As part of a social guild, I am often asked how I make gold. I am not one of the hugely wealthy players in the game (mostly because I don't follow the last tip in my guide), but I make a couple of million gold in guild sales per week and have managed to turn a few hours of gold-focused gameplay into enough to fund my crippling housing addiction. This guide doesn't contain any particular tips (buy x, sell y, farm z etc), but gives you the basics to earn respectable gold in a reasonable timeframe. Short of finding an aetheric cipher or a gold motif book, your chances of getting rich quick are low. But your chances at getting moderately wealthy in a decent span of time are not. So below is my handy guide to making gold.
Getting started: the ingredients for making gold
You will need a trade guild. Unless you are very new, you will want to make this a good trade guild in a popular location. The dues may be significantly higher than quieter guilds, but the increased footfall means you can both charge more (people pay for convenience) and are more likely to shift items fast. If you don't yet have a trade guild, pop in an application. Selling in zone is almost always less desirable than selling in a trader. Unless an item is fluctuating heavily in value or you cannot even foot the listing fee yet, sell in a trader. If you sell in zone, you must sell for less than at trader as most zone buyers are looking for bargains. If you try to charge the same as a trader, people will buy from the trader.
At least one crafting toon. This will become important for making money from master writs. This isn't so much a need, but without it, you are heavily limiting your potential for making gold. The more max level crafters you have, the better.
Master Merchant AND Tamriel Trade Centre. Yes both. MM will tell you what things have SOLD for in your guilds, whilst TTC will show you what they are LISTED for in all traders it has data on. Knowing both will allow you to know your competition's prices and what has worked in your guild so far. TTC can also upload your listings to their website when you list them, meaning anyone who follows the website will see your listing. Without these AddOns, making gold is a lot harder (sorry consoles), but not impossible.
Time. You cannot make gold without at least some time put in. However, you do not need a lot. I will indicate for each tip how much time you need to invest.
So let's get started, with the tip I ignored for two years: writs.
Ol' Faithful: writ rewards
Writs are daily quests you can pick up from the notice boards in any zone capital. They require you to make and/or collect a few items, then hand them in. The gold rewards are based on your character's level, not their crafting ability. If you do all 7 possible writs per day on one CP160 character, you will get 4.6k gold per day, or 32.2k per week. If you use each of your 8 base slots to do writs per day, that is 36.8k per day. That's 257.6k per week. For many players, that is a huge amount of gold. With Lazy Writ Crafter, you can do this within 30 minutes and it remains the most reliable source of gold from the gold reward alone. You don't even need to level crafting, just your character. So why do I recommend the crafter?
Higher-level writs can give gold materials. You can sell these once they pile up for a sizeable chunk. All writs reward surveys, allowing you to get a large pile of raw materials to refine or sell. That's even more gold mats potentially.
Top-level rewards can include Master writs. The likelihood of getting a master writ depends on how many traits and motifs you know. These can be confusing at first, but, once you start doing them regularly they will both make sense and make gold. You will have to craft a particular item, with a specified style, quality, set and trait. If you can't craft it, you can sell it. Until opened, master writs are not bound and can be sold to other players through trade and guild stores. Master writs give a small gold award (about 600 gold) and writ vouchers. Writ vouchers can be exchanged for a variety of items, including crafting stations for houses, rare furnishing designs, the Glass and Ebony crafting motifs and more. These sell in guild traders. Fast. For 35 writ vouchers, you can get a crafting station worth, on PC-NA, about 30k in guild stores. Not all master writs are worth doing. Set a value per voucher you are willing to stretch to based upon what you are buying. For example, if you can sell a Jewelry station (125 vouchers) for 110k, you need to consider what your gold return would be. Take the listing fee and guild cut (4.5%) from the cost of the item and divide it by the number of vouchers to get the break-even cost.
Example: For the Jewelry Station, we have 110000 x 0.965 = 106 500. Divide that by 125 to get 849. If each voucher takes 849 gold or more to earn, you will lose gold on the writ compared to selling mats and not doing the writ. Decide on your profit margin (100g per voucher is a good place to start, although I personally operate on a 200g margin).
With the gold, materials, surveys and master writs, you will make a lot of gold. In my last week of doing writs on 10 characters daily I made 322k gold from the quest hand-in, approximately 50k gold from gold mats I sold and, due to a 305 voucher master writ, 250k gold in sales of master writ rewards. That's over half a million gold for 40 minutes a day in one week.
