Wrath is out, and so is goldmaking season. Today we’re taking a deep look at prospecting, specifically Saronite Ore, and the fabled Saronite Shuffle you can do potentially maximize the value of your gems.
The basic idea to make gold with prospecting is to buy ore in large quantities and turn it into gems. By going for large volumes you can be fairly certain your yields are close to the actual average yields, which means you can be certain you will actually make a profit. The gems we get can either be sold raw, cut into socketable gems or used to craft other items that require gems. Some of the items crafted with the uncommon gems can be further optimized by disenchanting them to sell the dust and essences, or use them to craft enchants.
Luckily wowhead already has the data on average yields. A large portion of profits will usually come from rare red gems, as this is by a very significant margin the most popular gem. This has a 4% chance of appearing per prospect, which means we can get an idea of the variance. If you prospect 100 times, there’s 43% chance you get less than the expected 4 red gems, which would likely hurt your profitability significantly.
Saronite has almost 4 times the rate of rare gems that Cobalt Ore has. This generally means that you will greatly prefer Saronite ore. It saves you time, and it will get you a larger quantity of the most important gems for profit.
The most important factor by a very significant margin when doing prospecting is buying at a price where you know you can turn a profit. To figure this out I’ve made a spreadsheet you can use. The TSM API is back so we can get the prices directly into the sheet by following the instructions on the first page. It’ll then calculate the best value combination and compare it with the current value of the ore.
It’s hard to know exactly what price rare gems will stabilize at. I added some rough price guesstimates for gems based on TBC prices, which would put the value of Saronite Ore for prospecting anywhere from 3 to 7 gold. I would be surprised to see the ore at prices significantly above that, as that would lead to some very expensive gems. Of course I could be underestimating how much gold players have. We would have to see average rare gem prices at 200g and average uncommon prices at 10g or more to see the ore value pass 10 gold.
The Saronite shuffle
The full shuffle is a way to increase the value of your uncommon gems. Of course you can sell them cut, loads of players will prefer doing some cheap gems for pre-bis gear or early socketed gear they expect to swap out. You can also sell the raw uncommons, as they are used in JC dailies, so players will always be buying. The last option is to use four of them to craft rings and necklaces. Crystal Chalcedony necklace, Bloodstone Band, Huge Citrine Ring and XX all require one gem and two crystallized earth. They can be disenchanted and will give you infinite dust or lesser cosmic essences. I did this en masse back in the original Wrath. The last two colour uncommons you will have to find another way to dump, there are some transmutes for meta gems than can help, but for the most part I expect these two relatively quickly essentially become vendor trash.
Generally speaking I suggest using hardcoded gold values when selling gems, particularly early on. Prices will vary a lot between realms and change every day, and you want to take a measured approach that you control. For uncommon gems you can try starting at 30 gold normal rice and 100 gold max. The minimum price should be 1 gold, which is w times the vendor price, to ensure you don’t lose your profit due to deposit costs. For rare gems I would start out at 300-500 gold, at least for red gems. The market will quickly stabilize, so eventually your minimum price is the only one that really matters. You can go as low as 2 times vendor price if competition is low enough, but even at 12 hour duration you will lose 15% of the vendor sell price every time an auction expires.