Ok, you’ve got 6 figures in your gold account, you’re decked head to toe in epics dropped off the Auction house, or bought through contracted guild raids, and you have every pet and every mount. You fully find your stable of 90s and your guild looks to you for all their running money. You don’t need a gold guide, you should be writing one. Now go away and get back to work.
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The Three Sources of Gold Acquisition
Basically there are three ways to get gold in the World of Warcraft (and pretty much any other video game or MMO) and that’s to complete quests (and kill & loot mobs,) sell stuff to the vendor, or sell stuff to other players. While there are a few other bits where you can grab some cash (such as opening chests & boxes) those three areas cover 99% of the gold accumulation that you will ever do.
While quests and vendors are pretty clear, selling stuff to other players involves gathering stuff that they might actually want to buy (and pay a lot of money for.) Some of the items that you will (or could be) gathering or creating for these sales are:
- Mats for enchanters through disenchanting of items
- Finding materials for cooking and other crafts: cloth, skins, ores, herbs for the crafters: Alchemists, Scribes, Blacksmiths, Leatherworkers, etc.
- Farming more exotic items for crafters, such as motes, crystallized this and that, Volitile whatevers, and so on.
- Vanity items, such as wedding dresses, hats, tuxedos, name brand gears, etc.
- Farming items from mobs, such as weapons, rep items, etc.
- Transmog gear and complete gear sets (you’ll separately post each item of a particular set or sell the whole set in trade chat.)
Piles o’ Stuff Vs One-Offs
One of the things that effects the price you can ask for an item is how people actually buy that item.
- Things like ores, skins, rep items, herbs, etc tend to sell in stacks and will have repeat customers.
- Things like crafted items don’t sell in stacks (even if they’re stackable, like Glyphs) and repeat customers, for the same item, are rare.
This becomes important when you’re posting your items on the Auction House (AH.) A scribe or Leatherworker might pick up a dozen (or more) stacks of raw materials at one time, and come back for more later, so even if you don’t have the lowest price your items will sell (assuming you’re not crazy high with the price.)
Any given character will only buy one each of any given crafted item. So when putting these items up for sale there’s more incentive to have the lowest price on that item. This is why you will see all the glyphs sellers constantly undercutting each other. As a seller of materials you don’t have to play the undercutting game, at least not so much.
Even if the current price for raw materials is low, at the moment, you will still sell your stuff if you price higher. Look at the AH over the week and you’ll see the prices vary. Keep your prices a little higher and you’ll make a lot more in the long run. If stuff is priced too low then either delay your posting or buy it out to resell.
Note: Some crafted items sell for a pretty penny, especially if they’re popular from Transmog or hit a nice spot in the itemization that players always want. Warlords gear crafting professions had something like Steelforged Essence, which would boost a Blacksmith created weapon by 15 item levels. You’d have to gather a lot of skins/ores/herbs to make up for the sale of one of those items.
Check the various items you’re able to craft. Experiment with a few. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Ok, Let’s Get Started with the Tips
- Roll yourself a dedicated Auction House Banker. Everytime you stop by town to lighten your bags you can mail the worthwhile stuff to your banker and then get back to work. The banker will do all your AH selling and buying, freeing up your other characters to do whatever it is that they do.
- Buy the biggest bags you can afford, eventually working up to whatever the top bag of the expansion is (30 slot bags in Warlords, for example.) This will minimize your trips to town to unload stuff and maximize your collecting time. Your bank also has bag slots. When you get to the point that you’re banking stuff you will buy those slots and stick large bags in them.
- 2a) Have your alt create a guild (paying 10g for each signup,) then kick everyone, and use the guild bank space for your stash.
- Loot everything, always. Vendor the gray stuff and send all the white (and better) stuff to your banker. If you’re high enough level you can solo instances, looting everything, and make a nice pile of gold selling the grey titled stuff to the vendor and the better stuff on the AH. You might even find some nice blue (and maybe even purple) items that you can sell for a high price, this includes items with transmog potential.
- White items sometimes sell at a surprisingly high price. Always check out the current prices on the AH on these items. For example, the Farmer’s Broom and Farmer’s Shovel are low level white weapons that are good for low level PvP and they sell for several gold each. Bits used for crafting might also sell very well. I remember being quite surprised at the price that the “large fang” sold for. Believe it or not white armor and gear actually sells on the AH. Not for a lot, but definitely for more than a vendor will pay you.
- Some players like to buy newb items, or stove like that shovel, for role-playing purposes. I’ve sold starter items, off of newly created characters, for several hundred gold each. The don’t sell quickly, so you’ll be doing a lot of reposting, but eventually…
- Grinding and Questing: If you’re going to grind mobs in some area see if you can pick up the appropriate kill quest(s) or quests that are in the same area. You’ll get the quest reward and the occasional items when completing the quest in addition to whatever you get from the mobs.
- Any of the gathering skills (mining, skinning, herbalism) will keep you in the gold if you work them. Try and keep them maxed at all times and never pass up a node, plant, or skinning chance. We recommend Skinning and either Herbalism or Mining. Why? You’re going to be killing a bazillion critters while you level anyway, so why not skinning?
- If you’re a skinner then skin everything you can, always. Sometimes other players will kill skinnable mobs and leave them there. Skin ’em yourself. Sell the scraps, too.
- Keep in mind that the Skinning skill gives you a small crit buff, Mining adds Stam, and Herbalism a small heal and solid Haste cooldown.
