Mining and Herb spawn rates in Pandaria have been reduced by approximately 50% in patch 5.1, and this is indeed an intended change. These are in addition to the hotfix that was applied in 5.0.5 to lower the spawn rate of Ghost Iron.
In all of these cases, the reduction was prompted because the resources were too abundant, resulting in ore and herbs being undervalued, and also therefore the effort that our herbalists and miners put in to collect each node. We’ll be monitoring the situation, though, and should the current rates prove to be too low then we’ll make further adjustments as necessary.
I know I shouldn't joke about Blizzard. I make an off the cuff remark regarding them finding a way to fix game Economics and, lo and behold, off they go and try just that.
There have been some other subtle and completely undocumented changes to gathering professions: many mobs that were previously skinnable are now not. Most notable thus far are any of the mobs on the Shado Pan's 'Daily Island' where you're asked to rescue dragons, but I am sure there will be more. I'd predict the Gazelles in the vale of Eternal Blossoms might be on the casualty list, but I am yet to confirm this. There's also the chance to pick a Golden Lotus with your flowers, as was the case with Frost Lotus in Northrend. All of this, added to the noted nerf to Ghost Iron spawn rates, shows that Blizzard are keen to control what did appear to be an almost endless flow of raw materials into the market. Looking at prices over the last few weeks, this change was overdue.
There was also an undocumented nerf to the 'exchange' rate from the Spirit of Harmony vendor: one Spirit no longer buys you three Loti, but only two. This one initially perplexed me until it became clear that Lotus had been added to the normal herb loot tables. However perhaps the most significant change was documented: the Potion of Luck (which is normally 1 hour duration with a 1 hour CD) has now reduced to 20 minute duration, but with the same CD. After a discussion on Twitter with Cold Gold's Factory it transpires that if you were lucky enough to have made potions prior to 5.1. you actually have a different version of the same item:
|Hasty screengrab, showing both versions.|
Cold quite sensibly suggests grabbing those bigger versions but I find myself thinking normally Blizzard don't normally allow old versions of items to remain intact in such situations: everything gets taken down to the same level. This leads me to wonder: maybe this is another way Blizzard intend to control market factors in future. It would make sense that if we were to get a Greater version recipe, that perhaps a new reagent would be added or, perhaps more significantly, we could see a new independent loot table emerge that meant we had a two tier 'treasure' system. These potions are certainly potent in terms of what you can potentially receive while using them. I'd like to think we'll see a new recipe in a future patch, if only because that's the kind of thing that only ever seems to happen for Alchemists at the start of an expansion. Armour crafters tend to get a regular stream of items across an Expansion's lifespan, but the other professions tend to get left behind.
Someone at Blizzard is clearly looking at the numbers this time around, and I find myself encouraged that this level of management is taking place, because it will help maintain market integrity in the long term. The question then becomes how my home server will now adapt to the changes, and how prices will react as a result.