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ArenaNet has done a tremendous job with making speculating for this Ascended level 500 crafting patch a total win for speculators. If you're not on the speculation bandwagon yet, you really should be. Our forum has a bunch of ideas to get you started, as well as this blog (read the past few articles to see for yourself).
Materials Going Up Across the Board
Refining globs of ectoplasm will have a cooldown (Awesome!!! I've been hoping for this thank you ArenaNet!) and will make use of items like mitrhil and elder wood logs; which will greatly increase their value. Then there's also the change for combining tier 2, 4, and 5 materials (usually) into ascended crafting materials.
You may be thinking, well why would these changes affect all crafting materials including the tier one items? Thanks to the mystic forge, you can turn tier 1 mats into tier 2 mats. So naturally an increase for tier 2 will also increase the value of tier 1 items! People who take advantage of these changes while the game's economy is reeling up and down the first few weeks will make a ton of money. So save up your skill points and stockpile tier 1 materials like copper ore (holy crap it has more than doubled in price for this patch!).
ArenaNet's primary goal with this patch is to make all items in the game more valuable/useful. If they play their cards right, then the amount of gold flowing between players of ALL levels will be greater than ever. I am really happy to see things like the daily cooldowns and potential for more mystic forging that's actually profitable.
So if you're curious about speculating and wondering if you should join in, even if you have just a few gold to spare, then the answer you need to hear is: GO FREAKING SPECULATE ON ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING.
With just a few gold, you could do this easily: