Moved from premium, enjoy!
This will be the fourth installment of my Mastery Guides series. Make sure to check my signature for a full list of guides!
Standard disclaimer: My intention was to make this guide as newbie-friendly as possible, so the steps below are fairly detailed. You should nonetheless be familiar with the very basics of TSM. For this I always recommend @PhatLewts TSM video series. Make sure to check out his blog and drop him some rep while you're at it.
The Mastery series has been about scrutinizing and re-inventing the way in which we make gold with professions or with certain addons. When I initially set out to produce the Jewelcrafting and Enchanting mastery guides, I expected to refine my strategies. Rather, I found myself patching up gaping holes in my strategies and filling markets I didn't even know existed.
Mining was no different. The inconspicuous profession, in my opinion, is criminally overlooked by gold-makers everywhere. This screenshot should give you an idea of what I'm talking about:
In the right environment, I would say it's reasonable to expect 4000g in daily profits. You should expect lower profits on smaller realms (~2k), but higher margins and less volume. By the way, this is done as a casual player, so these strategies won't necessitate inordinate amounts of play time on your part (see my TUJ profile). You can pull in far more if you have the luxury of re-posting often (I don't).
Here's a quick summary of what we're going to do;
- Optimize our inventory.
- Identify target markets.
- Determine target prices for bars using The Undermine Journal.
- Determine rough daily volumes using WoWuction.
- Implement and fine-tune everything within TradeSkillMaster.
The screenshot above shows what a goblin's mining inventory would have looked like before the stacking change. I'm leaving it here for nostalgia sake. When things get tough, just remember how things were back in the old days!
The first step is to prepare your inventory for the massive stock of bars and ores you're going to be storing. The inventory demands for smelting in WoD are nothing like they were in MoP, but you should still take proper steps to ensure everything is clean.
At the very least, you'll want to equip some or . These are currently the largest mining bag available in-game and store 36 ores/bars. Four full slots (backpack and remaining slots) gives you a total of 160 slots dedicated to mining goods. Unless you're a packrat, you won't need all 160 slots, thanks to new stacking rules in WoD (all bars and ores to 200). The bags Triple-Reinforced bag require 3 and 15 to create. A Pristine Hide can be bought with 10 , by the way. The Burnished Bag takes 10 and 50 .
Done? Good. The next step is to install an addon to keep your inventory tidy. Download and install Bagnon (a bag and inventory interface addon).
The addon is very minimalistic, so I won't be posting screenshots. In Bagnon settings, I like to set my item highlights very brightly so that item quality stands out. You can also adjust the number of columns of your bags to fit the screen. This addon also removes unnecessary Blizzard art from your bags, so that the UI real estate is purely dedicated to what matters.
Before proceeding to the next step, you need to identify which bars you're going to be smelting. This part requires some level of intuition and experience on your part. As a rule of thumb, I don't smelt bars unless I can make 1g per ore (with a couple exceptions). For me (and for many of you readers), the list of sellers will consist of the following bars:
And will exclude:
From my experience the above bars aren't worth the time or investment. In previous iterations of this guide, Dark Iron Bars didn't make the cut. I've been unable to resist massive profits they offered, however, so they're back on the field for now. Just remember that smelting those bars requires a tedious trip to the dark forge - an opportunity cost that should be priced into your operations.
Your mileage will vary. Check prices on your server and add/remove items to the list as you see fit!
I want to take some time to discuss overcutting. Overcutting is quite simply the practice of posting an auction at a higher price than current auctions. For example, if stacks of Fel Iron Bars are posted for 65g each, you might post your auctions for 80g or more, hoping to sell your goods anyway.
The opposite strategy, undercutting, has been shoved down goldmakers' throats for years, so much that it's hard to even find a mention of overcutting anywhere in the gold blogosphere.
The most notable mention of overcutting is by our very own @Argalin here. You should take some time to read the entire post!
Check out the price chart for Obsidium Bar over the past 3 months (courtesy of The Undermine Journal):
The chart tells us a few things. First, it's evident that the price of Obsidium Bars fluctuates quite a bit! Buyers of Obsidium Bars often require large quantities (for leveling professions) and the resulting spike in demand often cuts deep into the "order book". When there isn't much demand, bars dip to 5g (black line). When there is demand, they peak to 8g+ or more (green line).
With that in mind, it seems only logical to sell our bars at price peaks, no less!
Enter DBHistorical, stage left. What is DBHistorical? Quite simply, this is a relatively new pricing source that gives the average market price for an item over the past 60 days. It's terrible for realtime pricing snapshots, but absolutely brilliant for determine long-term established value of any given item.
In the past, we had to manually determine the "upper boundary" of an item's value with pricing charts, astrology and tarot cards. DBHistorical takes this burden away completely.
Go ahead and open up the 2-3 month TUJ, WoWuction or TSM chart for any random bar you plan on selling. As a general rule of thumb, DBHistorical will be ~90% of the upper boundary for market price. We'll keep that in mind as we build out pricing models.
