Hitting Gold Cap - Wot I Dun Lurnd
~or: Patronising Advice for Nooblins~
A few weeks ago I hit gold cap. Yay me! It wasn't something I was particularly planning, and I certainly took my time about it, but nevertheless I was quite pleased with my small achievement. After patting myself on the back and remembering what the outdoors looked like I got to thinking about all the different things I'd learned along the way. So in order to provide some meagre amount of edification to the readership I thought I'd throw together a little list of all my random musings on gold and cake. But in this case mostly gold.
Please remember that none of the below should be read as a hard and fast rule. What works for me may not work for you and what works on one server may not work on another. It's also aimed at the newer goblin who wants a little very general guidance, rather than some of the bigger fish that swim in these waters. But anyway, without further ado, I present my little list of wot I dun lurnd...
1 - Time is money
I know, I know, I've started with a cliche. It probably doesn't help that much in itself either, it's too vague and woolly, but it's true in so many ways. Every single one of the pointers below - knowledge, diversity, research etc. - all need time. Knowing what time of day/week to sell your goods will affect how many you sell and how much you get for them. Timing is important when haggling for stuff in trade or barking adverts for things you've made. Time is needed to set up add-ons, read websites, browse the Auction House.
But it's not just a question of spending more time playing. I really believe you could play the game 24/7 and still not have time to do absolutely everything. Instead how you spend your time becomes the most important thing you have to consider. Time is the most valuable resource you have so you've got to get the best bang for your buck.
2 - Knowledge is power (and also money)
One player may be happy to sell their shiny Trinket of Sparkly Happiness for 50g, but if you think it's actually worth closer to 500g then snatch it up and sell it on. You don't have to know the exact price of every item in the game at any given point, but having a general knowledge of what things are worth is tremendously helpful. In fact in this example it's earned you around 450g just because you knew what something was worth and the seller didn't.
You'll accumulate a lot of this knowledge just by playing the game, but don't be afraid to start reading up. There are some terrific websites out there which will help you expand your knowledge base and give you a clue as to what will (or won't) sell.
3 - Make best use of what you have
For example, if you're a leatherworker you may need a magnificent hide to make some expensive shinies that you want to sell. If you've got a choice between buying the hide from the Auction House for 150g a pop, or making them yourself from materials worth 120g, then make them yourself! It may only be a 30g saving but for the few seconds it takes then why not pocket that extra cash?
Also consider stepping off the beaten track in terms of what you craft. For example if PvP armour sets aren't selling well on your realm then how about making some bags? What about leg armor? Epic chest pieces maybe? Older transmog items? The more you look into what you can make the more you're likely to find something that will sell.
4 - Diversify
The more markets you're active in, the more money you can make. It's that simple. Even a single character can have two professions as well as all the secondary ones and they can all be profitable too! Even if you've got a really lousy, tiny server there's likely some money in there somewhere. How's the transmog market? What about making Darkmoon trinkets from the cards? Flipping valuable recipes somebody posted up for 25% of the usual price? There are many ways you can make gold in Warcraft, it can often be worth exploring a few new ones.
5 - Stay ahead of the game
The future is impossible to predict, and it can be a risky business, but if you make a good guess you can rake in a ton of cash. Read patch notes to see what's coming up. New raid? All that gear will need gems and enchants. New crafting patterns? They'll be needing some materials. Even more regular stuff can be profitable. Take the Darkmoon Faire for example. Every time it's on the price of trinkets plummet. A week or two later and you can't get them for love nor money. Holding on to the trinkets for a little while can see a massive increase in profits.
6 - Learn basic economics
I'm not saying a doctorate in financial resource management is remotely necessary but getting some sort of handle on the basics will help you immeasurably. Take 5 minutes to read up on supply and demand and apply the theory to Warcraft. Learn what is meant by opportunity cost. Then you can laugh at the noobs who think they got their ilvl 496 gloves "for free". Ha, noob!
7 - Be a cheapskate
Or as my grandad would say "a penny saved is a penny earned" before nodding sagely and falling over drunk. It's great being able to sell stuff for really high prices, but if you're paying top whack for the materials then things might not be as rosy as they seem. Profit margin is king and what you spend is every bit as important as what you earn. If you can reduce costs you'll make more money, keeping an eye out for cheap materials on a regular basis can really pay off.
8 - "If money be not thy servant, it will be thy master." - Sir Francis Bacon
Money without purpose is worthless, but the pursuit of wealth can be all consuming. Keep things in perspective, don't burn yourself out and you'll enjoy making money. Of course, if you enjoy making money, then you'll make more money... ;-)