Sunday, January 26, 2014

How I Made 40k Gold in 2 Weeks Starting at Level 1

So here it is, the official breakdown of our competition! In the past 2 weeks Selltacular and I were in a competition to see who could make the most gold on a single faction on a 1:1 Alliance to Horde ratio server, starting with only level 1s. I was representing the Horde and Selltacular the puny Alliance. You can read some of my previous posts about it for some more information if you're curious. Chronologically: Announcement Post, Review 1, Review 2. Also Selltacular joined GoblinRaset and me on our most recent episode of the Drunken Musings Podcast #8 for some competition roundup, be sure to check that out!

For the record, the Final Tally was Selltacular: 28,325g Phat: 39,650g. Lok'tar Ogar! All of the gold made has been donated to Wowprofitz's 1.4 Million+ Gold Stream Giveaway, read more about that here.

Humble Beginnings
Rolling Horde, and being limited to level 1's, I chose to roll a Blood Elf female, because they have the best character model IMO to test out transmog that I was interested in flipping. I rolled a Disc Priest, just because they're fun and mostly because DKs were not allowed.

In order to make gold in WoW you simply cannot just start at level 1 and materialize wealth out of thin air, you really need to level, at least a little bit. I started leveling, up to 8 or 9, and soon got bored of the grinding (one of the multitude of reasons I don't farm on my main server). Prior to even starting the competition I knew that the Darkmoon Faire was in town, so I decided to take a trip out to Darkmoon Island to fish the Wreckage pools around the island for the crates that contain MoP items. This worked okay considering I had to walk to each pool, but on the beach by the pools are level 10 crabs, which I was dotting as I ran from pool to pool for XP. I actually ended up getting roughly 2 levels doing this! I also picked up a Darkmoon Adventurers Guide so that when I hit 15 and hopped in dungeons, I could try to get DMF item drops from bosses. Here's a look at one of the returns from 14 Crates I fished up:

14 Crates
Results from the 14 Crates
Moving On
After fishing at the Faire for a while, without a mount, I decided my time would be better spent getting to 15 to get into dungeons, followed by 20 as fast as possible so I could get my slow ground mount for Darkmoon Island. I begrudgingly picked up Herbalism and Mining, and headed to the Barrens to get to 15. I grinded for an hour or two, picking some flowers along the way, stopping to say hi to Mankrik, and before ya knew it I was on my way to dungeon finder, selling some Copper Ore/Bars and Peacebloom/Silverleaf/Mageroyal. Once I hit 15 I dropped Herbalism like a bad habbit (because it is) and picked up Enchanting to make some quick gold from DEing items during my dungeon runs.

Awkward Teenage Stage
I queued up for my first dungeon, RFC, and started Atonement healing on my Disc Priest. There was one problem with this strategy, which is that (apparently) Disc Priests don't get Atonement healing until level 38! Needless to say our tank actually died because I didn't have any healing addons on, and did not realize he was going down! I am not used to not paying attention on a Disc Priest in dungeons, I more or less play them as mages that passively heal. Whoops. After that I healed by hand, and we got through pretty well before turning on a healing addon. I ran more dungeons through 20, and actually picked up a Mysterious Grimoire, which I sold overnight for 300g! My first big sale! Now it was time to start building up some inventory.

The Roaring Twenties
Once I hit 20 I picked up my mount and continued to fish up Wreckage Pools until the last day of the DMF. Got another 40+ Crates of MoP goods, and started selling those and reinvesting. My goal going forward was to have as much of my gold put into good flipping investments, having almost no liquid gold until the last few days of the competition, of course, not investing in super risky things, but profitable none the less. In the next couple of sections I'm going to go over some of my data from my flipping and less of a blow by blow that I've been doing.

Some people will really enjoy this, some will say dammit spreadsheets I'm out, but from here on I'll be doing an overview of my best gold makers throughout the competition. I'm releasing my spreadsheets that I used for analysis which include all my purchases and sales. You can find the spreadsheet at this link. I will be referring to it throughout the rest of this post. Unfortunately I couldn't properly import my formulas from Excel to Google Docs, and they were lost in copy/pasting, but all the analysis/breakdown is still there.

If you're interested in how I utilized formulas to get that data, I've uploaded my Excel file to Dropbox at this link. If there's enough of a demand I'm considering doing a basic spreadsheeting guide for analyzing your TSM .csv export data. I'm no spreadsheet master like Stede and Mithrildar, but I know math, and can do a pretty good basic setup. While reading through the post, I suggest checking out the relevant data for the section, using the tabs on the bottom to navigate between the relevant sheets.

