By Joel Falconer on October 27th, 2012
Every expansion, World of Warcraft sees a range of new ores, herbs and other trade materials. But the processes we employ these materials in remain much the same. One old favorite for gold makers is the shuffle. It has been known under various names — the saronite shuffle, the obsidium shuffle and now, with Mists of Pandaria, we’re doing the shuffle by with ghost iron ore prospecting.
With the right array of professions and one eye on the price of ore on your server’s auction house, you can start using this low-risk method to start shoring up your gold stockpile immediately.
There’s only one truly essential profession in this process, and that’s Jewelcrafting. You should have this maxed out, but you can start experimenting with the shuffle as you level from 525 to 600.
To get the most out of the shuffle, you’ll want to have an alchemist and an enchanter on hand. I keep my jewelcrafter and alchemist on the same character, and my enchanter is a separate toon.
Before You Begin
Before you begin, I recommend getting to the Jade Forest and finding Mai the Jade Shaper. This trainer will give you the recipes for a whole range of recipes that will allow you to get something out of leftovers. These are necklaces and rings that use six Serpent’s Eye gems and either a six uncommon gems or three rare gems. You’ll be racking up Serpent’s Eyes and rare blue and yellow gems faster than you can move. The rare blue and yellow gems, cut or uncut, don’t sell for a price worth auctioning on my server, but use your own discretion.
On the note of leftovers from your ghost iron ore prospecting, be aware that your daily research cooldown process can be tweaked to use less valuable gems. Once you’ve learned every cut of a certain color, performing research on that color gem will teach you a cut for another, randomly colored gem. You may want to try and get one or two in each color before depending on this method’s randomness — I didn’t move on until I made sure I had the always-reliable Brilliant rare red gem cut.
If your jewelcrafting character is just a profession/banking toon, I recommend putting the time in to do some MoP dungeons and quests. You’ll pick up Primal Diamond recipes on the way, and this is currently the only way to acquire cuts for the Primal Diamond meta gem.
Ghost Iron Ore Prospecting
Now you’ll need ghost iron ore and preferably lots of it. The more you have, the more even your distribution of various gems will be at the end. I buy up anything under 4 gold a piece, or 80 gold per stack. If you see a heap of stacks put up at 2-3 gold per piece, don’t make the mistake of assuming the average price is falling — someone is unloading a huge stockpile and now is the time to make it yours. This may change with future patches, or hotfixes that change the drop rates, causing ghost iron ore prospecting to net less valuable returns — but right now there’s nothing to worry about.
To make the process faster, set up a macro and assign it to a key. Here’s the macro I use:
#showtooltip Ghost Iron Ore
/use Ghost Iron Ore
I don’t often buy Kyparite, but it is in the macro for those occasions were the price is really low and I want a higher chance of rare quality gems. You can then put this on your bars, and use the Key Bindings settings panel to assign that button a key that you can press while doing other things — between pulls in a dungeon or while chatting to your guild, or even doing stuff out-of-game on an adjacent computer, for example.
Now all you need to do is hit that key until you run out of ore. You’ll notice a heap of Sparkling Shards in your bags, and you get a couple from most prospects. Right click on these to turn 10 into a Serpent’s Eye. The Sparkling Shards will take up quite a bit of bag space, and you can shrink that down quite quickly even while you’re prospecting this way. If one thing’s for sure, the shuffle is not a bag space-friendly process.
Putting Your Gems to Use
Take a quick inventory of the results of your prospecting session to get an idea of how many of each rare gem color you have, how many Serpent’s Eyes you have and a rough idea of how many pieces of jewellery you’ll have to make with all those uncommon gems.
Unless you’ve only prospected a few stacks, this might be a good time to sort the gems in your bank or guild bank. Then you can pull out only those items you need for the next stage of crafting. I tend to start with cutting rare gems, or transmuting them into Primal Diamonds.
Processing Rare Gems
For this part, you’ll probably want to use an add-on like Auctionator. It has the best view, via the Buy tab it’ll add to your auction house interface, for quickly determining the best cuts to make. Once it’s installed, head over to that Buy tab and search for the rare gem in question — for example, search Wild Jade or Primordial Ruby.
You’ll see a list of all items on the auction house with that gem’s name in it — typically meaning the gem itself and all its cuts. Search for the name of the uncut gem in the list and note the price. Everything listed above that gem is out, because that means they are selling cheaper than the raw gem itself. Below it you’ll see all the cuts that bring in more gold than the raw gem. If you have one of those cuts, it’s time to start crafting. If you have a few of the cuts, try and diversify so you’re not left with stagnant stock, even if some will bring in less profit than others.
If the raw gem is the most profitable item or you don’t have any cuts that bring in more, simply list the raw gem. I only put up 3-4 gems, cut or uncut, at a time. Gems attract hefty posting deposits, and if you put up a heap you’ll be undercut before they move.
If you’ve got an alchemist, it’s worth looking into Primal Diamond transmutations before you post all those raw blue gems. One Primal Diamond is created with two Wild Jade, two Vermilion Onyx and two Imperial Amethyst. If you are a transmutation master, there’s a chance for each craft to proc more than just one diamond. Make sure you do your checking — using the same process with Auctioneer — to make sure Primal Diamonds are more profitable than selling the gems themselves. It can dip below that level, though if you’re the gambling type procs can make for higher profits.
