WoW Guide: Making Money In-Game

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Sun, Jul 30 - 8:43 pm EDT | 8 years ago by
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On Saturday, as my “Thinks-She’s-A-Tank” Mage was dying mercilessly at the hands of evil spiders in Duskwood, I got a nice surprise: Amber Loe, The Adventuress herself, had started playing WoW again and had rolled a cute little Gnomish Mage on my beloved Elune server. [Not because I pestered her for hours on end or anything ... no ...]

I dropped the spiders, and ran off to Gnome Newbieland to give her some gold, some bags, and kill 10 level 1′s with one shot (Arcane Explosion FTW)!

I saw what I thought was Amber, and ran off and started killing everything in sight, when I realized – whoops – that it wasn’t Amber at all, but actually some very angry other Gnome, whose XP I’d just hacked. Sorry!

As an apology, when I ran into him later, I attempted to give him 2 gold but he either didn’t want my charity or was AFK at the time.

But regardless (because being surrounded by level 1′s and 2′s tears at my sympathetic heart), every time I saw a lowbie Gnome, I’d open trade, and give them 1 gold, just to be nice.

One guy was so excited, he followed me all the way to Kharanos asking me questions about making money in game. He said, “You must have a level 60!” and I said, “Actually, my highest is a level 45.”

He seemed terribly impressed that my level 27 had 82 gold on her. What I didn’t tell him is that I actually have about 1000 gold across my characters, and that’s after two mounts, and dressing (twinking?) all my 6 alts in rare armor and weapons. So, I’ve decided to put my money-making skills to good use.

So here are my tips. Use them, don’t use them, I’ll still be rolling in the dough either way.

First, you need to play WoW. My money-making skills don’t, unfortunately, extend into real life, but you can try Shai’s tips for that.

Here we go…

  • Tip #1: Get a freakin’ profession. While questing gets you some money, unless you’ve got a profession with stuff you can make and sell, or gather and sell, you’re S.O.L.
  • Tip #2: Make use of the Auction House. If you sell everything to a vendor, you’re screwed. I used to do this with my character Exhile when I first started WoW because I was too lazy to go to the Auction House. At level 33 (where I left her) she had about 15 gold and no chance of getting that level 40 mount any time soon. The Auction House is your best friend.
  • Tip #3: Sell what sells. This is the trickiest bit, as it varies from server to server, I imagine. Figuring out what sells is usually a matter of trial and error, unless you’re selling materials (cloth, leather, herbs, ores), which usually sell no matter what, due to the fact that people are leveling up their professions. But say you just made Items A and B. You put them up for auction. Item A sells, but Item B doesn’t. So you put Item B up again. And again it doesn’t sell. So you try again and again. At that point, you’re losing money. If you want to sell Item B that badly, put Item A up also. It sold the first time, so it might sell a second time, and while you’re losing money being stubborn over Item B, at least you might make some with Item A. My advice: If after the third try Item B doesn’t sell. Focus on Item A for a while or move on to Item C and so on. There are things that will sell better than others, don’t try too hard to sell the unsellable. You can always hold on to it, and try again some time later. The AH is unpredictable.
  • Tip #4: Learn non-trainer recipes. In keeping with the “sell what sells” philosophy, here’s something I’ve noticed: the stuff everyone can make doesn’t sell very well. I like to scout the Auction House for other stuff I can make. Sometimes I end up blowing way too much money on a Formula for something and the potion ends up not selling, and that sucks. But sometimes I get lucky. That said, there will be trainer recipes that will sell, too. But, it’s always good to expand your market. It helps to level up your skill, too.
  • Tip #5: Be aware of price fluctuation. I don’t know about everyone else’s servers, but on mine, the Auction House is sometimes completely nonsensical. One item will sell for 5g one day and for 30s the next. Usually, if I go to post an item and it’s selling for 30s, when it usually goes for at least several gold, I just buy it out. If someone is stupid enough to sell it for 30s, I’m going to make a profit on their stupidity. I buy it and put it back for a reasonable price. If there’s a lot going for cheap, I wait. Since the market value changes so erratically, I’d rather keep my item and wait for better times.
  • Tip #6: Don’t undersell, just to sell. If you have an item that you want to sell, and you see that LittleBlob is selling it for 3 gold, JuJuBee is selling it for 2g 50 and PetuniaJoe is selling it for 2 gold, don’t put yours up for 1 gold something just to be the lowest seller. All this does is kill the market price of the item, and that’s when I show up and see your item for cheap and buy it out and cash in later. When presented with that scenerio, I do one of two things: 1) Keep the item for later or 2) Put the item for higher than the highest bid. Odds are, my item will not sell at that price. But if the ones below it sell, and others come, the market value rises and I can get a better price for it later. I’ve done this many times to great success. Naturally, this only works if there’s a few items up. If there’s 3 pages of items, you’re better off just waiting. If you’re that impatient to sell it, though, I guess do what you will.
  • Tip #7: Don’t forget the Neutral AH! I don’t use the neutral auction houses very often, but occasionally, I find an item that sells better there than it does on my faction’s AH. I wouldn’t recommend putting all your stuff at the neutral AH, but trial and error is sometimes worth it.
  • Tip #8: Be patient. I was really, really poor before I started making money. It really helps to level up. Don’t expect to be making tons of gold if none of your characters are past level 10. You can, however, make tons of silver that can add up to gold.
  • Tip #9: Don’t resort to begging. I get asked for money at least once every day by a random person. It gets really irritating. While I can more than afford it, I refuse to give them anything, simply because it annoys me so much that they’re standing around asking for money instead of going out and doing something to earn it.
  • Tip #10: Have fun. I approach the Auction House like a challenge and a puzzle, something to mold to my advantage. Never despair. It’s just a game.

