Monday, November 8, 2010

Making Gold

Cataclysm is on the horizon, as everyone in the WoW community knows. 4.0.1 came out a couple of weeks ago, and with it, some very big changes - in anticipation of the changeover with Cataclysm.

I've decided to change my approach to this blog. Not that I post very often at all, but for a while I want to focus on something that brings a glint to most players' eyes: gold-making.

I recently starting following Just My Two Copper, a gold blog that has an entire community centred around it. The forums are very helpful and there are frequent blog posts that give ideas and tips to people wanting to try their hand at taking advantage of the in-game economy.

The one thing that you need if you intend to make gold is to read, be patient, and read some more. Do things in your own time, at your own pace, and learn from your mistakes. Also, don't try to take on too much at once. It is overwhelming to try and launch into it headfirst (as I soon found out). You will likely only hinder your progression.

Ok, so here is a little bit from my own experience over the last two weeks or so. With Cataclysm coming upon us so fast, there isn't much time left to prepare. So let's go!

Why do I want to make gold?
This is the first question you should ask yourself. My own reasons vary, but I mostly just want to see how successful I can be in learning to use the auction house and my professions to my advantage.

You might wonder what someone would do with a spare 10k gold, let alone 100k, or even the new cap of a million gold. I wonder too, which is also part of the reason I want to try and build my reserves. The economic challenge itself draws me in.

How do I start?
It is best to have some gold to start with. Thankfully, there are myriad ways to get your initial fund. Unless you spend everything you get from questing and selling junk, you should have at least a little gold. Get focused, change your spending habits (stop paying exorbitant prices for epic gems for your alts' blue gear), and aim to get a few thousand through your own methods, so you can kick-start your money-making endeavour.

What then?
When you have a little gold, and even while trying to build up a little bit to get started, read around. JMTC is a good place to start, but there are a lot of gold blogs around. Unless you are willing to start somewhere and build up your knowledge, you won't get very far. Every realm has a different economy, and everyone has different ways of investing. So learn as much as you can about your own realm; experiment, prepare and don't be afraid of making mistakes. Don't regret missing out on opportunities, either. Many will pass you by, so just focus on what you manage to get your claws into!

What is the best way to make gold?
The answer is simple: it depends. It depends on so many things. I would recommend a few things though, but it really comes down to your own willingness to try, to learn, and to put in some time and patience. Start small and expand out into other markets that interest you.

From my own little, recent experience, it pays to consider a few things: looks for current opportunities (right now, this means things that are disappearing or changing in Cataclysm, and will always include in-game holidays); install helpful addons; have multiple professions; farm only when it is profitable to do so, or do it because you enjoy it (ie. in Cataclysm, gathering professions will make a killing in the first 24- or 48-hours when materials are brand new, and will take weeks, if not months to plateau and even off at a stable market price).

The good thing about a game economy is that there are finite options. But this doesn't mean that your options are limited. Dabble here and there, focus on things that interest you, set yourself up to be efficient (spreadsheets, addons, trying your best to not waste too much time in-game going around in circles); and don't forget to have fun!

Preparing for Cataclysm
It's not too late to start. So far, I have decided that in Cataclysm I want to focus on Enchanting more than anything, but I have also stockpiled things that I believe will turn at least a little profit, and have also begun to invest somewhat into Inscription.

When 4.0.1 hit, those that were prepared were able to make everything from a little profit to hundreds of thousands of gold. I wasn't prepared. I came to the game late and so missed out on what could have been a very profitable GlyphmasTM.

But I am learning, and I am preparing for Cataclysm the best that I can! Things to consider (definitely not an exhaustive list):
  • What will all the levelling toons need or want? Remember that people will be rolling new Worgen and Goblins, which means gear, enchants and glyphs especially will be in much demand.
  • What obsolete materials will suddenly be in demand? With people heading off to the new zones and those levelling not spending much time in Outland and Northrend, what can you stockpile to provide for the demand that there will be?
  • What is disappearing or changing? Consider pets and achievements that people will want to get before the 7th of December, and things that will still be in-game but no longer available to acquire!
  • What is still in demand now but has been forgotten by the masses? Do things like Eternal Belt Buckles or leg armors still sell? How about classic items that you could potentially buy and resell at a profit?
  • What else can you think of that might be in demand but in short supply when Cataclysm hits? Try thinking outside the box.

Get a guild bank. If you are serious about making gold, you will need a lot of space to store materials, crafted items, and things you will use in the future to turn a profit. Invest in your own personal guild bank, and when you can afford it, max out the tabs. I just managed to buy the last tab in my guild bank. It costs 5,000 gold! All up, it is almost 10k gold for the bank tabs, but in the long run it will be well worth it.

