What I am doing now

You are most likely here because you enjoy crafting. I have been reading up on some of the WoW issues regarding gold making, which make me realize that WoW is not the game for me.

If you want to play a game where gathering and crafting is the cornerstone of the economy, and are not faint of heart, I recommend EVE Online. EVE even has releases purely to support industry. You can play for free if you are good enough manufacturer or trader.

Be the builder in a villainous world.

My journey can be seen at http://foo-eve.blogspot.com.au

For a 21 day free trial, click here (Disclaimer: I do get a bonus if you become a paid subscriber)

30 September 2011

Sovereign Risk

Sovereign Risk is where a government does not pay it's debts in the previously agreed upon manner.

In WoW, we have a high degree of something very similar Sovereign risk, especially around patches.

The current batch of gold bloggers are actually a fairly quietly spoken group.   Players on Blizzard forums are slightly louder.  WTF no EPIC gem in ore; JC tokens FFS; /prof quit; /gquit; /game quit

Or in other words:
Dear Blizzard
I have been dutifully stockpiling pyrite ore and jewelcrafter daily tokens on the expectation that you will give us Epic gems and Epic gem cuts from these, as part of patch 4.2; or at the latest, patch 4.3.

I am most disappointed that you have not followed your previous behaviour.  With all due respect this has cost me a large amount of gold, and I will be now unable to reach the gold cap.

Please find attached a demand for profit owing to me that you have unjustifiably denied me as part of this change.   If you do not comply, I will launch procedings in the appropriate and inappropriate forums.

Yours sincerely
One annoyed JC.

Blizzard's response : I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further.

Sovereign risk; or the risk that blizzard will change the rules; or will not follow precedent is a fact of WoW.  This risk is real, and needs to be taken into account when stockpiling for future changes.

To make matters even worse; Blizzard never promised JC's a gold mine; only our sense of entitlement. Ghostcrawler sometimes promises a pony, but even then it is a forward looking statement subject to change.

As much as WoLK had epic gems handed to JC's; we were also warned.  Blizzard wants advanced toons to be responsible for advanced profits:
  • Soulbound Chaos orbs
  • (Originally) needed to do 1/2 of twilight highlands (i.e. be lvl 84.5) to get best crafting recipees, including the ability to level tradeskills to 525.
  • Raiders as the source of updated recipees and BOEs.
Once upon a time; leading raiders were a broke bunch. Heaven forbid; these days Raiders (the elite that Blizzard want's us to aspire to) will be the source of gems, and possibly even recipees.

As a gold maker; concentrate on the easy gold.  I am still making a bundle on northrend gem cuts (rare and epic).  When 4.3 drops; if you want to sell the newest cuts; go and raid.

Make sure your alchemists are lined up with mats for transmutes (there are new recipees).  Also consider getting them raid ready (at least troll dungeon) in case the tranmute recipees turn out to be raid drops (unlikely but still possible).  Organise this with not only your own toons, but also guildy toons.  Make your networks now.

Me? I will continue reaping the profits of Northrend gems.

And finally, if you want to be up on the latest recipees : Go raid.  I organise friday night only raids; I am going bald with the stress of putting them together; keeping everyone happy and moving, but we are raiding.

29 September 2011

Blizzcon has it in for me - I tell you.


An official Blizzard post.  Foo fighters at BLIZZCON® 2011

“Everyone attending BlizzCon and watching from home can look ... when Foo Fighters bring the house down.”

Oh well.  For those are going, have fun.

27 September 2011

Exploiting Abandoned Production

For a change, I have been playing with glyphs.  This is different from before because .... ummm...

OK, well it's different because there was yet another glyph trade war, and  I bought out Breevok's stockpile of glyphs.

There was a glyph trade war horde side.  Toward the end of last month, I had competition from a camper, with multiple accounts.  He then started posting just after my morning login, reducing my daily sales to about 100g per day. About 85g profit for a full post/collect mail cycle is a pain. 

