Income refers to consumption opportunity gained by an entity within a specified time frame, which is generally expressed in monetary terms.[1]

Income in World of Warcraft

The virtual economy of World of Warcraft money is utilised and a player character can gain money with various activities, achieving a virtual income.

Gaining and losing money

The amount of money a player character can carry in World of Warcraft can be as high as the gold limit and as low as zero, but never negative. A player can own more than the gold limit by dividing money between his player characters with the mail system, but the amount the player owns cannot be negative.

Gaining money

In World of Warcraft, a player character can gain money from looting a mob, from an NPC as a reward for finishing a quest or by selling items to a vendor. A player can also gain money from another player as a gift or as payment.

Losing money

A player can lose money through gold sinks such as paying for repair, buying items, and sometimes through quests. A player can also lose money to another player by giving money to the other player as payment or as a gift.

Ways of gaining money

Since every activity in World of Warcraft consumes time, the effectiveness of gaining money can be measured by the amount of money gained in a certain time. The amount of profit possible with a certain activity may also depend on the rate of money gained. There is a risk of not making a profit or of losing money depending on the amount spent on an activity. Some activities include:

  • Grinding
  • Farming (For gold/Items)
  • Questing
  • Producing (Items/Enchantments, etc.)
  • Transporting (Items)
  • Reselling (Items, of course)
  • Pick Pocketing (For rogues). This is much more effective than it sounds like.

There are other ways of making money, besides those listed here.


Many mobs in World of Warcraft drop money. So by just killing mobs a player character can loot money. Gray items, dropped by these mobs, can be an additional source of money by selling them to a vendor. Common, Uncommon, or Rare items that infrequently drop may bring more profit by selling to other players. Grinding may not be an very effectiv way of gaining money since the amount of money dropped by mobs is relatively low depending on their level. The financial risk of grinding is relativ low. Repair cost for durability loss for fighting and dying or money for food and drink will lower the profit.


Farming without a profession

Farming without a profession is basically grinding but aiming for a special item of higher value, that may drop from the farmed mob such as a recipe, materials for production profession, or a rare item like a  [Captured Firefly]. The effectiveness of farming depend on the drop chance and the value of an item, as well as how fast the player character can kill these mobs, how many are there and how fast they respawn. Profitable mobs may attract many players, especially at prime time, leading to long waiting periods for the mob to spawn and PvP fights, which can lower the effectiveness of farming considerably. Internet databases like Wowhead or Thottbot provide information about the source of an item. While financial risk may still be relatively low, like with grinding the player can loot money from the mob but repair cost for durability loss in fights and by dying or money for food and drink will lower the profit, to make a higher profit the from the farmed items the player must still sell them to other players via the trade channel or Auction House. Not finding a buyer on the auction house will lower profit because of the auction fee.

Farming with a profession

Farming with a profession is gathering materials via primary gathering professions:

With the Northern Cloth Scavenging abilitiy for tailors, this profession can to some extent be seen as a gathering profession since it will give the player character an advantage on farming cloth.

and the secondary profession:

Whether a player character is able to gather materials with these professions depends on his profession skill and the level of the item. For skinning, the player has to kill the mob, so profit may depend on his fighting strength and he may have expenses like with grinding.

Professions like herbalism and mining need a lot of travel between the herbs or mines. A high traveling or flying speed will raise the effectiveness of the gathering as may special abilities like the druid flight form, saving the time to mount up and off. An addon like Gatherer will provide ingame information of the positions of herbs and mines.

Items gainted by these professions are obtainable almost exclusively with these professions, so even low level items can glean a proper profit due to the demand for low-level materials in crafting professions.


Finishing a quest is usually rewarded with money, experience points and sometimes with items. If the player character is at the maximum level the experience points of many quest will be converted to money. Completing quests can be an effective way of gaining money since the cost are relatively low and predictable, and the reward is guaranteed. But the number of quests in World of Warcraft is limited. Many quests can be finished only once by an player character. Repeatable quests are not rewarded with money, or as daily quests are limited to 25 quests a day for one player character.


A profession may have other beneficial or entertaining features but to generate an income the profession has to provide items that can be sold with profit. A player character can gain money by obtaining materials, crafting items with one of the primary or secondary production professions and selling those items to another player or an vendor. In World of Warcraft, the materials needed for crafting an item are specified by the recipe, making the cost of production calculable. To raise his production profession skill a player character has to produce may items, needing much materials. In the process of raising the production profession skill many player characters will also craft the same items, creating a surplus. This may lead to material prices even higher than the price for the produced item, make some items unprofitable.

