Besides "whar u get black hors," "Can I have some money?" is the most frequently asked question I get. Anyone who has hit 70 gets it a lot, I suspect. I guess the asker thinks that gold falls from trees for 70s and we're all independently wealthy because we drop 5000g on a flying mounts, or 500g a pop for gems, etc. Actually, most of us don't have any gold because we're always broke... buying those really expensive goodies!
Most people get desperate for money at level 40 and 60. That's first mount and epic mount, respectively. There's a good reason to be desperate, too. Having a mount completely changes the game. It's on par with discovering your first flight point. Suddenly that run to Ravenhill in Duskwood isn't that long, and getting all the way to Booty Bay isn't an entire afternoon's adventure. So most "can I haves" are related to mount acquisition. Before you ask, no. But I will share some money making tips (not secrets) that'll help. I'm not gonna tell you all my favorites :P but I'll share a few so that you get the idea.
Most these are Alliance tips (particularly the Stormwind and Ironforge side) since that's what I play. But the general principles are the same on either side and for any faction. WARNING: There's no magic way to make gold in WoW. Even if someone tells you there is and only wants $49.95 to share their secrets. Bullshiat. The more time you spend on gold making endeavors, the more you'll make. Plain and simple. Yup, you have to work at it.
To Level 20
When you start out, the inclination is to gear up right away. I'm guilty of wanting to gear early as well because it's fun and it makes playing easier. On my alts though (with the exception of twinks), I'm a lot less inclined to do it. Why? Because you really don't need to spend a lot on gear at the start of the game. What drops and your quest rewards are plenty enough to get you through.
Starter Money Tip: From level 1 through 10, kill twice as many mobs as you need to complete the quest. So if you're killing kobalds for candles, and you smack 25 of them to get the required amount, whack 25 more. Your main goal here is to get enough money to pay for training to buy your skills and your professions. You might need to buy food and water occasionally. Everything else you need is provided by the game.
Starter Money Tip: Join a guild as soon as possible. A low levels, you'll probably be joining a social guild, though some raid guilds will pick up particularly talented low level characters. Unless your whole purpose for being is to join a popular raid guild, I recommend joining and sticking with a social guild. They're more fun. Regardless, a guild can provide a lot of resources, in particular covering the cost of repairs, helping you level your professions with mats, and even tossing in a nice green you won't have to buy and will make playing easier. You won't make money being in a guild, but you'll spend less.
Money Tip#1. At lower levels, a gathering profession or two can provide you with a steady, and sometimes very lucrative, income. The crafting professions are more fun but they're terribly expensive, for the most part. The payoff for crafting is also way down the road. You can always go back, when you're higher level, and learn a craft.
Mining and Skinning are two professions that provide solid income at the start. Skinning may not make a huge ton of money (though later it does), but it's consistent when you have to kill 99 million beasts to finish quests. Herbalism is great with Alchemy and makes leveling alchemy basically free for a long time, but low level herbs don't normally sell as well as leather and ore/bars. Be leveling Fishing and First Aid as well. Cooking isn't much of a money maker, but if you're playing a non-healing class it can save a bit of money and provide a nice buff for questing.
Keep cashing in your "mats" at the Auction House and save your money for...
20 to 30
Now you're getting into some instances and you'll have a few more expenses. If you complete the two or three starter areas for your faction before you run instances, you'll have good gear from quests, and maybe a green or two from drops, by the time you start. You'll also be ready to tackle the next set of quests. You'll group a lot in the period as well. It's way faster.
Money wise, I suggest sticking with your gathering professions. Now, though, you're high enough to do some low level farming. Rules for farming:
#1 Be considerate of other players questing the area. You're higher level now and it's not nice to wipe out all the kills while someone else is trying to level. Step aside, let em to their thing.
#2 Pick smart times to farm. Earlier in the morning and early afternoon, while people are at work/school, or after 11pm server time when people are wrapping up for the evening.
