Guide outdated and replaced by Sniper Mastery Guide!
This guide was posted over at MMO-Champion a few weeks ago. It replaced the AH Entrepreneurship Guide. I figured The Consortium would be a good home for this guide. Enjoy!
Always broke in WoW? Need that extra push to fund that expensive mount? Want to impress the girlfriend with virtual coin and expensive purses? Well I can help! I'm here today to show you how to be less broke, and more rich in WoW. I've long held an interest for WoW's metagame, whether it be twinking, multiboxing, or gold-making. I estimate that my earnings in the past few years have been just over 3 million gold. During this time I bought every single mount that gold can buy, along with several vanity items and gear for my characters. I currently hold a stockpile (more about that here) worth about 300k in anticipation for 4.2, ~800k in other assets, and a hefty amount of liquid gold;
At this point the gold is pretty meaningless. That's why I'm going to host a free contest sometime soon and give it all away.
Regardless, I've seen a few great Auction House gold guides posted here in the past, but most are incomplete or very lacking in some areas. Hopefully this one is a little more thorough . This guide will cover the following;
- Build a nest egg & start up your empire.
- Auctioneer modules;
- Resale search.
- Snatch search.
- Arbitrage search.
- Disenchant search.
- Realtime search.
- The Undermine Journal;
- Market Notifications.
- Lucrative profession markets.
- Posting & pricing automation.
- Inventory management & stock tracking.
Note: I had to narrow down the scope of this guide to keep it from getting out of hand (evidently this didn't work). I will cover over important aspects of gold-making in future guides, including professions.
My grandfather once told me "money doesn't grow on trees, but it grows on money". This applies to real life and World of Warcraft. If you're serious about making gold, you'll need a nest egg, ie: an investment capital that is constantly being re-invested.
Unfortunately there's no easy way out here, you will need to farm for a few hours. If high level zones aren't cutting it (too much competition of whatnot), keep in mind that low-level mats can often yield higher GPH (gold per hour) than conventional farming. A few random tips that might help you build a nest egg:
- Always consider lower-level zones for farming. Essence of Air (100g+), Primal Air (100g+), Adamantite Ore, Rugged Leather, Knothide Leather, etc are great sellers considering how easy they are to farm. These are just quick example of things you can farm to build that nest egg (Primal Air farming guide - courtesy of the Gold Queen).
- Vendor recipes guarantee you a good return on investment. Check out Sinshroud's guides hosted at The Consortium:
- Ironforge Limited Supply Route - 3 Minutes 32 Seconds = 7g Cost, +-1,000g.
- Dalaran Limited Supply Route - Under 5 Minutes = 700g cost and 1200g profit.
- Countless other alternatives exist, it's just a matter of thinking outside the box!
- Guide: Mechanical Chicken Farming - 16,000g+ For 2 Hours of Work. (requires 4000g investment)
- Make 3000G in 15 minutes (Cross-faction only).
- If you have a candidate to add to this list, let me know!
You're going to be scanning the AH for at least a week before spending anything, so use that time to build up your nest egg for the time being. Once you've farmed up the stash, it's time to get the ball rolling.
First things first, download Auctioneer from Curse Gaming.
(please note: some of these screenshots are a little old, auctioneer was recently updated)
Where the entrepreneur is concerned, Auctioneer is an add-on that records historical pricing data for all Auction House items. It comes with a comprehensive set of tools that allow you to analyze this data and make purchases accordingly. It is a very powerful and often overwhelming tool, but its basic features allow even a casual player to generate profit from its use. If you find the add-on a little heavy at first, you can disable several of Auctioneer's modules, and activate them one-by-one once you're comfortable moving on.
One of the very first things you need to do is collect data. You'll need 1-2 solid weeks of data collection before you can trust what Auctioneer is telling you. Some players will intentionally or inadvertently list worthless items at the AH for absurd prices (also known as poisoning), effectively throwing off Auctioneer pricing and incorrectly flagging some items as "deals". This is why it’s important to build a solid price database before doing any spending. Use discretion and common sense when buying based on Auctioneer recommendations - that 3500g Mutton Chop might look like a good deal to Auctioneer, but we know it isn’t. Conversely, Auctioneer could flag Kang the Decapitator as "above average" even at 30g - but we know this is a good deal.
