In gold making there is a constant tension between doing more of what you’ve already proved works and changing your approach. If you just stick to what you’re already doing, you will eventually plateau. On the other side you want to get more effective, and practice makes perfect, so how do you balance this?
Goldmaking is a stepwise process
Getting good at gold making and getting rich in WoW typically moves in steps. Your gold hovers in the same range for a while, and then eventually you get past the break-even points for your current markets and your gold starts exploding upwards. Then the profit starts becoming a smaller and smaller portion of your gold as your gold total goes up, but your raw profit remains the same.
This is typically how it is in most Auction House based markets. You need to invest and lose gold for a while until you reach a critical point in terms of inventory and you start gaining back more than you spend.
Optimize the flats, create more spikes
Once we agree that goldmaking is a stepwise process we can look at efficiency in routines and experimentation. Your goal should be to shorten the time period from when you enter a market until you reach the break even point, and to make sure you have more potential in the spikes up.
The graph below shows the basic idea. You master a market or get it saturated where you can’t really get more gold from it with your current play time. Eventually this will get you to the point where that market doesn’t move the needle enough. Something that gets you 10 000 gold a day is great when you have 50k. When you have 5 million, this market isn’t too valuable compared to your total gold.
You want to speed up the flats to ensure that you extract the value from a market quickly, and then start the next venture.
Optimizing a market
Optimizing a market is all about making sure you spend little time, but get as much profit as possible. Run shopping scans often to ensure you get the cheap deals. Then post often so your items sell. Use crafting operations, mailing operations and other addon tricks to save as much time as possible. Always look for ways to utilize your time more efficiently or to get more profit out of the items you focus on.
Look for new, higher capital markets
Always look for new, more expensive markets you can break into. More expensive items means less time spent per profit, less competition and higher raw gold potential. Mastering a new market is what will bring you up the next step of the ladder. If you don’t like risk, this is something you can postpone a little, if you like risk it is typically better to take some shots at expensive markets as soon as possible. 10-60% is the amount of your gold you would typically commit when entering a new high value market. The more you do, the faster you will learn it, but it will take gold away from your other markets so there’s always a trade off.
Keep looking for ways to do things faster, cheaper, better. Get items to the players that need them as quickly and painlessly as possible. Look for new risks to take and ways to optimize your current markets. This is the constant back and forth of goldmaking as you look for ways to get better at what you already do, and new things to try.