Some of the biggest rewards of leveling come at level 40. Warriors and Paladins get plate. Shamans and Hunters get chain mail. And everyone gets a mount! Everyone, that is, with the required 90G to buy one. When I hit 40 for the first time, on my NE hunter, I did not have 90G. I think I maybe had 50G. I was sad. Luckily, some awesome people in my guild offered to give me the rest of the money that I needed (woot!).
Thankfully, I have learned from the error of my ways and now I know the Laws of Gold Acquisition. Currently, I have around 120G at level 36. And just to be clear, I have never bought, asked, begged, spammed, yelled, cried, whined, bleated, pleaded, cheated, or danced for gold =)
The Laws of Gold Acquisition in the World of Warcraft (with apologies to George Clason)
1) Set Thy Purpose – If you want to have enough money to buy your mount as soon as you ding 40, then set that as your primary gold goal. Say it out loud, “I will have enough gold to buy my mount at level 40.” If you’re reading this at work, feel free to just think it loudly.
2) Stick to Thy Purpose – Getting your mount is your primary goal. This means that every time from now on that you spend gold, you have to ask yourself if this is going to help you reach your goal or not. This leads us to point 3.
3) Do Not Spend Large Amounts of Thy Gold in the Den of Iniquity (AKA the Auction House) – This rule cannot be overstated. Just like in real life, it doesn’t matter how much money you are making if you are spending just as much. I like to buy new stuff in the AH as much as anyone, but I’ve learned that very few purchases will make any sort of noticeable impact on my gameplay. Drops and quest rewards will most likely gear you up pretty nicely.
4) Get Thee to the Auctioneer Website, Downloadeth It, and Installeth It into Your WoW/Interface/Addons folder. – Auctioneer is possibly the greatest addon ever created. If you aren’t familiar with it, it scans the Auction House and creates a database of all the items for sale and their listing price. This really deserves its own article, so I’ll be brief here. The primary thing you’ll use Auctioneer for is to let it set the prices of your auctions. It does a masterful job at finding the sweet spot (high enough to maximize your gold, low enough to sell).
5) Seekest Thou the Trainer of Enchanting and Supplicate Thyself at the Altar of Knowledge – Enchanting used to be hands down the best way to make money. Not by actually enchanting stuff, but by disenchanting Green and Blue items to get the component enchanting supplies, and then selling them on the AH.
This was nerfed a few patches ago, but it is still possible to use this same method to make money. The difference is that now you have to have a certain enchanting skill to disenchant higher level objects. So start out by learning Enchanting and then disenchant every* green you can get your hands on. You will skill up to 50 just from disenchanting stuff. If you find an item that requires a skill level of 50 to disenchant, just put it in your bank for now and come back to it when you can do it.
Once you are above (skill level) 50, you will start finding things that require 75 to disenchant. Now (and only now) should you start enchanting to level up. The trick here is to use the less expensive enchanting supplies to level up and sell the more expensive ones. Anything that ends in -dust (Strange Dust, Soul Dust etc.) should be used to level. Anything that ends in -shard (Small/Large Glimmering Shard etc.) should be sold. Things that end in -essence (Lesser/Greater Magic etc.) are on a case-by-case basis. Check the AH on your server and see what they sell for. Some sell for a lot and should be sold. Some are cheap and you can safely use them to level.
Once you’ve gotten up to (skill) level 75, you should be able to disenchant just about everything you run across up to (character) level 40. If you want to keep enchanting after you have your mount, just keep to the same plan. Use the cheap stuff and sell the expensive stuff.
*First caveat to this: Certain greens will sell for more than the disenchanted components. If the green item has the following name/attributes, I will usually put it for sale in the Auction House:
Monkey – Agility + Stamina
Tiger – Agility + Strength
Bear – Stamina + Strength
Eagle – Intellect + Stamina
If I’m in doubt, I’ll usually put it in the AH once, and if it doesn’t sell, then I’ll disenchant it.
