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How to make gold without breaking (much of) a sweat

Making money in World of Warcraft can be a drag, requiring boring grinding or spending tedious hours watching price fluctuations in the auction house. And, while there's tons of advice out there on how WoW players can make piles of gold, it tends to be more involved than my attention span allows. (Though if your attention span does allow, you should go for it!) This is, after all, a game I am supposedly playing for fun: spending my fun time farming leather turns it into not fun time pretty quickly.

However, fortunately for me (and those like me), you can turn a decent profit in WoW without jumping through many hoops -- even at low levels. All it takes is paying attention to the loot you find and following a few general guidelines, and you can make enough gold to buy (almost) anything you want as you level your way to greatness. Sound too good to be true? It's really not. So if you're a new character or rolling on a new server and want to be sure you have the gold to buy anything you might need on the trip to level 90, read on! (If you're already at max level, you may find a few useful tips here, but Gold Capped caters more to end-game players.)

How to make gold without breaking much of a sweat
Go gatherer
When you first make your character, the best money-making advantage you can give yourself is to pick up two gathering professions. Your options here are herbalism, skinning, and mining -- and which combination is best really depends on your server's economy, which can change at the drop of a hat. So pick whatever strikes your fancy and collect every herb, ore, and animal skin you encounter while you're out questing. (Be sure to have plenty of back space so you can bring your haul back to town: 16-slot Netherweave Bags tend to be fairly affordable on the auction house, so buy up bag space early!) With two gathering (and no crafting) professions, everything you gather can be put on the auction house to sell, netting you a tidy profit since there are plenty of players who would rather buy materials than farm them.

If you're really keen on a crafting profession, then go for it -- no amount of gold is better than having fun in the game -- but to keep your costs from spiraling out of control, we strongly recommend picking up profession that gathers the right materials for feeding your crafting inclinations. If you gather your own materials while you level, you'll be gaining experience and saving on the cost of materials -- and you can still put any spare materials up on the auction house for a profit. And as you're leveling, check if anything that will give you a skill up sells well on the auction house -- while it's unlikely that most of your leveling up crafting will be very valuable (in most cases the raw materials will be worth more), every little bit of gold helps.

One very viable alternative to two gathering professions is to pick up enchanting and a gathering profession. Why? Because enchanting allows you to disenchant gear you come across for enchanting supplies that can often be worth well more than the gear itself. You can disenchant gear you're not going to use and, if you've got a particularly go-getter attitude, hunt the auction house for cheap green items to buy and disenchant -- selling the resulting enchanting materials back on the auction house for a profit. However, sometimes you'll find that greens sell well on their own because people want to use their look for transmogrification -- so if you run into something that looks particularly interesting, you might want to save it to sell as-is!

Pick up everything -- and sell it!
Almost everything you encounter in the game is worth something to someone -- so pick it up, cart it back to town, and put it on the auction house! But we know that even if you've outfitted yourself with bigger bags, sometimes storage space can be scarce. Here's a few tips on what's worth hanging on to:
  • Anything with the title in white text (including the herbs, ore, and skins you're gathering) is used in a crafting recipe, is a quest turn-in, or is otherwise useful. Some of these items will be more popular than others, but chances are someone out there is looking for whatever you've got. Hang on to it and put it on the auction house.
  • Anything that looks cool is probably valuable. With transmogrification allowing all players to change the appearance of their gear, this means anything with an interesting look is probably holding on to and selling -- even if it's low-level or has lousy stats. Definitely hang on to it.
  • Anything with the title in blue or purple text (that's rare and epic gear), so long as it isn't bind on pickup, is hard to find and almost certainly worth a good price to the right buyer.
How to make gold without breaking much of a sweat
Get your addon on
If keeping track of what's worth what and what sells well sounds like a lot of work... that's because it is. Which is why, if you want to make gold as you go, I highly recommend grabbing an addon to do it for you.

If you're not familiar with addons, these are game modifications that expand the game's capabilities in certain ways (as allowed by Blizzard). In the case of auction house addons, they tend to track past and current prices to advise you on how to price things (since prices on the auction house can change day to day) and show you the latest auction prices for an item in its tooltip (so you know what it's worth without lugging it all the way to a major city). These two features make an auction house addon invaluable even for casual players of the auction house -- because it takes a task that would be tedious and turns it into something simple enough to do quickly, so you can get back to playing the game (instead of the money-making mini-game the auction house is).

Though your mileage may vary, the two most popular auction house addons at the moment are Auctioneer and Auctionator. Whichever one you choose, addons are simple to install: just download the addon to your computer , unzip the file, and place it in the /Interface/AddOns/ folder in your World of Warcraft directory. Once you start up WoW, your new addon should be in place!

If these two addons aren't enough, check out Curse's Auction & Economy section for more handy auctioning addons (the most popular are listed at the top) and Gold Capped's 5 favorite addons.

And now, fellow newbies, I wish you happy gold-making!

Just because you're a newbie doesn't mean you can't bring your A-game to World of Warcraft! Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from the seven things every newbie ought to know to how to get started as a healer or as a tank.

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