Markco-vian Philosophy: Cataclysm Gold Guide

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I've had this post sitting in my gigantic stack of drafts here on blogger for quite some time. It has never really been collecting dust, however, as it has been what I refer to every time I write something new for wotlk or cataclysm gold guides. It's my philosophy on making gold in wow and today I plan to share it with all of you. Markco-vian economics or philosophy or strategy or whatever you'd like to call it is the series of underlying premises that are the inspiration behind all the great tips I've been giving you for two years now. This could very well be the most important post you read on this blog.

Markco-vian Economics

The Markcovian philosophy of making gold is threefold: Identify, Diversify and Automate. It is what made me 240k gold in two months time, playing 10 hours each week (I was interviewed by warcraftecon for this achievement). That included crafting, selling and picking up gold… things many players don’t count since it can be considered ‘afk work.’ Could I have done this with 2 professions? 4? Nope, it required having all professions maxed out. This is obviously the extreme of my philosophy, the final tier of success, but you'll find that when boiling the strategy down to its most basic elements it will provide aid to you even if you only have one profession on a single character.


This part is easy, but it is also the most crucial stage in Marckovian philosophy. It is here that you will go through the professions you currently possess and identify crafted goods you can create and sell on the auction house. You’ll want to look at the market value of your crafted good and see if the materials for this item are cheaper than the final product. I tend to judge profitability assuming that I can find materials for 80% value or less and sell the crafted item for 90-110% of its standard market value. If you don’t have an addon like auctioneer to give you the average market price of an item (based on daily scans) then you won’t be able to accurately identify profitable markets. Keep in mind that you must identify not only the markets themselves but the sub markets for the materials which are needed to craft what you wish to sell.


Spreading out your markets is key to creating a consistent gold making business. When one market goes down another might go up and you’ll be covered. That’s the idea at least, to find some kind of happy medium level of making gold that you consistently achieve on a day to day basis. You can diversify by exploring every niche within your current profession(s) or you can expand to new ones. Diversifying your professions also enables you to collaborate between multiple professions to make gold. Think of the saronite shuffle, getting greater cosmics through blacksmithing and infinite dust through jewelcrafting for enchanting scrolls, using mining to make saronite bars, using alchemy to get titanium and then using blacksmithing to make useful items with that titanium. The game is rich with opportunities for those of you who have the foresight to level additional characters and max out as many professions as possible. What’s more, you can make quite a bit of gold while leveling and fund your profession power leveling later on. You can even take on gathering professions and dungeon finder friendly professions like enchanting, tailoring or skinning to get extra gold while running dungeons. Many players come to me and tell me that the Markcovian philosophies (although they don’t call them that of course) have made them 20-40k gold leveling to level 80. Imagine how much it’s going to make with inflation in cataclysm! You have a month, why not create a new character and see how much gold you can make leveling?

Keep in mind that diversification does not mean equal attention to all markets. You should plan and set different amounts of crafting depending on which markets perform the best. No different then investing in the stock market, you wouldn't put all your money into the worst performing stock nor would you put equal amounts into every stock you invest in. Diversify but put intelligent analysis behind it.

If you're considering leveling a new toon to diversify and make more gold, but are having trouble justifying the time expense, think about these potential bonuses:

1.Earning gold during the leveling process from items, quests and professions which at some point help you obtain additional items: enchanting, tailoring, skinning, herbalism, engineering and mining. Mining and herbalism are the best by far and easiest to keep up with your current skill level.
2.Profit potentials later on when you can diversify into two new professions.
3.The daily profit of additional cooldowns should you pick a profession with a cooldown.
4.The opportunity to have fun learning and playing a new class, possibly even a new role.
5.Combining several profession strategies together to greatly improve how much gold you can make as well as reduce the cost of other methods you were previously using.


Once you have the professions leveled and have identified the markets you’d like to dabble in, as well as the materials necessary to support those markets, it’s now only a matter of automating all aspects of the business. You can automate the buying, selling, cancelling and everything in between. Even mundane tasks like trade chat advertising or selling grays can be automated. Addons can also be used to help track what you want to craft and how much. Everything can be aided through automation and without a heavy amount of addon help you cannot work with more than a few professions on a daily basis.

The "Long Tail"

I read a terrific book recently called The Long tail. The premise behind the book is that online marketers are no longer limited by having to store and maintain digital products, like warehouses in the old days had to do with their inventories. With digital merchandise the storage space is a few bits in a database and it costs virtually nothing to distribute to the consumer across multiple platforms. The long tail refers to a chart which the author reviewed when talking to the CEO of a major song distribution company. At the start of the graph were all the really big sellers, the most popular hits which in olden times were what all major marketers focused on. However, looking at the tail of the graph showed that about as many sales were being made in the non-hits, but there were thousands of these non-hits selling as little as one or two copies per month. With a warehouse setup these kinds of sales would be impossible to keep profitable, but with digital media it's more than a possibility, it's a valid business model.