In response, I crashed the market, first to 30g, then down to 25g and 20g, bodychecking them.  I still had room to move. I only reduced the prices when I thought that my opposition would be in a position to undercut me soon.  As a side effect of doing so, my sales returned to 500-800g per day, with a lower profit margin but higher overall profit.  Still not going to get me to the gold cap anytime soon.

Even though I was trying to crash the market without selling anything, re-stocking was becoming an issue.  Glyphs can take a long time to mill and re-craft glyphs; especially with a crafter on the opposite faction.  I really did not want to craft 1000 glyphs, only to sell at cost.  I fully expected my competition to have similar feelings.  (No one enjoys crafting bulk glyphs).  However, camping 1 copper undercutters have always annoyed me, more than re crafting glyphs.

It was at this time I needed a couple of pugs for a Shannox attempt.  I pugged Breevok, who used to be a big glyph player, but has become casual in his gold making efforts.  I also knew he had previously contemplated selling his stake in the glyph market.

I have never been afraid to 'exploit' others products and services (in a purely ethical way). Breevok's glyphs were horde side (bonus), was prepared to take gold alliance side (also a bonus), and affordable (trifecta - woo hoo).  A stack of each glyph is roughly 6500 glyphs.  These glyphs at roughly cost price is ... a significant amount.  I only purchased his glyphs, not to have him drop a profession.  That's OK.  I know how long it takes to re craft 6,500 glyphs (I had roughly 13,000 when Cata hit). 

I have gold; more than most; less than some.  I still wince at single transactions of this size.  It'll be alright in the long run.

The sad thing is that I didn't even have time to unload my new glyphs onto the market horde side, when my competition disappeared.  We have some new aggressive competition alliance side with a new name, which might (or might not) be my old horde 'friend', but his heart is not in it as much.

The good thing about the recovery after a price crash is the reduced competition.  There are still two solid competitors that followed the prices down, and a couple of re-entrants that bailed earlier, but still easy pickings (this week at least).

With glyphs, I find that 12 hour auctions allow prices to recover quickly.  I will be undercut within 12 hours anyway, and the cancel/under cutters will reset.  I am currently making more gold per day I post glyphs horde side than I made posting glyphs horde + alliance a month ago.

21 September 2011

What inflation? There would be without goblins

WoW Insider has an article about WoW needing gold sinks. Fox's complaint is that the genuine newbie can't afford glyphs, enchants or gems while levelling.

TLDR (too long didnt read version):  Skip to the bottom of the page for the ultimate gold sink.

You can't always get what you want.  But if you try sometimes, well you just might find, you get what you need. (apologies to Mr Jagger).

There is a gold sink - the biggest one there can be.  If your reading this site, the chances are you already know about it.  This gold sink already keeps inflation in check.   It's not perfect, but still does a pretty good job of it.

Economics 101.
  • Inflation is where prices of bought goods rise.
  • Deflation is where prices of bought goods fall.
  • Your expenses are someone else's income. (This can be player or NPC).
  • If the total gold spent increases but the total goods bought stays the same then you have inflation
  • Similarly if the total gold spent stays the same, but total goods bought decreases you also have inflation.
  • If the total gold spent decreases but the total goods bought stays the same then you have deflation.
  • Similarly if the total gold spent stays the same, but total goods bought increases you also have deflation.

Fox's complaint on behalf of newbies
Newbies can't afford what they want.

My view is that they can afford what they need.
  • First of all, a naked toon could level 1 to 60.  It would not necessarily be fast, and you might die a lot.  When I levelled first I didn't have addons, had very little clue as to what I was doing, and could barely keep my current level spell on my toolbar.  I was slow, died a lot, always broke and had a lot of fun.  Quest/dungeon bind on pickup gear can keep you well enough clothed.
  • There is always cheap basic gear, gems, glyphs and enchants, even for a levelling toon.  There are always players levelling professions selling items well under cost.  They are not 'best' items, but an improvement on naked.  (Glyph of Voidwalker - I am looking at you specifically)
  • A first time levelling toon can make a comparitive fortune by taking two gathering (mining, herbalism or skinning) skills, and keeping them in step with their current level.  They even get additional XP for mining or herbalism; worth 4 mob kills per node.  More than enough to cover those additional expenses.
A newbie might not be able to afford the best possible potions, elixirs, bag, glyph, gem, enchant, gear and mount.  They can afford basic training, bags, glyphs and mounts.

