What percentage of the player base is engaging in the legendary system beyond buying out a lower ilvl base item just so they have it?
How many are running the daily callings and various covenant adventures and features?
I think SL has been net inflationary as I suspect there are far more people playing the covenant game vs repeated engagement with the more gold-sink aspects of the game such as the legendary crafting system.
I've enjoyed reading people's goldmaking journeys so I thought I would share mine (with some data!) as I've reached a new milestone of 200M gold profit earned since the release of Shadowlands during November 2020. So 200M in 16months and 1 week.
As I have a lot to rant on about, I've split this post in 3 parts: first I'll go over in (perhaps too much) detail on how I made gold (yes its leggos), alongside my TSM graphs etc. In a part II, I've prepared a weekly profit graph to see what factors might impact goldmaking and if there are any lessons we can learn from the seasonality of goldmaking. Finally, in a last part I'll share some final thoughts in the form a FAQ.
If you want it short, skip part I and read the TL;DR onwards.Part I - Making 0 to 200M goldA. Servers:
I played on 2 realms: 90% of the time on my main full pop and the remainder on my medium pop. In 9.2 I've started on a 3rd realm (maybe 5% of my time).B. Accounts:
I made my first 100M with 1 single account. That's right, I spent prolly dozens of hours looking at the shadowghast ingot and inks crafting bar. Still worth it. After that, for patch 9.2 I've bought (with EUR, not tokens) a second account, leveled up a character and started crafting on my new 3rd realm. In addition, I used the 2nd account to help cancel scan on my main full pop. After starting the 2nd account, I've earned another 100M.C. TSM Graphs
Full pop (9.0, 9.1, 9.1.5, 9.2):
Medium pop (9.0,9.1, 9.2):
High pop (9.2): https://imgur.com/a/wNWiFIQD. What did I do?
All in all, of the 200M, probably, I would estimate that approximately 40% is from making legendaries, 20% from cross realm flipping, 20% from crafted gear,15% from mage-tower related sales, and the remainder from everything else (inscription, cooking, etc.).Season 1: Casual beginnings 0-15M
I started 9.0 with 1 account and maybe a few 100k, being broke after having bought the brutosaur and some other mounts for my collection during BFA. During the first season I didn't really focus on goldmaking as I was still a casual in this regards, but rather on raiding/M+. As such, I've only done some basic things: for example rushing to level up inscription in order to start making trinkets. To no one's surprise the trinket market got saturated very quickly (a few days) and I dipped out since I didn't want to sit and cancel scan. After that, I leveled all the other professions to max in the first week, then I mainly farmed (skinning, maybe some herb/mining). I crafted some enchants but nothing too major. All in all i had amassed 4M during the first month and a half of SL. In terms of goldmaking expertise, I was not watching streams, YouTube guides, or checking the discords, but rather just doing what I knew had worked for me in BFA (inscription, enchanting and farming some skins).
However, fairly soon my server was eligible for free transfer as we had experienced long queues, and I decided to try it out: being on a full pop, I spend ALL my money (don't do this, was a huge risk) 3.5M+ gold to buy cheap goods (all trade goods, r3 and r4 leggos) and xfered 2 chars full of goods to 2 mediums pops, were I sold those same goods for 200-400% ROI. All in all, by January my main realm had maybe 200k left, but I had flipped to around 10M-15M on those other medium pops. And then disaster: in order to repatriate the gold from the "dead" medium pops to my home realm, I thought it would be smart to invest in TCG mounts that were for sale on the AH. I thought, not only would I be able to easily transfers chunks of millions of gold, but also maybe make 1M+ profit. Genius! Well in 16months, I'm still stuck with 2x X-51, 1x wooly white rhino 10+ great sea rays having sold a grand total of 0 copies. Oopsies! Lesson learned, 0.01 sell rate items, are NOT a great flip if you don't like spending year(s?) reposting them.
