The more information you have at your fingertips, the easier it will be to make money. It's a simple truth, and it explains a lot of why newbies to the Auction House game struggle so much. The heavyweights have the information, and you don't.
Part of the problem is the standard Blizzard UI. The money making game would be so much easier if Blizzard simply gave players more information -- information that's readily available elsewhere. "How many stacks of this are listed at this price?" "What will this piece of armor disenchant into?" "Where the hell do I go to find Whiptail?"
Those who have more experience than you will always have an inherent advantage. But it's an advantage that even the newest of players can mitigate through the use of addons. Today, I'm going to talk about four simple gold making addons for beginners that do some really powerful things to put newer players on a slightly more equal playing field.
Why you need it Because the default Auction House UI sucks.
OK, yes, there are a lot of different Auction House addons out there. The addons in Curse's Auction & Economy category number in the hundreds, and while not every one out there modifies the Auction House experience directly, that's still a lot of addons to sift through.
I know there are a bunch of you out there who live and die by Auctioneer, but my absolute favorite AH mod is Auctionator. It replaces the stock Auction House interface with something far more useful and functional. And it's fairly lightweight -- it's not going to screw your performance on raid night because you forgot to turn it off.
Easy purchasing technology The best thing Auctionator offers that the stock UI doesn't is the ability to buy large quantities of items fast. Here's a situation I've been in a number of times: A farmer lists 10 stacks of Whiptail at one time for 20g a stack, a significant discount over the market price. Naturally, I want to buy them all out if I can and start doing just that. But as I start buying, I get the error message "Auction not found." Crap. That means someone else is buying up this stuff too.
Not a problem with Auctionator -- buying multiple stacks of something is as easy as pressing one single button. With a fast finger, you can clear out 100 stacks from the Auction House in about a minute. There's no way I could have built my gold empire if I had to click five different things and move the mouse around all the time just to buy one dinky stack.
Price recall technology A very smart and simple feature. If you try to sell an item that isn't available on the AH -- i.e., you'd be the only seller -- Auctionator will tell you what the price was the last time the addon saw the item. (Of course, you should be checking The Undermine Journal or similar instead to get a more accurate read and even more information, but it's a quick and dirty way to get an estimate.) Auctionator will even add the latest auction value of a commodity to your default item tooltips, great for knowing what drops are worth vendoring or even destroying without access to an Auction House.
Anti-undercutting technology With a single button press, Auctionator will look through each of your active auctions and determine if you're the still the lowest priced seller or not. It will then give you the choice to cancel only those auctions where you got undercut. I'm not a fan of the AH-stalking game where you relist stuff 100 times a day, but still, there is value in relisting auctions once you've been undercut by multiple sellers.
Idiot-proof technology The best part about Auctionator, hands down, is that it's simple and intuitive to use. You don't need instruction manuals or a giant FAQ -- just install it and you'll figure it out yourself almost immediately. It's very well designed.
If you want to know even more about Auctionator, Basil wrote about it last year. Or, you can just take my word for it and download it for a test run.
Why you need it Because the default herb milling process is unnecessarily tedious.
Simply put, Panda is one of the most powerful crafting addons out there, especially for people who play around in inscription markets. I've talked about Panda before back in my first gold making column ever about how to reach the gold cap. And for good reason -- without it, I'd have never made it.
The most powerful feature it has is its Mass Mill button for scribes. One simple button press seeks out any available stack of millable herbs in your bag and converts them to pigments. Set your character to Auto Loot, and you can mill while paying the minimal amount of attention to WoW.
Jewelcrafters will find a lot of value in Panda as well. It has a similar one-press feature for ore (though sadly, you have to specify which type of ore). It also provides a graphic overview of what you can expect from each prospecting action. The functionality for enchanters is far weaker, but it does give you the valuable ability to see what a piece of gear will disenchant into before you pull the trigger.
Panda is not always the most intuitive addon to use. It presents a lot of information and not necessarily in the easiest to understand way. But still, most users will catch on quick. And once they do, they'll cut their time investment in jewelcrafting and inscription by 50-75%.
Why you need it Because you want to make a number of craftables, and you want to quickly know exactly what you need to do so.
The Skillet addon is another piece of programming magic made especially for those in crafting professions. It replaces your standard profession window with a supercharged version, one capable of creating crafting queues.
Say you want to restock your supply of enchanting scrolls for sale on the Auction House. You can tell Skillet what you want to create -- say, 40 Enchant Chest - Mighty Stats, four Enchant Boots - Lavawalker, and an Enchant Weapon - Power Torrent. Simply add those enchants to the Skillet queue, and it will tell you in the shopping list tab what reagents you have, and what you need to buy. (Hope you've got some gold saved up, 'cause man ... those mats are going to be expensive.)
What I like most about Skillet are the small things. It's smart enough to check your bank and let you know if the mat you need is hiding in there somewhere. It comes preloaded with information about what recipes stop giving skillups when, which is great to know for when you're powerleveling a profession. All around, it's just a damn useful thing to have.
Why you need it Because Blizzard only tells you where ore and herbs are, and now where they could be.
If this column is about gold making, then I'd be completely remiss if I skipped over my farmer friends. I don't have the patience to do what you do, and your tireless effort ensures that the both of us stay flush in cash.
Gatherer is pretty simple. It simply remembers the locations of all the mining and herb nodes you visit. That way, the next time you're out and about hunting for herbs or ore, you can look at the Gatherer minimap, see the potential locations of far-away nodes, and plan an efficient route to visit the spawn points. That's it. Not super-glamorous, but it works and works well.
The downside -- and it's a pretty big downside -- is that the addon only shows you nodes that you've already visited before. The solution to this? You'll also need to grab Gatherer DB, a database compiled with use of Wowhead. With that, you're good to go right out of the box -- no scouring for nodes required.
Now go out there, you crazy kids, and go farm tons of Whiptail for me. 'Cause Lord knows I have better things to do. That "go-go unemployment" lifestyle -- you know how it is.
Tip of the iceberg
Given how I like to prattle on and on, you'd probably be surprised to know that we have a word limit to our columns here. And, though unrelated to official WoW Insider business, we columnist folk have a patience limit too. It's very tough for me to sit here and write on one subject for hours on end without completely getting distracted by oh my god is that monkey riding a bicycle what the hell whoa ...
Long story short -- there are hundreds of amazing addons out there to make your auctioneering chore easier and more profitable, and there's simply no way I can cover them all here in one column. So that's where you, the commenters come in: What's your favorite must-have gold making addon for beginning players, and why?
Maximize your profits with more advice from Gold Capped. Do you have questions about selling, reselling, and building your financial empire on the auction house? Fox and Basil are taking your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.