Use alts. Bank alts can be handy, and definitely remove a bit of stress. Depending on how deeply you want to get involved in auctioneering and gold-making, at least one bank alt with full guild bank access will be handy. If you want to do things on a smaller scale but break out into multiple areas and markets, it is still handy to have everything filtered through one toon.

Buy on the weekend, sell during the week. This is a little piece of advice that a lot of people don't realise. Try it for a couple of weeks and just watch what happens to auctions. There is less demand during the week, but there is also a lot less supply. If you want to be smart, buy your materials in bulk between Saturday and Sunday and sell your goods wisely during the week. Just be aware of when people will most want what you have to provide, and don't flood the market!

Set up the right addons. This is not an exhaustive list but is what I use. There are always other options:
  • Auctioneer: track prices and market averages; post and buy things at sensible prices; scan for good deals via the reselling and snatch options.
  • Auction Profit Master: post in bulk much easier. This is especially useful for Scribes and Enchanters, but also Jewelcrafting can take advantage of posting up bulk gems, and even Tailoring, Leatherworking and Blacksmithing will have an easier time getting their goods up. APM is also an excellent bulk mailing tool. Set up alts to send frequently bought and mailed items to, and with one click you can post it all off!
  • Altoholic: very handy for tracking what is in your alts' bags, their professions, achievements, etc. This synergises with quite a few economy addons.
  • Advanced Trade Skill Window: Queue craftable items and craft things from base materials much more easily (for example, with just Netherweave Cloth and Eternium Thread, you can much more easily make Netherweave Bags).
  • Scroll Master: As I am going to focus mostly on enchanting, this is my choice of a queuing tool. If you want to focus more on glyphs, I would recommend KevTool Queue. SM will scan the AH and allow you to queue enchanting scrolls to craft. It will give you a list of mats that you need, you have in your bags and any alts have in their bags, as well as what scrolls are currently up on the AH for both your enchanter and any alts you have assigned. The bonus is, it interacts directly with APM and will automatically create groups of every single enchant you enable!
  • MailOpener: Some people recommend other mail opening addons, but I like the simplicity of this one. I recommend it for clearing your mailbox without much hassle at all. When you are clearing hundreds of auctions you will be very thankful for it. I'm not there yet, but even with my mere dozens of mails it is a godsend.
  • Any other or alternative addons that you feel would be helpful, or complement your use of professions, buying and re-selling, and any other approach to gold-making. Even something as simple as SellJunk can make things easier.

My experience
I am new. I won't pretend that I have much experience or that I can offer any more insight than anyone else playing this game. But I will share my recent experiences in the hopes that someone will stumble on this blog post and be encouraged to try their hand at becoming a part-time auctioneer.

I started with close to 5k gold. I spent a lot of it - all but around 1.5k - on levelling blues and epics, Saronite Ore, enchanting mats, herbs and Netherweave Cloth. Over the days that I did this, I must have earned a bit more gold through selling a few enchants and such, so all up I estimate that I spent close to 5,000 gold on kick-starting my Cataclysm stockpile.

Then I received a tip: many of the reputations needed for Insane in the Membrane will no longer be achievable in Cataclysm. What could this mean for me? Did I have anything that was suddenly in high demand? Yes.

You see, over the last year or so I have farmed Baron Rivendare's Deathcharger. I'm currently at 63 kills and no luck. Regrettably, I got rid of a lot of the enchanting mats gathered during that time; something I need a lot of now. Having killed hundreds of abominations, it was easy enough for me to collect stacks of Frayed Abomination Stitchings, something I intended to use, along with Librams of Protection, to raise my Shen'dralar rep.

Well, as fortune would have it, I had collected all but the librams (always overpriced and in very short supply), and so had one necessary item rotting in my bank. One sparkly, suddenly very much in demand item: Pristine Black Diamond. 44, if I remember. And how much were these pitiful little gems going for? A thousand gold a piece. That's right, they had suddenly skyrocketed to phenomenal prices.

I sold myself short with half of them, only making 10k off 20 - but leaving one customer incredibly happy, so that is a bonus. But for the other 24, I sold them at 1k a piece (minus the 5% auction cut). So I suddenly found myself 30k richer.

From almost no gold (but a fair investment in the bank) to 30,000 gold. This is exactly what I needed to boost my spirits and consider preparing all the more for Cataclysm. One can never predict the market, or what is going to happen to all current materials' supply and demand. But there are a few avenues I have been pursuing and trying to prepare for.

And I am still learning. I'm still making mistakes and wasting my time somewhat, but I am approaching things with a positive outlook. No longer do I look at the auction house in dismay as I see a flood of enchanting scrolls up for less than material cost. I see the potential of breaking into the enchanting market with Cataclysm enchants and providing all those little Worgen with levelling enchants, shiny blue and epic weapons and gear, and even a few glyphs for good measure.

