The easiest way to make gold in Classic World of Warcraft: a guide on making money with gathering professions

Gathering Professions are a little bit of effort as you level. This is compared to crafting and secondary professions which are a lot of effort upfront before they start to turn a profit (in most cases).

One of the easiest ways to make gold as you’re leveling is to pick up two gathering professions. The most common suggestion (and the easiest in my opinion) is to pick up [Skinning] along with either [Herbalism] or [Mining]. This way you can skin creatures that you kill as you level which increases your gold per kill slightly, as well as being able to either pick herbs or mine minerals when you run across them in your adventure to level 60.


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Making Gold With Skinning

Skinning is one of the easiest gathering professions to make money with. All you need to do is train the [Skinning] profession once you hit level 5 and purchase a [Skinning Knife] from a trade goods vender.

Once you do those two things, skinning looks a bit like this: Kill a wolf? Skin it. Kill a bear? Skin it. Find a lion that another player recently killed? Why not skin it for a little bit more cash? This is why skinning is so easy, you literally get another item to sell from every beast (as well as some critters, dragonkin, and humanoids) that you kill! This profession essentially pays you to level it as you well… level.

At low levels, you’ll start off getting getting mostly [Ruined Leather Scraps] about 70% of the time with [Light Leather] dropping about 30% of the time. Once creatures are around level 12 you’ll begin receiving [Light Hide] anywhere from 5-10% of the time. As you level up (and thus kill higher level creatures), you’ll begin to receive less ruined leather scraps and more light leather. Eventually you’ll stop receiving ruined leather scraps altogether and begin skin [Medium Leather] from the beasts that cross your path. This process goes on and on as you progress from medium leather, to [Heavy Leather], then to [Thick Leather], and finally [Rugged Leather].

The same thing goes for the hides. That is, you start with receiving the odd light hide every now and then before progressing to [Medium Hide], then to [Heavy Hide], and [Thick Hide], reaching the max level hide for ordinary creatures called [Rugged Hide].

Leather, who need it anyway?

So you’ve got some leather, what exactly do you do with it? Players with the profession [Leatherworking] use a lot of leather. There’s the occasional leather requirement for [Tailoring] as well as [Blacksmithing]. Because of these crafting professions, usually everyone posts excess gathering materials on the AH, this goes for skins as well.

However, since there are so many people posting these at low levels, the price drops to roughly the same price that you can sell it to vendors (and sometimes even below that because people don’t check the vendor prices beforehand)! Because of this, it’s recommended that you just vendor all your ruined leather scraps, light leather. Check your auction house (AH) prices as well, sometimes other types of leather go for just about their vendor prices so it’s often easier to just sell them to the vendor. This way you don’t need to risk losing your deposit if the auction doesn’t sell; you don’t need to account for the 5% cut that the AH takes; and you don’t need to wait to get your hard earned gold! Again, though, check your auction house prices for the going rate of your leather, otherwise you could miss out on a nice chunk of money!

Here’s a break down on the vendor prices for various types of leathers. Although auction prices vary by server, if you do choose to sell them on the AH then make sure you don’t sell them cheaper than these prices:

Type of leatherindividual pricefull stack price
ruined leather scraps7 copper1.4 silver
light leather15 copper3 silver
medium leather50 copper10 silver
heavy leather1.5 silver30 silver
thick leather3 silver60 silver
rugged leather5 silver1 gold

Here are the vendor prices for all the hides:

Type of hideindividual pricefull stack price
light hide50 copper5 silver
medium hide1.25 silver12.5 silver
heavy hide2 silver20 silver
thick hide5 silver50 silver
rugged hide5 silver50 silver

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Using Herbalism to make gold in Classic WoW

Now that we’ve seen the way to make gold with skinning, lets jump into herbalism! With this gathering profession, you basically just pick up flowers, herbs, and mushrooms throughout the world. Don’t forget to use the skill [Find Herbs], this will display locations of nearby herbs on the minimap which will increase you amount that you’re able to gather.

What to do with all these herbs?

So you’ve gotten a couple stacks of herbs, do you just vendor them like you did with the leather you got from skinning? Generally, no. Herbs tend to go for higher prices on the auction house than leather so they end up selling for significantly more than the price that a vendor would buy them for.

Why do herbs sell so much higher on the AH?

This is because they’re used for the profession [Alchemy] to make all sorts of potions, elixirs, and even flasks. Most of these give some sort of buff to the player or help them in some sort of way. Because these products are consumables players end up purchasing a number of each type rather than just one. On top of that, alchemists make a lot of gold when they get to skill level 300 because they can craft these items to supply for raiders. Because alchemy is such a profitable profession, players are willing to pay a premium for herbs in order to level it quicker because they know there will be a positive return on investment.

What if I want to use them myself?

If you want to make elixirs, flasks, and potions yourself, then you should pick up alchemy and checkout that section of this guide! (coming soon) One option that some players use is to store the materials they collect while they’re leveling until they hit level 60. This allows them to keep gathering professions the entire time the level so that they can sell any excess materials later on, often after they’ve power leveled the gathering professions they plan to take at max level.


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So you want to be a miner, huh?

