TL;DR: Optional Reagents are going to be a great gold maker for gear crafters by allowing them to craft very customizable gear as well as other crafters being able to craft and sell the Guaranteed Stats (Missives) and Bonus Effects Optional Reagents. Though in the beginning of Shadowlands the latter is going to restricted to Scribes and (indirectly) Blacksmiths.
Over the past couple days, I have been spending a great amount of time researching the professions for Shadowlands. One of the changes to the gear crafting system in Shadowlands are The Optional Reagents. These will allow the crafting of customized gear (Armor, Rings, Necklaces and Off-Hands). Certain Optional Reagents have the potential to be a method for some professions to make extra gold by crafting these and selling them on the AH. However, presently the only professions which can take advantage of these from a gold making standpoint at the start of Shadowlands are Inscription and (indirectly) Blacksmithing. I’ll explain more about this further on.
Note: I do not have Beta access and am basing this information off my research from Wowhead. If things have changed with Beta, please let me know so I can update this guide.
First, a general overview of Optional Reagents:
Optional Reagents are optional! You can craft gear with all, some or none of the Optional Reagent ‘slots’ filled.
They can only be added when crafting gear.
They can not be added, removed or changed once the gear is crafted.
Looted gear can not be ‘upgraded’ with Optional Reagents
Gear depending on quality can contain one, two, three or four Optional Reagent slots:
Only a specific type of Optional Reagents can be added to each particular slot:
Slot #1: Increase Item Level (Crafter’s Marks)
Slot #2: Guaranteed Stats (Missives)
Slot #3: Guaranteed Stats (Missives) *Can not be the same as in Slot #2
Slot #4: Bonus Effects (Crafted or Dropped)
Currently, there is not gear which can be crafted which will have Slot #4 (Bonus Effects). The blue gear piece ‘data mined’ in Wowhead showing all 4 Optional Reagents slots is not in the first Shadowlands release. I am really hoping prior to Shadowlands release Blizz will change this so that slot #3 will be for ‘Bonus Effect’ and the future slot #4 would be the second Guaranteed Stats Optional Reagent. Chances are though we won’t see 4-slot gear until later into the expansion (9.1/9.2). Now let’s focus on the three types of Optional Reagents:
There are some really cool Bonus Effects Optional Reagents, while there are others I doubt will be used very much. The following professions can craft Bonus Optional Reagents (all crafting professions can make Crafter’s Marks):
Elethium Setting ? Adds a socket into armor (Helms, Rings, Necks, Bracers, and Belts). Now in theory crafted gear has a chance to contain a socket (except rings and necklaces which always will have a socket), not sure if this would allow the possibility of having two sockets in single piece of gear.
NOTE: While the Elethium Setting as an Optional Reagent may not be active at the release of Shadowlands, these are a requirement for Jewelcrafters to make ‘cut’ gems (Clusters and Doublets) plus Clusters and Doublets are needed to make all the rings and necklaces.
Reinforced Girdle ? Retain ‘Well Fed’ buff when slain in Arena or Batleground. This will be a must for everyone for one piece of their PvP set.
Hydrodynamic Accelerators ? Increases wear’s swim speed. I don’t see this being used much as my understanding is there is not much water in Shadowlands.
Necrostatic Micro Capacitor – increases the wearer’s Primary Stat for completing World Quests. This one sounds promising. However, we don’t know how much the primary stat is increased and I am going to assume that ALL of this effect is lost if the piece of gear containing this Bonus Optional Reagent is removed.
Tailoring Craftman’s Pouch – Gives a chance to give an extra skill point when crafting items from the Shadowlands. I am not sure about this one, as (at this time) it is not very difficult (unless you are short on gold) to quickly level professions. I suppose a crafter could add it into a ‘crafting’ piece of Blue Gear that they woud wear while crating (akin to the ‘crafting’ gloves in Legion/BfA).
The following Bonus Optional Reagents are only dropped (can not be crafted at this time):
Luxurious Feather – Greatly reduces falling damage.
Shadowy Rabbit’s Foot – Slightly increases the wearer’s run speed. Has been obtained by random drop; may be acquired other ways.
So far this is a fairly decent system and is going to present some great opportunities for gold making. However, those opportunities are going to be limited to Scribes and Blacksmiths during the early part of the expansion. That is, unless Blizzard tweaks the system allowing the Bonus Optional Reagents to be used in the 3rd slot instead of the currently unavailable 4th slot. Once four slot gear is introduced later in the expansion, then the opportunities for gold making from this system with the Bonus Optional Reagents will open up to other professions.