Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Patch 3.3.3 this week

"This week" means today for Americans, "tomorrow" for Europeans, as we don't get patched on the same day. The main changes are the introduction of the random Battleground Finder, some changes to the random Dungeon Finder, and the introduction of an NPC and cooldown changes which will lower the market price for most crafted high-level items by up to half. Obviously everyone with an interest in the WoW economy is most excited about that last point in my list. So let's have a look at it.

Frozo the Renowned is the NPC that patch 3.3.3 will place in the Dalaran Magus Commerce Exchange. He sells various high-level crafting trade goods like Crusaders Orbs, Eternals, or Frost Lotus, in exchange for Frozen Orbs. As before these changes were announced Frozen Orbs sometimes sold as low as their vendor price, 5 gold, and Frost Lotus sold as high as 75 gold, being able to exchange one Frozen Orb for one Frost Lotus makes those two prices approach each other. Already before the patch, with most traders being aware of the changes, Frozen Orbs went up to 20 to 30 gold, and Frost Lotus crashed down to around 35 gold. After the patch the Frost Lotus market price can never be significantly abouve the Frozen Orbs market price. So, Frost Lotus drops in price by half, and in consequence flasks will drop significantly in price as well.

The other half of the changes is the removal of cooldowns for the creation of Titansteel and the three types of cloth, Ebonweave, Spellweave, and Moonshroud. Now given that most of the components for crafted epics are price-capped due them being available for Frozen Orbs, and there is no limit to how many you can make by transmutes any more, crafted epics are going to become a lot cheaper. There was talk of some iLevel 245 crafted epics dropping from 4,000 gold down to 2,000 gold.

Now crafters are probably not going to be hurt much by these changes. There wares are getting cheaper, but so are their materials. And 2k gold epics probably sell better than 4k ones. With prices moving slower on crafted goods than on materials, there is even a chance that profit margins will be higher than usual for a while. On the server I'm on making flasks appears to be more profitable than it was, although that might not last long.

But who is really going to suffer a big drop in income are the farmers, whether they were farming Frost Lotus or the various Eternals. And I wonder if that isn't fully intentional: Farming stuff isn't the most interesting activity in a MMORPG, so diminishing the necessity of it for regular players, and killing the profitability of it for gold farmers, is a double win for Blizzard.

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