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Azeroth can often be a Troll eat Gnome World: everyone’s trying to make a quick buck with the minimum amount of effort. With Cataclysm mere months away (well it is, we just don’t know how many) and with what is, let’s be honest, a VAST army of alt mouths to feed, a girl puts a fair bit of thought into the business of money, and having enough to make ends meet. To this end, I’ve been playing around with alternatives to the Tournament Dailies or questing to pull in a quick buck, and I’ll be discussing some of my forays in the next few week.

To prepare you for the process of successful farming you don’t need to change your name to something that has no consonants in it or learn Mandarin, you just need a brain and a plan. Here are my five rules to maximise your gold-making potential whenever you choose to farm in Warcraft.

#1: Time is Money, Friend!

The biggest single issue for me when making money is when I can do it: I have limited hours in the day, so I need to make the most of them. To that end I always put aside a set period in which to farm: 60 minutes is my limit. By setting a cut-off point you will make the process of farming less of a chore, plus you don’t allow the process to consume anything else you plan to do. It normally takes me about an hour to do Dailies, so this seems an appropriate amount to put aside.

#2: The Right Time to Begin.

The weekends suck for farming. Trufact.

If you can only farm on a weekend, I strongly suggest you pick an instance to do it in. As I have several skinners, Dire Maul is always a good place for me (as my current item of choice to farm is Rugged Leather: see 3) and because it’s just you in the instance there’s never an issue of there being no mobs to kill. You can do five ‘clears’ of any instance in a 60 minute period before being locked out by Blizzard’s Dungeon Limiter, by which time your bags are likely to be full anyway (assuming you cleared them, see 4) which fits into the one hour window of opportunity pretty well.

If you want to farm ore, by far the best times to do this are early morning and late night during the week.

#3: A Little Knowledge…

Knowing how long you will farm and when to do it, the next question then has to be what you will be farming. As the Blood Elves delight in telling me on a regular basis, everything has a price. The key to consistently making money using the AH it seems to me is to be the only person selling your item, and to be selling it at a reasonable price. There are many guides out there by far wiser people than me on how the AH is the path to riches and glory: I like to think of it as just one way to sell my product.

Using my alts gathering skills, my main forms of cash generation on the AH comes from ore, herbs and skins. Before I farm I’ll always check the AH for the current lowest price of the item I intend to farm: if I think there’s too many people selling the same thing it’s time to find a new raw material and move on. If I’ve forgotten to do this and I have a load of stuff in my bags that’s currently cheaper on the AH than I would consider selling it for, I’ll always advertise for a lump sum in Trade. Assuming I can be seen in the pages of spam and gold seller adverts, this is a pretty good way of shifting my wares, and avoiding AH fees to boot. It’s amazing the number of people who will buy like this in Trade, but the canny farmer remembered to check the AH before she went out. There’s no substitute for planning.

#4: Come Prepared

Speaking of planning, have you looked at your bags lately?

You want to make money, you need better bags. Consider them an investment if you haven’t already upgraded, but you will need 20 slotters at minimum if you’re going to maximise your golds. If you’re a skinner, a miner or a herbalist and you intend to farm those items I’d say investing in the maximum-slotted speciality bag is pretty much a given. Remember you can store it in your bank when you’re not farming and swap it with a normal bag if you’re one of those people who likes lots of space for questing. If you’re not lucky enough to own a mammoth with a repair guy, are an engineer with repair bots or have an Argent Squire you will not have a chance to repair and sell lower quality items ‘on site’ as you work in an instance. You’ll need all the slots you can find as a result. You don’t want to throw anything away. No really, you don’t.

#5: Everything Has a Price!

I’m going to say it again: anything that you can pick up in Warcraft that’s not nailed down has a value. I know many people think it’s a massive inconvenience to have to pick up all of that grey crap that mobs drop, but if you’re farming a stack of that crap soon adds up. Blizzard put it there for a reason: it’s to make money for you! If you choose to farm in an instance this could also mean patterns, books, recipes, armour, rares and (if you’re having a good day) an Epic. Purple is pretty much a guaranteed seller where ever it comes from in-game, and it’s a bonus you should be ready to accommodate as well as anything and everything else that drops. It’s the extras in any farm that make a good day into a great day: learn to love your Gorilla Fangs and Gordok Chew Toys, because they’re all adding to your overall funds.

Be aware also that some items that you might not think will be worth much actually have a value: the books that drop in Dire Maul for instance are required reading for anyone currently farming for The Insane title on your Server. Outland Primals are required mats for anyone levelling any of the professions pre-Cataclysm. Just because you’re not using something doesn’t mean it’s worthless. Knowledge again is the key.

So just how much money is out there to be made? A great deal if my server is any indicator, and you don’t need to be farming Northrend to do so. Watch this space for some number crunching after a morning’s farm in Outland…

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