Monday, August 8, 2011

Gold Advice for a New Friend

We all know how horribly disappointing it can be to run PUGs. You never know if you will get the guild group with 4/5 on vent and running at top speed or the noob group with the tank that just specc'd and (like I had last week) has a mixture of DPS and PvP gear--without a single piece of tank gear at all.

Today I was fortunate to find a super cool group with solid DPS, a great Tank and almost pro Heals. (I was healer btw, lol). The group got along so well that we all exchanged REAL IDs and have friended each other for future runs.

During one bout of down time between runs, Fenrisulfr (Vashj) and I struck up a conversation about gold. This post is dedicated to Fenri with tips for him--but it applies to so many players today that I hope all my readers will enjoy it. (Or should I say both of my readers? lol)


Fenri has about 1,200g to his name. He has a single 85 with no professions. Not "low professions" or "medium professions" but really, 0, nada, zilch for professions. For many reasons, Fenri needs gold. He would like to make enough to support his need for pre-raid gear and buying enchants and gems when he needs them. He is able to play about 5 hours a day (huzzah! for the students!!!) and plays his toon very well--good DPS and solid knowledge of the dungeons we ran. His guild offers little help, often charging for mundane crafting assistance. 

Let's all say "boo" to his guild together, shall we? 

With this basic understanding of Fenri's situation I will offer short, medium and long term gold tips. As is my style, I invite readers to comment with better ideas, flaws in my logic or tweaks to my suggestions.

The goal for him is to earn 2,500g this week (Tuesday through Monday). Let's see if we can hit the mark. Our budget is 150g investment, roughly 10% of his net worth.

The Foundation: Framework for Success

First and foremost roll up an AH mule. It doesn't matter what class or race, but I found Humans are the easiest to use for this purpose. This is a toon designed to stay in SW and handle all the auctions for all your toons. Ideally, roll a human warrior and run him from the Human starting area in Northshire to Stormwind. He will probably die a few times. Just rez and keep going. I suggest planting this toon in the Dwarven AH since it tends to be less populated and thus less laggy. 

Next, equip your mule. Bags are the most important basic tool any of your toons can have. The more bag space the less wasted time running to mailboxes or back to the city to store and sell items. Plus, as you begin to work the AH you will have more sales, more cancels, and more traffic from the mailbox to the bank to the AH. Bigger bags = fewer trips = more gold earning time.

Netherweave bags are usually the best value. According to The Undermine Journal, on Fenri's server these bags are selling for 19.93g right now. This is higher than we want to pay. If our budget is 150g total we don't want to spend ~80g on four bags if we don't have to. Netherweave cloth is selling for 65s each, or 13g per stack. Still higher than we want but much better. 

Purchase 4 stacks of Netherweave for 13g each (or less). Visit the Tailoring vendor (Mage District) or any of the other vendors who sell Trade Goods. Buy 4 Rune Thread for 50s each. Now hire a Tailor. My first suggestion here is to see if a guildy will make these bags for free. If not, don't spend more than 1g each to craft, whether you hire a Tailor via /trade chat or in the guild. 

Total investment so far should be 58g. We have 92g remaining in our budget.

Next, I suggest training our AH mule in JC and Enchanting. Normally I say leave the profs off this toon but since Fenri has no profs whatsoever these two profs can help us make gold--especially in the early stages of gold earning. This cost is minimal.

Next, find the site The Undermine Journal (TUJ) and set up a login/password. Learn how to use this site. It is the single best source of AH intelligence available. I even have an email alert set up so I get a message in my personal email when one of my auctions have been undercut. Super handy to have for that reason alone--but knowing what the hot sellers are on your server is the real value here. 

Finally, there are a few addons that need to be downloaded. I suggest Curse as the source for these but there are others that have the same addons. 

The addons that should be downloaded are Auctioneer Suite (for tracking the AH marketplace); MySales (keeping track of the items you sell every day); Gatherer (or similar site to find the places where herbs and ore exists that can be farmed). I use Carbonite for this purpose because I like the map and quest tracker. 

For tips using Auctioneer I suggest visiting the home site first, Auctioneer Suite. There is also a good guide at Just My Two Copper called 22 Steps to Using Auctioneer Correctly. Lol, it isn't as intimidating as it sounds. 

Now that we have an AH mule with bags and Jewelcrafting and Enchanting, and our addons are installed, we are ready to look at short term, medium and long term gold tips.