- Cloth always sells, though you should check prices. (Also look at the deposit costs, the Runecloth deposit is far higher than that for Wool Cloth.) One day prices will suck, a few days later they’ll be better. Also consider stashing the cloth to level up your first aid and that of your alts. As you might know, the cloth type dropped is dependent on the mob level. Hit 25ish (humanoid) mobs for Wool Cloth, for example.
- Limiteds: You may have noticed that some vendors sell items in strictly limited numbers. These limited items often sell for a lot more on the AH than it costs you to buy them. Always keep an eye out for these and make a note when you find interesting limited items. For example, the White Shirt sells for 50+ gold (seen it goo for 200+.) Again, they don’t sell fast, but you’ll make a pretty nice profit when they do.
- Some green items will sell very nicely, others just don’t. Who wants a 2 hand sword with a Spirit buff, after all? You should disenchant green and better items that don’t sell and then sell the parts. If you have a stack of green items and don’t have Enchanting then you might be able to sell them to an enchanter so that she can disenchant them. You can also work your banker up to level 10 and get Journeyman Enchanting. That will allow you to disenchant things for awhile. If you do try to sell the greens keep any eye on the deposit costs, as they might be too high to make posting the item worthwhile.
Again, people might well want them for transmog so they’re usually worth a few posts. They new Transmog system introduced with the Legion pre-patch makes it easy to collect “appearances.” So put up your items.
- Daily Quests: Starting at 70 you can do the various daily quests. These pay gold, of course, and sometimes rep and various items. If you are grinding rep with certain factions you will definitely want to look into the dally quests. There are plenty of daily quests in the new areas and these also provide rep to use to buy some very nice gear. The trick is to grab several of these quests that are in the same area or easily follow one into the other, otherwise you spend too much time traveling. The Isle of Quel’Danis or Tol Barad quests or the endless Mists of Pandaria dailies are perfect for this. You can do 10 quests in about an hour (once you have the routine down) make a nice pile of gold, get rep, and get a stack of stuff to sell to the vendor and AH. Unlike some other daily quests you don’t need a flying mount to do these. The level 85 & 90 quests are similar. You won’t make as much from dailies as you will from efficient farming or Auction House games, but if you want the rep and/or don’t care to play the AH then go for it.
- Pricing: Remember, with cloth and the stacks of stuff you gather (including enchanting materials) you do not have to have the lowest price. People buy piles of this stuff and come back for more, so don’t shoot yourself in the foot by pricing it too low. Price your stuff a couple steps higher than the lowest priced stuff, it’ll still sell. Heck, if some goof puts up a few stacks at a way low price just buy them all and re post them (now or later) at the right price. This especially hold if the deposit prices for the item are very low (as they are for glyphs, some other items, and some enchanting materials.)
- Addons: If you’re a miner or herbalist you should grab the Gatherer addon. This will give you a map of the common locations where ores and herbs appear and will make your gathering faster. Tycoon has a function that will mark you big and mini maps with gathering/farming routes.
- An addon like Auctioneer (free) is really valuable. The idea is that it will give you pricing info so that you can price your items correctly when you post them on the AH. With this info you will know if the current listings are too low (and you should wait) or too high (post now.) Curse.com has a couple of other Auction addons, as well. See here for some Auctioneer tips. Also look into Undermine Journal.
Bonus Tips for More Gold:
- Figure out what mats are needed for specific items, then farm those mats. For example, if a particular potion is in great demand (perhaps for raiding) then farm the mats for the alchemists to make those potions. Check WoWhead.com for item requirements. (Here’s an addon which automates the research.) Savage Blood, for example, is needed for some of the items that boost item levels of crafted gear. It’s worth the effort to farm (and not worth the effort for Alchemists to create.)
- Have a “shopping basket” of items in your bank alt’s bags. Then scan the AH for those items, buying up what’s under-priced (for reposting, perhaps later.) For instance you might have a “basket” containing one of each herb used for Inscription. Open the AH, shift+click each herb in turn (shift+click posts the name of the item in the search field,) and hit search. Buy up what’s appropriate.If you find that no items are available, and you have stored a stash of same, post them at a (reasonably) high price. You’ll have a monopoly (for a time) and should do well.The Auctionator addon will let you create shopping lists so that you don’t have to keep stuff in your bags.
- Specific crafted items require specific quantities of mats, so sell you stuff in those quantities. For example, Scribes mill herbs 5 at a time, so if you’re selling to Scribes sell your herbs in stacks of multiples of 5. Or if Potion ABC requires six green pointyflowers then sell your stash of green pointyflowers in stacks of six. Again, check WoWhead for stack sizes.
- Make the intermediate parts for crafters. Scribes mill herbs into pigments, then inks, then glyphs. So, if you have Inscription & Herbalism, you can farm herbs, make inks, and sell the inks. Check your own server’s AH prices, you may find that a 5 stack of herbs sells for more than you can sell the inks, or visa versa.
More Gold, Even Faster?
If you really want to accumulate massive gold then your best bet is to treat yourself to a good tool. Of course you can browse the WoW forums for hours, sifting through the crap, or search elsewhere. Eventually you’ll probably find some good stuff. If you don’t mind spending the time.
How much gold can you make? A few hundred a day will meet pretty much everyone’s needs and that amount is within the reach of just about anyone willing to put in a bit of effort. Still, it’s nice to think about the big gold pile, isn’t it? Spend 2 grand on a Harris Pilton bag? Shrug. 10k on an item or 20k on a mount? No sweat. Fund all your guild raids, your alts, your and their consumables, etc.? Petty cash.
If you want the good stuff then go here and start getting a lot more gold.