Basil, you ignor... Kidding.
Last week, I found out that my Auction House teammate Basil Berntsen was writing an article for WoW Insider titled "The fastest way to make 10,000 gold." Before I even read the first word of the column, my first instinct was that it was a great idea for a column. My second instinct: I'll bet my idea of the fastest way to getting 10,000 gold is different than Basil's idea of what's fastest.
To be sure, Basil has some good ideas. Ore shuffling. Converting herbs to ink. But I've got my own ideas as to the fastest way to earn money.
The wrong answers
Basil's article takes pains to single out running dailies as a terrible way to make money. But I wanted to see just how bad they were. In an unscientific experiment, I subjected myself to the awful Tol Barad Peninsula dailies one last time.
It took me exactly 19 minutes 58 seconds to run the gauntlet and complete the initial set of dailies. After turning in all the quests, vendoring all the grays, and adding up the market value of all the Embersilk Cloth, I made just 233 gold. That averages to a measly 11.6 gold per minute. Basil's right, that's terrible.
But what's notable here is that running dailies isn't far worse than perhaps the most popular way of grinding for gold: farming. Hopping on my herbalist, I was able to grab 46 Whiptail and 12 Volatile Life doing a full circle around my most profitable route in Uldum. At the current market prices for each, that works out to just 19 gold per minute.
So, if the answers everyone thinks are right are actually wrong, what are the actual right answers? Let's take a look.
Laziness: It pays off
Laziness may never pay off for the lazy, but for those of us willing to put in the work, we can make some serious money off the lazy. And the best -- and quickest -- way to do this is to buy vendor items and resell them on the Auction House. Last week, commenter tyler (no relation to sycophantic boomkin blogger Caraway) said he made 900 gold selling items players needed for their Darkmoon profession quests. Selling Ice Cold Milk during the Winter Veil holiday is another time-honored tradition of profiting off the lazy.
Thankfully, though, you don't need to wait for special occasions such as those to cash in. Dust of Disappearance, for example, has proven itself as a terrific seller on the Auction House time and time again. It's required to swap out glyphs at level 85, and there are always players looking to swap glyphs. (This is especially true when raid lockouts expire on Tuesday and immediately after new patches.) Sales volume is usually pretty strong; you can sell several stacks a day on a server with a large playerbase.
Any person can go to an inscription vendor, buy Dust of Disappearance for 8g 75s, and then resell them on the Auction House for a severe markup. Admittedly, though, that's not the best way to play the market. If you've got a scribe who's leveled up through 475, you should make them yourself to maximize your profit. One Blackfallow Ink creates three Dust of Disappearance, which can easily put profit margins at 500% to 1,000%.
And while we're on the subject of inscription vendors, you can still make some pretty solid bank ferrying goods from Twilight Highlands back to Orgrimmar and Stormwind -- specifically Deathwing Scale Fragment, Scavenged Dragon Horn, Preserved Ogre Eye, Bleached Jawbone, and the Silver Charm Bracelet. There's no reason why you can't slap a 100% or 200% markup on all of these.
Doing this caters to two audiences. One is the lazy, of course. Secondly, though, you're helping out those who are trying to max out inscription but haven't yet done the series of quests required to open up the vendors in Twilight Highlands.
If your character is a scribe, pick up a few extra so you can make the three i377 PvP relics. The Vicious Charm of Triumph, Vicious Eyeball of Dominance, and Vicious Jawbone of Conquest can all be made for a few hundred gold each. I've sold them for as high as 1,500 gold, though they sell far more reliably down around their average market price of 750 g.
Quick, easy, and high-profit -- my favorite combination. Of course, we won't call any of this a tax on the lazy; that kind of language doesn't poll well with the general populace. Let's just call this ... a convenience fee.
Buy low, sell high! It's that simple, stupid advice that leads everyone to think they're kings of Wall Street even when they're just some schmuck with an Etrade account loaded up with internet stock. But buy low is so simple, so dumb ... that it actually works like a charm.
You want a simple, foolproof way to search the Auction House for bargains? Just click on the Current Bid tab in the Auction House to reorganize auctions based on the bid price. Sometimes people list auctions for an unintentionally low price. Sometimes they do it on purpose. Someone's going to win that tragically underpriced auction; it might as well be you.
It doesn't take a lot of time to do, and the right score -- often a sexy piece of transmogrification gear priced at the low, default level -- can make you hundreds of gold.
Run heroics -- no, seriously
OK, so you're scratching your head to find out how this Auction House nonsense works. That's OK, because one of the best, most guaranteed ways to make money is to just run heroics. Yes, heroics.
It's not the act of running the heroic itself that makes you all the money. I only got about 120 gold from my random heroic over the course of 24 minutes -- 180 gold if you count that I won the roll for the Chaos Orb. Where you really start seeing the money is when you monetize your justice points and your valor points. One heroic puts you 12% of the way toward an 8,000 gold pair of valor bracers like the Bracers of the Black Dream. It also put me 18% of the way toward a pair of 1,000 gold i378 justice bracers.
Doing the math, for 24 minutes worth of work, I will have made 1,314 gold once I buy and sell my bracers. That's 55 gold per minute. You can definitely do better, but there are far less profitable ways you can spend your time. Like farming.
And the right answer is ...
When the question was first posed to me, I knew the right answer immediately. It's how I made my initial fortune. And now that I'm leveling a shadow priest on Horde side without the aid of my Alliance-side bankroll, it's how I'm making my second fortune: inscription.
I won't go into the nuts and bolts of inscription here, because I've done that already. But hands down, on a gold-per-second basis, nothing I've ever done in WoW has been as profitable. If you want to read about making money with inscription, here are the relevant links:
- How I, Fox Van Allen, got to the gold cap via inscription
- Making ridiculous amounts of money by selling Mysterious Fortune Cards
- Selling glyphs for fun* and profit (*note, selling glyphs is never fun)
Inscription almost single-handedly made me 1 million gold over the course of three months. I can't say exactly what my gold per minute averaged out to there, but let's just say it was a lot higher than the 55 I'd have made running heroics.
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 email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.