Cataclysm: One Month of Making Gold

It’s been almost a month now since the release of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Since then it’s been a mad sprint to level 85, then to gear up for heroics and raids. For those of us with a bit more patience, it’s been a long marathon toward thousands and thousands of gold. Here are a few things I’ve been doing to make gold over the last month.

First up is an announcement. As of today I’ve become an admin at Markco‘s Just My Two Copper gold making forum, one of the best communities on the Internet if you’re interested in making more gold. Especially if you are a hardcore raider and have just spent your entire guild’s wealth on gearing up for this month’s wipefests, or if you need to make the most of limited playtime. I’ve learned almost everything I know about gold making from the very friendly and helpful JMTC community, and I expect you would too.

Speaking of which, Markco is also the author of the 20K Leveling gold making guide, (aff) which is unique in that it doesn’t just tell you how to make gold, it tells you how to approach the whole process, so you can get your mind in the right place. Just as raiding is more than just following whatever talent spec, rotation and gems/enchants get posted on Elitist Jerks, making gold is more than just following some “hot tip” posted on Moronic Champion. 20K Leveling also covers making gold while leveling (hence the name) and Markco is continuously updating it. If you seriously need to make a lot of gold, both of these resources are great places to start.

With the announcements out of the way, this is what I’ve been doing over the last month to make gold.

Mining and Herbalism

Just before Cataclysm release I leveled a druid to 80 with 450/450 mining and herbalism in preparation for Cataclysm. I wasn’t after realm firsts, per se, but I did want to be in early with the new ores and herbs. Not only did I want to sell herbs and ores while they were expensive, I wanted to supply my alts with the mats they would need to level. This worked out pretty well, I think. I have not lacked for mats, and it has only been in the last week or so that prices have dropped to the level where I’m comfortable buying them rather than going out to get them myself. Ironically, I don’t recall actually having sold any of my herbs or ores; I ended up using virtually everything I farmed. So I paid for the mats with time instead of gold.


Leveling Alchemy to 525 was relatively quick, easy and cheap, even with the horribly inflated prices of everything the first few days as people were going for Realm Firsts and trying to get to the market early. Right now the big money makers here for me are Flask of the Draconic Mind and Flask of Steelskin, both of which are selling for 100-150 gold over the cost of mats, and the daily Living Elements transmute. The secret to this is that if you visit a Cataclysm zone, the transmute is no longer random. For instance, if you do the transmute in Uldum, you always receive Volatile Air, the most rare and expensive of the volatiles. (This is intended behavior.) This one transmute is still netting 500 to 700 gold a day, not counting procs; I have transmute spec. So when you see someone selling their Truegold transmute for 100 gold, now you can /facepalm them, at least privately.


I still haven’t maxed out Blacksmithing yet, as this is one of the professions requiring level 84 for new recipes, and Chaos Orbs from level 85 heroics to actually make them. My DK, unfortunately, just hit 80 and I’m still working on leveling him when I can. In the meantime I’ve been making money selling pieces of the Hardened Obsidium intro tank set at 250-300 gold each. Sometimes I;ll just buy them from levelers who dumped them on the AH for under 100 gold and relist them. It will be a while before my DK is 85 and running heroics regularly, though I eventually plan to run him as a tank for easier access to Chaos Orbs.

Speaking of which, if you have a class capable of tanking, and you aren’t, you should invest in tank gear, learn what you’re supposed to be doing, and tank. Right now any tanks are hard to find, and good tanks harder still, and instant heroics means more chances at Chaos Orbs.

My goal here is to get my DK up to 84 as fast as I can so that I can learn Ebonsteel Belt Buckle and begin selling these. Like its predecessor in Wrath, selling these is likely to provide a steady income for a small investment of time.


This has turned out to also be an expensive profession to level, and I have only reached 490 or so. It also requires reaching level 84 to access high level recipes in Twilight Highlands, and my priest is still only level 81. To date most of what I have done is to buy BoE greens off the AH which were ridiculously underpriced and disenchant them. Selling the Hypnotic Dust and Greater Celestial Essence on the AH has netted me tens of thousands of gold. While prices of the dust and essences have dropped significantly, there’s still money to be made here if you find people dumping BoE greens far below their actual disenchant value. Unfortunately the Auctioneer Suite hasn’t been updated with disenchant data for Cataclysm yet, so you’ll have to do the math yourself.

