|Will skill and dedication, you too can own all of the gold-sink mounts.|
Recently, I was outed as a gold-maker to someone I'm connected to on Twitter, and I'll admit I felt rather sheepish. My blog lately has been full of wild predictions about the game, complaining about player behavior, and bragging about how I'm going to spend my gold---not acquire more. See, the Tweeter in question wanted to know how they should go about turning profits with several maxed professions and 10,000g on hand.
So I thought back to how and when I started, and the race to the gold cap---which really wasn't a race at all---it took me a year, though I wasn't very good about not spending what I was making. See, I'm not like those real gold-makers, then ones I read and have listed below. I got in, got my score, and I'm out. Retiring on my fortune. I don't have several million gold to my name, but I have one million, and that's well enough for me.
With what I've learned going through the process mostly unaided, and then after connecting with more knowledgeable gold-makers on the web, especially on Twitter, I have some practical suggestions to help new gold-makers get on their way. I think there are really two ways to make gold in WoW: the slow & steady, and the smart & fast, though the best of gold-makers do both, in my humble opinion. The amount of time you put in will correlate positively with the amount of gold for both methods.
Slow & Steady
This method is primarily what I used---I used the professions I had at my disposal to create valuable goods to sell to other players: gems, glyphs, enchants, armor, etc. Of course, you're never going to be the only person on your server doing this, so you'll need to monitor the auction house to make sure your auctions are in a position to sell---namely, you're not being undercut to all hell. I use an addon to assist in this process (included in the list below), and really, I would recommend you don't bother starting your gold-making journey without it.
At times I would check the auction house a dozen times or more throughout the day to ensure my stuff was readily purchasable. I'd immediately re-post what had been bought out. It took patience and vigilance. On good days I'd pull in 10-15,000g. On average days, it was more like 5,000g. Please note, though, that I never farmed for mats. Sometimes it meant waiting for raw goods prices to drop on the auction house, but you should always be able to realize a profit, even with buying materials.
Smart & Fast
Admittedly, I'm not very good at this. But then transmogrification happened and I was able to enjoy a teeny tiny slice of that pie. To date, I've made hundreds of thousands of gold from green BoE items. That player lamenting in trade chat about high priced "leveling" greens? I am a reagent in a cauldron wherein boils that player's anger and frustration.
Smart and fast isn't just putting out what you can---it's knowing what sells, why it sells. It's anticipating player demand based on the calendar, on patch cycles. It's knowing when it's wise to reset, or buy out an entire market, in order to make a potentially large profit. Sure, there's risk involved here, but the more knowledgeable you are about your server's economy, the more risk is mitigated.
Like I said before, the best players are experts in both of these methods, and use them both. I preferred slow & steady simply because I knew it would get me there, and I wasn't in that much of a hurry. But if you'd like to turn a hefty profit quickly, some research is in order. Don't get me wrong---my method worked and took me to gold cap. But I also feel like I worked to get to that cap. Take that for what it is.
Now, the list.
Now, the list.
1. Connect with other gold-makers on Twitter, Reddit and the web
I'm more of a Twitter guy, and have been reading gold-making blogs since late last year. People also find Reddit useful. Make sure you check out Cold's Gold Factory, Power Word: Gold, Elvine and Auction House Addict---and take note of their blog rolls (no worries if you don't have Twitter---their websites are linked in their bios). These are some folks I found early on, and I identified many of my own mistakes just by reading about what they did and what worked for them. Either way, I was amazed at the sheer number of gold-makers I've come across who are writing/podcasting about their exploits.
2. Get TradeSkillMaster and get a basic tutorial
Perhaps there are serious gold-makers out there who don't use this addon, but I don't know them. It's a game-changer. It would be like if you've been taking the flight path from Thunder Bluff to Orgrimmar and back for months, then you realize you're a mage and could've been teleporting yourself this entire time! I don't know what else to say about it. Not using this addon leaves any gold-maker at a severe disadvantage. That said, it can be little daunting to use---don't hesitate to reach out to a fellow gold-maker or search for a guide on YouTube. Your time spent will be well worth it.
3. Don't spend, and if you must, spend wisely
I did not do well with this part---I spent several-hundred-thousand on things I wanted but totally didn't need during my quest to the gold cap. Granted, your goal may be different than mine---maybe you don't even have one. Still, you're going to need to spend gold sometimes. Not on a Grand Expedition Yak, but possibly gems, enchants, flasks, and other goods for your raiding toon. When you do this, utilize friends and guildies to reduce cost. If you must use the auction house, never buy finished products---the cost of the raw materials and a nice tip for the crafter will almost always be the cheaper route.
These are two great resources when it comes to analyzing the economy. I used the Undermine Journal to look up my competition in order to identify their heaviest posting times, among other things. I set up alerts with WoWuction that sent me emails informing me when certain items were too cheap to not snatch up and re-list. I've flipped (purchased low, sold high) hundreds of lower-level green items thanks to WoWuction alerts.
5. Identify your potential markets---have a plan
You may have all professions at your disposal, or you may have just one or two. Regardless, it's important to identify the things you can produce that will fetch you the greatest profit. Gems and enchants will be consistent sellers, though much heavier when a new raid tier gets released---you can guess why. Of course, you'll likely find heavy competition in these markets. Maybe your leveling toon is coming across a boatload of BoEs, or you're getting them on your main from all that Deathcharger farming. Either way, don't go in blind---have an idea of where your profit might come from, run with it, and if you're struggling, reach out to the community---I think we're all more than happy to help.