Making Money in World of Warcraft
(Or how the heck can you afford to buy a mount and several purple items at level 50)
The most common topic I see posted in the forums is a complaint by people nearing level 40 that they can't afford to buy their mount. How do you make that much gold? Well I decided to write up a guide to give you my personal pointers on making money in WoW. It's actually very easy to make a lot of money in the game if you understand the mechanics and play at least some of the time in a way meant to maximize your income. These are in no particular order. I suggest you do as many as you can, but of course the main point of the game is to have fun, so if you find something simply not fun, skip it.
1. Play Solo. I'm not saying never play in a group, but the reality is that most money making activities are done solo in this game. Just do the math. 5 people evenly dividing the loot means you will have to kill 5 times as many mobs to make the same amount of money, and the reality is that even the best group will not come anywhere close to killing at that rate. Plus, green items drop on average once per 40 kills. Blues drop more like once per a thousand kills. Most people never see a purple drop. And on top of that, not every green is the same. Some are far more valuable than others. If you are soloing, you get every drop. In a group, you need to roll. Over all, you will make a lot more money soloing than grouping. My solution is to find a group when I know I have 4+ hours to play and to solo the rest of the time.
2. Learn how to use the AH. This is a multi-parter.
(a) If you played for several hours and end the day with only a handful of auctions, you are doing something wrong. A 3 to 4 hour play session soloing should yield you 15 to 20 items worth auctioning. Keep in mind that every item that is not gray is worth something to someone. Before clicking sell to a vendor, alt-tab out to wow.allakhazam.com and look at the AH median prices for that item. You may be surprised at how valuable some items are. Many of the best AH items in the game are not green, blue or purple, but instead are white. Sell everything you can in the AH, not to the vendors. Cloth is an especially valuable thing to sell that tends to drop in large quanities when you hunt. When in doubt, put it up for sale and see what happens.
(b) Make sure you always put a buyout for an item you put for sale. Nine times out of ten, someone interested in your item in the AH wants it now, and if he can't get it now, he's not interested. Except for particularly rare items, no buyout usually means no sale. Figuring a buyout is tricky. I generally use the rule of 3 times the recommended base price for greens. Blues and purples are pretty much sky's the limit. If nobody buys it, you can always list it again. For white items, check if any others are for sale and use that as a reference.
(c) Learn your local AH price structure. Most white items drop over and over again. This means you will be selling them almost every day. Try to remember the prices you got for the next time. Jot them down if need be. Over time, you will start to get a feel for what people will pay for certain items. This lets you start to play the buy and sell game. Whenever you log into the AH, scroll through all of the items for sale and look for bargains. If you see an item for sale for 50% or lower of the expected value, buy it and put it back up for the right price. You may go days without seeing any good bargains, but those you do catch can often yield a lot of gold. I typically spend about 15 to 20 minutes at the beginning and end of each play session just scrolling through the AH looking for anything interesting. Over time, this will generate a lot of gp for you.
(d) Never pass a vendor by without checking him first. The more remote the location of the vendor, the more this rule applies. Vendors often have rare items for sale that when bought disappear for a set time period. Many of these items sell for 5 to 10 times what you pay for them in the AH. You can tell these items because they will have a number on their icon. Learn who sells what and memorize it. Trade skill recipes in particular resell very well in the AH. For example, you can buy the recipe for the superior mana potion in The Undercity for 1.2 GP and resell it in the AH for as much as 6 GP. Many food and drink vendors have rare potions for sale. A Superior Healing Potion sells for 9 SP from a vendor and resells in the AH for 50 SP. The beauty of these items is that their vendor resale price is always very low, which means they are also cheap to list in the AH. This means you can afford to list them several times until they sell and still make quite a bit off of them.
(e) Learn what stats are valued by other classes. Items sell best that boost the target stats. All classes can use stamina. Casters look to boost intelligence most of all. Fighters want to boost strength. Hunters and rogues agility. Paladins are fighters, but also want extra intelligence. Casting classes can also use some extra spirit, though many consider it worthless. Things that boost attacks, spell damage, crits, etc. are very well liked.