#3 If you're kill farming, look for spots that have a high mob count with a fast respawn time. Note these locations when you're questing at level. If you're getting your butt kicked because there's piles of mobs around and they keep popping right on top of you too quick to keep up, you've found a good farm spot.
#4 Generally herbs and ore are fair game, but there's no point getting into a fight with someone about it. If you're mining ore or gathering herbs in the same area as someone else, either ask to share or move on. For skinning, always ask the person the kill belongs to BEFORE skinning. Most people won't care and you can follow around behind them and skin yourself to riches.
Money Tip#2. The famous Windmill in Westfall is a perfect example of kill farming for this level. Everybody farms it, eventually, but it still works. There's a windmill near the coast with lots of Defias around it. These guys spawn practically on top of each other. They drop mostly piles of linen, which you can either sell at the AH or covert to bandages and sell to the vendor. (see below) These guys also drop all the "world drop" greens that fall in Westfall. So an hour here will getcha a few greens to sell/disenchant as well. There are also gnolls strung out along the coast. You can run up and down the coast along the top of the cliff and make a nice, tidy sum. If you prefer murlocs, and the clams they drop for pearls, jump down the cliff and run up and down the beach. (There's a rare spawn or two on the beach, as well, so keep an eye out for them. They always drop a nice green.)
Money Tip#3. Never, ever sell cloth directly to a vendor. Always sell it to someone via the AH. If the price is too low, convert it to bandages first and then sell it to the vendor. Bandages are worth more.
Money Tip#4. It's time to solo! This is my prefered method of farming because you're not disturbing anyone... and no one can disturb you! As you approach and pass level 30, you can start running most of VC (Dead Mines, or Van Cleef), Wailing Caverns (WC) and Blackfathom Depths (BFD). VC is particularly good because you'll get piles of wool. After you've maxed your First Aid, sell the wool at the AH. On my server (Fenris), I can always get at least 1g or more per 20-bundle. VC also drops piles of greens and, if you're an enchanter, BoP blues to disenchant for mats. I solo'd VC all the way through at 31. I've heard of players doing it as early as 29. Even if you can't make it all the way through, it's well worth the repair bill to go as far as you can.
Money Tip#5. The spiders in Duskwood drop Spider Silk. This item is used by tailors to make a set of robs that warlocks need to complete a class-specific quest. Even a few pieces of this can sell at auction for a nice sum. Unfortunately, the spiders are also part of a big long hairy, kill 'em all, quest when you first start that area. Be considerate. Any time you learn of a drop that's used in a high-quality crafting profession you've found a farming opportunity.
31 to 40
Now it's time to start the haul toward your first major expense; your Mount! The cost is about 100g, minus your faction discount. Figure around 90g to get it. You'll want some operating expenses after dropping all that g, though, so make it 100g and you're good to go.
Money Tip #6. This is a good time to install Auctioneer, the AH add-on. Auctioneer keeps a database of pricing in your faction's AH so that you can get the best price for anything you're selling or buying. It will also automatically compare, say, the AH price of a quality item versus it's disenchant value. Enchanters will find this to be a huge money maker/money saver since enchant mats usually sell very well in the AH. It gets even better as you level. Learn this tool and all of it's features, since it'll factor in heavily for making gold.
Money Tip #7. Keep running VC. To go a little faster (and for more fun), offer to take a few people at level with you. You can solo it, but having company at this level helps and there are plenty of people that will want to run it. You'll get some nice loot and they'll get xp and quests finished. Good deal all around. You'll also want to run with a party through Gnomer as much as you can stand. And you'll start running Scarlet Monestary, Razorfen Kraul, and Razorfen Downs as well. Shadowfang Keep is a nice change and drops good loot as well. All are instances that will get you some cash, solid xp and, more important, familiarity with those instances. You'll need that experience soon to make some serious money. :)
At this level I also liked anything with a cave. And I still like caves for the same reasons: They tend to pop fast. They do tend to be quest locations, so be considerate, but it's almost a sure thing. There's nice caves in Redridge (Gnolls and Orcs) and Duskwood (Ogres) for Alliance people that are easy to run through a few times at 35-40. I prefer humanoid mobs because the drop cloth more often.