TIP: If an item has been badly poisoned, you can reset its Auctioneer price by typing /auc clear [item].
Auctioneer can actively collect data through Scan or through Getall. Scan checks every page of the AH one-by-one, and is very time-intensive (in fact, I can't recall the last time I ran one of these). I recommend Getall, a function that allows you to download all AH data at once. To run a Getall search, speak to an auctioneer and type /auc getall (or keybind it). The process can take up to 2-3 minutes on slower machines, and well under 30 seconds for fast machines. You can only run a Getall search every 15 minutes, unless you log out and back in.
Running 2-3 searches per day for ~10 days should provide you with an accurate database of most item prices. Database in hand, you can now start looking for items to "flip".
Auctioneer offers several search modules that look for items fitting certain criteria specified by the user;
We're going to investigate the bolded searches, as they have been most profitable for me. Let's start off with Resale.
The simplest search type is Resale. This search module compares current item prices against recorded item prices. When configured improperly, it can return hundreds - if not thousands - of items. Our goal is to configure the search parameters to return items that have a high resale value, high margins and a low purchase price.
To access the resale search, go under the search tab, expand "searchers" and click "resale". There are several configuration options available to you:
- Minimum Profit: The minimum margin you wish to earn on a purchase. A higher number returns fewer items, while a lower number (20-30g) might return several hundred items.
- Min Discount: The minimum discount off the original item price you will accept. I set this to 65%. For example, if you're willing to buy an item for 9kg and flip it for 10kg, set this to 90%.
- Check Seen Count: Ignores all items that have not been "seen" this many times. I use 3, but I'm also very familiar with all items in the game. This option may help avoid the poisoning problem mentioned earlier.
- Enable Individual Maximum Price: Sets a maximum amount you are willing to pay for an item.
- Price Valuation: How Auctioneer will source item prices. Market Price generally does a good job.
- Allow Buyout, Allow Bid, Fees Adjustment: Self-explanatory.
Hit search, and Auctioneer will pull up a list of items that fit your criteria. Here, you can sort by profit or by PCT (percent). I recommend sorting by profit.
In this trial run, Auctioneer has found several items that may be resold at profit. All four items near the "1" label may be resold at profit. Mirkfallon Ring of the Fireflash (2) is showing as a profitable item, but this is the result of data poisoning. Instead of resetting the data for this item, just hit the "ignore" button, and auctioneer will never show this item ever again. Pattern: Deviate Scale Belt (3) might not look like a good deal, but this recipe was removed in Cataclysm and will soon become a hot seller, especially on alliance side. The inflated price for this recipe is drawn from my own auctions, so I'll let that recipe sit there for now. The last label, "4", tells auctioneer that you want to bid on items. This isn't particularly useful unless it's monday night. Check this box, bid on items that have 12 or less hours remaining, and you can score some good deals while servers are down. There is also Pattern: Black Chitin Bracers on the list, I would pick this up if I didn't have 2 in stock already (it's actually quite rare now that TOCG is yesterday's content).
There were 6 stacks of Large Brilliant Shards on the list for 4g each, I made sure to buy those up real fast .
Remember: Avoiding data poisoning takes a bit of upkeep. You have several options. First - you can hit "Ignore Price" as seen in the above picture. This will completely ignore the item if it's above the listed price. If you want to ignore an item altogether, such as Linen Cloth, hit "Ignore". The item will never be listed in any search. In some cases, you'll feel that an item's price history does not follow a sensible trend. This happens when few players control a certain market and artificially inflate prices. Granted, this can't go on for ever, but if you happen to start recording at the wrong time, it's a good idea to erase data for specific items and start anew. The can be done with a simple command; /auc clear [item].
Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing what you’re buying before investing. If you don’t recognize an item, WoWhead it before buying.
The Resale search has one shortfall: it will not bring up very rare items that can be flipped for astronomical amounts. It will completely overlook beauties like Schematic: Lifelike Mechanical Toad or Recipe: Elixir of Dream Vision because these are seldom seen. The solution? Snatch search!