Short Term Tips

First, let's make some gold right away to prime the pump. I normally don't encourage farming but for Fenri it makes sense. 

You need to acquire a Potion of Treasure Finding. Either buy one in the AH or ask in /g chat if anyone has one they will sell you (cheaper) or even give away. According to TUJ these sell for around 110g on Vashj. You might be able to get one on bid cheaper, or if not, you will end up being a bit over budget. Don't worry, you will make it up.

Here is a video on using the Potion of Treasure Finding in Deepholm, farming Troggs. However, the best guide I have found on a blog regarding PoTF is over at Nerf Faids, located here.

According to Faid she was able to accumulate 142 Embersilk Cloth, 7 Green items, 19 Tiny Treasure Chests and various vendor goods. According to TUJ the Embersilk is worth roughly 76g per stack on Vashj. Thus, just on the cloth you could earn about 450g farming. The vendor stuff is worth another 10-15 gold and the Greens should be held until you can Disenchant (DE) them. You want the dusts and essences you can get from them, for both resale and for making other items. 

The real value here is the 19 Tiny Treasure Chests. These have (according to Wowhead) a 78% chance to drop another 4-11 Embersilk Cloth and a 10% chance for 1-5 Volatiles, Elementium or Pyrite Ore. Using the average number for each (right in the middle) and then average item drop rate, each Tiny Treasure Chest should be valued at roughly 35g according to the prices on your server. If you were able to get 19 in an hour that's another 680g just from the chests.

Added all together (450 + 10 + 680) and reduced by 1/3 for the "your results may vary" precaution and an hour of farming in Deepholm (use Faid's map) should give you approximately 750g--for a 110g investment in a potion. Net profit is 650g/hr. Not a super duper total but still fairly decent, and conservative enough that you will most likely exceed that mark. Hell, if your net worth right now is 1,200g and you can increase it by 50% in an hour you might consider that a FANTASTIC result....

A second short term tip requires Disenchanting (DE). Fenri runs dungeons quite a bit. Any time he has the ability to select DE for a drop, Green or Blue, select it--except on a BoE Blue item. Those might sell ok in the AH but the BoE Greens usually don't. The BoP Blues should be DE'd into Heavenly Shards, and the Greens into Celestial Essence, Hypnotic Dust or Shards. 

Listing the Greens in the AH is usually a crap shoot--plus the listing fee is substantial in most cases. They might sell, they might not. On the other hand, Hypnotic Dust is selling for 4.2g each, Heavenly Shards are 110g each, Small Heavenly Shards are 54g each and Celestial Essences are 80g or 18g for the Lesser ones. 

These Enchanting materials sell faster than Greens and the listing fee is small. Or, keep them and turn them into scrolls for sale or enchants for yourself.

Here is a final short term tip. Using Auctioneer's search function, do a "Vendor Sales" search. This will identify all the items for sale in the AH that are listed there BELOW the amount for which you could sell the same item to a vendor. Yes, people really do that. If you find Relic of Ulduar (for example) selling for 1s each (and sometimes you do find them for this cheap) buy them and vendor them for 2s each--double your cost. 

Sometimes a "vendor sales" search returns no items, and that's fine--it took you a few seconds to look. If you find something that can earn you a profit then jump on it. No speculation here--it is pure profit.

Medium Range Tips

Now we will talk about professions. 

The AH mule already has JC and Enchanting. For your main, Fenrisulfr, I suggest getting Herbalism and Mining. Skinning has value but based on the prices on Vashj, it appears Herb and Mining are superior to Skinning. Also, you can set your minimap to locate both types of nodes, thus hunting for them is more precise.

Now go level these profs. Yes, it sucks to tick up those skills one point at a time. Yes, there are lowbies who are farming these nodes too. Yes, it totally gets frustrating to keep looking and looking. The reward, however, is worth it. 

To effectively level these professions you will use your gathering addon (Gatherer or Carbonite, for example) and the Wow Professions website. The website will give you complete maps with paths to follow for the various types of Ore and Herbs. The addon will keep track of where you found previous nodes and plot them on your map so you will eventually be able to dispense with the guide maps and just use your own map and its history.

By and large the lower the Herb or Ore the lower its cost. However, there are some real "gems" of a deal to be found. 

Mageroyal is going for 1.4g each (29g per stack). Blindweed is 40g per stack. Sungrass is going for 56g per stack and Briarthorn (a level 15 Herb) is going for 120g per stack. By the time you get to Outland, Ragveil is 100g/stack and Terocone is 200g/stack. Northrend Herbs like Fire Leaf and Talandra's Rose are also going for 100g to 150g per stack.

