Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How to make money in WOW AH

Money making in the World of Warcraft MMORPG is a touchy subject for most people. There are those who closely guard their secrets from all comers. I am not one of those. I will tell you how I make money as close as I remember it.

Seed money:

Seed money is important. I will say it over and over again if I have to;”You need money to make money”. Whether it is for repairs or supplies to do instance farming or for the more risky (yet profitable) AH investing. I will focus this essay on the AH investing as any moron with a toon can farm instances. Though in order to get the money needed to invest you will need to farm.

Instances are good for sellable items. Be it armor or weapons that can’t be used by you or materials for skill professions. Items with white names are useable by some profession. Keep the ones that stack and research the ones that do not. Who knows the white axe might be an ingredient in some Uber Axe of Death and sell for a good amount of gold/silver. If in doubt save those white items till you can get to an AH and check if they are for sale there. Some won’t be as lucrative as the greens and blues and such but can be a decent income just the same. Selling higher end vender trash is important. Keep an eye out for the money you get from certain items and try to load up on those and get rid of the items that are worth less. Seems obvious but not everyone knows or takes note of the prices received for things. Having trouble remembering? Use a notepad, I do. Before I got a real notepad there were little post-its all over my desk as well as little pieces of paper with tidbits of info on them. They aren’t important now but for important things you might as well have them near and in the same venue, i.e. notebook.

So sell everything you won’t use and keep an eye out for lucrative items. (Normal trash)

Well now you have some money and need more, but grinding for it is not what you want to do today. Well here are a few things to do.

Investing in the AH:

The best way to get some nice constant cash flowing into your coffers is to anticipate the market. How you ask? Well when is the most items bought?


Yup, people play the most on weekends. This is your time for selling ingredients to other people’s trades. It’s also the time when people are impatient. They want get some stuff made so they can raid or quest or put stuff up on the AH themselves. Here’s where you can make a little cash off people’s greed and impatience.

Regents and ingredients to various recipes.

Getting an idea of what people use the most just takes a little common sense. Alchemists will always need herbs even if they harvest themselves. You can never have enough regents for potions. Other trades need a lot of metal so ore can be a good money maker too. Blacksmiths, engineers, leather workers, and even alchemists all use some metal in their skills.

Harvesting herbs and mining ore are real good money makers. Spending as little as one hour or two dedicated to just harvesting will turn you a big profit. Placing these trade goods on the AH and undercutting the lowest just a little will get your stuff sold. Bear in mind that going too low will hurt your chances of getting a good return on your time. If there seems to be a whole lot of a certain type of trade good switch to another and hold what you have. Eventually there will be a shortage and the prices will sky rocket. In the case of flooded and depressed prices, taking a few of the lowest buyouts and saving them for later can net you some profit. That’s if you can spare the money to do so.

Items Required for a Trade Skill or a Quest:

There are a few items made by profession skills that are required for other professions. Such as rods made by blacksmiths are needed in enchanting or goblin rocket fuel is needed in goblin engineering. These types of items will always be sought after by players in these trades. Investing in making these items available will provide a steady income. Knowing a few of the quest related items needed for completion of quests can supplement any income. Such as copper tubes or delicate arcanite converters. Both are needed for certain quests.

Quick Cash:

If you are looking for real quick turnover on items, undercut up to fifty percent off of the lowest buyout, unless of coarse this doesn’t even get you a return on the deposit price. If you can’t get more then the deposit price on an item just sell it to a vender.

Picking an item in demand all the time can give you a constant inflow of cash. There will always be a need for smelted ores of various types, or raw ores for that matter, this will not go away ever. Herbs are also never going to go out of style.

Know Your Customer’s Needs:

Another way to get money is to know what regents are needed for the beginning levels of some trade skills and focus on gathering for those. Some high levels switch trades and need these regents to skill up. They will also more likely pay for those regents then go out and collect them. They will also be able to afford a bit more. The same pricing strategy will hold true though, they will go for the lowest pricing for the biggest amount. Note: knowing how much of a regent is needed for certain recipes and packaging the regent with just enough for those spells will increase your chances of a snap sale.

Knowing what sells all the time regardless of the pricing can net enormous amounts of money. Like the ingredients needed for the higher end enchants. Like agility enchants or the higher life and mana chest enchants.

Buy low sell high:

Pricing rare items and recipes or anything for that matter can occasionally turn up some one’s mistake. Perhaps they didn’t know that the Uber Killing Sword of Death is worth fifty gold and instead are selling it for one. Snapping up sales like this can turn in to big money. Turn around and sell them while under-cutting the lowest buy outs. This could also back fire, so be careful of deals that look too good. Take the time to look at the bid/buyout of the items you think are a really good deal. Some try to catch those tired people bidding on items late at night but putting a cheapy item up with a huge buyout and hoping some one will click on it.

Hard to reach Vender Recipes:

There are many places where people over look a vender, either for not having what they want or not having anything at all. Some vender sold items are on a limited basis with short and long respawn rates. Getting to know these instances and taking advantage of this can net a five to six hundred percent profit. If you can make it to these hard to reach stores, you are now providing a service and should be compensated for it in the price of the items. The difficulty in getting the items has an understandable impact on the price of an item. Research what is available on the AH in this regard and seek to fill that lack.

