The Warcraft Econ Hall of Fame interviews the few elite players that have hit the World of Warcraft gold cap of 999,999 gold 99 silver 99 copper as well as ones who have obtain 500k and 250k. We have with us, Kammler of Nesingwary-US, who will be sharing their story with us today.
Please tell us a little about yourself and your gaming experience.
I’m in my mid 40s with a wife, 4 kids and 3 dogs. I have been playing WoW since December 2008. My son played a while but left for XBox. My 14 year old daughter has begun playing but has other interests; she is a casual player at best.
I play Alliance on Nesingwary US. Although I will write this under the name of my main, Kammler, I prefer to keep my bank alts’ names anonymous. I use 4 different bank alts, each with a 4 slot guild bank he or she manages. Each of my bank alt toons is also set up to eventually transition into a leveling toon, so each has normal gear for his level.
I currently have 3 85s, an 82, a 76 and the rest are 42 or lower. It was important to me to get each of them high enough to ride faster mounts. Never know when that will come in handy. One is a Troll Mage for cross faction trades.
I started playing RPGs back when PnP (pen and paper) was the only option. Dungeons and Dragons, Marvel Universe and a couple others were the games of choice. My friends and I would get together on Friday nights and play for like 36 hours straight. Our GM had a really cool game mat that was divided into little squares, like graph paper but with a surface that you could draw on and wipe off with water. He had tons of lead figurines that he and others had painted over time—really detailed, very intricate. I’ll bet he had 1,000 or more. Dungeons were drawn on the map, scale was set according to the size of the lead figure. Battles that involved a party of 5 against 50 goblins were visually interesting. There were actually 5 player figures and 50 goblins. Just incredible.
We used to talk about how neat it would be if we could game on a computer. We discussed the merits of open ended play vs. quest based, linear play. When Zork came out, that was our first clue how far the programming had to advance to live up to expectations.
20 years later when I discovered WoW, I clearly remember thinking “damn, this is what we wanted”. I remain amazed.
Do you raid or PvP most? Both? How do you enjoy the game?
I do a little of both, neither very well I suppose.
In WoLK I was in a leveling guild and we never had the people to do any serious raid content. Players who geared up would leave for a more serious raid guild. Towards the end of WoLK I wanted to do more raiding so I found a new guild but most of their raiders were pretty burned out by then. I ran mad heroics but not a lot of other end game content.
PvP is fun but only my Rogue does any on a consistent basis. I suppose that will change fairly soon.
Why did you choose to collect this amount of gold?
That’s like asking the guy “Why do you want to climb Mt. Everest?” Because it’s there. I wanted to see if I could hit certain milestones. First was 100,000 gold and then 250,000 gold. Next up is 500,000 gold.
How did you go about getting to the gold cap? Any creative or original ideas?
Through my stable of higher level toons I now have access to most professions at max or near max levels. I have all the gathering professions maxed—Mining, Herbalism and Skinning—and have max level Jewelcrafting, Enchanting, Alchemy, Blacksmithing, and Inscription. I have near max level Leatherworking (515) and Tailoring (520). I still need to level Engineering at some point. I also have max Cooking and First Aid.
I started by flipping trade goods. Then I moved into farming some items that were always in short supply. As my toons leveled and got access to more diversified recipes I then started crafting items that would sell for a profit. Since I try to buy anything I see that is undervalued, even if I have to store it for a while, I had to get more bank space. That led to one, then two and now four guilds.
The secret (if there is one) is to be responsive to the market. On my server there are not many players doing WoLK content and fewer still doing TBC. There are tons of lower level toons moving up. It doesn’t take much time to spin through Zangamarsh for some herbs or Icecrown for some ore. That stuff sells great.
Also, know the cycles of supply and demand. Raiders need flasks on certain days. Many players just have time to play on weekends so by Sunday there tends to be a ton of cloth, ore, leather and herbs that get dumped into the AH, way below value. I buy as much of this as I can stomach and hold it until demand says I should list it.
For example, last Sunday I bought all the wool cloth listed at 40s and below. Starting Monday night there was good demand but no supply—so Tuesday after maintenance I listed all my supply at 62s ea in stacks of 10, 6g 20s per stack. I spent 300g buying the wool, held it for just over a day and re-sold it all for 595g—that’s nice profit by any standard—and it took less than 5 minutes to buy it, put it in the guild bank, grab it the next day and re-post it.