Ore is no different.

Gold (72g/stack) and Truesilver (65g/stack) show good profit potential. Outland Ore is pricey too--Fel Iron (55g/stack) and Khorium (500g/stack). Northrend Ore like Cobalt (95g/stack) and Titanium (180g/stack) are the big winners. 

There are two factors driving the prices of these items. 

First, they are used by many professions to make other things. Herbs are used by Alchemists for Potions and Elixers or by Scribes to mill and make inks for Glyphs. Ore is used by Blacksmiths to make bars, used to make Armor or used by Engineers for their toys and stuff. Ore is also prospected by JCs for gems. 

Demand varies according to things like how many new characters are leveling professions or what night of the week it is--raid nights mean Potions and Elixirs go up in price. 

Second, because the new Cataclysm zones are so popular fewer and fewer players are actually leveling in WoLK and TBC zones. Fewer are farming mats there too. That means lower supplyl

Steady demand + lower supply = higher AH prices. 

I suggest selling the Herbs in the AH. The Ore, however, may be more valuable if you prospect it for the gems it produces. You will need to check the Ore type and what it Prospects into so you can tell if the gems have more value than the Ore. According to TUJ Thorium Ore, for example, is worth 23g per stack as Ore but the DE value is ~43g/stack. 

You will have to work a bit to get the JC level high enough to prospect this Ore but if you follow the advice over at Wow-Professions you can slowly level this tradeskill as you are farming.

Another Medium tip involves playing the AH for deals. After you have done database searches for a few days (per the instructions) you can look for underpriced items relative to their real value, buy them and relist them for a profit. Usually, raw goods like Medium Leather or Thick Leather can be found cheap, especially on the weekend, and relisted at a profit, usually mid week.

Long Term Tips


For longer term gold making strategies you need to consider several things like time, access to professions and needs. 

How long you want to spend pursuing gold is an important factor. If you spend an hour a day on gold and you only have two hours to play you might find it untenable to continue down that path. Or if you have 5 hours per day and spend 1 hour on gold that might be an effective balance. 

Your needs are important too. With only one character at 85 Fenri's need for gear, repairs and potions is literally 1/7 mine--to get all 7 of my L85s up to raid levels is a very expensive prospect both in terms of time and actual cost of upgrades.

Access to professions is the most important factor. If you have a guild where you can count on "using" someone else's profs--even for a fee--then your options on what to sell are greatly enhanced.

I'll give you an example from my stable of toons.

My AH mule buys 100 stacks of Elementium Ore for ~60g/stack, or about 6,000g. I mail 80 stacks to my JC and 20 to my Blacksmith. 

My Blacksmith makes bars and combines them with Volatiles (from storage, usually not purchased) to make Bloodthirsty armor. From 20 stacks of Ore he can make 200 bars. He crafts Bloodthirsty Chest (15 bars), Helm (15 bars) and Shoulders (12 bars) (also Vol Fire but he has 1000s of them). These 200 bars will be used to make 5 Chest, 5 Helm and 4 Shoulders.

At 60g per stack, the bars are 6g each. The Vol Fire were about 10g when I bought them. The Chest and Helm are therefore 240g materials cost per unit and the Shoulders are 192g materials cost. My minimum sales price for the Chest is 325g (85g profit); for the Helm is 395g (150g profit); and for the Shoulders is 275g (35g profit). Over the course of a week I will sell all these items. 

My minimum profit from my Blacksmith on the Bloodthirsty gear is (425g + 750g + 140g) 1,315g. Often, it is double that. The time it took to buy the Ore, make the bars and then make the gear is usually about 15 minutes. Gross sales for Blacksmithing are 4,700g.

My JC prospects the 80 stacks of Ore and gets gems. JC becomes my second profession used.

Now I use my third profession and send 60 Carnelian to my Alchemist who Transmutes them into Inferno Rubies. (60 Carnelian + 60 Heartblossom). The yeild is 29 Inferno Rubies. I also send 30 of each gem in the bottom section to my Alchemist who uses them to make Shadowspirit Diamonds. The yield is 14 Shadowspirit Diamonds. That makes my total gem take:

Jasper: 81 51
Zephyrite: 88 58
Carnelian: 91 1
Nightstone: 77 47
Alicite: 76 46
Hessonite:90 60
Shadowspirit Diamond 14

I now use my JC to cut gems for resale. I cut all the gems above into the most lucrative ones I have available. These vary week to week based on TUJ and what people are buying. In general, I sell Dream Emeralds for 35g each (above, x3 is 105g), Ocean Sapphire for 30g ea (210g), Inferno Ruby for 140g ea (4,760g), Demonseye for 50g ea (150g), Amberjewel for 35g ea (70g) and Ember Topaz for 75g ea (525g). I also cut Shadowspirit Diamonds for an average of 175g each (2,450g).