Next, download and open up this simple spreadsheet.
There are four columns of interest here. The Target Price, Bar column (1) is the price you want to sell bars, at a minimum. I won't sell mine for any less than 110% of DBHistorical. In other words, I don't sell them unless the price has peaked. The Buy Price columns (2) indicate the price at which you want to buy bars, ore, and ore nuggets. This is based on the price of the final product (the bar). For example, it takes 1 Cobalt Ore to make 1 Cobalt Ore. If a Cobalt Bar sells for 4g, we purchase Ores at 70% this price (2.8g). Pretty simple. Certain Bars take more than 1 Ore, so the price is adjusted with that in mind. New in WoD are nuggets, you can combine 10 of these to make a single Ore. This price should be 10% of your price for Ores.
The Shopping Strings (3) are generated based on the data you input. You can copy-paste these into your shopping operations.
The last group of columns (4) have to do with Auctioning and Crafting. More on that coming right up.
Head over to WoWuction and navigate to your server and faction. WoWuction is unique in that it attempts to track item volume sales per day. This allows you to tweak your stock quantities for each bar rather than posting random quantities. It's not infallible, but it's a great starting point. Once you start selling bars, you will get a better idea of sales volumes and can start adjusting quantities up or down. It's also wise to adjust quantities when the game heats up (expansions, patches, etc). Oh, and it goes without saying; don't use my values. They're not representative of your server's economy!
Take Estimated Quantity Sold Per Day and put it in column "I" Est Sold. Do this for all the ores you wish to sell. Next, you need to decide what portion of this daily Estimated Sold quantity to list at the AH. I usually go for a 1:1 ratio, but you'll notice I've been liberal with tweaking values a bit. You can also modify this at your discretion.
Lastly, fill out the "K" column (inventory). This represents the amount of each bar you want to store across your entire inventory (including your personal and guild bank).
Save the spreadsheet and keep it open - you're going to need it to set up TSM.
The setup I'm going to show you is unlike any TSM setup you've ever seen. We're going to rely heavily on overcutting rather than undercutting at every turn. Since each bar will have very specific pricing and volume parameters, they will need their own group. Needless to say, setting this up is tedious, so set aside a solid 20 minutes.
The small labels on the image above will guide you through the process of setting up TSM.
Go to the groups tab (1), click on Groups and create a new group named Mining. Highlight the Mining group, and under the Import/Export tab, copy-paste the following code:
This will import the groups and items as I've set them up - so you will need to tweak them from here. If you need to add/remove items, do so now. Note that Move Already Grouped Items will take items from other groups and put them in these new groups.Code:group:Bars`1 - Dark Iron Bar,11371,group:Bars`1 - Mithril Bar,3860,group:Bars`1 - Silver Bar,2842,group:Bars`1 - Steel Bar,3859,group:Bars`1 - Thorium Bar,12359,group:Bars`2 - Adamantite Bar,23446,group:Bars`2 - Fel Iron Bar,23445,group:Bars`2 - Khorium Bar,23449,group:Bars`3 - Cobalt Bar,36916,group:Bars`3 - Saronite Bar,36913,group:Bars`3 - Titanium Bar,41163,group:Bars`3 - Titansteel Bar,37663,group:Bars`4 - Elementium Bar,52186,group:Bars`4 - Obsidium Bar,54849,group:Bars`5 - Ghost Iron Bar,72096,group:Bars`5 - Trillium Bar,72095,group:Ores`1 - Dark Iron Ore,11370,group:Ores`1 - Iron Ore,2772,3575,group:Ores`1 - Iron Ore`Iron Nugget,108297,group:Ores`1 - Mithril Ore,3858,group:Ores`1 - Mithril Ore`Mithril Nugget,108300,group:Ores`1 - Silver Ore,2775,group:Ores`1 - Silver Ore`Silver Nugget,108294,group:Ores`1 - Thorium Ore,10620,group:Ores`1 - Thorium Ore`Thorium Nugget,108298,group:Ores`2 - Adamantite Ore,23425,group:Ores`2 - Adamantite Ore`Adamantite Nugget,108302,group:Ores`2 - Fel Iron Ore,23424,group:Ores`2 - Fel Iron Ore`Fel Iron Nugget,108301,group:Ores`2 - Khorium Ore,23426,group:Ores`2 - Khorium Ore`Khorium Nugget,108304,group:Ores`3 - Cobalt Ore,36909,group:Ores`3 - Cobalt Ore`Cobalt Nugget,108305,group:Ores`3 - Eternals,35624,35627,36860,37701,37702,37703,group:Ores`3 - Saronite Ore,36912,group:Ores`3 - Saronite Ore`Saronite Nugget,108306,group:Ores`3 - Titanium Ore,36910,group:Ores`3 - Titanium Ore`Titanium Nugget,108391,group:Ores`4 - Elementium Ore,52185,group:Ores`4 - Elementium Ore`Elementium Nugget,108308,group:Ores`4 - Obsidium Ore,53038,group:Ores`4 - Obsidium Ore`Obsidium Nugget,108307,group:Ores`5 - Ghost Iron Ore,72092,group:Ores`5 - Ghost Iron Ore`Ghost Iron Nugget,97512,group:Ores`5 - Trillium Ore,72094,72103
You now have an organized group tree for all mining goods!
