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You asked me last night whether it was worthwhile to prospect mined ore instead of either a) smelting it into bars, or b) or just selling the ore straight up. Good question. I’ve been wondering myself. Before I dive into the numbers, I need to throw up an exclusionary disclaimer:
There are a lot of variables involved at all levels. The simplest way to describe them to you is to say “the more efficient effort you invest into acquiring gold, the more gold you will acquire.” “Efficient effort” covers everything like: Your own desire and ability to buy low and selling high on the Auction House; player competition in a resource-yielding area; the health of your server’s economy (dictated by population); whether or not you are pursuing primary (gold being added to the system) or secondary (gold from other players) wealth.
TL;DR: There are more profitable avenues I could pursue if I just wanted to make the most possible gold in the shortest possible time. Having Jewelcrafting/Mining works well enough for me.
Shut Up and Start Talking:
I made 2829 gold overnight (including the two gems you bought). I forget the exact breakdown of the gems I received from prospecting, but generally: Carnelian and Inferno Diamonds are my bread and butter. Everything else is dressing. One Carnelian sells for ~75g per and an Inferno Ruby for ~246g per. There’s a great deal of variation in both price and availability (I will give you some concrete up front numbers on this down below). However, I do know my return for the night and for the sake of easiness I am just going to break down my financial return into the ratio of Elementium:Pyrite – 18.5:1.5.
In my spreadsheet (here) I compared Ore and Bars against my prospected return.
- Elementium’s most valuable form is as a bar, although the numbers between Ore, Bar and Prospected are close enough that fluctuations on the Auction House will change this.
- I am losing a significant amount of money because I prospect Pyrite instead of smelting it.
- If you are willing to take a longer-term view, you will turn a small but steady profit by buying ore and smelting it.
- My numbers are based upon the average. In reality, the cheapest full stack is the one that sells. The price of the majority of stacks increased the average. If you want a better guide to value, use an addon and compare the price of a single Elementium Ore with a single Elementium Bar (ditto for Pyrite/Pyrium). If the cost of two ore is less than the cost of one bar, buy the ore, smelt it and resell it. Here’s a handy-dady formula to help:
if (ORE * 2) < BAR; then buy ORE
Margins can be tight, and you need to develop a real feel for trends.
- I am selling uncut gems. Cut gems have a greater value; accordingly, you sell less of them. A given uncut gem can fulfil any purpose for its colour, but a specific cut, however desirable, is going to sell less because only someone interested in that specific cut will buy it. Swings and roundabouts.