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postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Starting Portfolio

What Items should you concentrate on when starting out?

    We STRONGLY recommend you concentrate on a subset of items that you are familiar with. The Materials Guide lists over 150 items. It covers just about every material required to craft in the game.

    We recommend you specialist. Make a list of a minimum of 12 items – a maximum of around 25 and make these items your "Portfolio". These are the items you will specialist in.
Over time you will instinctively know what is a good price – and what is a bad price on these. But for now – using the material master to help you, updating the data on more than 25 items can be quite time consuming, and will    not give you a good enough return on your time spent.

    Which items should you specialist in ?

    Cloth – all cloth. Cloth of some type is used by everyone at every level, it levels First Aid, it is a "hand in" for reputation quests (in huge quantities in some cases), it makes bandages, it is the staple resource for tailoring.

Linen Cloth

Linen Cloth

Wool Cloth

Wool Cloth

Silk Cloth

Silk Cloth



Mageweave Cloth

Mageweave Cloth

Frostweave Cloth

Frostweave Cloth

It’s your choice, but we recommend taking the items on the list above appropriate to your level and adding them to your portfolio (if you are just starting in the game – and have character below level 20 stick to Linen and Wool – move up as you feel comfortable)


Copper Bar


Copper Bar

Tin Bar

Tin Bar
The ore’s for copper and tin are what the bar’s are made from in a 1 for 1 smelting process. The prices for these vary wildly. On one server they can be 3 silver per ore one week (60 silver a stack) then up to 30 silver per ore the next (600 silver – 6 GOLD a stack)
        These are great items for low level characters to start a portfolio with – particularly on a single market strategy.






hese are the low level herbalism items. Used by Alchemists and Inscribers. Again very variable rates at AH. There are other low level herbs – but these two tend to sell the best.

Light Leather


Light Leather

Medium Leather

Medium Leather

The low level skinning items. There are "Ruined Leather Scraps" however these rely on the buyer having the skill to convert them. By all means have these as well, but the market for your sales may well be lower


      Finally – Whatever you gather…

        Now you did choose at LEAST one gathering profession didn’t you?

We recommend 2 gathering professions – but one is a bare minimum. If your first character or "main" does not gather at all (except cloth as we discussed above) you have lost a very major value stream. Keeping up with the materials you need to advance 2 crafting professions will take an age and add considerably to your levelling time.

        It’s not the end of the world – but you will make so much more money during your normal playing time (levelling, PvP or Instance runs) if you gather while you play.


With your gathering profession/s you should have 10 – 12 starter items in your portfolio.

If you are new to the game, stick to the lower level cloth, leather, herbs and ores. We suggest  sticking with the cloth appropriate to your level all the way through the game.

Note. Every 5 or 10 levels that you progress..or every time you double the gold in your capital, consider moving your portfolio on. Dropping some low level items and replacing with some higher level ones from    the material master

Of course, by dropping we mean "Selling for the best price to clear your stock space"..but you know what we mean.

Now if you become familiar with other items during the course of a game, and you see an absolute bargain outside your normal field of expertise. By all means snap it up. Do your research first (check it’s not about to get nerfed by a patch.

Google the "Level 69 Riding Crop" scandal if you want to see an example of a patch nerf that cost unprepared players a fortune. Blizzard implemented a patch which affected an item that wasn’t usable before level 69 …. would become unusable again at Level 70.

This caught a lot of people out – and the item became pretty valueless – but not before a lot of crafters who had seen the pre-patch notes had unloaded there stock in a largely unsuspecting auction house.

        So if you are confident, and happy (and can afford it) feel free to go outside your portfolio for an obvious bargain – but check first!

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Your Current Status

There is no other way to put this. "If you don’t understand how the economy on your server works, you will not make money on it – the more you understand the more money you will make"
    So here is a tick list of what you need to know, easy stuff first.