My income for gems on this set of 80 stacks of Ore is 8,270g. I had to use two professions to earn the income--JC (both Prospecting the Ore and cutting the gems) and Alchemy (Transmute).

The leftover gems are now made into Jewelry using my Jewelcrafting profession. I create 51 Jasper Rings, 23 Nightstone Chokers, 23 Alacite Pendents and 30 Hessonite Rings. The few odd gems are stored in the bank. The Zephyrite gems are sold to a vendor for nominal cash.

The Jewelry produced will randomly proc a Blue quality item every so often. Of the 128 items produced there were 21 Blues. Those go into the AH for varying prices. Let's say an average is 100g. That's 2,100 more gold.

I now use my fourth profession, Enchanting. The remaining 107 Green items are Disenchanted for Hypnotic Dust and Lesser Celestial Essence. The total yield from DE'ing creates 219 Hypnotic Dust and 27 Lesser Celestial Essence. These items are not sold in the AH but instead used for other crafting. 

The Hypnotic Dust is sent to my Tailor (fifth profession) to combine with Embersilk Cloth to make Embersilk Bags. Each bag takes 15 bolts of cloth (usually 10g per bolt, or 150g) and 15 Hypnotic Dust. I can make 14 Embersilk Bags at a cost of 150g each in Embersilk (2,100g investment). Each bag sells for a minimum of 275g (sometimes as much as 325g). Embersilk Bags will therefore give me 1,750 additional profit (3,850g sales - 2,100g materials). 

The Lesser Celestial Essences are combined 3 at a time to make Greater Celestial Essences. These GCEs are used by my Enchanter to make scrolls that sell in the AH. Twenty-seven LCEs make 9 GCEs at a value of 75g each if I had to buy the GCEs in the AH. That's another 675g worth of materials. 

So, I bought 100 stacks of Elementium Ore for ~60g/stack. My 6,000g investment resulted in 16,820 in total sales (4,700g Blacksmithing, 8,270g Jewelcrafting, 3,850g Tailoring). Less my expenses (6,000g for Ore + 2,100g for Cloth) of 8,100, my net profit is 8,720g. 

The 8,720g is a MINIMUM profit. I don't sell below the minimums listed above. If the market goes down, I pull my items off the AH until the market recovers. Many times I sell for much more than the minimum. Also, if I'm running dungeons I accumulate Embersilk Cloth as a byproduct of looting. That reduces the expense of bags. 

Generally speaking, for a 6,000g investment in Ore I would expect an 11k to 12k gold profit. That's using 5 maxed professions--Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Tailoring, Jewelcrafting and Enchanting. Also, these figures do not include the Scrolls my Enchanter makes and sells--the formulas become more challenging because he has to buy other materials not listed above.

Why All The Detail?

The long term goals you set are based on not only how to make gold but also how you want to play the game. I have all max profs and can use them all to make gold. My expenses are much higher than Fenri's too--7 L85 toons are costly to equip, run and repair. 

If I had only one L85 with, say, max Mining and Herbalism, I would build a stockpile of gold and then drop at least one of those profs (Mining first) and add Enchanting--power level it to 525 and begin selling Scrolls and using the DE skill to sell materials. I would also consider dropping Herbalism in favor of Alchemy. Power level it and select Transmutation Master to get the bonus procs from making gems--very lucrative. 

The detail is to show how the professions can be used to compliment each other. Any one of them alone can make gold but when combined, well, the profits are just amazing. 

For Fenri and anyone in his position I would say build a stockpile of gold to a reasonable level, say around 75k total gold. At that point use TUJ to research whether Alchemy or Enchanting or some other profession is most valuable. Use gold blogs to find the good tips and then power level a specific profession and use it. By keeping the most lucrative gathering profession (Herbalism or Mining) there is still a familiar income generating profession "in your pocket" in case the new one isn't as good as you hoped.

