I love playing the alchemy market. It's proved profitable for me all expansion long. Part of the reason why its been so profitable is a general alchemy specialization imbalance; almost no one chooses Potion Master on my server. Why? Part of the reason is that a lot of people choose Transmutation Master. The other, more important part of the equation: Few casual players know that specializations even exist.
Come patch 4.3, though, that's about to change -- new alchemy specialization quests are being added in your capital city.
Honest, guys, I tried my best. I was there at BlizzCon 2011. I got up and in line at the Q&A panels, determined to ask the Blizzard development team questions about the game's economy.
Ultimately, I was foiled by a bunch of dudes who wasted our time offering shout-outs to their guild (and by my own poor planning of not getting in line two hours before the panel started). But I digress. The fact of the matter is that there's a lot of stuff wrong with the World of Warcraft economy and Auction House. Issues that need to be addressed in the next expansion to promote a fair and level playing field, something WoW has lacked ... well, something the game has lacked for years.
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 by participating in your city's Fox Van Allen 5K Walk to Support Leg Tension (details coming).
We've known for quite some time that epic gems would be coming with patch 4.3. It was obvious extrapolation. It's the last major patch of this expansion, and we didn't have access to them yet. The last major question was how we'd learn the cuts, and just yesterday, we got major news on that front: Patch 4.3 is bringing new jewelcrafting vendors loaded with epic cut patterns. Each of the patterns can be bought for five Illustrious Jewelcrafter's Tokens -- yes, a work week's worth of dailies. More thrifty folks can roll the dice and buy a Tome of Burning Jewels to learn a random cut, as that method will only set you back four tokens.
Without a doubt, this new vendor will have a tremendous impact on the jewelcrafting profession -- and, with any luck, a tremendous positive impact on your in-game bank account as well.
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 by showing up in Los Angeles next weekend to give him some IRL love.
One of the most important points to remember when reading this or any other Gold Capped article is that advice that works well for one server's economy won't necessarily work for another. I can make money all day long selling Mysterious Fortune Cards on my server, but on your server, you might find that there's just no profit to be had in selling them -- if they even sell at all.
Certainly, there are a lot of factors responsible for this. Individual sellers have individual personalities and individual strategies. But beyond this, whether or not you're playing on a high-population server has a major effect on strategy as well. On one server, there may be 10 different people regularly trying to sell Flask of the Draconic Mind. On another, there may be no sellers -- because there aren't any buyers. Server choice matters. A lot.
We'll discuss the in and outs of both the low-population server and the high-population ones, because there are so many different strategies that work on one that don't work well on another. This week, though, we'll start with the most common scenario: The seller who find himself playing on a bustling server with what seems like an infinite amount of AH competition.
One of my all-time favorite television shows as a child was $ale of the Century. It was a simple question-and-answer game show with a twist: All correct answers only awarded contestants with $5. However, at various points in the show, contestants would be given the chance to buy thousands of dollars worth of prizes for next to nothing -- a new recliner for $8, a trip to Hawaii for $17.
It was a special economy all its own. A trip to Hawaii could cost $2,176 in one place while costing $17 in another. It's the same good ol' U.S. currency -- it's just that $17 has a far greater value in one context than $2,176 has in another.
Like said game, the patch 4.3 PTR operates by a bizarre set of economic rules all its own, if you can even call them rules. It's the wild west of economies. Anything goes. The fantastic BOE Mekgineer's Chopper is normally valued at 15,000 gold. But today, on Sale of the Azerothian Century, that Chopper can be yours for only ... 1 silver. Or 240,000 gold. Depends on who your seller is.
If the WoW economy operates according to the simple principles of supply and demand, then it should really be no surprise that new patches provide one of the most compelling opportunities for players to make a lot of money quickly. New patches bring previously inactive players back to the game and increase the activity of the rest of us. They increase demand. And increased demand is going to mean an opportunity to rake in cash -- so long as we, as auctioneers, are prepared to meet that demand.
The news for patch 4.3 is coming at a fast and furious pace now, which means the actual launch of the patch can't be too far behind. It also means we're at the ideal time to start preparing for the patch 4.3 market -- far out enough that materials are readily (and cheaply) available, but close enough that you won't have to wait forever to get that money back.
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.
I will admit, I'm a sucker for collecting in-game pets. Maybe it's because I like having someone following me around, even when I'm soloing content. Maybe it's just because of the obsessive-compulsive Pokemon instinct, where I gotta catch em all regardless of the consequences. Maybe it's just because I like tiny animals that depend on me.
The jewelcrafting shuffle used to be an incredibly lucrative way to make money. It was simple: You went to the Auction House, bought out the stock of ore, and then hit your prospecting key as fast as you could. You'd craft what was profitable to craft; you'd vendor the raw gems that weren't otherwise useful. And because the vendor value of the raw gems was almost always more than the value of the Elementium or Obsidium Ore prospected to get those gems, we had a no-lose situation. A jewelcrafter's risk was 0; the profit potential limited only by the amount of time you had to waste doing the "shuffle."
