What's my favorite part of the expansion so far? The way that Blizzard has reworked the Jewelcrafting, Enchanting, and Alchemy professions to more efficiently support the "shuffle". That's a cute little name we auctioneers give to a fairly complicated business that takes ore and turns it into cut gems and enchanting scrolls. In every expansion where this has been possible, there's been a ton of waste. It's great to be able to make gold by combining profession synergy, but vendoring stacks of, for example, green quality gems feels like a waste.
How to do the MoP shuffle
While the business seems complicated to outsiders, it's actually a lot simpler than it looks. Let's break it down:
Step one is to prospect ore: Ghost Iron Ore is probably the best target right now simply because of how abundant it is on almost all realms. A stack of this will yield about one of each color uncommon quality (green) gems, and 6 stacks will get you about one of each color rare quality (blue) gem.
In addition to these uncommon and rare gems, you'll also see a freakishly large number of Sparkling Shards, 10 of which combine to make a Serpent's Eye. These can be cut into the JC-only gems that provide jewelers with their profession's itemization bonus, and are also required to make all the iLvl 450 rare jewelery. I call the drop rate "freakish" because it seems that every single prospecting cast rewards Sparkling Shards, and I don't know whether they intended these to be so common. Just in case, I'm stocking up when I see them being dumped on the AH for cheap, and if I'm wrong, I'll just live with the loss.
Step two is actually a couple of options. First, let's tackle the green quality gems: a set of six (one of each color) will let you make an Ornate Band and a Shadowfire Necklace. The necklace takes a red, purple, and green gem, and the ring takes a blue, yellow, and orange gem. These can be disenchanted. You also have a reasonable chance of getting a blue quality ring or necklace proc when you craft one of these. I made about a hundred today, and got about 15 blues. I personally sell these blue procs on the AH because it's excellent leveling equipment, however remember that each of them is worth a couple of Small Ethereal Shards. The blue Ornate Band is produces fewer of these blue shards when it's DEed, though.
Next, let's loot at the blue quality gems we got from prospecting: eventually, once people start getting gear they want to invest in, you'll want to sell the blue gems cut. Right now, though, cuts aren't selling nearly fast enough. You can sell the gems raw to other jewelcrafters for their daily research, and you can also transmute Primal Diamonds, the new meta gems, out of the green, orange, and purple rare gems. If you're lucky enough to have gotten some world drop cuts, you can also try your hand at selling cut meta gems. Lastly, with all the Serpent's Eyes you've got building up, visit Mai the Jade Shaper to learn all the 450 blue jewelery. This can be another way to dispose of some blue quality gems profitably.
Step three is to disenchant the greens (and maybe blues) you've made in step two, and find a way to profit from the enchanting materials you'll get. One commenter on WoWHead posted a nice macro I've been using:
This will let you hit a single button to process everything. It will disenchant the blue ones too, though, so be careful if your JC is the character you're trying to sell the blues on.
The materials you'll get from disenchanting the greens are heavily weighted toward Spirit Dust, but luckily, enchanters can trade those up to Mysterious Essences now. At this point in the expansion, everyone is still leveling enchanting, so selling any scroll that has ever had a multi-skillup icon next to it will not make you any money. Selling the materials raw seems to be the best return I've gotten so far, however as people finish leveling enchanting and stop posting unprofitable enchanting scrolls, I expect we'll be able to go one step farther and make all these mats into profitable scrolls.
Why the shuffle kicks butt
The best part of the shuffle is that all the steps are optional. If you are missing time, a profession, or if your realm is different than the average and you can't find a way to make one of them work, just skip it. Last expansion, when I was short on time, I'd buy green gems off the AH instead of prospecting for them. Before I had an alchemist, I'd get a friend to transmute for me. You can put as little or as much work into this as you want, and so long as each step is profitable, you won't need to obsess or analyze it too much.
Why MoP's profession design kicks butt
The profession design this expansion is really slick. Even though profession and gold players don't get much attention from blues, (unlike, say, hunters), it's clear that someone behind the curtains knows what we do and is trying to make it more fun. Little things they've implemented make this the best expansion to do the shuffle in:
- The jewelery being crafted to disenchant requires green gems in the same ratio as they're produced. Nothing is worse than cutting and vendoring "useless" gems.
- The gems they chose to transmute into meta gems are the colors that tend to pile up. They didn't pick the pure color gems, which are always more popular, and this means we'll be less likely to waste.
- Enchanters can turn dust into essences into shards into crystals, and back down again. Near the end of wrath, I was disenchanting for the essences, and had an unmanageable amount of dust taking up space. This is a serious change for the better.
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