Gold Capped: Using blacksmithing to make gold on the auction house

Want to get Gold Capped? This column will show you how, and is written by Basil "Euripides" Berntsen, also of, the hunting party podcast, and the call to auction podcast.

Blacksmithing is a crafting profession that has made me a lot of money. Today, we'll talk about how you can use blacksmithing as something more than a couple of extra gem slots for your main, and actually make gold! Many people with crafting skills invariably have tried linking their profession in trade and saying "tips appreciated." Has that worked for you? Me either. If you want to make money with any crafting skill, the true profits are from acquiring the mats yourself, crafting, and selling your wares over the long term. As I mentioned in my previous post, the default UI won't cut it for our purposes, so let's get cracking and set you up with a proper crafting UI.

Tools of the trade

To start with, you absolutely must have auctioneer installed. There are other addons that would work, but auctioneer is what I use, and it's widely supported with other addons we'll need. I'm not going to go into too much detail on how to use it for now, but you should download and install it. Once it's working, go to an auction house and click the blue fast forward arrow at the top of your screen. Note: that button really is blue in game :P

This process will take a little time, so be prepared to do some blank staring. What it's doing is grabbing a complete list of every auction on the auction house right now, and what you will be doing with this information is deciding what items are profitable. When it's done, auctioneer will be able to tell you the current price of any sellable commodity.

Now that auctioneer is installed and you've done a first scan, let's get an addon to apply all this data to our crafting window. Go and download the LilSparky's Workshop addon. Now when you open your blacksmithing window, you are presented with a list of recipes you can make, as well as two new numbers: their cost and price, and the difference is your profits. Now the first thing we need to be aware of is that, out of the box, these addons will be telling you what they think you can sell something for if you're firm on price and there's a fair bit of demand. If, however, you plan on undercutting to make a quick sale, you need to change some configurations. Right click on the first of the two numbers (your sell price), and click the following option: value module- auctioneer min buyout.

Now right click the right number (your cost) and choose cost module- auctioneer market:

What you just did was tell Lil'Sparky to approximate the cost based on auctioneer's market data, and calculate how much you can sell it for based on if you undercut the lowest buyout. If you only have one scan, you should double check the cost data for a while, and auctioneer might feed some wildly skewed numbers out until it's seen a few weeks of data.

Crafting for profits

Now when you look at your crafting window, you see when something is profitable, and you can focus on crafting these. That wasn't so hard, was it? Here's the interesting part. You'll probably note in a couple of days that some of the most profitable items come back unsold, even though you were the lowest price and weren't undercut. This is because these items are niche items with a very low demand. For example-- BoE blue equipment. The real skill in managing a crafting profession like blacksmithing is learning (or being able to predict) what items are in high demand and are still profitable. If you have the inventory space, auction house listing fee money, and patience, you can list high profit/low volume items on the AH and serve what people like to call the "long tail" of the market. Most of your auctions will come back unsold, but the ones that don't will have sold for considerably more profit than something where you have lots of demand (and lots of competitors).

Now let's look down the list a little bit until we find the high demand items. Typically for any profession, the consumables are where the money is. Since the majority of blacksmithing's recipes are going to be gear, I'll save you the time and tell you the consumables you want to focus on:
There aren't many types of items to manage here, but they do sell faster than gear. The belt buckles, in particular, can quite possibly make you boatloads of gold for very little time invested. Go and see how profitable these items are, and start looking for cheap mats to make them. The cheaper you get your mats, the more money you make.

Making profits on the buy side

Learning to increase your average sell price is hard, and beyond the scope of this post. You can, however, always make more profits by buying lower priced mats. The tried and true methods for this are to advertise in trade chat, however if you simply post a "WTB x [cheap], pst" you'll probably meet limited success. Most people responding to trade WTBers are looking to sell for more money that we're willing to spend. Also, even when it's really cheap, it's usually a one time thing. Your best bet is to advertise something like "Looking for miners, pst" and to everyone who sends you a tell, ask them whether they'd be willing to farm saronite (or cobalt, or whatever) for you, and how much they would charge. Tell them it would be a long term cash on delivery relationship, that you collect mail twice a day, and you tip for large batches.

[Image credit: Flickr]

bringin' sexy back!Being an auctioneer is like being able to print money. Or gold, as it were. Wait, that doesn't make sense... you can print on gold, but you can't print gold. That would be closer to transmutation? I can transmute titanium, but that's only worth it if the price of saronite is low enough to justify the time spent making it. I need some sort of analogy here. Whatever, I'll figure it out later. Making gold? Every week, Gold Capped will teach you the tricks of the trade. From setting up your auction addons and user interface, to cross faction arbitrage, to learning how to use your tradeskills.

This article was originally published on WoW Insider.