How to play the auction house in World of Warcraft

If you’re struggling for gold in World of Warcraft, you’ve probably heard people tell you to just “play the auction house.” Thousands of players tell stories of stocking up on WoW tokens just from the auction alone. But if it’s so easy, then why isn’t everyone doing it? The short answer is that it’s not as easy as people make it sound. It takes a lot of time, patience, and knowledge to do it right. But once you have a system going, it becomes the most rewarding source of gold.

Getting started with addons

There are a few addons you should look into before you get serious about trying to farm gold from the auction house. They are Auctioneer and TradeSkillMaster (TSM). They have their differences, but they share the same goal: to reorganize your auctions and the auction house UI. WoW’s auction house can be very confusing, and it would be very time-consuming to try and understand what items are being undersold or oversold. These programs help you get a better understanding of that, and how you should manage your auctions accordingly. Similarly, the WoW app might be a good idea to pick up as well, since you can monitor your auctions from it remotely.

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Develop your method

There are a few different ways to work the auction house. Lower level and new players typically start by farming mats. A character could take any two of the three gathering professions and farm large quantities of whatever the highest level materials they can get from them.

The great thing about doing this is that it’s entirely risk-free. Every level of material is wanted (though higher levels usually make a better profit), so by farming stacks of these, you can always guarantee a profit. You can even do this through combat by farming cloth that drops from enemies, such as wool or netherweave. Unfortunately, this method can be a little time-consuming and doesn’t generate a large amount of gold until higher profession levels.

The more risky option is to buy and sell from the auction house itself. This is typically what players mean when they say “playing the auction house.” This can come in two forms. One way is to buy large quantities of mats from the auction house and use your crafting profession to make valuable high-level items to resell. This requires a lot of preparation since you’ll need to level those crafting professions.

The other form is to buy an item that is priced far lower it should be, and sell it for its average price. Both of these can be risky and require a lot of knowledge revolving about what people are buying and for what price. With either method, typically the best time to buy items is during the day, and the best time to sell items is at night.

Understand the market

You typically want to sell large amounts of high turnover items, so that you can guarantee a profit. A common rule of thumb is that late game and current expansion items are almost always going to be in higher demand than older items. This is the case for any method you go with. You should also be on the lookout for other people selling items the same way you are. There are plenty of people doing the same thing you will be doing, and you need to be careful about sticking to the same market for too long, if you keep getting undercut. Alternatively, you could undercut people to try to capitalize on a popular market if you can afford to do that and still make a profit.

Start slow, end big

If you are just beginning to learn the auction house, you shouldn’t be taking many big risks. Start slowly and learn the market. Farming or crafting are easy ways to start seeing how the auction works. Once you get more comfortable, however, you can slowly start playing the auction itself. Some risks are necessary to get larger amounts, but try to avoid risks that might lose you just as much!


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