Playing The AH:

Another aspect of the AH is price, just like in the real world, is driven by supply and demand.

High demand + low supply = high price

Low demand + high supply = low price

If there is a glut on the market, buying a few of the lowest priced items can raise the pricing overall. People not using price tracking won’t know that a few hours ago the prices were lower. They will try to undercut the new lowest bids. So can you. You might not make much more then what you paid for the items but you can control the pricing in a small way. This is where saving items till the glut has passed would work.

Auction Friendly Player Made Items:

A lot of people pick there professions based on an idea; I can sell what I make for money. This is true for the most part. People will buy stuff they need rather then make it themselves or go and find something better by grinding. Knowing what people will use is hard, but can be inferred by looking at what kinds of characters are prevalent. Rogues and druids will use leather armors. Warriors and paladins use mail and plate. Mages and warlocks use cloth all the way through to level sixty. Hunters use leather then mail after level forty. Knowing that a few hunters, warriors and paladins will be looking for new armor soon can help you maneuver to fill that need. Just placing items that are attractive to certain classes will get you some cash. Understanding what stat bonuses are wanted by each class will give a clearer view of what to put up for auction.

Getting into a good habit of checking prices on the AH will over time give you a great understanding of the way prices fluctuate. It all depends on the time of day and time of the week. Any world event happening can also affect the prices. Keying your auctions toward predictable price fluctuations can be easy but requires a broad world view. Keeping an eye out for groups going to the higher dungeons will mean they will probably need potions and regents. Playing on that can and will pay off. Knowing when the fair will be in town can help. If you know people are doing turn-in quests for reputation provide the items for those at reduced prices.
You can make money by just paying attention and using common sense. People will always need certain items and be willing to pay for them. I will not get into providing services as I have yet to delve into the too much. I know I will once I have a marketable and in demand skill to sell.

Being specific won’t help here until I get some real time down on certain items. This is just a broad outline of things to think about when you are trying to make money. The market fluctuates so much that there is not going to be any particular items that will always sell for big money. This is often times because when people see an item going for a lot of gold they will take the time to farm their own supply to cash in on the pricings. Be sure to never put more then 3 or 4 of any particular item up. Make it seem that they are limited. Pricing can be regulated this way. If too many of one item is up for sale it reduces the prices for that item. It makes it seem that the item is easy to come by. People will then wait for a better deal to come along. Scarcity is your fiend when playing the AH.


Jak said...

Great article on the AH mate. It's complex, almost a game unto itself. I chuckled when I read about your notebook. Do you still use it? Once I started using Auctioneer the notebook's been gathering dust, but on the other hand I don't have the control or grasp of the AH market as I did back then. Now I'm under Auctioneer's almost total control and rely on it wayyyyy more than I should, but my playing time doesn't allow me to effectively work the AH like I used to. Thanks for a great write up and gettin me thinking about all the intricacies the WoW AH economy has again.

Mindkiller said...

I doo still have the notebook. I make notations almost every time i play. Most times it's used to give me breakdowns for item creations, but i doo hae a few pages of items I track if the prices change cnstantly. I don't use Auctioneer just be cause i trust my memory more. I keep several trends on different items in memory all the time. It updates everytime I check the AH for certain things. Same idea cept I can scan the AH in like 2 minutes for just the items I want. Another thing I can do better then the AH is I have archives ion my head going back 1 year so I can pridict certain trends with decent accuracies. Like some of the wihter items will be real profitable come say june/july whern the market has run out of them. I got stockpiles of xmas stuff on mules waiting for the market to rise. Pretty sure i can make 1000% profit on them. Also i don't need to be uprgraded every time they change the versions. As for the comlpexity ..yeah it can be. The only way to make it less so is to focus on a few items that are easy for you to track/farm for profit and not get bogged down by the sheer mass of the market.

Tomas said...

I can't even remember where the AH is most of the time...


Anonymous said...

A good attempt at explaining the AH, but has failed to enlighten me, I already know all of this, and a lot more. Though I did learn a few things; no one tells a secret.

Mindkiller said...

@Anon: This was my attempt at a guide. Limited as it is, it still contains the basics of monoey making. These few ideas are by thier very nature, nessesarily general. I can't just say, " Buy all of [ItemX] and resell it for higher then you baught it" Cuz that would be only limited in use and availability. The WOW AH is a fluid and ever changing environment. There are always going to be fluctuations so severe that to limit oneself to some static plan will in the end cost you a great deal of gold and time for little profit.

There is no secret to getting rich off the AH. It takes time. Even if you get lucky and get a rare/epic item/recipe, you are not going to automaticlly become a bazillionaire. Even selling these is heavily keyed on market demand and changes based on the populations age.

If you want gold right now, go buy some off a website, gl with that. I wrote this small excerp for myself and the few who genuinely have an interest in playng the market longterm and generating a steady income with minimal expence.I do however admit that I have neglected to update anything here with any new ideas i have learned since I wrote this. I will attempt to put down some other learned lessons sometime in the future.