The “Elementium Shuffle” has gotten lots of cyber-ink already, but that is a good revenue source for me. So are scrolls, leather leg enchants, spell threads, some weapons, glyphs, pets, bags—even raw materials. The only market I don’t have any activity in (at the moment) is Engineering.
Don’t overlook Cooking. The foods that can be cooked are great for PvE, heroics and even raids.
What is your master list?
This is almost impossible to answer. I have anywhere between 250 to 750 auctions at any given time. I literally sell anything on which I can turn a profit. If I see something listed in the AH for 20% value or less it grabs my attention.
For other items I follow strict pricing protocols. Embersilk cloth, for example, I buy if it’s listed at or below 3g per unit. One stack will make 4 Bolts, and it takes 15 Bolts to make one Embersilk Bag. That makes my investment on the base cloth a maximum of 150g. Embersilk Bags are selling between 400g and 425g on my server making my profit per bag 250g to 275g. The Hypnotic Dust for the bags I keep on hand from DE any of the greens I get questing or as drops.
These pricing protocols mean that I don’t have to stop and do the math on something when I evaluate whether the listed price is good. Embersilk at 55g/stack? That’s a “buy” all the time. I have many protocols like this.
The market has been utter chaos since Cataclysm hit. There was just crazy stuff like Hurricane scrolls selling for 200g and under—despite using 6 Heavenly Shards at 70g each and 6 Volatile Air at 25g each; or Heavy Savage Armor Kits going for 30g while mats cost 200g and up. I stockpiled a bunch of these items when they were cheap. Now that the market is beginning to stabilize, I’m selling these slowly but at great profit on each item.
What items are in your Snatch list?
Right after Cataclysm came out there was a huge supply of WoLK and TBC materials that were just flowing freely. Cataclysm materials were pricey, and some were incredibly rare. About two weeks ago the market began to shift—inflation hit the WoLK and TBC materials but the Cataclysm prices held fairly well. Now the market shift has almost completed the cycle. I’m seeing Cataclysm mats go down in value. Part of that may have to do with the bot ban but some is because there are just more 80+ players out there accumulating and selling materials.
Therefore, my snatch list has changed with the market. I have lots of Old World mats like Abyss Crystals, Essence of Air, Rugged Leather, Frostweave Cloth, Ragveil that I snatch when I can.
How did you learn to do it? Anyone or resource you would like to thank?
I didn’t get serious about earning gold until last August. I was hovering around 10k gold. I always funded short term goals—like Epic Flying—by just grinding out the dailies or selling the trash greens from Heroics. I found Zuggy’s Dominate Wow Gold and bought his guide. Even then I wasn’t as serious about it as I knew others were. I was up to about 30k gold by November when I discovered Markco’s Just My Two Copper. I bought it too.
That’s when I began to notice a real change in my attitude. Using strategies from both Zuggy and Markco I launched into Cataclysm on December 7 with 65k gold. Two months later, I’m at 250k.
I credit JMTC for the community of bloggers that spawned from that site. I’ve come to rely on some key blogs in that community. (I know I’m missing some—please forgive me if I overlooked you, fellow bloggers). They include:
- Cold’s Gold Factory
- Altos Goldish Advice: The Worst WoW Blog Ever
- Trading With Zoxy
- Anaalius’s Hunt for Gold
- Nerf Faids
- Miss Mediocre
- The Gold Queen
I also started my own blog which you can read at Kammler’s Korner.
What addons, if any, do you use to help you make gold and why are they needed?
Auctioneer is the backbone of my gold earning. It offers me many advantages over other AH addons. I like the Beancounter feature, which shows me how much I paid for, and when I bought, anything I purchased. Like I said, I stockpile stuff for a while—it is important to know when I can re-list for a profit. Also, the Snatch list, various ways to search and customized settings make this integral to my success.
I depend on Altoholic to track all the materials, skill levels, known recipes, bank contents, reputations—you name it—for all my toons simultaneously. My main crafting addon is Skillet. I find it much more dependable than other crafting addons. I especially like two features. When I place something in the crafting queue for a character the “materials needed” window can be set to pop-up when any alt opens mail, the AH or visits the bank. I can see at a glance which alt needs what mats, making it much easier to move materials between alts. Also, the “buy reagents” button makes it easy to purchase from a vendor whatever vendor items I might need for the queue.
Player Notes helps me keep notes on my fellow banking mules, identifying the main for the mule when known. Also, I can make notes about things like ‘bought XXX chant, nice tipper’ or ‘follow up in 2 weeks—see if she hit 80’. I like to maintain contact with players who buy from me, especially when they are leveling. Return customers are the best.