Another long term goal has to do with storage space. Somewhere in the Medium goals you will run into trouble keeping everything you need to store. A key principle in the AH game is to sell when you can make the most profit--not when you get the item you want to sell. This means if you have Bloodthirsty gear (for example) and the AH is flooded with Chest and Helms, you need to store yours until the conditions are more favorable.

To some extent you can use the mail system as storage--up to 50 mails can be stored (with 12 stacks each) for up to 30 days. However, this is a bit cumbersome to manage. At some point you will want to buy all the available bank tabs you have and equip them with larger bags. Netherweave is a good suggestion but so is Mooncloth--they don't bind on equip so you can use them on other characters later. 

You may find that your bank storage gets too full. What to do at that point?

Start your own guild just for the storage space. Imagine a whole guild bank to store all your inventory. Each tab has 96 slots of storage and the first two you can buy are fairly cheap. Personally, I have three guilds with 5 tabs each. That means three toons that do not belong to real guilds but instead just run inventory for my AH business.

You may decide that leveling other toons for their professions is too much trouble. That's totally up to you. Your long term goals have more to do with HOW you play than with anything else.

Closing Thoughts

No matter how you choose to start earning gold keep a sheet of paper near the computer. Use MySales to illustrate each day what your gross sales were and note the gold on hand before you log off. Write this all down so you can see on paper how fast you are earning gold. 

You may find spending more is actually a necessary catalyst to earning more--or you may find yourself wasting gold on unneeded items. 

Regardless, having a written record helps you see very graphically how much you are earning. Watching that total go from 1,250 to 2,500 to 5,000 to 25,000 and more is very exciting. You will get to the point where you can't wait to open your mail and see how much you have coming in.

Good luck, hope this helped. Please feel free to comment on anything you find worthwhile, a waste of time or even just interesting.

These are all just starter tips. As Fenri advances in the gold game he may need more specific ideas. Hopefully by then he will be firmly entrenched in the Goblin community and will thus find great tips on various blogs devoted to this cause.

Interested in comments and thoughts from all. Mostly, I'm interested in Fenri keeping us posted on his progress. My estimation is that by farming an hour a day he should earn net 5,000g the first week. After that, who knows? 75k gold in a month? Very doable.


  1. Awesome post man. I wish you were blogging more frequently. I miss your insight.

    Have you ever considered writing a gold guide? I bet you could sell it for good real life money.

    I bet if your friend follows your advice he will easily make 5k his first week.

  2. Great Post! Great insight, really like the fact you started from point A to Point Z to make some good gold, step by step.

    The Siz

  3. @ anon 1: this blog will always be free and will never have ads or other irl $ issues. But thanks!

    @ anon 2: thanks, I try to make it very simple to follow the map or instructions. Hope some of these ideas help you out.

  4. amazing, you have true insight. thankyou, i feel so special cause u wrote it just forme (andothers) thankyou, i shall get right to it

  5. Fenri, it is my pleasure. I enjoy this part of the game as much as anything else. Keep us all updated with your progress.

  6. I fiddle with things now... I used to spend a couple hours on many days and off days was still 30-45 min of AHing to get a 10K/week business.

    Low level toons and start up money...

    IMO, farming is good starter cash but does not teach the AH game and addon usage. I started a project and got bored with it because i was making 1-200 gold a day, on a new server with brand new toons... but it was more of the same. Pets... daily fishing and cooking quests, cooking gives tokens that buy max level toon food buffs... or cocoa beans for cookies and stuff. then crafting makes gold w/ low level stuff i mean really low level.. if it has stats, stam and Int/Agi/Str and is equipable at level 10-17... it will likely sell for profits... how do you know.. addons lil sparky's workshop, I ran Zero Aucitons, but with no experience I figure Trade Skill Master works well too. IMO, this method, of invest 10 gold... and make money and learn addons and goldmaking systems... could be more valuable than learning the farm for gold.

    Just a differnt thought process and approch

  7. @ Achieve: good points. There isn't a "right way" to earn gold for Fenri (or anyone else for that matter). My goal was to get him the quickest route to immediate cash and to develop a strategy for the long run.

    TSM and Lil' Sparky's are super addons. I use both of them. For a new player TSM may be hard to learn. Neither is effective w/o professions.

    You make a great point about low level gear with stats like +Stam/Agi/Int. The one cautionary note there is that the listing fees in the AH can eat up profits, especially if you have list it more than once. Also, since Fenri plays on a "mature" server There may be lower demand than if he was on a "new player" server.

    Excellent commentary and many valid points. I appreciate the readership and participation. Keep it up!