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How to Make Money with MMORPGs

Imagine that you are sitting in your pajamas, looking at your computer and thumbing through a thick stack of $100 bills. Does this sound like an infomercial to you? Does it sound like one of those get rich quick type of schemes that you see in late night TV or in small ads all over the internet? While there are many online scams around that you should be aware of and avoid, there is a gold mine in MMORPGs if you have the right mindset and if you do it right.

Making money starts with the right mindset

Like with any real make money online program, making money with massively multiplayer online role playing games is only possible if you have a plan and if you are realistic. It also helps if you do not cut any corners and you really put in the work. The real draw to making money this way is not the amount of money. To be honest, you could be making more money using other methods such as AdSense marketing, affiliate marketing, blogging, building and selling websites and even buying and selling domains than playing massively multiplayer online role playing games for virtual goods. Still, when it comes to sheer fun especially if you are a big fan of these types of games, nothing could come close. The big draw is that you are getting paid to pursue your passion. How cool is that? You are having fun and you are getting paid at the same time. If you really love MMORPGs, there is a good chance that the game will not get boring and you would continue to play and make money. Here is the consumer guide on considering this method of making money online.

Advantages of Making Money with MMORPGs

Advantage 1. Extra money

The issue is not if you are going to make money, the issue is how much. If you are not very particular and you are just playing MMORPGs for the fun of it and the money is a secondary issue, this is definitely a good way to earn sideline income. Your primary satisfaction is really from playing the game. The money is just a happy byproduct of your main hobby. However, if you are seriously interested in making decent coin with playing MMORPGs, it is doable. You just have to be more focused and you have to be very systematic in how you play. The disadvantage with playing MMORPGs for game gold and money is that it might eventually turn your enjoyable hobby into an annoying chore, or worse a job.

Attitude plus having a system equals consistent money

The good news is that it all depends on your attitude. If you are very systematic in your playing, you can make decent coin and in your non-money making playtime, you can then explore other avenues and creatively figure out new more efficient systems to generate income while at the same time playing the game efficiently. There is a way, if you have the right mindset, to both enjoy the game and make money.

Advantage 2. Making money will not get boring if you have the right mindset

If you have the right mindset, playing MMORPGs for extra income is a great way to generate revenue from all that time you spend online playing the game. Some really systematic players have gotten it down to actually tracking how much money they make per minute spent online. It takes sometime to get it down to almost a science, but it can be done. What is important is that you stay passionate and you stay focused on enjoying the game. If you are passionate enough and creative enough, you can set up a routine in your game play where the game does not get boring and you explore your passion and have fun online and make money on the side.

What to sell if you get bored

There is a way to do this that can make your game play not boring and you make decent money. You can sell characters. You can level up a character, play it, enjoy it and then once it is fully leveled up, you can sell it. There is a healthy after market for leveled up players depending on class. World of Warcraft, since it is the biggest MMORPG out there, has a huge market for leveled up characters. In this situation, it is hard to get bored because you start out with one class, you level up that character and then you sell it and move on to the next class or the next character. The great thing about this is you earn money twice. Not only do you get more money from selling the character and its equipment, but you also earn money by generating game gold with that character. The gold that you can sell through IGE and other gold exchanges available online is something that you generate when you kill Mobs or game monsters and other enemies online. They either drop materials or they yield actual gold and currency. Regardless, gold is generated as you play the game. You win on two fronts–you can sell the character and also you can sell the game gold that you generate.

Disadvantages of Making Money with MMORPGs

Just like with any idea that sounds good on paper, once you actually start doing it, it may not be your cup of tea. This applies to many things in life and it definitely applies to online gaming. You must have the right personality for it. You must have the right temperament. Just because other people are making money with something does not mean that you would make money with it as well. You have to have the right attitude for that money making activity to properly fit you or else it will not work. On the other hand, even if it does work it easily turns into a chore or a job. In that case, you are probably better off actually getting a job or doing something else more enjoyable for you. Again, the focus here is to make money while enjoying yourself. That is the big attraction of making money with MMORPGs. The disadvantages are fairly serious, thus you should consider these drawbacks before jumping in with both feet. With that said, depending on your personal schedule, depending on your playing style and depending on your level of organization, you can still overcome some of these disadvantages as long as your expectations are set correctly. Remember that you will only be disappointed if your expectations are set wrong. If you set the right expectations and come into the game with your eyes wide open regarding the disadvantages, you will always come out a winner.

What are the key disadvantages to making money with MMORPGs?

