Making money in game can seem complex. Well, it is. The real pros have addons and UI customizations most people would never bother developing, keen understanding of the chains of supply and demand in the in-game economy, as well as inordinate amounts of time to spend in the auction house. What if you're just out to fund your epic flyer, though?
If you're reading my column to see whether there's a cap on the amount of gold you can stuff into a guild bank, chances are you've already carved out a niche for yourself. If, however, you don't plan on spending any more time in the AH than you absolutely need to, what can you do to make more money there than you make grinding dailies?
Let's look at the characteristics of the kind of business that best suits the part-timer, or someone with limited interest:
- Low up-front investment: you want to be able to start without having to grind and do dailies to get start-up capital
- Minimal risk: you don't want to lose money, you want to make it
- Low complexity: if it requires three addons and the need to write macros to be profitable, it's not easy money
Making money has never been easier. Blizzard has had years to work on quality of life improvements that have delivered us unprecedented ease of doing business. Significantly, the auction house now contains, as a base, some of the very functionality that we used to rely on addons for: the ability to post multiple auctions at the same time.
Market prices swing reliably week over week. Tuesdays are big raid nights, and Saturday and Sunday have the most people playing casually. This leads to certain items being reliably more expensive or cheap one night or another.
- Things raiders need will sell for higher prices on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Look into gems, enchantments, flasks, potions, enchanting mats and stat food.
- Things raiders sell tend to get cheaper that day -- specifically Primordial Saronite, which is in much higher supply when people get their weekly ration of Emblems of Frost. I wouldn't suggest trying too hard on this one, though, because these things will only drop in the long run. Still, week to week, you can count on the supply being much higher on Tuesdays than, say, Saturdays.
- Things that 10-man PUGs need are in higher demand on Tuesdays and Saturdays: Drums of the Wild, Forgotten Kings and Runescroll of Fortitude all provide buffs that are often missing in 10-mans.
- Raw materials (herbs, ore, leather, etc.) all tend to be cheaper early in the mornings.
Sometimes people sell things for less than what you can convert them to. I'm going to include some common ones that require tradeskills here; however, if you don't have access to the required skill, see if your friends do.
- If you see Cobalt Ore selling for 25g a stack where the bars are going for 40g a stack, smelt them with a miner and sell the bars.
- If you see Borean Leather Scraps going for less than one-fifth of the price of Borean Leather, you don't even need a leatherworker to convert them.
- If Borean Leather is going for less than one-sixth of Heavy Borean Leather, find a leatherworker to make that conversion for you.
- If Heavy Borean Leather is less than one-tenth of the price for an Arctic Fur, visit Braeg Stoutbeard in Dalaran and you can trade them 10 for 1, no trade skills needed.
- If Frozen Orbs are going for less than anything Frozo sells (notably Crusader Orbs, Runed Orbs and Eternal Fire), buy the orbs and sell the trade-in.
- If Crystallized Fire is more than one-tenth of Eternal Fire (same goes for any other elemental), you can break the eternals down and sell the crystals.
The best market you have will probably be the trade skills you have access to. No matter what level they are, most crafting professions have something they can make for a profit. A large number of posts I've written so far have been about how to use trade skills to make money. Even if you have a gathering profession, see if any of the conversions you can make are worth money.
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 trade skills.