  • What can I farm myself at my level ? 
  • Important note. Selling materials for other people’s professions is probably THE most solid way of making money., and anyone can farm for cloth for tailoring. We are not fans of going out farming for farmings sake, but if you have a couple of gathering professions, you will always have items to gather during your normal every day leveling and questing 
  • Where is the best place to farm appropriate to my skills and level ? 
  • How much working capital do I have to start ? 
  •   Ok, not all your gold should be thought of as "working capital", but if you have a decent amount of gold  – enough say to buy 4 or 5 new level appropriate "stacks" from the AH – or more – then MOST of it should be working capital.
            Think in terms of putting aside enough for 5 BIG repairs of equipment  – replenish ammo a couple of times and gold to buy enough potions/bandages to last a day or two of normal leveling/PvP or instances.

             The rest of your money is your investment. You could start with as little as 10g. Though the more you have, the quicker you will make it. 

  • What sort of time investment am I prepared to make? If you only log on a couple of times a week then you will be looking to trade on single market longer term investments. If you are playing WoW every day, then you will probably make more gold hitting lots of smaller margin short term investments.


Do I have the manpower?

Did you follow the guide and get a character to your own and a neutral Auction House? 
Do you have a second account or a guild friend to “go into business” with?

Yes – great – All options are open to you.

No – No problem,

It rules out cross market trading for now, but until you are confident – and     have a buddy with a character in the opposing faction you can trust, then it’s best to leave it for     now.

    Do I have any relevant professions other than harvesting?

    The most relevant profession for gold making without grinding is Enchanting, (or more specifically disenchanting), Alchemy is next because the key items you make are consumable – and therefore need replenishment often.

    Blacksmithing might be next. Warriors are VERY gear dependent, and to level quickly have to change gear more often than other classes – and Blacksmith’s make some of the best warrior gear.

Advanced Gold Guide Banner

    However – at Level 75 or better the best for all classes is often from instances. Leatherwork, Tailoring, Jewelcraft and Inscription (in roughly that order) Though jewelcraft really comes into it’s own at high levels.


While it is very possible to make money without farming (once you have a decent starting capital) we have included farming because it will just happen naturally. If you are a skinner, miner of herbalist then it stands to reason you should just take the items presented to you during the normal course of play. This being the case, you need to know where the places are that are right for your level to farm.

However, we re-iterate. Once you have a starting capital (or STAKE) then if you wish, you can stop farming all together. We don’t advise it, but it is a real option.

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Starting Out 3

So preparation is the key. Understanding your own server dynamics. Buying low and selling high. Supplementing this with a bit of farming of your own perhaps.

Here’s the issue.

Most people have no idea of an items true worth,

The auctioneer add on, though great for getting an overview of what people want for an item, has no actual sales data for anyone but you.

Most auction house add-ons list all the VENDOR prices, and keeps a note of what YOUR OWN ITEMS sell for.

It does not tell you what all the other items sold for. Just what was asked for them. It doesn’t tell you if someone else s auction was a success or not.

To simplify, a Herbalist could put one "Mageroyal" on for almost definitely wouldn’t sell, but they can ask whatever they want.

This happens. In fact, massive over pricing at auction is one of the tips other guides give out. The thinking being that someone might accidentally buy it.

Which does bring us to an important point:


At the Gold Cartel we have worked hard trying to develop methods and tools to understand our server financial dynamics.

Now might be a good time to get you into Auctioneer. The eponymous auction house add on.


Here is a quick look at the auctioneer set up. There are a few changes to the normal auction house window.

Along the top is the right “start”arrow

This begins a scan of every item in the AH, checking quantities and prices.

you’ll be using this button twice a day. Preferably when you are having tea or need to visit the loo because it scans. EVERYTHING. And can easily take 15 to 20 minutes. So twice a day could easily take you 40 minutes to do this for both Alliance and Horde AH’s

A detailed guide on how to use add-ons is in the appendix.