Unrelated to goldmaking, I was getting burned out by raiding and I quit wow in anger, until season 2. Leggos didn't seem great to me since ranks 1 to 3 were all at break even or a loss, and I assumed no one would pay extreme gold for a r4 when you couldn't even use them (I was very wrong). Not having checked streams (why?), I had no idea that during this time I had missed out on the first great Gold Rush of SL.Season 2: Learning to be hardcore 0-40M
After stopping around late January, I was itching to get back to WoW for 9.2 and I even decided to prepare this time for goldmaking. Then plan, at the time still being that I'd sell of my rhinos and x-51s and laugh all the way to the bank. I'm unsure why, but I started checking youtube videos and saw how often people were talking about legendaries and how good they were at making gold. I was beginning to realize the extent of my mistake, and was determined correct this issue and join the "big boys" club.
Like most people, I started with JC, leveling rings and amulets in the circa 1-2 weeks before patch 9.1, paying indeed 200% MV materials and happily selling my crafts for -10k profit. Surely, now that I've heard it's worth doing from all these youtubers, I just need to have faith and keep trying to get to max rank, despite the losses, I told myself.
At the same time, I recalled a guildie from season 1, who had maxed out his venari reputation and made crafter's mark gear, who said he "made millions in a day selling rings". Quite jealous, I was determined to do the same thing for s2. So I settled on also leveling archivist rep on three characters: my main realm (all 4 profs) and my medium pop (JC and LW). This was finally the moment my luck had turned as this was actually crucial for goldmaking. In addition, the week before 9.1 I had an accident, injuring my head and leaving myself with a scar, so after being released from the hospital, I really, REALLY didn't want to leave my house anymore. Instead, doing archivist codex farming for 12+hrs a day for about 10 days seemed super appealing to me.
I missed out on some rep due to not understanding how good the shadowrealm was for rep, nor did I understand how important it was to camp the custom LFG tool in order to quickly get all rares killed. All in all, I ended up being able to make crafter's mark gear about 3-4 days later than the first guys. It was a (goldmaking) life changing experience however, as it was the first highly lucrative market I was in. Once I started crafting CM gear, I tentatively made 800k, still fumbling around making TSM groups and figuring out how often I wanted to cancel scan. At the same time, the profit for CM gear paid for leveling up several leggo recipes (BS, and some of LW). Money was flowing in for the first time, and I got hooked. I didn't raid, didn't do M+ but instead cancel scanned. The second week, I made 7M profit, then the third week another 10M profit.
It was also at this time of my first success that I finally understood the importance of watching streamers and youtubers for goldmaking tips. Indeed, spending so much time in front of the AH cancel scanning left me with loads of time to have a stream in the background, and I started to passively learn more and more about goldmaking, the community, and about were to find resources. At this stage, I felt quite confident, with a few goldcaps in profit made in a month, that I had indeed become a goblin.Season 2: Part 2: Goldmaking Mastery 40M - 100M
After the first month or so of 9.2, gold had slowed down and I was no longer cancel scanning as intensely as before. I routinely posted maybe only a few times a day but focused on raiding and m+ again. However, by 9.1.5 I was burned out again and quit raiding. I wanted to stop WoW as well for a bit, but as 9.1.5 released the next day so I thought I'd stick around and try it out...
For some reason, which I cannot explain to this day, legendary sales popped off in a drastic measure. By that time, I had acquired all recipes on my full pop main realm, so this was the first patch I got to enjoy the profits thereof. And enjoy I did: 11.5M profit the first week, then stabilizing at 5-6M profit per week for the next month. At this point, I was cancel scanning all day and watching back to back goldmaking streamers to keep me entertained as I hammered my little fingers for 12-16hrs a day. I had finally realized what I missed out on during 9.0 and 9.1.
There really is no secret, there isn't a "smart" way to cancel scanning, there isn't a "smart recipe to craft", you do ALL the recipes and you cancel scan ALL day. Ideally 24hrs (if you're a machine), 16hrs for a nolifer, 8hrs for a hardcore, 1hrs for a casual etc. But the right answer is always "I should cancel scan one more time". It got extremely repetitive after about 5weeks, but it was the first time I was making so much money, I didn't want to stop. After years of people laughing saying boosting and multiboxing is the only "real" way to make gold in Wow, it was vindictive to be able to make so much with just crafting.
