When the topics of making gold and being new to WoW cross each other, a real dilemma comes forth. It’s easy to find guides that cover game basics at level 1 or efficient gold farming at level 120. What’s often overlooked, however, are the best practices that would semi-passively generate the wealth of any new character while leveling from 1-120.
This article goes over the fundamentals that mean the difference between begging for money to learn fast flight at level 70 or having much more than that to spare, without grinding or exploiting anything.
Inflation in WoW
If you’re new to Warcraft, you might have noticed that gold is a very valuable resource at lower levels, with each quest barely rewarding you with a couple pieces of copper or silver for the first 10 or so levels.
This scarcity vanishes over time, though. A quest at level 100 grants ten to twenty times the reward of a quest done at level 20 even though they take about the same amount of time and effort to complete.
This cross-expansion inflation was probably implemented by Blizzard to prevent players from hoarding money, and force them to go out into the world to re-earn their wealth come new expansions.
Does this mean that the only way for a new player to make gold is by boosting a character and farming at max level? Absolutely not. Luckily, a catch-up mechanic makes it possible to start accumulating your thousands before even reaching the first expansion (level 58+).
The Catch-Up Mechanic
WoW has a player-driven market called the auction house, which is accessible to all active subscribers regardless of character level. The economy of this market is set by the older players who’ve earned their wealth in the latest expansion.
As such, when a new player earns goods that older players desire, the new player may catch up by selling these goods at their inflated market prices.
What are these goods which older players desire and how do you collect them at lower levels?
There are two kinds of items that have an independent value of the level range that they’re acquired from. These items are crafting reagents, and wearable items which bind to you only if you equip them, making them tradable by default.
Crafting reagents are required in order to level up a crafting profession. Crafting professions start at profession level 1, and increase whenever you craft an item. Items can only be crafted using reagents gathered by players.
Therefore, gathering professions are the backbone of the crafting system, and are a guaranteed stream of income for newer players regardless of level.
Most crafting reagents fall within the 1-10g market price range, depending on rarity and your realm’s market conditions.
As for the wearable items, AKA gear, the so-called BoE (bind-on-equip) items are usually green in color (of uncommon quality) and are sometimes sought by collectors for their cosmetic value, thus making their gameplay-affecting stats irrelevant.
These items drop at random from various sources, usually out in the world from random hostile mobs, and remain tradable until equipped by any character. It’s usually easy to sell these items for 20-50g each, but the price may rise up to tens of thousands for the ultra-rare ones.
Gathering Grants XP!
In order to start gathering crafting reagents, you will first need to reach level 5, then you should head over to the main questing hub of your faction’s starting zone or their capital city. Over there, you should look for the trainers for mining, herbalism and/or skinning. The guards will help you.
You are able to choose a maximum of two professions; which you choose is up to you.
Once gathering professions are learnt, mining and/or herbalism nodes will appear on your mini-map as golden coins. While they will require extra walking to get to, they do compensate for that by providing a significant amount of player XP (in addition to their high market values) when mined/gathered.
Before Battle for Azeroth, from level 1 to 60, one node used to award about the same amount of experience as killing 4 mobs and less at level 61+. Although I didn’t see any notes about the changes in BfA, I noticed that the XP reward per node from level 1 to 60 dropped to the equivalent of killing one mob, while I also noticed that the former 4x XP bounty was now effective on my 100-110 characters.
All by all, and despite the nerf, taking the extra walk towards these nodes is totally worth it, since gathering takes two seconds only and grants much more gold than mobs do at any level.
Investment and Revenue
The number of crafting reagents collected from a single node varies from less than one to 4 or more depending on your gathering skill. For the past three expansions, low level reagents have been selling between 1-4 gold, with reagents from advanced areas sometimes reaching as high as 20 gold. You will occasionally come across very rare reagents (ones in hundreds) that sell for hundreds of gold each.
From my experience, you will easily be making 2 to 5 gold per node in your twenty first levels, and 10-20g in some advanced areas once you’ve mastered your profession.