Fox's complaint that there is too much inflation
But where is the evidence? Taking the pre cata numbers from Oct 10 to Sept 2011 from WoWMidas - WoWflation (Sep 2011) (Thanks to WoWMidas for the update)
  • Classic WoW mats have increased 40% 
  • BC mats have increased 120%
  • Wrath Mats have increased 260%
  • Cata Mats have fallen 40% since Feb 2011 (early days); with 10% of this last month.
From a mats perspective, the inflation is real, and ... kinda what you expect when the 'government' prints money.  The exception of Cata Mats, which have fallen, and continue to do so, and to be honest - is where the majority of the player base is at.  But it's not out of control inflation (well not by many definitions anyway).

But what does this mean to the first levelling toon, with the traditional advice to level two gathering skills? More gold for them. A stack of copper ore sells for 13g, stacks of light leather for 20g, and silverleaf for 9g.  These are all items a level 5 can gather.  With a minimum of effort, they can be swimming in gold (compared to their costs).
 Ok, but surely there is inflation in crafted mats
As a Scribe/JC, I will readily admit that top end glyphs and gems are selling well (the odd 'bodycheck' aside), with my highest cost items well outside the reach of a newbie.  But for every Epic Northrend gem sale at a huge profit, there is an uncommon gem sale at a huge loss.  For every expensive glyph, there are three cheap ones. On my primary AH, glyphs range from 85 silver for an imp glyph (surely someone has to buy these at some price point), up to 300g for a glyph of aquatic form.

50 glyphs, (average 5/class) are at or below 10g, and roughly double that below 20g.
Basic 'bold' cuts for a levelling toon go for 10g, and a bold carnelian (+30 strength) is also available for 10g (while uncut carnelians cost 30g). 

These prices are well within the price range of any gathering toon, regardless of level or quest rewards.

There is a shortage of 'best', but no shortage of 'second best' giving 80% of the bonus of best.

But there is a huge injection of gold into WoW, surely there is huge inflation.
Every quest you do, every item you vendor, every mob you kill 'creates' gold, (silver or copper at lower levels).  Lets say 16g per quest reward.

Every repair you make, everything you buy from a vendor 'destroys' gold.  The AH cut (5%/15%) also 'destroys' gold.  Lets say 1g destroyed per quest reward.

Everthing else you spend goes from one player to another.  Buy something of the AH - the majority goes
 to another player.  Sell something via trade chat - you get all the gold from that other player.   Gold is neither created or destroyed by these transactions.

So yes, we are definitely earning more than we spend on repairs, training or AH cuts.  If there were no huge goldsink, there would be huge inflation, until the cost of what we consume equals the cost of what we earn as rewards.

So what is this gold sink? The gold cap.  
Saving up for the next big expansion, or simply because you can.  It's a mini game all of itself.

The one time players with deep pockets bring out their purses is when a new set of gear or recipees drops.  Who buys that 80k gear?  Goblins.  Who pushes the new prices up at the start of a major expansion - also Goblins.  It's when we pay.

Take any player from the Warcraft Econ Hall of Fame. They are the gold sinks.  2 Million gold, at 16g per quest, is the reward from 125,000 quests.  At 3 minutes per quest, these players are soaking 260 days of quest rewards each.  Even a 'lowly' 50,000 is still soaking up 6.5 days of questing rewards at max level.

As a side effect of such a huge gold sink, goblins are removing from the economy, preventing otherwise huge inflation.

Without the players seeking the gold cap, we really would need that gold sink that Fox was talking about.

19 September 2011

4.3 Epic gems as raid drop confirmed, Insane and Raid Finder

Source MMO Champion : Patch 4.3 Interview with Greg Street (Ghostcrawler)

Ghostcrawler: We are doing epic gems this time around as a drop in the raid and we may not have those drop in the Looking for Raid tier.

