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Understanding Gold and the Economy

Updated Tue, Apr 06, 2010 by Mem

What is Money?

Money is one of the most basic concepts in the World of Warcraft and will be introduced to players almost from the start of their WoW careers. Much like money in real life, money in WoW is what makes each individual server go round. The more money a player has the “richer”, players lacking in the monetary department are considered to be “poor”.

Money in the World of Warcraft comes in three separate units of measurement; Copper, Silver, and Gold. Players rarely type out the full name for each unit of money, choosing instead to use one letter abbreviations. Copper is represented by a c, Silver by an s, and Gold by a g. So instead of seeing 40 Gold, 20 Silver, and 12 Copper in game it is more likely to appear as 40g, 20s, 12c. Understanding these abbreviations will not only save you time, but will also help you avoid mistakes when buying and selling items later on.

Gold is the largest monetary unit, with Silver in the middle, and Copper bringing up the rear as the smallest unit of money. Conversion rates are as follows:

100 Copper = 1 Silver
100 Silver = 1 Gold

As you gain more and more money you will notice that it is automatically converted to the highest unit possible, a feature which most will wish they had access to in the real world. This means that once you reach one of the above conversion points your money will instantly be made into the next highest unit. For example if you gain 99s, then pick up one more it will be converted into 1 Gold. Since this is an built in feature and cannot be turned off players will never be able to obtain more than 99 Silver, or 99 Copper. The only unit exempt from this is Gold since it is the highest unit, once reached it cannot be converted into anything else.

How Can I Get More?

Money in World of Warcraft can come from many different places including (but not limited to):
  • Completing Quests
  • Looting Mobs
  • Selling Items on the Auction House
  • Selling Items to a Vendor
  • Tips for Services
  • Trade With Other Players

The amount of gold you have can be viewed at the bottom of your Backpack.
Acquiring wealth in the World of Warcraft can be as simple as systematically killing mobs to loot or as complex as farming herbs, creating items with the herbs, and then placing the created items on the Auction House. There is no wrong way to make money, and how it is done is determined by the individual preferences of the player.

Please visit the helpful links below for some gold making tips, or simply do a Google search and it should pop tons of results. Beware gold making guides that require you to purchase them before reading.

Gold Farming in Wrath of the Lich King
Top 5 Gold Farming Techiniques

How Much Can I Have?

Like most good things there is a limit to how much gold you can have in game. The maximum amount a single player can have at any given time is 214,748g, 36s, 48c. This is an enormous sum of money, and as such should not pose much of a problem for any normal player. A screenshot was recently  posted on the official forums showing a player with the max amount of gold. Check out the post and screenshot here. If you do manage to personally achieve this lofty goal, then mad props go to you, and um….can I has some golds?

What Can I Do With It?

Now that you have collected some money, it’s only natural that you want to spend it. Spending your money can be done in at least as many ways as you can collect it including (but not limited to):

  • Repair Costs
  • Auction House Items
  • Tipping for Services
  • Purchasing Additional Bank Slots


Loot from mobs is one of the more common ways to make money.
Players may also choose to save their money for emergencies, or that one special item that they are just dying to have. Think Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth.


Where Does It Come From, and Where Does It Go?

Money in the World of Warcraft could be said to grow on trees, or more accurately it grows from a void of nothingness. There is no set amount of money preloaded into the game, or limit to how much can be produced, it simply pops in an out of existence based on the actions of players. Killing and looting a mob, selling an item to a vendor, or complete a quest and gold will be created for you to receive your reward. On the other hand, paying a repair bill, give a cut of your money to the Auction House, or purchase an item from the vendor and the money you sent is gone. I like to pretend the lost money goes to the same place missing socks vanish to. Not all money is doomed to be banished to the realm of missing socks though, money that is used for trade between players remains in normal circulation.

How Does Money Affect the Economy?

The in game World of Warcraft economy is like a living thing, it is constantly changing and varies slightly from server to server. Money is used to purchase almost everything you could possibly need in World of Warcraft making it in essence the very thing that feeds the beast. In World of Warcraft money does indeed talk.

Much like real life your server economy will work on a system of supply and demand. Hard to obtain items that have a high demand will have the highest price. While easy to get items in with little demand will have the lowest prices. The amount of gold the average player has or can hope to achieve also plays a factor in the prices of items. The more gold players are able to make, the higher item prices will soar. In Classic WoW players were lucky to collect 2,000g and the prices during those times reflected this, being significantly lower than the prices we see today where having 10,000g and up is not uncommon.

Players themselves can also affect the prices of goods by undercutting (putting up the same item for a reduced price) current prices. For example, if Flasks of the Frost Wyrm are selling for 40g, and someone begins placing them consistently in the Auction House for 35g it is likely that in order to sell their Flasks the other sellers will eventually drop their prices to match the 35g. Undercutting is usually frowned upon by most players, and is a risking game, as you could hamper your own money making if you reduce the price too much.

Should I Buy Money?

The gold selling business is booming, and is advertised almost everywhere in game and out. It can be tempting to buy some extra cash to get yourself ahead, but should you really do it? The short answer is no, you should never, under any circumstances buy gold. The long answer is that buying gold is shady business, and against the Blizzard Terms of Service. Buying gold can result in your account being banned and your characters lost forever. While the risk may be low, it’s simply not worth taking the chance.

Not to mention when buying money from these gold sellers you never know exactly what other shady dealing they are a part of. They also may dabble in the art of hacking accounts or other such sordid affairs. So be smart, and make your money the good old fashioned way, through hard work, and just say ‘No” to Gold Sellers.

This information should give you a basic idea of what money in World of Warcraft is all about. Head back to the main page to find more helpful information for players new to the game.

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