On January 20th, 2011 I surpassed 1 million gold between my characters – becoming, once again, gold capped. Since I haven’t been writing updates on how I’m making gold as I went along, here are the major ways in which I made that million (and a couple things I’m not doing, as well):
If Glyphmas was a period of huge sales over a short period of time at the launch of 4.0, then Glyphukkah is the period since that time. Like many other scribes, I stockpiled prior to the Shattering, but I took it farther than most – I made 37,000 glyphs. So I was ready for glyphmas, when you could sell hundreds of glyphs per day. And most of my stock was left when the demand died down… and prices started to rise.
Everything I hoped would happen in my post about Taking Chances has; but the multiple pressures on herbs (Mysterious Fortune cards, the huge number required to make Darkmoon Cards, the raiding flask / potion market starting) has kept the price of all Cataclysm herbs, and thus inks, much higher than I expected. Cinderbloom and stormvine sometimes go as low as 60g per stack, but that’s the lowest. Of course you can still buy older herbs, which are cheaper – but it’s a hassle.
The upshot is that between high prices on Cata herbs and the annoyance of buying old-world ones, scribes aren’t willing to get into the absurd price battles they did in Wrath. Instead of racing each other to the bottom constantly, we’re discovering how much buyers are willing to pay.
As it turns out, people are willing to pay a lot – I sell many glyphs for over 100g now, and average about 65g. I’m certainly not selling hundreds per day as I was during glyphmas, but I’m selling enough to earn about 5,000g per day – and considering I made these glyphs when they required a single ink and each ink cost 1-2g (depending on how you value Ink of the Sea vs. Snowfall Ink), it’s almost entirely profit. And I still have thousands of glyphs left.
Flipping Epics / Vanity Items
I don’t normally do much flipping, but one of the many results of a new expansion is price uncertainty. When only a couple dozen of an item have been seen, that items doesn’t really have a market value yet – and so if you’re careful and know your markets, you can find those who misvalue their items and make a good profit. I’ve had especially good luck combining cross-faction trading and flipping – I’ve flipped 4 Vials of the Sands from Horde to Alliance, for a combined profit of 35K.
Cross-faction + Volatility = Profit
There’s always a chance for profit by moving things between factions, but you have many more chances when prices are volatile. I grabbed hundreds of stacks of herbs from the Horde auction house and moved them over for my own crafting, I sold some of my crafted items on the Horde side when there wasn’t enough demand on Alliance, etc.
Even toward the middle and end of Wrath, I liked Darkmoon cards – and I still like them now. It’s not a market to dabble in, however; it takes as many as 10 stacks of herbs to make a single card, which has a good chance of being a duplicate. Prior to the first Darkmoon Faire of Cataclysm, I invested about a hundred thousand gold into making cards. It paid off in the end, as I sold the finished products for about twice that much. However, had I not had a ton of gold to sink into it, Darkmoon Cards wouldn’t have been worthwhile.
On a side note, I got my first angry tell from selling Darkmoon cards. I and several other scribes were all micro-managing our sales, undercutting every few minutes. (Much like the old days with glyphs.) I got tired of constantly undercutting by 1g – my belief was that we were slowly going down to the price point people were willing to pay. I decided to get to that point faster by deep undercutting.
I got an angry whisper from one of the other scribes, who was upset about my undercutting and told me to “enjoy my pocket change” – and then proceeded to undercut me again. I guess he was OK with pocket change too? In retrospect I should have made a snarky reply and implied that if he was confident the cards would sell for more he should just buy mine and relist them. In the end I actually moved most of my cards over to the Horde AH and sold them there for nearly twice what I’d have gotten from the oversaturated Alliance AH, so wasn’t competing with him and made far more gold at the same time.
I can’t quite decide whether it was intentional or not, but the way Blizzard handled gathering in the first few days of the expansion made the decline in prices much faster than it would otherwise have been. Like many others, I spent the early hours of the expansion farming (missing realm first herbalist by just a few minutes, due to a dumb mistake on my own part). I went to a spot in Twilight Highlands, near Grim Batol (there’s a little half circle there, from the entrance to Grim Batol to the exit over to the Wetlands, which has no mobs until you have quested in the zone), and started filling up my bags. The spawn rate of nodes was absolutely insane – I had to fly for no more than a couple seconds before reaching another node.
This was, of course, nerfed – the current spawn rate is probably only about 25% what it was. But in the meantime I and others were getting all these materials, and were willing to lower our prices quickly to sell them. Prices had dropped significantly before the nerf came, at which point they mostly levelled off. But while I made a lot of gold per hour those initial hours, I didn’t keep doing it after the nerf.
Mysterious Fortune Cards
Cold of Cold’s Gold Factory is absolutely crazy about these, and I understand why; it’s not hard to imagine that adding a gambling element to an MMO, a genre which relies on and fosters addictive behavior, might create a lot of potential profit for ‘the house’ – in this case, the scribe (though unlike Vegas, you’d actually be better off as a scribe if your customers won more often). However, regardless of how much gold I’m missing out on, there are things I will not do. “Prey on people who possibly can’t help themselves”, you ask?
No, that’s not my problem with it. I refuse to join trade chat. I don’t have it turned on on any of my characters. I know there are sometimes bargains to be found there, but I don’t care. Reading trade chat is simply painful, no matter how many of the trolls I ignore. I’m not willing to spend time in it barking my fortune cards stirring up demand and refuting those who say it’s a scam (although of course it is, in a way).