Random Suggestions That Might Be Useful:

1. Create an alt character that stays at a main city and can be near the mailbox and auction house at all times. Play with your main, and mail all the items you want to sell to your Auction House character. Then, when you have some down time, log on with your alt and spend time at the AH with them. You can then easily distribute money to your main or any other alts on the server.

2. Sell grey items, don’t toss them! At low levels, they sell for pretty cheap to a vendor, but as you level up, their value rises, and you can get anything from several silver to several gold just on grey items alone.

3. Find a guild. It’s harder to go at it alone.

4. If you find a guild and the people suck, leave the guild. It’s easier to go at it alone than with people that suck.

5. It’s good to know what materials other people are using in their professions. That way, if you come across something like Spider Silk, you don’t decide to vendor it just because it’s not a green item.

Tricks of the Trade

A few months ago, I created an Experimental Alt. Her entire job was to make money. I gave her no profession. I leveled her to 2 and ran her off to the nearest main city. Once there, I sent her 75s and wished her good luck. My experiment was simple: Turn the 75s into as much gold as possible.

First thing I did was spend 60s on a vendor-sold recipe. I put that single recipe up for auction at 5 gold.

The first time, it didn’t sell.

The second time, it didn’t sell.

By then I had just enough money to put it up for auction one last time (and give up on the whole idea): it sold.

Now I had 5 gold. I went, and I bought the same recipe and put it up for the same price.

After a couple more times, it sold. Now I had a little less than 10 gold.

Every day, I’d log in with her, run her to the vendor, buy the recipe (or get it from my mail), and put it up for auction. Took less than 5 minutes. And the money was multiplying. After a couple of weeks, I had a level 2 with 30 gold.

As of yesterday, she was up to 282 gold (and then I had her blow 80g on a staff and now she’s down to 202). I consider the experiment a success.

Closing Remarks

I don’t know if my tips and advice will be useful to everyone, but hopefully it will be useful to some.

Yesterday, I saw a level 58 asking people for advice on making money, and people were just like “farm and sell stuff”. In the end, that’s really all it boils down to.

The problem, as I see it, is that a lot of people just want money to magically appear. It doesn’t work that way. But if you’re smart, it might start to feel that way after a while.

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  • Erin

    What an enormous, and enormously useful post. WoW millionaire wannabees everywhere thank you.

  • amber


    Oh… and that was an excellent post. Now if you can keep me from getting bored in a month, we’ll be good to go.

  • Ingrid

    Erin: Thanks. Now that you’re saving bundles on the new apartment, you and M. should give WoW a whirl. It’ll be the b5 VGC posse! :D

    Amby: I can’t believe you were still level 10 the last time I checked. I’m gonna go see what level you are now. Yesterday, I rolled a Warlock and leveled her to 8 in 2 hours. I’ll go ahead and level her to whatever you and Minnya’s level is so we can all play together. :)

  • amber

    Ohhh yay! I hate you having to bring out your high levels to go on boring missions with us. T started a rogue yesterday, but kept getting D.E.D.

  • Ingrid

    Amby: It really wasn’t boring. I even ran your brother from Darnassus to Stormwind yesterday … it was a nice long trek. But it was fun. I got to kill level 10′s with one shot and farm for leather to make him some spiffilicious outfits. :D

  • Lishesque

    I love this post! I shall put this to good use with my new WoW character. *hops*

  • Ernest

    OMG! This is a great post. Lot of tips. Thank you so much.

  • Gholy

    I make about 200 gold a day using the Auction House. I use the Auctioneer Addon, it’s great!

  • Pingback: the play girlz gaming blog: because guys aren’t the only players » Do You Buy or Sell Virtual Goods?

  • Random Player

    Any chance you can tel us what that recipe you were selling for 5g was?

  • amber

    the recipe was toad leg stew with garlic and rasberry

  • Matiko

    wow that was really really good, im a bad money maker and this guide helped me,and it wasnt like those dum pay me 25$ and ill tell ya how to make a few golds. nope it was a great free one,thanks for that =D

  • where?

    where do you buy the “toad leg stew with garlic and raspberry”?

  • Destinysfate

    Man this was a really good post! I’m going to try the recipe selling thing but instead of a alt i’m going to use my main. If you have any tips or make a character on Aerie Peak I can give you some gold I got from using your guide!-Destinysfate……Male not Female……name is a girly. lol

  • Destinysfate

    What is your highest level and what realm do you play on? I have some tips but don’t want to post them here.

  • Jaren – moonglade

    Wow, this guide is great, i’m using auctioneer addon atm but since i have only done like 5 ‘scans’ altogether it ain’t helping but yet, and i am kinda pissed off at it coz it told me to but 20 runecloth for 120g XD i was dum and fogot it was a 42s vendor item, and the addon told me i could make a 200g profit -.- Ah well, live and learn.

    Anyway thx alot!