I did inventory the other day. Outside of the infinite amounts of junk I have smeared out all over my alts I noticed that I had about 10k in gold laying around.
With my hunter, mage and death knight still a ways away from level 77 I quietly acknowledged the fact that I wouldn't have to worry about where the next 2 or even 3 epic flyers would come from.
In fact this time around I wouldn't even have to liquidate any of my assets and can reasonably expect to have another 5k gold through prodding around on the AH for maybe an hour every couple of days long before any of my 3 higher level alts gets to 77.
So looking at the current state of my characters and looking at purely what they 'need' in riding skills to get epic riding and epic flying I am looking at a grand total of almost 50k gold for all my alts left to gather (10 chars in total).
That 50k gold includes everything all my characters could ever want from riding and that is assuming you see epic flying as a requirement rather than a nice to have.
50k definitely sounds like a lot... but given that I already have 10k of that number and it took me about a month with very little effort on the AH to get 5k I could realistically achieve the 50k mark by the end of the year without putting any significant effort into making gold whatsoever. Significantly less if I just devoted a month or two to gold making activities.
I considered putting effort into the gold making process but then it hit me: Assuming you've already bought all the epic flyers you could possibly need and your professions are maxed what is there really left to buy?
A couple of flimsy rings?
A gigantique bag?
Soap on a rope?
Some other random vendor stuff?
Most of everything else is either tied into some kind of badge/seal/token/honor/rating system or doesn't require gold to get but instead requires effort a.k.a. time. Worse still there is nothing that would allow me to trade in my gold to save some time in that regard.
So what does one buy once one has bought all the 'essentials'?
There's no gold sink big enough that would keep taking your gold and paying you off in a way that you would want to repeat it indefinitely (i.e. gold -> honor might be a start).
Repair and travel cost barely factor in at this point. Sure repair costs can be painful if you have no gold income from anywhere and you run instances all day but that's really a choice you make when you choose that particular lifestyle.
Gear comes from instances, from badges or from honor and arena rating none of which I can buy with gold. Titles come from achievements which translates to effort rather than gold and anything cosmetically interesting seems to come from an obscure trading card game which only kind of comes from gold... if you were allowed to sell gold for cash.
That indeed leaves a rather paltry selection of mounts, rings and arbitrary vendor junk...
So depending on the amount of alts you have there is actually a virtual cap on how much gold you can have before it becomes essentially nothing more than a little number on the bottom of your main bag. And even that number will stop climbing at 2^31 copper because even blizzard thinks that by the time you have that much gold you really should quit or seek help or some such thing.
So, did I miss something or is endgame gold really worthless?