Now it's time to build Auctioning operations that will govern how bars are sold at the AH. This is one of the more tedious parts. Since we'll be using similar auctioning operations for selling, we can create custom sources to make things a bit easier. Open up TSM and hit Custom Price Source, in red. Here I've created 4 custom sources. A minimum selling price of 110% DBHistorical, normal of 125%, and max of 175%. I also have a 70% DBHistorical custom price for buying bars. This enables me to easily change all buying/selling of bars by changing a single line. This can be done with relationships too, but we can do that in another guide.
Now, under the Operations label, click Auctioning. Highlight Operations and create operations for each of the bars you intend on selling. You can number them by tier, if you prefer (as I did).
Do not turn your brain off. Do not use my settings.
- Duration: Tweak this at your discretion. You will not be re-posting bars, so there's no point in making this 12 hours for the purpose of resetting your price. Use 12 hours if you think you can be present when auctions expire. Use 48 hours if you want a more hands-off approach. I use 24 hours because I'm on a consistent schedule of re-posting when I get home from work.
- Stack size: I use small stacks for rarer bars such as Titansteel, Khorium and Dark Iron. Otherwise I use stacks of 20. Larger stacks are often unattractive to buyers looking for exact quantities. If you're a real keener, make auctioning groups for stack sizes of 10, 5 and 1.
- Post cap: Refer to spreadsheet! This is the total number of auctions you want at the AH. For Mithril, I wanted to list a total of 580 bars at the AH, so I set this to 29 in order to achieve that (29 auctions x stacks of 20 = 580 bars).
- Minimum, Maximum and Normal Price: Refer to spreadsheet. You can (and should) tweak this, rather than using my values.
- When Below Minimum: When auctions are posted below your minimum, you want to post your auctions anyway. You'll do this in anticipation of other cheaper auctions being bought up. This is the overcutting concept we talked about earlier.
- When Above Maximum: Our maximum is already pretty high, so it's wise to post at maximum if current auctions are priced sky-high.
Configure Auctioning operations for all your bars.
This stage is somewhat optional. Crafting operations help you track the number of bars you need to stock up on. The alternative is to skip crafting operations altogether, and simply buy up any cheap ores/bars you see at the AH without any consideration for inventory space. This is what I prefer - I simply mail any overstock to an alt.
If you wish to set up these crafting operations, go to the Crafting label (2b) and highlight Operations. Create crafting operations for each bar you wish to sell. The only configuration needed here is Max Restock Quantity. Remember the Inventory column in the spreadsheet? Use that value here.
This part is tedious but absolutely necessary. Shopping operations dictate the price you're willing to pay for Nuggets, Ores and Bars. Under Shopping Operations highlight Operations and create operations for every nugget, ore, bar, and reagents you need to buy. This includes goods like Eternal Earth if you wish to smelt Titansteel.
There's only 1 option you need to configure here, and that's Maximum Price Per item. For ores, this is the price string from column I in the spreadsheet, cost/ore. The shopping price for bars should be its equivalent price in ores, and so forth for nuggets (10 nuggets per ore).
Grab a sandwich, put on some Pink Floyd and work your way through all the shopping operations, setting the proper string as provided by the spreadsheet. It takes a while, but again, it's worth it!
Go back to your Mining group, and start assigning operations for each subgroup you created earlier. You can assign a mailing operation directly to the entire Mining group to have any bar/ore mailed directly to that character.
Here's what you should see when you run a group search at the AH using the shopping operations specified.
This is a sample screenshot of the crafting window telling me I need to craft quite a few Mithril Bars, amongst others!
Edit: There are TONS of extras in @Argalin's guide, so go read it!
If you find yourself with too much stock, consider flipping Ores, too. Most ores can be used to level up mining via smelting. Rare ores, such as Silver, Gold, and Truesilver, can be highly valuable to certain players looking to level mining. They're also used by jewelcrafters and other miners looking to make their own bars. If you find yourself with too many of these ores, don't smelt them all! Smelt half, and list the rest as raw singles at the Auction House. You'll be surprised how often you can get away gouging on them.
This is where I put the standard disclaimer regarding mileage and how yours will vary. I've had tremendous success using these methods and continue to expand them across other professions, including leatherworking and enchanting.
I've been wrong once or twice before, so by any means, if you notice an area that could use some improvement, let me know and I'll gladly edit the guide and give you credit.
Once again, thanks for reading and don't spend all your newfound gold in one place!