Friday, June 4, 2010

Find it, kill it, loot it, sell it

I've always attested that if farming is 99% of of your income (including daily quests) you either aren't exactly the brightest crayon in the box or plain lazy. However there's a number of people that farm (a couple have even commented on this blog) that make a killing farming with little effort. So long as you're using your head and aren't spending hours farming for 300g you can do well and still have a full day of play time. If you farm intelligently you can still make a lot of money with small amounts of effort. So when is it acceptable (and highly profitable) to farm? Basically compare your normal AH playing G/hour to that of your farming run.

The idea behind farming and using your head is identifying what you should be farming and of course the best place to do so. First it has to be something that you can't buy, weather that's because there's no supply of the mark ups are so high that nobody in their right mind would buy the raw materials. Like if you wanted saronite but it was on the AH for 100g/stack it's sort of silly to farm it to sell because nobody pays more than 20g/stack for saronite. So in this case the farming would mostly be a waste of time that could have been better spent elsewhere.

Next is obviously the time you'll spend farming and what else you could be doing. This is the tricky part as people are quite adept at lying to themselves in this matter. You know what I mean, "oh it's only a few minutes" that always turns into an hour or four. So it has to be something with a reasonable (40% +) drop rate from things that spawn regularly. If you want to get a rare pet from X Mob you aren't going to farm it, you're going to be waiting on respawns. Big difference. Also it's best of the X Mob drops other things of worth like grey armor pieces as they can vendor for over a gold and sometimes more. This helps bring up the farming G/hour considerably and makes it potentially much more worthwhile.

So we know that the time spent must be efficient and that it cannot be something that is easily purchased. A few quick examples are old world boa enchanting mats. Righteous orbs, essences, shards. These aren't always on the AH and because of that you can't stokpile them effectively at times, especially when you hit a selling spree. Granted you can flip the raw mats for a good profit, but a much much bigger profit comes form the enchanting scrolls more often than not. But for the sake of education we'll pretend that the scrolls are far more valuable than raw mats with a mark up. That isn't too hard to believe at all in my experience.

Also during this time, make sure that none of it is wasted, always always be doing something towards your goal of making money or otherwise occupy yourself. If you clear out a section of mobs you're farming take the respawn time to study up on something, go read some wow gold blogs (o hai dere!) or get something to eat. Something! Don't just sit around and wait while you stare, that is an epic waste of time. And time is the only thing that you can never get back once it's gone.

One such example of a worthwhile farm I've already mentioned before; old world enchant recipes like crusader or fiery. In fact some of the TBC recipes might be worthwhile to grab and sell at an absurd mark up to completionists. These are things like the resistance enchants for cloak. I've seen them sell for as much as 500g for only a few minutes of work.

However there is one little "gotcha!" to keep in mind when farming like this. You can't do it perpetually and be rich in a few days of non stop farming. The things you're farming aren't being sold to a vendor for a few hundred gold, they're being sold to people. So if there aren't any people that want these things you just wasted your time. It's also important ot keep in mind that they get such a high mark up because they're "rare" and are therefore worth the high price because you can't just go out and get them. Keeping only 1 on the AH at a time (under the same name at least) keeps this myth alive and well along with the potential profits you can get from farming obscure items.

Here's a recent example of my own from my 'From the ground up' project.

I found that there were no agility scrolls on the AH after me and another had sold all of ours for over 200g per scroll. There also weren't any EoA's on the AH either besides the pair that wre marked at 50g a piece. Knowing the people that frequent this market, they'll either say that's too high a price or go farm the mats them selves. The price of the materials is different than the cost of the scroll though because if you buy the mats you still need to find an enchanter with the recipe and get them to do it and of course that requires a nice service charge.

That means that either the mats won't sell raw either. So I took the portal to CoT from dala and hit the 3 minute flight from tanaris to silithus. I ran over to the spot where the dust devil things spawn and spent about 30 minutes farming there and walked away with enough essences to craft a full set of agility scrolls.

The following morning the pair I had on AH had sold for 250g each thus making that farming run VERY profitable, especially considering the small amount of time I spent there. But if I did this for say 3 hours my profits wouldn't stay so amazing. A higher supply won't make a higher demand and I can't just make 500 scrolls and sell them to a vendor for that price.

I hope that made sense and you get the basic idea of what I'm saying. Farming sarontie for hours isn't the smartest thing to do in the world, even if you have a monopoly because people won't pay 100g/stack for it. But people will pay top gold for an enchanted scroll or rare-ish recipe. So being the wise goblin that you are, when you see a niche for one open up find it, kill it, loot it, sell it.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Realising what the opportunity cost of the goods is important. I was leveling enchanting needing arcane dust (no supply on ah) so i was farming netherweave cloth. Hours later it dawned on me make the cash and buy the cloth off ah.

    Doh! Why didn't I do that at start? I still don't know.

  2. thats the very same farming spot i like in silithus with the dust stormers. altho i tend to use the waygate in sholozar basin as i dont like the distance between cot and gadgetzhan.

    think i wrote a post back in january about it.

    try farm when the elemental invasion is on for more mobs that drop EoA.

