Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Money Making for Fun and (mostly) Profit!

Vanity moment yesterday – I finally bought my Tundra Travellers Mammoth. That’s been on the “To Do” list for a bit, mostly because I want the two vendors and wanted to show off in guild a bit (yes – I’m vain like that).

Picked my moment perfectly, too – my wife was just having a discussion with one of our members on how he could get his hands on more than his current 400 gold. The bantering went back and forth after that for a while with the general consensus being “I am too lazy to make money” and “Making money detracts from my normal play time, so I try to avoid it”.

Both are perfectly valid excuses, I think. I didn’t make any money on the auction house until about a year ago, and I remember distinctly a slight amount of jealousy over seeing people with 10k gold back when I was struggling to buy my very first epic flying mount. On the other hand – I usually sold everything I looted through a sensible channel, had my professions up to date and had enough gathering alts to never really struggle for anything. Gold can be of very little importance even for raiders.

It is, however, a lot quicker to just make money by trading and as such probably worth a few very basic ideas. There are tons of moneymaking blogs about – and if you read those, you’ll probably get better and more specific ideas (or weirder and more confusing tales if you read a lot of Greedy Goblin).

Moneymaking idea no. 1: Do quests. Although daily quests are counted into this statistic, the tab on my “main” currently shows around 16.000 gold earned from quests. That’s not bad at all. I always level by questing and found mindless grinds incredibly tedious since the days of Ultima Online finally ended. Quests are more fun and comparatively lucrative, it seems. The main bonus: quest income is fixed. While grinding out two levels on skeletons in the Western Plaguelands might give you that epic drop that finances your flying mount, you just as well might end up with mainly cloth and grey loot.

Moneymaking idea no. 2: Sell grey loot. One of the first steps on any new character of mine is to upgrade bag space. As much as I can afford it. Grey loot does add up to rather surprising amounts rather quickly – especially in Northrend and the Outlands, where a single grey weapon drop can be worth several gold pieces. Not bad for a single bagspace at all. Current tracking: Apparently around 4500 gold made from selling grey stuff.

Moneymaking idea no. 3: Sell non-grey stuff on the auction house – but think about what you sell. This is beginning to require a bit more thought than the other two tips. If you have ever browsed the auction house for a quest item (like Murloc Eyes) before, didn’t you hate having to buy 17 when you only needed 3?
If there is something that is useful for a quest, sell it in quest appropriate amounts. If you don’t have enough to fill the quest (say .. only 2 murloc eyes or only 7 blue pearls), sell them in singles. That way they can be used to fill out uneven amounts.
Any leftover cloth, ore, stone and such should be collected in my opinion. Make some room in your bank and pile them all up until you get a nice 20, then drop them on the Auction House on a weekend. Undercut or fit in the middle – it doesn’t really matter with low amounts.
Be careful with green items – especially the now “outdated” equipment does not always increase in value on disenchanting. This is especially true of weapons. Outlands and “Vanilla” weapons often sell for more to the NPCs than they are worth as essences. In this case it’s worth tracking the value and selling the shiny blue to your local blacksmith sometimes.

Moneymaking idea no. 4: Gathering. Those gathering professions are called money-makers for a reason. Many characters ran with two gathering professions even when the crafting ones had cool BoP items (that would be back in TBC times). This is especially true if you are levelling a new alt. The low level ores/herbs/leathers are surprisingly tedious to farm, as the lack of flying mounts gives higher level characters no significant speed increase. The old lands are also notoriously annoying for finding the nodes you want (Rich Thorium in Winterspring? Yuck!). If you want to actually _use_ your profession for making money consider checking the auction house and farming what sells for most. For miners this is often mithril and thorium over saronite.

Moneymaking idea no. 5: Items that are gained from cooldowns. Those are nice, because even on large populations servers there is a limited supply of those. Items like Titansteel bars, epic gems, spellweave, etc. When you have the ability to make one of those – do it. It’s usually worth buying the raw materials (I have seen a few cases where the cost of raw materials momentarily was higher than the final product). Even if you only make a 50 silver profit this is probably something you should do on all your characters (I’m often too lazy on the titansteel and can’t be bothered flying around on the cloth – I’m working on stamping out the bad habits).

Moneymaking idea no. 6: Actual Crafting. The more steps are required in the manufacturing of an item, the higher (usually) the end gain. This does not necessarily increase your money per hour (as crafting the prerequisites, crafting the main item, enchanting and gemming the item and then posting it on the auction house) can take a surprising amount of time. If, however, you already have the crafting professions, it seems like a waste not to get the last extra 10gold per item. Don’t just sell your transmuted gem – cut it into something even more profitable.
This is the moneymaking that requires the least travel, usually. Buy some unfinished product and refine it. As long as there is a profit left after auction house fees, you will always benefit here. Case in point: Raw Ametrine cut into (whatever) Ametrine usually results in a 20 gold increase in auction house price. Deduct the fees and the occasional deposit (for items that do not sell) and you are looking at a profit of maybe 10 gold per gem. Need more money? Sell more gems!

Note: A wider variety of crafting professions (as gained from having several alts) does _not_ increase your money per hour. It only grants you more options to try for making money. Some professions are better, some are worse – but in the end each profession so far has allowed me to make gold on the auction house.

Tailoring: Bags and Cooldown Cloth (Ebonweave, Spellweave) always sell.
Blacksmithing: Eternal Belt Buckles and Titansteel weapons work.
Engineering: Tinkered Minipets (Yeti, Lifelike Mechanical Toad and Lifelike Squirrel) and the Epic Guns seem to be okay.
Alchemy: Transmutes are the main source of income for me. Flasks and potions might work, if they are not flooded by levelling alchemists at low prices.
Jewelcrafting: Titanium Jewelry sells for newly dinged level 80s. If you are unsure of which gems are a good choice – get the ones you would use on your class first. You know your class and can spot a good gem.

Enchanting, Mining, Herbalism, Skinning: Gathering professions. Sell something gathered. Enchanting usually works well with something cheaply crafted (Low raw material cost crafts).

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