There is a great deal of speculation out now surrounding patch 4.3. As a player of the game for a number of years I have learned to take this with a grain of salt. However there are those out there that may not be as experienced, and jaded, about general patch speculation. This blog post is intended as a warning and a guide to those not well versed in patch speculation. It is not intended to discourage or demean any of the current speculation.
Patch speculation by bloggers and podcasters have been a mainstay of goldmaking for a long time. It provides the community with an opportunity to exchange views and ideas on how best to maximize and prepare for patch changes. If used properly it can be a valuable resource for the auction house goblin. However in the hands of the inexperienced goblin it can spell disaster. As the saying goes “experience is the best teacher”. Therefore, I will attempt to share some of my experience with you.
Speculation tends to be derived from one of three sources. These are rumors and quotes, datamining, and the public test realms (PTR). I will cover all three sources and explain what information can be reliably drawn from them.
Rumors and Quotes
Blizzard employees tend to occasionally “leak” certain information. This can be for the purpose of informing players of upcoming changes. Sometimes this information is leaked to “test the waters”. This is Blizzards attempt to gain player feedback and judge the viability of a proposed change. Many times in the past Blizz has leaked information and received negative feedback which caused them to change or remove a planned implementation.
A current example of this is an interview quote made by Greg Street (Ghostcrawler) of Blizzard. This involves the current speculation of epic gems planned release in the next patch. Essentially Mr Street advised that epic gems will have a chance to drop during raids. After defeating a raid boss each player will receive a “geode”. Inside each geode will be the chance of a player to receive an epic gem. This is in essence what was said. Now enter the speculation. What chance (percentage) will there be for an epic gem drop in a geode? Unknown. Will the gems be cut or uncut? Unknown. Will the epic gems be soulbound? Unknown. Will we be able to obtain epic gems from other sources such as alchemy transmutes? Unknown. Where will we get the jewelcrafting recipes for cutting the gems? Unknown. Will the recipes be Boe or Bop? Unknown. What was said in the interview is overwhelmed by what was left unsaid.
As you can see a simple statement made by a Blizzard employee can create a stir of speculation. Many times the statement can be taken out of context, misunderstood, or poorly worded. Prior to this interview many people speculated that epic gems may come from prospecting pyrite ore. This caused jewelcrafters and goldmakers to stockpile large amounts of this ore. Because of this quote many players have begun to dump all their stockpiled ore. Here is the problem. At no time in the interview did Mr Street ever say that epic gems would or would not come from prospecting. Both the stockpiling of ore and the dumping of the stockpiles are based on pure speculation. None of it is based in fact. This is the danger of speculation.
Websites such as MMO-Champion are able to datamine (search) the PTR for information pertaining to new items in the game. This is one of the more reliable sources of information provided. However just because an item or recipe is datamined off the PTR it does not mean that the item will be implemented into the final release. An example would be the BoA leg armor datamined last patch. Use caution.
When a patch is nearing release it is put on the Public Test Realm (PTR). This gives players a chance to try out all or part of the new patch and gives the developers the chance to live test the data before final release. The key to remember is that nothing shown in the patch is guaranteed to make it to the live realms. The new patch goes live on the PTR approximately one to three months before the scheduled release date. You will see many changes to the PTR during this time. Use information obtained from this source with extreme caution. Things change and disappear from the PTR rapidly. However useful information can be obtained from the PTR in advance. An example of this would be the information in the last patch that Blizzard would be severely nerfing the vendor prices of Cata gems. Thus allowing JC's the opportunity to sell off their overstock before the patch went live and they lost money. A negative example of PTR speculation is seen in a previous patch. Due to a change in the alchemy transmute cooldown in the PTR it appeared that Blizzard was going to totally remove the transmute cooldown for Alchemists. Many people who stockpiled mats were disappointed when the final patch was released and they found the cooldown remained, only slightly altered.
We all have heard stories of how some goblins have made a great deal of gold just after a new release or patch. Being able to recognize changes to the game is important. Being able to be one of the first to capitalize on them can be profitable. This creates the alluring draw of speculation. Trying to be the first to spot a new market. Being the first on your server to provide new products. The ability to make tens or even hundreds of thousands of gold in a day. It is very tempting. It can also be very disastrous. New and inexperienced auction house goblins can spend all of their gold reserves for patch day only to see their profits disappear because of incorrect information.
Stick to what you know. What sells pre patch will still sell post patch. Never invest more of your gold reserve in speculation than you can afford to lose. My comfort zone for speculation investing is 10 – 20% of my gold on hand. Some markets (glyphs, pets, recipes, etc.) will see a slight decline in sales just after the patch. These markets will rebound in a few days. Other markets (enchants, item enhancements, gems) may see a sharp increase just after release. Preplanning for increased sales in these markets by stockpiling mats would be advised.
You want to make guaranteed gold after the patch hits? There is one simple and surefire way to do it. Stockpile crafting mats. Which mats? All of them. Almost all new releases and patches include new recipes. Crafters will be creating all the new items as quickly as possible. This causes a shortage in crafting mats. So even if you are not a crafter yourself you can make gold by selling to those that are. Once the normal reserve of mats sell out on your servers AH you will see mats increasing in price from 300-1500% their normal selling price. So start buying mats now while the prices are low for greater profits later on. This includes herbs, ores, leather, volatiles, raw gems, living embers, etc.
(Of course this could all just be speculation on my part)