Edit as of July 2014: I’m still getting regular views on this post despite it being nearly a year and a half old, and the numbers on it being significantly outdated. I have run some quick math with the information we have (and we did keep collecting data after this post – we have over 12k bags worth of drops recorded as of now). My conclusion is that bags are still profitable to open, even with prices having risen quite a lot in the meantime; the spike in Silk Scraps alone makes quite a difference. As of this edit, each bag will give an average return of just over 9s (and that’s a lowball average, as some mats have significant differences between buy and sell orders so I went a silver or two below the current sell values). All other values I calculated (how many items per bag on average as well as chances of getting t5 and t6 mats) still hold to be accurate with our expanded data. With all of this together, if you buy bags for 8s or less, you’ll still come out ahead, so this is still a viable method for getting t6 mats.
As I mentioned not long ago in a blog post, I am working on a legendary weapon. In fact, several of us in my guild are currently working on them in tandem – AJ is making her Dreamer and just needs her precursor, I need about 135 Badges of Honor and the precursor for my Kudzu, Optimus and Greibach are both working on Kraitkin and have their precursors and several gifts, Elixabeth’s closing in on her Flameseeker Prophecies…and those are just the people with blogs I can link to. We’ve also got a Bolt, Rodgort, Predator, and Frostfang in the works, that I can recall off the top of my head.
There are components that are universal to each legendary weapon, and among those are the tier 6 fine materials. You need a full stack of each t6 fine mat. I can tell you right now, that that is a very daunting and expensive task. There are specific places you can farm each, but they are rather rare drops, so building those stacks by simply farming the mats is going to be a long and boring task. Thus, several of us turned to a different source, one that was made far more common in the January patch: Heavy Moldy Bags.
There are a variety of the heavy bags available, each dropping from different types of mobs and containing a different set of materials. Heavy Moldy Bags are generally the cheapest of the heavy bags – most of the other types of bags have a chance of dropping cores and lodestones, whereas the moldy ones just drop fine crafting mats; their ‘rare drop’ is Giant Eyes, which, while nice, are neither as pricey nor as in demand as lodestones are. Between the facts that moldy bags are easily farmed and have a decently high drop rate, are cheap, and contain only fine mats, makes them very desirable.
And this was the route that several of us decided to use to make up the bulk of our t6 material stacks.
There are advantages of going about it this way. They are not terribly expensive. When their price peaked recently and I was putting in buy orders of 3s10c, I was still paying under 8g total for a full stack. Anything that you get back out of the bag that you do not need can be resold to recoup a decent amount of money – when I started buying the bags, selling back the T5 mats, gossamer, and leather was making me back about half of what I paid for each stack; by the time I was finishing my mats, I was actually making a small profit on each stack I bought. And you do, indeed, get a good number of T6 mats out of the bags.
How good is that number? Well, after AJ and I had each gone through a few stacks, I had the idea that we should start tracking the drops that we were getting out of the bags that we purchased. I had noticed some trends, and wanted to see if that was just my luck, or if more data would correlate with these trends. And so began our little project!
Our data currently consists of the bags that four of us have purchased; as of right now we’ve opened just shy of 7700 Heavy Moldy Bags. So, as you can see, this is no small number that we’ve gone through here. At the end of each stack (or two or however we bought), we’d record in a spreadsheet how many bags we bought, as well as how many of each mat we got out of the bag. From the bags we’ve opened so far, we’ve gotten a total of 9880 materials, giving us an average of 1.29 items per bag; the chances of getting more than one item per bag are, thus, pretty damn good. Out of those 9880 mats we’ve gotten, 7831 have been tier 5, while 2049 have been tier 6.
A ~21% chance of getting a tier 6 material is, indeed, very good, considering the money you’re putting into buying the bags, as opposed to just buying the materials straight-out. And those chances get better when you take a look at the individual mats that you get:
There’s no denying that most of what you get will be silk, both leathers, and gossamer. The silk and thick leather are basically the garbage drops of these bags – they’re so common that you can’t even sell them on the trading post. Still, if you’re leveling crafting, it’s worth keeping some around; I wound up merching most of it after I wound up with three stacks of silk scraps. Gossamer and Hardened Leather are nice because while they’re not worth as much as the other T6s, they’re still a nice bit of money back, as both are needed for crafting exotic armors, as well as some legendaries. The T5 mats are going to be, on average, worth between 1.5 and 2s apiece, so you will make back a good percentage of money from reselling those. The T5 essences themselves are worth a nice amount – around 5s on average – and are worth far more than the T6 essence.
The real surprise, and something I had noticed on my initial bags before we started tracking this, was the spread of T6 mats and how common each type is. I had noticed I had been getting very few Ancient Bones, a larger number of Powerful Blood and Elaborate Totems, and middling amounts of the others. Which was perfectly fine by me! Ancient Bones are relatively common as drops if you spend any time in Orr, at one point selling for as low as 20c apiece back after launch, whereas Totems and Blood are the priciest of the T6 mats; Totems tend to stick in the 20s+ range (they’re actually significantly down right now!), and Blood spiked up to 30s recently, after having dropped to about 17s a few weeks ago.
Doing a little math, the bags that we purchased cost about 230g. The approximate value of the T6 mats gained from them is between 193 and 211g (calculated with the current and usual value of Totems); the T5 mats, minus the silk and leather, average to a bit more than 66g, and simply merching the silk and leather gains another 3.25g; the total value adds up to between 263 and 280g.
Thus, overall, this does work out to be a rather viable way of gaining T6 mats! You won’t fill out your stacks entirely this way, most likely, but it is a good way of padding them a significant amount; I combined the bags that I personally went through (3250 heavy moldy bags) with the mats I got from failed clover attempts, drops I got in fractals, dungeons, and Orr, and low-balling some buy orders to finish up everything to get my stacks completed. Sure, it wasn’t cheap. I probably poured about 150g into that. Still, it was significantly cheaper than buying the mats straight-out; about 75g cheaper than just buying the mats themselves. And that doesn’t even count how much I made back from selling off my T5 mats, and then the T6s I was getting after finishing that stack! All told, my T6 mats cost me approximately 70-75g, after reselling materials. Not bad, not bad at all! A fraction of what buying them straight-out would have cost, and much preferable to farming until my eyeballs fall out.
The prices listed here will, of course, fluctuate over time. I can’t guarantee that the approximate costs will always remain about what they are as of posting this. Still, when prices on an item fluctuate, they don’t tend to spike sharply in price and stay up for very long – when something spikes, it’ll come back down pretty quickly as well. Same for when an item dives in price; it’ll generally go back up after not too long. And if you’re working on gathering T6 mats, it may well be worth looking into purchasing and opening a few stacks of bags – because it does help, a lot!