Earning gold in the World of Warcraft isn’t that big a deal. It’s pretty easy really. You can start with zip, at level 1, and by the time you hit high level be able to spend the 6 grand for your Epic Flying Mount (and training.) Heck, do a few things right and you’ll keep yourself in nice gear throughout your leveling.
At level 80+, with all the cash provided by the various quests and dailies and all the farmable stuff, you should be doing very well indeed.
Unless you spent it all.
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So Ya Wanna Be a (gold) Farmer?
Grinding, for the purposes of this page, refers to …
- leveling with the help of lots of convenient mobs of the right level. Along with the grinding you will pick up items to sell to the vendors or the Auction House (AH.) Make sure you set your settings to Auto Loot. (Options panel > Interface > Controls > Auto Loot.)
- picking a nice spot and mashing mobs (for XP) until your brain melts. The standard recommendation is to stock up on Mountain Dew, Pizza, and tunes. Put your brain on the shelf and go for it. When you’re done your bags will be full of stuff that you can send to your bank alt for disposal.
Farming is where you park in a certain area and farm particular mobs, or ore/herbs until your bags are full or your head falls off from the tedium. The mobs in the area might well be far below your level, but the looting is good. Farming only differs from grinding in that grinding is primarily for XP and farming is primarily for loot, but the terms are often interchangeable.
For example, if you’re hacking away at the Basilisks in Terokkar Forest, and you are about their level, then you’re grinding, since you’re getting XP. If you’re much higher then you’re farming, since there’s no XP to be had. Why the Basilisks? They drop good skins, eyes (for rep,) meat (which cooks up into a food wanted by casters,) and the occasional item.
Generally, unless you are going for skins and/or meat, humanoid mobs are the best to farm since they drop items, cloth, vendor junk, and cash. Skip the beasts. That said, some beasts are nice to farm, particularly for skins.
If you’re looking for rep with some faction and the mobs you have to kill to get that rep drop interesting stuff, so much the better. A good example are the various Blood Elves in Outland, which drop the signets for Aldor/Scryer rep.
Basic Tips for the Farming/Grinding session:
- It’s easiest if you’re many levels above the target mobs, this makes things easier, safer, and faster.
- You can do this with any dungeon or raid where you’re able to handle the mobs inside. Grind up the whole instance, reset the dungeon, and repeat. When your bags are full you take a break, dispose of stuff, and start again.
- Stock up on your favorite drinks, munchies, and tunes.
- Get the biggest bags you can afford and empty them of anything you don’t need. Especially if you’re doing dungeons, as you’re likely to collect a lot of stuff.
- Make sure your banker is ready to receive your mails.
- A mount makes the farming easier and a flying mount is even better (these are also good for sneaking up on other farmers, of the other faction, and ganking them.) Some areas are only accessible with a flying mount.
- Get a map of your looting routes (the gathererer addon provides one, Zygor has a better map, or you can use your own custom map.)
- Start a farmin’!
Where to go
Pretty much every zone in the World of Warcraft, even in Shadowlands, has a least a couple of areas that are good for farming something. Almost all the zones have herbs, ores, beasties (for skinning) and so on.
You can either check your local AH and see which items are lacking in supply (or have too much supply) and act accordingly, or just go “over there” and get to work as the mood (and the convenience) strike you.
Once you know what you want to farm you can either use the Zygor addon and have it draw you a map or you can look up the item on WoWhead. For example, Windwool cloth dropped by Sra’thik Drones, here. Just find an area without too much competition and go to town. You can use the same method for any items that you’re looking for.
While this section has not been updated for Shadowlands, the ideas are the same.
- All of your secondary starting areas are good for low level herbs and skins. These might sell for a few gold a stack and beginning crafters need this stuff. Prices might not be so hot at any given time, but unless the market is totally flooded the stuff will sell well. You can also just hold on to it for a few days until prices rise. See our gathering page for some tips.
- The same areas, except Teldrassil, are good for copper ore.
- Any concentration of humanoids is good for pickpocketing, cloth farming, and picking up some minor cash from the kills. Of course, skinning beasties can add up to some nice gold and some of them drop cooking materials.
- Elementals, of any sort, will drop elemental items. These items are used by crafters. Find a bunch of elementals and go to town. It’s even more “fun” in PvP areas, such as Wintergrasp or Tol Barad.
- In the Outlands the Blood Elf mobs and Fel mobs drop reputation items (marks and signets, fel armaments and arcane tomes, and the like) which do actually sell. Northrend has lots of rep items to collect in the higher level areas. Sell these items in stacks or ten or multiples of ten. I like to use 10, 20, or 30 depending on how many I have on hand. Cataclysm and Pandaria mobs don’t drop rep items, but there is plenty of other stuff to collect.
- Any critter that drops meat that can be made into a buffing food is a good one to farm.
- Fishing can be a decent money maker, especially with the various cooking achievements, so cooking, and the fish needed for cooking, are much more popular than before and the fish you catch can sell well, especially if they’re used in buffing recipes or Alchemy.
