Tuesday, September 22, 2009
How to get rich in World of Warcraft
So you want to get rich in World of Warcraft, maybe even reach the gold cap? There are hundreds of tips how to make gold in WoW, but the one way which has been shown to most reliably result in you making thousands of gold per week, every week, is inscription. The basic premise of that method is that on most servers a stack of a Northrend herb, like Adder's Tongue, costs 20 gold or less. Buy 200+ stacks, mill them into pigments, transform the pigments into inks, sell the rare inks or transform them into Darkmoon cards which you sell. Do the calculation of what you did spend minus what the rare inks got you back, and you'll see that you now have about a thousand Ink of the Sea which did cost you about 2 gold each. As you can trade in Ink of the Sea for every other ink in the game in Dalaran, you can now make any glyph you have the recipe for. And on average the cost for making a glyph, including parchments and auction house fees, is about 3 gold. On most servers glyphs sell for much more than that. So now you flood the market, ruthlessly undercutting the competition until they give up, trying to achieve a 100% market share. Even if you just make little profit per glyph, the fact that you'll sell a lot of them will result in a large income.
This has been proven to work pretty much on every server, as you can see in the interviews with players who reached the gold cap, although of course the absolute possible profit per week depends on how many players are playing on that side and server. And your market share depends on you being more perseverant and ruthless than your competitors, even willing to accept selling glyphs at a loss for some time until the other glyph sellers give up. Making several thousand gold per week is possible this way on nearly every server. But of course there is a catch: The reason not everybody is getting rich with inscription is that it isn't all that easy as the short description might make you think.
The first problem is that getting into the inscription business requires a lot of time and gold in advance for preparation. Assuming you do have a level 80 character, it will still take several thousand gold for him to learn and max out his inscription skill, and to learn all the recipes. The faster you want to do this, the more it will cost you, as buying large quantities of low-level herbs or Books of Glyph Mastery for the recipes will drive the prices up. Apart from that you will also have to set up at least one alt loaded with inscription bags, who will do all the glyph selling. There are around 300 different glyphs in the game, so you need hundreds of inventory slots to handle them efficiently.
The second problem is time. Just imagine buying 200 stacks of herbs, doing 800 times milling, turning the resulting pigments into over a thousand inks, creating a thousand glyphs, and putting all those glyphs on the auction house. And that not once, but regularly. Of course you will use various macros and addons, so many of these activities can be automated. But even then you will have to be logged in, in front of your computer for the occasional input, and unable to do any adventuring during that time, for at least an hour per day. The simple act of getting hundreds of glyphs back unsold, having to empty your mailbox several times because it can only hold 50 mails at a time, and then turning around and putting the glyphs back on the auction house after an auctioneer scan, will already consume a lot of your time. Especially if you log on during prime time and have mailbox and AH lag.
This brings us to the third problem, unpredictability of sales. To get a 100% market share you will want to have every single glyph in the game for sale. But some of them sell fast, some of them sell very slow, and it will take you quite some time and addons like Beancounter to find out which glyphs sell how many per day. Unless you sit in front of the computer all day long, you'll need to flood the market with enough glyphs of every kind to be sure that they don't sell out before you come back. This means having usually over a thousand glyphs on the AH for sale, and thus thousands of gold locked up in your glyph inventory.
After all the time and gold spent or tied up in your inventory, you'll find that you biggest long-term obstacle is the competition from other players. Glyph selling is a consumer business, that is you are selling to individuals who each just make a small purchase. Customers have no problem paying 10 gold or more, in extreme cases even 100 gold for a single glyph which did cost you 3 gold to make. But if you post all your glyphs for 10 gold, you'll find somebody else posting the same glyphs for 9.95 an hour later, preventing you from selling anything. Then you either have to cancel a thousand auctions and repost them all, or you need to wait until the glyphs come back unsold. In general if you want to keep a high market share, you'll need to aggressively undercut and post glyphs at prices where you barely make a profit, or even at a loss for some time, until the competition gives up. Then you can slowly raise prices, trying to find the point where you still make a good profit, but the other players with inscription aren't tempted to make glyphs and sell them for less than you do.
Failure in the inscription business is usually due to not trying hard enough. Just making a handful of glyphs from time to time and posting them at high prices is likely to not net you much, as more determined business men will constantly undercut you. Note that if on your server herbs are very expensive, and glyphs are very cheap, that is an indication that there are already several players battling over the glyph market. If, for example, you find that Northrend herbs cost 50 gold a stack, while glyphs sell for less than 3 gold, breaking into the glyph market will be extremely hard. You might be better off learning herbalism and farming herbs at these prices.
You can see that inscription isn't a "get rich quick" method. You'll need several thousand gold to launch the business, and then keep it up for many weeks before you make a steady good profit every week. And you'll need to log on every day and spend several hours per week just to keep your glyph business up and running. In the end, getting rich in World of Warcraft works exactly like getting rich in the real world: You need a venture capital to start up a business, hard work, and perseverance. And this is exactly why getting rich with inscription works so reliably in World of Warcraft: It is hard work, there isn't all that much you can actually do with an income of thousands of gold per week, and thus the large majority of players simply can't be bothered doing it. But if you enjoy this sort of gameplay, and you are determined to reach the level cap, trying to build an inscription monopoly is the way to go.