When Cataclysm first came out to make a flask you need 12 each of 2 types of herb and 6 volatile life. This math worked out near perfect when it came to making flasks.
As we all know well enough by now, anything that works well needs to be broken ASAP. With that in mind Blizzard changed the break down to require 8 each of 2 types of herb and 8 volatile life.
Looking at that at first glance does not seem as if that is a really huge change. If anything it looks better right? If all thing where created equally it would have been a massive boost to making flasks and the market all around. Sadly, all things are not created equal.
Lets step back to Cataclysm's release.
I picked herbs, I made flasks, I had some left over volatile life which in turn got turned into air, water, fire or earth, depending on what I needed. It was never a huge amount left over but enough that I could do a transmute if I needed some other volatile because there was always a little extra to go around. I would use all my herbs for the most part.
When all was said and done, the math was perfect. If I picked herbs until I had 400 volatile life and then started banging out flasks I would end with almost no herbs left and enough volatiles that, should I need some fire for my tailor, I could make some with the transmute. Perfection. One of the few things Blizzard got right in what is an astoundingly horrible expansion on every level of game play and design.
That did not bode well for Blizzard. They could not have one aspect of the game show that they knew what they where doing when they failed so badly at everything else. So the brain storming began and they came up with a way to destroy what was once the only perfect design this expansion.
I decided to do a little test this weekend while talking to some guild mates and expressing my disgust with Blizzard for changing something that was not broken to begin with.
I put a number in mind. I wanted to make 50 flasks. I would collect enough herbs to make 50 flasks. I would collect them in as close to perfect order so that way I had an even amount of herbs as to not have a ton left over of one or another.
The end results worked out like this.
By the time I had collected 400 volatiles, enough to make 50 flasks, I had 1949 herbs. This means that when I made the 50 flasks I had 1149 extra herbs.
Old way, numbers worked about as close to perfect as you could design a game.
New way, numbers are about as horribly unbalanced as they could possible be.
Some might say that with those 1149 extra herbs you can mill them with a scribe, you can make potions, you can do various things. I agree. However, they still leaves a huge gaping hole.
In previous expansion you needed inks to make glyphs. This expansion, once you max inscription you will most likely never go back to it except to make darkmoon cards. Once the darkmoon cards phase passes, and they will a lot faster then they did last expansion based on the trinkets we see coming up being leaps and bounds better, there will never be any reason for inks. This means that while now there is a market for the left over herbs in inscription as soon as 4.2 comes out that market is gone, completely.
Making fortune cards for gamblers will be the only thing inscription will be left with. Inscription, the absolute best designed profession in the game before this expansion is completely useless now. You could honestly leave your scribe at 450 and never notice the difference. You would still have access to every glyph you would ever need.
As for the potion discussion that holds no water either. Sure. I can make a lot of potions with those extra herbs. That does not help the volatile market at all. I still used all mine on flasks. Not to mention, due to the overwhelming glut of herbs the prices of potions on the market are so low it is not even worth listing them. At any given moment there are 100 people listing, all undercutting each other, and none of them are selling. So listing them is a waste of money.
With the previous way you would use all your herbs and all your volatiles to make flasks. If you choose to make potions you now have extra volatiles which can now be sold to other people that need them for their professions.
Having the extra volatiles made all aspects of the game better. The market for volatiles before the change was good. Lifes where around 8g, water was around 13g, earth and air where around 15g and fire sometimes approached 20g.
Now, being the design was changed and there are no such thing as extra volatile life the prices on all volatiles have gone through the roof. Life is now 15g on a good day, water is still not as bad but up to 25g as is earth, Air is sitting at 35g and god forbid you need a fire they are going for 50g. (I like fishing them up and selling them on off days for 70g each)
I bet that Blizzard never realized that their little change to flasks would have such a wide spread effect on the market. This late in the expansion prices should be going down, not up. They continue to go up more and more as people are farming for hours on end just to get volatiles and ending up with massive amounts of herbs that they have no use for. The only thing that goes down, is the price of herbs.
So this is awesome for the herb market if you want to make potions because the prices of herbs are already so low they are almost at the level that wrath prices where at the end. Heck, Lichbloom sold for 30g per stack more (70g) at the end of wrath than Cinderbloom does now (40g). That is not right, not at all.
They need to change the flasks back and they need to change them back soon. It was the prefect balance. We all know that Blizzard does not like balance, they live to make this game as horribly unbalanced as possible it seems, but this is one case where we had a taste of what balance was like and we should not stand for this change and make them change it back now.
The old way was perfect. If you milled your herbs it worked out that you had enough inks and volatiles to make cards. If you made flasks out of your herbs it worked out that you had enough to do them in near perfect balance. If you decided to make potions you had the volatiles to transmute to ease the stress of the market for other types of them that all professions needed. It was, in a word, ideal.
This way means inflated volatile prices, deflated herb prices, other professions having a harder time getting the volatiles they need and basically breaking a system that seemed to be the only thing that actually worked perfectly right out of the box in this expansion.
Remember the saying, if it ain't broke don't fix it? Well, in Blizzard they have a saying, if it ain't broke, break it, we can't have people expecting a well designed game now can we.
If one good thing came from it, I made 12K off selling everything when my testing was done.
There are two ways Blizzard can fix this. Change things back to the way they were or make it that at 1-3 volatile life come with every herb you pick.