The unexamined life is not worth living – Socrates, Apology 38a
To thine ownself be true – Polonius, Hamlet
As I said in my intro post, I recently returned to WoW after a substantial hiatus. My WoW history goes something like this. I started playing WoW near the end of vanilla WoW. I started getting interested in how to make more gold. At the time, the AH subculture really hadn’t taken shape and the only real voices were Marcko and Gevlon. My initial foray into the AH scene was focused in three areas: auction house flipping, the twink market, and enchanting mats. I got very good at those and frankly made a mint in the enchanting mats department. At that point I rolled a character on a different server. I didnt want to pay for the server transfer and so I had to start from scratch. I never really got back into the AH scene at that time. I rolled on yet another server, where I am still at today. I went on a hiatus just before ToC dropped, came back for a bit and then the most recent hiatus began right around the time ICC opened up.
I immediately had a strong desire to get back into the AH game and so I went back to the old standbys I referred to above. I discovered that Marcko’s endeavors had expanded incredibly and Gevlon wasnt really writing about gold making and instead had taken to ranty, vaguely anti-social posts. I also discovered the gold making scene had absolutely exploded and frankly I was a little overwhelmed by all the great blogs and discussions out there.
This post is intended for the returning AH player, the Super Casual who wants to focus his efforts on the AH for a time (or longer), or the new aspiring goblin who isnt sure where to start. I like to explain by example, a nod towards my own bias to how I personally learn best. With all the great information out there, is hard to know where to start. There are so many divergent ways to make money in WoW. Farming, crafting, flipping, the list goes on. Hopefully you’ll find some use in my methodical approach to developing a money making business plan.
What I Got
First we need to talk about what resources you currently have at hand. Although gold making nirvana is a stable of toons with all the professions covered, most of us arent starting there right now. If you are, good on you, you have a leg up but thats not the end of the story, so please read on. I’m only listing toons of mine that have somewhat developed crafting professions. I’m a firm believer that leveling toons should have gathering professions. This is doubly true with the changes in Cataclysm. The XP gain is nice and it lets you build a bit of a stockpile of mats without doing dedicated farming.
- Dwarven Hunter(main, 85) – Mining(525), Jewelcrafting(320)
- Dranei Death Knight(65) – Enchanting(350)
Yeah thats it. Stop laughing. Jewelcrafting is a no-brainer, I’ll talk a little more to that in a bit. Mining obviously has some nice synergy with JC if you feel like some farming, but more importantly gives you the ability to smelt ore. I think bars tend to be a somewhat unexploited market and of course you’ll need them for other crafting toons as well. Eventually this will be maxed out on another toon and I’ll level another crafting profession for the main. The enchanter as you’ve probably guessed is for disenchanting. This market isnt quite as hot as it used to be, but it’s still a good one and an important link in your crafting. Eventually I’ll look into doing enchants but right now disenchanting is the primary point of this toon.
Whats the takeaway? Its pretty obvious that my profits at this point are mostly going to come from auction house flipping and enchanting mats right now as I get other toons up to speed. Id also like to get JC maxed out ASAP so I can start leveraging that as well.
What I Want
I cant stress enough the importance of goal setting. If you dont have goals your approach is going to be scattershot and unfocused. When you are talking about setting goals, there are some specific things that make it a goal rather than just some fuzzy wishful thinking. A goal is something that is specific, measurable, and time-targeted (from Wikipedia). For the purposes of this post, I think a more general timeframe is acceptable. I would divide your goals into short, medium, and long-term. These are fairly subjective measures but for me it’s something like under a month, 1 to 6 months, and 6+ months respectively. The goals should be somewhat related and have a logical progression. Here we go:
- Short term: JC to cap, enchanting to cap, level DK to 85, guild bank for my AH toon.
- Medium term: 100k gold liquid, second profession on DK to cap, another toon to level cap
- Long term: 2 more toons to level cap, Alchemy, Blacksmithing, and Tailoring to cap.
How to Get It
So now we have a starting point and where we want to go. The next step is map out how we’re going to get there. There is a little handwaving involved and I don’t really need to expound on how to level a toon to the cap since a blind monkey could pull it off fairly easily. What I do want to talk about is why I prioritized the professions that I did.
JC – In my estimation, JC is really the premier profession right now, if for no reason other than prospecting. It’s the basis of the popular Obsidium Shuffle. Gems are always in demand too.
Enchanting – Disenchanting is a nearly foolproof money maker so long as you pay attention to prices and dont flood your markets. Enchants are little trickier but still fairly reliable.
Alchemy – Like JC, has several ways it can be a moneymaker. Daily cooldowns are a steady revenue stream and consumables are always in demand due to virtue of being, well, consumable.
Blacksmithing – I recall that BS used to be a bit of dud but its gotten much better. I dont have a lot concrete here so this could fall as I get more in tune with the market.
Tailoring – Cooldowns and disenchanting fodder really.
Stuff I didn’t prioritize:
Leatherworking – I just dont see a whole lot of value here. Some niche areas are really all Im seeing right now and maybe some limited “shuffling” type opportunities.
Inscription – I know a lot of people make beaucoup bucks. This is where your situation matters. I dont have time to babysit glyph auctions. Also, people price these things stupidly to say the least. Much of the market hasnt caught onto the implications of the glyph being a one time purchase. If I had the time and money, that fact might actually represent some big potential value. But I dont have the time, though eventually I’l have the money. If and when I pick it up, it will most likely be for the purpose of arbitraging inks.
Engineering – I actually want this. The toys are awesome and fun. But I just don’t see huge money making potential. Most likely it will become the second profession on my main.
Gathering professions – I will eventually have a toon with maxed mining/herbalism but frankly farming is not a good investment for someone with limited play time. But it’s nice to have just in case.
So thats it. A bit long-winded but I really do believe that taking the time to methodically think through these things will be a big help. Being focused and understanding where you are trying to get will help you immensely with your decision making and planning. See you in millionaires’ club!