I have also been buying up a small stock of enchanting scrolls that levelers were dumb enough to list at just a few gold each after spending hundreds of gold making each one. This I’ll hold on to for a few months until the markets stabilize; even if the scroll I bought for 10g sells for 25g later, it’s still a profit. And now that scrolls stack to 20, it’s easier to store them.


This is yet another profession that requires Chaos Orbs for high-end recipes, and my rogue engineer is still level 80. He’ll probably be the last one to get to 85. So far I haven’t done much, except to switch to Goblin Engineering to get access to make the Personal World Destroyer, a mini-Void Reaver, learned from Goblin Engineering trainers in Tanaris or Dalaran. On my server and faction most engineers took Gnomish Engineering, and so far I seem to be one of only two people making these and posting them on the AH. Gnomish Engineering also has a new pet, De-Weaponized Mechanical Companion, a mechanical rabbit, learned from Gnomish Engineering trainers in Dalaran and Ironforge. Check your own server to see which one is in more demand or bringing a higher price.

The Just My Two Copper blog had a post recently which has some more useful tips for making gold with Engineering. I’m going to be trying some more of these over the next few weeks.


Oh boy, Inscription has been a wild ride. I came this close to getting realm first, only having the vendor in Twilight Highlands out of stock stopped me. Glyphs have been going stronger than expected, thanks to the influx of returning players who reactivated their accounts. I actually ran out of Ethereal Ink and had to scramble for herbs to restock! I still have nowhere near the stock of Ethereal Ink that I’d like to have, but since I’m still planning to exit the glyph market eventually, I’m not too worried about it. Apparently I’m going to have to virtually single-handedly get my guild’s The Pen is Mightier achievement before I can quit…

In the first few weeks, making the relics and offhands brought in several thousand gold profit. These are much less attractive now, but they can still be profitable if you can get herbs cheaply enough, and if people still need them. I don’t recommend mass producing them. Just make one of each at a time, and restock when it sells.

Then there was the Mysterious Fortune Card. This is a card that, when used, gives one of 58 possible cards with a cute fortune and a very small chance to get a rare or epic card which vendors for 200 gold, 1000 gold or 5000 gold. That’s right, virtual scratch tickets. I found out about this from the JMTC forums almost two weeks ago, and sold over 10,000 gold worth of them in the first hour, before the rest of the server’s scribes decided to crash the party and ruin it for everyone, including themselves. And the secret got out on WoW Insider yesterday. Now, these cards are selling at very close to mats cost. Sure, whoever is selling them is still making gold, but only maybe 1 or 2 gold per card. It’s no longer worth it to me to sit around in troll chat and hawk these cards for the tiny amount of gold it would bring in. So I’ve moved on to cooking up Fortune Cookies and selling them to raiders. Not only do they get their necessary raid buff, they also get the chance to win after they finish eating. There;s much less competition here since it requires 525 Cooking, and there;s less of an ethical problem with it since the item is actually useful to players.

It;s only useful for leveling now, but in the future when herb prices have dropped much farther, the Forged Documents daily quest will put a few extra gold in any scribe;s pocket. These require 3 Blackfallow Ink, and the reward varies from 9 to 30 gold or so, so once ink is below 3 gold each this will make (slow) money, but that isn;t today.

Finally, I;ve invested much of the gold I;ve made — from every profession — into making the new Darkmoon cards. I have two completed decks now and a number of extra cards. So far I have sold several of the extra loose cards on AH raking in about 4700 gold each and I’m holding the completed decks until the Faire starts on Sunday, when I expect demand to actually increase. Three of the four possible trinkets are expected to be best in set for a long time (the tank trinket, everyone seems to agree, sucks).


It’s all in getting the right cuts. My own personal strategy here is to look for niches which aren’t well served, such as PvP cuts. In the first month I’ve focused on getting one cut for each color of gem, plus one meta, so I would actually have something to do with all the gems I’ve stockpiled. Eventually I’ll have most of the popular cuts. But right now the market is utterly absurd; too many people are perfectly happy to undercut until cut gems are at or below cost of uncut gems on the more popular ones. On the other hand I can move a few PvP cuts for 300 gold each with a lot less stress and no camping the AH. (PvP cuts are any which include resilience or spell penetration.) This is also helpful to me since, as you can see, I’m doing a little bit with every profession and don’t have a lot of time to spend on any single profession.