Disadvantage 1. Gold price for World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs tend to go down with time

This is a function of game inflation (because there are more people playing the game and generating their own gold) and low gold prices due to cheap overseas labor. While game inflation can be compensated for by studying which game server you play in and really focusing your efforts on servers where gold is more expensive, you can find out what the current server gold prices are by checking out websites like IGE and other gold services websites. You can compensate by finding servers that pay higher for gold. This is not a problem if your focus is more targeted. One key rule of thumb is the newer the server, the more expensive the gold is. You may want to specialize in newer servers. By continuously shifting servers, you continuously safeguard your income level.

The threat of cheap overseas gold farming labor

The bigger threat is from cheap overseas labor. Gold farming used to be done in the United States, but given the labor price restrictions it quickly moved overseas. It used to be done on a fairly decent level in the Philippines and in India. However, gold farmers there have relocated to an even cheaper place. Where is most of the World of Warcraft gold being farmed nowadays? You guessed it, China. Due to rock bottom labor prices and greater overall labor productivity, game farming for virtual goods like game gold, game equipment and other items is being done in China.

China: Virtual currency capital of the world?

There are many internet shops that operate on a 24-hour 7-day schedule just cranking out mine gold. There are many Chinese World of Warcraft members and game gold is just being cranked out at a phenomenal rate. Most, if not all, of these workers are paid very low wages by western standards. However, by Chinese standards, they may be barely or slightly above subsistence level. Still, due to the huge labor pool in China, many younger people are flocking to these gold farming operations. Interestingly enough and quite disturbing, there are reports that prison officials are abusing prisoner labor not by exploiting their hard labor sentences by actually having them work hard online. There are few reports of prisoners being forced to work inhuman hours just clicking away at World of Warcraft mining game gold. While we cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports, it would not be surprising if abusive provincial labor officials turn to virtual game gold mining as a lucrative way of turning exploited labor into actual hard currency. Regardless of whether these reports are true or not, the reality remains that if you reside in a high labor cost country, you are at a sheer disadvantage unless you either automate or you subcontract with labor contractors in the Philippines or China so you can have your own supply of gold. This situation really highlights the next two key disadvantages.

Disadvantage 2. For the most part, you cannot automate

Games like World of Warcraft are aware that people are trying to farm game gold so they have put into place software sentries and other features that make it difficult, if not impossible, to run bots or other hacking tools in World of Warcraft. How does this work? As you can probably tell, manually playing for gold can get boring really quickly unless you have a nice little route or a nice little campaign you can run. Farming enough gold every minute takes much planning and efficiency.

Software shortcuts

Some people cut corners by using automated software. What the software would do is that it would constantly execute the same commands. While somebody playing the game would look at your character and your character would look like it is functioning normally and behaving like any other online player, you are actually not on your computer guiding your character. It is all being moved by a software. Many cheaters use this method because they can just set their computer, go to sleep or go to work and when they come back, they have a lot of materials which they can then take to the auction house or the actual gold that they can immediately sell. The items that they take to the auction house can then be turned into gold and sold through online game gold exchanges.

Get caught get Banned

World of Warcraft is hard to run a bot on because these types of software are being filtered and detected by the server. The penalties are quite harsh if the game moderator successfully sniffs you out and determines that you are running a bot. Your account would be canceled and depending on what account you use, you could be banned permanently from World of Warcraft. Be very careful trying to run these pieces of software. Another related drawback for running bots is that the game software for MMORPGs tend to get updated fairly frequently. If you are not a programmer and you are just using a third-party bot, you may be out of luck if the game you are trying to automate updates its software. You may need to either buy an update for your bot if you are lucky enough to find one, or get a bot custom coded. Regardless, it can be an expensive proposition.

Disadvantage 3. Game gold farming may not be scalable for individuals

There are only 24 hours in a day and only 60 minutes an hour. Regardless of how smart, how quick, how intelligent or how good looking you are, you cannot increase these finite resources. You can only do so much with time. This is especially true when farming for game gold. Although you actually get better farming for gold and you track your productivity based on each minute that you expend effort farming for gold, you will see that you will hit a wall in terms of how much gold you can produce per unit of time. There are many guides available online that teach you how to increase the amount of gold you can farm per minute of game time.

Be careful of scam gold farming guides

Be careful of scam guides that are either outdated or just flat out false. Assuming that you do find a legitimate guide and it is accurate and effective, you will see that on an individual basis, you will hit a wall of your maximum productivity per minute. There is really no way around this unless you creatively find other routes or other methods without using unethical or automated means to boost your productivity, but such boost probably will not be dramatic enough. The point here is that you are only one and unless you are going to employ people or you are going to network to get together some gold, you care capped out by scalability limits. The truth of the matter is gold farming may not be scalable for individuals. We use the phrase may not because many individuals are clever and efficient enough to device ways to increase the productivity limit. Still, you are capped out to an extent. It is very important that you consider this limitation before jumping in to the business of online game gold mining.

