Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Starter Business, or "Making Money for Lowbies"

While I outlined how I made my gold by focusing on market opportunities, I wanted to dedicate an entire post to acquiring starter capital on very low level characters entering a new server.

Again, this is for low levels with no friends, no alts, and no money.

This method is not fast. If you are on a low-population server with a bad economy, it will not be easy, either. The keys are patience and prudence.



The truth of the matter is that money gets easier to make the higher you are. Dailies, quests, drops, all make it easier to make lots of money for those expensive high-end goods.

At low levels (ie, 10-20 range), your options are much more limited, but you still have them.


You do not need blacksmithing or leatherworking while you level. I know you think "But it's necessary for great gear!" No. No, it's not. It might be necessary at endgame, but for now, it's not. It's a massive gold sink. If you insist upon a crafting profession at level 10, then I can't reach through the screen and slap sense into you, so just go read another blog.*

For the rest of you, get gathering professions: Skinning, herbalism, and/or mining.
  • Skinning - Necessary for leatherworkers and useful in various other crafting professions.
  • Herbalism - The best current gathering profession. Due to alchemy and inscription both being completely herb-reliant, stacks of herbs sell for several gold even on poor economies. ALSO, the lowest level herbs are used for minor inscription training, which even maxed inscriptionists still use, so they're in high demand.
  • Mining - The former king of gathering, mining is used heavily by blacksmithing, jewelcrafting, and engineering.
Herbalism and mining both use tracking, and you can only have one tracker on at a time. Skinning does not have any tracking, you just skin the stuff you kill. So my current recommendation would be herbalism and skinning, for ease of use.


I'm particularly thinking of pets, because that's what I'm most versed in, and everybody wants them.


The cat lady is a short run from Stormwind proper and the snake vendor wanders around Orgrimmar.

You buy a 40s/50s pet and sell it on your AH for 5g.

Worst case scenario, it doesn't sell. You've put the price of buying and listing into the pet, but that's all.

Best case scenario, you make a few gold every time you list a pet.

The pets that sell best are the ones that are out of the way for high levels. The rabbits in Dun Morogh, the dragonhawks in Eversong Woods. It takes a while to run get them (and, remember, you can only get your own faction pets), but the gold you make is worth it, and you can always stock up while you're there.

Also, don't underestimate the potential of reselling pets on the neutral Auction House, or buying pets there and selling them on your AH. Details of that method expanded on in my other post, linked at the beginning.


The point of making gold is to use it for necessities. Once you have enough for training, regular and epic land mounts, and maybe even a simple flying mount, consider investing in storage space.

The one thing you can never have too much of in this game is storage. It's a good investment for anyone, and I highly recommend taking advantage while you can. Let me explain how I set up my banks and you can see what you think.

Birdfall's Banking System

All of my bankers belong to a guild I formed for them. It cost a few silver per charter signature (a time-honored tradition of paying people to help you) and 10s to create. Once you get your signatures and turn in the charter, thank everyone for helping, and they should leave on their own. Feel free to tell them it's just a bank guild to hold your stuff if they ask. Anyone still in the guild the next day can be kicked while they're offline.

Naming suggestions: Merchant, Shop, Personal Shopper, Peddler, Store, Savings and Loan, Storage. Any variation thereof. This isn't a real guild, just something for you to store your extra non-soulbound stuff.

Banker 1 - [Stormwind] - Level 10
Purpose: Relay materials to and from the Alliance Auction House. Pick up Cat Carriers in Elwynn Forest, look for cheap White Kittens on the AH, send all to Banker 2. Resell horde pets from Banker 2 for a profit.

Banker 2 - [Booty Bay] - Level 2
Purpose: Relay materials to and from the Neutral Auction House. Check for Hyacinth Macaw, which can be mistakenly sold for a handful of gold and resold by Banker 1 for several thousand. Buy 5g and under horde pets to send to Banker 1.

Bank Slot Economy: It costs 111g to buy all 7 bank slots in your personal character bank. This does not include the cost of bags, which can run into 100g per 20-slot frostweave bag. That would be roughly 5g 79s for each individual new slot (at 20 a bag), if you bought all 7 and outfitted them with 20-slotters. (Yes, the first personal bank slot is just 10s but the 20-slot bag is still 100g, and that's 5g per individual slot.)**

If you have a bank guild, it costs 100g for the first tab, and each is 98 slots. That's 1g 2s per new slot. If you got the first and second tab, it would cost 1g 78s per slot overall. If you got up to the third tab, you'd be spending 2g 89s per individual slot. 4 tabs is 4g 72s a slot. 5 tabs is 8g 89s.***

So, you wouldn't go over 5g 79s per individual slot (if you find 20-slot bags at 100g apiece) until the fifth tab. Until then, it's economically wise to buy up the first four guild bank tabs before getting too far into your personal character bank.

Final Advice

You are poor. You do not have the luxury of relisting things because you tried to sell them for too much. Keep your prices modest, your listings short, undercut the competition, and don't waste money. Until you hit higher levels, these tips are your best bet.

* The kid I always talk about, who failed my guild's trial membership even though he was someone's brother, subtly hit me up for a promise to help him buy his first mount when he reached 40 (yes, that long ago). He then proceeded to tell me he was a leatherworker and planned to switch to blacksmithing at level 50. He told this to me AS IF IT WAS A SMART IDEA!! Like, he was proud he thought of it. OMG. *dies*

** 111g 10s + (100g x 7 bags) = 811g
(20 slots x 7 bags) = 140 individual slots
811g/140 individual slots = 5g 79s per individual slot

*** 98 Slots x Number of Tabs Total = A
Combined Cost of Tabs = B
B/A = Cost of Individual Slots


  1. I second the profession suggestions with one caveat - Herbalism vs Mining is extremely server-dependant. On my server, Bladefist, herbs are being severely undercut and have fallen in value since the release of Wrath, despite the needs of Inscription. I don't know if all the Inscribers took up Herbalism as well, or have pocket herbalists, but there you go.

    On the other hand, miners can't rake it in fast enough. Despite my hunter being a herbalist since she trained her first profession, I am seriously considering a switch. Only being a raider, and having access to cheap pots, has held me back so far.

    So, for a new player, I'd suggest heading to your local Auction House first and check out the prices on herbs vs ores and bars. Let the market guide you!


  2. Also, remember to not convert any ore you get into its bar form. You might get lucky because a blacksmith needs a bunch of bars fast, but it's usually a good idea to just sell the ore.

    Other wise you have six or seven stacks of say, Saronite Bars, that you have absolutely no use for except for dumping them into the Guild Bank.


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