Snatch search checks for specific items under a certain price threshold set by you. For example, you could tell Auctioneer to "snatch" Schematic: Lifelike Mechanical Toad at 3500g and under. If this schematic is found at the AH, Auctioneer would recommend that you purchase it after running a snatch search. It acts as a "shopping list" of sorts and checks if the AH has any of the items you're looking for.
Configuring a snatch search is quite simple. Click Snatch under the search tab, and drop an item into the empty box that appears in the Auctioneer UI. Specify a price, and hit "add item". Building a comprehensive snatch list is an integral part in becoming a successful entrepreneur. Most players would never know what to look for. Did you know that Recipe: Thistle Tea (BoE) was removed from the game years ago and that it holds a current value of 30k and upwards? Did you know that Sunwell epic patterns are extremely rare and sell for an easy 5k? Did you know that certain useless recipes like Formula: Enchant Shield - Lesser Block and Formula: Enchant Gloves - Riding Skill are so rare that the right buyer might pay 10k or more for them? Did you know that Plans: Dawn's Edge is one of the rarest recipes in the game since Cataclysm?
These aren't things you would expect the average gamer to know. Luckily for you, we've compiled a giant list of rare items that should be on your snatch list. Make sure to check this list as well.
Snatch searching is relatively straightforward, and if you’re familiar with Resale configuration, setting up snatch should be no problem.
Cross-faction trading is the act of purchasing items from one faction, smuggling it through the neutral AH, and selling it at the opposing faction’s AH at profit. Cross-faction trading is one of the most profitable and effective ways to earn gold. There are several disadvantages to x-faction trading, including the risk of having your items “sniped”, and the double-account requirements. It has become very commonplace over the past 2 years, but there is still some great profit to be made in these shady markets.
Configuration is, again, quite similar to Resale, but with a few additional settings:
- Search against: Specify which set of data you’d like to compare your Auctioneer prices.
- Search type: Select cross-faction. You can select cross-server if you’re transferring and would like to know which items to bring along.
- Cross-realm additional settings: No need to play with this.
Hit search, and Auctioneer will pull up a list of items that should be profitable when sold cross-faction. As always, be wary of poisoned data;
Auctioneer is showing a commonly flipped pet: Cat Carrier (White Kitten). This item is unavailable to horde players, which explains to the profitability of this flip. Interested in more profitable cross-faction items? Check here.
Disenchant search is a pretty mindless way to make gold as an enchanter. Essentially, Auctioneer uses its Enchantrix module to determine the DE results of all items at the AH. It finds the value of the disenchanted materials, and based on this, provides a list of profitable items to disenchant.
As always, it's important to have a solid database when running this search. If auctioneer has some inflated prices for, say, Infinite Dust, it might end up incorrectly flagging items as profitable.
The setup is straightforward:
- Minimum profit: The minimum profit to be made per disenchant. Set this to 5 or 10g to make it worth your time.
- Minimum discount: The minimum discount you'll accept on purchases. Set this to 30% or so to give you a safety margin when buying.
- Maximum price for disenchant: The max price you're willing to pay for a purchase. Put 1000g here so that you're never bothered by this option.
- Price valuation method: You have plenty of options here, but Market Price or Enchantrix should do the job just fine.
And that's it! Just mash purchase, buy and disenchant everything. Easy profits! Tie this with lucrative enchanting scrolls and you'll be swimming in gold before you know it.
The big problem with Resale, Snatch and Arbitrage; all three searches use data that is “old”. The real deals only sit at the AH for seconds before they are snatched up. Once again, Auctioneer offers a solution; Realtime search. Realtime search is simple – it refreshes the last page of auctions, and scans newly added items against your price database. When a deal is found, Auctioneer notifies you, and all you need to do if press a “buyout” button. It uses the same criteria you set for all searchers, including Snatch, Resale and Arbitrage. Using this feature, you can grab auctions within seconds of their listing at the AH. You might even have players accuse you of “botting” if you’re quick enough.
This one's my favorite. See all of those searches you configured above? You can use all of them at once realtime, but first, you must tell auctioneer which searchers you wish to use. I generally stick to Snatch and Resale, but you're free to use whichever you'd like.
Note: Realtime search is the bread and butter of neutral AH snipers. For a full guide on protecting your cross-faction goods and deterring cross-faction competitors, click here.