Around the 6th week, the mage tower released, but I was fully prepared, having consumed 100s of hours of YouTube videos, streams, monitored discords, I had every single recipe unlocked and crafted. And my preparation was reward to an insane degree: nearly 20M profit for the first week, 8M the second week.
It was at this stage that I hit 100M. Personally I felt I "won" the goldmaking game and there was no way in hell I could get more. Exhausted form nearly 6 weeks of continuous cancel scanning, having made 60M, I was satisfied I could end it here and stop. So I took another break....Season 3: Beyond goldmaking: Sūpā Saiya-jin Goddo 100-200M
At this point, I knew exactly what I was doing: I knew to come back before the announcement of 9.2 to buy some cheaper materials, I knew to stockpile a lot of key trade goods that had ran out during the 9.1.5 legendary bonanza, and thus I invested 20M in materials and korthite. In addition to some strategic server xfers ( bringing in 20M+profit total), I was in full autopilot mode: craft, restock, cancel scan. I knew what to do, how to do it, and how long I had to do it for.
I once again rushed for CM gear on 3 chars. This time I used the custom LFG tool to finish a full suite of all rares killed in about 2hrs per char. Furthermore, I started a second account and leveled JC rings/neck and some BS pieces, and it worked: 33M profit the second week (CM gear), 45M profit the third week (leggos), 6M+ weekly profit thereafter, and a second account with 17M profit, I quickly hit 100M profit in about 6 weeks played, bringing my grand total to 200M (and those goddamn X-51s and wooly rhino which should technically add another 10M or so).TL;DR: rush for crafter's mark + get all leggo recipes, then cancel scan both for 16hrs a day for the first 5 weeks of each patch.Part II - Data analysis
I've prepared a graph bar showing my total profit earned each week, which will allow us to determine some trends. Please note that I've only had data for some 3 patches, and It would ideally be great to have much more historical information. In addition, weekly profit is not an exact science, as well, sometimes even I do get tired and play some weeks more than others. However, for the most important weeks (1-6), usually the data is comparable for each patch (14hrs+ /day).
Please see the data below:Week 3 is the best goldmaking week (if major patch), or Week 1 ( if no timegating)
Both major patches, 9.1 and 9.2, had an average/low week 1, a great week 2, a peak at week 3 and then a 50% drop and stabilization thereafter for about a month. The only exception being 9.1.5. This is likely explained by the fact that major patches actually have no content on the first week, but serve instead as a WQ/rep farming tour, CM gear comes after, and the peak comes with legendaries. The only exception is 9.1.5, which didn't have timegating/ WQ content, and thus the week 3 peak occurred on day 1 of the patch. The 50% drop off is interesting as that is usually the weekly profit that I will stabilize at for the month.Prediction: The season 4 peak will also be frontloaded as was the case for 9.1.5, and therefore week 1 will be the most important, followed by a 50% drop in profit.Major MMO releases do not appear to have an impact on wow goldmaking.
New World release coincided 50% drop week-over-week, however, it may be the case that the previous week was simply abnormally high, unlike the previous 2 weeks. Indeed, the weekly profit was about 500k during that month save for the 1 week immediately preceding New World. FF14 release week actually even saw a 44% increase week-over-week. Both Lost Ark and Elden Ring released in the middle of a heavy stockpiling season for Wow (9.2 patch prep) and as such, they both coincided with huge weekly losses (-9M and -4.5M respectively), however that is not attributable to an effect of those games.Prediction: Wow is sufficiently insular that you won't lose gold investing/stockpiling, even if some competing MMO will release.A goldmaking peak is followed by a 50-70% drop off, which will then become the new weekly profit for about a month
During 9.1, the peak was followed by a 70% drop week-over-week. For 9.1.5, the initial week 1 legendary peak was followed by a 48% drop. The mage tower peak was followed by a 56% drop. Finally, the 9.2 peak was followed by a staggering 85% drop. This final drop off should probably be ignored as it followed one of the most profitable weeks of all time and is thus unlikely to be representative.