Most of the cash I got for my first mount, though, came from running VC over and over. Selling the greens (and occasional BoE blue) and wool made money pretty fast. Take an enchanter with you and get it done faster, more often, and split the disenchant mats at the end for the BoP items.
Money Tip #8. At this point, it might be worthwhile to switch to a crafting profession if you went with two gathering. Not necessarily mind you, because it is expensive, but it's worth looking into. For example, I recently switched an alt (Priest) to enchanting and jewel crafting from mining and skinning. She'd made enough money to afford her mount from gathering, playing the AH (see below), and running instances, and had plenty to spare. It is VERY expensive, however, because you have to buy all those mats. What makes it worthwhile is a) enchanting is probably the best "service" craft (well, maybe lockpicking is best) for making money and b) jewelcrafting can be hugely profitable. She can now make an item with JC that regularly sells for 11-15g each and the mats cost about 3g. So she makes a nice profit with each one. In addition, the "junk" she makes leveling JC can be disenchanted for mats. Tailoring and Blacksmithing have items like this also.
Anyhow, this is a good time because after level 40, the crafting professions get expensive to level. Leveling them up now means you'll be better positioned to use those expensive mats as you find them while you level to 50.
So, you're gonna run instances as much as you can, preferably with as few people as possible (though at 30-40 your options are limited for solo). You're going to look for rare mats to farm and sell at AH (like Spider Silk). You're going to start playing with Auctioneer, learning it, and maybe even start playing the AH a little (see below). If you do this stuff regularly and while you level (say half and half), you'll have plenty of g for your mount when you sparkle to 40.
Now, you've gone through all the angst of getting your mount, you're free and clear for 20 levels. Not! Your epic mount will run about 500g. That's five-hundred. (It's actually a little cheaper, but again, you don't want to be broke when you drop all that money.) You have 20 levels to get there.
The good news is that everything you've been doing to make money will keep making money. And it'll make more money! This is the level range where crafting really starts to pay off, because tailoring, leather working, and blacksmithing start making stuff you can't get anywhere else. So you can save a ton on armor.
Money Tip #9. I started running Gnomer solo around 50. It took awhile, but it paid off nicely. In one run, I remember, I pulled nearly 50g in greens out. That's not typical, more like 15g per run would be more accurate. Still worth while and it breaks up the VC runs. VC, by the way, gets WAY easier.
Money Tip #10. Nows the time where you'll start learning to love Elementals. If you decide to kill farm for g, you'll be fighting a LOT of elementals. On the Alliance side, you pop up to Arathi and hit the elemental circles over and over. The Elements that drop off of these are used in quests and crafting and can bring in some nice money.
Money Tip #11. If you haven't already, this is a good time to start playing the AH, even if it's just casually. You'll use Auctioneer and the Bottom Scanner add on to look for low starting bid items. If you win, you can then relist the item at it's "correct" price. This takes practice and research, but if you start small you can't get in too much trouble. Set your "spend" cap low - say, no item more than 50s and don't spend more than 2g a day - and you'll be fine. As you gain more experience with what sells and what doesn't, you can increase your caps. Thottbott's AH prices are your best research tool. ALWAYS check it, and read about what the item is for and who would want it, before dropping any significant g on a bid for resale. Also, if you can disenchant or prospect, Auctioneer has tools to help you get cheap items and raw materials to turn them into BIG sales.
Money Tip #12. Some of your service professions become viable at this point, as well. Enchanters can get on the /trade channel and offer to enchant items "for free with your mats. Tips welcome." You'd be surprised what people will tip. A gold or two is usually acceptable for most, but at this level 50s is fine and adds up quick for about 15 seconds worth of work. Plus you're leveling your enchanting skill! Lock pickers can do the same, so keep that lock picking skill up.