Again, Realtime search uses the parameters you’ve previously set for all searchers. If your Resale search has a 150g threshold, Realtime search will “hook” items under this criteria as well. I recommend disabling most searchers, and using only Resale, Snatch and Arbitrage. You don’t want Auctioneer bothering you whenever it finds a “Bright Belt of the Falcon” that can be disenchanted for a 30 silver profit.
To configure Realtime, go to the search tab -> Options -> Realtime.
- Search while browsing: Will hook items that you might encounter while browsing the AH.
- Enable automatic last page refreshing: Allows Auctioneer to refresh the last page.
- Reload interval: Interval at which the last page will be refreshed. I set this to the minimum of 6 seconds for a better chance at striking gold.
- Pause after manual search: If you happen to run a manual search for whatever reason, Auctioneer will wait before resuming automatic last page refreshes.
- Alert settings: How you want Auctioneer to notify you of deals.
- Show alert in chat window: Allows Auctioneer to put notifications in the chat window. Optional.
- Show searchUI window: Not sure what this does, but be sure to check it and select a sound to be played when a deal is hooked.
- Power user setting – one click buyout: Check this if you want to buy items with 1 click upon notification. Highly recommended.
- Searchers to use: Uncheck everything but Resale, Snatch and Arbitrage (unless you’re familiar with the other searchers).
Once everything’s configured, initiate the Realtime search by pressing the small magnifying glass in the Browse tab. Auctioneer will start looking for deals and will notify you whenever an item matches the criteria you have specified.
You’ve probably got better things to do than sit in front of the computer and watch Auctioneer cycle through pages. The good news is that you can minimize WoW and Auctioneer will keep running. Set WoW to windowed mode under game menu -> video -> resolution. You’ll also need to enable background sounds, so that you can hear the Auctioneer notifications when a deal is found.
Realtime search is one of my favorite Auctioneer features. I enable it while watching movies, talking on the phone or during lunch. It’s actually running right now, and I just snatched a full set of Argent Tournament pets for 300g each. Sometimes, I’ll set my price thresholds to 5000g and go to sleep – I don’t mind the sound of solid gold waking me up!
Tip: Reduce Realtime Search Reload Time To 1-2 Seconds
Originally Posted by Sinshroud
The unfortunate truth is that you can't sit on the computer all day (at least... most of us can't). As an entrepreneur, this also means you'll be missing out on a ton of deals. I rank this 10/10 on the disaster scale, along with world starvation and nuclear reactor meltdowns.
Wouldn't it be nice if someone could scan the AH all day and notify you of deals?
Enter The Undermine Journal! (https is also available for those of you at work)
The Undermine Journal (TUJ) is a tool that persistently scans AH data 24/7. It uses “crawler” accounts to accomplish this, and stores all item pricing details in a central database. This information is then presented to the user through a web GUI found online. Users can request critical information such as detailed profiles of competitors, historical item data pricing, current and past item availability, and other very useful reports. TUJ is easily the most powerful tool of its kind. Best of all, it's completely FREE and has no ads. It runs on donations, so check out the donations page while you're at it.
The most interesting feature offered by TUJ is market notifications. Similar to Auctioneer’s Realtime search, this feature notifies you when an item is found to match criteria as set by the user (likely price or availability). Raiders might use of this feature to find out when flasks are under a certain price range, or by Jewelcrafters seeking cheap Saronite Ore. As an entrepreneur, I'm more interested in when certain rare and lucrative items appear at the AH at price X. In a way, this is a secondary snatch list that is being searched against 24/7.
Market notifications are sent by email. If you have access to WoW at work, you can set up notifications through email, and pick up items from your workstation on the go. Most of us can’t access WoW from work, so the other alternative is to use the remote AH for all our buying needs ($2.99 monthly).
Here’s I’m adding Azure Whelpling to my TUJ snatch list, buying at 2500g and under (arbitrary amount). Setting up notifications can be done in 4 easy steps:
- Register at TUJ.
- Set up your account in controls (top left)
- Search the item for which you want to add a notification for.
- Fill out the notification box.
Adding every single item can e painstaking work, but luckily we've done all the work for you. Just use the "import" feature and copy paste from this thread. Voila, you're 1 step closer to becoming a true tycoon. Bet you feel richer already.
