Monday, April 11, 2011

Gemmageddon and the 4.1 Horsemen of the Jewel-pocalypse

Warning! This post contains imagery that may offend some people. If your religious views are so strong that you may become upset at a humorous view of God, WoW and Blizzard please do not read any further.

As Blizzard looked down on Azeroth from on high, He said unto Himself, “This is good”. In Azeroth, his chosen--the Player--found plants and animals, elements in abundance, scores of sentient races and a vast world full of wonder.

However, Blizzard was concerned. He watched with a furrowed brow as the evil Bots continually plundered the raw elements and prevented His Chosen from achieving greatness. Often, the Chosen complained in the Prayer Forums. They pleaded with Blizzard to make the Bots go away.

Yet despite Blizzard’s new Natural Laws the Bots continued to thrive. The Ban Hand of Blizzard, usually very effective, was rendered impotent by the pervasive Bots and their masters, the Gold Farmers. The Bots threatened the Player race by attacking the cherished elements of Ore. Without free access to its Ore the Players found their enjoyment and livelihood to be in jeopardy.

Thus Blizzard felt compelled to bestow a gift upon the Realm of Players.

Unlike any other book, this tome was sealed with 4.1 locks.

I watched as the Hand of Blizzard opened the first of the seals.... I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

By releasing the White Horse Blizzard sent forth unto the Internet Realm the rumor of a dramatic devaluation of the Ores’ value. Blizzard knew that the Gold Farmers imposed firm daily quotas upon the Bots. Blizzard realized that when the value of the Ore is reduced the Bots will have to look elsewhere for their gold. According to the Rumor, this Plan is intended to preserve the elements of Ore so that only the Players will profit.

The power of the Internet Realm is truly awesome. Blizzard watched as the Rumor took form in the PTR, grew flesh as it was Datamined, crawled forward from the ooze onto MMO Champion, and then ran rampant throughout the Blogosphere.

Players began to panic.

And Blizzard smiled.

When the Hand of Blizzard opened the second seal...another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other.

The Red Horse caused additional panic among the Chosen. The War of Ore Undercutting erupted across all the Server Lands of Players as the Chosen sought to dump their stockpiles of Ore lest they soon become worthless rocks.

The Players lamented the actions of Blizzard. They turned their attention to the Prayer Forums and beat their chests. “Why, oh why have you forsaken us, great Blizzard?” they cried.

“Why do you threaten our livelihood? Our income depends on stable Ore prices and the resultant profitability of selling cut gems for 9g each to a vendor”.

Blizzard looked down upon His Chosen, and said nothing.

Blizzard’s silence permeated the Blogosphere just as all sound is absent in a vacuum. Truly, nature abhors a vacuum. Into this void the voices of Players began to chant “The End is nigh” and “Sell your Ore now!”

Blind with rage and angered at their beloved Blizzard, Players fell deeper and deeper into AH PvP. The War of Ore Undercutting was bloody. It was intense. Players died thousands of times as their profits were cut to nothing. Selling at a loss is the AH equivalent of Hari Kari. Many were forced to take the sword upon themselves just to recoup something.

The streets of Stormwind and Orgrimmar ran red with the blood of the Goblins.

And Blizzard smiled.

When the Hand of Blizzard opened the third seal...I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.

The shelves in the AH were barren in the aftermath of the War of Ore Undercutting. Once over brimming with the fruits of Prospecting, the Goblins were hard pressed to find a single raw gem. Scores of Hypnotic Dust that had been available for very little were now meted out using the Black Horseman’s scales. Any such small measure of materials came at a high price.

Yet still there was no Ore.

The War of Ore Undercutting had left the Goblin stockpiles depleted. Faced with diminished profits, the Bots found that continuing to mine Ore and list for radically reduced prices left them far short of their daily quotas. The Gold Farmers did not understand--or did not care. They simply told their Bot minions to find other ways to fill their quotas.

Players soon ventured from the dimly lit AH into the light. The Players slowly rode, flew and ported to the shores of Twilight Highlands, the hills of Deepholm and the dunes of Uldum. Amazed at how bright was the sun, how grand was the landscape and how plentiful was the Ore that the Players began to mine Ore for themselves.

And Blizzard was pleased.

The once barren shelves of the AH began to fill. Slowly at first, but soon at a steadier pace, the Players noticed that Enchanters, Tailors, Blacksmiths and Leatherworkers still required Dusts and Essences. They also found that as more players leveled up, they required cheap but powerful Rings and Necklaces.