Money Tip #13. Fishing can pay off at any level, but this is a good time to go for Deviate fish if you're Alliance playing in the Duskwallow Marsh area. It's actually a really fun adventure to take at around 25 for Alliance players because it'll probably be your first foray into a Horde only area. PvP players should probably NOT try it at that level. :) The fishing skill isn't very high to catch these fish and they're best fished out of little pond in the Barrens. It's next to the Wailing Caverns.
These fish fetch a very nice price in both AHs and can be cooked (if you can find the recipe, which also drops from creatures in the Barrens) into Deviate Delight. That particular food stuff sells nicely as well (check the price to see which is higher per item). I was able to get about 40 of these an hour and sold 'em in lots of 5 for 1g a piece! I've seen 'em go for as little as 50s a shot, but it's still worth the trip if you're in the neighborhood. Also hit Wailing Caverns while you're there. Easy solo at 50 and some nice green drops. Not a place I'd go regularly, but if you're already there, might as well.
50 to 60
At this point, a casual player doing all of the above regularly while they quest should be in the 200g neighborhood. If you've really been applying yourself, probably a LOT more.
Money Tip #14. Between 50 and 60 you'll be getting pretty sick of Gnomer and VC (and the Razorfens), so it's time to start hitting Scarlet Monastery. A lot. Hands down this is one of the best money making instances out there. At 55-60 you can even start "servicing" VC, Gnomer, and SM for other players. Twinks in particular need VC at 19 and SM at 39 since a lot of twinkable gear drops from those. You simple offer up your services at a set price to run through.
Aside: This is actually a better level for this sort of thing than at 70. Most people who want to be "run through" a Dungeon, as opposed to doing it at level with a party, want a 70 to do the job. But it's not really worth it. At 70, it's more of a community service. ;) Most runs, in my experience, the person has offered between 2g-15g. 5g-10g being more common. Now at level 55-60, 5g-10g is nice money. But a 70 can do dailies for an hour and make between 50g-100g. So to hire a 70 to take you through a dungeon that'll take 45 minutes to an hour (or longer) is WAY more expensive. Faster, but not cost effective for either of you. But 5g and a share of the drops for a 55-60 is a very nice proposition.
Money Tip #15. For Alliance, for quick cash pop into Stockcades under Stormwind City. Okay it sucks, but a) people always want to be run through it and will pay, and b) you can make about 2-5g per run and it takes maybe 30 minutes at this level. (Faster for many classes.) Plus you'll be saving a bunch of 70s the headache of having to do it.... again. :D
Money Tip #16. Fel Cloth that drops off the demons in Felwood makes big money. Hard to get, drop rate is very low, but worth it if you're playing that area. Which brings us back to farming... If you've been paying attention, by the time you reach this range, you should have several regular farming spots. I favor instances, of course, mainly because you're left alone to do your thing without having to worry about pissing people off. But there's plenty of outdoor areas to farm as well. A particular favorite is ghost mushrooms (herbalists only) in Hinterlands at Skulk Rock. Ghost mushrooms sell very nice and alchemists can convert them into Ghost Dye, which sells even nicer.
At the end of all this, you should have more than enough money to buy your horse. Actually, if you do it right and spend a little time at it, you'll have way more than enough. You probably noticed I didn't give a ton of "secret" examples. That's because they're aren't any. There are just places and combinations of things you haven't thought of yet. I give some of the most obvious and common examples here.
Money Making Professional
The professions are in the game for a reason, of course. They're suppose to make your character income. But the market for making money is either to vendor it, or sell it to another player. Blizzard created the /Trade channel and Auction Houses to facilitate this. By leveling your profession and studying what sells and what doesn't, you can literally finance anything you could want to do in the game. Most people don't take time to this, so the opportunity is huge.
