The Sky is Falling!

Ok, maybe it's not that earth-shattering :) But we got some pretty huge news today didn't we? For those of you who haven't seen the patch notes for 3.3.3, serious changes are on the horizon for crafters. Most major crafting cooldowns are being removed: titansteel/spellweave/ebonweave/moonshroud. For now the cooldown is still active on epic gem transmutes and still being shared with eternal transmutes.

Many coveted crafting components are being added to a new vendor in Dalaran, who will now sell all eternals, Runed Orbs, Crusader Orbs and possibly Frost Lotus (this one could be a bug). The new vendor will exchange crafty orbs and eternals for Frozen Orbs. Eternals will cost 1x Orb each, Runed Orbs are 4x Frozen Orbs and Crusader Orbs are 6x Frozen Orbs. This change has already caused a spike in the price of Frozen Orbs on live servers. So far Runed Orbs and Crusader Orbs seem relatively unaffected.

This is going to cause some pretty huge shake-ups in the crafting world. This should bring down the cost of many craftables, namely crafted gear from Ulduar and ToC recipes. The price of orbs will no longer be throttled by raid activity, which should put 226 and 245 gear in more players' hands. Titansteel should also become more widely available since the cooldown will be gone. At this point I think we should seriously consider the possibility that ICC recipes will be on the table soon in conjunction with the planned dungeon "nerfs". I take this move as a clear indication that Blizzard wants everyone to experience maximum raid content before Cataclysm rolls out and they are prepared to facilitate that process.

To be honest, I expected some of these things to be rolled out with Cataclysm (similar changes were implemented in the WotLK beta). But I never would have expected to see major cooldowns removed while players are still actively raiding these dungeons. Oddly, they also added a cooldown to the Glacial Bag recipe, which I find kind of weird. If it hasn't needed one for the past year, why impose one now? I know they made some of the WotLK reps easier to grind, but certainly not anything that would result in a flood of this particular item right?

Also, there is word that a new Flying Carpet recipe for Tailors is available. I have not been able to locate this on the tailoring trainer/vendor or Frozen Orb guy in Dalaran. Also some of the ink requirements have been reduced for glyph recipes. There are also some pretty significant changes being made to the Auction House interface, which I'm sure will make lots of folks happy. I'll continue to monitor these changes on the PTR and bring them to you as I find them!

For now, here's a pretty screenshot of the Orb vendor for you to drool over:


  1. Like the Dalaran Ink Trader, this is rather crude method of balancing an increasingly unbalanced economy: More - and increasingly less useful - orbs are dropping now than at the start of WotLK, while I suspect there is less farming of Eternals. Orb prices will shift, but only into equilibrium with Eternal Fire.

    (Assume Eternal Fire is the most valuable Eternal, which tends to be the case.)

    Based on the toplists (for Europe), for every Eternal Fire "made", there are almost 1.5 orbs looted. If the net result is the value of Frozen Orbs and Eternal Fire are the same, Eternal Fire prices will drop more than Frozen Orb prices will increase. While that still might mean a doubling of orb prices, it probably won't be as dramatic as expected, because there are more orbs in circulation than people expect.

  2. On the Glacial Bag cooldown: It mirrors the removal of cooldowns on cloth.

    In practice, bags are the only item made in volume by tailors, because ilevel 200 epic robes are so much worse than "easy" dungeon epics. It made no sense for the ilevel 200 epics to take weeks worth of cooldowns to make, when better items could be gained in hours without crafting.

    So a new bag cooldown continues to constrain the supply of bags, much as a cloth cooldown did. But it does allow tailors to (almost) instantly create a set of reasonable clothes.

  3. Hey El - thanks for stopping by! It looks like you don't think the Runed/Crusader action will have any effect on the price of Orbs, whereas I was thinking they would be more of an influence than eternals. The price of Eternals has definitely been creeping up over the last six months as you have less active farmers now, while the price of Frozen Orbs has been sliding into the crapper. Sadly I can't get the top lists to work for me right now so I can't check out the official action in that regard.

    I still find the bag thing weird, but I guess it would help if I actually paid attention to Tailoring. I've been slowing leveling it on my last alt and she is now getting to the horror stage in question. Now is probably a good time for me to see what folks are doing with high-end Tailoring.

    This new vendor might be a rather brute force method for balancing the economy, but the programming involved in a more elegant solution is probably much higher than they are willing to invest in a 'dying' expansion. I've already started my spring cleaning to clear out WotLK items and make room for new goodies. So I'm actually surprised they bothered to add any new content at this stage of the game. I fully expected them to milk the ICC stuff all the way to Cataclysm, especially once they implemented the gating on the Citadel to stretch out the end game accessibility. My position is that anything they give us now is gravy, people who are bored may as well take a vacation from WoW until Cataclysm if they don't like it.

  4. Unsure about Runed/Crusader. Recipes now require less of them, while the drops are getting easier to kill, and the overall demand for anything profession-made is also dropping due to easier dungeon loot. Not to mention the on-set of pre-Cataclysm "future greens will be better" gear depression.

    The more general flaw here is that the economy balancing is out of sync with "tier progression". So the economy remains permanently balanced around "level 80 in December 2008", even when the majority of players have moved on. When things get game-breakingly out of sync, we see measures like traders appear. Instead, every time tiered gear scales, the economy should scale with it. That means, for example, adjusting drop rates on a wide range of items to keep the whole game balanced.

    That's only time-consuming if you do it all manually. But if you design with the expectation of tier progression, you should also design with the expectation of economy progression.

    Or completely abandon the economy in raid progression, and ensure absolutely everything required drops in dungeons.

    That discussion is rather mooted by the lack of a clear role for "crafting" - for (I suspect) most people, professions are leveling grinds to gain a personal benefit, and nothing more. If you read between the lines on Archaeology, you see a recognition of that. Add that transferable money is causing "operational" problems (i.e. endless hacks to support the RMT of gold), and I wouldn't be surprised to see the complete removal of a functional profession-based economy within a year or 2. The supreme irony of Blizzard's recent interest in selling (for dollars) advanced auction functions, is how relatively unimportant this form of exchange has become compared to release-era WoW.

    I digress...

  5. although i am not truly happy about the orb vendor making so many things so easily available to everyone as it will hurt the economy for us crafters that have worked hard to obtain all the recipes in the game. But the availability of frost lotus for a mere 3g 2s will help with the price gouging that has been transpiring for so long over that product. as for the eternal s most are relatively inexpensive with the exception of the eternal fire which is currently on par with the cost of the orbs in the present market