There are many players in Joe's situation. There are even lots of level 80's who cannot afford the "5000 gold mount". I see all the time level 80's with the slow flying mount or even riding around on ground mounts. Crazy isn't it? Not really. Each individual is different and everyone has different ways of playing World of Warcraft and each individual has different goals. Not everyone reads gold-making blogs or WoW fan sites. Not everyone is well informed. Also, not everyone has accumulated sufficient experience in order to be self suficient and independently well-off (if not downright wealthy) in this World of Warcraft of ours.
So how does one get around to building the incredible amount of 5000 gold required for an epic flying mount? First of all, the 5000G is a lie! The epic flying skill itself is 5000 gold but when you factor the cost of the normal flying skill plus the mount itself, the amount becomes 6000G. When you also add the infamous Cold Weather Flying skill, you're up to 7000 buckaroos. Scary isn't it? It doesn't have to be.
Now in my case, 5000 or even 20000 gold isn't that big of a deal anymore. I remember fondly the days of Classic WoW when 900 gold for the epic mount was really really hard to get. Those days are long gone. Anyone can make a hefty sum these days.
My Alliance characters are in a special situation. I like to split Alliance and Horde on different servers. My Alliance are the most numerous and I only have one significant Horde character, a shaman. Because my Alliance have been here for a long time, I've had ages in which to accumulate gold. Besides, I share several professions between these characters and sometimes I can make certain items that sell well. Very rarely though. So I won't be talking about how I make gold on my Alliance.
Instead, I'm gonna talk about my (still) level 65 Orc Enhancement Shaman who at his level already has 3000 gold, after having bought the epic ground mount. Yes, I know, it's not much, but this character started on his own on a fresh server, with zero gold in his pocket. Along the way I also picked up a bunch of gear from the AH, including two nice blue maces that cost me about 300 gold. I know for certain that at level 77 he will easily afford that epic flying skill + mount. So how does one manage to save all this money?
As I wrote in a previous post, when I start a fresh character on a new server, I always get 2 gathering professions. I don't care about crafting stuff. Many players new to WoW, probably coming from another MMORPG, imagine that crafting professions are the way to go! In most cases, I would say no. Crafting professions are okay(ish) once you are maximum level and have plenty of gold to "invest" in that profession. If you don't actively pursue a crafting profession, you'll most likely never make a profit. By "actively pursue" I mean spamming trade channel, putting stuff on the AH, buying cheap mats, etc.
Regarding crafting professions, people also believe that these will help you get good gear while you level. Well, I concede, that's partly true. Professions usually do give some nice gear that you can craft for yourself and it will be of some help while you level, especially considering that before you hit Outland, i.e. 1-60, quest rewards are pretty crappy. However, the advantage given by crafting professions is, IMO, not big enough to make it worthwhile to pursue a crafting profession. Think about it: you can make tons of gold by selling raw mats. Whatever leveling gear you need you can simply purchase from the AH since you're already a wealthy bastard. Let others do the hard work for you! Also consider that people who DO level crafting skills, will usually flood the AH with crafted gear, and this gear can very often be bought for ridiculously low prices, sometimes even lower than the price of the mats. Would you like to be the poor crafter who can't even break even? Of course not.
In any case, going for the maximum amount of gold while leveling is best done, in my experience, with 2 gathering professions, unless you like playing the Auction House like there's no tomorrow (but then you're not actively in the field, actually playing the game). I usually go with mining/herbalism because they're the most profitable currently. I will simply sell all the stuff I gather on the AH. Of course, selling these mats for the highest profits is a whole new ballgame and a topic in itself, which I will cover in a future article.
And this is my main strategy for making money while I level. This will bring me the bulk of the sum I will need at level 77 when I will be able to afford that epic flying mount. And just in case you're wondering why not to buy the mount at 70, it's simple: 77 is the new 70. Since at 70 you should jump to Northrend right away, and since you can't fly in Northrend until 77, there simply isn't any point in getting a flying mount at 70, unless you want to hang around Outland for a few more levels.
In the next part of the article I will talk about a few ideas in which to maximize your gold while leveling.
Making 5000 Gold for the Epic Flying Mount - Part 2