This one’s with Blacksmithing on my DK, so I haven’t gotten too far with it yet. It also requires Chaos Orbs at the high end, which means it’s a good thing I paired it with another such profession on a single toon. So far I’ve made back most of the money I put into this simply by selling off the BoE greens made while leveling. All of these have random enchantments so they’ll be useful to somebody. I want to get access to the new leg armors, Charscale Leg Armor and Dragonscale Leg Armor as soon as I can, so I’m currently working my DK up to level 84 as fast as I can. Since these are consumable they are likely to be the bread and butter of Leatherworking for a solid, consistent income, just as their predecessors were in Wrath.


This one also has been difficult to level due to the expense of Embersilk Cloth and its apparent lower drop rate compared to Frostweave from Wrath. I’m sitting at about 490 now and my priest is still only level 81, so this will be the one I level next after my DK. So far I’ve been able to break even, approximately, selling the crafted greens for 250-300 gold each. The goals here are to open up all five Dreamcloth cooldowns and to get access to the new spellthreads, Powerful Enchanted Spellthread and Powerful Ghostly Spellthread. This also requires level 84 and access to Twilight Highlands, as with so many other professions.

Cooking and Fishing

Yes, you can make gold with cooking and fishing! As I mentioned in Inscription above, I have been selling Fortune Cookies, a top-end raid buff food which also gives you a fortune and a small chance to receive a rare or epic card worth up to 5000 gold. These were getting bought out at 100g on Tuesday night (raid night) and the AH literally sold out, while the Mysterious Fortune Cards have been driven down to 20g each and are completely flooded. I made 200 of these over the weekend and have 60 left. Aren’t you glad you got your cooking up to 525?

Some of the fish seem to be harder to find than others. For instance, Albino Cavefish is required to make Deepstone Oil, which is required to make the epic Archaeology mount Vial of the Sands. Leveling Alchemists use this recipe to level up quickly and have paid hundreds of gold for a stack of these fish. They are only fished up in pools in Deepholm. Fishing in open water in the same places will net you Lavascale Catfish, which is required for Seafood Magnifique Feast, Cataclysm’s fish feast, which also requires guild reputation and the guild fishing achievement That’s A Lot of Bait to learn. Other fish fetching a pretty copper are Deepsea Sagefish, Highland Guppy and Fathom Eel. As always, these bring in even more gold if you cook them into their respective buff foods; however, the new seafood feast is Bind on Pickup, so you’ll have to sell the fish if you aren’t making the feasts for your own use.


I’ve done very little with Archaeology so far. Right now I’m leveling it first on my alchemist alt to gain access to the Vial of the Sands recipe and eventually make those myself. Archaeology projects can also take keystones which are occasionally dug up with artifact fragments; these keystones can be sold on the AH and used in heroics and raids to provide a party/raid buff. After I get Vial of the Sands I’ll be leveling it on my main so that I’ll be able to use the keystones in heroics and raids.

Other Stuff

As I alluded to earlier, in the first weeks of Cataclysm power levelers were dumping finished products on the AH at far below the cost to produce them. This included BoE greens, enchanting scrolls, and sometimes gems and alchemy flasks/potions/elixirs. The BoE greens got disenchanted or resold; mostly I’m reselling them these days since people are still paying 300 gold a piece for them and that makes even 100 gold too good to pass up. The enchanting scrolls will begin to sell later next month, I think, if not already on your server. And any dumped potions, elixirs and flasks are long gone.

In January, as more people get sufficiently geared skilled to not completely suck in heroics, and maybe even down a boss or two in raids, I expect sales of the usual raid consumables to pick up: the leg armors, spellthreads, belt buckles, gems, flasks, enchanting scrolls, and so on, so that’s where I want to be with most of my professions.

As you can see, I have access to every profession, even if not maxed yet, and I try to do something with each of them every day for several steady streams of gold. Even if one day somebody crashes one market, I still have gold coming in from the others. This has worked out pretty well, and by the time you read this I will likely have obtained my own Vial of the Sands mount (one of my guild members was the first to get the recipe).

If you’re interested in more ways to make gold, stick around here, join me at the JMTC Forum, and consider picking up 20K Leveling. In the future I’ll continue writing about my own personal adventures in World of Warcraft, including a possible third run at Insane in the Membrane, and yet more ways to make gold.

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