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Correspondent: Gold Earning Guide

Rob Rutherford Posted:
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World of Warcraft Correspondent: Gold Earning Guide

MMORPG.com World of Warcraft Correspondent Robert Rutherford writes this article giving players advice on making money in Blizzard's colossal hit game.

The Gatherer

There are many things to be gathered in the game. This includes leather, herbs, ore, fish, linen, wool, mageweave, stones, gems, and so on. Moreover, there is much gold to be made here.

There is something to be said for those that gather - they spend a lot of time making their money. Many players begin to make their money by gathering - and I encourage it. And, later on, finding a rare vein or herb can bring in several gold alone.

The benefit of being a gatherer is that you don't ever have to buy supplies. Moreover, you may just find the things to mine/gather while leveling. This is especially true with leather (tradeskill is skinning).

One thing to note - you cannot pass level 225 in your skill until at least level 35. Note #2 - ALWAYS sell your gathered items at the auction house - always. It costs next to nothing to put them up for auction even at 24 hour durations. If they don't sell, just put them up again.

The Farmer

This is a profession usually taken on by those of higher (level 40+, usually 55+) levels. To do this, you simply do instance runs or kill named bosses multiple times or do multiple runs through the instances in the chance of getting a drop.

Things to note:

This takes more time than being a gatherer - and the payoff *may* be higher. The *may* is the 3% chance, or .03% for some items, that an item worth x amount of gold at AH - I repeat AT THE AUCTION HOUSE - will drop (check www.thottbot.com to see the drop rate of items). So, with this type of way to make money, you may make 20g in a day or 200g or 2000g depending on what drops - pure chance. Now, some like this idea for the high potential.

Like I said, always sell the item at the auction house. If you don't know what it is worth, look at items similar to it and price accordingly. If you still don't know, put it up for some absurd amount - there's a chance someone may buy it. I suggest putting what you want as the base price, and an absurd number for the buyout at 24 hour bid time - do this on the weekend as well as more people are on during the weekends.

Example: The Deviate Scale Belt Recipe is a quest reward from the wailing caverns. My friend decided she would sell hers at the auction house. She wasn't sure what it was worth, so she put it up for 50s base and 6 gold buyout, 24 hour time period. If you don't know, there's no way it should be worth more than 1 gold due to the fact that it is an easily obtained quest reward. Guess what - it sold! I guess whoever wanted it didn't want to wait the 24 hours to get the item (as most don't) so just bought it out.


It costs a lot to put those items up for bid. And if it doesn't sell, you have lost that money.

To compensate for this - first, always sell on Fri/Sat/Sun. Keep the items you get in the bank until the weekend. Also, put the item up around 7pm on Friday evening with a 24 hour bid time if you can.

Repeat on Saturday if you still have it. This will ensure the most people see it. Advertising isn't a bad idea as well - once every 30 minutes. Advertising too often will most likely make people just /ignore you, which last time I checked is a bad thing.

Last note - sometimes going for the lower level item may be more profitable than the higher level item. The higher level item will definitely be worth more - but you will be able to do more runs through the lower level area.

The Crafter

This is one of the players that says forget the gathering, I want to make things. To do this, you better have at least 10 - 20 gold ready to spend. The first 150 skill points into any craft, you will most likely lose money. In fact, I can almost guarantee it. The items below 150 aren't worth much or in demand enough to make serious cash. This can be said even with items up to level 225. However, past 225, it is pure gold. Be it Leatherworking, Blacksmithing, Alchemy, or Tailoring; there is money to be made. If you are an Engineer and/or Enchanter, see below.

So, how do these people get their supplies? One of two ways -

Either at the auction house or from a supplier. Often times, the crafter will find a gatherer and work a deal with them to constantly have incoming supplies. The gatherer will often times send the item through the mail system with CoD, cash on delivery. This works well for both parties. And, sometimes one gatherer can supply several crafters with what they need. The gatherer and crafter also set a standard price for a stack of a certain item - this never changes once set in most situations. Having a constant buyer/supplier is more important and convenient than getting the most for your copper. I suggest you try to set up a system like this - either if you are a gatherer or crafter.

To contact them, use the mail. Go to AH and see who is selling allot of a gathered item or crafted item, depending on if you want to supply or want to craft. Write down their name. You can try to send them a message, but more often than not, they will not be online. So, just go over to the mail and send them a nice letter. Perhaps a subject of 'Need a supplier?' or 'Can you gather x for me?' (x being herbs, leather, whatever it is you need) In your letter, basically say you saw them selling a lot of a certain item at AH and you'd like to become a constant buyer. This is VERY attractive to the gatherer as suddenly gathering x item becomes a constant reliable income for gold.

It is also VERY attractive to the crafter as they can normally negotiate for it to be cheaper than AH and they have a constant supply to make their items.

The downfall - at level 60, many crafted items become obsolete. Now, this doesn't mean crafted items won't sell. Plenty of level 59s and down still need those items. But, what it means is that they will never sell as highly or as well as a farmed item - epic items.

The two that cost you more than you make:

Enchanting - This really can be a great trade skill. I made tons of gold with it ... by selling what I disenchanted to other enchanters. Rarely, and I mean basically never, will a player be willing to pay as much for an enchant as it cost you to enchant that item. Surely it can't cost that much - you say.

