Blacksmithing has a special place in my digital heart because it’s the first crafting profession that I had at max level and it allowed me my first glimpse into a significant sum of gold…After making myself the 359 chest/shield for tanking (which I never did because I had no idea what I was doing) I immediately made more to be sold for 10k each on the Auction House. In my opinion the crafting professions, which I consider to be Blacksmithing, Tailoring, and Leatherworking, are not particularly great money makers but will generally start off well at the beginning of each expansion and raid tier. So what are the best ways to make money as a blacksmith?
For every profession, the immediate money makers will be item enhancements that will be wanted by raiders. Anybody trying to get the most out of their character is going to want the best enhancements and each profession has something to contribute in this fashion. For blacksmiths, this is the belt buckle which will add an extra prismatic gem slot to your current waist item. In Mists of Panderia this is the Living Steel Belt Buckle. To be able to make the belt buckles, you must first be Honored with the Klaxxi. This is a relatively easy feat; if you do most of the questing through the Dread Wastes area you should be Honored even without completing all the quests. If you’ve reached level 90 and haven’t hit honored, the Klaxxi offer plenty of dailies to gain more reptuation with their faction. Chances are, as a blacksmith, you’ll want to do plenty of dailies so that you can hit revered and gain access to the other blacksmithing patterns for any 463 weapons and the epic armor pieces. I’ll go into more detail with the other craftable items but let me finish discussing the belt buckles. These items will sell very regularly, and though the prices might fluctuate, they are generally always going to be limited in quantity because they’re tied to the alchemist daily transmute cooldown. Right now I can’t keep enough in my inventory to always have available on the auction house because they sell so quickly. I only have three alchemists at the moment so I’m able to produce 21/week, plus whatever procs I gain which will usually get me closer to 30. They should always be a profit over the price of just a Living Steel, but your profit percentage will shoot up if you’re making the materials as well. More can be seen on this in the Alchemy post. Like I mentioned earlier, these will always be in demand since people will always be upgrading their gear. The Klaxxi are also the faction that you purchase the Valor waist item from, so there is a good chance that this will be one of the most purchased valor upgrade by many players simply because it is one of the first factions that you’ll be able to buy gear from thanks to the quick reputation with them. With the launch of the LFR mode during Dragon Soul in Cataclysm, it has continued on into MoP and with those drops as well, even more people will be gaining items they wish to upgrade. Players who were never raiding before on their mains or alts are now gaining more access to gear that they might want to optimize and so item enhancements are selling very well now.
Beyond the belt buckles, Blacksmiths can also make many weapons and armor that can get you a considerable profit on the AH. The weapons have continued along with the Cataclysm tradition and are only available at a 463 ilvl, the same as heroic dungeons, and considering the cost of the materials (all take Spirits of Harmony), will be fairly expensive and possibly not worth it. Most new level 90 players should immediately have an ilvl 450 weapon just from the Arena of Annihilation scenario. This slight upgrade will not likely be necessary for any but the most hardcore of players seeking the maximum benefit as quickly as possible. However the armor that blacksmiths can make, particularly that made with the patterns sold by the Klaxxi also upon reaching Honored, is all ilvl 476 and can sell for very high amounts. The costs of the materials alone, 8 Living Steel for the chest pieces and 5 for the gauntlets, AND the 8 Spirits of Harmony required are going to set the starting cost very high. Depending on how cheaply you can obtain your Living Steel, these can be a great profit if you can also get yourself enough Spirits of Harmony to craft these items regularly. I would expect these to sell for double the material cost for quite some time. It takes some amount of effort to collect enough Spirits of Harmony to make these regularly so they should never be in over supply. With so many LFR opportunities available in MoP however, these might not sell quite as quickly as they had during Cataclysm. For players like myself however, these are some of the first things I will get for my characters simply so I can get the ilvl requirement for LFR sooner rather than grinding heroic dungeons to get to 460. I did this with my paladin just so I could get into LFR with some guildies on their alts and get us a healer queue. They’re also good for rounding out an off-spec for anybody who has occasion to use theirs but maybe not the time to actively gear it.
A quick aside for blacksmiths before I forget about it, Ghostly Skeleton Keys. These should always cost less than the amount of gold you’ll receive from the current lockboxes. If you don’t have a friendly/alt rogue that will open your boxes for you, these will always be worth opening yourself even if it’s a lockbox inside a lockbox inside a lockbox. The gold alone should be worth it, plus whatever items might pop out. So far I’ve only seen greens but I”m still hoping for something amazing one day.
The last avenue for constant blacksmith revenue is PvP gear. With Mists of Panderia, PvP gear has been changed from having resilience to having PvP Power and PvP Resilience. The added change is that these no longer affect the stat itemization for the ilvl. Since these aren’t replacing other secondary stats, the traditional crafted PvP gear is now perfectly acceptable for PvE usage. They provide a quick fill for any unlucky dungeon drops and a decent starting point for entering PvP so you don’t hit like a wet noodle and go down faster than a freshman prom date. The other bonus for crafters? They’re very inexpensive to make. Profit margin in this area is potentially extremely high. At the moment on my server, simply from buying the materials from the AH, which is only Ghost Iron Bars and nothing else, a full set of either gear (strength or int) requires around 70 bars which comes out to 700 gold. Some single items are selling for over 400g, others maybe only around 150. Even at only 150 each you can make a very hefty profit from every set of gear made, and if you’re one who likes to bark in trade channel, you could try selling complete sets at a fixed cost. The individual prices are going to vary because any blacksmith who has raised their skill to a maximum will have learned at least one of these patterns to get to 600 and have made several of the same item.
There is a downside to getting into the PvP gear market. First of all, it will take a little bit of an investment: each pattern costs one Spirit of Harmony. To buy all 16 PvP patterns you’re essentially foregoing making two epic pieces of gear which is not an insignificant sum of potential income. Second, these are not items that are going to move quickly. You might not move items everyday, but overall these are a very high profit percentage and, if you don’t have an alchemist at your disposal, you won’t be relying on anybody else to make these items.
Overall these will be your main avenues for income as a blacksmith right now. If Cataclysm is any indication, belt buckles will be the long prosperous road for blacksmiths throughout the entirety of MoP.