As such, the average drop off is between 50 - 70% week-over-week. This new weekly profit value is then held on average for about a month before dropping off even more. This is useful as it allows one to estimate how much to stockpile when buying cheap mats for the next week.Prediction: once you have your peak sales volume, you know that the next week's quantity is about half of that and should restock materials accordingly. In the case of season 4, with a predicted week 1 peak, that means that weeks 2 -5 will be about half of the first week.The Korthite buff rate of 9.1 lost me about 2M gold
2M gold was lost due to the depreciation of pre-existing crafted legendary stock vis-a-vis of the new korthite prices, which dropped had dropped significantly. Others, of course, had lost much more, most famously dirtyirby.Prediction: Blizzard can and will intervene to correct perceived market discrepancies. The forums were loud with complaints against expensive legendaries and thus Blizzard made them cheaper. This happened again in 9.2 with essentia, to a lesser extent. As such, only stockpile, pricey, high value commodities at your own risk
.Part III - FAQQ: How much do you cancel scan?
A: During the first 5 weeks of a patch, per day, I will do "light" (once every 1hr) cancel scanning for 6hrs a day, "significant" cancel scanning (once every 30mins) for 4hrs a day, and "heavy" cancel scanning (continuous, uninterrupted) for as long as I can last, usually 6-8hrs. I would play about 14-16hrs of Wow every day, for the first month and a half of the patch.Q: Do you think that having the time to cancel scan all day should mean you should earn so much gold?
A: In my opinion, while I do agree in principle that there should be a correlation between effort put into an endeavor and reward, I consider that currently the negatives of cancel scanning, its ubiquitousness are too much and suffocate basically anyone who is not living for the AH. I will be the first to admit, that despite my great success, I would have preferred to make significantly less gold if it meant that I barely had to do cancel scanning. Cancel scanning is not a sign of intelligence, it is not a sign of talent nor ability, it is a simple and repetitive task that we've grown accustomed to doing because it is the best way of making gold.Q: So you play wow literally all day, bruh do you have no life?
A: Yes. No kids, no family, no friends, no prospects, no nothing.Q: How important is having multiple accounts for gold making?
A: Contrary to the popular opinion, I don't thing having multiple accounts is as important as many people make it out to be for goldmaking. I think most people will find great success with only 1 account, and indeed many would be quite content with making 100M made on just 1 account. I won't deny however, that a second account made reaching the second 100M a lot faster. I would reckon the second account increases your profit by 60-75%. Thereafter, there are severe diminishing returns for every account added, for most people. Unless it is purely passive (inscription, smelting ingots, making enchants etc), in which case you can theoretically create as many accounts as you think you can sell of goods/day.Q: Favorite goldmaking experience in SL?
A: Collecting all the recipes for the mage tower. It was varied and fun, and encouraged me to farm reputations, get patterns and complete raids throughout the entirety of Wow's nearly 20 year history. It was an (accidental) example of a possible horizontal model for wow - and yes the associated gold was nice too!Q: 10.0 profession wishes?
A: I really glad they've implemented the lessons of classic into retail for SL, letting professions be able to craft highly desirable BIS items (leggos) much in the same veins as profs in classic and tbc could. I wish to see this aspect be kept going forward, don't neuter professions making their high end crafts bop (like BFA!). It's OK if you make crafting overall less profitable, but don't swing the pendulum entirely in the other direction.Q: Raiding and M+?
A: Yes, on my main I hit 2400 and KSM in august, finished 9.1 7/10M with good parses. For 9.2 I've rerolled, already did KSM and now climbing rio, 2600+. 8/11 HC. No boosts.Q: Any other activity you like doing in wow?
A: Achievements are fun to me, before goldmaking I was really into it, having collected 34,400 achievement points. The goal is still to get them all eventually, maybe...Q: Do you think you are unique and special for making money cancel scanning leggos?
A: No, everyone and their mum has done it this xpac. However it feels good to reminisce about everything I've done in the last 16 months, it's quite therapeutic, like writing a blogpost. After reaching a big milestone, I'm prolly heading off wow for a while again, so it's my way of saying goodbye to something that was big part of my life. And maybe someone else can also learn something from all this mess.
If anyone made it this far, thank you for reading my TED Talk <3