Old 90s games – Many players express astonishment that anyone can amass a fortune in gold without buying it online from shady foreign retailers. How can players get twenty, fifty, or a hundred thousand gold? Do they play 24/7, doing 25 dailies a day on 10 characters?
No, they make their money through the auction house, selling actual useful items to other players. They aren’t just buying low and selling high – though you can make some cash that way if you are lucky – they are making and selling proven goods and watching the market for shifts. Although Wrath of the Lich King is drawing to a close, the same principles that worked for the last six years will carry you forward into Cataclysm, rich enough to buy whatever silly trinket Blizzard offers this time around.
Get every profitable crafting profession in this old 90s games
As of WoTLK, every crafting profession except Engineering is highly profitable if used correctly. It’s not that you can’t make money with Engineering, it’s just that the money you can make takes too much time and effort and is too small compared to every other profession. Of course, to get all of these professions, you will need multiple high-level characters. Use this time between now and the expansion to prepare your alts for profession-botting so you will be ready to go when it launches.
Now, the list of profitable professions does change from expansion to expansion. Keep a close eye on both the official forums and third party data mining sites such as Wowhead and MMO Champion for changes and new items in the professions. For example, there is no such thing as ammunition in Cataclysm, which means Engineering lost yet another possible income source; however, Blizzard could surprise everyone by finally adding something profitable to Engineering, and if you aren’t paying attention, you might miss out on a big opportunity.
Predict what the hot items and get in on the ground floor
New, great items are most profitable right after they are added. The inscription, for example, was the biggest moneymaker in the history of the old 90s games WoW for a few months after the expansion launched. Once the glyph market got oversaturated, however, they dropped from gold rush status to merely profitable. Belt buckles were introduced and made a fortune for all of the blacksmiths out there (though profits were limited by fierce competition). Pay close attention to patch notes; some balance change or new ability or item might create a short term source of income.
Just imagine it this way: think about your characters, and what items they need. Look at what new items are coming with each profession. First, decide what items make you say “I really want that item for my character.” Next, figure out what items make you say “I really want that item for ALL of my characters.” Every other player is thinking the exact same thing, and you can turn that into money.
Never gather your own materials (unless you have no choice)
Some people claim that gathering their own materials saves them money. They are wrong. You must take opportunity cost into account. Every hour you spend mining ore is an hour you could have spent making items and selling them. The gold you get from mining in this old 90s games, while it appears to be pure profit, is nothing compared to the profits from Blacksmithing.
Instead, buy raw materials for your chosen profession en masse from the auction house. Sometimes, you might completely empty the auction house of materials, especially on a low population server. In that case, you might need to go gathering for the couple of extra herbs needed to finish a flask. Don’t make a habit of farming; if you consistently buy out the auction house, plenty of other players will happily step in to fill the supply gap.
Once you get rolling and get comfortable with large investments, find a player who is a very prolific gatherer and set up a deal with them. Gatherers try to avoid the auction house if they can, since they get taxed heavily on their raw material sales, and they lose a substantial amount on the deposit if the items don’t sell.
Offer to buy every last bit of raw materials they can send you, at under market price. Gatherers love the certainty that such an arrangement brings them; they know their materials will sell, and they will either earn more or break even per sale, so they are willing to spend more time gathering for you. These players look at their time as a function of gold per hour and anything you can do to help them increase that number will really make their day. For you, that means a steady supply of materials at below-market prices.
Use addons to save enormous amounts of time
There is no nice way to say it; the default auction house interface is slow and tedious. Auctioneer is the most popular auction addon, but believe it or not, it’s not the best one for your needs. The best is Quick Auctions, available at the Curse website.
Quick Auctions is designed for mass quantities of items, which is exactly what you will be selling. You set up a series of parameters for each item, such as price and quantity, and press the “go” button. The addon posts every auction for you, undercutting the competition by an amount of your choosing. It is best to undercut by 1 copper, simply to prevent a price crash; if too many people undercut by a large amount, the price will drop precipitously and nobody will make any money.
Come back an hour later and press “cancel auctions”. The addon will scan every item to see what, if any, have been undercut by other sellers and auto-cancel them. From that point, you simply run to the mailbox, pick up the items, and put them up again. The items you sell in this fashion usually have very tiny deposits – in the case of glyphs, you are talking just a few copper. While this process is going on, you can be away from the computer. Some players, who are lucky enough to be able to do so, actually bring a laptop to work and run auctions on the side while they are working!
The Quick Auctions technique is not only useful for mass quantity items, but also for small quantity, large dollar items such as Blacksmithing weapons. The addon takes the time and effort out of pricing. Set a lower limit on price (right above your breakeven point on materials) and an upper bound (to prevent absurd, unsellable prices). Use the create auction and cancel auction buttons mindlessly to keep ahead of competitors. The only downside here is that these items have a high deposit. If you find yourself canceling five times a day on an item with a 10 gold deposit, it better be a really profitable item.
In the case of Inscription, and any future professions that involve mass quantities of cheap items, you might want to use another addon to keep track of what items have sold out so you can remake them easily. In Wrath of the Lich King, there was a great addon available called Advanced Trade Skill Window that could create an automated crafting queue to remake sold items. At this time, it is not receiving updates for Cataclysm, so you may need to find one with a similar functionality going forward.