Ironforge, Inn - (Note: Scroll to bottom for complete list of entries in this competition) At the beginning of this competition, my goal was to reach 10,000 gold on a random realm from scratch in under 30 hours of /played time. I beat that goal by a full 5 hours and 12 minutes, ending with a /played time of 24 hours, 48 minutes. If we don't include my non-gold assets at the moment of victory, this means that I made on average 403 gold per hour. If we include my gold total plus the estimated value of the assets left over (approximately 2000 gold worth), this means that I made about 483 gold per hour simply buying and selling in the Auction House.
To further put some perspective on how successful this competition was, if we remove the first 3 hours of /played time and just assume that I started with the 170 gold (in estimated assets) I had accumulated by that point, my gold rate per hour increases to 542 gold per hour. Finally, if we discount the first 10 hours of /played time from the competition and assume that I had started with 2800 gold (in estimated assets), my gold rate was 621 gold per hour.
To put that in some real-world dollar terms, and I am in no way advocating trading World of Warcraft money for real money, it looks like 1000 gold sells for about $2.50 on the open (black) market. So, if I were to sell this gold (which I will not), I would have been making $1.55 per hour for my efforts, about 5 times less than minimum wage. Assuming that the house of my dreams sells for approximately $800,000, I would have to work approximately 516,129 hours to pay for it free and clear. Regrettably, this would take 58.9 years of /played time to achieve, and that just seems a little unrealistic.
It took about 17 days of real life time to make the 10,000 gold pieces for an average of 588 gold per day and an average /played time per day of 1 hour, 23 minutes. Again, if we add in the value of the non-gold assets left over at the end, I averaged a little over 700 gold per real-life day during this challenge.
The method I used to achieve success in this challenge was very basic. I did a quick scan of the Auction House using the Auctioneer add-on (I didn't do a full scan, just a /get all scan which can be accomplished using the >> fast-forward sign on the front of the Auction House ledger). I made the majority of my gold simply buying items that were under priced and posting them back on the Auction House at roughly regular market prices. I wouldn't have thought that there would be that much opportunity to flip items for profit, but people just kept putting stuff on the AH for nickels on the dollar.
The most commonly flipped items were Blue Rare items. I probably made 40% of my gold simply buying blues that people posted to the AH for 10-20g and posting them at 40-60g (and sometimes higher depending on the item). For example, weapons tend to get priced a bit higher due to demand. Wrist-slot items tend to get priced a bit lower due to abundance of supply at most gear levels.
I'd say the next most commonly flipped items were Purple Epic items. I had a couple great finds along the way and probably made close to 2500 gold of my profits flipping epics. If the challenge had been more of a marathon -- say, how fast I could get to 100,000 gold, I probably would have looked much closer at this market, but I was often afraid to get too committed to a high-priced item and have it stuck in inventory at the end of the competition.
The final 35% of my gold came from all the rest of the items. I got into a groove flipping Frostweave Cloth from 7g to 12g, plus I hovered close to the herb market due to the relatively low deposit to place herbs on the auction house compared with other tradeskill items. A special note of success goes to reputation-grind items such as Relic of Ulduar, Arakkoa Feather, Coilfang Armament, and Sunfury Signet. These are fantastic items to resell for the fact that purchases are inconsistent. Let me explain: Runic Health potions have a fairly consistent demand. Say that 1000 of them get sold in a given week. It's unlikely that any one day during the week saw more than 200 of them sold, or fewer than 50 of them sold. This allows for stable pricing where suppliers can predict demand and account for it accordingly. Conversely, take the 1000 Relic of Ulduar that get sold in the same week. It is *very* likely that they get sold to one player in one buyout swoop. During the rest of the week, nothing sells, which causes prices to be continually undercut. This is where the savvy reseller comes in, snatches them on the down tick, and waits patiently for the next player with lots of gold who is eager to finish their reputation grind. The huge bonus with these items: They stack in size up to 200, so you can hold a ton of them. Given player zest for achievements, there is absolutely no reason to believe that these items won't consistently (if erratically) sell through time.
I do believe that this competition could be completed in under 15 hours /played time. And maybe even a heck of a lot faster by someone who was a true expert. I came into this competition having some knowledge, but nothing astounding. I knew that twink blue items are coveted. I knew that Golden Pearls go for a lot. But really, I taught myself how to use Auctioneer's search function, set it at a reasonable return, and basically shot some ducks in barrel.
World of Warcraft Gold Challenge