Cloth was one of the first markets I got involved flipping in. Early on I bought just what I could afford (Linen/Wool) and flipped for small returns. After a while I got into Frostweave, which was probably my best seller, and one of the markets in particular that won me the competition. Not properly paying attention to my TSM groups (my DBMarket prices were skewed early on), I put up a stack of Silk for more than I would have had I been paying attention. It sold when I was in a dungeon and TSM_Additions told me that I had sold a stack of Silk for 150g. I was pretty shocked. I thought TSM was wrong, made some sort of mistake, but low and behold, it's a really big choke point in Tailoring, and someone was beasting through. I actually went out and farmed some Silk, making ~4k GPH at level 50, which is IMO pretty excellent. Cloth is a great opportunity for arbitrage if you know the selling points on your server.

Leather was similarly a great flipping market. I chose profession flipping markets because it was what I knew. As you can see from my analysis the best markups came from Medium, Thick, Knothide, and Savage Leather. Savage and Thick Leather had the best return on investment, both netting me over 100% returns, which just goes to show how under priced some things are in the Auction House.

What astounded me in both these markets is how deeply someone would undercut. I usually participate in major markets where if you undercut by a crapton, someone will just buy your stuff out and relist it, but in these markets, that's not the case. I found that people would undercut by ridiculous margins, like half of what the leather was currently listed for on the AH. I really do not know what people are trying to accomplish doing things like this. It was going to sell if they undercut by even just a silver, rather than what they did, and it seems a lot of players were selling themselves short. Comparing Leather to Cloth, the higher level Leather sold less often than the higher level Cloth, but the margins were much better.

Misc. Flips
This section I threw in some notable flips that made me some serious coin. I did some arbitrage on Trillium Ore. It seems that 14 pieces of White Trillium has eluded my data collection process, because I have no records of where those 14 pieces are in game. I assume though that I sold them and for some reason the sale didn't record. I basically knew I could sell any Trillium Ore for 10g all day every day, so I bought below 9g 50s. Ideally even, I should have more White Trillium Ore sold than purchased because of the DMF Crates.

Anyway, my favorite flip here was the Frostweave Bags. Using TSM's Sniper, pretty early on in the competition I saw 3x Frostweave Bags at 60g per. This is way below mat cost so I just snagged em all up even though I probably had just enough gold to buy them all, knowing that it was a great deal. Sniper was definitely a godsend in this competition.

80-84 Gear
Another great flipping experience for me was the 80-84 Uber Blues. Although I ended up selling some last minute at a loss, overall for a 2 week market, it worked out very well. My best flip was a Brooch that I bought early on for 500g flipped for a 3773g profit. I was unsure about the short term viability of jumping in this market for 2 weeks, but it turned out to be one of my best!

Transmog & Leveling Greens
I did really well in these two markets that I was skeptical about as well. Going in, transmog was a big thing for me because Earthen Ring is a RP realm, and I figured transmog would sell decently there, the only problem was that I wasn't sure that I'd be able to make a return in such a small timeframe. With leveling greens I dabbled in 77 and 83-84 greens. I know I made gold in these two markets, but due to the restrictions of TSM's data export (mainly not including which group items are in) there was no easy way to do a thorough analysis of my flips without driving myself mad.

Vermilion Onyx
Of course, I saved the best for last. My pièce de résistance as it were. Near the end of the competition I had some uncut Vermilion Onyx I bought to flip, and they were not selling off very quick, so I had the bright idea to get them cut and sell them. This worked swimmingly. So much so that I soon sold out of my initial stock, and got even MORE into it having an Alchemist to get involved. I made sure to tip 5-10g/ for each transmute and cut. Anyway, you can see this market netted me the most gold, even after tipping, the Transmuted Onyxs only cost me around 70g each (cut), and I was selling them at anywhere from 90-150g. Overall I made 11k profit from this market alone, over 25% of my 39k and change ending total.

This about wraps up my flipping section. Below I'm going to talk about some of my experiences during my two weeks on Earthen Ring.

The Earthen Ringers (Story Time)
During my tenure on US-Earthen Ring Horde I had the pleasure of talking to a great deal of the server's denizens. It was very interesting getting into someone's turf and stomping around a bit, and seeing people's reactions. The first person I upset was one of the local Jewelcrafters flipping the Vermilion Onyx I mentioned previously. It was a 24-36 hours before the end of the competition and I was camping the AH like a madman. Not something I normally do, but I needed to maximize sales the best I could in those last few hours I'd be playing on the server. Mind you I only had 6-8 cuts total, so by no means was I messing anything up but a few Vermilion Onyx markets. Well one of the JCs got sick of undercutting me back and forth and walled me:

The price was 148g originally, and great returns for me. At 55g the cut gems were below my mat cost, so potentially screwed me out of this market, which would have been detrimental in my race to the finish line with Selltacular. If I had more time on the server, I probably would have gone with the power play and reset the market, but I didn't, so I whispered them, told them about my situation and asked them to reconsider cancelling and we could whitelist each other. They were a bit weary of me, thinking I had been on the server longer than I had lead on, but they did eventually cancel all these, and we had a peaceful resolution to our problem, and I made a ton of gold off my Onyxs.