Now watch the price of Fools gold (Pyrite Ore) drop.  This will most likely cause some rather large ripples throughout the economy, with everthing from volatile earth, to the ore shuffles, and blacksmithing about to take an expected price dive from a lot of stockpiled pyrite ore being dumped on the AH.

Will the new Darkmoon Faire update change anything to Insane in the Membrane?
No, I don’t believe so

Increased rate of levelling 80-85
Ghostcrawler:  In 4.3, we’re actually increasing the leveling rate of Northrend pretty dramatically.

More alts and casuals will get more gear (good news for JC's and Enchanters)
Ghostcrawler: We have a Raid Finder system that will work a lot like Dungeon Finder to allow more casual raiders to get into the content.   ... (gear) should be slightly above the 5-player dungeon gear but not as powerful as the normal raid.

Shannox is dead

A bunch of casual noobs get the Shannox dance down pretty pat, and down the blessed boss. The DPS took so little damage, they made my healing numbers look bad.  I can cope.
Many players that run gold blogs are not what you call hard core raiders.

I raid once per week.  While I have regulars, they are spread across 4 guilds, some small, but occasionally with an alt of a real progression guild.  Friday nights are my raid night.  The term 'regulars' is used loosely.  We are strictly casual.  If you have a prior commitment, no worries.

What I am strict on is flasks, enchants, gems, and experience at the previous level.  For example I expect a player doing Tier 12 (Firelands) raids to have some Tier 11 (Bot/BWD/To4W) experience.  If you need Tier 11 gear, you should buy it, run dungeons or Tier 11 raids.  If you need Tier 12 gear, you are very welcome.

Next Friday, off to another boss.  I think Beth'tilac.  New players welcome (guild invite avaiable but by no means necessary).  Gold bid runs.  Rules here.

16 September 2011

D'oH Brewfest very bad for Darkmoon Faire Cards

Over the last few months, I have been playing (more) in the darkmoon faire market.

I still have to give the profit numbers, when I get to it, but it's been OK.  Until now.

I forgot about the trinket market killer - otherwise known as brewfest, starting next Tuesday.  Apparently this year it has reasonable ilvl 365 trinkets.  This should kill the market for trinkets for a month at least. 

Oh well.  At least volatile life should have a chance to come down. 

This weekend I am selling trinkets at a discount.

15 September 2011

Preparation for 4.3

First of all, I'll be honest.   I won't do as much as I could.

A new tier of gear means a new raft of gems to be sold, and gear to be enchanted.  What ever is 'hot' now, will become hotter.  So, the usual suspects - Inferno rubies; cut and uncut, celestial essence, and heavanly shards will be popular.  For me - this means I need to put away more inferno rubies and their transmute mats : carnelians and heartblossom.

There is also a bit of talking about transmogrification.  Now, I do not pretend to know what will sell and what won't.  I will leave that up to Kaliope and the like.  However, some of it is likely to be old world crafted gear, needing 2 things : recipees and mats.  Personally, I probably won't purchase much old world, but what I do have for crafting vanilla, BC I will now sit on until 4.3.  I have some very rare patterns.  Come transmogrification, some players will have to catch them all.  I want to sell these to rich bored players.

14 September 2011

Two glyphs new scribes may be missing

If you have only taken up inscription since Cataclysm, you may be missing two glyph 'techniques' : Mana Sheild and Lash of Pain.

They are purchased as a BOE 'technique' from Larana Drome in Dalaran.  They are not quite what I would call 'must have' glyphs from a sales perspective, but they are at least profitable.

These glyphs are sold in "limited quantities", if you call 4+ technique's on a 15 minute respawn timer limited.

If you are a scribe, you should probably get these.  Even if you are not a scribe, and are passing through Dalaran, it would be worth stopping in at the scribe's satchel - facing away from the magus commerce exchange in dalaran, to purchase a few techniques to put on the AH.

