(For more resources related to this topic, see here.)
You need to spend gold to make gold
The adage "You need to spend money to make money" holds true in World of Warcraft as well. A lot of your income will come from manufacturing processes: taking raw materials (or mats) and turning them into finished goods for the end user. To expedite this process, we will be mostly buying the materials from the Auction House, and so you will need a sizeable supply of gold when you're starting out and building inventory.
Unlike in the real world, where you can get investors or loans to start up a business, in World of Warcraft you will need to collect every bit of copper yourself. It's not until you have built up this starting capital that you can truly start making significant amounts of gold. There are a few ways to go about this and some players may be able to build capital while playing as they usually do, but most players will have to work at building this capital. All the methods in this section are designed to earn you gold, with time being the only investment; no gold needs to be invested. Once you've built your starting capital, you may find yourself moving away from these sources of revenue to focus on more lucrative markets.
Reselling vendor pets
There are many items that you can sell on the Auction House but vendor pets will be your best bet when trying to make gold. While your mileage may vary depending on your server's economy, there are certain vendors and items that are usually profitable. As with any other tip, you will have to confirm for yourself that this is pro fitable on your server.
Even before Mists of Pandaria was announced and launched with its pet battles, pets were in great demand. There are several vendors scattered throughout Azeroth that sell pets; you can then resell the pets on the Auction House for a profit. There are two reasons why pets from these vendors can typically be sold for a profit over the vendor price:
- Players are too lazy to venture out into the world themselves to visit these vendors and buy the pets
- Players don't do their research and, when they see these pets on the Auction House, are unaware that they can get these pets from the vendors
We'll take a look at some examples of where you can get pets from a vendor to sell on the Auction House.
Always make sure you're selling these pets for a profit. As with most methods we will go over, this tactic's effectiveness is largely determined by your server's market. Be sure to check market prices for these pets before you go out and collect them (The Undermine Journal (https://theunderminejournal.com/) will help you with market research).
Players from either faction will be able to access these vendors and resell their wares on their faction-specific Auction House.
One of these vendors is Dealer Rashaad at the Stormspire in Netherstorm and he can be found west of the flight master at Stormspire.
The following screenshot shows the map of Netherstorm, and the player icon marks the location of Dealer Rashaad:
Dealer Rashaad is marked with the <Exotic Creatures> tag and sells the following pets (as presented by the vendor, from left to right, top to bottom):
- Parrot Cage (Senegal): Purchase for 40 silver
- Cat Carrier (Siamese): Purchase for 60 silver
- Undercity Cockroach: Purchase for 50 silver
- Crimson Snake: Purchase for 50 silver
- Brown Rabbit Crate: Purchase for 10 gold
- Red Moth Egg: Purchase for 10 gold
- Blue Dragonhawk Hatchling: Purchase for 10 gold
- Mana Wyrmling: Purchase for 40 gold
Dealer Rashaad has associations with the faction The Consortium, and so these pets will appear cheaper, depending on your reputation with this faction (up to 20 percent off if you have Exalted reputation).
Another pet vendor you should visit is Breanni (tagged as <Pet Supplies>) at Magical Menagerie in the city of Dalaran in Crystalsong Forest, Northrend. The following screenshot shows the map of Dalaran and the player icon marks the location of Breanni:
Breanni sells the following pets (listed in order of appearance):
- Cat Carrier (Calico Cat): Purchase price 50 gold
- Albino Snake: Purchase price 50 gold
- Obsidian Hatchling: Purchase price 50 gold
Breanni also sells accessories for pets but, since these are Bind on Pickup items, you will not be able to sell them on the Auction House.
There are several vendors that sell only one or two pets; while you can sell many of these on the Auction House as well, you will have to determine for yourself if the profit margins are worth your time spent in collecting them. The following is a list of these pets and their vendors. Only those pets that can be purchased for gold (or silver) are included in this list as there are several that can be purchased for other currencies:
- Ancona Chicken: Plucky Johnson in Thousand Needles
- Tree Frog Box: Flik at the Darkmoon Faire
- Wood Frog Box: Flik at the Darkmoon Faire
- Winterspring Cub: Michelle De Rum in Winterspring
- Parrot Cage (Cockatiel): Narkk in Booty Bay
To make the most of these pet vendors, buy multiples of each pet (at least three to five of each) and store the spares in a bank while you are selling them. Doing this limits the number of repeat trips you have to make and makes it more worth your while. Be sure to empty your bags as much as possible when going out to fetch these pets.
