Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Pot luck with flasks

Is there a profit to be had from selling flasks and potions on the AH?
Two weeks into my Auction House experiment and I’m still pulling in the gold on the milling front, I’ve got more Blackfallow ink than I know what to do with, but the Inferno Ink is flying off the shelves.  Whilst I’m selling the more Blackfallow ink by volume, it’s not as profitable as the red stuff and I get far more of it per stack of herbs.  Currently I’ve 334 pots of it sat in my inventory and more on the Auction House.  I’m considering going to the Ink Trader and swapping a load for Inferno Ink; it’s not as profitable as selling it, but gold tied up in stock is dead gold, I’d rather take the hit, and get a reasonable profit from trading it in and then be able to reinvest, I think.  Anyway, enough of that, that's for another blog.  Today we’re talking potions, and a little bit of enchantment, but mainly potions, well flasks actually, but you get my drift.

Where as with Glyphs, your customer base is the whole server, flasks are a little more specialist.  You won’t often see a random in a PUG flasked up, however you’ll invariably see them with a full compliment of glyphs.  This means my target audience is restricted to raiders, and possibly the occasional PVPer.  The introduction of the Guild Cauldrons and double durations, I suspect, has also had a detrimental effect on potion traders, as they have both lead to a reduced need for the vialled goodness.  I also have an creeping suspicion that I chose a bit of a poor time to investigate selling potions on the Auction House on my server, most of the flasks on the, for whatever reason, most of the flasks on the AH were slightly below the 50g mark, some of them far lower and all of them pretty much at cost or selling at what seemed to be a loss.

Not wishing to report back that I took a quick look, decided against it, and went down the pub instead; I decided to take a punt on the two best looking marked up flasks, which were Steelskin and Four Winds.  I bought mats enough for 25 of each, and set my alchemist off crafting.  Very quickly it became obvious that my initial assumption that I was only going to break even was a little flawed, the procs on alchemy basically account for the profit to be made – with 25 casts of each I mustered 27 Flasks of Four Winds and 30 Flasks of Steelskin.  It’s worth noting that I’ve only made 50 flasks in total (plus procs) thus far, I’ll be expanding my range and making more in the coming week, a stag do got in the way of my investigations this weekend which understandably took priority.

So how did I do? well, of the 57 flasks, I’ve sold 50 of them, the Steelskin ones going better.  After a slow start at the beginning of the week, selling only a handful, things suddenly went crazy on Sunday and Monday evening (my auctions had expired on Saturday night and I was in no position or state to relist them..).  As I suspected, it seems that potion sales are hugely raid dependant, I know a good number of the guilds on my server raid on Sunday and Monday evenings.  Here’s the P&L for my efforts

mats Ave. cost per mat total cost of mats ave. selling price Net Profit per flask total profit inc procs
Flask of Steelskin

Volatile Life 8 2g 76s 67c 22g 13s 33c
Cinderbloom 8 0g 85s 91c 6g 87s 30c
Twilight Jasmine 8 3g 59s 00c 28g 72s 00c
57g 72s 63c 57g 33s 33c 0g 39s 30c 276g 84s 25c
Flask of the Winds
Volatile Life 8 2g 76s 67c 22g 13s 33c
Azshara's Veil 8 0g 98s 85c 7g 90s 77c
Whiptail 8 2g 05s 92c 16g 47s 38c
46g 51s 48c 48g 65s 00c -2g 13s 52c 296g 62s 89c

Not a bad return for my efforts, but not great either, I suspect making things in bulk will aid things as I can just set my trade skills mod off creating stuff and click on process queue every now and then.  Clearly from my experience, there’s a little more going on than meets the eye, most of my sales were not one-offs, they were bulk purchases, so people coming into the AH and buying a job lot, whether this be enough for a guild cauldron for a raid, restocking their own flasks for the next weeks raids, or simply just spotting a good price and taking advantage.  I’ve also noticed the number of flasks listed varies vastly, dependant on who’s come along and made a bulk purchase.  This means that it’s not necessarily the best idea to be the cheapest vendor, if the cheapest (say) 50% of flasks listed always tend to sell, you simply need to make sure you’re in the cheapest half, rather than the lowest price.  This is in stark contrast to Glyphs, where unless you’re the lowest priced, you’ll rarely if ever sell your wares.

I suspect there is money to be made from flasks, I further suspect a good knowledge of the raiding times of the guilds on your server may have an influence on their price and sales.  I’d also guess that the impending content introduction in 4.2 will boost the demand and thus price as people rush to do the new content.  I’m not so sure about the Elixirs yet, I’m planning to have a dabble in the current week or two and will let you know, but as they’re low value and even less widely used than flasks, I doubt their viability.  Next up for later this week / next week will be a look at enchanting, if I can work out how to automate the procedure of working out what each vellum will sell for before creating it.


  1. I was really disappointed as an alchemist that on my server flask production is a loss of profit as the needed mats consistently sell more than the finished product.

    When I was a consistent seller, Sunday - Tuesday were always my best days as the less organized guilds/members would be buying up for the week regardless of cost.

  2. having listed about 50 of the flasks used in cauldrons when I got back from work, at above the lowest price, about half of them have sold (in about two hours) so I'm definitely thinking competitive, but not necessarily the lowest price is the way forward