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Profiting off the Darkmoon Faire

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Fox Van Allen and Basil "Euripides" Berntsen aim to show you how to make money on the Auction House. Feed Fox's ego by emailing him, tweeting him at @foxvanallen, or sacrificing your first born to him.

Hey everyone, great news! The Darkmoon Faire is back in town! From now until Saturday, Jan. 7, you can play some games, eat some carnival food -- and oh yeah, make a ton of money off it.

Usually when new content is released, it's only the level 85 characters who can make money hand over fist. But the coolest thing about the Darkmoon Faire is that you don't need to be a level 85 character to participate or even profit off it. A level 20 character can have just as much fun at, get just as much benefit, and even make as much money as a level 85. It just takes the right amount of knowledge.

And, oh yeah, it also takes a Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide. You're carrying one of those on you at all times, right? Right? Well, according to Wowhead, most of you sub-level 85 players aren't. And that's a gigantic missed opportunity for a lot of money -- thousands upon thousands of gold. The kind of money that's just unheard of at lower levels.

It belongs in a museum! Auction House!

Part of the fun of the Darkmoon Faire is that it's a limited-time event. Sure, it's here every month, but only for a week. A number of different Darkmoon Faire quests can be completed only once per month. It's that kind of time-sensitive feature that offers the best opportunity for profit.

Accomplishing certain acts at the fair will earn you tickets, which can be redeemed for prizes. There's a limit to how many tickets you can get in a single Faire, so a lot of players are very much actively seeking out ways to get every last prize ticket. And unless you've found each and every one of the nine BoE, world drop, quest-starting items that can be redeemed for tickets, you're simply not maximizing your monthly haul.

It's worth noting here that there's a bug affecting the Darkmoon Faire that hampers your ability to turn in these items at the moment. It's a known issue and will be fixed "soon." That's likely to increase the short-term rarity of these items as players turn them in.

In the meantime, there's no reason why you can't go around collecting these world drops. So long as you're PvPing, running 5-mans (even at low levels), or raiding, you'll find them. But you need to know where to look. And you also need the Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide, because these suckers don't drop without it.

That's lesson number one, here: Always carry around a Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide. Treasure it. Never let it go. So before you do anything else, go log on to each and every one of your characters and get a Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide. You can only get the guides while the Faire is in town, but all these items drop even when the Faire is not.

You can only complete the quests from the Darkmoon artifacts once every month. That said, even though you can only complete the quest once, you can farm up the items again and again without cooldown. There's a lot of money here to be made, and really no limit on how much you farmers can get.

Money from raiding

The first of the nine items, Soothsayer's Runes, can only obtained by beating older Cataclysm raid bosses, specifically Magmaw (Blackwing Descent), Halfus Wyrmbreaker (Bastion of Twilight), Shannox (Firelands), Nezir (Throne of Winds), and Pit Lord Argaloth (Baradin Hold). You can't take these guys on unless you're level 85, but because you need to run outdated content to get the item, it's especially valuable to players who otherwise couldn't be bothered. AHSpy.com prices the Soothsayer's Runes at between 1,300 and 1,500 gold -- a pretty nice haul for spending a few minutes in an old raid with your friends.

Money from PvPing

Three of the Darkmoon items, the Adventurer's Journal, Banner of the Fallen, and Captured Insignia are available from PvP. All are looted off players' corpses while running Battlegrounds, including Warsong Gulch, so you can start farming these as early as level 15. Selling these items is a quick way to get some cash. The Adventurer's Journal currently sells for about 150 gold or so; the Banner of the Fallen is about 250 gold; and Captured Insignia is worth 150 gold. That may not seem like a lot of cash, but even as early as level 10, you can rack up thousands of gold in a single afternoon. It sure beats farming Peacebloom.