While being at Friendly reputation or better with these vendors can fetch you a discount of five to 20 percent, the amount of time it takes to reach these reputations is not really worth the discount. That being said, if you have a character that you know gets a discount with these vendors, use it to collect the pets and get the five to 20 percent discount on the purchase price.
If you have trouble finding any of these pets, you can go to http://www.wowhead.com, which is a database of all the items, vendors, achievements, and more. Wowhead has every vendor listed and a map of where to find the vendors.
Pets from in-game events
During most in-game holidays, there is a selection of pets you can buy with the holiday-specific currencies (typically tokens). While it's likely that it won't be worth your time to gather these currencies specifically to buy these pets, only you can decide what is worth your time; you might want to have these currencies anyway. Note that these pets are related to specific events only and are not available all year round. These pets are as follows:
- Captured Flame:
- 350 Burning Blossoms (Midsummer Fire Festival)
- Purchasable at vendors in every major city for every major faction during the course of the Midsummer Fire Festival
- Feline Familiar:
- 150 Tricky Treats
- Purchasable at vendors in Undercity and Elwynn Forest as part of the Hallow's End festivities
- Sinister Squashling:
- 150 Tricky Treats
- Purchasable at vendors in Undercity and Elwynn Forest as part of the Hallow's End Festivities
- Spring Rabbit's Foot:
- 00 Noblegarden Chocolate
- Purchasable at various vendors outside every major Alliance or Horde city as part of the Noblegarden festivities
- Pint-Sized Pink Pachyderm:
- 100 Brewfest Tokens
- Purchasable at vendors in Dun Morogh, Durotar, Ironforge, and Orgrimmar as part of Brewfest Activities
- Lunar Lantern and Festival Lantern:
- 50 Coins of Ancestry each
- Purchasable at vendors in Moonglade during the Lunar Festival event
- Truesilver Shafted Arrow:
- 40 Love Tokens
- Purchasable at vendors in all major Alliance and Horde cities during the Love is in the Air event
These pets are available in plenty during and shortly after the events, so to get the best price out of your hard work, hold on to the pets for a month or more after the event ends. Some of these pets do drop (not significantly, though) as part of the incentive for Call to Arms but the largest supply comes from the events themselves.
The currencies for these pets are obtained through quests and achievements related to the event and can thus only be obtained while the event is active. Many players choose to do these events anyway (for achievements or for the sake of completion), so you might find that selling these pets is an easy way to make extra gold. If you have any problems with the quests or achievements, the posts on Wowhead will typically have advice and the writers at WoW Insider (http://wow.joystiq.com) put up guides every year for the events.
Faction-specific vendors and pets
Each faction, Alliance and Horde, has a selection of pets that are specific to it. While you can sell them on your home Auction House, you can often get much better prices on the neutral Auction House, where you can sell to the opposite faction because this, and faction transfers, which cost money, are the only ways for them to get the pets. Keep in mind though that the neutral Auction House charges a higher fee—they charge a 15 percent cut on sales — so be wary when selling and adjust your profi t margins accordingly.
