Many would-be profiteers have panicked with the news that in patch 4.3, epic gems will not be prospectable from pyrite ore but instead will have a chance to drop from raid bosses (which apparently excludes the Raid Finder tier). Stocks are being dumped or turned into pyrite bars as people try to get what they can from their investment.
I, on the other hand, have continued buying pyrite ore – I think at the prices I was paying when I stockpiled it (100g or less per stack) it is still a good (though still risky) investment. While you may not get epic gems when you prospect it, you CAN still get gems from it.
Based on wowhead’s prospecting values, when you prospect elementium ore you have a:
- 18% chance for an uncommon gem
- 4.5% chance for a rare gem
When you prospect pyrite ore, on the other hand, you have a:
- 17% chance for an uncommon gem
- 7% chance for a rare gem
- 200% chance for a volatile earth
If you have a thousand stacks of elementium ore vs a thousand stacks of pyrite, that’ll come out to 240 more uncommon gems from the elementium – but 600 more rare gems and 8000 volatile earth from the pyrite.
US market prices for the ores are 56.75g for a stack of elementium and 134.7g for a stack of pyrite. I certainly wouldn’t pay market value for pyrite – but then, I was not stockpiling at that price either. Are the extra rare gems and the volatile earth worth another 40g to get to the price I was paying before? I think they are. The earths alone should be worth 30g or so – leaving us with an extra 56% or so rare gems (and if rare gems aren’t your goal, you should probably be prospecting obsidium). That rare gem bonus alone would bring a stack of pyrite up to over 85g relative to the 56.75g elementium. Add in the 30g from volatile earth, and you’re far past my previous stockpile price of 100g.
I’m going to leave my stockpile in place, on the (what I consider pretty good) chance that Blizzard will change their minds and allow epic gems to be prospectable – I don’t think this new gem system fits in with their emphasis on accessibility, and eventually they’ll realize that. But at the same time I’ll be buying myself some pyrite ore when it’s 100g or less per stack, prospecting them, and saving some time vs having to prospect more stacks of elementium for the same amount of gems.
There’s also the chance that they will add transmute recipes (which have been datamined), in which case I’ll need materials for my alchemists (currently four of them, with two others just waiting to be leveled a bit).
The big potential downside of my stockpiling is if Blizzard doesn’t add the transmute recipes to live and the bags of gems which have a chance to contain epic gems instead flood the market with rare gems. That could easily make prospecting nearly worthless.