[WoW] Blacksmithing for fun and profit

So you want to be a blacksmith? Congratulations, it might not be the best trade for making lots of gold, and it could be easier to kit out through drops than from gear you make yourself, but it’s a solid tradeskill. The perks (extra sockets for gloves and bracers) are as good as anything in the game, and it’s much less work than Inscription or Jewelcrafting.

And if you are trade minded, you can keep yourself in pocket money handily by selling Blacksmithed goods. I am going to run through the various items that sell best for me, but first a word about the neat design of Pandaria tradeskills.

The economy of Ghost Iron

If you are a miner, you will know by now that it is barely possible to go two steps in Pandaria without tripping over a Ghost Iron node. Ghost Iron, the base material for Pandarian blacksmithing, is plentiful. The economy around tradeskills at the moment is based on high demand AND high supply. So even though the iron is abundant, demand always just about outstrips it. As the base material for multiple different tradeskills and transmutes, players have a wide variety of options of what to do with their Ghost Iron. I’ll run through some of the options. Bear in mind that which of these is optimal is going to depend on your goals and the market on your server.

  1. Sell it. Because Ghost Iron is in high demand, you can sell it in either ore or bar form on the auction house.
  2. Get a Jewelcrafter to turn it into gems. JCs nuke ghost iron and receive pandarian gems. These can then be cut or used to make jewelry.
  3. Get a Blacksmith to turn it into gear to sell. People will buy level 85 gear for characters going to Pandaria, or PvP gear for their level 90s. There are also recipes on various vendors for blue level 90 tanking gear, and for blue weapons.
  4. Get an Engineer to turn it into gear to sell. Engineers can make trinkets and various other devices that might fetch a decent price on the market.
  5. Get a JC/BS/Engineer to make a blue item, and then get an enchanter to disenchant it for shards. Occasionally there is a recipe for a blue item that is cheap in terms of materials.
  6. Get an Alchemist to transmute it into Trillium and/or Living Steel. Living Steel is used to make some epic recipes at the moment, and is also used for Pandarian belt buckles.  An Alchemist can turn 6 stacks of Ghost Iron ore into one bar of Living Steel. Depending on your server’s market, it may  be cheaper to sell the iron and buy Living Steel from the AH.

I find this a fun piece of design because all of those options may be viable, and which is the best can change quite frequently. It is also quite fascinating because at least two of these options (Alchemy and Jewelcrafting) remove Ghost Iron from the game in large amounts compared to the amount of materials they produce. So if you are buying up Ghost Iron to turn into Living Steel, relax in the knowledge that the Jewelcrafters probably all hate you.

Me and Blacksmithing

The key recipes to pick up are the blue PvP ones, and the belt buckle. All of those things will sell steadily all through an expansion. Invest the Spirits of Harmony to pick all of them up. In Cataclysm, Blizzard automatically updated the stats on the PvP recipes with each new season and we have no reason to think they won’t do the same here, so it’s very worthwhile.

At the moment, I’m finding I make more gold out of turning my Ghost Iron into PvP gear and selling it than I could from transmuting into Trillium/ Living Steel.  But it is the beginning of the PvP season, and lots of people are also reaching the level cap and using PvP gear to help them reach the iLvL for heroics, so demand is particularly high. The blue PvE (tanking and healing) gear is more expensive to make, as it requires Trillium, but doesn’t seem to have as much demand so may not be worth the effort.

Another key recipe for the future will be the PvP plate bracers, which requires 5 bars of Ghost Iron to produce a blue pair of bracers that will disenchant into a shard if you are lucky. This is likely to be one of the cheapest ways to produce enchanting materials at the moment.

The epic recipes currently need 8 Spirit of Harmony each, which limits how often they can be made. I also suspect that by the time I can make any for anyone except myself, they will effectively have been outpaced by raid finder gear. They may well still fetch decent amounts, but whether it’s really the best thing to do with Living Steel I don’t know.

Belt buckles will sell for decent prices, from my initial experiments, so are likely a better bet. (Decent meaning you could buy the raw materials from the AH, turn it into Living Steel, turn that into a belt buckle, and pretty much double your investment.) I have had some success in selling Weapon Chains also, although if you have any Pyrium left in the bank, those Weapon Chains can still be attached to level 90 weapons so this is a good time to offload it.

8 thoughts on “[WoW] Blacksmithing for fun and profit

  1. How do you like the ore system? I really hate that they went with black and white trillium. I don’t think that’s a resource that needed splitting up. I have very little luck mining it, as there seems to be very little black trillium. I had to resort to having a friend transmute for me.

    I am not really making any profit with it because I am saving living steel for the epic tanking chest. I should probably pick up the PvP plans, but I am holding on to the spirits for the tanking chest as well. It’s alright though, I am making most of my profit with JC and enchanting at the moment.

    • The black and white trillium is a bit weird and although I don’t find much, I have some days when it’s all black and others when its all white, so not sure. I think that as transmuting is an alternative, it’s manageable. With SoH, I wouldn’t hold onto them too tightly, you’ll get them just from playing and killing mobs, so using one or two to buy recipes won’t delay you with your epic gear for too long.

      I hate JCs btw, in case you couldn’t tell, they are wasting MY ore to gamble on blue gems! And they make way more profit than I do ;/ So unfair.

  2. I wonder if anyone has done an analysis on enchanting mats. Unless my memory has slipped can’t they go from dust to shards now? It may be a better use of materials to make items that DE into a lot of dust instead of trying to get shards directly. I’ll have to ask the guild enchanter tonight.

  3. I wouldn’t recommend turning Ghost Iron ore into gems, unless you need those jewels yourself to level up jewelcrafting. Prices for gems, both cut and uncut, are rather low, probably due to most people not having many items with gem slots yet, and many jewelcrafters producing cut gems to level up.

    Your Alchemy numbers are wrong. Even in the worst of cases it only takes 6 stacks of Ghost Iron ore (or rather 3 stacks of bars) to make 6 Trillium bars to make 1 Living Steel bar. Transmutation mastery gives you more than one Living Steel bar if you are very lucky. But as you do 6 times as many Trillium bars, chances are pretty good to proc transmutation mastery and thus get more Trillium out of your Ghost Iron.

    • Yeah my bad, should be 6 stacks of Ghost Iron ore. Will change that, thanks.

      But just for example, the reason I think it’s largely a waste to turn it into Living Steel is that at the moment I can turn 5 ghost iron bars into PvP bracers that will sell for 650g (or so) and that doesn’t rely on random procs.

  4. You’d be surprised how fruitful the “buckle shuffle” can be – namely buy yourself a bar of Living Steel, turn it into a buckle, and relist at a higher price. Obviously this is only as lucrative as the base cost of the Living Steel, but it’s quick, easy and has netted me in the region of about 22k to this point.

    The best method on the Sha’tar at the moment, however, is crafting PvP gear and listing that. After half an hour to an hour’s worth of work, it’s practically all profit.

    • I’ll have to keep more of an eye on the price of Living Steel, but my experience with crafting and selling PvP gear is the same as yours. That was kind of my motivation for writing this, because I think a lot of people are hung up on turning their ore into gems or using it for alchemy transmute, and it’s throwing gold away!

  5. Pingback: [WoW] Ghost Iron is the new black | Welcome to Spinksville!

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