As with the faction-neutral pets, these pets are broken into two categories:
- Purchasable with standard currency (gold, silver, and copper)
- Purchasable with other currencies
The list of Alliance vendors with pets available for standard currency is as follows:
- Donni Anthania <Crazy Cat Lady>, Elwynn Forest:
- Cat Carrier (Bombay): Costs 40 silver
- Cat Carrier (Cornish Rex): Costs 40 silver
- Cat Carrier (Orange Tabby): Costs 40 silver
- Cat Carrier (Silver Tabby): Costs 40 silver
- Yarlyn Amberstill, Dun Morogh:
- Rabbit Crate (Snowshoe): Costs 40 silver
- Shylenai <Owl Trainer>, Darnassus:
- Great Horned Owl: Costs 50 silver
- Hawk Owl: Costs 50 silver
- Sixx <Moth Keeper>, The Exodar:
- Blue Moth Egg: Costs 50 silver
- White Moth Egg: Costs 50 silver
- Yellow Moth Egg: Costs 50 silver
- Lil Timmy <Boy with kittens>, Stormwind, rare spawn:
- Cat Carrier (White Kitten): Costs 60 silver
The White Kitten especially commands a good price on the Auction House as it's difficult to get even for Alliance players, so always keep an eye out for Lil Timmy when you are in Stormwind.
Finally, for those who are champions in the Argent Tournament with the playable races on the Alliance side, you can buy pets at the Argent Tournament for 40 Champion's Seals. All the vendors can be found in the Alliance tent on the north-east corner of the Argent Tournament grounds.
The following screenshot shows the map of Icecrown; the player icon marks the location of the Alliance team:
The pets available to Alliance players are as follows:
- Teldrassil Sproutling, Darnassus
- Mechanopeep, Gnomeregan
- Ammen Vale Lashling, Exodar
- Elwynn Lamb, Stormwind
- Dun Morogh Cub, Ironforge?
- Shimmering Wyrmling, Silver Covenant
The Argent Tournament champions do well on the Alliance Auction House as well since no one plays the Argent Tournament any more and unlocking the pets requires a significant amount of work.
The list of Horde vendors with pets available for standard currency is as follows:
- Xan'tish <Snake Vendor>, Orgrimmar:
- Black Kingsnake: 50 silver
- Brown Snake: 50 silver
- Crimson Snake*: 50 silver
- Halpa <Prairie Dog Vendor>, Thunder Bluff:
- Prairie Dog Whistle: 50 silver
- Jeremiah Payson <Cockroach Vendor>, Undercity:
- Undercity Cockroach*: 50 silver
- Jilanne, Eversong Woods:
- Golden Dragonhawk Hatchling: 50 silver
- Red Dragonhawk Hatchling: 50 silver
- Silver Dragonhawk Hatchling: 50 silver
Pets with an asterisk (*) next to them can also be purchased from a faction-neutral vendor and so may not get the same price on the neutral Auction House.
Champions of the Horde's main races can get pets from the Argent Tournament for 40 Champion's Seals. To be able to buy any of these pets, a player must be a champion of the race that the particular pet is associated with. All the vendors for these pets can be found in the Horde tent at the Argent Tournament on the south-east corner of the grounds.
The following screenshot shows the map of Icecrown; the player icon marks the location of the Horde tent:
Fishing, one of the original secondary professions, is a convenient way to make gold with no real start-up costs. You don't need to level Fishing to make gold with it; you can train it and start fishing up valuable fish straightaway. Without max fishing, you can still fish from pools around Pandaria; the fish can then be sold on the Auction House to players looking to make buff foods. Make sure to only fish from pools if you don't have max fishing as a lower skill level in Fishing makes it almost impossible to pull any fish (except Golden Carp) from open waters.
The following screenshot shows a character fishing from a pool in Pandaria:
The Tillers, farming, and Sunsong Ranch
Every player, over the course of leveling, will come across the Sunsong Ranch. The ranch is an excellent source of income for those who don't have the capital or professions to start the gold-making methods discussed later in this book. The ranch is basically 16 plots of soil (you start out with four and then unlock an additional four at every reputation level with the Tillers) where you can plant seeds for vegetables and other items such as Motes of Harmony. With the vegetables, you can either create buff food (requires 600 Cooking) or sell them on the Auction House to other players (who will more than likely be using them to create buff foods themselves).
A copper saved is a copper earned
A surprising amount of gold can be saved by nickel-and-diming everything in the game; when you're putting so much work into building up your pile of gold, you don't want to waste it!
