If you can make blue PVP and leveling gear, you can make a lot of gold. Blacksmithing is one of my most profitable businesses, and almost all of the money I've made is from that gear. Sure, belt buckles are great cash when there's no massive undercutting war, but every night a couple of people kit out their plate alts with my Hardened Obsidium gear or start a PVP set with my Bloodthirsty Pyrium gear.
There are three professions that you can use for this market: blacksmithing, leatherworking, and tailoring. All three of them have gear that is appealing for alts and new characters; however, be aware that some of this gear is made by people leveling the trade skill and isn't worth making.
Addons not optional
The best protection from unprofitable recipes is a good addon. You could theoretically participate in this business without an addon, but you'd simply have to do on paper what addons can do much more efficiently. My esteemed colleague Fox has a good guide for getting started with some good AH addons. I'd particularly suggest reading up on Skillet and Auctionator, as those will at least show you the information you need. Using them to sell all the PVP gear in your profession might require some manual heavy lifting, though.
If you want to use an addon that will do everything, including showing you which items are profitable to make (and thereby avoid making items that get spammed out in bulk by people leveling their trade skill), you really do need TradeSkillMaster.
When I log into my smith, I scan the AH, open my trade skill, click "restock queue." Now I have a list I can craft with one button, and if I'm missing mats, it tells me where to find them on my alts, or how much I need to pay if I'm out. I can do more actual work, and less idle math. Learning TSM was the single best thing I did for my gold per hour.
The best items to make for blacksmithing are:
- The PVP plate sets will sell, although the ornate gear is only usable by holy paladins and sells much slower than the other PVP plate.
- The crafted tank set is always very popular, as it's usable at level 80 and there's a large jump in instance difficulties when you hit Cataclysm content.
- The plate DPS craftables will sell, but mine tend to move slower than the tank set.
- Blacksmithing is the only trade skill that can make weapons, and there are a few of them that don't cost Chaos Orbs. Bear in mind that a few of the weapons are often way under cost, as they are required crafts for leveling the skill.
Blacksmithing does have a lot of other things you can make profitably, but they're out of the scope of this article.
The best items to make for leatherworking are PVP gear sets that sell well, and there's a good mix of classes and specs that can use all the pieces. Leatherworkers get killed in the alt gear department, though, as from what I know, none of the random enchantment Darkbrand or Tsunami gear sells at all, although it can be used to turn leather into enchanting mats. PVP gear can be a nice addition to the normal leg enchants business most profitable leatherworkers get.
The materials for the PVP gear are leather, things you can trade leather for, Blackened Dragonscale, and of course Volatiles -- again, easy to manage.
Tailoring is the other crafting profession, and tailors enjoy a full complement of PVP craftables, as well as the Deathsilk PVE gear for casters and the Spiritmend healer alt set. This is in addition to all the gear that requires Dreamcloth, which shares the same limited supply design as Chaos Orb gear for the other professions.
The materials for all the PVP and entry-level gear are cloth and Volatiles. These are both items you can't easily pay people to farm for you, so you'll have to frequently check the AH for bargains if you want to control costs.
I choose you, tailoring/blacksmithing!
So how do you choose which of these professions to start with? It's pretty clear that leatherworkers got the short end of the stick when it comes to PVE starter gear. Their PVP gear is on par, but I'd read Fox's article before you decide to try to make money with leatherworking. If you happen to already be stuck with leatherworking, hopefully this will help you eke some extra profits from it.
Tailoring and vlacksmithing are tied for first, and each has a wide variety of other types of business you can do alongside PVP and starter PVE gear. Between bags, buckles, enchanting rods, spellthreads, and everything I talked about here, blacksmithing and tailoring are two of the strongest money making professions.
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.