Because when you know what something is worth, and if you utilise both patience and wisdom, you will celebrate every victory.

Risk vs. Reward
One final point I want to make before I conclude is that you should always consider the risk of buying or investing in something. If you keep your eyes and options open, as you gain confidence and build your resources and efficiency, you will begin to reap the benefit of sometimes taking risks.

Gold-making is a risky business. If you put all your eggs in one basket, you are very likely to sell yourself short and find yourself twiddling your thumbs or watching as the market appears to crash around you. But if you are willing to take risks for the sake of improving and advancing, then you will find the reward is greater than having five zeroes on your gold count.

And that pretty much sums up everything I have to say. In just a few short weeks I have gained at least a little more awareness and some knowledge, begun to prepare for Cataclysm, created tracking spreadsheets, updated my economy addons, made 30k gold through blind luck, and have learned to see things from a different perspective.

Just today I realised that my approach to the glyph market may be too time-consuming and have decided to alter my tactic. I'll see how that goes.

But the most important thing is to not get carried away. I have a family that I love, and I don't want the excitement of virtual currency to draw me away from time spent with them. If I can't be efficient enough or I lose out in a big way, it doesn't matter in light of what is really important: the relationship that I have with those closest to me.

I'll leave this post with a few screenshots of the state of my guild bank as of this morning. It is definitely a work in progress, and if time permits I would like to collect enough stuff to tick me up into the six-digit region sometime within the first month of the release of Cataclysm.

It's a rum thing, Mr. Mate!

Tailoring tab
This is currently being filled with Netherweave Bolts. I stupidly crafted a whole lot of bags before realising that bolts take up far less room and therefore you can store four times as much! I will put a couple of hundred up at a large markup before Cataclysm gets switched on, and then will trickle them out 20 or so at a time over the following weeks.

Mining tab
This is getting filled with Saronite Ore. I will decide what to do with it when I observe the various markets in Cataclysm. I may sell it wholesale if it becomes profitable enough, or I may prospect it and do something with the gems.

Levelling tab
These are mostly items to resell at a profit, but a few materials to help people levelling their professions. I have collected a range of armour and weapons and a few tidbits here and there.

Inscription tab
A work definitely in progress. I decided to focus on five or six classes and am aiming to craft or acquire five of every popular glyph for each of those classes. If I can, I would like to gather up 20 of each glyph by the time Cataclysm hits. It's a tiny drop in a huge pool, but it is something!

Enchanting tab
My main pursit. I haven't crafted much yet, and haven't stored any enchanting mats or scrolls in this tab yet. So far I have only started putting vellums in. I want to make hundreds of them while they are cheap enough (because you never know when Earthroot will go up in price).

Miscellaneous tab
The final tab is just miscellaneous things. I have collected a few pets. The two Razzashi Hatchlings are ones that I farmed myself. They currently sell for around 6k on my realm, but if things are in my favour, with ZG being removed in Cataclysm, they could go up to 20, 40 or even 100k (one should be hopeful!). I also have some pets that drop from Mysterious Egg. Since it will be a much bigger pain to go to Sholazar Basin every week, these pets should go up a little in demand.

You may also have noticed a couple of things in my warlock's bags: enchanting scrolls and some sort of armour items. Well, the scrolls are my slow start to preparation for selling enchants. They are in her bags so that Scroll Master recognises their existence.

The armour pieces are starter gear. That's right, Recruit's Shirts and Neophyte's Boots. These actually sell from time to time. I paid a handful of copper for them in Old Hillsbrad, and get anything from 10-15 gold per piece. They have hardly been selling, but even selling just one more than covers the auction posting cost for putting them up a hundred times over. This is just a wee experiment and so far it hasn't been a complete waste of time. My experience here is that the grey ones don't sell; the white ones occasionally do.

Think outside the box! :)


Gaiwyn of Proudmoore


Sapu said...

Somebody notified me of this article this morning and after reading it I saw you mentioned both my addons (APM and Scroll Master) so thought I'd comment on this great article.

We are currently (and have been for a few weeks now) working on a new addon that, without going into too much detail, will be a one-stop-shop for people who make gold off of professions. Just wanted to give you and your readers the heads up that this is coming. Stay tuned.


Timotheos said...

Yep, thanks for the update, Sapu! Is Zero helping you? Cuz he was saying something similar. Unless you _are_ Zero... ;)

One thing that Scroll Master and KTQ both lack is being able to see into your guild bank to count the stock in there. At least, I haven't worked out how to make either of those addons see it and it means I currently have to keep a running tally in a spreadsheet (always a good idea, anyway).

Keep up the great work! Can't wait to see the new addon and give it a whirl. I'm new to the market but hope to see how far I can get during Cata.

Thanks. :)