Well, factor in the cost of what you didn't make. That is, factor in your potential earnings. In order to get enchanting ingredients, a item Uncommon (green) or better must be disenchanted. A blue item can easily go for 10 gold or up depending on your server (some 200 and up). Now, lets say every green and blue item you find and can't use gets disenchanted - the losses add up pretty quickly. In fact, they add up so quickly that the aspiring enchanter finds it hard to believe. And, what is worse is that you don't always get the ingredient you need. There is a random chance it can be any number of ingredients.

Even worse - to enchant something, it usually takes at least 2 - 3 ingredients. Let's say you disenchanted 3 blues to get the exact 3 ingredients you needed. If you had sold those blue items, you could have made 15g, assuming worth 5g (yep, a low estimate here). No one in their right mind will pay 15g for an enchant - unless it is an enchant well above level 225. And, if it is one of those enchants, then those blues certainly could have sold for well more than 5g each. If you want to be an enchanter, find a good guild that will supply you with 'trash items' - items they tried to sell at AH and didn't sell, so they send it to you.

Engineering - well ... sadly ... you have to be an engineer to use engineering items. And, if you can use the item, it means you can make the item (except for high levels - goblin/gnomish). Yes, there is some money to be made in engineering, but certainly not as much as the other trades. The main place money can be made is in the items required for quests.

Buy Low / Sell High

This is getting into some of the more complex ways to make your gold. To be able to buy low / sell high, you will need an initial investment. I suggest at least 10 gold if not 50 - 100 gold. But, 10 gold will get you started.

The strategy is simple - buy an item at a lower price than it is worth or can be sold for, and then turn around and sell it for that higher price.

To do this, many players will watch the trade channel in their main city. They watch for WTS (wanting to sell) [item]. Players selling like this want to sell their item now and not wait for AH - this is the perfect opportunity for the low/high buying player. You simply send them a private message asking how much or by saying I will give you x gold for that item. From there, you negotiate. The idea is that you try to get the item as low as possible. Make sure you always buy lower than it can sell for - this means watching the auction house like a hawk. You have to know what is worth what and how quickly it sells. Supply vs. Demand.

Controlling the Market

This is by far the most involved way to make money in the World Of WarCraft. In this, you have to have a monopoly on the market - our example will be large glimmering shards. To start off, you will need a good bit, at least 10g if not 200g, of initial investment.

What you do is identify a market, large glimmering shards for our example, and start to up the price on it.

Let's say a stack of one large glimmering shard is selling for 90 silver. And, there are 10 shards up at the Auction House. To control this market, what you would do is completely buy out all of the large glimmering shards- every last one of them. Then, you would go back and sell them for any price you decide as you are the only supply for large glimmering shards. Let's be reasonable and only sell them for 1 gold 80 silver.

Now, people are used to them being 90 silver and will not buy them for the first week. Also, you *must* have at least 3 - 5 items up at any given time for the price you have set. If they are not yours but are at 1 gold 80 silver, no problem. If someone puts them up for less, immediately buy them out.

After about a week of doing this, people will start to accept that the price of a large glimmering shard is now 1.8g. Also, the people selling the shards will think that they have been selling at 1.8g, so they will put them up for that amount as well. Now, all you have to do is sell off all of your large glimmering shards at 1.8g - you just made twice what you invested.

Now, it may seem that the buy low/sell high would work better - but, where it differs is that you set the price. Make sure to no more than double it at first. But, once the price is accepted at 90s, then you could do the same thing, this time at 3 gold. All the time, you have more and more large glimmering shards. Sell those, and you have made 3x what you invested in the beginning.

Also, control more than one market. If you only control large glimmering shards, then you will only sell at a certain rate. Instead, control several markets. It can be anything - fish, herbs, item. You could even decide to control the market for items level 30 - 40. That is, you buyout every item within that level range and then double the price. The people that level will need items, and they will have to buy from you.

Two things to note (OK, three):

First - other people will see the rise in price in that market and decide to start selling the item as well. If too many people do this, which ALWAYS happens, abandon the market - sell what you have left for more than you bought it for and be done with it. A way to identify if there is too much supply is if there are 20+ of that same item at the auction house. So, you will be controlling a market for roughly 2 - 3 weeks before you move on to another market due to increase in supply.

Secondly - people will NOT like you for doing this. In America (in the corporate world), this is considered illegal. You ARE monopolizing a market and giving people no choice but to buy from you. You WILL get a negative reputation if you do this long enough - especially if you stay in a market for too long. So, you may not necessarily do this with your main character.

One Last Thing - this method eats up a lot of time. You will have to check the auction house at least twice a day to make sure everything is fine and at your price. You may end up doing this over leveling even. So, only go for this method if you want a challenge. Remember, you cannot just buyout all of a market and expect the worth to change in one day - it takes at least a week of monitoring.

A note to those trying to fight the monopolizers - if they are doing it correctly, you can't beat them by selling for less. Instead, sell for more. If the price of an item goes too high, then the market will crash. Suddenly, the prices will be within reason again. You can force this by having a base price at a price you think it should be and a buyout higher than what the monopolizer is selling for. This way, someone gets the item for the right price OR the monopolizer must buy the item at a loss. There you go; there is your ammo for fighting the fight.


Rob Rutherford