When I saw the topic for Cold's Gold Factory's blogging carnival this month my heart sunk. There are many stories I have about my building myself up to the point I can make gold rather easily that I'm at now. Some of the stories are funny, some are sad.
But one is shameful. I've not wanted to talk about it because I feel that saying it may draw ire upon me or even get me into trouble, but I feel it's time to come clean.
The Humblest of Beginnings
I started on Daggerspine on Horde with a blood elf warlock in early BC. By the time late BC had rolled around I had switched my main to a blood elf mage named Faid. I really wanted epic flying, so badly. I didn't have any farming professions, though, so the usual "gateway" to making gold was lost on me. I have since-learned that my professions, tailoring/enchanting, are very lucrative, but at the time I was ignorant to markets and demand and such.
However was I to make the gold that everyone else seemed to be able to make? I tried installing Auctioneer and bought some Fel Iron that was supposedly being listed at 10% of it's usual price. I quickly found out that, due to my only having scanned the AH once, my average prices were way off base and the 750g I'd saved up diligently was lost.
I tried doing dailies; Quel'Danas was in full swing and there was always money to be made there. But with my abysmal skill at PvP and my then-horrid computer it was nothing but a 4 hour gankfest just to try to complete these few dailies.
It was hopeless, I had no idea what to do or how I would ever afford my coveted epic flying. And here's where the shame begins.
I bought gold.
That's right, I said it. I went to a website and I paid about 25 bucks for 5,000g. (This was back in, I believe, 2006ish.) At the time, at least that my ignorant self saw, there was no real risk in it. Truth be told, I didn't even know it was against the rules. I'd seen videos like this one and thought it was just an uncommon, though perfectly reasonable practice. Someday maybe I'll write a post about how the transaction "went down" because it was actually rather amusing. But that's a story for another day.
The Terrible Hacking Incident
Never occurred. I bought my epic flying and went on playing the game as though nothing had happened. I was never hacked, never had any information stolen, etc. etc. I didn't advertise that I bought gold (I still didn't see anything morally wrong with it, I just felt kind of pathetic having been driven to the point I paid real money for it) and nothing more ever came of it. However, as a starving student, I could not be shelling out real cash for gold anytime I needed it. There had to be a better way.
LOL YOU CANT FARM WITH ENCHANTING LOL
At the time all of my friends were out on their herbalists farming Life off the trees in Skettis or grinding elementals on the Elemental Plateau. Farming through grinding mobs was out of the question for me because the ganking was non-stop and I just couldn't get anything done.
I asked a friend who also had enchanting what he did. He told me he DE'd items and sold the enchanting materials. What a great idea! I manually searched the AH for a while before determining the highest selling enchanting material: Greater Eternal Essences. I popped up the thottbot (lol) and figured out where to get items to DE. I was on my way to Stratholme.
Hamstrings and Diseases and Death, Oh My!
Now I'd never run Stratholme before. I was level 70 and actually asked my friend for a "run through." I'd have loved to see the look on his face. But after a bit I learned the instance relatively well. But I couldn't solo farm it, I was a really crappy mage and I just couldn't deal with the damage and the horrid diseases. So I would get a priest friend of mine to just follow me around and cast Abolish Disease. It was really inconvenient and I hated having to rely on someone else to get these items. (Fun Fact: I'm still farming Stratholme to this day.)
A Little of This, A Little of That
I continued to do Stratholme when my priest friend was available and I also farmed Air off the elementals in southern SMV, a place mostly barren and so I didn't have to deal with ganking very often. I eventually leveled my warlock up and learned to play it a bit so I could herb the Skettis trees myself. I never made much gold, I would farm and sell the items and feel like I was raking in the cash, but I probably never had more than 2000g on hand at any time.
The Breaking Point
There were other small ventures here and there but my BC career never amounted to much more. In time I quit playing and didn't restart again until a year had gone by and I rerolled on Argent Dawn about a month after Wrath was released. I rerolled to play with a friend who funded me for the most part; I was never rich but I could buy whatever I needed. Time came and went throughout the expansion. I'd do dailies and sell some farmed materials, same old same old but with 100% less ganking. Finally, though, about three months before Cataclysm it happened.
I saw a post on LiveJournal about someone who had recently hit the gold cap using Inscription. I had a character with Inscription. I like gold. Why don't I do that?
But I didn't know the tools of the trade. This person, in their post, mentioned this strange and fascinating thing: QA3. I asked them what it was and they said to check out Stokpile's guide. Then I saw his other posts. Then his blogroll.
HOLY CRAP THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO LIKE MAKING GOLD
The defining moment for me didn't happen in game. It was the moment I found amazing blogs and thought "Hey, I could do that!" What really lit the fire for me was finding the community and all the amazing resources within and wanting to dive right in and learn and contribute however I could. All of you are my defining moment. =]
Faid Note: Since I talked about my "shady past" I think it's best if I also put in my opinions on it all. I did not get burned when buying gold. But it was a much different time with, I perceive, much less risk. I would never ever again buy gold and, as you can see, I'm not exactly proud I ever did. It's dangerous to your account and your finances, against the rules, and just plain silly when you can learn how to make gold. Give a Faid gold, she gets epic flying. Teach a Faid to make gold and her alt's first epic flyer will be a Vial of the Sands. I'm actually sort of happy that through rerolling I've even distanced myself from anything that could have been built on the "seed money" the bought gold gave me. I'm that averse to buying gold. Just don't do it. =]