Today I will dive into some of the major phases of an expansion. We are closing in on a new one and the lifespan is fairly predictable. This will also have a very real effect on which markets perform well and which do not.
Just after launch gold making is at it’s most dynamic. Markets have not established themselves at all. The majority of players will be focusing on leveling and gearing up as well as unlocking recipes. Materials are typically very expensive as the supply is way lower than demand.
This phase is characterized by a lot of niches being discovered and utilized. If you find a good niche and hit it hard you can make hundreds of thousands in a day. This is the most exciting part of an expansion by far as you get to enjoy finding new markets and making them work.
Crafted gear will typically be red hot as players look to gear up quickly. Getting the right recipes early will get you a ton of gold.
The first raid
About the time the first raid opens up the markets will generally have stabilized somewhat. This is usually the point in the expansion where performance increasing items are at their most profitable. In Legion you would make a killing during Emerald Nightmare if you had rank 3 alchemy recipes as demand and prices were both sky high.
At this point you should focus your attention on markets that give power increases. People are still very much in the gearing up phase and anything that gives a power increase will be heavily in demand. Consumables with hard to get recipes will be a gold mine.
Make sure you get cooking up to speed as well as this was a massive gold mine in early Legion and I expect we will see the same in BfA.
The first content lull
Eventually the first raid will get conquered. The first lull between content patches is usually quite short compared to later lulls. At this point players will typically focus on leveling alts, getting achievments and unlocking hard to get stuff from the new expansion.
Consumables will remain good money makers, but at this point crafted gear and BoE flipping will usually work really well. Players are leveling alts to get more potential max level characters or to change their main.
The second and third raids
The second and third raids will usually be released alongside major content patches. New raids always bring with them substantial boosts to the consumable markets. Content patches will typically invigorate the gear market as lapsed subs get back to the game and want to get their characters up to speed quickly.
Typically there will be fewer players in the last raiding tier of an expansion than the first one so profit margins on consumables are usually quite a bit lower.
The second and third content lulls
The second and third content lulls will take place in between the raids. As players conquer the raids they will focus on other parts of the game. This is usually about where the last expansion markets will start getting good. Crafted mounts, transmog and other cosmetic items will usually do really well as players no longer feel the need to spend their gold on increasing the power level of their character.
Players will still level alts and there will still be a pretty penny to make by providing them with crafted gear or BoEs.
The final content drought and pre-patch waiting room
After the final raid of the expansion we will enter the last content drought. This is typically the longest period with nothing exciting added to the game. We are in the middle of this phase of Legion currently. Most of the markets from the live expansion will still be viable, but profit margins will be decreasing, as will prices on all goods.
Eventually you will hit the point at which you need to exit any markets that will not be relevant in the next expansion.
The pre-patch for the new expansion will typically drag a lot of players back and many of them will be buying some gear so they can look around.
At this point prices for most items will reach their lowest level ever. Old expansion materials will typically inflate in value eventually as the gold inflation increase the prices. Making shrewd investments in this period can yield substantial long term profits.