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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Breaking the Gold Gain Plateau

It's common for people to hit "slumps" in their journey to the goldcap, or whatever their destination may be.  You keep on with your same old strategy but somehow your liquid gold just doesn't seem to grow, even though you may see money pouring in every day.  Taking one look at the OMG I can't make gold! forum over at JMTC lends evidence that the gold plateau is very real for some gold-makers.

My mother has always been one of those women who are tiny as can be but constantly think they need to lose weight. All through my childhood she was reading weight-loss books, doing VHS types in which middle-aged women wore pink hotpants and tried to look hip and happenin.

I've heard more than my fair share about weight loss tactics and one thing that I always found interesting was the concept of a weight loss plateau.  Basically the idea is that your body starts losing weight at a decent pace because of your new set up, be it added exercise, a new diet, or both.  You continue to lose weight until you "plateau" at which point the weight loss slows or can even stop altogether, even though you continue to do the exact things that were giving you great results in the past.  Sound like a certain gold problem some of us tend to run into?

The theory about plateauing in weight loss is that your body has become accustomed to the new regimen and has reached a stasis point.  Many people hear this and think that means they have to eat even less or work out even more. Usually they receive poor results and eat too few calories or work themselves into exhaustion trying to break the plateau.  But there is a solution.

The Gold Gain Plateau
People often come into the gold making business using a single tactic they've heard about.  Let's call this a diet.  Their diet may consist of selling vendor pets, netherweave bags, and shuffling obsidium. Not a bad diet, and one that's likely to see some steady results. 

Soon, though, all the alts have bought their bags and pets and the obsidium shuffling markets become saturated.  Though they're likely still breaking even and maybe even making a bit of gold their diet has lead them to a point of plateau when they just aren't seeing the income they once were.

Three Ways to Break the Gold-Gain Plateau
Just as the gold-gain plateau mimics the weight loss plateau, the ways to  overcome it are very similar as well.

1. Diversity - Often someone who has plateaued with weight-loss has been eating the same diet for weeks or months and a tactic of breaking the plateau is to mix up the diet; eating different sorts of food and in different amounts.  

Likewise, if your "diet" of items you sell isn't doing it for you, try branching out into different markets.  Experiment with selling limited supply recipes or farming Fel Iron if engineering pets and Obsidium just aren't doing it for you.  Worst case scenario your absence in the markets you used to frequent may raise the prices when you return to them.

2. Spend More - The most counter-intuitve tip people find for breaking a weight loss plateau is to eat more, but many people say it works.  Sometimes dieters will cut their calories too low for their body and the body will enter starvation mode, storing all the excess energy it gets from intake instead of burning it and weight loss won't happen.

This can definitely happen with gold-making.  As we start seeing our profits per day diminish it's a common knee-jerk reaction to stop spending as much, thinking surely you must be hemorrhaging gold somewhere.  Don't. A key to making gold is to have your gold working for you.  Zoxy did a post about this concept a while ago.  If you're not investing your gold into profitable markets it's just sitting there. Remember: Just because it's called a guild bank doesn't mean it earns you interest. (But wouldn't that be amazing?)

3. Track Your Calories . . . err, spending! - When people are dieting they usually shy away from snacks as often as possible, but it's common for a diet to be impeded by a little snack here or there.  A common tactic for breaking a plateau is to track how many calories you're taking in every day.

The same is true with gold-making.  It's easy to have gold slip by you without even noticing: Repairs here, BoE for an alt there, flasks for the next raid, reforging an offset of gear.  Gold can slip through the cracks very easily and your plateauing may be because you're not realizing just how much gold you spend on a day-to-day basis.  Keep track of how much gold you spend and you may see just why your bank account isn't growing. (Faid recommends Auditor.)

Thanks, that fixed it!
Hopefully those who have plateaued can find some help here. Remember the concepts though; just as it's common to plateau more than once in weight loss, it may also happen to you in your gold-making ventures.  As markets fluctuate with each content patch or hotfix and demand surges and subsides it's not uncommon to have an ebb and flow of gold.  Keep all of this in mind in your future gold making adventures.


  1. Great post Faid, love the comparsion!

    rock solid tips aswell!

  2. I like having an add-on that shows my total gold across all of my characters.

    Being that I am constantly moving materials, or buying with one character then sending to another, its nice to have a total number that keeps growing.

    Looking at the individual totals was more misleading than looking at the grand total.

  3. @Cold: I honestly haven't found a great addon that displays gold the way I'd like. Auditor is great for per-character incoming/outgoing which is pretty interesting. Bagnon tracking totals across the realm is nice. But I just haven't found that one perfect addon yet. :(

  4. Have you tried Altoholic?

  5. @Anonymous: I love Altoholic very much! As far as I know, though, it doesn't offer the great breakdown of incoming/outgoing as Auditor does. Though, granted, I haven't fully explored all of its features.

  6. I must say this post came at a perfect time. I am sitting on 200k gold but since that was my previous goal I was reluctant to spend anymore. Time to invest once again! Thanks.

  7. How very Zen of you Faid.

    To learn more, stop studying. To go faster, slow down. To become richer, spend more.

    Truly a great post. I like your spin and you write well.

    For gold tracking there really isn't an effective addon. Altoholic is great for tracking materials and who can do what. Auditor does show debits and credits. I find Titan Panel's gold tracker to be the most concise and easy to manage. It shows me at a glance how much gold each character has, simply by doing a mouse-over.

    Now if I could only lose that last 10 pounds....

  8. I like altoholic & auditor - altoholic for the total gold per server & auditor for individual spending. I do tend to spend only on 2 alts but I can look at details for all my alts without having to log the others.

    What I miss is knowing how much I've spent on say 'ore' & then being able to pinpoint how much income is due to that ore. I started buying & selling all ore related stuffs on 1 alt so that gave me an idea but my enchanter still needs mats so do I count that as 'ore' profits or enchanting profits? it's tough but as long as my daily balance is increasing or I can pinpoint a large purchase to account for a loss on a particular day, then I'm not too worried about it :)

    I love the comparison you used - great idea!


    nice post, nice comparisons.



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