Also take note of your Primal Diamond cuts — some do sell cheaper than the raw diamond. These aren’t as fast-moving as rare gem cuts, so diversify or only cut a few at a time, and see how much demand there is for the recipes in your possession.
Processing Uncommon Gems
Before we get into the meat of this section, I’d like to address transmutations. At various points in the game’s history, it has been profitable to transmute your uncommon gems into rare gems. This takes one uncommon gem of a specified color and a Golden Lotus. I can’t recommend this use of your gems right now. Maybe it’s different on your server, but Golden Lotus are far too expensive to make this profitable, even with transmute master procs factored in. This could change in the future, so keep an eye on Golden Lotus prices regardless.
The first thing that I do is make Ornate Bands and Shadowfire Necklaces. These are basic jewellery items, taught by your faction city jewelcrafting trainer, and they each use three colors of uncommon gem. The Shadowfire Necklace uses a Jeweler’s Setting, a Roguestone, an Alexandrite and a Pandarian Garnet. The Ornate Band uses a Jeweler’s Setting, a Lapis Lazuli, a Tiger Opal and a Sunstone. Select one to begin with and move all of your gems of the three required colors into your bags. Figure out how many you have of each color gem required for the jewellery item you are making and note down how many you have the least of, and buy that many Jeweler’s Settings.
For instance, if you have 101 Lapis Lazuli, 120 Sunstones and 89 Tiger Opals, buy 89 Jeweler’s Settings. Once you have all the mats, park yourself by a mailbox and hit Craft All. You’ll mostly get uncommon jewellery, which you should send to your enchanting character as they are being made (make sure to pack as many into each mail as you can, of course, or you’ll have a hell of a time collecting them on the enchanter end).
Every few crafts, you’ll get a rare proc. These sell well and are much more valuable than the uncommon variety. Send these to your banking toon for auctioning.
Dealing with Leftovers
So now you’re left with Serpent’s Eyes and whatever uncommon gems were left over from jewellery crafting, plus rare gems that were just too unprofitable to post. Never fear — there’s a use for all of them, assuming you have plenty of Serpent’s Eyes. If you’ve been to Mai the Jade Shaper and learned all her recipes, anyway. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can make sorted by the leftover gem — these all require Serpent’s Eyes, so assume that as a given.
- Roguestone: Roguestone Shadowband, which requires one Jeweler’s Setting, six Serpent’s Eye, and six Roguestones.
- Primordial Ruby: Lord’s Signet, which requires one Jeweler’s Setting, six Serpent’s Eye, and two Primordial Rubies.
- Sun’s Radiance: Lionsfall Ring, which requires one Jeweler’s Setting, six Serpent’s Eye, and two Sun’s Radiance.
- Wild Jade: Heart of the Earth, which requires one Jeweler’s Setting, six Serpent’s Eye, and two Wild Jade.
- Vermilion Onyx: Band of Blood, which requires one Jeweler’s Setting, six Serpent’s Eye, and two Vermilion Onyx.
- Sunstone: Widow Chain, which requires one Jeweler’s Setting, six Serpent’s Eye, and six Sunstones.
- Tiger Opal: Tiger Opal Pendant, which requires one Jeweler’s Setting, six Serpent’s Eye, and six Tiger Opals.
- Imperial Amethyst: Skymage Circle, which requires one Jeweler’s Setting, six Serpent’s Eye, and two Imperial Amethyst.
- River’s Heart: Reflection of the Sea, which requires one Jeweler’s Setting, six Serpent’s Eye, and two River’s Heart.
- Pandarian Garnet: Golembreaker Amulet, which requires one Jeweler’s Setting, six Serpent’s Eye, and six Pandarian Garnet.
You’ll most likely run out of Serpent’s Eye before you exhaust your other gems, but it’s a great way to control stock. You will probably never make the Lord’s Signet, Heart of the Earth, Band of Blood or Skymage Circle — but the Lionsfall Ring and Reflection of the Sea will become common members of your inventory, and you’ll no doubt have a small supply of the uncommon gem pieces from time to time when your numbers don’t match up perfectly for the Ornate Bands and Shadowfire Necklaces.
Using Your Enchanter
You’re nearly at the end! It probably hasn’t been your most enjoyable in-game experience, but you’ll be able to reap the rewards soon.
Log on to your enchanter and make sure your bags are as empty as you can get them. Head over to your mailbox and start collecting. Keep one bag slot free, or the first item you’ll disenchant will go to waste.
When you’re done, you’ll have a heap of Spirit Dust and a decent amount of Mysterious Essence. You can sell these directly on the auction house if prices are good. Spirit Dust maintains a very low commodity price on my server, though, so I craft scrolls with most of it. You can use an add-on like TradeSkillMaster to manage this part of the process, and sites like The Undermine Journal to find the most profitable Mists of Pandaria enchants.
Do I Need Alchemy & Enchanting to be Profitable?
No. I tend to make a profit on my investment from rare gems and rare jewellery alone. Your mileage may vary, so check your auction house prices and do some calculations first, or do a small test run first.
You’ve got all the tools you need — get out there and start making some gold with ghost iron ore prospecting!