Monday, June 25, 2007


Crafting in WoW is good for:
  1. Making decent gear for your main character to supplement quests and drops. Personally, I like wearing gear that my toon has crafted.
  2. Making good gear for alts.
  3. Making specific valued pieces for friends and guildmates.
  4. Making consumables to buff you.
  5. Having something to do other than quest and kill. Collecting recipes and advancing your crafting skill is fun.

Crafting in WoW is not good for:
  1. Making money by selling crafted gear to other people.

I think a lot of the people who have problems with the crafting in WoW had visions of, say, becoming an weaponsmith, and selling the weapons for large amounts of profit. But the simple truth is that crafting gear is not a good path to riches.

And the reason for this is straight supply and demand. It is very easy to become a crafter, and thus are a lot of crafters in WoW. Almost everyone has at least one crafting profession. This quickly forces the margin for crafting to a very low point. If I have materials for something, and you charge 100g to combine them, I can very easily find someone who will do it for much cheaper.

As well, you can get gear from quests and instances, so crafting isn't specifically necessary. Also gear doesn't degrade, so there's never any repeat business. If player X buys a Sword of Doom, she's never going to buy another Sword of Doom, only a Sword of Greater Doom.

Realistically, the only way you can make good money from a crafting profession is to have an extremely rare recipe that is highly valued. In the old days, this would include epics like the Lionheart Helm.

Blizzard has tried to build a little bit of margin into crafting in TBC, most notably with Primal Nethers. Primal Nethers are bind-on-pickup, so if you want an item that needs one, you need to find a crafter with the recipe AND a nether she is willing to part with. That imposed scarcity allows the crafter to increase her margins on crafted goods.

If you want to earn money using professions, the best thing to do is focus on items that are used up. This includes consumables and raw materials used in crafting. After all, if everyone is a crafter, everyone is going to need materials. Supply and demand.

Now, is this situation good? Would it be better to make it so fewer people are able to craft, allowing them to actually make money from their profession?

Personally, I like the existing system of crafting. It's very solo friendly--until you hit the Primal Nether stage--and I like being able to make gear to supplement my quest gear. I can live with not being able to make a profit via crafting.


  1. I just hate how everybody expects things to be free if they provide the mats. This is why enchanting is awful, because despite paying 300g for mats, the person will give you a 5g tip MAX. Thats just silly.

  2. Enchanting rocks if you have the patterns because you can make money through repeat sales. I have +12 agl to boot, and mongoose and a couple other in demand patterns and I make a reasonable amount of money selling these while I'm standing around the city waiting for arena or battlegrounds. I have 375 so I charge 5g-15g depending on how much work i have to do (go port to darnasuss sucks) I do enough enchants to make ~50g if I'm listening/spamming trade for an hour. I don't ask for tips I charge 5g for all enchants other than mongoose which i charge 10-25g depending on my mood. I don't have to deal with twinks because of this, they are always to cheap to tip.

  3. Once upon a time I used to make consistent profits crafting gear as an elemental leatherworker primarily with FR gear and the stormshroud set, both easy to aquire stuff that sold to popular classes (i.e. rogues) that was good basic gear for entry level raiding. But that was a very young server so it may be a skewed view.

    I think you're right that the best most consistent money is in selling limited use items that must be replaced regularly, preferably something that isn't bought in bulk as those items (like potions/flasks) tend to have low margins. The best stuff seems to be gear buffs/enchants. Stuff like scopes, armor kits, spellthread, gems, enchants etc. People redo them everytime they get new gear so there's almost always some market for them.

    If possible craft items that you can buy the mats of the AH for less than you can sell the finished product. The margins aren't as good as farming, but you do much more business with a much smaller time commitment. Selling on the AH is often better margins that crafting someone else's mats too. People who bring me mats start to balk at 10g+ to cut their gem, but people regularly buy my stuff off the AH that's marked 15-20g higher than I bought the gem for.

    @sunstriker Never been an enchanter personally, but my impression was always that the money in enchanting wasn't from doing enchants, but from buying/farming items and selling the mats from DE'ing.

  4. Really Nice Post.

    Supply & Demand and the rarity of item or mats whether it also be a recipe or a item will pretty much dictate the pricing of almost anything so far in WoW.

    I can't say i'm a enchanter. However people seem to demand enchanting for free which is crazy. What's the point to level a skill if your just giving away stuff for nothing. I agree enchanters should charge a fee for any enchants, I would. Its the price i paid to have the skill to do someone a service for enchanting. People seem to demand it for free or next to nothing. If they not pay though luck find someone else. Then again as a crafter also i never craft for anyone really unless is a friend. I sell everything on AH only always.

    Crafters should make more money from their crafting goods. But with so many people doing the same craft its so competitive to sell a item or find a nitch market. So stuff almost looses it value been a commodity. Welcome now to the discount store world of WoW crafting, where margins are Walmart razor thin. That's almost what it is.

    The things that mostly makes money is hard to obtain mats or items or as stated rare recipes that only few people have or can make the item they obtain. Price goes high for demand of the item. As soon as everyone jumps on the wagon to start crafting it then the market price for it drops because its now a commonly crafted item.

