Your priorities in goldmaking will vary quite a bit depending on where you are in your journey. Long term the goal is usually to make as much gold as possible, but the optimal tactics will not be the same all the way up.
3 phases of goldmaking
In this post I will look at three phases and the priorities that matter for them. The phases depend almost exclusively on the amount of gold you have available. There aren’t any hard rules on where the phases change, so you will have to make your own judgment.
- Starting out: Speed is king
- Building capital: Profit margin
- Gold cap time: Raw absolute profit
Starting out: Speed is king
When you are starting out the number one priority is to focus on stuff that sells quickly. Your capital is so limited that you need to get it back as fast as possible. You want at least 15% profit margin, but it is better to get 15% every day than 30 once a week as it will compound way quicker. This phase will last from when you are just starting out and until you hit 100-300k. The only other priority in this phase is to keep your total AH value growing, but that is always a priority. The graph below shows you what happens with 10k initial gold. We assume you try your hand at material flipping and aim for 15% profit margin by buying and selling at low prices every day (e.g. flipping from 60% dbmarket to 70% dbmarket. We compare it with getting 40% in profit margin every 3 days. In both cases all the gold is assumed reinvested.
Getting your gold back quickly means you can reinvest it again. And when you have less than 100k you can ALWAYS find good material deals to flip.
Example markets: Material flipping, enchanting shuffle, prospecting
Building capital: Profit margin
Once you hit some hundred thousand gold your focus will shift away from speed and onto profit margin. Profit margin is defined as the price you sell an item for divided by the cost of acquiring or crafting the item. At this point you have enough gold and hopefully enough inventory that you can afford to wait around for some items. Focusing on profit margin will ensure you get the most bang for your gold. You have a decent amount, but it is still easy to spend all your gold if prices are right.
Look for markets with 30% or more as these are the good ones.
Example markets: crafed armor, vendor flips, material flipping, prospecting, inscription trinkets, Spirit of Harmony shuffle
Gold cap time: Raw absolute profit
Once you hit about 1 million gold profit margin will be less important. The main reason is that profit margin allocation assumes that your total amount of gold available is limited. At 1 million this is not necessarily the case. At this point you want to focus on the items that bring in the largest profit in terms of raw gold. For the profit margin phase selling an item for 2k that you can craft for 1k is amazing. Selling an item for 700k that you can acquire for 600k is only 17% profit margin versus 100% for the 2k item, but you still make 100k in profit off of a single item.
Focusing on higher value items will save time and help you make the most gold possible.
Example markets: Vial of the Sands, BoE flipping, Battle pet flipping, High-end transmog