In my case, WoW and the remote AH are inaccessible from work, so an alternative plan of attack is needed. You will need the following tools:
- An authenticator.
- A remote auction house subscription.
- An iPhone or Android platform smartphone.
- Consistent Wi-Fi access, or even better, a data plan.
First, register an authenticator to your WoW account, otherwise Blizzard won’t allow you to sign up for the remote AH. Next, install the mobile Auction House app onto your smartphone. The idea is that you can still receive notifications through your phone, and make purchases from this device.
Using the above system, you can make purchases from literally anywhere, at any time, provided you have a data plan or Wi-Fi access. Earlier this week, I was rescuing a child from a conflagration down the street, and simultaneously used my phone to purchase a Teebu’s Blazing Longsword (300g) thanks to TUJ notifications. Life is good!
The only shortfall of this method is that notifications aren’t instant. Crawlers hit realms once every 45-60 minutes, so an item might sit at the AH for that long before you're notified.
The Undermine Journal has countless sick features - I can only scratch the surface here. But let's take a look at the crafting section. This is sort of outside the scope of this guide, but I feel like it needs some quick attention.
Under the "Enhancement" tab, you will find several profession links. Click one. We'll check out Blacksmithing in this example.
Yep, you've guessed it. The Undermine Journal picks up every craft available to a profession, and finds the most profitable ones. What to do from here is pretty self-explanatory... if you haven't touched the markets listed here, it may be time to do so!
Note: This is a very short overview of what TSM can do for mass posting. Check here to view the full official TSM guide.
The conventional pricing & posting of items in World of Warcraft is extremely tedious. Posting a decent set of glyphs, for example, could take hours using manual search & post methods. Luckily, some addons such as Tradeskill Master automate the process (after some setting up, of course). Such addons are absolutely mandatory if you're serious about entering high-volume markets. Let's check it out real quick.
Note #2: Keep an eye out for TSM. It's rapidly gaining a reputation as the top dog in everything WoW professions, gold-making and mailing. I'm in the process of switching over completely, and once the authors finish the latest modules I will probably make the switch permanently. TSM can do most of what auctioneer does in this guide.
The concept of TSM is simple. You set up auction "groups". You slide items into these groups, and TSM will post the items at the AH according to rules you set for each individual group. To get started, click "Create Category / Group". Create a category and group with a name of your choosing. Categories behave just like groups, but at a higher level. Categories contain groups with similar settings and act like organizational folders. You may override default settings by category, and then override category settings by group.
Once this is done, click on your new category on the left side, and add your new group to it.
Here I have a category named "gouge", which contains 3 groups; dusts, essences and shards (1). This is a group I created specifically to post enchanting materials at absurd prices when no others are up (aka gouging). You can click the "add>>" button to throw more items under a group. The list on the right side shows which items are within this group (2). Clicking "Group Overrides" brings you to the configuration page for this group.
What you're looking at here is a basic configuration for my low-level greens obtained from the Dense Stone shuffle. TSM offers so many configuration options that you're free to do whatever you can imagine. I won't rehash what the full guide describes, so for our sake let's examine the few important settings;
- Post time: How long you want your auctions to be posted for. I use 12 hours for glyphs, and 48 hours for everything else.
- Post cap: How many auctions you want posted total. I use 2 for glyphs, 3 for items like Blood of the Mountain, and 1 for recipes.
- Per auction: How many items per auction. I use 1 for most auctions. You can use this option to do neat stuff with dust/essence stacking.
- Price threshold: Minimum price you're willing to sell. This can be a percentage, but I prefer to use a fixed amount. Again, you have several options here and these options can be used to do some really neat stuff.
- Fallback price: TSM will post at this price if no other auctions are up.
Once TSM is set up, open up the AH interface and hit the small TSM>> button found on the top right. This will open up TSM. Hit the very first button that appears ("Post auctions"). TSM will check the price of items you've set up in groups, and ask you to post them accordingly. Just mash the post auction button, and you're done. Bam, 2 hours of work in 1 minute.
This works exceptionally well for glyphs. Posting a full set of glyphs can take hours, but with TSM you can minimize the game, come back once the analysis is done, mash the button for 20-30 seconds and be done, just like that.