Find the free Auctioneer guide at the official Warcraft Auctioneer Site.

Ok, that’s the end of the preamble. Next putting your basic skills to work.

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Server Dynamics 3

Time for some specifics   

1) Each Warcraft server is a closed economy.

    Your Warcraft server is a UNIQUE economy. That is to say that no two servers will have exactly the same price structures. Therefore we are unable to make statements such as “Buy Copper Ore at 80 silver per stack of 20 and sell at 1G 30 silver per stack.

         The exact movements in your server economy are UNIQUE. For the most part they are set by the users themselves (You !)

    You might now think that this is a bad thing. Questions such as

     “Well what is a good price to buy or sell then ?”

probably spring to mind.

    Let us reassure you that this is in fact a VERY good thing, and here’s why…

Very few people are going to take the effort to understand the subtleties of the economy like YOU are !
We will make understanding your economy SIMPLE, QUICK and FUN.
This knowledge will give you a real EDGE !
With this edge you will MAKE GOLD !

Advanced Gold Guide Banner

2) Understanding the economy.

    In simple terms Gold is generated on your server every time you loot a mob. The loot and the gold are “created”. The value is added to the server economy then and there. Keep the gold. sell the loot to an NPC trader, and there’s the value realized in buying potential to you.

    Say you have a level 80 character. He can generate Gold just by killing and looting at a pretty good rate. Without using the Auction House at all! 
    You can generate 10’s of gold PER HOUR (this is by far the worst and slowest way of making gold, but it still adds quite a bit to the economy as you can see)

At this level the gold creation is controlled by the server. Blizzard (The World of Warcraft designers) have quite a bit of say over these inputs.

    They can decide what loot tables a certain mob will have, how often the mob re-spawns, and how much an NPC vendor would pay for the items.

    However, Warcraft has an Auction system. Any item that is not “gray” will probably sell at the AH for more than an NPC vendor will give you for it.

    Have you spotted the problem ?

    The problem is INFLATION !

    You are adding all this wealth to the economy, killing mobs, using a gathering trade, crafting items..and everyone else is doing this too !

    Most of your weapons and armour is either quest reward, or bought from another real player via the auction house.

    Very little is given to NPC’s that you can see..sure the odd equipment repair or restock of bullets and arrows.
    The rest is just moving the money from one real player to the next, and as you play the overall figure of Gold on the server is growing ALL THE TIME.

    Blizzard know this, so they put in  “Gold Sinks”

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Server Dynamics 2

Our advice to you is digest this chapter. See where you are  financially. Bear this in mind when reading everything else in this book

  We will look at seasonality of markets, and briefly explain why this happens. Every market has a rhythm, your Warcraft server is no different.

  •   You’ll find out how to help  (and take advantage of) the “weekend”player
  •   We will show you how to gather market data from your own server and use it for your own financial planning.
  •   There will be tips on how to influence market behaviour to your advantage.
  •   We will discuss storage, both short and long term..and it’s costs

  There will be single market strategies – and ways to affect the whole server – horde and alliance alike

We will do our best to show you that “playing the market” once you are set up for it is a brilliant game in itself – and can be played with relatively  low level characters

Of course we will show you what all the other guides do as well.

  • Where to farm for the mats everyone else wants to buy.
  • How best to sell them.
  • How to make money from professions
  • What to watch out for in patches and updates.

Some dirty tricks (we never use these – seriously, but you want a complete guide so we include them).

But the focus of this guide is how to manipulate and take advantage of the marketplace on your server.
This is where the real money is made ! Making gold in Warcraft with this guide may even be more fun than Warcraft itself. It’s certainly better than endless farming laps of  Sholazar Basin !!

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Server Dynamics

Ok, first things first. Have a look at the picture below. It’s just an alphabetical list of servers. Notice anything. ?
Slap yourself on the back if you noticed that they are all at LEAST moderately full.

