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postheadericon Warcraft Gold Primer

Welcome to the Warcraft Gold Primer.

Before we start – this guide – with added information and graphics, is available to download here. No registration or anything like that required. Useful for reading while not on the internet. Possibly even printing off. It’s a PDF so you’ll need adobe reader or similar.

Right click on the image below and select “save as” to download this guide with all the extras.

Gold Primer Bookshot

The idea behind this mini-guide is to give you the basics you need to start making gold in Warcraft – and then to give you hints and tips as to the best way to progress from there.
New arrivals in Azeroth face many challenges, and it is tempting to see think that having more gold would ease pressure, making leveling, PvP and travel much easier.
Do you know what? That’s absolutely right – it does.
Having the best equipment, being able to travel as quickly as possible with your own mounts or through the flight points in game tilts the whole playing process in your favour.

The issue I have with most gold advice is that it gives you the basics, then, leaves you as if.
“Well that’s it folks, I’m out of ideas”

The topics below are standard gold guide fodder:

  •   Use your professions
  •   Gather stuff
  •   Sell high
  •   Don’t spend what you don’t have to.
  •   You can level with moderate gear
  •   Learn to use the Auction house
  •   Learn to use the trade channel

Now I’m not saying you should ignore these topics. They are the vital bedrock of sound online virtual economics.
But they are the equivalent of going to work and running a bank account in the real world. That is to say, you need to know this stuff, but knowing it doesn’t suddenly make you a financial tycoon.
With these modest skills on your resume I can’t see many of the big banks or investment houses rushing to give you job offers.

Same in Warcraft.

You see there is far more to the Warcraft economy than these basic skills.

For the most part the economy on your server is player driven. You decide the price, you decide what to sell and where and when to sell it. That is exactly the same as the real world. So why don’t you look at gold making as a “real world” exercise.

What is to stop you, once you have mastered the basics above, really going into the economy like a broker?
Why not invest (pardon the pun) a little time assessing the market trends on your server? While your at it learning some nifty real world skills.

The beauty of this is, once you have mastered these skills you will be making gold while playing – not making gold INSTEAD of playing.

No more waking up going ”Oh better do thirty laps of “The Basin” this afternoon, I need to raise 1500 gold for that weapon”

Sure if that’s what you want to do, then fine. You can make gold that way.
Myself? I find this really, really dull. Sure the first time you hit 80 and can go just about wherever you want, farming whatever you want. That’s a great feeling, but for me the buzz wore off very quickly.

So first of all, let’s have a look at the basics – making sure we have all the bedrock skills you need. Then let’s take a look at expanding your horizons.
Let’s get to the state where other’s do the grinding and farming – and you profit from it.

1 – Professions/Gathering

Ok, first of all let’s get this one out. Until you hit level 65 (or profession level 450 – which you can’t get with crafting professions until you are level 65) crafting professions will not make you money. Period.
While there are some items of a low level that sell, the vast (vast) majority do not.

The items that seem the best to make to level a profession are invariably the worst for profitability. You are stuck between making rare recipes from expensive ingredients that will sell – but level very slowly. Or making tons of identical junk that no-one wants but levels your professions a bit quicker.

For those of you straight out of economy camp, the reason no-one wants them is because everyone who is leveling a profession is making them. The market is flooded with these items.

So you make money with gathering professions.
You might be tempted to think “Ok, I’ll have one gathering profession and one crafting profession – because some seem to go together”

Right. Let’s put this one to bed. Time for the first bit of simple math.

Imagine a gathering professions (we will give these the letter “G” in our equation) makes 1 gold per hour at level 25

Against this – to keep a crafting profession (“C”) at the appropriate level (so you can make things that are useful to you and others of your level) takes all you materials

G – C = 0

Simple enough – but no-where near the truth. You see, unless you spend a lot of time farming for extra materials (instead of say leveling, questing of PvP ing) you will not be able to keep your crafting profession up with your leveling profession. The game is balanced this way.

You will either be obliged to spend more time just looking for materials (and this can be many hours per level), or you can buy the extra materials.

Worse still some of the materials you will have to buy – because they are not gatherable by your profession.

A truer value of the rate is

“G” = 1 (the same) but.. “C” = 1.3

So now G-C = MINUS 0.3

And that’s being quite optimistic.

But two gathering professions..

G+G = 2

Now that’s good maths. Making 2 gold per hour rather than losing 0.3 gold per hour
Ok, now I can tell what your next question will be.
“But I’m a Mage and being a tailor means I can make my own armour – that’s got to save me gold – right”


You see loads of people are tailoring away in a dead market. Sticking stuff that cost them hours to farm and loads of gold to make on the auction house for a loss. Why ? Because they are determined to level a craft, and are mass producing identical items to get from one level of proficiency to the next. These are the same items that everyone else is making. Supply has far outstripped demand.
You will actually see people in the Mage quarter in Stormwind, making items, then emptying their backpacks to make room (i.e. just “scrapping” them) and carrying on. You can buy these greens for a fraction of the cost it would be to make them.

In short anything other than two gathering professions will cost you money and/or a lot of extra time.
It may seem fun now to go around skinning/mining/herb collecting – for hours on end, but believe me the novelty will wear off very quickly.