Another great player I met on Earthen Ring is the Jewelcrafter I got to cut all the Vermillion Onyx. I had about 240 Vermilion Onyx cut throughout, and he was very patient with me, as I would cut maybe 5-10 of each cut at a time, and have him trade me each individual cut separately, so that I could have TSM logs of the transactions. He was very patient and I appreciated that, so I'd even wait for him to log to have him cut gems for me specifically. In all I tipped him ~2k gold in total to cut my gems, so he made out pretty well himself!

Then I had a bit of an awkward interaction with an Enchanter. I had purchased some Sha Crystals to flip, and they went below the price I payed for them on the AH, so I decided I'd make them into a Jade Spirit scroll. I went into Trade did the "LF Enchanter with Jade Spirit pst" and I got a whisper pretty quick. I opened up trade and put in the mats in with a Vellum, and they said something along the lines of "...Oh, you want me to put this on a vellum?" Uh oh. I responded "Yeah, I'm going to tip you, is that a problem?" They came back with "Are you going to sell it on the AH?" I was honest and said yes, and I mentioned the competition with my friend etc. and they then seemed sort of cool with it, probably thinking "he's going to tip someone to make this, might as well be me!" I went to the AH to post it after they crafted it for me, and wouldn't you know it, the guy who just crafted the scroll for me was the lowest on the AH. I whitelisted them and let 'em know, and thanked them again.

The last but not least mention is trade chat in general. I was talking in trade chat, and someone noticed my name, which to me was crazy, I was only on this server 2 weeks! (I'm Hortheforde)

It was a lot of fun interacting with the denizens of Earthen Ring, and a nice refreshing time past the normal grind on my server. I do not rely on others to make gold, and since that's my primary goal in playing WoW, I usually don't interact with too many people outside the gold making community in game, it was a good time with the Earthen Ringers, and I know Selltacular had some similar experiences! Thanks for having me guys!

Gold Makers on ER
There were a couple gold makers I normally chat with on Twitter that actually happened to be on Earthen Ring. I talked with both @wjnelson01 and @WowDotBen, both Earthen Ring Hordies, and both actually helped me unload some of my inventory at the end of the competition, at heavily discounted rates of course. I ended up not needing the gold, but it was cool chatting with both of them in game and out about their server's economy and the different people who run the markets there. It was really fun learning where the two of them are in gold making too, hopefully they both can take some data from here and use it to their benefit!

As a whole I'm pretty pleased that I was able to make 40k in such a short amount of time and limited start up capital. It was definitely a huge change from my normal style of gold making which has become very passive because I know all my markets, and my TSM setup does all the hard work for me because I set it up well. Having to actively try out and experiment with new markets takes a lot of thought, and active searching in the AH and learning about the server's price variations. Not having reliable TSM data going in was a big pain too.

The night after the competition I returned to my main server, and it was relaxing. After spending countless hours researching and actively thinking about markets it was nice to be able to return to my Empire and run my Crafting/Auctioning in TSM. I had a lot of fun on Earthen Ring though, and hopefully in the future you'll see that I've put some of what I've learned into making gold on my main server.


Phat Lewts


  1. Very interesting. I would love to hear more details about how you set up your TSM groups. I do a lot of stuff relying on the market value based on what the TSM application collects, WowUction, or TUJ (percent of their market value). It sounds like a lot more of what you do is based on absolute prices perhaps against global market values. Would you care to elaborate?

    1. I like this idea, but it's a bit much to write up in a comment, look out for it in the near future as a post on my blog.

  2. Gives me fond memories of our competition on the Consortium. Always makes it more fun to me to have a friendly competitor rather than an anonymous AH competitor.

  3. I'd like to here more about resetting markets. Not gonna lie, I just found your TSM youtube videos tonight (and watched them all) and have been darting around from article to article, so maybe I missed something. In your video you mentioned it was something you'd maybe go back to later because it was pretty complicated. Any chance there is a post you made already or perhaps a youtube video in the works?

    Thanks :)

  4. I love my ER :) I don't make loads on transmog, btw, Phat. I flip it on Alliance side there and make 4-5k a day. A nice addition but few will want to make it their main way of making cash. ~Vorkenlys


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