  3. You might not like Saronite ore farming at the moment, but with the lack of bots dumping it on the AH the last few weeks, I might take it up in a particular spot this weekend so I can make some titansteel again.

    The raw material is a waste, but the end product - titansteel bars, has doubled on my server in a week. I wouldn't sell the raw material, since you are right, that is dumb.

  4. Most of the time I just move on to another outlet and concentrate efforts until the prices return to something reasonable. I indirectly farm doing achievements I want to do though, but I don't grab a pick and shovel if there's a short supply. The thought of flying around for even 20 minutes hunting ores right now makes me shudder.

    You will never get rich if you play Chief, Cook, and Bottle Washer. If I'm not doing anything else, sure why not, but thankfully I always have something else. Farming is a complete waste of time when I could be spending my time in other arenas doing something I enjoy - like achievements or researching other markets I may have overlooked or visited in a while.

    Does Warren Buffet head down to the accounting department to assist with tax forms to save a few bucks? Did Andrew Carnegie head down to the coke mines to help lower his costs? Hell, no! What we are doing here is investing and arbitrating goods, if the market does not provide a ready supply of materials at a good price, then we choose not to buy and the market will correct itself and we buy later. Captains of WoW industry!

  5. @ Bobbins
    That's the basic definition of indirect farming. Make money with something exceptionally profitable to buy the something else that you need. So in a sense you are farming what you need, just not going out and slaying tons of mobs to do so.

    @ Anon
    You must have some crazy high titanstee prices on your server for farming to be worth it. For me it's at roghly 100g a bar which is, on a good day, 60g profit. Now considering the insane amount of ore you'll need to make the necessary titanium bars... ouch.

    @ Anaalius
    Ya the elementals that come during the invasion have crazy high drop rates for EoA's, so much so that if I could keep track of it I might go down there or leave a toon parked in Silithus just to kill the roaming elites and their friends.

    @ Zero
    Your comment about RL business tycoons is the same relative thinking that I have. And if the market doesn't correct itself, it's a good thing I know to diversify enough so that when one goes down or isn't working out well there's still others that I can rely on.

    However playing the daily quest grind CAN get you rich. Somebody on my server managed to get capped by doing daily quests apparently. But see my entry here on Speed for my thoughts on that one. But just because something can be done doesn't mean there's a million better ways to do it. After all, I COULD drive my car with just my knees. I just might not get too far though...

  6. Dailies... ugh. I saw something cross my screen the other night I hadn't seen in like 2-3 years - "You cannot complete any more daily quests today".

    I decided to go for 100 mounts since they are all 310s in Cata and the dragonhawk is rare as hell. Since this is my new main, I started from square 1... which means all reps need grinding and all TOC dailies. Finished Netherwing last week. I'm also re-doing Loremaster, 40 Exalted, and Insane in the Membrane. I actually do alot of indirect farming while completing these. =)

    If I didn't have the knowledge to make stupid amounts of gold in this game and dailies were my only way to get more, I think I would probably quit. Farming isn't too bad compared to those things... lol

  7. I finally decided to buy the Enchant Weapon - Spellpower formula on the AH. The person that had been trying to sell it for a little over a week had originally posted it for 15k. Way out of my price range. Later, it was posted for 10k, then 8k a couple of times. Most recently, I saw it for 6k and decided that was my chance. I was afraid that if I didn't buy it then, someone else would. I'm glad I did, and I'm also happy that I stocked up on Golden Pearls over the last couple of weeks. =)

    Now I'm just hoping Greater Stats to chest and Potency to weapon pop up, and some Ulduar-25 runs to get those weapon enchants. I <3 Enchanting.

  8. @ Charlie
    I picked up the potency recipe a while ago. By a while I mean MONTHS ago. And since then I have sold a total of one scroll. Uno. So unless you get it so cheap it's almost free I wouldn't recommend grabbing it at all. Greater stats however, that thing sells constantly.

    The Uld enchants, ya, ninja that stuff or try and buy it for a good price. Seriously. Blood draining not so much, but blade ward is a cash cow. Making those scrolls is like printing money.

    And lots of it.

  9. @Stokpile. Titansteel is floating between 140 and 175 gold atm on my server while the bots are all banhammered. I know that it will drop back to 75-100 gold as soon as they are back, but its going on 3 or 4 weeks now with no bots, so almost everyone is out of stockpiled saronite ore on my server.

    I wouldn't obviously spend that much time farming, but at those prices, I am tempted to farm an hour or two at a certain cave in Storm Peaks that also drops crystallized air etc.

    Normally, farming is a waste of time, I do agree on that point. With saronite ore floating at the 18-20 gold per stack, and its shuffle derivatives floating even higher, there is the temptation to ignore conventional wisdom.

  10. @ Anon
    Holy crap, up to 170g for titansteel!? Good lord at that price even I'd be tempted to make a few laps, I haven't seen it that high since release. You are right though about ignoring conventional wisdom. Like I always say, anybody can follow a guide book and do well. But if you want to do great, you need to take that knowledge and make it your own and apply it specifically to your situation. I hope you do well with the titansteel... lucky bastard.