Monday, December 15, 2008

Managing your gold

Gold is a tricky resource and even though some of us have already gone past the point of having pretty much everything they want and gold to spare for completely useless things most of us have to deal with the reality that our gold supply is limited unless we want to spend hours on end grinding, playing the AH or doing dailies.

Rather than telling you how to get more gold I am going to give you a few tips on how to manage your gold better; in fact how to manage all your resources better.

I am not going to lie to you, most of these tips are obvious and pretty much common sense. But I have applied these simple strategies for years now in various games and I have very rarely been spotted grinding/farming resources unless I was being exceptionally greedy. In fact I'd go so far as to say that I have spent no more than 24 hours out of a years worth of playing grinding any kind of resource I needed.

On that note let me add this: Managing your gold and resources is not about getting rich, it's about not getting poor.
There's targets I have that I haven't met, that I could grind and farm for but for which I have decided to just play the game instead knowing that the goal will be met in due time because I know how to control my expenditures.

So off we go into the wondrous world of resource management and a healthy chunk of self-discipline.


I see it happening all the time. People are out levelling their alts or playing their various characters and end up with a whole bunch of stuff that they don't have an immediate use for. So they think, hey I'll just sell this on the AH, make a small profit and then weeks/months later notice that they could've used the resources on an alt or during a crafting project for a random buyer or a guildie and end up paying a significant premium because they need the resources right away.

You can see this the most during holiday seasons. If you need a whole bunch of small eggs during christmas for some eggnog you're invariably going to have to either farm for them or pick them up from the AH for extreme prices.

Now think back how many of those small eggs you found while playing your lowbie alts and how many you simply vendored or sold on the AH for next to nothing.

The cardinal rule here is: If it stacks, don't sell it
Other than inventory management there's no reason to sell stackable items unless they're absolutely useless to everyone. Those resources will come in handy the next time you're grinding up a profession or if nothing else you will be able to sell them at a significant profit if you're willing to


Sell things at the right time. There's always people out there working on their professions or picking up new ones. Your resources are valuable to them because they want them 'now' and not later. If you have resources available then you're always able to make nice deals either with the buyer directly or indirectly when there's a shortage on the AH.

There's no reason to rush-sell anything... provided that you


Inventory management is crucial. Buy all your bank slots on all your toons and equip them with the most affordable but largest bags you can find (netherweave bags in my case). If you don't have any alts yet consider filling up the remaining character slots you have with alts purely for banking purposes.
Give each character a type of resource to deal with. I keep all my tailoring mats on my warlock, all my ores on my paladin, all my herbs and alchemy on my druid, all 'general' stuff on my warrior and so on and so forth.

Stop thinking about inventory management. Make a simple system for yourself and whenever you are in town simply mail whatever you have to the corresponding alts for them to deal with later.

Picking a day to manage your inventory to take care of it all can be very helpful in dealing with large mailbox queues and will cause you to have space to spare. Having space to spare is crucial if you want to be able to just ditch your spare holy set in the bank because you won't need it on the next instance run. If you can't ditch it in the bank real quick then you're just dragging it around with you...

Which brings us to the second part of inventory management:


Yeah, I have a set of gear for this that and the other thing too, I have stacks of buff foods, fishing pole, trinkets, potions and whatnot in my inventory. And by Medivh I will drag them around everywhere!
Say what? Stop that: Take only what is necessary.
Are you really going to need 3 stacks of buff food while you're questing? or that extra set of gear?

Maybe you will, more likely than that you won't and you're wasting dozens of inventory slots on completely useless crud... crud that will force you to a) destroy stuff to pick up new stuff or b) cause you to run to town way more often than you need to.

This is gruesomely inefficient. You're losing money for every gray item you toss overboard and if you have to go to town all the time you're losing questing time by the bucketload. It may not seem that important but if you do a rough calculation on how much gold you are bleeding just by throwing away 'cheap' gray items you'd be surprised at how many gold you throw away a week.

There's a reason I quest a lot with my imp, it's because I can replace my soulshard bag temporarily for another 16+ slot bag leaving me with about 3-4 loose soul shards but 12 more bag slots to fill up before I have to go to town. And I can do this because I usually have an empty bag in my bank waiting to be swapped in for a full one.

In the end: Don't take things with you that you won't need and leave room in your bank for just dumping things off for a while.


Last but not least there's the almighty Auction House. The auction house is the number 1 cause for people being as poor as they are. People buy recipes they'll never use or only use once, buy new gear on the AH that they end up replacing only days after. The AH is as much your friend as it is your enemy.
Scan it daily with tools like auctioneer so you know the average prices of stuff but don't be tempted to buy anything.
Why are you buying it should be the first question in your mind, if you can't come up with anything better than 'I want it' then don't buy it. In fact there's very little reason to buy anything from the AH unless there's no physical way for you to get the item in the first place. Patience is key. You simply have to assume that you will get what you want in good time and as a result you can curb your spending to the absolutely necessary.