*Second caveat to this: Any (ANY!) and all Blue BOEs should be sold in the AH. NEVER (EVER!) disenchant a Blue BOE. Should you be lucky enough to find one of these, sell it. Resist the temptation to equip it.
6) Seekest Thou the Trainer of a Gathering Profession and Supplicate Thyself at the Altar of Knowledge (Again) – For your second profession, I recommend learning one of the three gathering professions: Skinning, Herbalism, or Mining. It’s possible to make money from a crafting profession, but it is usually much more difficult. I chose Herbalism as my second profession and it has made me a pretty good bit of money. It started off slow (as they all will), but things really started kickin’ around level 25 or so. However, prices will vary on your server so I recommend checking the Auction House to see what sells for the most gold in your neck of the woods. Here’s a list of what you’ll be able to gather before 40.
Silverleaf, Peacebloom, Earthroot, Mageroyal, Briarthorn, Stranglekelp, Bruiseweed, Wild Steelbloom, Grave Moss, Kingsblood, Liferoot, Fadeleaf, Goldthorn, Khadgar’s Whisker, Wintersbite
Copper, Tin, Silver, Iron, Gold
Light Leather, Medium Leather, Heavy Leather, Light Hide, Medium Hide, Heavy Hide, Shadowcat Hide, Turtle Scale
7) Make Certain that Thou Hast Achieved an Honored Reputation with Thy Homeland – The base cost of a mount and journeyman riding are actually 100G. Most people will have no trouble hitting Honored with their main faction and so they will get the 10% discount. However, it would be possible to hit 40 without that discount so make sure in advance that you’ve got it. Reputation is raised primarily through doing quests. You can find quests according to reputation awarded here. (Click on Create Filter and Reputation Increase is one of the options.)
8 ) It Will Serve Thee Well to Remember that Practitioners of the Demonic Arts and Defenders of the Light Receive a Mount Free of Charge – If you have any interest in playing a Warlock or Paladin, remember that they get their level 40 mount (and riding skill) for free. So if you want to play either of those classes, then consider making it your main. It’s much easier to make gold after level 40 (and more so again after level 60), so purchasing mounts for subsequent characters will be much easier than your first. On the other hand, if neither of those classes interests you, then don’t play them just for a free mount. What’s the point in being able to travel places faster on a character you don’t enjoy playing?
9) Unscrupulous Vendors Will Try to Sell Thee Items of Common Quality; Do Not Fall into Their Trap – This fits in with Points Two and Three but it deserves its own mention. I did it when I was new and I’ve seen several other people do it as well. Do not ever buy White weapons or Armor from vendors (for example, this guy and this guy). They are poor quality, have no attribute bonuses, cannot be disenchanted and are too expensive. If you absolutely must have an upgrade, than go find something cheap at the Den of Iniquity. But again, waiting for drops and quest rewards is the best way to go.
10) Lastly, Make Certain to Loot All Items That Drop from Thy Foes – I’ve noticed that a lot of the people that I’ve grouped up with over my time in WoW do not pick up all of the loot from the mobs we’re killing. They’ll often pick up the money and that’s it. I say grab everything. Gray items are known as vendor trash and can be sold as soon as you make it back to town. I like to call this “free money”.
White items are most likely used by someone (profession, reagent, class spell, etc…) so pick them up and check the Auction House to see what they sell for. You may inadvertently pick up a small gold mine. I remember way back on one of my first trips to Gnomeregan, I picked up a Fused Wiring that ended up selling for almost 5G (which was about 25% of my total net worth at the time). If bag space is an issue, then it’s OK to leave some grays behind, but try to make it a habit to grab everything you can.
These ten Laws of Gold Acquisition represent everything I know about making Gold. I feel confident that if you follow all ten from an early level then you will have no problem buying your mount at 40. If you have any comments, tips or questions about them, then please leave a comment or send me an email here.