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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Back to Basics

As I near 500k I think back on how this all started and how much I've learned.  The things I sell, the way I sell, the way I used my professions have all evolved to meet both a changing market, a changing expansion, and a changing attitude towards gold making.

Some things were very important to me in the early days but I have strayed from them as my capital grew, but the practice still are not terrible ones, and I even find myself returning to a few.  Here are a three of the earliest "tips and tricks" that I came up with or used to help me gain my initial golden foothold and, for the most part, I still stand by these goals on a regular basis.

1. Every Character. Every Day. In the Black.
It's easy to feel like you're spinning your tires in the sand, especially when your bank account doesn't seem to budge when people are talking about nearing 500k!  As you play your characters and repair, buy upgrades, enchant gear, etc. you spend gold and it's possible you're not realizing how much you're spending on them each day.

Each day you log onto a character take note of how much gold they have. You can do this "manually" or by using an addon like Auditor.  Be sure that every day, when you log off a character for the final time, that that character is "in the black" and has earned more gold than they spent.  this is a really easy way to stop "gold leaks" that you may not notice.

This doesn't work so well when you move up and start making large investments on things like crafting materials that pay off more in the long run and may not show an initial gain, but doing this sort of thing helped me significantly when building my seed money.  You can also set a "quota" per day. Rather than having each character be in the black, instead say that each character has to be 100g up.  You can quest, farm, whatever you prefer to reach your quota set, and you'll see the gold begin to add-up!

2. Don't be afraid of farming.
Auction House Junkies talked about this in their most recent episode (5), in fact.  Many bloggers will either specifically say farming isn't worth it or at the very least say that farming isn't a huge part of their routine.  This may be true for them, but for fledgling gold makers it's a great way to make starter cash.

When I first began I did not buy any materials.  If you have a good amount to invest in ore or herbs or something of the sort then invest away, but often the new gold-maker doesn't have the luxury of being able to tie up thousands of gold in a single investment for long-term gain.

This is largely similar to the previous point. Back in Wrath if I needed to make flasks for raid I would get on my herbalist and herb Icethorn until I had 20 Frost Lotuses. Lotusi?  Loti?  No idea.  Did I need all that Icethorn?  Not at all.  But by the time I had my 20 Frost Flowery Things I also had several hundred gold worth of Icethorn to craft with or sell.  Just by going the extra mile to farm my own materials I was able to also make gold.

This isn't the greatest tip for those with limited playtime, but if you have the time (They should have a command similar to /played that tracks how much time you sit in SW doing nothing . . .) it's a great way to get what you need and make gold rather than spending it!

3. Set short-term goals. And stick by them!
Most people who get into the gold-making mindset have a goal. Usually it's to buy a specific item, such as a Vial of the Sands, or to hit the game-defined goldcap.  Therefor most usually start with what they consider an "end point" at which point they will consider themselves to have "finished" accomplishing their original plan.

1,000,000g.  That's a big number. When your goal is to climb a mountain in a day it can be very intimidating. Your breaks for a snack or a breather can cut into your time because, afterall, it's a whole mountain in a day!  Instead, think of your goal as climbing 1/24 of the mountain an hour and it can suddenly seem much easier to wrap your head around and manage.

When my goal is to make 1 million gold it's hard to see how a 500g day differs from a 1,000g day in the long-run. I'm still a long way from the top of the mountain, regardless.  Instead I would set short-term goals, usually weekly or by an abstract date, such as "before x patch."  When your goal is much more immediate it's much easier to discipline yourself.  If I want to make 10,000g this week making 1,000g in a day instead of 500 suddenly becomes much more substantial and something much more important to hit.

Setting reachable short-term goals will also give you a sense of accomplishment when you're able to hit them and even surpass them.  It really helped keep me enthusiastic about my goals.


Image credits: Accounting Ledger, goal


  1. #2 Farming is so true.

    I would go crazy if I didn't go out and about every few days. Be it a good ol' farming spot for mobs, an hour here or there for some herbs/ore, or just running through an old school instance.

