Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Cataclysm gold strategy

I'm not one of the big gold-making sharks, nonetheless I have made a few preparations for Cataclysm and hopefully my gold reserves will increase by a decent amount during the first few weeks of the expansion. To be honest I'm not dedicated 100% to making gold because I've got plenty for now and I would also like to actually play the game the way it is meant to be played.

For Cataclysm I would like to try something new. It remains to be seen if my experience and observations will give good results (or not). My strategy is not overly complicated and is made up of several pieces. Here they are.


As always, glyphs remain my main source of income. When patch 4.0.1 was released I made several mistakes mostly due to my not reading the patch notes very carefully. The biggest mistake was that I didn't realize that glyphs would require 3 inks instead of 1. I had a few hundred inks stocked up but it wasn't nearly enough to make lots of gold. In retrospect, I should have crafted the most popular glyphs in advance and stocked them before the patch. Instead, I did all my crafting post-patch which was another big mistake.

This time, I've hopefully wised up and I've been buying cheap herbs off the auction house for a while, milling and converting them into inks whenever I got the chance. By "cheap" I mean anything that goes for 15 gold or less per stack. A stack of herbs produces about 2 glyphs so my costs are around 8G per glyph. For such a major patch I'm expecting glyphs to sell for tens of gold each so my profits should be proportional.

Another strategy that I'm applying here is this. Due to not having enough ink to craft 10 or even 20 of all the glyphs in the game, I've had to narrow things down to just the most popular glyphs. To find out which ones are the most popular I've headed to and made a list in Excel with the top glyphs for every class.

Even narrowing down the glyphs to the most popular I still don't have enough ink so I've decided to craft only 5 of each. This also serves to spread out the risk because if a glyph drops down a lot in price I should still have a variety of other glyphs to fall back on. Having 5 of each should also help me to clear my stocks quickly. At the moment of writing this I have already crafted 400 glyps (that's 80 different glyphs, 5 of each) and have ink for another 200 or so.

I'm planning to list my glyphs on the auction house the night before Cataclysm is released, with a 24 hour timer. I haven't used this method before so I don't know what will happen but hey, even if I sell all my glyphs at a loss I won't end up on the streets (of Stormwind). Profit comes with risk.

As I write this paragraph, it is now post-patch 4.0.3a. This means The Shattering has happened and new race-class combinations have been enabled. I applied the strategy outlined above and listed all my glyphs with a 24-hour period but unfortunately I haven't sold a lot. What I did sell made me a nice profit. From about a dozen glyphs sold (perhaps even less), I made 1000 gold by selling each glyph for about 80-90 gold each. Not too shabby. On the other hand I'm still left with a lot of stock. The sad truth is that people are still willing to undercut glyphs to the ground, despite glyphs now requiring 3 inks and not being able to buy lower level inks with Ink of the Sea. I will maintain my position though and hope that Cataclysm will bring a lot more customers. At any rate, I don't believe I'll be losing money on this, on the contrary. It's just that this is probably the last time I will be selling glyphs en masse because it is simply not worth the time investment anymore.


My next strategy is something that I've been preparing for a very long time. I've been buying cheap Saronite Ore from the AH whenever the price was right. This one is a 100% safe investment because I've purchased the ore below vendor price for the bars. This, for me, is 60 silver a piece, or 12 gold a stack of ore. Converting the ore into bars results in a cost of 1.2 gold per bar and Saronite Bars will vendor for 1.25 gold.

I now have several hundred stacks of ore. I haven't bought this ore to vendor it. Instead, I've stockpiled it in the hopes that people will need lots of Saronite Bars to level Engineering, Blacksmithing and Jewelcrafting. You literally need hundreds of bars for these professions.