It’s realistic to gather 20 nodes per level by going slightly out of your way. Starting at level 5, you would make 4600 to 11,500 gold by the time you reach level 120 from gathering and auctioning alone, and that’s not taking the rares and more-expensive materials into account.
If you grind a bit by gathering 50 per level, you would make 11,500 to 28,750 gold by the time you reach level 120. And like I said, this is all but a basic and rather pessimistic estimate. You will be likely making more, and all of that is a bonus to what you would be already making from questing and dungeon rewards and vendoring trash.
Skinning is slightly different from herbing and mining in that it works on the corpses of certain mobs (beasts, dragonkin and some insects) that are more prevalent in some areas than others, and doesn’t award any bonus XP aside from what you get for killing the mobs in question.
Out of these 3 gathering professions, none stands out as being more lucrative than the others. They fluctuate depending on which expansion level you’re currently gathering materials from and on your realm’s market conditions. It’s therefore recommended to pick the gathering professions that satisfy you and which you have racial bonuses for.
The Impact of Race and Class Choices
There are 3 races in the game that have bonuses to gathering professions, which allow them to skin or gather herb or mineral nodes in 1 second instead of 2. The worgen have a skinning bonus, the tauren have a herbalism bonus, while the Highmountain tauren have a mining bonus.
Your choice of class might also have an impact on your gameplay experience while gathering. Most classes have to spend a few seconds summoning their horse or flying mount after gathering. However, druids can gather herbs or skin without leaving their travel or flight forms, which themselves can be triggered instantly, giving them a sharp advantage over other classes in gathering efficiency. Shamans, too, have the ghost wolf form, which is an instant cast as well and increases their movement speed slightly. When it comes to mobility spells, windwalker monks excel, with 3 to 4 instances of long distance movement spells which have separate cooldowns.
Selling from Anywhere
The hoarding of crafting reagents doesn’t only fill up valuable bag space for your leveling characters, but having to constantly commute between your current questing hub and the nearest capital city to access the auction house can be a major waste of time.
To overcome that, experienced players create a special level 1 “bank toon” (i.e. bank character) that sits permanently in a capital city in the area between the bank, the auction house and the nearest mailbox. What they do is periodically mailing their auctionable items from all other characters on the same realm directly into this character’s mailbox, who retrieves them then auctions them without the hassle of traveling to the AH on your other characters.
Out of many possible cities for banking toons to reside, Shattarath in Outland is probably the best, in that the AH, bank and mailbox are within a small walking distance of one another inside the same building. The only way to get into Shattarath before reaching the level requirement is via a mage portal. Once you’re in Stormwind or Orgrimmar, just bring up the /who panel then search for “c-mage 66-120” + “z-stormwind” or “z-orgrimmar”. That would bring up a list of mages in your zone who are level 66-120. Start whispering random ones and eventually one of them would happily port you there.
Making 2000 Gold in by Level 10
Sounds impossible? When I said that I have a best practice that would allow you to accumulate thousands before level cap without grinding or exploiting anything, I was telling the truth. Admittedly, my achievement of farming 2000g in the first few levels was indeed a grind. However, in my defense, and unfortunately for us now, this grind actually used to increase your level at about the same rate as questing did before BfA’s nerf for mining/herbing XP, while granting you much more gold.
While gathering 2000 gold on your new characters before quitting your starting zone might be a significant stretch given these new conditions, gathering and auctioning are still a viable best practice that will mean the difference between poverty and being financially able by the time you reach level cap, and will provide more than enough for you to purchase fast flight, super fast flight and some of the game’s more useful items along the way, like netherweave bags, heirloom gear and the Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth mount. (Heirlooms and mounts are bought once then used by all characters).
The best part is that this whole process may smoothly blend in as a part of your standard gameplay (even to as far as being usable to a degree in most dungeons), while generating decent revenue in proportion to your extra effort!
Did you find this article useful? Do you have any questions about the basics of gold farming? Make sure to ask your questions in the comments section.