It’s time to conclusively figure out what alchemy specialization is best. This can actually be determined to some degree, or atleast be discussed. We’ll be comparing some important recipes, sale rates and the time required to generate a decent return, so let’s dive in.
The three available specializations (transmutation, elixir and potion) give a 20% bonus to the amount crafted by your recipes in that category. I’ll be using the average extra yield of 20%, even though you can get both more and less than that in any smaller crafting batch (as many as 5 pots extra on one craft).
What do we care about
We’ll be comparing along a couple of different axes. We’ll be using the average daily sold number for the main end-game recipes for each category. We’ll calculate the profit for one item, as well as the time required to craft enough to reach the daily sold. For transmutes we’ll find the best daily transmute obviously, and then include other transmutes. THis way we can compare the gold per hour, as well as the total gold available with a larger time spend. We’ll also calculate any profits that exist without the mastery, to see if any of the items can be reliably profited from even without the relevant specialization.
For transmutation we will consider the following recipes:
All of the eternal transmutes, calculating the best one.
For the meta gems we’ll use the average daily sold, as well as the current prices for materials and gems on my realm. We’ll do all the calculations in the spreadsheet linked here, so feel free to add your own prices.
For potion mastery we will only be looking at three potions. Potion of Speed, Potion of Wild Magic and Indestructible Potions are the three potions that will typically sell. The first two are the BiS DPS potions, with armor potions being used by tanks and pre-potting for frost DKs due to a talent that gives AP from armor. We’ll be taking the sale rate and profit for all three, but you do need to discover both the DPS potions to get them going, so it might take a while from research.
For Elixir mastery we will only be considering the flasks. Elixirs are for the most part not useful compared to flasks and will ignore them. All flasks can be trained at the trainer, so getting the recipes is simply a case of leveling your profession.
I built a spreadsheet to calculate a lot of different factors you can use to make the choice. What I did was calculate the profit of all the recipes listed above, with and without mastery. Then we used the average daily sold per realm, and we can use that to get an idea of the total profit available, and the time required to craft that many items. Of course no one will be able to sell exactly the amount equal to “daily average sold” as that is the per realm number. Still we can assume that the percentage of sales you can get is going to be equal for each item type, so they are still valid in determining the sale rate you are likely to see and they can be compared.
The time required to take advantage of the different specializations vary a lot. Based on current sale rates potion mastery is the most time consuming one, with the highest amount of sales. Elixir is slightly less, mostly due to not having to make pygmy oils, and lastly transmutes can be maxed out in 5 minutes a day including crafting a chunk of meta gems to sell.
I checked the profitability of the various choices on my realm. Potion mastery has the highest total profit available, if we assume you manage to sell an equal percentage of the “daily average sold per realm” number for each item type. It does however also have the lowest gold per hour, at 1175. That’s still quite good, but it undersells the time quite a bit, as I did not include time for posting on the AH, which is also going to be more time consuming for potions. Flasks clock in a little behind with 1200 total profit, but almost double the efficiency per hour. Transmut has the lowest total profit, but the time required is miniscule compared to the other two.
What if you do everything?
If you every profitable recipe availble, then potion mastery is the top one. Transmutes are right now good regardless of mastery, which helps bring up the total profit. Flasks however are barely profitable without mastery, so I would stay away from those without the elixir mastery.
Check your own
Obviously you will have to check prices on your realm. I expect realms will be relatively close in price trends, but there will be differences and they will have an impact. Fill out the price data for all the materials and all the crafts and you can get the analysis done for your realm as well.
I was surprised by these results, particularly transmute mastery is looking much better than I expected. Even with two accounts I very rarely find time to craft significant quantities of potions. I’ll likely be swapping to transmute as a result of this. This will help make prospecting more valuable through transmutes, and I can source meta gems to cut. The time requirement to craft potions is just too high to defend that specialization for me personally.