Cracking a Million Gold

Albeit only in WoW, unfortunately. But look, they threw me a party! A million gold is a pretty big milestone for me. I’ve not really ‘played’ the Auction House with any degree of consistency or seriousness since all the way back to Wrath of the Lich King, where we had a huge range of consumables able to be sold such as the now missing permanent scribe shoulder enchants, leatherworking leg patches.

I’d love to know what the inflationary equivalent of it would be — but back in the Wrath days I think I earned a maximum of perhaps 40-50k in gold. Less than half a single WoW token by today’s standards. Still- it felt like a lot at the time.

Between then and now when I’ve played, I’ve bought the odd WoW token if I particularly needed gold. General play is enough to keep up with raid consumables and repairs generally, but if I wanted to upgrade a particular set of Heirloom gear then I might grab a token.

Not this time though!

I started out with 48k gold to my name from what I had left over and levelling to max and whatever other incidental dailies I might’ve done to that point. As you can see in the top right there, I installed Trade Skill Master (TSM) on November 30th.

Early December is fairly flat as I kept buying a supply of materials, not only for my Mage to sell enchants, but also to level crafting on my alts — I brought Jewelcrafting, Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, and Alchemy to max level over this period as well.

Not to mention also keeping supplied with raid consumables, including providing feasts for the guild.

Near the end of the month — I felt I had a pretty good understanding of the costs and profits to be had in my chosen specialty areas, so I splurged heavily in order to build a healthy supply of materials bought at low cost. For my server-cluster, mornings and weekends primarily became the best times to buy.

One of those low points — the one just before the December 31st marker — was down to 2k gold on hand. Rest was tied up in materials and crafted goods at that point.

Other than crafting — I got lucky with a single world-drop BoE over this period, and sold that I believe around the December 19th jump. But this is balanced by the fact that I also bought one — a 190 cloth belt, when I just couldn’t for the life of me replace it from dungeon running.

Otherwise what I’ve learnt mostly from the experience?

  • 5 million for the Bronto/AH mount was not nearly so out of reach as I believed — and now regret heavily not putting the effort in earlier. This was a million in (basically) a month with next to no starting capital. I could be the owner of a Bronto mount right now.
  • Balancing that point out: Making money this rapidly on the AH requires far more handholding than I’m generally inclined to do, nor would even be able to do outside of Holidays. Now that I’ve made my first million I’m trying to settle into a more passive role on the AH and will have to see what sort of income this can bring in.
  • It’s stressful — even after learning the market behaviour — having so much of your gold value locked into goods! The significant ‘backwards’ steps in gold-on-hand was always a worry to me, even though on a more rational level I understood perfectly that even within the context of a highly volatile start-of-expansion market my exposure was limited and any losses would be short-term.

Short of another Bronto-style mount coming along though, there probably isn’t much need in holding this amount of gold unless you’re interested in buying yourself Mythic+ high key runs or the like, which I’m not.

I also have no interest in reversing my previous token behaviour to one of buying tokens for gold, either. But this did show me that one could easily buy a token a month and still make a heft profit. Certainly with active management of AH listings, at least.

Trying out the post version of fire-and-forget though, you could certainly still manage it. People a heck of a lot more casual with the AH than I’ve been over the past month do it all the time. I’m just less sure how much of a margin it would suck out of your overall earnings and whether it might feel a bit like treading water.

I know for at least a few who pay by gold for their play tokens that it seems to be this way, and some amount of effort goes into simply making sure they have earned enough gold for that next token before it expires. I can’t imagine that’s a great feeling.

It’s possible I’ll ‘stop’ at this point, particularly if the return on passive posting isn’t feeling good vs. the time spent on crafting the goods in the first place. I’m happy having proven to myself it’s possible… At least until that next ‘big’ mount comes along. But I struggle to imagine Blizzard being in any hurry to add another mount with Auction House capability, and I equally struggle to imagine any other facility I’d be interested in enough to pay such a high asking price for.


Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

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