The only thing the AH can be used for is to sell high and buy low. To achieve this look specifically at the resource market your stockpiling. If you're stockpiling a lot of ore and there's a shortage sell a few stacks for a decent price bearing in mind that if it's especially valuable stuff you're better off selling it in smaller stacks. Never ever sell all your resources though, since you will need them the second you have none.

Buying low is the other end of the stick and is something you'll be able to do quite easily when there's a lot of people on at one time... i.e. the weekend. Over the weekend you can get tremendous deals on things that you can sell for significantly more during the week.

Keep an eye out on the AH at all times and scoop up deals even if you can't use them yourself.

If it's not a deal, then why are you buying it? No really... why are you?

In the end the above won't make you rich but it'll allow you greater control of what you have... it'll allow you to make the snap decision to power level a profession and already have most of the resources ready, it'll give you greater flexibility and save you gold that you didn't even know you were losing.

When it's all said and done, when the day comes that I am stupendously wealthy the above will keep me stupendously wealthy no matter what I do. All that for the price of a little self-discipline... that's not so bad now is it?

So then, what do you do to keep your resources under control?


LarĂ­sa said...

This is interesting. You and Greedy Goblin are giving the opposite advice. You suggest that we save stuff for future needs. Gevlon think you should put everything on AH - you can always buy it if you need it later.

I guess both ways will work - sinc you both have some sort of systematic thinking and actually gives some time into AH, bag management and that kind of business. I just keep postponing it with disastrous resaults.

But keep telling me the bad news, that there's no way around it. One day I may start doing what's best for me.
Go banking when I'd rather run an instance...

Captain The First said...

"Gevlon think you should put everything on AH - you can always buy it if you need it later."

hmmm... in which case you should ask gevlon for some hearts of darkness or some righteous orbs, or maybe a stack of primals in a few months time.

Just because x turns into y gold doesn't mean y gold will buy you x again later on.

What it comes down to is this: You cannot control the market, you can only control your inventory.

Devv said...

I have bank alts specifically for different needs. One for cloth, one for disenchantable items, and one for nothing but armor and weapons that lower level toons will eventually be able to use.

As far as Gevlon's philosophy goes, I don't put much weight in his thoughts. This is the same guy who believes that it should be public record if someone is HIV positive. He DOES have some solid tips on wealth management, but as you mentioned, values tend to change over time. I'm sure even Gevlon would agree that there are exceptions to his rules. But by and large, I adhere to something much closer to your school of thought than his.

Jamster said...

Nice. I personally don't realy save things, as I have to gathering proffesions, and I'm not planning on making any alts until I'm completely happy with my main.

Dr. Wang said...


You are a genious! I really really dont consider myself a noob but the idea of multiple bank toons for certain items is amazing.

I bow to your ingenious idea

Good Read!

Captain The First said...

@Devv: I think in general gevlon is a good guy but a bit prone to extreme opinions. Overall he seems a decent enough person, we'll just have to beat the extremist out of him hehe

@Jamster: I had full focus on my main in the beginning too. It turns out that if you can spend the time in creating a few good characters that you will want to play later on you get the benefit of bank space as well as building up rested xp on your chars as well as being able to drop some extra professions on them. Overall I am glad I created all my alts when I did... even those that I didn't enjoy playing much are now level 30+ just from burning rested xp.

@Wang: Its a working system, at least for me... plus I have alt addictions so it all comes out in the plus :P

Esdras said...

It kind of depends on things on what i do like im Tailor/enchanting but i al still selling all my cloth and mats till im 80 so i have enough gold for gear and stuff then i will lvl professions.

Suppose we all do it differently.

Captain The First said...

Interesting point but from what I am seeing I won't be needing gold to gear up due to the fact that the gear runs on a separate currency (emblems etc).
That being said here's the approximate numbers of mats needed to train your tailoring up in the WotLK era:
7225 Frostweave Cloth
780 Infinite Dust
175 Ethernium Thread

To give an indication. With the mats collected from 3.5 zone completions (tundra, fjord, dragonblight and 1/2 grizzly hills) I was able to go from 375 to 405 which cost me approximately 1000 frostweave (and 200g in eternium thread).
That puts me 6k frostweave from my mark of which I estimate to be able to collect 2k before my main is done with northrend.

That still puts me 4k cloth off the mark and means even my second character to go through northrend will have to save up all his cloth just for my main to top out on tailoring.

And after that I still might be buying some cloth from the AH.

Buying it all from the AH seems prohibitively expensive especially considering I already scoop up all the cheap cloth I can find in the weekend.

The professions are projects by themselves now... hmmmm blogpost material!

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