3. Pick up a Trade Skill. WoW trade skills are actually very profitable. If you are playing and have skipped this aspect of the game, you are missing out of a significant source of gold. You can choose to pick one of the creation/gathering combinations like herbalism/alchemy, or to do two gathering professions and sell what you get to the other players. Each method will make you money. Skinning, mining and herbalism sold through the AH can all be very profitable. Many players do a combination of two gathering skills to make money. However, you can also do well with a creation/gathering combination. The key to playing a creation/gathering trade skill well is to learn what sells and what doesn't. Probably 90% of all items made by trades are useless and will never be able to be sold to other players. I suggest you click on each item on the site and see where it's AH prices are listed as and concentrate on those items with the highest prices. Gather the ingredients yourself. This may mean devoting a couple hours a week to just running around and finding herbs or ores, but it is worth it over buying raw ingredients from other players. Use our object maps to see which zones have the most spawn points for what you need to gather and then milk that zone in the game's off hours if possible. Then make and sell the items. Except for something like healing and mana potions, you are better off only putting one of each item up at a time. Keep in mind other crafters are putting up similar items and more items for sale generally means lower prices. It's in everyone's best interest not to flood the market (well the crafters interest any ways). If you devote several hours a week to crafting, you can make quite a nice profit off of it over time.
4. Grind, don't quest. I'm not saying don't ever do quests. Quests are fun and a huge part of the game. When playing purely for fun, by all means do all the quests you can. When you decide to try to make some money, however, you have to grind. What is grinding? It means finding a spot with a nice set of mobs that can be pulled one at a time and spawn over time faster than you can kill them. The best grinding spots also feature a recurring chest or perhaps a potential silver elite. Settle into your chosen spot and kill, kill, kill. Keep going until your bags are full and you have to return to town. If you are a premium member of our site, use our mob value chart to find the best value mobs for your level and pick your spot based upon that. If you don't have that, look for camps of humanoids, as they tend to drop money as well as items. Keep in mind that the loot difference between mobs several levels below you and several levels above you is usually not that great, so when grinding strictly for loot, go for lower level mobs, as you will kill them faster and thus get more loot more quickly. Another thing to keep in mind is that elites drop green, blues and purples at 3 to 4 times higher a rate than non-elites. Thus, grinding elites even 8 to 10 levels lower than you will get you a lot more loot over time than grinding same level non-elites. There are lots of outdoors areas full of elites that can be single pulled. You can also try instances 5 to 10 levels below you and solo there. By far my favorite instance to solo is the Scarlet Monastery. It's the only one I have found that has mostly single or double pulls throughout the dungeon.
5. Learn how to use our site. Since you are reading this, you must use the site to some extent. Are you using it to its fullest? Are you aware that every item has a complete and up to date set of AH prices listed for it? Always check that before selling to a vendor and also to set the price you sell at in the AH. Did you know that each mob has a mob value on it that is calculated based upon their drop types and percentages and the AH and vendor prices of those items? If you are camping mobs with low values, maybe you should think of going somewhere else. Also, the mob listings show the % chance of the mob dropping a green, blue or purple. Surprisingly, this can vary by several % points. If you are camping a mob with only a 1.5% chance of dropping a green when most other mobs drop at 2.5%, maybe you should consider moving somewhere else. Wondering where to hunt? Check the zone level chart and the zone mob lists to see what it available. Or search quests by level to get quests you can do. If you are a premium member, don't forget the Mob Value Search. I've gotten to the point where I use that daily before deciding where I want to hunt that day. Check the guides section. We have guides on out of the way hunting areas, guides detailing specific zones, general hunting guides, etc. Many of these are very useful in deciding where and how to play the game. Looking for recipes for your trade skill? Look it up here first before buying it in the AH. It may well be sold for far less on some vendor somewhere. Have you ever looked at the Interactive Maps? One really cool one is the rares map. This lets you find were silver elites spawn in every zone. If you are in a zone hunting, especially a more remote one, check the rare map and run over to see if the silver elite is spawned. Those almost always drop a nice item.
Most important of all, have fun. Remember it's only a game.
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