12 September 2011

Blue post coy on Epic Gems 4.3

I'm harping on a theme - but I've just seen a Blizzard post coy on epic gems in 4.3 here .

My theory has been that the purpose of Epic gems is to nerf older content. There is a possibility that a very slow release of Epic gems may be used to gate access to deeper 4.3 raid content.  Note: Having JC's with thousands of tokens, stockpiled pyrite ore, capped Justice/Valor/Honor points ready to pounce does not count as a slow release.

Player 1 : If they don't release epic gems in 4.3 i will be mad
Player 2 : Protip: they won't.  Sometime mid 4.3, maybe, as an indirect nerf to the content. But not at the start.
Player 1 : i mad

Blizzard : A more useful reply would contain details of why, in your opinion, epic gems should be added sooner, how it would benefit the game as a whole, the knock-on effect to progression, something like that. You being mad wouldn't be a solid reason I can pass on to the devs :(

As JC's we are salivating at the possibility of gemmas (myself included).  My advice is to be rational instead of emotional.  Just because you want it, does not mean you get it.

10 September 2011

LFM 2Tank+3Heal BWD Must know fight WTF

I really don't understand DPS organisers of raids - not when they advertise for the hardest to fill roles, and put this kind of barrier up.

Sure, if you get 2 experienced tanks, 3 healers that know the fights, chances are you will get a full clear.   That's a pretty big if.  No tanks, no healers mean no raids.  However, I complain if I have to wait 3 minutes for DPS to respond.

I do prefer a certain level of experience in firelands raiding, and would certainly prefer any toon I took to have some raiding experience, but for Tier 11?  If you are so short of tanks or healers that you are pugging, it's time to recruit new tanks and healers - at whatever level of skill or gear.

I want to pug exactly those players that want to run as tank or healer - those looking for a new challange, or simply are prepared to take on the responsibility.

09 September 2011

Glyph predictions 4.3

I've been looking at my crystal ball, and I think I see a few things. 

I expect that there will be new tanking glyphs.  New glyphs give players additional choice, and will 'allow' tanks some options for mitigation.  These 'choices' are in reality likely to be mandatory.
Scribes will be able to learn all research major and prime glyphs from either Books of glyph mastery (no cooldown), or via "northrend" research (or a similarly named skill).  While this has already been flagged as something that will happen, I expect it to occur in patch 4.3.

If the combinations of the above two items are true, then there should be a short term increase in demand for Books of glyph mastery, followed by a sustained and significant fall in demand.

I think there is a possibility that "northrend" research will be renamed, and will require inferno ink instead of snowfall ink.  If this occurs, the price of snowfall ink will plumet, and inferno ink will rise temporarily.  This in turn will lead to a shortage of 'cheap' crafted trinkets, and possibly a fall in the value of volatile life.

Crystal balls are interesting things, and are generally subject to interpretation. This community has only middling luck with predicting future pricing; and even when we do guess things correctly - we tend to over stockpile, causing the opposite effect of what was forseen.

Caveat Emptor

08 September 2011

OT: In praise of Steam's customer service

My previous experience with internet ordering has been cheap prices but shocking customer service. 

The story starts out with a young boy, a credit card tied to a steam account, and a 'free to play co-op game' .  Free to play games sometimes have expensive addons.  Buying with someone else's money was so much fun, he thought he would buy gifts for other friends too.  And look at all these other games to buy. 

This happened over a month. Think of a dollar amount you would hit the roof with.  Add a zero.

Sob Sob.

Yes, as a parent I am responsible - if for nothing else than allowing the credit card to be linked to the account.  However, talk to other teenagers, or their parents, and my story is not at all uncommon (though many of these stories involve phone bills).  Let the parent beware.

Steam have an established procedure to handle unauthorised purchases.  They also let you know that while they might be able to help, they will terminate the account involved, and block any further access to that particular credit card.

Not a problem.  We had already cancelled the credit card, and gave them the full history; including that it was our son, and the details of the unauthorised transactions, and would be very happy for the account to be terminated.

Steam reset my hopes of customer service - in a very good way.