To keep inflation in check and the economy from getting out of hand, World of Warcraft has several gold sinks to try and keep the gold that is leaving the economy balanced with the gold entering it. One of the biggest gold sinks is armor repair, and an untold amount of gold is lost to this necessity every day. Luckily, there are ways to minimize how much gold is syphoned out of your pockets and into the repair vendors'. Vendors that are associated with factions (typically displayed in the way a player's guild would be, that is, in brackets under the name) give players discounts if they have a reputation with the faction. Discounts start at Friendly with 5 percent and continue all the way through to Exalted, which offers a 20 percent discount; and yes, this discount applies to repairs as well. What this means is that players can save up to 20 percent on their repair bills by repairing only at vendors. Obviously, you can't always get to a vendor you have Exalted reputation with but simply paying attention to where you repair can save you some serious gold. Make sure to repair before you go out into the world or get into a raid and resist the temptation of repairing between every wipe.
Guilds can give many perks that provide you with ways to save gold. Guilds level 9 and higher have a perk that reduces the durability loss your gear experiences when you die or take damage. This means you need to repair your gear less often, which in turn means you have to spend less gold to keep it in good condition.
Also, look into items before you buy them as sometimes, even though you can find them on a vendor, you can find them cheaper on the Auction House or vice versa. As we discussed in the previous section, there's a whole market for buying items from a vendor and selling them on the Auction House, so be an informed buyer! Similarly, there are some items, such as Disappearance Dust, which are often sold cheaper on the Auction House because it's cheaper to produce them through Inscription than it is to buy them from the vendor.
Costs associated with the Auction House
There are several places where you can reduce the amount of gold you lose when posting items on the Auction House. There are two ways you lose gold when posting items in the Auction House:
- Auction House cuts on sales:
- 5 percent is cut at Alliance and Horde Auction Houses
- 15 percent is cut at the neutral Auction House
- Lost deposits on expired or cancelled auctions
When using the Auction House, it will benefit you greatly to be diligent in how you post.
Don't use the neutral Auction House except for selling faction-specific items (the items that only players from one faction can obtain). Attempting to use the neutral Auction House for any other items will be futile; the few sales you actually make will be cut heavily and you'll waste way too much gold on deposits.
On that note, it's best to limit how long you post auctions for as the longer the auction, the higher the deposit required. When an auction expires or is canceled, you don't get your deposit back, so if you know you will be canceling a lot of auctions, don't post your auctions for 48 hours; instead, post for 24 hours, if you don't have a lot of time to dedicate to the game, or for 12 hours if you can check the Auction House more frequently.
Milking every copper from daily activities
There are many ways to make gold while participating in activities you would normally do (raiding, PvP, Dungeons, Leveling, and so on). With a few simple steps, you can maximize your passive income while participating in the various activities the game offers. Not only can you do this while building up a starting capital, but keeping up these habits even after you get into proper gold-making can also continue to help build up your coffers.
One of the core components of World of Warcraft is the daily quest—quests that are repeatable every day on every character and typically offer gold, reputation, or another currency (typically tokens to progress in an area, turn in for rewards, and so on). Non-Player Characters (NPCs) that give daily quests have a blue exclamation mark over them (or a blue question mark when it's a hand-in).
The following screenshot shows the daily quest givers for the Golden Lotus, located in the Valley of Eternal Blossoms:
With Mists of Pandaria, the cap on how many daily quests a character can complete in a day has been removed, allowing players to do as many as they want. With over 300 new daily quests added at launch, and more being added with every patch, players can now fill their days doing daily quests (if they so choose). Daily quests give you 20 gold per quest, so they are an excellent way to make some gold when you're just starting out.
Chances are that, if you're doing any sort of end-game content, you've been diligently completing these. Even if you're not into end-game content, such as raiding or challenge modes, you should be taking some time to complete the daily quests, not only for the gold but also to gain reputation with factions across Pandaria and, with that reputation, access to the faction Quartermaster. Several factions offer patterns for professions, patterns that will let you make high-end gear and items to sell on the Auction House once you have your professions set up.