Of course, that was prior to patch 4.2. After the patch, each green gem (for example, Zephyrite) saw its vendor value slashed to a mere 50 silver. The days of the jewelcrafting shuffle were over. But still, the days of profitable jewelcrafting still live on.
This past week, my Gold Capped tag-team partner Basil opined that patch 4.3 will bring epic gems. He's probably right, but that doesn't mean you have to bide your time, stockpiling Pyrite Ore until patch 4.3 to make some serious money as a JC. Let's take a second look at the old jewelcrafting shuffle and see if we can still find profit hiding in the jewelcrafting profession.
Leatherworking has a pretty bad reputation as far as World of Warcraft professions go. Some people say that the biggest problem with leatherworking is that it's a frustratingly difficult profession to level. Others say that the worst part is how hard it is to make money off it, even at 525 skill.
I can settle the argument right here: You're all right! Leatherworking is terrible on so many levels!
That doesn't mean it's entirely useless -- after all, someone has to craft those i379 epics for druids, rogues, and shaman. And it doesn't mean that it's entirely profitless, either. It's not a profession I'd recommend for raking in the big bucks, but if you're otherwise stuck with it ... we may as well discuss how to squeeze a few pieces of gold out of it.
Do you remember the moment you hit 1 gold for the first time? I do. I was killing mobs in Ashenvale, vendoring Light Feathers and other various trash drops. It was an epic moment. That first piece of gold felt like so much money.
It wasn't a lot of money, of course -- it just felt like it. But still, it was worth a heck of a lot more than one piece of gold is worth today. The reason: Azeroth suffers from a constant state of hyperinflation. The purchasing power of 1g is always falling, and it's falling quickly.
Thankfully, though, you don't have to stand by and be a victim.
We're eight months deep into the current expansion, and still, Chaos Orbs remain bind on pickup items available only by running dailies. You can't buy them with valor points. You can't buy them on the auction house. You can't hand them from one player to another.
That creates a challenge for someone who's using a trade skill to make an epic piece of gear for someone else. There's no quick and simple way to find the value of a Chaos Orb, but for sure, they do have a definite value. And to get the most money out of your profession, you need to know exactly what that value is.
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. Capitalism is the best, and communism is for dirty, Soviet-sympathizing hippies. If you disagree, email Fox or tweet him @foxvanallen so you can be added to the CIA's "list."
When I was leveling my first-ever shadow priest, I instinctively took the tailoring as one of my two main professions. I did it because I was leveling a cloth-wearing class and thought it'd be easier if I could make my gear. It never really occurred to me that I could actually make money through tailoring.
Of course, after exploring the auction house and learning more about my server's economy, I realized that I could make money with tailoring -- and in a number of different ways, to boot. It wasn't easy money, to be sure; tailoring had a lot of weird quirks that made making a lot of money challenging. It doesn't help that there are plenty of tailoring items being listed on the auction house at a price well below the material cost, either.
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. Disclaimer: Their expertise only extends to making in-game currency, because if they knew how to make millions in real-world money, they wouldn't be spending their time writing about WoW gold. Feed Fox's ego by emailing him or tweeting him at @foxvanallen.
There are hundreds of different strategies for making money once you've hit level 85, right? Max-level professions tend to be strong money-makers in the right hands, because they allow you to sell the latest and greatest items.
It's a bit of a different story while leveling, however. There are gathering professions, of course, and some can provide fledgling characters with a solid chunk of cash. There are crafting professions too, but often times low-level gear and items sell for less than the materials it takes to make them.
Making money while leveling isn't typically at the forefront of your mind when you're making your fifth alt on your home server -- after all, you can make more money running dailies at 85 than you can farming Wool Cloth. But if you're just starting out in World of Warcraft or are starting fresh on a new server without any of your main character's bank ... well, finding a way to make money while leveling is exceptionally important, especially so you can buy the much-needed conveniences that rich players take for granted, such as Flight Master's License and Expert Riding.
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. Capitalism is the best, and communism is for dirty, Soviet-sympathizing hippies. If you disagree, Email Fox or twitter him @foxvanallen so you can be added to the CIA's "list."
On June 24, 2010, I woke up at 4 a.m. I grabbed some coffee, got into my car with my roommates, and went to the Cambridgeside Galleria mall to stand in a ridiculously long line. The goal: to get an Apple iPhone 4. It was the latest and greatest thing, and we all had to have it.
A very similar dynamic is happening right now in the World of Warcraft. There are a slew of new-for-patch-4.2 items currently available on the auction house. New BOE gear from Firelands. New tailoring and leatherworking patterns. New blacksmithing plans. Living Embers. New PVP gear. They're all -- at least in theory -- high-demand items. After all, given players' insatiable lust for better gear, customers should be lining up around the (virtual) block to be buying all this stuff.
But on many servers, they're not. The demand is clearly there, but markets are struggling to function.
What happened? Why did the market break? What are players doing wrong? And how exactly are you supposed to play the market with these new-for-4.2 items?