Each time the servers reset the location of Orichalcum nodes change. You can search for a player made map on the web or run through the level 70 to 80 zones and note the new locations yourself. Since I’m out farming anyway, I do the later by taking a screenshot of each location. I also do this for Omnomberries which are another less abundant resource needed for my best sellers. I mine ore like crazy, so having ore and the gems necessary to create the items isn't a problem. The real limiting factor for me, is acquiring enough Globs of Ectoplasm.
Ectoplasm is the one component that can’t be crafted or harvested. The only way to obtain it is by salvaging level 68+ gear that is rare or higher in quality. Players running the high level dungeons and farming level 80 world bosses for chest loot have a higher probability of having spare items to burn for salvaging. I suspect the largest groups of players with available Ectoplasm are those that leveled crafting professions that produce gear. I’m not among that group, leaving me to obtain them via my low salvaging opportunities and/or purchase them from the Trading Post.
Word of caution when using the GW2 Spidy Margin data. I find the calculations flawed in that they assume the cost of purchasing many harvestable components from the Trading Post, without letting you choose that you harvest it yourself. You can easily deduct those costs from the handy list of costs displayed on the individual item sheets. However, this means that you can't accurately sort your Watchlist by margin. *Sad panda face*
The Math and Typical Results
Depending on the day, you can typically purchase a Glob of Ectoplasm for 30 to 32 silver. Each exotic Orichalcum accessory requires 5 exotic gems. In turn, each of those gems required an Ectoplasm, which means you need 5 Ectoplasm for 1 final product. If you purchase all of your Ectoplasm from the Trading Post, it will cost you 1.5 gold to create items that sell for a minimum of 2.5 gold. Hmm, that’s not a bad trade-off but I decided to gamble for a better return.
In salvaging for Ectoplasm, the number of globs that might be returned depends on the item quality. Rare items can return 0 to 4 and Exotic items 0 to 5. I can usually purchase level 80 rare armor for less than 30 silver. Using the Master’s Salvage kit it costs me 61 copper for a chance to return up to 4 globs of Ectoplasm.
If i did a straight out purchase from the Trading Post it would cost 1.5 gold. However, it’s been my experience that when I purchase 5 pieces of armor for the same amount + consuming 5 Master Salvage Kits, I get 7 to 8 Ectoplasm PLUS runes and other raw components to use in crafting items or re-sell.
With pretty consistent results as seen above, I'm not willing to simply purchase the Ectoplams needed. I'm clearly beating the odds and genearting more revenue by gambling on purchasing the gear to salvage myself. To date, I’ve only had one experience where I ended up with fewer globs than if I’d done an outright purchase. Even then, I ended about even from selling the other components I didn't need or using them in a different crafted item.
Sharing Gold Making Tips
I suppose if a lot of players turn to this idea it will drive up the cost of purchasing the items. I think however, on the opposite end, that would drive down the price of Ecotplams so I'm good either way.