Player versus Player (PvP)
Unfortunately for those players that enjoy Player versus Player (PvP), there isn't a whole lot of gold to be made in PvP activities. The plus side is that it's not the most expensive end-game activity either. Death at the hands of other players does not cause your armor to incur the same 10 percent durability loss that death at the hands of computer opponents does. What this means is that a player that participates in PvP content typically has a much smaller repair bill at the end of the day as opposed to players that participate in end-game Player versus Environment (PvE) content.
Here are some tips for making gold while participating in PvP content:
- If you do a lot of PvP on a character with enchanting, you can use your Honor Points and Valor Points to buy gear to disenchant and sell the Sha Crystal.
- The <Honor Trade Goods> vendor, found wherever you can buy PvP gear with Honor Points or Valor Points, sells Cataclysm-era Trade Goods that can be sold on the Auction House. Blizzard has discussed updating this vendor periodically with updated Trade Goods, so keep an eye on this vendor.
As you can see, there's not a whole lot of passive gold-making potential for PvP players unless they branch out to other activities in the game.
End-game Player versus Environment (PvE)
One of the largest draws for most players is the end-game PvE content, that is, the dungeons and raids. With every major patch (4.3, 5.0, 5.1, and several others), Blizzard introduces new content to satiate players' appetites for slaying Internet dragons, including new dungeons and raids.
Dungeons are 5-man instances that require a healer, a tank, and 3 DPS and can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to complete. These dungeons provide loot for players to increase their gear score and currency to redeem for even better gear through Valor Points and Honor Points. While you can manually form a group and enter the instances, players will enter these dungeons mostly through the Looking For Dungeon tool.
Raids are the ultimate end-game PvE content; you, along with 9 or 24 teammates, work together to defeat bosses and face encounters of varying complexity and difficulty. Newer raids (Wrath of the Lich King and later) come with only 10-man or 25-man options but older raids from Burning Crusade or Classic had 20-man and 40-man options (the ability to have up to 40 players in a raid group is a relic of these raids).
While you will generally be doing these for progression or fun, you can still make gold while running these instances or raids and hopefully recoup some of the costs associated with them.
Raiding is often associated with high costs; you have to keep up with repairs, enchants, gems, flasks, and more. And while raiders, especially progression raiders, will rack up a hefty bill at the end of the night, there are ways by which you can not only offset the costs of raiding but potentially profit from it as well.
One way to do this is to make sure all the trash, basically anything other than bosses, your team kills on the way to a boss is looted. Not only do they drop gold, but they can also drop vendor trash, cloth, and sometimes even Bind on Equip items, which you can sell on the Auction House. The epic quality gear that occasionally drops from this trash can fetch a large sum on the Auction House, even if it's an older raid in the expansion as players like to buy them to quickly bring up their gear score so they can do newer content.
Don't pass up on anything that drops in a raid; even the green-quality items can bring a good price on the Auction House, or in a worst case scenario, bring at least some gold from the vendors. Leaving mobs unlooted is just wasted potential gold, and with the new looting system in Mists of Pandaria (you can now loot all dead mobs in an area with just one click), there really isn't any excuse to leave anything sparkling on the ground.
Gold Dragon Killer Points
Gold Dragon Killer Points (GDKP) is a loot system for raids that turns the loot process into an auction. The basis is that, when an item drops, its bidding starts at a set price (determined beforehand) and players bid on the item with gold, usually by a set amount. Once the bidding process is over, the winning bidder gives the gold to the LootMaster or whoever is managing the pot and gets the item. Once the raid is over, or at certain intervals depending again on how the raid leader decides to run it, the pot is split between all the players in the raid group.
A successful GDKP run is made up of a balance between two groups of players:
- Players with high gear scores looking to make gold
- Players with low gear scores hoping to spend gold for loot
The players with high gear scores will be the ones who contribute most to the progression of the raid. They are the ones who already have all, or at least most, of the gear they need and can pull the numbers (damage, healing, or tanking-wise) to pick up any slack from the less-geared players in the group. Typically, these players must be above a certain gear score to not spend any gold on loot.