Money from 5-mans

The last five Darkmoon items are all found in instances as boss drops. They're not 100% guaranteed, but the drop rate is strong nevertheless; ancedotal evidence would put the drop rates around one in three or four. Best of all, they tend to be worth a lot more than the PvP drops. They are:

  • Mysterious Grimoire, which is obtainable as soon as level 20 or whenever it is you can first gain access to Lady Anacondra in Wailing Caverns. It also drops from a number of different instances all the way up to level 85: Shadowfang Keep (Lord Godfrey), Scarlet Monastery (Bloodmage Thalnos and Arcanist Doan), Scholomance (Darkmaster Gandling), Zul'Farrak (Hydromancer Velratha), Sunken Temple (Jammal'an the Prophet), Old Kingdom (Jedoga Shadowseeker), Drak'tharon Keep (Novos), and Hour of Twilight (Archbishop Benedictus). As you can see, the grimoire is easily farmable, even at early levels. And its current price is high: about 1,000 gold.
  • Monstrous Egg is available to characters as soon as they can enter Zul'Farrak and take on Gahz'rilla, which is around 45 or so. It's also found in Lost City of the Tol'vir (Lockmaw), Throne of the Tides (Lady Naz'jar), Utgarde Pinnacle (Skadi), Violet Hold (Cyanigosa), Drak'Tharon (King Dred), Azjol-Nerub (Anub'arak), The Arcatraz (Harbinger Skyriss), Old Hillsbrad (Epoch Hunter), Underbog (Ghaz'an), Blackrock Depths (Ambassador Flamelash), and Stratholme (Nerub'enkan). These sell for about 850 gold each.
  • The Imbued Crystal drops in Ragefire Chasm (Taragaman), Maraudon (Razorlash), Scarlet Monastery (Whitemane), Scholomance (Ras Frostwhisper), Dire Maul (Immol'thar), Stratholme (Balnazzar), Blackrock Depths (Gerstahn), The Botanica (Warp Splinter), Nexus (Ormorok), Halls of Lightning (Loken), Pit of Saron (Tyrannus), and Vortex Pinnacle (Assad). You can also get it from Queen Azshara's chest in the new Well of Eternity heroic. Considering very few people are going to make the effort to pick up an Adventurer's Journal at level 15, that's a very easy-to-obtain 900 gold as many times as you feel it's worth chasing down.
  • The Ornate Weapon is a much more limited drop, found in Deadmines (Ripsnarl), The Stockade (Randolph Moloch), Scarlet Monastery (Herod), Stratholme (Rivendare), and Blackrock Spire (Wyrmthalak). Despite that, it tends to sell for less than its brethren: about 720 to 820 gold.
  • The most rare and therefore best selling of the five boss drops is the book A Treatise on Strategy. It's found on at least one of the bosses in each of the new Cataclysm heroics. Very few of these are available on Auction Houses right now -- a grand total of only 467 across all servers, according to a quick check of AHSpy. They're selling for an average of 23,500 gold because of their scarcity. That's right. You read that correctly. A gigantic jackpot for the simple act of running a heroic.

You'll have to roll against other people to score these artifacts, but only against those who also hold a Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide -- and again, ancedotally, that means you're only rolling against one or two other people, if you're rolling against anybody at all. A lot of people simply skip the Darkmoon Faire. Or this aspect of it, anyway. But now you know better, right?

Buy, sell, or hold?

Obviously, these items have very little value on the Auction House when the Darkmoon Faire isn't in town. Values are shooting upward now that people are looking to complete the quests. And it's not out of the ordinary to expect a sharp change in price at the end of the Faire. But in which direction?

Well, over the course of the last Faire, the value of these items slowly declined over time. That was because people were selling the items at high prices. A large number of sellers were stuck with inventory in the final days -- a quantity that exceeded the number of buyers looking to complete quests at the last minute.

I expect this to be the general trend of most Faires. As a result, smart sellers will price these aggressively so they don't get left holding the bag on Jan. 8 when the Faire is long gone. Even if you do wind up with excess inventory, though, don't fret -- the next Faire starts Feb. 5. And all the people who bought these items in January will be back in the market.
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 fox@wowinsider.com and basil@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Economy, Gold Capped

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