Today I want to go over the current state of goldmaking, and what the best approaches are for a multitude of different levels. I am planning to do this at regular intervals to make sure you have easy access to an overview of the best markets.
State of the game
Right now we are in the final part of 9.1. At the end of a patch cycle players are usually less concerned with player power and more concerned with other goals, such as cosmetics or playing alts. In 9.1.5 we had the Mage Tower giving a fresh boost to this entire area, which has not had an analogue before. This gave players a cosmetic reward with significant player power available for purchase, and was an incredible gold rush for many players.
As far as we know it is going away though, which will leave us back at a normal end of patch gameplay, where players are mostly done with their mains and main gameplay goals (although there are still guilds progressing). In stead effort is being put into alts and collections.
Shadowlands has been all about the legendaries. Even in this relative lull, legendaries still sell really well. If you want to do anything on a character in Shadowlands you want to have a max rank legendary, so as long as players are rolling new characters or experimenting with new specs legendaries will sell. Consumables also still sell, even if prices are lower as players are always doing end-game content.
The Mage Tower has been a special case for the last weeks, but it is going away, so expect more pressure in the “regular” consumable and gear markets, as goldmakers pile back in. Catch up gear will also still sell, but the barrier to entry with optimal profession setup is an annoying barrier to entry.
I would focus on Crafter’s mark of the chained Isle gear if you have Archivist Codex 4. If you do not have the rep, it will only be worth farming it for a short while as we are getting new recipes in 9.2 that will eclipse them. Consumables can also work, but you have to do some heavy monitoring on prices to ensure you are getting a decent profit. Consumables are generally higher volume and requires a lot more cancel scanning.
If you are past 500k-1 million legendaries is really the only place to go when it comes to Shadowlands markets. It is by a significant margin the most profitable market this expansion, and likely to remain so in 9.2. That being said if you don’t have any recipes leveled yet, you might want to hold out until we have a clearer view of how 9.2 gearing works and what that means for BiS legendaries for various specs. It’s almost guaranteed that the optimal slots will change significantly from 9.1 to 9.2.
Cosmetics never go out of fashion and there are tons of old items that sell well, as well as the materials required to craft them. The final stages of content patches is usually a time when players focus more on collections and cosmetics and sales are usually good. There are tons of approaches that can work, from farming transmog, crafting mounts or transmog or flipping them. In general you will need patience as outside of crafted mounts these markets are generally slow.
Old world material flipping is something that works quite well, and does not require too much capital. The big issue is that you are likely looking at several months of reinvestment of all your profits until you start seeing an actual increase in your gold totals. Farming transmog or old materials is more steady, but sale rates can be on the low side, leading to a longer wait to turn your gold around.
Crafted mounts is the best market here. Anything from BfAs ATV, Vial of the Sands, Panthers and Pandaria rockets can work. The ATV is the cheapest, but it does force you to spend time at the scrapper. Panthers are a good middle ground and the rockets and vials on the more expensive end.
Flipping is a better choice at the intermediate level. You need enough gold that you won’t eat up your entire stockpile on the first shopping scan, leaving you with a stockpile of slow-selling things. Transmog, mounts and battle pets can all work. For battle pets I prefer selling them cross realm, as I find single realm markets too slow and steady for the most part. For transmog flipping Island expedition has been my biggest success, and there are still good deals to be found here. World drop mounts can also be flipped depending on the realm.
The plan for beginners
If you are a beginner right now your best bet is to focus on Shadowlands markets, specifically either alchemy consumables or Crafter’s mark gear. Since alchemy has by far the cheapest crafter’s marks the best profession choice will likely be alchemy combined with either blacksmithing, leatherworking or jewelcrafting (tailoring gear is usually too cheap). Focus on building capital and positioning yourself for 9.2 so you are ready to take advantage of the new crafter’s marks.
I would focus on adding some evergreen markets for the long term. Leveling legendaries can also be worth it, but it’s still a little early before we know what the top slots are likely to be. Leveling every slot brainlessly is likely too expensive and probably not optimal. You do want to make sure you keep a good liquid gold fund for 9.2 however, as the gold rush in the first weeks of 9.2 is worth significantly more than anything you can do right now, unless you have enough gold for both (5+ million).
The content lull puts Shadowlands markets on a down level, so now is the time to get started in some evergreen markets if you have the capital for it. Otherwise your best bet is to build capital in fast selling markets like alt gear and consumables so you are ready to go hard with the new recipes coming in 9.2.