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WoWJul 14, 2015 7:00 pm CT

How to make gold while leveling in WoW

Sleeping on piles of WoW gold.

Hello everyone, Fox “Moneybags” Van Allen here once again. Not to brag, but I’m a pretty rich guy, you know? I have tons of dosh. All my diamonds are dipped in gold and then rolled in diamond dust. I have 250 Swift Spectral Tigers, all in their original packaging. I even have enough money to pay off Wildberry Princess and sit on her head. Loaded.

But it wasn’t always that way. I was once a poor little WoW scrub — stunningly handsome, yes, but poor. After all, we all start the game with nothing. When we play the opposing faction for the first time, we start with nothing. When we play on a different server, again, we start with nothing. Sure, there are little tricks to transfer cash (more on that later) and you can just buy your way to in-game riches, but there’s nothing more satisfying than building your financial empire the old-fashioned way — with the stuff you find while leveling.

So, what’s an aspiring Fox Van Allen to do? Well, good news: It’s not hard to make money while leveling or starting a new character, especially if you know where to look. Gathering professions like mining are, traditionally, great sources of easy in-game income. A lot of world drops can fetch big money on the auction house too. You can even make a few gold by playing swings in the market.

Getting started

First things first: It’s incredibly difficult to run a successful money-making operation without ample bag space. Make sure you equip your character with the maximum of 5 bags as soon as you can. You can find bags naturally while leveling, but I recommend purchasing 16-slot Netherweave Bags as soon as you can. They can often be found for just 10 gold each on the auction house, making them one of the best values for new players. Invest in a couple bank slots too when you have the free gold — you’ll want somewhere to store your inventory.

If you need to check the price of an item on your server, the Undermine Journal is my preferred resource. It has historic and mean prices listed as well, so you can spot bargains while buying and opportunities while selling. Herbalists and miners should check out the GatherMate2 app, which keeps track of all the nodes you’ve discovered while questing so you can come back to re-harvest them when they respawn. You can download the GatherMate2 app via Curse. I also recommend using an auction house app like Auctionator, though I prefer to interact with the in-game auction house using a smartphone.

Auctionator add-on for WoW

Screenshot of the Auctionator add-on for WoW.

Making money by gathering cloth

Even if you don’t have a gathering profession, anyone can make money by picking up the scraps of cloth that drop off humanoid enemies. Tailors need cloth to level their profession and make gear; other people burn through cloth making first aid bandages. Either way, low-level cloth can sell for big bucks on the auction house, so don’t vendor or waste it!

Specifically, I find that Silk Cloth is an attractive farming choice for starting players. It drops in zones appropriate for characters between levels 30 and 40 and can sell on the auction house for anywhere between 1 and 3 gold on my server (the U.S. median price is 1.61 gold, according to the Undermine Journal). Note that the harvest goes a lot faster if you’ve significantly out leveled the enemies you’re trying to get it from.

Making money through mining

If you’re a fan of the Fox Force Five live stream that I do with the Blizzard Watch folks, then you already know I’m a mining magnate. Copper, Silver, Mithril — I mine it all. And then I sell it all on the auction house at high prices. I’ll even smelt it into bars if it’ll fetch me a higher price.

Mining is a great profession for players just starting off, because super low-level Copper Bars tend to auction for decent prices. I like to wait until prices spike above 2 gold apiece before I sell. Silver Bars can sell for as much as 10 gold to the right desperate engineer. Thorium Bars and Ore tend to be solid sellers too. Again, you’ll want to reference the Mining category page on the Undermine Journal to understand what the market for ore and bars looks like on your server cluster.

One word of caution to budding miners, however: Take the time to adequately level your mining skill before moving on to a new area. Low-skill miners only get nuggets when mining high-level nodes. That’s a real waste of a good node, right Rossi?

Dwarf mining copper in Elwynn

An ultra sexy dwarf shadow priest mining copper in Elwynn.

Making money through herbalism

Picking flowers can be pretty profitable — after all, scribes need to mill herbs of all levels for ink, and alchemists need herbs for their brews. Again, you’ll want to be running an add-on like GatherMate2 so you don’t miss any nodes while out in the world questing.

Selling Peacebloom on the auction house is often a good place for herbalists to start — its price occasionally spikes as high as 2 gold per piece on my server. Certain other herbs like Ghost Mushroom (U.S. median price 7.5 gold each) and Purple Lotus (U.S. median 5.5 gold) tend to fetch high prices, as well. And scribes seem to always be on the lookout for top-tier Burning Crusades-era herbs, so don’t be in too much of a rush to move on to Northrend when you near level 70.

Making money through skinning

Leveling the leatherworking profession in WoW has, historically, been a pain in the butt. It takes tons of leather to get the job done. Engineers need some leather from time to time for their projects, too. Thankfully, this all means good things to you, the prospective animal skinning tycoon.

If you’re looking for a place to focus your skinning efforts while leveling, try harvesting Medium Leather and Heavy Leather. Both tend to sell in the same 1 to 3 gold per piece range, and since supply is low, you often don’t need to deal with serious auction house competition. Keep an eye out for skinners who sell their leather at fire sale prices — there’s nothing that says you can’t buy them out completely and relist at a huge markup.

Making money by selling transmog gear

Transmogrification, the system where you can change the appearance of your equipped gear into something more aesthetically pleasing, can be a big money maker. After all, there are a lot of Blood Elf fashionistas out there looking for the scantiest of armor for their paladins. Don’t believe me? During the Fox Force Five leveling streaming a few weeks ago, Anne Stickney won a roll for Tyrant’s Legplates. The thong-like plate leggings can fetch 5,000 gold (or more) to the right buyer.

Of course, with all the low-quality world drops showered on your leveling characters, it can be easy to miss diamonds in the rough like these. The best way to identify expensive transmog gear is to run an auction house add-on like Auctionator. It adds auction prices to all your item tooltips, so you can know if gear is worth picking up before you loot or roll for it. There are a ton of other great auction house UI improvements in the add-on as well, and it’s been reliably updated for the last 7 or so years. You can download Auctionator via Curse.

Sell a pet or two

If you’ve been collecting companion pets over the last few years, you already have everything you need to make money on a new server. Any character on your account can access your collection of pets, so you can easily sell one of your companions (if you can bear to!) for some quick cash. Don’t have companion pets? Buy one on the auction house with a cash-rich character, and then resell it using your cash-poor one. If Blizzard lets you do it, it’s not cheating … right?

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