Two Way Analysis Of Epic Gems

There's plenty of posts out there this week heralding the spoils of proper preparation for a patch.  There's plenty of posts about which add-ons don't work.  Most of them share one thing: If you're wanting to use their advice right now, you're too late.

Didn't stockpile?  Too late.  Didn't know about the Maelstrom Shatter?  Too late (MCs aren't as cheap as they were a month ago).  Want to see how you did versus your fav blogger - you're in luck :)  In all honesty, grats to all you guys and gals who made out like bandits.

No mashup today.  Instead, we'll talk about flipping epic gems.

Epic gems don't come from the stork.  Every Normal-Mode Dragon Soul boss kill will award each raider with a "Mote of Darkness" - a currency that can be redeemed with the vendor Dasnurimi inside the Dragon Soul raid (Wyrmrest Temple) after the first boss is defeated.  One "Mote of Darkness" will buy you a "Crystalline Geode", which has a chance to drop an epic gem when looted.  I'm not sure how big that chance is, but most of my 10-man raid got a Jasper, Carnelian, or Nightstone last night after clearing the 1st boss.  Noboy got an epic (that I know of).

Now, every Deathwing kill awards a currency, "Essence of Corrupted Deathwing", which can be turned in at the same vendor for an "Elementium-Coated Geode".  This will give a gauranteed epic gem when looted.  It remains to be seen whether this will be dropped from earlier bosses in Heroic-Mode Dragon Soul, but we should know next week.

So, let's break this down; where do epic gems come from?  Well, I can personally attest to the fact that the first boss in Dragon Soul is an absolute faceroll.  Morchok is the loot pinata of this tier.  A lot of people cleared him last night, and a lot will be clearing at least him every lockout.  This gaurantees that some folks will try to make a buck by listing their lucky loots from their "Crystalline Geode" on the Auction House.

I think the most likely candidates will be casual raiders.  The guys pushing into Heroic-Mode content will be using their epic gems.  While Morchok is a joke, Zon'ozz, Yor'sahj, and Hagara (2nd, 3rd, and 4th boss) will take some time and a modicum of skill for most.  Ultraxion, the 5th boss, is a gear-check, and the remaining fights will present a challenge for guilds that don't walk in with 391 gear.  All this to say that the kind of guys getting the "Elementium-Coated Geodes" with a 100% chance of looting an epic gem will be your serious raiders.  They will hang on to these. 

Looking forward, it looks like the circulated supply of epic gems will be low for this reason.  It will gradually increase as regular guilds manage to get the first 4 bosses on farm, but then I expect it to level out for awhile.
The other side of this equation is demand.  At the prices we're seeing these epic gems go for, only those with a deep commitment to min-maxing their gear will be interested in buying.  These will primarily be your Heroic-Mode raiders, to start with.  The kind of guys that clear Normal in the first 1 or 2 lockouts.  Their own acquisition of gems won't be enough to keep pace with their gear, so odds are they will look elsewhere for their extra stats.

The catch: don't expect mr. pro mode to shell out 5k for a Bold Queen's Garnet unless he's got a 410 peice of gear that needs it.  You'll see demand start to pick up in Week 2, and continue trending upwards for a bit.  This will keep pace with supply, causing epic gems to hold value.  However, once enough time passes (~2 months is my best guess now), or a guild clears Heroic-Mode, all those epic gems that were being used internally will start finding their way on to the market.  By that time, though, expect more raiders entering Heroic Modes to add to demand.

Conclusion?  Epic gems will hold value.  They may be a bit overpriced right now, as most things are at the beginning of a patch.  But, if you can stomach the risk, go for a quick flip straight away.  I would advise buying late Tuesday night / early Wednesday morning, after most raid have finished their first night of the new lockout and the glut of sellers causes the market to tumble.  Look to resell Wednesday-Friday Night, as most raiders go back for their 2nd night to work on progression bosses.  They will be very keen on min-maxing their gear at that point.

In between doing all that, level more alchemists.  There aren't any epic gem transumtes currently atcive in the game, but expect them to be introduced later in the patch as a sort of soft-nerf.  Good hunting!

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