World of Warcraft is much like the real world in regard to making money. Some choose to stand around a busy street and ask people for gold. Much like the real world, they are not able to make a living off of this. Whether your niche is to farm for items, kill lots of enemies, or quest, the real money always comes from the ability to use the auction house.
If you’re new to WOW, you may not be sure what farming is. Farming is setting out with the goal of collecting a certain item. Whether you are looking for drop items such as linen, or using your profession to find ore or skin animals… it is all referred to as farming. Most farm to make money. You can sell your raw goods to a vendor, and slowly make money (since they don’t pay very well) or you can sell them at the auction house (AH).
Killing Enemies and Questing
If your niche is to simply kill animals for experience, you will still find yourself with an inventory full of miscellaneous goods. The same is for questing–your inventory will begin to fill up. You can destroy these items, which you will end up doing if you don’t keep room in your backpack. You can unload these items at the vendor, and earn a few coppers. Or, you can head to any major city and visit the AH.
Not every item you find is going to sell at the AH. Useless items are usually referred to as poor items, which will be listed when you hover over the item for its description. Poor items don’t sell. When AHing, you need to think like a buyer as well as a seller. What would you buy? Most likely, you are looking for something you can use. All cloths will sell. Raw ore will sell (sometimes at a higher price then premade bars). And, of course, weapons and armor will sell. The secret is to price them right.
Before listing a price, you need to research the going price for this item. I cannot suggest prices, because every realm is different. Many times you will notice certain trends, such as weekend prices being completely different than normal weekday prices. Search for your item before listing it (under the browse tab). A shortcut to typing it in is simply press shift and click on your item; it will show up in your search box. When you search, you will see a list of items currently listed at the AH. For quick money, you can lowball your item, and list it under anyone’s price. But the best way to make consistent money is to list your price as an average of what others are doing.
When you list your item, you will switch over to the auction tab, and drag your item into the slot. You will see 2 price boxes, the auction price and the buyout price. WOW will automatically suggest an auction price for you. It is often a very low price, that you are not willing to sell your item for. Personally, I list my auction price the same as my buyout price. This assures me that I get the amount that I want for it if it sells.
You won’t always sell your item the first time you try auctioning it. This is either because your prices are off, or simply because no one is interested in your item. If you are confident about your price through research and experience, relist your item.
You won’t become an AH expert over night. Like all things, it will take experience. But after your first 20 gold or so, you’ll look back and laugh at the panhandlers begging for money on the streets.