There are guides. there are AH moguls that have reached varying levels of fame within the WoW world with blogs, twitter and so forth. No matter what server you are on chances are you could name at least one character who is know to be ultra rich and inevitably many other players envy/look up to these successful players and want what they have.
This is not the norm
Just like real life celebrity, the very first concept everyone needs to drill into themselves is this is not the norm. By the very concept of celebrity, if everyone started to be one then there would be no celebrity to become as being special would be the norm. (first person to rephrase that sentance into a well written one may earn my hero-for-the-day title).
For every millionnaire in wow there are maybe 10k+ players who arent. Worse than that, the more people trying to become in game millionnaires the harder it will be for any of them to achieve it, especially when the majority of would-be's are using the same concepts to achieve their goals.
It is true, anyone can get rich in WoW if they put in the effort, however the level of effort required is affected by many factors, and for the majority of players these factors add up to so much effort that its not practical/ rewarding enough for them to go through with it.
Big ideas and diminishing returns
'Whats the quickest way to make loads of gold?!' I'm a nobody on the goldmaking circuit and i get asked this incessently. I hate to think how tedious it must get for the big names to be asked this constantly.
the popular and easiest answer is 'you cant'. This isnt entirely true however,there is a quick way, its called 'identify and act upon something totally original that noone else has ever thought of'. youve heard the saying, 'its the best thing since sliced bread'? well bassically to make lots of gold quick you need to come up with the next sliced bread in the WoW economy. For the 99.999% of us this isnt going to happen, hence the popular 'you cant' answer.
Much more realistic for most is jumping on ideas that others have thought up. This can be a huge success assuming you are the first/biggest/best at it on your server, however the longer an idea is available for public consumption the more people will hear about it, the more people will try it and the more competition you have. On large servers the diminishing returns on this occur slower as the market can handle more supply, on the smaller servers a great idea can become a bad one if only a handful of people give it a go.
The recent popular example is transmogging greens. A small handful of people struck upon the idea early, and have become renowned for their success, in some cases initial success, in other case continued success. Their success and postings on the subject brought the idea to the masses. Early adopters went on to their servers, found noone was doing it and had their own success stories. Since they had only been stockpiling since they heared about the idea their success was, whilst still huge3, often not as big as the initial starters.
I was the first on my server, for around a week, and i did make a tidy profit on it but my profit was tens of thoasands compared to the millions the originators were making. Many people on my server have followed suit and as near as i can tell they are struggling to make thousands at this point. It is no , at least on my server, more of a sideline than a main business now, and i see this feeling being echoed from many players on many servers. It doesnt mean the idea is bad or the people who are still making loads are lying, they just got in on the market at an earlier stage and been able to set themselves up strong foundations to continue their success.
Depends on your server
the great small print and many guides/ techniques. after 'this is not the norm' , 'depends on your server' is the next most important thing to get into your head.
Just because someones gotten rich off a technique or market on their server it does not necessarily mean that if you do the exact same thing you will make lots of gold too. there are loads of factors but to name just a few:
- server wealth
- server interests (ie, rp realm, pvp realm, prog raiding realm etc)
I made most of my gold off glyphs, I had a massive setup going on, huge stock, huge supply of mats. I server moved, taking my inscriptor accross with me and enough stock /mats to hit the ground running (this was not actually the plan, but thats a whole other post for another day). the server population was about the same, in fact many things were strikingly similar between the old and the new server. The one thing that was different was the percieved worth of glyphs. perception is something you can change over time but even listing 75% of the total glyphs on the AH at any one time i was only making 1/10th the gold i was on the old server whilst having to put in considerably more effort.
the moral of the story is tactics work to differing levels depending on your server. a very few tried and tested tactics may work on all servers but the amount of profit you can make will always vary wildly depending on the server and the amount of effort you have to put in to make that profit will also vary wildly.
Perception beats all!
wrong! well, not quite that black and white but still... It is very true that you can create demand where there was no demand by barking in trade, you can use techniques to slowly push up prices on products, you can scare off competitors with a good poker face. I think of these as the positive factors that can effect your ability to make gold.
A truly exceptional salesman or wiley trader can get rich off these things alone but the amount of effort they have to put in to maintain the perception is huge, for many people its a skill set they just havent ever learnt in the first place. it goes back to the first and the best priciple again, people can get rich off doing this, but only the very top of the crop.
For most players they may be able to affect perception for short periods but the norm will almost always overwhelm their efforts within a few days/ weeks. On top of that short of getting people to buy gold (DONT BUY GOLD!) there is a server size driven limit on how much you can change the markets you want to change.
exceptions to the rule
The more succesful gold bloggers/casters/tweeters often head over to other peoples realms to offer advice/ prove they can make money using their methods anywhere. Even if they dont succeed you can bet the individual they came accross at the behest of will have benefitted massively from their advice and knowledge. However most often they do succeed.
They make it look easy and its awesome to watch and learn from. this isnt a con, they are not using trickery. the reason for this success is simple, they have become experts in what they do. ive been watching lots of twitch feeds lately for a number of different gold makers. the one thing they all have in common is the blazing speed at which they do what they do, not exactly without thought but their ability to judge the worth of an item, spot deals, maintain stock, post acutions etc is a sight to behold. Most of the time they dont even realise how honed their techniques have become as they chat away and answer questions whilst going about their business in game.
You too can be an exception to these rules, just be aware unless you got onboard early to a big idea then making the big money is going to take lots of effort and time until, one day, you reach tipping point and you start achieving your dream of making lots of gold and it all becomes second nature to you.