As I write this, once again, it is post-patch 4.0.3a. Demand for Saronite Bars has suddenly skyrocketed and I'm selling bars for between 2+ gold each up to 7+ gold each. Just a while ago I sold a whole stack of individual bars for over 7 gold a piece. Wait, scratch that. My 7+ bars are selling like crazy so now I've upped the price to 10+ a bar. Compared to how much I paid for the ore, I've made between 500% and 800% profit on these bars.

With Cataclysm, I'm expecting the demand for Saronite Bars to grow because fewer people will be farming it and there will be all these new characters who will want to level their professions. As such, this seems like a very good investment.

Adamantite Ore

I have also been buying some cheap Adamantite Ore so that I can prospect it for Adamantite Powder which can be used to create Mercurial Adamantite which is used by Jewelcrafters to level their profession. Now this has been a bit of a gamble because so far I haven't had much success selling the Mercurial Adamantite. It remains to be seen if Cataclysm will change this.


My favorite strategy will be farming. It may not be the most efficient in terms of gold per hour but for me farming is fun. I'm talking especially about mining and herbalism. In Cataclysm (if previous expansions are an indicator) there will be huge initial demand for the new types of ore and herbs. I plan to spend most of my time during the first couple of weeks simply flying around the new areas and farming stuff.

Farming is not for everyone. Some people despise it because they claim there are better ways in which to make gold. That may be true but for me farming is exciting. I love flying around and the new areas especially will make this sweeter. I love it when a node pops on my radar and I swoop down to claim it. There's always the thrill of discovery when a node yields a bonus such as a rare gem or herb.

So for me farming is therapeutic. It is also fortunate that my Hunter is a miner and my Priest is a herbalist. These are the 2 characters that I would like to level to 85 first. While farming I will be queuing up for the new dungeons. This way I can both make gold and level at the same time.

I won't be using any of the farmed mats myself to level my own professions unless I need them for some cool new crafted item. Looking back to previous expansions, this seems like the smart thing to do. Initial demand for these mats is incredibly high and supply is scarce because most people are concentrating on leveling and not farming. Later, when things have settled down and everyone has leveled their main, mats will drop down in price a lot. That will be the time to buy cheap mats from the auction house and level my own professions.


As you can see, these aren't extremely complicated strategies and I don't plan to agonize day and night about ways in which to make even more gold. What all these methods do have in common is that they require professions in order to work. There's Inscription, Jewelcrafting, Alchemy, Mining and Herbalism.

The truth is that although one can make gold without any profession, having one or two of them maxed out helps a great deal. Personally I have all professions maxed and this has helped me a lot because they are all inter-dependent and synergistic. Besides, you can easily swallow the cost of crafting one thing or another, especially if you can do it afk.

My advice is not to lose a lot of sleep over how much gold you will actually make at the start of Cataclysm. The true gurus will undoubtedly make hundreds of thousands of gold each. Personally I'll be content if I can make more than I would on a normal day, while having fun at the same time.

Note: This article was featured on JustMyTwoCopper's blog carnival for November.


Shaft said...

Seems like sensible steps to me I too have collected some inks not the hundreds that the real gold makers do but probably around about 200 or so in all which is not a lot plus all the glyphs I had made before 4.01 that got converted so I am just continuing on my normal daily routine or logging on and trying to post 10 different glyphs when the prices are above 50g a glyph.

Darth Solo said...

Yeah just make sure to craft 1-2 of each glyph for those that go over 50 and you should be fine. It's just not worth crafting tens of the same glyph anymore.

Redbeard said...

I've been steadily accumulating Adamantite while I've been working on Shattered Sun rep. All that Adamantite is about to come in handy...

Darth Solo said...

What are you gonna use it for Red? Same thing as me?

Tox said...

Hi Darth,

Well, since Ink of the Sea can no longer be exchanged for lower level inks, low level herbs are selling at very, very high prices on the AH. An hour of riding around Felwood gets me 300-350g easy! Of course, this will only last until the expansion hits.

Darth Solo said...