    Would be nice if some recipes or items was just rare or you had to do a special quest or something if you wish to obtain it or to get certain things or earn it somehow for your profession. Who knows there is always better ideas. So far i live and work with it.

  5. First of all, let me say that I enjoy your blog tremendously. I've been reading it since just after you began and you've even inspired me to begin writing my own after coming back to WoW from a hiatus.

    That being said, I feel that part of the problem is the ease of skilling up profession skills in WoW. Long ago when I played EQ, it was outrageously expensive and extremely time-consuming to get your tradeskills to max level, and even then you could not produce anything worthwhile until Planes of Power was released. Materials had to be farmed from odd, out of the way places and the best items could only be made with drops from raid targets. Also, any player could max each and every tradeskill. You weren't limited to two.

    In WoW, the worst thing you have to do is farm mundane components or buy stacks of raw mats on the AH, which is not a big deal to gold farmers or people who buy gold on the web.

    I guess it's a hard thing to balance. I never worked on tradeskilling in EQ because of how laborious it became in such a short period of time, with little feeling of accomplishment. On the other hand, I love the feeling of accomplishment and advancement in the WoW tradeskill system, but the trade-off is that every Tom, Dick and Harry can do the very same thing as you.

  6. If anyone's willing to do a your-mats craft for just the skillup or the chance at a tip (most people I've done stuff for tip), then the effective price you can charge for the service is close to zero. There's not a limited supply of 'crafting Clefthoof Leggings, your mats', because anyone who can do it at all can do it any number of times for only a tiny travel-time cost. The actual act of crafting something doesn't have much value because there's more or less an unlimited supply.
    The ability of people with rare recipes to keep the prices for those items high is reliant on the ability of a bunch of players with no relation to each other who don't even know that the others exist to effectively 'coalition' to keep the price high. (Unless the recipe is so incredibly rare that the number of people on at a given time willing and able to do the craft is extremely low.)

  7. Yea, I know about buying, de'ing and then reselling. But that creates the other enigma of enchanting. Its based on extreme luck so a lot of the times you won't come away with any money. The other thing is you're buying something to resell it, so if you buy a 2g green and get an arcane dust, you're stuck reselling it at 2g. Might as well have just vendor'd it and picked up herbalism instead.

  8. Why can't they let enchanters create enchant objects (similar to how a tailor creates spellthread) that could then be listed on the AH, or sent to Alts etc...

    Then all people need to do is apply that enchant object to their item and they get that enchant.

  9. I make about 300-1000g a day without farming for a single minute. Actually, without leaving ironforge. I do it using my profession too. Imagine that. I'm a jewelcrafter. We make about 5-15 gold per cut when someone else supplies the mats and probably anywhere from 20-50g per cut when we sell them on the AH or to people using our own mats. JC has paid for my epic mount as well as completely rediculous things like a bag filled with 20 slot bags, Epic gear for alts, and all kinds of stuff like that. And like I said, I never, ever have to farm. Of course, I do have about 15,000 gold in gem designs which is one reason I make so much.

  10. Jewelcrafting is an interesting profession. It's a TBC profession, so Blizzard took a lot of the earlier lessons to heart.

    First, a lot of end game gear is socketed, so there's a continuing demand for gems.

    Second, the supply of raw materials is very restricted. As far as I know, only jewelcrafters have a relatively reliable source of gems.

    So restricted supply + increased demand = profit.

  11. My biggest complaint is actually the lack of preparation for fungibility between the materials and the crafted items. My paladin on Kirin Tor is a miner/smith, so that's where my direct experience is. You're also right that this has gotten better with TBC, but I recall there being a huge disconnect between what the materials would sell for and what an equivalent world-drop item would do.

    For a while, for example, the best two-handed sword you could smith was the Arcanite Champion, which took easily 550 gp of materials if you purchased them on the open market. And, of course, money being fungible, even if you acquired all the materials yourself, you're walking away from that much money if you use them to make a sword.

    Destiny is an Epic BoE world drop that currently goes for 150gp in the AH. It was probably a bit more than that back before TBC, but no way it was anywhere near 550gp.

    I don't have a problem with crafted gear not being the tip-top of the line (or it not being without gathering components that are very hard to get). But it's always seemed out of whack to me that, as a master smith, if I have 550gp for materials for the best sword I can make, the rational thing to do is buy a sword on the auction house for 150gp and do something else with the other 400 gold. I realize that it's tough to balance the dynamic economy of the materials versus the power of the weapons, but I wish they'd make some small effort. I don't want to get rich off of smithing - I'd just like to reasonably be able to make some gear that might be even vaguely price-competitive with world drops from a price:performance perspective.

    I agree with you that using my own crafted stuff on my character is cool, I'd like to do it, more. I'm not willing to pay three times (or even double) the price in materials of what similarly performing world drop gear costs on the auction house.

  12. You're right. Nobody's gonna buy two Sword of Dooms. That's part of what makes enchanting and gems profitable. As an enchanter, I can make a lot of money if I want to sit around the cities spamming my wares. Enter: the suggestion to create enchanting scrolls. I don't really like that idea either because part of what I hate (staying in the city) is part of what makes me the money (being the only enchanter online, in a city, able to do X enchant).

    As to the anonymous jewelcrafting poster... Rock-on dude. Can I have a loan? heh.