A Long Time Ago In An Iron Forge Far, Far Away....

While I initially tried to resist, the urge to follow the group of writers participating in Nev's 20 Days of Gold Making project just got too strong. It just looks like so much fun.

I will be writing "20 Days of Gold Making" posts from time to time over the next few months. Read on past the jump for my first "20 Days of Gold Making" post.

Thank You Nev!

First off I want to thank Nev for putting this series of 20 questions for gold-makers together. It has been (and will be) fun getting to know more about the other gold-making bloggers participating.

If you are a blogger and would like to take part in Nev's "20 Days of Gold Making" you can find details in her post 20 Days of Gold Making - Community Idea over at Auction House Addict.

Not A Gold-Making Blogger?

If you would like to take part in Nev's "20 Days of Gold Making" but do not have a gold-making blog of your own you may consider utilizing The Hatchery for your posts. The Hatchery is a subsection of Power Word: Gold where anyone can have their gold-making articles and ideas published.

You can find more detailed instructions on how to submit posts to The Hatchery on the site itself but the simple version is that you send me your post (including images) in an email with "Hatchery Submission"  in the subject line to and I post it to the site. It's that simple.

The Trigger

The first of the twenty questions listed in the "20 Days of Gold Making" is "When did you start gold making & what triggered it?"

I first started my journey into gold-making around late 2005-early 2006 while working as a game designer on an MMORPG. Many of us in the company were playing World of Warcraft and one particular co-worker played WoW almost exclusively for the auction house.

I distinctly remember him logging into World of Warcraft during lunch with the sole intent of gathering his gold from successful auctions and re-posting his unsuccessful auctions.

At the time I remember thinking that this was a fairly odd way to play a game that was designed to be all about building up your characters. Leveling your characters. Making your characters stronger. And all he wanted to do was log in and post auctions?

The Idea

His actions must have stuck with me however because not that long after I was sitting around pondering how I could "spice up" my World of Warcraft play. I must have become bore with leveling characters at that point.

I may be along in this but sometimes you have to make some sort of goofy character with weird restrictions on them to make the game feel fresh again.

The idea came to me to see how much gold I could make by creating a level 1 gnome, running to Iron Forge, begging for a few silver. I would then use that starter capital to buy and sell items on the auction house and nothing else. (All hail The Beggar-King!)


With that "Tradey" (get it!) was born. (Visual approximation above.) He ran himself from Coldridge Valley to Iron Forge and started begging in trade chat for silvers.

He was taken pity on by a player who gave him a few silver to fetch him a beer. Tradey dutifully took the silver and ran to the nearest (only?) tavern in Iron Forge and brought the player back a cold, frothy beer.

"You keeping the extra silver?" the player asked Tradey.

"Yes. As a reward for fetching your beers." Tradey replied.

The player sat for a second, let out hearty chuckle and Tradey was in business.

The Project

I had a lot of fun trying to "buy low" and "sell high" with Tradey. This was during Vanilla and I do not think I was making much gold at all but I was having fun trying to figure it all out.

I often told my co-workers about Tradey's adventures and they at least acted suitably impressed with my unorthodox play style.

Eventually Tradey had to expand beyond his initial "only make gold with what I started with" premise and took on the responsibility of becoming my full-time bank and auction house alt.

Throughout the years my characters would send him all sorts of items and he would dutifully post them on the auction house day-in and day-out. He liked making money and he was good at it.

What Stuck

It is hard to remember that far back but I learned a few things back in those days that have stuck with me.

  • Always use the same auctioneer (in my case it was Auctioneer Lympkin, the red-haired gnome on the left platform in Iron Forge) or else it is bad luck and your auctions will not sell as good.
  • Always stand in the same spot in the auction house (in my case behind Auctioneer Lympkin between the two braziers) or else it is bad luck and your auctions will not sell as good.
  • Auctioneer is awesome! Auctioneer was my first (and at the time pretty much only available) auction house addon and I spent countless hours inside the Appraiser tab. I even learned how to use "batch posting" to put auctions up faster in a pre-TSM world.

Looking Back

Looking back on those early experiences made me realize how "ordinary" starting a level 1 toon on a server and making money only with the auction house seems to me these days and how "unordinary" it seemed back in 2006.

Times have changed. Gold-making in World of Warcraft has exploded over the years with whole blogs, podcasts, livestream, forums, auction house data websites, communities and more dedicated to it.

Although I cannot "put the genie back in the bottle" as they say and make myself forget everything I have learned about gold-making over the years it has been fun to think back to those simpler times.

Times with the thought of making a 10 gold sale thrilled me (to be honest each and every single sale still makes me smile).

Back to a time when I was proud I had made enough gold to be able to buy my first epic item (the Precisely Calibrated Boomstick to be precise) off a player in trade chat on a whim.

That feeling doesn't go away. I had it just the other day when I was able to bid on a high-priced mount on the Black Market Auction House multiple times without having to ever leave the same spot (50K? Meh. *bid* 75K? Too easy. *bid* 100K? Yawn. *bid*) while my competition ran back the the mail box each time to gather their gold together to bid again.

(That previous sentence has a very "1%" feel to it. *yuck* Apologies. #humblebrag No! Trixie Hobitses!)


I think David said it best: "Big things have small beginnings." (Not that I consider myself a "big thing".)

It behooves us all to take a look back at where we began and never forget the wonderment and joy we felt in taking our first steps into gold-making.

Many players are just starting to take those same steps. Beginning their journey into the land of exploration and excitement (and Scrooge McDuck-style swimming pools filled with gold).

Like this post? Get even more Power Word: Gold - Purchase our 100-Page Illustrated Gold Guide, subscribe via RSS, subscribe to the Podcast via iTunes or RSS, watch our Livestreams, follow us on Twitter, Circle us on Google+, Like us on Facebook, subscribe via Youtube and join us on reddit.


  1. One thing that was definitely less common in the early days of wow was people that made lots of gold discussing what they did. I know that was always my first concern in my early days of wow. I came to wow after a year of its initial start. I was used to making gold in other mmo's and my kids said I wouldnt be able to make gold. Well, just as in other mmo's there were things that were easily purchased, converted and sold.

    My terminology and strat came from other games. My bank alts were called mules. I had one in each city in the early days. Getting gold capped in the early days was a challenge vs today. Once quickauction3 was discovered the gold really began to flow. Early days were interesting for sure.

    1. The good old days. Simpler times. ;D