Primary production professions are:

  • Alchemy
  • Blacksmithing
  • Enchanting
  • Engineering
  • Leatherworking
  • Tailoring
  • Jewelcrafting
  • Inscription

Secondery production profession are:

  • Cooking
  • First Aid

Professions like Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, and Tailoring will provide armor, weapons, and some item enhancements. Crafted items are however not the only source for armour and weapons since the will also drop from mobs or are quest rewards thus making it not necessary to buy crafted items. Many crafted items are useful only for a certain range of level. The inability of an player character to use many of these items, determined by class and level, will lower the demand of many items. Finally a couple of crafted items are Bind on Pickup so the cannot be sold to other players. All these factors limit the number of profitable itmes. On the other side due to the guaranteed access, the materials and the recipe given, and the sometimes very powerful characteristics of some crafted items players may desire those items. Items, even if soulbound, of common or higher quality can also be disenchanted providing materials for Enchanting.

Enchanting, probably one of the best professions to gain money, mainly provides enchantings for back-, chest-, wrist-, hand, feetarmor, shield and the weapons, augment the stats of those items. The second part of enchanting is the disenchanting of armor or weapons to create Enchanting ingredients needet for those Enchantings. A common mistake is to try to gain money maily with the enchantings while disenchanting may provide a much higher profit. Making money with enchanting.


A player might gain profit by buying an item from a vendor, transport it and sell it to players who do not know, care for, cannot reach, or do not want to spend the time traveling to the location of the vendor. Common items for these kind of income are profession recipes, secondary profession books, or companions. Some items like the faction exclusive companions can provide an even higher profit by selling them through the neutral auction house since this is the only way members of the other faction can obtain these items. The finacilal risk is relativ low since most of these items are cheap and more or less constandly wanted by some player characters. A player can also lower the traveling time by placing an alt close to the vendor.


Buying items with the purpose of selling them for a higher price to a vendor or an other player. The price players are willing to pay for an item can fluctuate considerable over the course of days, weeks, or month. A player might gain a profit by buying items from other players or from the auction house, speculating on a rising of the price in the future. A short term version of this method is, to buy underpriced items and relisting them in the auction house for a higher price.

Another method is to speculate on periodical fluctuations of the price over the course of the day or the week due to the playtime cycle of the majority of the players on a server, resulting in periodic changes of supply and demand. The price mostly being high at the begin of the server prime time, with low supply and high demand. With the supply rising, as more and more players will farm, produce and trade items, starting to undercut each other, the price will eventually start to fall. At the ending of the server prime time the demand goes down and the price will fall further, rising again with the next server prime time. While the total price of an item may depend on other factors too, these periodic changes may remain constant since they are based not on reasons within the virtual economy of World of Warcraft but rather on the playing practice of the player majority on a server, a very constant factor, disturbed only to some degree by seasonal holidays.

A player can also speculate on price changes due to the implementation of new game content like new items, instances, achievements, or the beginning of a new arena season.

You can sell items in to other players with the trade window ,the mail and the auctionhouse. Selling items in World of Warcraft to other player is only possible if the item is not already soulbound.

Sell items to a vendor

In World of Warcraft, a vendor will buy almost any, even a soulbound item for a fixed price and in unlimited quantity. A vendor may not be the most profitable buyer but a very reliable, calculable and in many cases the only one.

Sell items to other players

Unlike vendors, the amount of money a player character pays for an item in a trade with another player depends solely on decision by these players limited only by the amount of money the buyer owns. Players will most times act with economical reason thus making it possible to apply, with exceptions, business strategies of the "real world" to the virtual economy of World of Warcraft.


Other, in some cases morally questionable, ways of gaining money may include to charge money for a service, loan, scam, to beg other players for money, or gold buying.

A player can demand money for helping other players, for example, for a time it was a common practice to pay a player character, who owns a  [Seal of Ascension], to open up Upper Blackrock Spire for other groups.


Collecting and providing many informations about the marketsituation on the server of a player Auctioneer (AddOn) is probably the most important AddOn for making gold.

The "WhoHas" addon may be helpful if a player uses a bank alt Mule (game term). "WhoHas modifies every tooltip in the game to show which of your characters have the item in the tooltip, and where. ..."

Mailaddons like Postal may help to handle high mail traffic better .

Also See