As requested, we have processed the refunds and enabled account.

Your bank or credit card issuer will return the funds to your account - please allow 3-5 business days for the funds to be posted.

Please note in the future that Steam purchases, per the Steam Subscriber Agreement, are not refundable - this refund was issued as a one-time customer service gesture.

Today the funds were returned to my bank account.  As a bonus - if only for the child involved, they allowed him to keep his account as well - which I was not expecting.

Now my only 'problem' is working out which month or year my son is allowed near a computer again.

07 September 2011

Glyph demand - this is as bad as it gets

Today I'm talking about demand instead of supply. 

Back in the final days of Northrend, (other) bloggers were worried that the end was comming.  Way back then, players would need 6 glyphs (if I recall correctly) per spec - so a total of 12 glyphs.  Your average players changed glyphs ... less often than a 8 year old voluntary showers.

Long time scribes remember glyphmas, where we got to have 9 glyphs per spec, and could permanently learn all glyphs (roughly 30 per class).  This followed by a boom while everone was getting to 85. We know that generally demand has fallen from those wonderful days.  Established, fully glyphed lvl 85 toons simply have no reason to buy new glyphs. But all is not lost. 

This graph from MMO champion shows a steady stream of new level 85 characters, that has essentially been stable for 4 months now.  Spikes over the weekend, and troughs on Mondays (no one likes Monday).  While the graph only shows level 85, to get this level of consistency means that you must have a consistent stream of levelling toons.  They also mention a brief dip when 4.2 came out.

Seriously - from a demand perspective, this is as bad as it will get. 

06 September 2011

JC's daily - the other one

I assume that most JC's still doing their Stormwind/Ogrimar JC dailies : to pick up their gem cuts  that they don't already have, get a chimera eye, or stockpiling JC tokens in case 4.3 drops trainable epic cuts.  Assuming we get trainable epic cuts, and assuming they use the existing Cata JC tokens, we will want hundreds of tokens.

However, there are another set of profitable dailies to do in Dalaran providing Northrend JC tokens.  Just like the Cata dailies, these provide either recipes or an eye (in this case Dragon's eye).  The Daily takes 15 minutes, and usually requires 2 green quality northrend gems - prospectable, usually available cheap on the AH.
  • 1 daily token can be traded for a Dragon's eye, selling uncut for an average US market price of  Alliance 160g & Horde 185g, even more cut into a nightmare tear.
  • 5 4 daily tokens can be traded for an epic northrend gem cut.  I buy uncut northrend epic gems for up to 100g, selling 21 in the last week for 6.5k sales.  Won't make me a WoW millionaire overnight, but I already have a JC, and it is easy gold.

On the note of Epic cuts, most other bloggers I read are sure that 4.3 will drop epic cuts;  just like we had epics from northrend - with prospectable gems - most likely from pyrite ore.  There is nothing so dangerous as 'knowing' something.  Neither BC or Northrend epic gems were first released in this manner at first.  There is every chance this will occur, but you will get little sympathy from me if it doesn't happen.  I will be eagerly following patch notes from the PTR.

There are a couple of options for self powered transport to Dalaran.  First of all you can set your hearth there & portal back to Stormwind/Origmar (yes they put those portals back).  Many guild's now have 'cooperation' cloaks giving you a personal portal ever 4 or 8 hours.  Finally, there is a ring of the Kirin Torr, purchasable for 7k (less rep discount?) that allows you to port back to Dalaran.

05 September 2011

Gold sellers now leaving breadcrumb comments on our blogs

Gold sellers are becoming creative.

  • There is a site out there that copies my posts onto their site so it looks interesting, changing just enough to remove all references to my site.
  • I have now seen a relevant, on topic response on two blogs; mine and and another, where the link was to a gold selling site.
I have not been interested in making the very very few dollars from general advertising or selling gold guides, though I can accept that others are.

Apparently buying a game time card with in-game gold is officially a grey line (citation needed but I did see a blue post on this recently.  Edit: Went looking for the citation and did not find it; but found plenty contradicting it).  Outright buying or selling gold for real life cash is not permitted.  Botting is not permitted.  These are the rules of the game.