Tox yes indeed, though I'm starting to wonder if people really are buying those inks. I've made a habit of scanning the AH a few times a day for cheap low level herbs. Personally I wouldn't buy them at these inflated prices. But then I always have the option of farming them myself.

phill said...

This is a great article and noticed the need for the saronite as well. My question to those living in the realm of making and selling glyphs. Do you spend a lot of time buying inks on AH. Or do you just buy the herbs to make your own?

Anonymous said...

I have been on the adamantite business for a while and I will suggest you to study the market deeper: it may vary between servers, but on mine I have found that the mercurials won't sell at all, while the raw powder can go for up to 6-8g *each* (that'd be 120-160g/stack, but I'm selling it on units). The ore itself, in raw and smelted forms (including hardened), can also sell decently. A good approach is to have some of each form and diversify. A better approach is to have a mammoth bag's worth of each and devour the market =P

On the subject of herbs and inks, it seems a waste of time and gold to craft the low level inks: selling the herbs directly can make you obscene ammounts of gold (I have seen Peacebloom going for even 15-20g each!). Again, probe the market and find the optimal spread of your sales in the different forms (raw herbs, pigments, inks, crafted glyphs).

Stede said...

@Darth Solo - Post all your glyphs for Cata on a 48-hour timer. The deposit is still ~1 silver per glyph. Grab as much of your 2nd Glyphmas Pie as fast as you can. You can always cancel & relist if you need to.

Adamantite is a great tip - I bought ~20 stacks @ just over 1g each, and then caught 4 stacks of Powder going for 80s each (insane, I know). It never hurts to stockpile these because they are levelling bottlenecks for blacksmithing & jewelcrafting.

Great post, too - it's not all that often I find a fellow gold blogger who doesn't despise farming.

@Tox - I think high low-level herb prices will last for months. Most people will be focused on new content, and new toons levelling herbalism don't stay in the same zone very long. Until it becomes more economical to simply farm Blackfallow Ink herbs to trade, low level herbs will scale in step with the Glyph market itself.

Miss Mediocre said...

Hi Darth Solo! I've never been to your site before, but noticed you were also in the JMTC blogging carnival! I enjoyed your post, because like you, gold isn't my #1 priority in game. I try to experience everything the game has to offer, while making gold on the side.

I completely agree with your saronite idea! I've noticed it for dirt cheap lately as well and have been buying up as much of it as I can. Worst case, I smelt and vendor, best case I sell it for way more than I paid, hehe. I just recently leveled and engineer, and wow do they ever need a lot of Saronite!

Great post! I'll be sure to check back and read more! :)

Darth Solo said...

@phill I just buy the herbs. I also farmed a bunch of herbs myself but only because I was queuing up with my priest (who's the herbalist) and was running around in Sholazar on his 310 mount. So I would gather a ton of herbs in a few minutes. But otherwise I don't go out of the way to farm them myself. I like farming but I don't have time for it and it's more efficient to just buy the herbs (under a certain price, of course).

@Anonymous yes I've noticed that the mercurials don't sell that well but when they do, it's for a nice profit. I'm also selling the powder individually. Another thing is that the green gems that are prospected from the ore can also be worth a great deal, especially Golden Draenite. On my server a Golden Draenite goes for more than the price of a stack of ore.

@Stede thanks for the appreciation! Regarding farming, I kinda understand why hardcore gold-makers despise it because let's face it, it can get boring and it's usually not efficient to farm your own mats. The exception seems to be when a new expansion is launched due to the huge demand for new mats and the low supply. So this time I'm gonna try to combine both business and pleasure. And BTW this will be the first expansion when I'm going to attempt selling the mats that I farm.

@Miss Mediocre thanks! I know of you too and I also read your blog. Yes, some people focus 100% on the gold-making. That's fine, cause different strokes for different folks and all that but personally I find it more fun to combine questing/leveling with some gold-making on the side. About the saronite, I still can't believe that people are selling the ore so cheaply. I just bought another 30 stacks :)