Gold Capped: Making ridiculous sums of money on the auction house

Basil Berntsen
B. Berntsen|02.14.10

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Gold Capped: Making ridiculous sums of money 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.

Hi folks! Welcome to Gold Capped. There are many games to play in World of Warcraft: PvE, PvP, achievements, and today I'm going to introduce you to the one that people overlook-- gold making. Not just making enough to cover your expenses, but making unimaginably large quantities of gold. Making it easily, and enjoying the process.

Before I jump in, I want to introduce myself and learn a little about you guys. I have a gut feeling that the majority of players are living "paycheck to paycheck" and treat the auction house as an expensive vending machine where they can spend their hard earned dailies money. Am I right? Please select one of the options on my embedded poll!


Now that I know a little more about my reader demographics, it's only fair I tell you a little about myself. I have sold so many auctions that the counter in the statistics section for my auction alts has rolled over into negative numbers. I am currently worth about 150,000g, and that's after I bought myself a Quel'Delar and a pair of BoE boots the first couple of days after the patch launched. I suspect the reason I was picked to write this instead of someone who is already at or over the gold cap is that I've been able to accomplish this with extremely limited play time. I do most of my work in half an hour every weekday morning, leaving the rest of my time free for raiding with my hunter, writing about it at, arguing with Frostheim about it on the Hunting Party Podcast, and taking care of my other show (Call to Auction).

When you decide you want to make ridiculous sums of imaginary money, where do you start? Well, that all depends on what you have. If you have been playing for a while, chances are you have a level 80. All characters have two primary profession slots, and maybe, if you're really lucky, you'll have some professions already trained! The higher, the better.

There are two ways to make gold in WoW. Grinding and everything else. If you are literally starting from nothing, I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but unless you have a friend willing to loan you money, you're going to have to grind. You need gold to make gold in the auction house.


You can get a gathering skill and gather, you could run your character through endless 5 mans and BGs to buy epic gems and sell them, or you could go and solo old world instances and sell or disenchant the drops there to people leveling tradeskills. Grinding is the most common way people make money because, quite simply, you are creating money with an investment of nothing but time.

People can get really good at this. I know a guy that has over 20,000g and got it all from making 600g an hour mining. Another player I know has a level 80 herbalist saved to extended Ulduar 10 and 25 raid instance IDs with everything up to Freya cleared (including her keepers) [edit: but not Freya herself]. A soft reset of the instance every 30 minutes allows one to pick 10 frost lotus in her room. That's 60 lotus a day at 75g each (on my server). If you farm intelligently, you'll have more than you ever need.


I couldn't figure out how to title this section. "Professions" doesn't work because that includes gathering, "the auction house" didn't work either, because grinders use it to sell things, and "crafting" doesn't include everything in this category. Business is where this column will focus the most. There are a plethora of business opportunities for players who have the knowledge to identify them and the guts to try them out. There are also plenty of business opportunities that have little to no risk or investment, but require a lot of time to execute.

Assuming you're in a typical market with a bunch of regular players who will buy goods of all sorts and a few other auctioneers, you will find that there is an equilibrium. The riskier and more time consuming something is, the more profit there is in it. This is because your competition is going to have some risk averse people as well as some busy people, and they will have their own thresholds. If you find the perfect market that isn't risky or time consuming, you can count on someone else figuring it out too, and thereby reducing your profits.

The most popular types of business are:
  • Crafting consumables: flasks, enchanting scrolls, gems, anything players need for their PvP and PvE endeavors.
  • Crafting gear to disenchant: you can turn all kinds of base mats into enchanting mats this way.
  • Crafting gear for players who will wear it: lots of people do this, so there's less money in it.
  • Cross faction arbitrage: hard to do without two accounts, but other than the transfer fees and time (and sniper risk), it's like printing money.
  • Market price speculation: Very risky, very rewarding if you are good at market timing. Or lucky.
  • Stack size speculation: less risky- if you see eternal belt buckles for cheap in stacks of 20, you can probably assume that someone will pay more per unit to buy them in singles.
These will all get in depth 101 articles. They all have a few things in common. First, they are all much easier, less risky, and much faster with addons. The default UI can be used very efficiently for a plethora of wonderful things, however this is not one of those things. You absolutely will make more money overall when you have addons that helps you craft, mail, and post auctions. You would also be well served with a bag mod and some informational mods that let you know when alts have something you need.

Additionally, these businesses all share a barrier to entry. You need to invest time and gold in order to get them going.This means that your competition has to have spent the same time and gold you did to even consider competing with you.

Tune in as I spend the next few weeks talking about how to identify and execute business opportunities, how to configure your UI to maximize your time spent, and how to spend your ill gotten gains.

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.

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