Common Ways to Generate Game Gold

Bear in mind that these following tips are based on World of Warcraft and similar MMORPGs. They may or may not be applicable to the specific MMORPG that you plan to farm game gold on. However, there are enough similarities and similar processes that chances are these techniques would be applicable to your activities. These are the common ways people make money with MMORPGs. We do not condone them. However, in the interest of public information, we are outlining them for your review and knowledge. At all times, we encourage and recommend that you follow your MMORPGs Terms of Service in both letter and spirit.

Method 1. Grinding for materials for auction house

Using this method, you will find a spot where there are enemies that drop high-value items which you then collect and sell to the game’s auction house. If the auction is successful, you get game gold and you can then sell the gold through a gold exchange for real money. No big mystery. The overall objective is fairly straightforward. However, what makes this quite tricky is to find the right spot to farm for gold.

Be systematic in picking areas to farm

The key things to consider here is your level. The higher your level, the more powerful your character is, the more enemies you could take out easily. If you are a low-level character, your gold farming options are quite limited. It is probably a good idea to level up fairly quickly to the top level so you can have a very powerful character and then explore the game world to find areas frequented by monsters and enemies that are easy to kill and drop valuable materials or a significant amount of currency. Third consideration is that they drop magical items that may be worth a decent amount of money at the auction house. You have to absolutely carefully weigh these three considerations because there are certain monsters that are hard to kill, but they drop valuable items. However, the amount of gold value of their drop may not offset the amount of effort to kill them. Similarly, if a monster is easy to kill but drops just a low amount of materials, it may still be a good idea if you are able to kill a lot of them together. There are certain classes of characters you can use that will allow you to take out multiple enemies at the same time.

Character choice matters

Character class choice is also an essential consideration if you are seeking to farm for gold. The Mage or magic user class is good for this because they have many areas of effect spells. The same goes for warlock and other similar classes. Again, if you are planning to farm for gold, you need to consider the strength of the enemies and how many you can take on. If you have area of effect (“AoE”)spells, you need a high enough level character to cast those spells and take out as many enemies as possible and take their materials. There are many YouTube videos that claim gold farming areas on different parts of World of Warcraft. Go through many of these and list them down and investigate. See if they are accurate and then select which ones work best for you. Keep in mind that many servers are player versus player.

Stay away from areas frequented by your opposing faction

If you are going to farm for good, try to stay away from areas where the rival faction passes through or hangs out. It is hard to farm for gold when you are getting killed by fellow players. Study these different videos that are available on YouTube and zero in on the areas that you want to farm. Pay careful attention to the considerations that we listed earlier regarding the difficulty of the monsters, the amount of monsters you need to take out and the value of their drops, whether in materials, gold or special equipment. You should conduct and experiment comparing one area against another and see which produces the most gold per minute played. That should be your standard. How much gold can you produce per minute played? Obviously you are going to go with the area that produces the most gold for the least amount of minutes played.

Method 2. Level and sell

Just like in the real world where people build and sell houses, the online world also has a lot of build and sell models. A common one is building and selling websites. In terms of online games, you can build up and sell your character. There are many reasons why people would want to buy a character that is already powerful. A lot of the times, they just do not have the time to level up a character. They just want to have a high enough level character so that they can explore the game world and play it using a powerful character.

Profit from player laziness

Some players do not want to start out as newbies or low-level characters and risk getting killed a lot, they just want to explore the game world and there is no better way to do that than starting off with the highest-level character. Since they obviously do not have the time to do this to level it up themselves, they are willing to spend the money for a high-level character. Again the price for the character varies depending on which server the buyer is on. It is a good idea to look at what is being demanded. Another way is to do it in reverse by going to gold exchange websites, look at their character availability and focus on servers that do not have too many characters for sale. This is actually one of the most fun ways to make money with MMORPGs because you are just playing the game, enjoying the character, maximizing it out and moving on to another character and then selling it.

Research before you build

To increase your chances of being able to successfully sell your character, do some research regarding which classes and races are in demand. Some race and class combinations are not in demand. Do not waste your time leveling up those combinations when there is no market for them. Be mindful of the most in demand race and class combinations to sell them quickly. The upside of race and class combinations that do not have much demand is you can set a higher price for them because there is really not that much supply because the demand is not there. In the off chance that somebody just wants to get that combination, you have a character ready. However, in practical terms, this is probably not a good investment of your time and effort. The best way forward is to go where the demand is.