  2. I'd like to second that comment about farming. Yes, farming is probably not going to beat your peak GPH that you can achieve on the AH. But for the vast majority of players, time spent on the AH has diminishing returns, i.e., your first hour on the AH will make more than your second which will make more than your third etc, and for the vast majority of players, those diminishing returns will kick in very quickly. So yeah, maybe you're going to make more GPH in the first 15 minutes or 30 minutes you spend on the AH, but that's probably only going to be true as long as not all of the low hanging fruit has been picked clean from your AH.

  3. Nice article, I am not much of a farmer, I abandoned both of my gathering skills, but I do agree with doing something different to break up the boredom. I am nearing 200k, I am on spring break and focusing more on gold making, but even making 2-3k/day sometimes isnt' very satisfying. Totally agree with setting goals, I know once I hit 250k I will do something different. The days of early cata where you can score 20-30k in a day are gone, and to make serious money takes a lot of persistence, go Faid!

  4. Fantastic post! Your point about farming is well made and quite vital to new players. Farming is easy money. It might not be the *best* way to make gold, but it's certainly the simplest. And there's no risk. The only investment is your time, and no matter what you do, you're going to profit. Farming is just the best way to get started.

    I like the idea about auditing your other characters too. I feel guilty about my paladin sometimes, as he never has any gold compared to my other toons. But this is because I use him as an xmute or smithing mule, and rarely do I use him to do any serious auctioning. I've been meaning to look in to the potion market, as I think it's viable on my server, and would give him some actual income.

  5. Another post totally nailed!

    About farming: Actually it takes a rather skilled AH'er to compete with a dedicated farmer, GPH-wise. I rutinely made 2,3k-ish an hour for quite a few weeks farming elementium ore in Uldum. Granted, it was at night in the dead hours and on top, the prices on ores on my server has been rather high (90-100 a stack until last week, now around 60-70 meaning not too many botters). How stupidly funny it sounds I don't play the AH strictly for profit, I do it for the mental excercise, since I'd probably get more value GPH-wise of farming.

    Anyway, about diminishing returns, remember that to get significant value out of farming, you'll have to sell a lot, thus flooding the market. Lets say you farm 8 stacks of ore in an hour. That's not the bomb, but reasonable in semi-peak hours. If you're going hardcore and do this for 3 hours a day, you would get 24 stacks of ore. You could sell these outside the AH, but if you put these up on the AH, you'll have to consider not selling at least a portion. With a steady influx of new ores (24 stacks a day), you'll find more and more ending in your bank. So either you push the price down, thus effectively gaining diminishing returns or sell bulk to a goblin (same result).

  6. I'd have to agree with the farming is for the lower cast, that being said all my up and coming alts are farmers. I feel like dumping 5k into a tradeskill for a new alt sucks, so to counter that I make them farmers. I've been experimenting with d/e quest items, but its not looking worth it, again the gold sink. So I train them in farming mats as they go. I get impatient around 65 when I can get to the good (read moneymaking) stuff and blow a chunk of gold on that. Great article!

  7. "So either you push the price down, thus effectively gaining diminishing returns or sell bulk to a goblin (same result). "

    Having a diversity of professions really helps in this case. If you're going to bulk farm to the point where market flooding is an issue, then you should stop looking at crafting as a value add proposition, i.e., I need to make X amount of profit on this item over the materials cost or I'm not going to bother making it. Instead, crafting should be looked at as a way to disguise your raw product so that you can sell more of it without significantly depressing its market price.

  8. Hey...

    Just watched your Faidian Slips - love them. Was wondering, what are your add ons? I love the simple streamlining, but I haven't had good luck with mine thus far. 85 shadow priest, looking to raid soon, and with all the clutter on my screen, it would be incredibly helpful.


  9. @Anonymous (3/29 7:14): I did a video detailing most of my addons back in December, you can find it here:

  10. Faid...

    Thanks so much!! I'll give it a look!


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