Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Base Materials - What they are and why they're important

Base materials are high volume items like herbs, ore and volatiles. They are the base material for many crafting processes. Some of the processes are obvious with base materials being used directly to make a high volume item like Truegold. Other's like the ore shuffle aren't so obvious, being longer processes with several processing steps utilizing multiple professions to turn ore into enchants.

  • Herbs are a base material used in massive amounts by Inscription and Alchemy. Scribes mill herbs into inks which are used to make glyphs, cards, trinkets, etc., and Alchemists use herbs for potions, elixirs, flasks and gem transmutes.
  • Ore is a base material for Jewelcrafting, Blacksmithing, Engineering and even Enchanting. JCs prospect huge amounts of ore for gems,  more ore is smelted into bars which are used by Blacksmiths and Engineers in large numbers both as is and after being transmuted into truegold or turned into folded obsidium. Less obviously ore is also a base material for enchanting due to crafting various items for the purpose of disenchanting them into enchanting dust, essences and shards, and finally turning them into enchants.
  • Volatiles are a significant material component for many of the better recipies in multiple crafting professions and always in demand. You might have piles of cheap herbs and oceans of inks but without plenty of reasonably priced volatile life to go with the herbs and inks you won't be making a killing in the flask or trinket markets anytime soon.

I don't really consider gems base materials because though many gems are produced directly from mining the vast majority of gems are produced from prospecting and transmutation. However gems are important materials in high demand and should be mentioned too.

  • Carnelian is THE most important gem of all. Not only is it necessary for Inferno Ruby and Shadowspirit Diamond transmutes but Carnelian is also used to craft Carnelian Spikes which are a major source of Greater Celestial Essence, disenchanting on average into about 2 GCE per spike (75% chance of getting 2-3 essences) plus some dust.
  • Other uncommon gems are useful for rare gem transmutes, mainly to make Shadowspirit Diamonds but depending on the server market sometimes Ember Topaz or Demonseye too. All but Zephyrite are useful for making jewelry to disenchant and several are used in the JC dailies too.
  • Inferno Rubies are the highest demand rare gem with the highest average sales price and highest price floor of all Cataclysm rare gems too.
  • Other rare gems, many Ember Topaz and Demonseye cuts sell in good numbers and for decent prices though profit margins can get slim at times. The other three colors are usually flooded with cheap cut gems most of the time (or at least that's how it is on my server).

I didn't mention leather or cloth because I'm not into either market in a big way and not up on a lot of specifics like which items are best to craft and disenchant over the long term. Besides Jewelcrafting and Blacksmithing have always been considered to have the best and most profitable items to craft for disenchanting into Cataclysm materials (JC for dust/essence, BS for shards). Did I miss any other important base materials besides cloth and leather?

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