Method 3. Selling decked out characters

There is a market for characters that are not maximized in terms of leveling. These characters are sold based on their equipment and their level. There are certain MMORPG players that simply want to compete based on a certain level range. For example, level 20 to 30 or level 30 to 40. They are not interested in maximizing out their character’s levels. These players require these level ranges because they use these characters for player versus player battles or arena battles or other types of matches where the level range is important. To get an advantage, however, in these matches, these players are looking for characters that have powerful equipment that would give them a competitive advantage. This is called a decked out character or “twink.” There is quite a demand for decked out characters. The demand is not as big as maximum-level characters for a particular race and class combination, but there is a market nonetheless. To avoid wasting time, do some preliminary research regarding decked out characters. Make sure that the combination that you are shooting for actually has buyers. Therefore, be very careful as you do not want to waste your time.

Method 4. Be an auction house trader

Believe it or not, the online economy for MMORPGs functions just like real world markets. The standard rule of buying low and selling high applies to World of Warcraft the same way it applies to eBay, Craigslist and other online market platforms. This is a fairly straightforward way of making money with game gold. However, you need to have an initial investment capital and you can do this by gold farming on your own or by just playing the game and generating gold. Regardless, once you have your initial capital of gold, you can then research which types of products sell the fastest at the auction house at your server. You study the prices and you study the materials being sold and what you do is you get a historical price range for how much these materials are sold for.

Observe, Buy, Relist, and Profit

The next thing you can do is to monitor the auction house to see if people place these materials for sale at way below going value. Newbies and players in a hurry tend to do this a lot. What you do is you profit from their inexperience or their rush and swoop up these products and re-list them for the prices that they normally sell for. Bear in mind that you need to buy at a low enough price because the auction house does charge a fee. If you buy the product only at a very minimal discount and then you re-list it, you probably will end up losing money if you factor in the fees. There are websites available that list historical prices. However, we cannot vouch for their accuracy. The best way to truly get accurate numbers is if you do the tracking yourself.

Automation may not be a good idea

There are certain software tools that might help you to do this automated auction house watching, but be careful. Many of them are banned by MMORPGs. You probably are better off using semi-automated or manual checking tools so you can manually check the auction house. Regardless, you have to get the right information in front of you to be a successful auction house trader. Some players are such excellent auction house traders that they do not grind for gold and they do not sell characters, they just buy and sell at the auction and some do so well that they make a really good sideline income doing this. Because in terms of effort, this takes the least amount of effort, the only effort is just keeping an eye on the auction house. Compare this with having to go to a game area, kill a lot of monsters, ride back to a city where there is an auction house and unload your goods. There are many ways to make money off MMORPGs and this auction house buying and selling is one of the most low-effort ways to generate income.

Method 5. Sell your services as a trainer

There are many newbies playing MMORPGs. Many of them need guides so they can explore the game world. Many of them are afraid of getting killed too quickly once they venture out of certain safe areas. If you are a high-level character, you can hire yourself out as a guide to instances or dungeons. Normally if you are going to go through these dungeons and instances as a low-level player or if there are only two or three of you, you will die almost immediately. They are undoubtedly too tough. If the area is way beyond your level, it may be hell for you to get through it unassisted.

Special Body Guard Services

If you have reached a high level, you can rent yourself out as a body guard and guide and some quick gold. This is a specialized service. What you have to do is you have to announce in certain public areas of the game that you are offering to walk people through certain areas. Where did they get the money to pay you? They buy online gold through gold exchanges, of course. How much should you charge? It all depends on how many other people are offering the same service. If there are not too many people and there are many newbies that need to be guided, you can charge a lot more money. When it comes to the amount of time involved, make sure that you get paid for your time. For example, if your target is to make 10 gold per minute, calculate the amount of minutes a particular walkthrough would take and charge accordingly. You usually should not find any problems finding takers as long as you announce it in the right areas on the game map and on your server. Again, demand probably varies depending on the server that you are playing on.

The Bottom Line of MMORPG Money Opportunities

It is possible to make money with MMORPGs. The only drawback really is your expectations. How much do you plan to make and how much do you need to make? Also you have to factor in whether you are doing this mostly for fun or mostly for money. Regardless of your individual considerations, there are workarounds and there are ways to make a decent amount of money playing online games. The secret is to be effective and efficient. If you are well organized, you can make decent game gold. Keep in mind that you do not violate the terms of service of the MMORPG that you are playing or else you might see your account banned.

Part 3: How Not to Get Victimized by MMORPG Scams and Hackers


  • nikman122

    well you had good points. but you never mentioned the real answers to questions that everyone has. like …what games to do make money on and the exact way you or someone else has made money on that game. people want it spelt out step by step with the least amount of risk possible. you want to sell your crap to someone well they you need to explain it all not just a guideline.