Now back in 2004 there were a lot less servers, and many of those had population labels of “Low” or “Recommended” and while you still do get some of these, they are rare.


What this list doesn’t tell you is the faction balance between Alliance and Horde on these servers.  There are links in this guide to show you how to find that. You don’t want to be on a very one sided server. Money making will be hard. A “slightly” one sided server is a fantastic money maker.

But our point here is, servers are fuller. And they are full of high level characters and their toon’s. There are very few brand new players compared with the mass of level 80’s and the ‘toons of level 80’s

Because of this:-
What you may have learned or read about making money in WoW is probably based on the immature (and naive) WoW markets of the past.

So what ? I hear you say.

You need to know…

  • How full the server is
  • The ratio of high level players to low level players (We call this “Maturity”) and…
  • The ratio of low level players that are actually “toons” (this changes the market dynamics a great deal)
  • The balance between Horde and Alliance players

Ideally you would like to know the relative professions. Gathering and Crafting. There is often an imbalance, especially on servers that are  out of balance in other ways

Finally, choose PvP or PvE (RPG doesn’t really matter)

Bear in mind that your choice of PvP or PvE makes a MASSIVE difference!

A full server will have a fast moving economy. Assuming an even mix of races and levels, this means you will have competition in sales, and choice in purchases. This is a buyers market.  A low server population, coupled with the right goods to sell will be a sellers market. There will be demand for your well thought out items, and high level materials and reagents will sell for top dollar (but…you will need more patience..more on this in “Inventory Costs” later)

Gathering is far easier on PvE servers, also the market for top gear is slightly reduced, and the top level items themselves are worth a little less.

Players tend to go out slightly better equipped on PvP servers – It’s not just the mob’s they are worried about, ganking and player killing happens – of course it’s supposed to, so people upgrade weapons and armor a little more often.

In general prices will be slightly higher on PvP servers, but as most things are bought and sold between players this does not matter as much as you might think. The big exceptions are of course the training and high level mounts.

The  ratio to between level 80 players (and their ‘toons) and genuine low level players, (Those that are still levelling)  fundamentally changes the market.

There is little or no point grinding  certain low  level ingredients and reagents to use in your crafting professions thinking these items will sell for profit on a mature server.
No one wants to buy them.
On mature servers the ‘Toons will normally level using green equipment. They do it efficiently, they know where to quest and where to grind. Blues are often seen as an expensive extravagance and certainly are not actually needed to level up.
The only Blues that sell below the highest level are those mint items used for PvP

This is where the basics of understanding your server come in. A PvP server will often have a market for “BiS” items at many levels. “BiS” stands for “Best in slot” and is the item that  – at any particular level is the best stat wise for a particular race and type. On PvP servers these items are in demand and can be crafted

Blizzard are adding the ability to “stop” XP progression – as many people want to enjoy low level instances as they were meant to be played. A possible opportunity in the future for  certain very well specced low level items to again be in vogue

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Introduction 2

First things first.

As we have mentioned before, this is not your normal gold guide. This guide is specifically aimed at manipulating the economy.
We aim to set out  (in simple terms) how real world economics are done, then show you how to apply these rules to Warcraft.

Of course, we will provide you with the best profession gold making guide AS WELL, just so you can raise money the “old” way of you want. We also have the best and most up-to-date crafting guide around. So we offer everything other guides offer.
but for us, those “old fashioned” techniques are not really the best way to make money. The proper understanding and manipulation of the market is where the real money will be made.

In the first instance, we are going to introduce some simple concepts.

Gold in Warcraft is made in one of three different ways – These are in most respects the same ways that money can be made in the real world.


1)    Resource Acquisition

    Whether it be farming, mining, drilling or hunting, all resources have an origin. In the real world, the bricks and wood for every building, the chemicals for every medicine, the meat for every meal. They all have to be sourced.
    In Warcraft this is gathering and looting. So all the gathering skills as well as looting adds basic level one resource to the economy.
    Every potion in the Auction House starts out with someone gathering the herbs. Every character made weapon similarly.
    Of course Warcraft also now and then gives you finished items as loot – This rarely happens in the real world, and if it does it’s akin to looting the battlefield or even finding archaeological items.

