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In contrast to most other professions, Enchanting offers two different methods to earn money. The first method is to buy items from the auction house, disenchant them and sell the resulting materials, while the second method is to actually sell enchantments. Very rarely it's also possible to sell the service of disenchanting for a small fee.
Making money through disenchanting
This method follows the usual pattern for most professions, scan the AH and compare buy and sell prices. The general idea is to buy a magic item, disenchant it, and sell the resulting materials for a higher price than the items price. Example:
- The current AH price for is 2.5g.
- A green lvl 63 armor item is available for a buyout of 4g.
- Disenchanting this item usually results in two Arcane Dust.
- Therefore, a gain of 1g is possible by buying the item, and selling two dusts.
Unfortunately, on most servers, there are a lot of enchanters trying to make money using this approach, therefore the spread (between item price and disenchant value) is usually rather low. With time and commitment though it's possible to find bargains and/or a niche (like lower-level materials). This is basically the same with all items traded on the AH - supply and demand may fluctuate, a good feel for the market dynamic helps gaining profits.
The presence of a lot of enchanters can affect serious impact on the sale prices, and thus profits, of enchanting materials due to competition. Tools such as auctioneer assist the player by suggesting prices at which an item will sell. The suggested price is usually 10% or 5% below the market. Several enchanters competing with one another can quickly drive the price of a material to a level that fails to make a profit for disenchanting. If five people undercut each other at 10% (the auctioneer default) it drops the price of the material 41% ($ 0.90^5 $). If the material is common, such as Strange Dust, it can be very difficult for the market to recover a profitable position due to constant supply. Since need for items in the game does not change a significant amount, the same materials would have sold equally well had the undercut been 1% or even a silver or two. Five players undercutting each other at 1% only decreases the going market price 5% ($ 0.99^5 $).
Disenchanting involves some randomness. Items generally do not disenchant into a fixed number of materials, rather there are probabilities involved. Particularly the chance that green items may produce shards is interesting. Therefore, even when the split is small, it's possible to make a profit with these lucky disenchants. Some players who are not enchanters themselves like to keep all items they collect, and then have them disenchanted. This is not a source of substantial income though.
Making money through enchanting
Selling enchantments is possible, but rather difficult. It used to suffer from the unique problem that buyer and seller must meet in person, however, with the advent of Inscription, Armor Vellum and Weapon Vellum can be made, allowing enchanters to sell enchantments in the AH. The second problem is that most enchants don't sell well. The low-level enchants are not good enough to be worth the effort, most players start enchanting their gear only after they hit the level cap. Even then, only the rare, top-of-the-line enchants can be sold with a profit. The problem with these recipes is that they are usually available only through running the harder instances, which in turn usually requires membership of an endgame raiding guild.
In summary, for players planning to be member of a raiding guild, enchanting is a good opportunity to get extra income. For solo or casual players though it's difficult to obtain the rare recipes, and thus hard to really earn money.
When trying to sell enchants, there are a few rules which make life easier (for both, the enchanter and the customers):
- Don't spam. Repeating an advertisement more frequently than once per minute is not helpful, once in 5 minutes actually suffices in most cases.
- Make the advertisement short but informative. Don't try to include every enchant available, three of the top enchants is enough.
- Include the information whether the price includes materials ("my mats"), or whether the customer has to provide them ("your mats").
- The least invasive method is to sell the enchantments reactively, that is to wait until somebody asks for an enchant.
- On Tuesdays, many players spend their newly awarded arena points for new gear. On weekends, more players overall are online. Both are good opportunities to sell enchants.
Popular enchantments needed by other players (subset)
- Enchant Gloves - Exceptional Spellpower - necessary for most casters
- Enchant Bracers - Greater Spellpower
- Enchant Weapon - Exceptional Spellpower
- Melee Dps
- Enchant Boots - Assault
- Enchant Gloves - Greater Assault
- Enchant Bracers - Striking
- Tanking Classes
- Enchant Gloves - Expertise
- Enchant Bracers - Expertise
- The most cost-effective method of first leveling enchanting is to do nothing but disenchant items until skill level 60, which is when disenchanting no longer yields skill points.
- Controlling the market can significantly increase profits for all players. The goal of a repeat seller is to maintain the highest possible prices possible while also maintaining sales volume.
- When undercutting market prices to guarantee sales, consider undercutting by a small amount rather than the auctioneer default. Your auction will still be the least expensive and most attractive available offer to buyers while maintaining stability of the going price for all players who sell materials. Your future auctions will also enjoy a higher price.
- When using auctioneer, consider switching to the "fixed pricing" model and adjusting prices manually. This prevents a player from undercutting themselves and helps maintain stability and higher prices.
- If lower priced auctions of a material have become unavilable and the price of a material has climbed then this is a strong indication of high demand for this item. It is wise for the player placing a new auction to raise his rates higher as well. This will maximize profit on his sale and all future sales as well by encouraging the highest possible price that buyers are willing to pay.
- If supply of a material has been exhausted then a new auction should certainly be priced higher than the price it was going for.
- If you are using disenchanting to make some gold then you should not be particulary worried about the price of materials for leveling enchanting. Almost everything you need can be obtained by disenchanting items. Consume the materials that you need to level and sell the remainder to break even or profit. While this decreases the profit in gold obtained the profit is gained in the form of skill level. Anything you do need to buy will be offset by the profit made from other sales at the higher prices.
- As an early Journeyman enchanter, creating Greater Magic Wand (vendors for around 15 silver) is rather cheap, and sometimes may even be sold for a slight profit.
- Although it's a waste, there is no way to avoid spamming the same enchant on the same item over and over again if trying to level enchanting in a time-efficient way. Low-level enchants are in such low demand that they are frequently not even wanted for free.
- It helps a lot to buy green items from friendly players (or guild mates) at the vendor price (or slightly more, or, if they're very friendly, for free).
- Tailoring is often suggested as a secondary profession to enchanting because finding cloth does not require a secondary tradeskill, and this combination of crafts permits to convert the cloth found on mobs into enchanting materials. Looking at this strictly from a cash-flow point of view, taking a collecting craft like herbalism, skinning or mining yields more profit, because selling all the collected resources plus cloth and buying cheap magic items from that money effectively yields more materials than the method using tailoring.
- Prior to level 54, Artisan enchanting (300) and some later enchanting recipes can only be obtained in Uldaman from Annora. For higher-level characters, there's an enchanting trainer in Shattrath.
- In summary, enchanting is a rather expensive craft to learn, and difficult to level up in the early game. It is recommended for players in guilds, or for an alt with a higher-level main that can feed items to the enchanter.