Bagnon helps manage inventory and bag space. Postal helps manage the huge mail volume I have. Friends No More lets me know when anyone on my friends list leaves the server. Since all my main competition is in my friends list this also helps me know if any of them change their names. Finally, MySales helps me see what was purchased and by whom.
Are you still going for more gold? If so, do you have a new goal? Are you close?
Earning gold has become a game unto itself. I have sacrificed in other areas to reach the 250k milestone. I will back off the gold emphasis for a while and instead focus on gearing for raids, getting my L82 and L76 up to L85, and then work on my lowers. I want to get Engineering leveled but that’s on the back burner for now. I’ll still play the AH game but only an hour a day—no more.
Do many people know you have this amount of gold?
I make no secret of it but I’m not high profile enough in my guild for anyone to notice. My GM knows about my blog and I’ll post something there later tonight or tomorrow. I don’t really brag on it but I don’t hide it either.
I guess they will know now!
Did you spend your gold on fun things? What have you bought? What things would you like to buy?
Since Cataclysm came out the only big expenses I‘ve had were leveling my Jewelcrafting from scratch, several thousand gold there, and I bought a couple of mounts. For example, my DK didn’t have Winged Steed of the Ebon Blade so I got one. I would like to get a Chopper and the Reins of the Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth. I’m still trying to level my Archaeology so I can farm the recipe for the Vial of the Sands. I don’t want to buy that one!
If you were the professor of a gold making 101 college class, what would be some things you would talk about?
Just because you farm it doesn’t make it free. Earning gold is a state of mind. Make sure you check “autoloot” and sell all that trash: it adds up. Your first toon is one you want to play. Your second toon should be an AH mule. Run to the nearest capital and park it. Even if you never play the AH having the capacity to use the mail for storage is great. Level your professions. Never impulse buy. Never buy gear or weapons from the AH until you reach about L60. You move up so fast they becomes obsolete too quickly.
Do an AH search the night before maintenance day, as close to server shut down as you can. Sort the auctions by time left, then by percentage of value. Bid on anything 2hrs or less that looks like a good deal. Odds are they will expire during maintenance, giving you a great opportunity to get some good deals.
Be wary of trade chat offers. If it looks too good to be true it most likely is.
Study your markets and know them inside out. Learn a market before getting involved in it.
Invest in bags. Your ability to earn gold is limited most at low levels by lack of bag space.
How about an advanced gold making class?
Spend 10 minutes each day reading a gold blog—find one you like and check it daily. Find a routine that works for you and stick to it. If I’m pressed for time because of work or family I can log on and run my auctions, check mail, re-list and log off in about 10 minutes. At a minimum I do that every day. Find your routine.
Install and learn to use addons that help your style. If you want to be a casual player you can do that with the same addons that the serious players use. You need these tools to have the data available that helps you manage your income. Diversify. Make sure you have at least three markets you can buy and sell in. Make sure you are using your professions to their fullest.
Pay attention to market changes. Read the patch notes. Be prepared. Players who read the Beta notes knew that the Black Tabby and White Kitten were going away when Cataclysm hit. They farmed a few to have on hand. These are going for 5,000 to 7000g on my server. Double that for cross faction sales. I only got one of each, darn it.
Set reasonable goals. Don’t think you will make 10k gold a day if you only plan to flip Leather and some Volatiles.
Do you have good farming strategies or spots?
My favorite farming spot is the auction house. I believe I can earn more gold per hour by smart AH play than I can by digging for ore and pulling up herbs. There are exceptions: the new Meta Gem recipes are world drops so I need to farm some humanoids. Or yesterday, there were no TBC herbs at all so I made a pass through Zangamarsh to gather some. I got 20 stacks in an hour of farming, various herbs—I never saw another player for that whole hour. I made my ink and listed the rest in the AH. They sold in less than an hour, roughly 700g in addition to my inks.
What was the best deal you ever came across?
The one that comes to mind is when I purchased my 4th guild back in November. I was on the fence about getting another guild bank but some guy in trade chat was selling one for 1,000g. I watched all day as he barked this sale, coming down to 650g by the end of the day. I privately offered him 250g. He laughed at my offer. The next morning when I logged on there was a letter from him in my mailbox wanting to know if I was still interested. So I bought it. Cost of the tabs alone was 1,850g. And I use this bank every day. To me it is almost priceless. /shakes head—250g.
Do you remember any of your worst deals?