I will not knowingly link to gold sellers.  This includes removing comments where either the name or the post links to gold selling websites.

I read the RSS feed on the comments to this blog, and not just for vanity.  Sometimes I get an interesting question (I love those), other times I catch a dodgy post.

Blogger and wordpress (the software that most of the wow goldmaking bloggers use) both allow you to track comments.  This is worth doing.

03 September 2011

WoW Midas's top 10 lessons learned

I like the WoW Midas site. He offers an objective measure of WoW inflation/deflation on Vanilla, BC, Northrend and Cata Mats, great reasearch.

He also has a post for the bloggers (and those thinking about blogging) out there : Gold Blogging Top 10 lessons learned

Finally theunderminejournal.com is looking for new blogs to syndicate.  It is the largest driver of traffic to my site.  Please drop them a line via their contact form with the address for your blog suggestion. The blog must:
  • Discuss the WoW economy in most articles
  • Use correct spelling, capitalization, punctuation and grammar
  • Show an effort to provide new ideas
  • Provide an RSS or Atom feed with at least the first 5 paragraphs or 1,200 characters
(As a side note: they seem to be content with nearly correct spelling and grammar - I can't pretend that I always succeed on these two items.)

01 September 2011

Mix Master again

I am Guild Master of a micro guild - Dark Prophecy, with 7 or 8 casual players.  Sometimes we actually have players online and on friday nights will even have 4 or so players raiding.  Considering our size and activty, being lvl a 12 guild isn't too bad.

We recently picked up a couple of alchemists, so it was worth getting the Cauldron of Battle (my non-raiding alchemist already had it from a stint in another guild).  For this we needed Mix Master (1000 flasks made).  We already had 250 flasks made from ad-hoc crafting, but needed to make another 750.

If you are serious about making a large number of flasks, you want to use an elixir specialist to do so.  Over time, this provides a 15% bonus to the number of flasks or elixirs you make.  I am also very happy to confirm that at the moment the proc's from this do count toward mix master.  And even though I know that the law of averages says I will get 15% bonus, getting a 5x proc still gives a nice buzz.

We made roughly an equal amount of flasks with an eye towards the cauldron: strength, stamina, intellect and agility.  This wasn't so much because I intend to use 185 cauldrons any time soon, but because there will be a consistent demand for these flasks - either directly or as mats for other guild's cauldrons.

I purchased both the herbs and the volatile life over six weeks, and over both auction houses.  To make our 750 flasks (we already had 250), you need 12,000 cinderbloom, Azshara's veil, Twilight Jasmine and Whiptail, and 6,000 volatile life.  That is a lot of mat's to strip off an auction house, with an inevitable price rise associated.  My guestimate of the alliance price rise is about 2g50/life and about 50s/herb.  It didnt help that on the Alliance AH, there was at least one other player also vacuuming all the volatile life of the AH.  Life was the hardest thing to find enough to buy.

I staggered purchases.  I bought off both auction houses.  Horde side volatile life was regularly 3-4g cheaper per volatile than alliance.  I made sure I had something to sell Horde side (glyphs) so I didn't have spend a 15% neutral AH hit just to convert cash.

I staggered my purchases over a month, once every day or so buying any needed 'below average' mats off the auction houses.  Towards the end I had to pick only the best horde sales as I was running out of horde gold.  However just horde glyph sales let me buy almost all the horde volatile life I wanted.

The darkmoon faire is just around the corner, so I expect that volatile life will reman in demand for another week.

I expect to make a profit on the flasks.  I am not convinced that this profit would have been more than simply averaging out the AH prices buying mats when cheap, selling mats when expensive.

PS. If you are looking for a place to park a toon or two on Alliance Caelestrasz, send an in game mail to Foofixit.  If you are willing to provide guild xp (even from doing the odd quest or daily), I am happy to provide guild repairs.  I am also paying 2g/point towards the fishing achievement Thats a lot of bait.