementium Spellblade, a one-handed dagger with both hit and crit.
  • Materials required 8 Truegold, an Ocean Sapphire, 2 Jasper, a Hardened Elementium Bar, 5 Chaos Orbs
  • Cost/profit forecast Like anything that requires this much Truegold or this many Chaos Orbs, the Spellblade is rather expensive: 9,000g to 40,000g. Demand for these is somewhat limited; the combination of crit and hit only benefits a few select casters, and everyone else would just be "settling." Again, sellers of this blade are competing against Chelley's Sterilized Scalpel and (to a more limited extent) sellers of the Lightforged Elementium Hammer.
Plans: Pyrium Spellward teaches blacksmiths the ability to make the one-handed Pyrium Spellward sword, an agility blade with hit and mastery.
  • Materials required 8 Truegold, an Ember Topaz, a Hardened Elementium Bar, 5 Chaos Orbs
  • Cost/profit forecast The price of the Pyrium Spellward ranges from 5,000 and 30,000 gold. Most servers see a price well over 15,000g.
Plans: Unbreakable Guardian will give a 525 blacksmith the ability to construct the one-handed Unbreakable Guardian, a sword with strength, parry, and mastery. Tanking sword!
  • Materials required 8 Truegold, 8 Zephyrite, 2 Heavy Savage Leather, 5 Chaos Orbs
  • Cost/profit forecast The Unbreakable Guardian sells for, on average, about 17,500 gold on a medium-population server. Tank gear is often a tough sell at first -- serious tanks will be raiding, and tanks are often the first to get fully geared up in a raiding tier. Still, as this patch drags on, more and more DPSers will be looking to tanking as an easy way to skip valor point queues.
Plans: Witch-Hunter's Harvester is required to make the i365 two-handed agility polearm Witch-Hunter's Harvester. I mean, technically, it's a polearm. In the game, it looks like a scythe. And that's pretty damn awesome in my book. Pretty novel, too -- a scythe you'd want to equip?! Madness.
  • Materials required 8 Truegold, 6 Heavy Savage Leather, 4 Hardened Elementium Bars, 5 Chaos Orbs
  • Cost/profit forecast Though this is an item that only a few specs would have interest in -- bear druids, kitties, and a handful of hunters -- the price really isn't that far off from the rest of the blacksmithing goods. You're looking at an average selling price of around 15,000 gold per server right now.

Maximize your profits with more advice from Gold Capped. Do you have questions about selling, reselling and building your financial empire on the auction house? Fox and Basil are taking your questions at fox@wowinsider.com and basil@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Economy

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