Yes. It was back when I first started playing the AH. Loaded up Auctioneer and off I went. I gathered data with scans for a few days and found a bunch of Chalcedony for like 20% market value. Bought all of them. Spent over half my total gold. It took me weeks to sell them all, and at a loss to boot. I had no idea how little demand there was for them or how much supply there was normally. I didn’t know that market. To this day I still have one of them in my mule’s bag as a reminder.
What are your future plans with WoW?
I’m saving for an Alienware, hopefully next month. I would like to hit 500k gold but I have no timetable right now. My immediate goals are for more heroics, more raids, more PvP, more leveling.
I enjoy teaching other players how to earn gold. Last week a guildy was complaining about needing 4,000g for one of the flying skills. He was L82 but never had enough to buy the upgraded flight. He was frustrated.
I took him to Mt. Hyjal and showed him a couple spots to farm Savage Leather. As a skinner he could get scraps but not make them into the actual leather. I had him mail to my Leatherworker, who turned them into the Leather and mailed them back. He listed in the AH and has earned a lot of gold towards his goal. Teach a man to fish…..
I will look for other ways to help educate players on how to play smart and earn gold. I find that to be rewarding.
What are you predictions for the future WoW economy?
I foresee some significant changes. My first answer here is not going to be popular in the gold community.
I think the biggest change to the WoW economy will be precipitated by The Undermine Journal. In short, I think this is so powerful a tool that it threatens to completely change the way gold is earned. It may even threaten the stability of realm economies. I’m on the fence about whether I think this will be a good change or not.
Next, I think the market will continue to stabilize. There will be cycles when TBC mats are over-supplied as players level in those areas, followed by WoLK materials as the leveling players move to Northrend. Hopefully, Maelstrom Crystals will come down in price soon—all the crafted items that use them are very good, but the cost of the Crystal makes crafting them too expensive. No one will pay 10,000g for a Landslide enchant, roughly the cost of the materials right now. I can’t see any Enchanter spending that gold and selling for a loss.
Further, I predict some new niches that will develop due to the nature of game play and how it is changing. Mana management is so very important now for healers. I guess it has always been important but in WoLK players could compensate for poor healing mechanics with overly-huge mana pools from their gear stats. Now that this option isn’t viable the use of potions and flasks will certainly increase. Given that the best flasks have significant raw material requirements the costs of both the herbs and the flasks & potions will increase.
Cataclysm changes to the guild system will have a major impact on the economy. Since a player loses all guild rep when he changes guilds “guild jumping” is becoming less popular. It is very hard for someone to leave a guild as a Revered or Exalted member and start over as Neutral somewhere else. That means guilds will have to find new ways to solve personality and player need issues.
I have noticed a recent trend for guilds to provide more support for training and equipment purchases. This means a wealthy guild that is helping to gear a player for Heroics or Raids might be inclined to shorten that gear-acquisition curve by purchasing equipment on behalf of the player. This can mean more sales of both high level gear and mats used to craft that gear.
Finally, I’m seeing non-traditional guild groups being formed for specific instances. Instead of Tank, Healer, 3x DPS, it seems guilds are using two tanks, heals and two DPS or even tank, two healers and two dps in some fights. With the current scarcity of Tanks and Healers I predict more Tanks and Healers being developed, which will lead to more Tank and Healer gear being purchased and crafted.
As in all WoW economy issues, gold earners need to keep an ear to the ground and listen carefully for new trends—and then be responsive to those changes. Be nimble, diversified and willing to accept some risk.
Please tell us a little bit about how you handle your real life finances. What are the differences and similarities with how you do things in WoW?
Fairly similar actually. I don’t take huge financial risk in my real life portfolio. I’m frugal. I don’t buy on impulse and make sure I use what I have for as long as it is functional. I don’t have to buy the newest gizmo when it first comes out; I usually wait for 2.0 or 3.0 so the bugs are worked out. I study anything that costs a lot before I buy. That holds true for technology, textiles—you name it.
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview for Warcraft Econ. Do you have any last words?
I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me some decent play time, a family who puts up with my play time and solid relationships within the gold blogging community that enhances my understanding of and strategies for gold earning. Despite my trepidation for UJ, I am an avid supporter of the gold blogging system. If there is any one thing I could not live without it would be gold blogs.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts. And most of all, thank you for adding me to the Hall of Fame.
The new Cataclysm gold cap is one million gold, but we do have a 500k and 250k gold club as well. Please read these guidelines on how to apply for our Hall of Fame.