Today we’ll take a loot at the basics of goldmaking, so buckle in!
The three methods
To my mind there are three main methods to acquire gold in WoW. You can farm, either with gathering professions or by just killing mobs, you can use crafting professions to turn materials into finished items, or you can play the Auction house, just buying and selling.
Farming is the most basic goldmaking method. There’s no real risk, you just go out into the world and try to acquire items of value. The best entry level method is to farm current expansion materials, as they generally sell the fastest. There’s tons of items to farm for, and thousands of guides on youtube. Materials and useful gear are the fastest sellers, followed by mounts and then transmog and battle pets as the slowest item types to sell.
I don’t personally enjoy farming, so I don’t do it, but it is the best way to make gold in the beginning, as it does not cost anything, and there’s no real risk involved. It also pairs well with crafting and flipping once you get going.
Crafting is my personal favorite way to make gold. You buy materials and turn them into various finished items. You can sell almost anything, but generally speaking the most gold potential is in items that increase player power: Gear, enchants and consumables. Generally speaking you will want to look to PvE and PvP guides to figure out what crafted items players want, check if the cost of materials is lower than the price of the finished item and then craft it and sell it on the AH.
The advantage is that you can add more and more professions and more and more different items as your gold pile grows. When you are starting out, you may only be able to craft a few items, and you will have to supplement with farming, or just wait for the sales. Crafting is more risky than farming, especially if you craft huge quantities of items as prices constantly change, and since you are paying for the materials you need to make sure you get the sale at the right price.
The highest gold potential in crafting is early in a patch or expansion when you can get access to a highly sought after recipe before the majority of crafters. The elemental lariat is the most recent example from retail wow, with players making multiple gold caps in a day. Getting q3 enchants and gems early was also very profitable. That being said the general trend is that most useful recipes will be profitable consistently throughout the expansion.
Flipping is the goldmaking term for buying and selling the same item. You are looking for items that are posted too low on the AH, so you can buy them and repost them for a higher price to get the sale. This is the most efficient goldmaking method in terms of time spent by far, but also the riskiest one. I would generally suggest staying away from this as a beginner on retail, but if you play classic then material flipping can be great.
In retail the best flipping markets are battle pets, transmog and mounts typically, but old materials and resets (buying out a lot of items to force the price higher) is also possible.
Being strong is better than looking cool
In general items that increase player power sell faster and will have a higher goldmaking potential than the various cosmetic items in WoW. WoW has an absolutely massive amount of cosmetic items however, and you can get rich with almost anything. I have made millions from crafted gear, from flipping high end gear and from flipping battle pets. What I’ve made the most gold with ever however is crafting legendaries in Shadowlands, and useful gear has consistently had the highest goldmaking potential.
There’s a lot of addons out there to help with professions, pricing and auction house activity. The #1 addon is TradeSkillMaster and it is incredibly powerful. I have a full series of guides for it on my blog, as it has an absolute ton of capabilities, far too much to cover in this video. There are also addons for farming like LootAppraiser, Routes, and other more lightweight AH and profession addons, CraftSim in dragonflight, Auctionator are examples. The most important thing I get from my addons is correct pricing of materials and finished items and the ability to efficiently craft and post items to the auction house.
For getting started my typical advice is to start with the professions you have. Using TSM or CraftSim you can look for recipes that show a profit. Craft one of each of recipes that show up with a profit. If none show up with a profit (very possible with dragonflight knowledge points), then you have to figure out if any could be profitable with more knowledge or if you should swap professions. Then once you have posted those items to the auction house the best choice in most cases is to farm. You need more gold to invest in materials to craft with or other items to flip. As soon as anything sells you want to craft more of it. In the beginning you can only afford to craft a couple of items, and once you are low on gold you should go farm to generate resources.