The second group, those with low gear scores, should be the ones spending gold to get the loot they need. To ensure a good run, raid leaders will often set a minimum amount of gold a player needs to have if they don't meet the typical minimum gear score for the raid. These players should still be competent enough to not wipe the raid and cause problems with the run; that will just increase the amount of time needed and generally cause a lot of irritation among other players in the raid.
GDKP runs have four main benefits:
- Geared players can make gold
- Ungeared players can improve their odds of getting gear if they have enough gold
- Ungeared players, who don't have any gear drop for them, leave with more gold in their pockets than they entered with and can afford to bid higher the next time they do a GDKP run
- Holding the payouts until the end encourages players to stick around and take the raid more seriously as they won't get the gold if they leave early
GDKP runs aren't very common on most servers. So, if you are interested in doing a GDKP run, you might have to pull some strings or do it yourself. If you decide to do it yourself, here are some things to consider to make sure it runs smoothly:
- Be prepared for some opposition; there are players out there that oppose paying gold for loot and will give you a hard time.
- Prepare in advanced and don't make it last minute; take at least a week to build up the hype and advertise it in Trade Chat, realm forums, or wherever you can find a spot to advertise it.
- Pre-screen players—you want this to go as smoothly as possible, especially if it's not been done before on your realm. Make sure you only take those people who will be most benefi cial to the run.
- Make sure to bring a balance between the number of buyers and geared players. If it comes down to it, err on the side of caution and bring more geared players.
- Do it as a 25-man raid, if possible; this way, there's a better chance someone in the run will need loot that drops.
- Set the rules before you start the raid and make sure every player understands them. To avoid liability with loot, make sure the rules are placed in chat at least once and not just in Ventrillo.
Remember that it might not take off at first since it's a very foreign idea to many players. Get support from friends and guild mates if possible; not only will this be benefi cial to your guild, but having people you can rely on will make the raid go much more smoothly.
Dungeons are identical to raids in function, except that they're scaled down in time and player requirements. As with raids, it's important to remember:
- Loot every creature you can
- You can use excess Valor Points and Justice Points to buy Trade Goods (or items to disenchant if you are an Enchanter)
- Don't pass up on any items you don't have to; even if they can't be sold on the Auction House, they can be sold to vendors
While you probably won't run into this with current content, there is a limit on how many dungeons you can run in an hour; currently it's limited to five per hour. Keep in mind that this is per account, so you can't simply switch to a different character and keep going.
The way Blizzard has set up the leveling process, you don't get much gold from the lower levels but that doesn't mean you can't make some gold while you do so. Note that, as with most of the other activities in this particular article, leveling isn't a dedicated method to make gold; rather, it's meant to minimize your costs and, hopefully, maximize your profit.
If you followed the suggestions given in the previous article, you should have two gathering professions on any alt you level. Not only does this give you extra experience (every mining or herb node gives experience), it also produces a near-effortless supply of materials. If you decide not to keep the herb, ore, or leather for leveling a profession later on, you can sell these on the Auction House for a tidy sum of gold. While the demand for these lower-level materials is much lower than current content, the supply is also lower, and so the prices can rival end-game material prices. There simply is no reason not to have dual gathering on a character while you level it; the rewards are too great to pass up.
Since most of the leveling process will involve killing mobs, you will be doing much of the same to squeeze all the copper you can out of the process that you did in dungeons and raids:
- Loot every mob you kill
- Don't pass up any items that drop, even if it's just for vendor value
- If you find a set of quest rewards where you can't use any of the offered items, choose the item with the highest vendor value
In this article, we've learned why you need starting capital and how to build it up, how to reduce your in-game expenses, and how to make the most of the in-game activities you will do anyway.
While in the future you will delve deeper into gold-making strategy, don't forget the lessons learned in this article as most of them are painless ways to make gold; if you keep them up for long enough, your gold will add up. Moving forward, the most important thing you need to remember is that patience is key; you won't become a WoW millionaire overnight (if that's one of your goals). It's going to take a lot of work.
Resources for Article:
- Making Money with Your Game [Article]
- InOrganizing, Clarifying and Communicating the R Data Analyses [Article]
- Getting Started with GameSalad [Article]