The Long Tail supports Markcovian economics because they are both based on three simple concepts: identify, diversify and automate. Think of glyphs. It costs virtually nothing to sell them and it's easy to create many different types. However, sales are never consistent so you must put up tons of them and they will sell a few every month of each type. If you focus on the hits you will make about the same or possibly less than you will with the non-hits. This is why I recommend diversifying outside of the top sellers (obviously don't neglect those either) in order to have consistently good selling days. Automation allows you to manage such a huge inventory and maximize your gold earned per hours spent. Without automation, all you can focus on are the hits.


This is the basis behind my gold guide, the total strategy that makes it so powerful: Identify profitable markets -> Diversify and make gold while leveling to support your professions at max level -> Automate the whole procedure. This philosophy is not limited to those players who want to max out all professions, it works similarly well for those of you who want to stick with a single character, but it is obviously far more powerful if you choose to go the distance with additional alts.

There’s more to my philosophy than just identifying what to sell and selling it. You have to learn how to sell well. If you have a profession now and can't make gold with it, you may want to consider mastering it before making a new character for the purpose of diversifying. This is why earlier I mentioned the fact that you should also diversify within the professions you currently possess. Knowing a market’s weekly cycle, understanding the why behind the buy and similar concepts are what give you the edge on the auction house. Understanding how supply and demand dictate price will greatly improve your play style as well. Someone who doesn’t understand supply and demand, for instance, will see a great selling opportunity and dump all their items on to the auction house thinking it’s a good idea to quadruple the current amount of supply on the auction house.

How is this a Cataclysm Gold Guide?

You can level characters to help open up new opportunities for when cataclysm arrives. Also, leveling new characters is EASIER with mining and herbalism giving experience and there will be more incentive to try one of the new races out for worgens or goblins in cataclysm. You'll also have archaeology to help level with as well. Why not identify new markets since no one is going to know any of them when cataclysm comes out, diversify by having lots of professions and options and finally automate by getting addons that will work for the cataclysm?

I hope this post provided you with enough information to go off on your own and fill in the blanks for your own situation. You'll find that many of the answers are in the tutorials section of this blog or can be gained from searching the JMTC forums.

How has the Markcovian philosophy helped you? Have you applied it? Will you apply it now? Was it helpful having it explained from a bird’s eye view in this post? Do you completely disagree with it?

8 comments: on "Markco-vian Philosophy: Cataclysm Gold Guide"

  1. Great post Markco! I've been applying the Long-Tail in my sales and just didn't know what to call it. Normally i just refered to it as OHHHH YEA!!!!!! Go figure!

  2. Hey Markco, I love your site. Bought your guide. I can see these concepts throughout many of your posts on your site and it definitely sinks in.

    I think what we want to see more is the intricacies of this strategy. More detailed examples of the diversification and more about the weekly trends of the AH. When I run a scan on the AH, I still don't know how to identify the slow sellers that you point out in the "Long Tail"

  3. Damn Markco I was in the process of prepping a similar article using Chris Anderson's great book "The Long Tail"

    I was also going to do something on "The Wisdom of Crowds" and searched your site and found you had used it in an article as well.

    Great stuff Markco, keep the information coming!

  4. Hey Markco, I also bought your guide. I think that one of the things that really interests me is the perfect microcosm of economics contained within a game like WoW. I'm recently returned to WoW and working up my modest stash with the 100k goal in mind - I think what I struggle with the most is the identify portion of my server's market as I tend to flit between the best possible deals on a day to day basis.

    I'd love to see some kind of pie chart of your basic diversification of 'stocks' in the cata guide some day. I'm finding that post 4.0.1, glyph heavy sales are funding roughly 75% of my stockpiling efforts, with a undefined smattering in flips, bags, enchants, and JC recipes. I've been hoarding raw materials such as ores, dusts, eternal earth and cloth - so I haven't tried to mix in much of the standard saronite shuffle etc.

    I think I started about last week at around 18k gold, and I hover between 22k-23k but I've filled 2 bank alts and 4 guildbank tabs full of goodies...I just have trepidations about burning all my hard-won raw material deals since my purchasing seems to skew the market away from good deals.

  5. Good old Yaro. Didn't think I'd see his stuff pop up on your site.

  6. Great post here Markco. You may want to reconsider calling "Markcovian" though because a Markov Process is almost the opposite of how the market actually works.

    The past and future are incredibly important in determining price values, right? So you should probably just go with Markconomics, and call your leather-bound hard back premium edition Cata guide the Markconomicomicon.

  7. Another great post Markco. I have been aiming for my "100k before Cata" goal for months now, and was having trouble around 80-85k (just couldn't seem to get above it). I started reading your blog about a week and a half ago and I broke 105k last night. Thanks!!

  8. just read "The Long Tail" myself. Pretty good book. Although, once you feel like you understand the concept, a lot of time is spent on examples.

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