Players turned their faces towards the sky and cried "Blizzard, we are sorry to have doubted your wisdom. Thank you for this Great Gift."

Goblins took note as well. Buying the Ore for a higher price meant only that the resulting products could be sold at greater profit. What was once viewed as the Jewel-pocalypse was now seen as the beginning of a new era: the Time of True Supply and Demand.

But Blizzard was worried. Something was still amiss in Azeroth.

When the Hand of Blizzard opened the fourth seal…I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hell was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

But what of the Bots and their masters, the Gold Farmers? Had Blizzard found a more effective Ban Hand to send them scurrying back to the depths of their origin?

No, the Bots had simply moved on. Now Players found Herbs and Skins abundantly available in the AH. Yet there were none to be found in the wild. The Hand of Blizzard had effectively removed the incentive for Bots to steal the Ore of Azeroth but had not removed their desire to farm.

By using the Ban Hand, Blizzard had only made the Bots more resilient, able to withstand firmer action against them. By manipulating the economy to eliminate the benefit of Bot farming, Blizzard had only made the Gold Farmers create more Bots and send them to new areas for other income producing activities.

The Gold Farmers knew that which Blizzard did not: if their income is cut in half due to the War of Ore Undercutting, then they will create double the Bots to maintain equilibrium.

Once again the Players turned to the Prayer Forums. "Oh Blizzard," they cried, "Why have you misled us yet again? We want you to provide stability in all markets! Please give us a sign!"

Blizzard believed that in all things Balance is important. He hoped that Players now understood there is no One Single Way to produce gold in His Realm. The true victims of the War of Ore Undercutting were not the Bots. True Goblins were not left as carrion on the battlefield.

The true victims were the Players who sought only One True Way to earn gold. Those Players who were not diversified among many markets soon found their skeletons baking in the Sun.

Fortune most certainly favors the bold. The agile Goblin is better able to remain bold.

And Blizzard frowned.

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the Bank. Outside the Auction House are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

Blizzard looked down again upon His Realm. He saw that Bots were part of His design, intended or not. They exist anywhere a profit can be made and where the Chosen can perform simple tasks.

Blizzard always knew that Bots were a necessary evil in His Realm. He hoped that the Chosen now knew this as well.

Alas, the Players once again clamored to the Prayer Forum. They cried “Oh Blizzard, what have you done? My income is down, my materials cost more, and my guild cannot attain certain achievements. There are more Bots than ever! Bots have moved from Ore to Herbs and Skins. Now they are returning to Ore”.

Blizzard spoke not unto the Players; instead, Blizzard smiled.


I have obviously taken a great deal of license in this post. I know I have misquoted the Bible, and that the image of Blizzard as God may be offensive to some people.

If you find this post offensive, please accept my apologies. It is just a post. It is not intended to make light of religion.

Hopefully by now we have seen the last “The Sky is Falling” post about anticipated changes to the vendored gem prices that may or may not come when 4.1 arrives.

Look at it this way:

Stable ore prices give bots a predictable return on their farming time. The oversupply of ore kept many players from being able to get their own supply of ore. They had to buy the bot ore. This made the bots more pervasive as they could depend on demand for their supply. In fact, the more they farmed the less was available for players to farm, and thus they sold more ore since it had to come from somewhere.

What drives demand of ore is not that ore is inherently valuable. What drives demand of ore is that it is used to create Enchanting materials and jewelry.

If the safety net associated with the “cut and vendor gems” strategy is removed some of the buyers of ore will not buy it. Specifically, the players who depend on the 9g/gem rate to make the effort profitable will now have to find other ways to make gold.

Ore prices will fall initially because the aforementioned buyers will no longer buy. The only buyers will be those who cut and craft/disenchant or craft/sell rings and necklaces. During this time farmers will find ore less profitable than other tactics.

The overall reduction in ore supply will soon result in a shortage as the “oh crap I better sell my stockpile” shock passes and that oversupply is depleted; it will quickly be purchased by Goblins who know the value of Dusts, Essences and jewelry will be going up.


Because lower supplies of ore do not affect demand for enchanting materials and jewelry. This demand will drive up prices of (the now more limited supply) of materials and jewelry.

Players who farm for income will now find better return on their time. They will find less competition for ore nodes and better AH prices. They will profit.