Well you’re in luck, mining is great! It’s similar to herbalism except instead of picking herbs, you mine mineral veins. Mining is also a great gold producing gathering profession, in some cases you can make even more money than you can with herbalism, although unlike skinning there is a lot of running around to find these nodes. On top of this, many of the veins are high up on mountains or deep under the earth in cave systems which can make reaching them a bit difficult. One perk to mining over herbalism is that each node allows you to mine from it a couple times, whereas herbs are one and done. This means that every dot on your minimap is essentially telling you “Hey, you can get a bunch of ore here!”

The name of the game is mineral vein

So you know that you can gather or loot a mineral node multiple times, now let’s get into what you’ll actually receive because it’s a bit more exciting than picking daisies. When you mine a node, you’ll almost always get some ore, but sometimes you’ll also get some type of stone and on rare occasions you’ll even get a gemstone or two!

Let’s go over the ore found in mining nodes since that’s what most people are looking for anyway! You can tell what type of ore you’ll be looting from the name of the vein. So for [Copper Veins], you’ll be looting [Copper Ore], for [Tin veins], you’ll find [Tin Ore]. In addition to copper and tin, you’ll be able to get your hands on other types of ore as you reach high level zones. The progression is something along the lines of this: copper, tin, [Iron Ore], [Mithril Ore], [Thorium Ore], and [Dark Iron Ore]. Along with these commonly found veins, there are more uncommon nodes where you can get [Silver Ore], [Gold Ore], and [Truesilver Ore].

Now that we’ve covered the most common drop from mining, lets talk about the next one: stones. Stones are used by the [Blacksmithing] profession to make grinding stones, sharpening stones, and weightstones. [Engineering] also uses these but they instead grind them into powder, blasting powder that is. Just like ores, there are varying types of stones. They tend to go in this order from low level to higher: [Rough Stone], [Coarse Stone], [Heavy Stone], [Solid Stone], and finally [Dense Stone]. These usually go for less money than the other items you’ll find in veins, but nonetheless you should still throw them up on the auction house to bost your bottom line if you don’t need them!

Smelting, the arbitrage game

Smelting a free mini profession that comes with mining. When you train mining, you also gain the ability to smelt your ore into bars. These bars are in turn used in engineering and blacksmithing for the majority of their recipes. Most miners only use smelting to convert their own ore into bars, however, if you see a gap between the price of an ore and the price of its bar on the AH you can choose to buy the former and smelt it into bars before throwing them back up on auction for a quick profit! Now be careful, the bars tend to have higher deposits than their ore counter parts. This is perfectly fine if you end up selling the bars the first time you list them. However, if the listing time runs out and they still haven’t sold then the auctioneers will take your deposit. Just make sure to account for these potential costs when deciding whether to play the arbitrage game.

Most smelting recipes are (other than endgame ones like [Smelt Elementium and [Smelt Dark Iron]) are a simple 1:1 ratio. That is, put in one ore, get out one bar. The two exceptions to these at lower levels are [Smelt Bronze] and [Smelt Steel]. Because these two aren’t a direct one to one matches, most people tend to miscalculate the margin or overlook them entirely when it comes to arbitrage. This tends to make the margins even juicier! The smelt bronze spell requires one copper ore and one tin ore. The kicker is, it produces two, TWO, [Bronze Bar]. Because it is slightly harder to mass produce bronze bars since you need to juggle two different types of ore, there’s usually a small supply of bronze on the auction house. This also drives up the costs and allows us to profit even more off this recipe! The recipe to create [Steel Bar] is similar to bronze in that it requires two items to make, them being iron ore and [Coal], however unlike bronze it only produces one steel bar. Again, there’s usually a lower supply because of the small increase in materials needing to have which tends to drive the price up a bit. Steel does have a higher auction deposit though so be careful throwing a bunch of stack up on the AH, if they don’t all sell then you’ll be out a chunk of gold!


Don’t forget to check out our guild search and character lookup features we offer if you’re looking for a guild or members for your guild.


Why Not Both Mining and Herbalism?

Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, mining and herbalism sound great, why don’t I both of them instead of picking up skinning. The answer is, you can! It is, however, a bit more tedious but it does have a higher potential profit. The reason it’s more tedious is because there’s a catch. With mining and herbalism you’re able to track either minerals nodes or herbs — that’s the catch. You can only track one of these at a time. This means that when you use the spell [Find Minerals] you’re able to see mineral veins on your minimap but you’re unable to see herbs since this disables [Find Herbs]. The same thing happens when you decide to use find herbs, you’re able to see herbs on the map but you’re unable to see mines.

Say it ain’t so, there must be a way!

Have no fear though, there’s a work around for this! It’s just… tedious. You can use a macro which toggles between the two tracking spells, allowing you push a button every couple seconds so that you can see both mineral veins and herbalism nodes continuously. Of course, if you forget to do this or you can’t be bothered then you’ll miss a bunch of one or the other. For those willing to try this, you have the highest gold potential of the gathering profession combinations, however, it’s not for everyone! Here’s the Mining/Herbalism macro that switch between find herbs and find minerals:

#showtooltip

/cast !find minerals, !find herbs

That’s about it for now. Stay tuned for my in-depth guides on how to make gold with crafting and secondary professions! Subscribe to my newsletter to get updates and news about new features and guides.

Wrapping it up

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