Why Gold Guides Don’t Work
There are tons of guides out there on the internet aimed at making gold. YouTube in particular is full of video guides with names like “20,000g Per Hour!” or “50k Farming Easy Gold!”. Names like these are misleading, whether intentional or not, and do a disservice to all the people out there who are actually creating realistic guides.
Would you rather make 4k an hour or 20k? It isn’t even close, everybody who wants to make gold would prefer to make 20k. But there are a lot of variables that come into play when determining how much gold you will actually make.
Why Gold Guides Don’t Work
There are a number of reasons that why gold guides don’t work. I’ll explain them each and try not to get too long winded with them.
- Varies by Server
- Reliant on RNG
- Requires Specific Classes / Professions
- Too Much Competition
- Exploitable by Bots
- Estimates on the High End
- Doesn’t Count the Auction House
- Misleading or False Information
Varies by Server
On my main server there are so many people farming Bastion of Twilight that there is no way to compete with them without farming it myself. To cost to create an Embersilk Bag is approximately 225g and yet they are often selling for 175g. Unless I go out and spend the time to gather items I need I can’t compete with them.
Meanwhile there are servers where an Embersilk Bag can sell for 350g – 500g. It’s usually these servers that people make the guides on. And while their numbers are accurate for that server it isn’t accurate for the entire player base.
Reliant on RNG
A good majority of the guides out there either ignore or barely mention the RNG involved. Suppose an item worth 20k can drop, but that item has a drop rate of less than 1%. Even if it is mentioned that it is a very low chance of dropping it is usually still used as a measurement of potential gold.
A gold guide should give the average minimum amount of gold and give special mention to extreme luck after that.
Requires Specific Classes / Professions
The most noteworthy that comes to mind is the farming path in Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Every class can do it, and at level 100 it’s very easy to handle. But in order to get the most out of it you need to have a Balance Druid who has Tailoring.
That’s pretty specific, and the results for using anything else are significantly lower. And most gold guides give results using the absolute best combination, then mention that using a different or not having Tailoring will lower your results. It should be the other way around.
Too Much Competition
Don’t get me wrong, competition is a good thing. It keeps prices at a reasonable level. But the real problem here is that the information is available to everyone. I’m not suggesting we start hiding the guides or making them more difficult to find, but it can cause some real problems.
It’s very common for people to make characters on a High population server because of the strong economy. But on a High pop server there is usually a large number of people farming any given spot at any time. So they take these characters to another realm by joining a group, preferably a Low population one. And they farm without competition. And then they sell their items back on the High server.
Another popular way is through instanced areas. There is no competition when farming because nobody else can get into your instance. On my server there is a constant stream of level 90 and 91 Hunters and Druids running in and out of Bastion of Twilight and many of the Cataclysm dungeons. Freshly boosted by the look of their gear, and they run through these instances over and over. In my opinion they are probably bots. Which causes a whole other problem.
Exploitable by Bots
Bots work while the player is away. This often leads to the player giving a lower value on the items. It took them no time or effort to get it, so it was free right? They didn’t even have to farm it! So they list it at a low price to make sure that it will sell.
And soon that item begins to loose value. If I can buy something for 2,000g why would I ever pay 5,000g? The reason is simple, bots artificially increase the supply of an item without changing the demand. And this causes prices to drop, sometimes significantly.
And it isn’t always just the one item. It can cause a butterfly effect on a whole bunch of other things.
Estimates on the High End
My biggest problem with gold guides is that most of them use the highest possible gold as their broadcast message. The title has to sound good or nobody would read the guide or watch the video. So because it has to sound good people inflate their claims.
I’ll use an example that I saw on The Gold Queen.
“Imagine a scenario for me. You go to Ahn Quiraj 20 man raid, and in the first 5 minutes, you’re extremely lucky and 2 Glorious Legplates drop. You rush to the Auction House and your buyers are magically desperate to buy the leggings immediately, so you sell them both for 10,000g each. It takes you ten minutes. That’s 10,000×2 in ten minutes = 120,000g per hour. Quickly you process your video and put it on Youtube. “120,000g per hour, ten hours farming 1,200,000g a day” You add some SEO terms and more lovely clickbait. Soon, thousands of viewers arrive at your YouTube video, you monetise, you’re raking in real dollars from google for advertising. And everything in the video is “true” and can be seen “live” on camera.” – TheGoldQueen.com
There’s the problem. The odds of that ever happening are virtually impossible. And while it is an exreme example it really illustrates the point. Using the highest end of the spectrum is not only improbable but very misleading. Which leads me into…
Doesn’t Count the Auction House
Something that I personally don’t too much of an issue with in these guides, but it does need mentioning. It takes time to sell things on the Auction House. Depending on the item it can take up to several months. So although it might be true that you can farm 10,000g worth of items in an hour you HAVE to account for the fact that they will not all sell immediately. Most of the time.
You might get lucky and see your auctions get sold almost immediately. Odds are you will not. And so you will have to spend time constantly listing the item on the AH over and over again. And many times people get tired of things taking too long to sell so they put it up at a severe discount. Which means that from that potential 10k you might walk away with only 5k.
Misleading or False Information
I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure there are people out there who are just trying to help. It worked for them so it should work for everybody, right? But that just isn’t the case.
The quote above is a great example of this as well. The drop rate is extremely low, the chances of them selling that quickly is extremely unlikely. And yet the video is made and titled as if it was an absolute truth that everyone will make this much gold.
And I know that people do put warnings up. They say that it depends on drop rates, that it might take a while for people to actually buy them. And this would be fine if the video or guide was just meant to say “Look how lucky I got today!”. But that’s not what happens. They are made as guides, which means it should work for others. And people expect them to, and don’t understand why they don’t.
What Does It All Mean?
Most of the guides online have potential to make decent gold. But it’s potential, there is no guarantee that you will make as much gold as the person who created the guide. This is why it’s very important that you don’t rely on watching guides to learn how to make gold.
Sure, it may work for a while. Depending on the server you might even be able to rule the entire market of whatever you are trying to sell. But this can be a difficult thing to pull off and it requires an enormous time investment that not all people can commit to.
The most important thing to learn about making gold is that you need to LEARN about making gold. People telling you where to go and what to do might be easy but it is less effective long term.