Goblins who have Enchanting as well as Jewelcrafting will be able to capitalize on material prices going up. They will prosper.

If you doubt that the Dusts, Essences and jewelry drives the price of ore, and not the other way around, then ask yourself this: if Dust, Essences and jewelry were all suddenly only worth ½ what they are selling for today would you still pay today’s rate for the ore?

If the answer is yes then it is because of the 9g/gem rate for vendored gems. Remove the net. Now would you pay today’s ore rate for ½ value byproducts?

Eventually the bots will come back, which will start the cycle all over again. However, the lower cut gem prices will still prohibit some players from using the “cut and sell” strategy. This will help manage demand to some degree.

At that point Blizzard will probably have to implement other strategies. Panic will ensue again.

Hakuna Matata.

The reason we are Goblins is not because we are able to accurately predict changes in the economy. If that were true then a wrong decision would cripple us.

No, we are Goblins because we can profit even when we cannot accurately predict the variations in the economy. We are nimble. We adapt to changing conditions and survive while others become extinct.

Vendored gem prices will either stay the same, go down to 75s or go to some other price. We should be able to profit in any of these scenarios.


  1. I have deep foundations in Christian faith... I sensed no mockery of God, the Bible or anything else intended to be anything more than a dramatic and humorous telling of the current events in game... I read it to the end, you kept my attention and smile as I read. Your tome and spirit did not seem to emote any maliciousness, only a common theme almost everyone knows... IMO, well writen, and a great read. You conveyed your message well...

    On that.. yeah, plan ahead, predicit, guess etc... its for nothing... either you are your own goblin, and will adjust and figure it out on your own or you are not capable of being a "real" goblin in that you always rely on other advice to tell you how to make your gold and can never tell others first hand how to make gold from your own lessons experiments trial and error...

    My simple advice for the gem-ocalyps... just dont have stockpiles of cheap ore you bought thinking you would shuffle it when you had more time... reduce your stockpile and you reduce your risk in this case

  2. @ Achieve--thanks for the comment. I'm glad to have your perspective. I tried to keep the tone and message as inoffensive as possible but when it comes to religion, politics and philosophy some people are quick to anger....

    I'm glad it held your interest.

    Sounds like we are also on the same page with respect to Goblinomics....

    Hope you keep reading!

  3. This is probably the best post I've ever read on a World of Warcraft gold blog.

  4. @ Vayaz: thank you, that is certainly high praise! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  5. And the Players spoketh, "Amen."

  6. @ Auction House Slave: thanks so much! I'm glad you liked it!

    @ Anon: is it "spoketh" or "spake"? I always get those two

  7. Agree with everyone on many levels, as always you have me thinking of how to make more money and given I haven't started shuffling "yet", I wasn't too concerned and even with the change was planning on adding it to the cards with enchanting and alchemy to do the "full shuffle", which may be impacted favorably by changes to supply / demand from those that drop out.

    Your hall of fame posts was one of the ones that really had me start on this path to becoming a goblin. Though I have a massive distance to go, wit the WoW blogosphere as strong as it is, I have no doubt I will get there.

    Of bigger concern to me is glyph ogedden that is happening on my server - all out price war!

  8. One of the most unique takes on this topic I've read. Liked it.

    (Also I've added it to the growing list of links on "The Obsidium Shuffle Is Dead. Patch 4.1 Uncommon Gem Vendor Price 75s.".)

    Keep it up Kam.

  9. Awesome post! "Gemmageddon" is the new "Glyphmas" =P

  10. @ crm14: I can't think of a higher form of praise than having helped you get on the road to becoming a Goblin. I stopped really caring about the gold a long time ago. I'm now much more interested in inspiring and teaching others. Thank you so much for your comment.

    @ Flux: please feel free to link this as you see fit. I'm happy for any increased traffic, lol.

    @ Khalior: But with a different result for many? Who knows? I think it is a gold making bonanza, an opportunity that comes along very infrequently.

  11. Captivating post Kammler! I agree with everyone above, it really was the best post I've read! You have such a way with words! I'm not even playing WoW now, it doesn't matter to me what's happening to markets or what Blizzard is doing to Ore, but your post made it all interesting to me! :D

  12. @ Miss Mediocre: Thanks so much! I spent some time trying to make it relevant and interesting. Very few flames so I guess I did ok....