Trade is a global channel and unlike General or Local Defense, it covers the entire realm for your faction (Alliance or Horde, there is no "neutral" trade channel. The purpose to let players offer up goods and services for sale. Unfortunately, Blizzard doesn't really monitor the channel, so many times it's used as a "general" chat area for the entire realm. If you have children in the house that can read, be sure to turn the adult filter on!
Despite the annoyances, Trade can be very useful. When you've leveled your profession high enough, you can offer your services to people by posting a quick statement to /Trade. Something like:
"375 Alchemist, Potion Master, on duty making all potions, free with your mats, tips welcome. PST for prices of in-stock."
"285 Enchanter wanting to enchant [Fiery Weapon] and [Icy Chill]. Free with your mats. Tips appreciated."
You can also monitor Trade for people looking to buy services and items:
"LF Enchanter to do [Fiery Weapon]. Paying 100g."
"LF Rogue to open 5X lock boxes 175-255 skill. Tipping 2g each."
And, of course, people post a myriad of items they want to sell or buy directly.
The main value of trade, for a profession, is finding people to buy what you can make or do. Enchanters and lock picking are always in high demand. A general "tip" guide, in my experience, would be:
Skill Level Tip
Tip more for very high level and rare recipes, patterns, designs and plans. You can check all of these on WoW Wiki and get a good idea of how difficult it is to obtain a particular professional skill. Using my own profession as an example, any flask an alchemist makes for you should be tipped well, as should any Elixir or Potion that requires an Alchemy Lab. Transmutes you buy from Alchemists have a 4 to 24 hour cool-down, so expect to pay a premium, in addition to a tip, for that Earthstorm Diamond transmute. 10g-20g for a high level, complex transmute is reasonable because it requires a lot of reputation grinding or questing to get the recipe, and then requires some expensive mats to create the reagent needed to complete the transmute. Most professions are in a similar position with their high level abilities and skills. Attaining these abilities is extremely difficult, and/or lucky, and you should charge for it.
Professions and the AH
Being able to make something someone else needs is an obvious way to make money. But WoW offer a ton of options here and what will sell and for how much is not easy to figure out. Well, it isn't unless you have Auctioneer. Again we return to our good friend for prices.
Just pull up your crafting profession's box and select then mouse over each item. Auctioneer will open a second box under the first box telling you how much that item has been listed for recently, as well as it's vendor price and bid prices it has observed. (This is way it's important to SCAN the auction house with Auctioneer frequently. Twice a day is ideal, but at least twice a week.) You then scan over the mats to see how much they are selling for, on average.
This does two things. First it tells you if an item can be made for a quick profit. If you just pay the average and less for mats, and then sell the item for an average price, will you make money? If yes, then go for it. Check the auction house to see how many others are making that item. No listing? Either they sell real quick, or are not in demand. Lots of listings? Be wary as the price may suddenly plummet. Second, it can help you identify mats that sell for WAY more than their finished item. If you have a gathering profession, you can then gather those mats and sell them. It's like picking g up off the ground. :)
Gather any mats you can by farming them, of course. If you use gathered mats to make a high priced item, it's pure profit if it sells. You can work with your guild to do this as well. The skinner/miner might be willing to sell you his gathers at a guildie discount to make some quick cash. Or in exchange for an item he needs and he just gives you the left overs. Or the miner/blacksmith might be willing to just give you mats that he no longer needs to level his skill. Many guilds have a "mats" tab in their Guild Bank, so always check it. Just be sure to give back! After you score a big price for that item you made, make a nice deposit in the guild fund. People will be more likely to drop mats in the bank if they know the professionals will be contributing to their repair bills consistently.
So there it is. It's a lot of work. You don't get g for free. Sorry. But it didn't cost you $49.95 to learn either. :) If you're gonna ask a 70 for money, don't expect an enthusiastic response. If you ask them HOW to make money, though, you might get a useful tid-bit that could turn nicely profitable for you. That can be way better than a one time gimmee.