Gold Capped: Making gold with alchemy

Basil Berntsen
B. Berntsen|04.21.10

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Gold Capped: Making gold with alchemy

Want to get Gold Capped? This column shows you how. Join author Basil "Euripides" Berntsen, also of, the Hunting Party podcast and the Call to Auction podcast.

Alchemy is an awesome way to make money in WoW. As we've said before, some businesses are proactive, requiring you to invest time and money in order to make profits. Some are reactive, allowing you to use a cooldown to craft something that's in demand for smallish volume of sales at high profit. Alchemy is unique in the sense that it allows you to both! You can craft and sell potions, flasks and elixirs, and you can transmute an epic gem once a day and Titanium Bars without a cooldown since patch 3.3.

Alchemy mastery specialization choice

Let's start with the easy part. Assuming you have an alchemist at 450 skill, you will really want to get a specialization.You have to choose between one of the three possibilities, unless you're crazy like some of my auctioneer buddies who have more than one alchemist!
  • Transmutation mastery is the most common spec among auctioneers. It allows you to proc extra items whenever you transmute. This is key if you're into the saronite-to-titanium market, and is well worth the time and money needed to get it solely based on the epic gem transmutes. You need to pick up the quest Master of Transmutation all the way back in Netherstorm.
  • Elixir mastery (or flask mastery, as it should have been called) is another specialization you can get. It lets you proc additional freebies when you're making flasks, battle elixirs or guardian elixirs. You need to start off at the "Master of Elixirs" quest in the Shattrath's Lower City.
  • Potion mastery is the last option, and (you guessed it!) it allows you to proc additional potions. The quest you must complete to get this is Master of Potions in the Cenarion Expedition area of Zangarmarsh.
You choice between these specs should be based on what you see yourself doing the most. If you make a lot of flasks but only transmute your daily epic gem, the extra yield on your flasks will be more profit than extra epic gem yield. One important thing to note: if you change your mind and want to switch, you just need to pay 150g and won't have to do the quest again.

Selling flasks and elixirs

Raiders are your biggest market for flasks and elixirs. Obviously, this means that your big nights will happen on the instance resets and weekends, when most people are in raids. I find that there's more competition on weekends, though, so focus my efforts on Tuesdays.

Your two biggest sellers are going to be:
  • Flask of Endless Rage is the physical DPS flask of choice. It's not the best for all specs and all classes, but it's certainly the most popular, because it lasts through death.
  • Flask of the Frost Wyrm is the caster flask of choice, as well as the choice of many healers.
You will see some sales if you list Flasks of Stoneblood for tanks and Flask of Pure Mojo for those classes that need mana regen; however, not in nearly the volume the first two will see. You should also consider doing your Northrend Alchemy Research every three days until you have all the elixirs. These don't sell as fast, but they do sell, and the barrier to entry for the market is higher than it is for the bread and butter flasks. As with all products like this, make sure you remember to vary your stack size when you're selling them.

Selling potions

Potions are another big seller on raid nights. Most people like to have a stack of something or other on them when they're doing their end-game raiding or PvP. Guess what? The good ones are discovered by Northrend Alchemy Research again. Every three days! Don't forget!

Your big sellers are the obvious ones: These potions restore health or mana or increase butt-kickery for short periods of time. There's a much longer list of potions that may sell, but these are the primary ones. Also, there's a bunch of really specific resist potions that are rareish drops off of specific mobs in Icecrown. These absorb damage of a particular school of magic but are rarely called for on the AH (at least when I checked last).

Transmutation consideration

The last, and often most profitable, way to make money with an alchemist is transmutation. There are a bunch of transmutations that share a cooldown. If you transmute an epic gem, you can't transmute an eternal, for example. Anyway, now that the titanium transmutation has no cooldown, this is a large money-maker -- more so if you can buy Saronite Ore and smelt it yourself into Saronite Bars. Whether you sell the titanium or use it to craft something else that's profitable, this is probably the cheapest way to get it, especially if you factor in the extra 20% from transmute mastery.

Transmuting epic gems basically free money. You start off with the ability to make anything but Cardinal Rubies (which require a quest); however, these days, the other ones are often more profitable. Especially since anyone can buy a Cardinal Ruby for 10,000 honor now. Look at the price of the mats for each epic gem, and look at the price for the raw gem. Whatever has the highest margin, do that. Even if you're prospecting saronite for your mats, take the most profitable one. The fact that you paid less for your mats doesn't mean that they're worth less. If you find that the Eye of Zul is the best margin, just sell your Scarlet Rubies (or cut and sell them).

Anyways, no matter how much or little thought you put into it, make sure you transmute something every day.

[image credit: Amy Loves Yah via 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 trade skills.
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