Now you've built up a nice gold stash, you may want to up your gains. Welcome to the marketplace.
The invisible hand: how to make money from the market
Unlike the above, the market is a risk. Prices fluctuate and, if you are on the wrong end of it, you can lose out on a lot of gold. Bubbles build and burst. Items can, in one patch, go from high value to worthless. However, once you learn to play the market, you will make gold. Lots of it. This is where your guild trader, MM and TTC will come into play.
Playing the market can be divided into two loose categories: flipping and providing. Flipping means buying up from the market, either other guild traders and zone, to sell back at a profit. This could include finding an item worth 60k which is listed for 300g (true story, love Werewolf Hide Axes). It could involve buying up and deconstructing cheap armour to sell the improvement mats. It is as simple as buying for less than market value to sell for market value and for enough of a margin to make it worthwhile. This requires an understanding both of the current market and future market. Look at any upcoming PTS patch notes. Is an old set being reworked and becoming useful? Buy it cheap, sell it when the patch goes live for far more. This was the case with Deadly Strike this patch, where it went from a mid-tier set to a very strong stam set due to DoT changes. Prices rose fast. Try to also think of knock-on effects. With entropy in most magicka rotations now, Major Sorcery is no longer a necessary potion trait. Corn Flower prices took a hit When Imperial City became more popular with Update 22, Hakejio prices actually bumped up before they crashed down slightly as they took longer to farm, with more people farming Tel Var. If you had Tel Var stored up, or Hakejio in the bank, you could make a lot of gold that first week of the update. If the meta gear changes, improvement mats will bump. Dreugh Wax has increased in value by 1k on PC-NA in a week following Scalebreaker. If you can think two steps ahead, there is a lot of gold to be made. So long as you have 'base capital' to buy the items with, you can flip.
Providing is much simpler. Farm items which are worth gold and sell them. New DLC dungeon motifs, new or popular gear sets, raw materials. These all sell well and fast if priced right. There's not a huge amount to explain here. Get items, sell items. If you have unused motifs lying about, try to sell them at the best time. Time-limited motifs (Worm Cult, for example), will sell best well away from the events which give them. Meridian is climbing in price after being pulled from the game as it becomes rarer. These prices will nosedive when reintroduced. There's not too much to say here, just think what will sell and get it to sell it. Try to think what is most valuable at the moment and what is the most effective use of your time. If you only have 20 minutes, you could use a few crafting surveys, but a Deeshan chest farm is very unlikely to reward you with anything valuable.
The easiest and most reliable way to provide the market is mats. Farm those mats, sell those mats. Refine them and sell if you have top refinement rank. Sell them raw if you don't.
Earn whilst you burn: turning DPS into coin
There's an in-joke amongst competitive endgamers that raids are as expensive as housing. Potions, gear, repair costs etc. all add up. However, there are ways to make gold. Have gear you need? Farm it and sell it to PUG members. If you get a dagger of AY in a desirable trait whilst running with a PUG, that can be sold for a good amount. I blew half a million coaxing two guildmates out of their Perfect Dagger and Axe of Lokkestiiz. Two days before Scalebreaker made them less popular. I didn't follow the above tip. You can run vAA HM in 20 minutes with a good group and get 30k worth of plunder. Rinse and repeat two more times and you've earned about 90k in an hour. Not a bad return, but it does require a good group willing to do it. If your guild does plunder runs, get in on them.
Now we have entered big money, how do we make BIG money. That requires you to find your niche.
Be yourself: finding your niche
This is where people start getting mysterious and not telling you what they do for gold. I won't reveal my niche and most traders won't. Whilst this includes common ones, such as crafting commissions, it typically involves commanding a large portion of a certain particular market. This is the next step up from flipping, working out where a gap in the market is. It is hard to say much about this and it is beyond this guide, so I am only leaving it here to advise the next step from where this guide can take you. Follow the market, look for the gaps in the market and be the one to fill it. Use your particular skills where you can to make sure no one can muscle you out. Farm areas no one else farms. Sell sets no one else sells. Be the go-to for that particular item or market.
Don't spend it
Want to gold, don't spend it. Spent gold is gold you don't have. Don't spend your base capital. Don't buy things you won't use (I put 1.25 million into a house I haven't put a single decoration in yet). Only spend gold once you can comfortably do so.
There they are, the best tips I can give on making gold in ESO. I hope, if you read this tirade of information, you found it helpful and I wish you luck in your money-making adventures.
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