There are so many skills and abilities that are easily measurable in World of Warcraft. Character, Profession, Items, Durability, Progression levels and more are all easily tracked and compared. However, the ability to generate WoW wealth remains subjective at best. A player makes a few gold and suddenly starts thinking that they’ve mastered the gold making meta-game. So how can we tell how good a player is at wealth generation? What metrics do we use to measure gold making success?
In response to these, and other questions, we offer the following assessment chart.
The casual trader is the player that posts the occasional item in the Auction House but for the most part finds the entire experience frustrating. When they do trade, they complain of ‘over priced’ goods (before they buy them anyway) and undercutters (and yet, they still will attempt to post). These are the players that selling items in /trade chat for half of what they go for in the AH just because they “don’t want to have to deal with the AH.”
Trading Tools Used: Begging, complaining and delinquent loans
Market Outlook: “There’s a market? Do they sell fruit and vegetables?”
These are players who have developed an awareness of the gold making game but have no taste for participation themselves. They claim to make ‘enough’ gold for their needs through dailies and selling the occasional items in the AH. They lack a concept of pricing , market cycles, or marketing strategy. Often sells their profession cooldowns. More often than not, these players are also people that have been playing for a while and are accomplished at one or more aspects of the game.
Trading Tools Used: WoW.com, MMO Champion, a few generalist WoW blogs and buying gold for cash.
Market Outlook: “OMG get a life! Who needs that much gold anyway? You only need enough for your mount, riding skill and repairs. Why be greedy?”
Many serious gold makers start their journeys in the role of The Understudy. These are the people who farm relentlessly and supply others with their raw materials or provide dungeon run throughs or boosts. They are capable of making a few hundred gold a day and are usually happy with the results. At some point, however, The Understudy will begin to question just what all the materials are used for and will sometimes even ask around or start reading the WoW gold blogs. In fact, this awareness (that there is more to be had and a desire to get it) is the very moment at which they begin to progress to the next level of the gold making meta-game.
Trading Tools Used: Gatherer and similar farming mods, route planning and daily consolodation web sites and suggestions, upgraded fishing rods.
Market Outlook: “How does he have so much gold?”
This is the beginning of the journey to WoW gold master. The Artisan has a preferred method of making gold but is usually restricted to a single or very few markets. These players enjoy the gold making game and often are on the lookout for opportunities. They usually read at least one of the WoW gold blogs and stay up to date with coming changes to the economy. These players will have maxed out professions and usually a few very rare recipes. They buy and sell profitably and will often advertise their skills and goods in /trade chat.
Trading Tools Used: Auctioneer and possibly other AH tools, analysis and pursuit of the most profitable daily quests and activities.
Market Outlook: “I wonder if I can hit the gold cap? How long will it take?”
The Master of Markets
This trader is very similar to the artisan but takes their mastery of the Auction House to the extreme. These players often have multiple methods of supply for their crafting needs and strictly manage costs. They often dominate very specific markets and are always hunting for more. They understand the more complex aspects of WoWenomics and use spreadsheets, cost analysis and various crafting mods. They are restricted only by their supply and time investment limitations. They are often at least familiar with their biggest competitors.
Trading Tools Used: Auctioneer and related add-ons, QA2, Other AH mod and interface tools, the default friends list, personal banker guilds, steady supply of farmers and exploitation of trading noobs.
Market Outlook: “This current amount of daily profits is nice, but how can I make even more?”
The WoW Tycoon
The Tycoon is most easily defined by the fact that he is quite often not as aware of his competition as the competition is of him. As soon as the Tycoon logs in, his competition breaths a collective sigh and prepares for returned auctions. The Tycoon dominates market segments through a careful mix of scalable supply, demand interpretation, cost management and pricing strategy. They often have their methods of profit perfected and are impervious to all but the best competitors. At this stage of the gold making game, they also end up spending less time in the AH, since they’ve developed a pretty clear understanding of opportunity cost and will thus streamline their selling process. Generally, does not work for tips.
Trading Tools Used: Any AH interface mod (they’ve more than likely tried them all), pricing strategy and an in-depth understanding of scalability, multiple banker alts and guilds, mail, crafting and inventory management mods and tools, specific market domination.
Market Outlook: “This is too easy!”
Bear in mind that anyone can make gold in WoW. All players have a chance to eventually reach the gold cap. So this guide wasn’t created to say who is or is not capable of generating gold but rather to separate the beginners from the experts and to identify the tools, skills and mindsets of all levels of WoW traders.
It is also worth noting that all players, including those at the highest level of the gold making game, performed at the lower levels at some point during their WoW career. Anyone can progress beyond his or her current level with attentive study, practice and planning.
So… what level are you?