2)    Adding Value

In the real world, when a craftsman takes raw materials, then pours his own time and experience into turning them into something that is actually “useful” to others he is “Adding Value”

The first lesson you need to learn is that this is rarely the case in Warcraft.
Why ?

Because people would rather have the raw materials,  and use those to level their own character’s profession skills.
There are exceptions of course, but for the most part the total is worth substantially LESS than the sum of its parts.

The reason for this is because as each expansion is added the game becomes “tiered”.  Items with a minimum use level of 60 used to be the pinnacle, they aren’t any more, nor is 70 – it’s now 80, and when Cataclysm is released it will be 85.

The vast majority of people on your server are either not leveling a character at all – or leveling an Alt – and they want to do this as cheaply and as efficiently as they can. That means no long visits to the Auction House every level to buy your beautifully crafted weapons and armor. They have leveled up characters before and know that they don’t really need to upgrade that often – and besides they have a main character or guild friends who will supply most of what they need.

This is a vital lesson – 9 times out of 10 – until you start crafting level cap items – crafting LOSES YOU GOLD !

3)    Market manipulation

So while there are few opportunities to make money with crafted weapons and armor there are some exceptions. Consumables such as potions, elixirs, some scrolls, ammo (bullets or arrows) DO make money, and need constant replenishment. Also niche items such as riding boots, fancy dresses ( on RPG servers in particular) and quirky engineering items will also make money – along with certain items that are required by other professions (Blacksmith’s make the rods enchanters need to level their profession for example).

However the REAL money is made with ingredients – and it is made by buying and selling at the right time.
Yes you can farm them if you have the skills – and most people do from time to time. But you can “play the market” by first understanding how your servers market works – then using that information to your own advantage.

postheadericon Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide – Introduction

This ideas in this guide were not originally put together as a commercial venture. They were the product of The Gold Consortium’s attempt to break the Warcraft Gold Record. It represents the sum of our knowledge gained through that attempt
An attempt that saw us making 4000 gold per character per 8 hour day towards the end.
We were not quick enough – and were beaten by a single player on a German server.  That was probably a blessing in disguise. We could develop better gold making techniques without the pressure of competition.
This guide details what we discovered.


If you are a solo player we suggest you read this guide from cover to cover. Not many players are truly solo everything in the game any more, most are active guild members, most PUG up for instances… .
Gold though is one of the areas where people tend to still go it alone – so that’s what the vast majority of this guide is concerned with…solo gold making !
The majority of the guide and associated materials is aimed at a lone gold tycoon. Learn how to set up your own guild for storage. Make gold in both factions (even if you don’t cross trade much – or even at all)
Use your alt’s effectively for both trading and professional advantage.

So first look at the opening chapters then read “the single market approach” and “How to read the market” Next have a look at the “Mining and Gathering Guide” with particular reference to whatever professions your main character has. Definitely check the extra functions you get with most crafting professions – Disenchanting, Smelting, Prospecting, Milling. The profitability of many items depends on how they are packaged, these skills allow you to get the best return for you time.

By this point you should be ready to decide on a portfolio, remember to factor in whether you are a regular player who wants to spend a lot of time at the Auction house, or someone who only logs on once or twice a week. The items you trade in should reflect you play style, but it’s all explained in these chapters.

If you can understand price indexing, then try using the spreadsheets packaged with these guides. They have some indexed prices for nearly 200 common items used in crafting (so very popular) but in the long term you will need to input your own data – every server is different.
We have a section on cross market trading. At some point you and a friend could try this – it is more profitable on every server we have used it on – but it isn’t ideal for everyone – we understand many like to make gold alone.

Well, that’s what it’s all about after all – making gold!!