My early money-making efforts on Medivh revolved primarily around buying cheap vendor-sold pets/profession recipes/shirts and re-selling them for major profit. This is always a nice, safe tactic, and it's great for starting out since it requires almost zero initial funds. Those Hawk Owls and Horned Owls were netting me an easy 30-35g profit for a week or so.
However, this method of making money has some definite flaws. The problem with reselling vendor items is that anyone else can easily do it, and the market can crash very quickly. Therefore it's a good idea to have multiple methods of generating revenue.
So what did I do after accumulating a comfortable chunk of wealth? I started spending.
The easiest way to make easy, no-effort cash is by snatching up bargain auctions and then re-selling them for a higher amount. It's a simple concept, but it does require a bit of market awareness and knowledge about current "average" prices. Now, I don't mean that you need to know precisely how much a single Elementium Bar costs, down to the silver. But it's good to know the approximate cost for current-content resources: ores, cloth, enchanting materials, herbs, food, etc. Anything useful to endgame raiders, because they're often the ones who will buy your auctions rather than farm it themselves.
There's many addons that well help you accomplish this. Auctioneer will do the dirty work for you and keep track of price histories for all items (as well as doing much more), while Auctionator lets you immediately look up an item and see all currently-listed auctions for easy price comparisons. But even without addons, you should be able to mentally keep track of a few dozen or so general price norms.
I touched on this last time, when I bought two stacks of Deepsea Sagefish for a total of 36g. I knew these fish were very desired for endgame buff food, and a quick check against other currently-listed fish verified my hunch. Within a day of re-listing, this was the result:
Another great example is Embersilk Cloth, which is always in high demand due to Tailoring and First Aid. I won a stack for around 40s, and turned around and sold it for 40g.
The most significant drawback of buying cheap auctions for immediate resale is, of course, reliability. A server's economy can be wildly unpredictable and erratic. You could go days, weeks, months even without ever seeing a bargain buyout auction or being able to nab a last-minute cheap bid win. And sometimes items will randomly skyrocket or plummet in price without any warning. Sometimes it works in your favor (see picture below), while at other times it leaves you high and dry. It's really a matter of luck and how many other alert auctioneers are active on your server.
Aside: the Neutral Auction HouseWhile we're talking about luck, another tactic you may wish to try is getting a character (any level) to a neutral Auction House and giving them 20g or so. Every now and then, check the neutral AH's cheapest auctions. 99% of the time it will be crap, like a billion pages of The Green Hills of Stranglethorn. But if you're extremely lucky, you'll check the AH just as someone is transferring an item between factions.
Seize the moment! People transferring between factions often list the item for 1c or 1s buyout, to ensure that their alt or friend on the other side will be able to immediately find it by searching for the cheapest price. This is a fatal mistake. If you see a Blue or Purple quality item or a stack of ANYTHING on the neutral AH for under 10s, buy it immediately! If it's complete junk, oh well - you're out 10s. But if it really was a transfer, you've just scored huge. If they're taking the time and effort to transfer something, it's something valuable! For example, one of the most commonly transferred items are the faction-specific Trial of the Champion vanity pets, which will ALWAYS sell for outrageous prices on the opposite side.
If you do happen upon a transfer in action, grab the auction and then immediately refresh the AH and check again. If the person transferring items is sloppy and/or careless, you might be able to grab a bunch of auctions before they catch on. Back in TBC, I once grabbed over a dozen stacks of endgame ores (Adamantite and Khorium! $$$) because the seller wasn't paying attention and didn't realize what was happening.
Now, you may not be comfortable with this, especially if the person messages you requesting the items back. This is a personal decision that you have to decide for yourself. However, every time I've nabbed someone's items their immediate reaction was furious swearing and frothing at the mouth, which made my decision to laugh in their face and ignore their protests much easier. Also, you can safely ignore any threats that they are going to report you or have you banned. You did nothing wrong and are completely safe. Of course, they might hold a grudge and harass your character, and there's nothing you can do about that. Which is why I recommend doing this on an anonymous, unassociated-with-your-main alt.
I've probably caught about 5-6 transfers in progress, the biggest score being the above-mentioned ore cache. (I've also lost an item once while transferring, much to my chagrin! But that's a different story.) It's all luck, but the payoff can be huge. And the time expenditure is minimal, with zero financial risk.
Finding good deals is nice, but it shouldn't be your only tool or else you'll end up at the mercy of the tumultuous economy. Sometimes there's just not any bargains to be found! But you can still rake in easy profit if you know what to look for - namely, items that you can convert into other, more profitable goods.
Sound complicated? It's really not. Remember how I love mass-producing Strange Dust for quick startup funds? It's just this concept, on a more expensive scale.
With Strange Dust, the math is extremely basic:
• Strange Dust generally sells for around 25s each (sometimes more, but 25s minimum)
• A level 16-20 green-quality armor piece disenchants into 4-6 Strange Dusts.
• There's almost always a ton of level 16-20 greens available for under 50s.
There's limitless possibilities. Consider what professions you have available to you, and utilize them! You're a Jewelcrafter? Look for cheap ore and crush it into valuable gems, then sell the gems or make rings to vendor/disenchant. You're an Enchanter? Grab some cheap enchanting mats and make some +stat scrolls and sell them! A Cook? Buy cheap uncooked fish/meat, turn it into nice tasty buff food, and sell for double, even triple the initial cost.
An example: On my home server I regularly buy cheap stacks of Cataclysm ore and prospect it all into mass amounts of gems. I save the green/blue/purple gems for the Jewelcrafting dailies (I have two Jewelcrafters, so they get used up quickly), and craft the orange/yellow gems into amulets, which I then disenchant or sell on the AH. My friend, who also does this, uses his Alchemist to transmute the red gems into Inferno Rubies, but I prefer to craft them into Carnelian Spikes, which get disenchanted into 2-3 Greater Celestial Essences. I then turn each of those into 3 Lesser Celestial Essences, and create scrolls of Enchant Chest: Mighty Stats for 2 Lessers apiece, which sell very nicely.
Now on Medivh, I'm at a disadvantage. I'm only level 14. I can't convert anything valuable yet. Compared to my home server, where I have access to basically every profession, it limits my options.
However, you can always ask others for help! I turned to fellow Waypointer Liala of Disciplinary Action and her wonderful high-level Enchanting skill for assistance, but you could easily ask about in Trade and find someone who will crush ore/disenchant items/whatever for a small fee.
There's an Enchanting perk called Abyssal Shatter, which breaks an Abyss Crystal (created from disenchanting a WotLK epic-quality item) down into (if I remember correctly) 5-10 Infinite Dusts or 3-5 Greater Cosmic Essences. There's no cooldown on this ability, nor does it cost anything extra. It's a perfect method of converting for profit.
I checked out Abyss Crystal prices and was pleasantly surprised, seeing a few stacks at 6g50s per crystal. I then looked at Infinite Dust and Greater Cosmic Essences and grinned. The Dusts were steady at 2-3g each,and the Essences, 10-12g each. I think you can do the math here. This was huge profit potential.
I bought both stacks (260g total cost) and got Liala to pulverize them for me. (I'll have to get her a gift in thanks! Maybe a blizzard from DQ or some day-old wine, or something.) Even if the mats sold for bare minimum - say 2g for dusts, 10g for essences - I'd still come out way ahead. But I figured I could charge a little more and still successfully sell them.
And what do you know? I was right.
My next test will be to see if I can do this without the help of a friend. I'm going to dip into Medivh Trade and see if I can find a Tailor to help me turn these:
...into these: (one stack of cloth = one bag).