Specific types of critters, as mentioned above, will drop specific types of loot.
- Humanoids are great for cloth, cash, and items. They also seem to drop more green items than other mobs will. You can use, sell, or disenchant these (and use/sell the parts.)
- Pandaria mobs have the same skins and general loot items as the mobs in other areas.
- Beasts are great for skins. They also drop meat for your cooking (or the other guy’s cooking) and bits such as the large fang.
- Spiders drop various kinds of silk, used in crafting, and parts used for cooking, plus vendor goop.
- Dragon whelps seem to have a better drop for nicer items than many mobs.
- The Arakokra (Outlands) drop feathers for rep as well as other stuff and can be pickpocketed.
- Outland Blood Elves drop rep items (Sorry, but player blood elves don’t drop anything.)
- As mentioned above the various elementals will drop crafting bits appropriate to their type, eg: fire elementals drop mores of fire or (in Northrend) crystalized fire. Void walker type things will drop shadow bits. Herbs will sometimes drop life bits.
- If you’re looking for a specific item check out WoWhead.com. Search on your item and see what drops it, then sort that list to show the thing(s) that drop it most often.
- Skinnable Cataclysm mobs drops Savage leather (and scraps,) which sells nicely, and the usual bits and pieces. Green item drops sell, too.
- Volatile elements drop from various things in the Cataclysm zones.
- Embersilk cloth has a fairly low drop rate, compared to other cloth types, but sells nicely when you get a stack.
- At higher level consider cleaning out dungeons that are much lower level than you are. You get to keep all the loot and there is a higher drop rate for blue items that you can sell.
Farming for Rare and Epic Drops
Ummm… yuck. Ok, you farm a group of mobs for ten hours looking for that epic drop. And it drops. You sell it for 1,000 gold. You could have made more, a lot more, just by doing your daily quests. At level max level doing your dailies for ten hours will have netted you at least 2k gold plus drops plus rep. At lower level it will still be well over 1k gold plus drops and rep and you’ll have more fun doing it. So no, farming specifically for epics (or blues) isn’t such a hot idea, but if you find it interesting then go for it. It’s like gambling, you just might hit that jackpot. Actually, I think it’s a waste of time, but it’s your time.
On the other hand farming for pets and mounts from dungeon bosses or Tanaan rares might be very much worth your while.
The one exception is the dungeon farming, mentioned above. The chance to get useful blue and purple drops is much better than anywhere is the open world. Many of the items found, even if “bind on pickup” can be used for transmog purposes, if you’re so inclined.
Take notes as you level and explore areas. Eventually you will have a list of areas to farm that will be your own. (Zygor can help with this.) If one area is too crowded just move to the next. Speaking of crowds, weekends are the worst and weekday mornings are the best. Just like shopping at the mall.
While mindless and dull the farming/grinding routine is still a good way to make a reliable steady gold gain. You can easily make several gold an hour at very low levels and upwards of 200 an hour (or more) at high levels. All you need is an area that works for you and has little enough competition that you can repeatedly fill your bags with loot.
If you are a Rogue you can also pickpocket humanoids for additional cash and the occasional item, potions, and lockboxes. In the Cataclysm zones a “Rogue’s Draught” drops, every now and then, which is a pretty nice healing potion. Mists of Pandaria has similar drops.
In Warlords all the misc loot goes away and you’ll be picking items that, at first glance, look to be worth something. They’re all various forms of jewelry. Unfortunately they’re only worth anything to your fence. How do you get in touch with him? With your Secret Whistle, which is an item that you’ll find very early in when picking pockets in Dreanor. Use it and your fence will appear and buy all of your picked loot in exchange for… dingy coins.
He does, however, offer you a quest to exchange 1,000 dingy coins for 250 gold.
Put your Pickpocket skill in a macro with your opening attack (or sap) and the Pickpocketing becomes automatic. In the long run you will pick up a lot of extra gold this way. Here’s an example macro:
- enter the following into the new macro text box
#showtooltip Cheap Shot
/cast Pick Pocket
/cast Cheap Shot
- This macro will pickpocket your opponent first, then attack. It’s free cash, so go for it. If the mob cannot be pickpocketed (such as Basilisks) the attack will still happen.
- enter the following into the new macro text box
Another macro which makes pocket picking easier, if you’re just doing that and not attacking, is this one:
/cast Pick Pocket
Stun them and pickpocket. This pretty much eliminates the chance that the mobs will catch you with your hands in their pockets.
The basic tips on these pages will get you enough gold to buy the stuff you need. To buy the stuff you want you may need more, a lot more. That’s why we recommend gold guides. There’s a ton of info in them that will make you a ton more gold.
The Zygor addon will do a lot of the research work for you. Want to know what’s selling well so that you can run over and grab some? Want to know what you should buy out and resell? Zygor will tell you. And more. It makes the job of accumulating massive amounts of gold much easier.