2 – Sell High

First of all get yourself the “Auctioneer” add on (don’t be tempted to buy a guide that just tells you how to use the add-on – the best guide for this is the one produced by the makers of the add-on – and it’s free – they even have their own Wiki site)

“Auctionator” is another add-on, which is in fact very useful for beginners. It checks the markets “on the fly” that is to say, every time you go to post an item, it has the facility to scan the auction for that item and report back the results in real time. It does lack the more sophisticated features of “Auctioneer” (which I would advise you move on to later), but for new players it is quick and simple and doesn’t require the full scan to be decent tool,

Selling high? –  Well here are my five top tips for getting the best for your items.

  Sell at weekends or during holidays. It may sound simple, but the more people playing, the bigger the potential market. It’s why most shops don’t take much on a wet working Tuesday, or bother opening at 3:00am on a Thursday night.  

  If you sell at the right time, make sure you take a “short” Auction option.

The 12hr or 24hr auction minimizes your risk of loss from the auction house levy. If you follow these tips, market the right stuff at the right time, then a 12 hour auction will be fine, and the loss if something does go wrong is 25% of what it would be on a 48hour auction


  • Use a buy out. Always use a buy out. People want to take things away now, not tomorrow (or the next day). Some of my best profit is made by people mistakenly thinking that by not having a buy out they will somehow trigger a “bidding frenzy” in their item.  I’m here to tell you that won’t happen. It will eventually sell for your minimum bid – or not at all (and if someone does bid more than once then the increment will almost certainly be one copper piece).
  •   Sell everything! Have a low level character stood by the post box in your races main city, and send them the contents of your backpack whenever you are too far away to get back yourself. Then, now and again, log on as this low level character and sell the stuff. Greys to vendors, whites to either vendors of auction house, and most greens, blues or better to the auction house. It may be worth having this alt as an enchanter as these days many greens do not sell well, and you will have the option of turning them into enchanting materials (with the disenchant skill) which almost definitely will sell (and is free-to-market)
  •   Level up. Simply put the higher the level you are, the better the loot you will find while just playing the game. At level 80, after s trip to an instance and spot of parachuting (I love parachuting my engineer) I often look in my pack and find I have over twenty five gold worth of stuff. Just grey junk armor is worth almost 2 gold in some cases at these levels. I didn’t spend any time deliberately grinding or farming, these items were just a consequence of getting from A-B and having a bit of a laugh with my guild buddies.

Spending and low level gear

    Unless you are equipping a twink (a low level PvP character – typically level 29, 39,49,59 or 69) then there is no point spending a lot of gold keeping your character equipped with the latest gear. Most classes will level quite happily with gear several levels below their own (think of level 25 character’s having item’s that level 20 and 21 could use).
If you level appropriately (in areas where the average mob is 1 or 2 levels below your own level) then this will be fine.

The tip here is to Quest – do every quest you can. It has four benefits

  • You will get more XP if you combine questing with grinding
  •   You will get decent equipment as quest rewards – better than the mob drops which will tend to be several levels below your own. The greens and blues from quest rewards will often be better than anything you could craft or buy at your level
  •   Quest XP does not diminish your “rested” status. You gain the ability to get XP at 2x rate if your character is rested at an inn or friendly major city. You can gain up to one and a half levels of “rested” XP, every XP you earn through mob killing reduces it until you get the message “You feel normal” which means you are no longer eligible for double XP. Quest XP however does not diminish your rested status. It is possible to rush through about  three level on double XP if you quest as well as mob-kill
  •   The lore of Warcraft is often told through the quests. If you want top really enjoy the game, then the quests are where the story is told.

Auction House and trade channel

This is where 99% of the trading is done. In the Auction house you will eventually need to be able to spot a bargain. Although it is fun to speculate “blind” sometimes. You can lose a lot of gold that way.

Sell your own stuff in the manner described above. If you want to speculate then you really need to understand the market, and the products. You WILL lose gold if you go into these places and just buy things on gut reaction.
That item that is suddenly a lot cheaper than yesterday. It looks like a bargain doesn’t it, and yes, it might well be, but there are many reasons why a price drop is not good news for the potential investor. For one reason or another that price may not go up again.

You will probably need the assistance of a decent fully specced gold guide to help you with this, and how to spot it. The Warcraft Advanced Gold Guide is a good place to start, it is by far the most advanced guide on the market, the only one that looks at market trends, speculation and uses real world market techniques in the game of Warcraft.

The trade channel is interesting. I mentioned earlier the times when people craft and then ditch low level greens.
These are areas you could look to profit from. A shout out like

/2 Anyone crafting stuff they don’t want or can’t sell – w/me I’ll offer a decent price.

If you have an enchanter then check the items being made to see what the average disenchant value is. Then offer between 30% and 50% less. If the player you’re trading with was going to throw them away anyway they might just sell the lot to you. Kerching. Profit

Advanced Gold making.

This is a big subject, and while most advice you can find on the net is simply a more lengthy way of saying what is written in this gold guide, I recommend actually buying a guide that looks at the smart way to make gold.

  • “Grind this”
  • “Camp here”
  • “Farm there”


That makes up about 75% of every other guides content except …

The other 25% is
“How to use Auctioneer” The site that makes auctioneer does this best – and it’s FREE (link)
“These items are rare” (DOH!!)
“Make these, they normally sell well” (Double DOH!!)
Here’s how to install an add-on (Ouch – you’re hurting me)

The gold guides advertised on this site both offer a LOT better than this. Secrets and ideas that will open the game right up for you!