There are many activities in ESO that generate gold. In fact, there really isn’t anything in ESO that won’t turn a profit one way or another. (the only truly poor people I know do nothing but roleplay, and even they manage to make gold through begging).
That said some activities are obviously more profitable than others, and if your goal is to make money now or start saving for that big thing you want, this is the guide for you.
Common activities used to make gold:
- Selling things to other players. These things come from one of two ways:
- Specifically farming items to sell
- Buying items at a low price and reselling at a higher price (taking advantage of the decentralized nature of ESO trading).
- Stealing from NPCs
- Farming gold
- Doing quests
You can combine all of these activities, of course. Perhaps you’re leveling your next alt? Take him through a prime gold farming zone like Razak’s Wheel in Bangkorai or the Vile Manse in Reaper’s March. Or perhaps in a place that has a chance to drop rare motifs. Stealing from NPCs or questing? You’re certain to get drops that other players will pay a pretty penny for.
Doing quests is probably the least gold per hour, but it’s steady income at no cost, and fun to boot. Quests award leveled gold but the gold is fairly substantial even at low levels. At high levels you can get up to 664 gold per quest, which can stack up fairly quickly. Even doing dailies can help – if you turn in 6 writs every day, that’s nearly 4000 gold not even counting the other goodies you get.
Farming gold is probably the most tedious, and it’s not that efficient. Certain NPCs drop large sums of cash (notably imperial NPCs in the two dungeons mentioned before), and if you kill them endlessly in a large loop you can make a fair amount of money per hour.
Stealing from NPCs is fun, although the amount of gold you can make is limited per day, and it’s not very efficient. For advice on stealing and making a profit this way, check out this excellent website. http://roguesfolio.tumblr.com/
Selling things to other players is then the most efficient way. Let other people worry about vendoring stuff and grinding quests – you can just get them to send their gold to you!
The first step in selling to other players is figuring out how you’re going to get your stuff to other players. This article on trading in ESO will help there. Most players will opt to join a trade guild, either from a recruitment message in zone or on the forums. (Or if you have friends that have already established themselves in the game, they may be able to snag you an invite as well).
The second step is figuring out what you want to sell, and at what price. There’s no bidding system and the decentralized auction house makes it hard for new players to figure out going prices. Addons like Master Merchant and Tamriel Trade center can help, as well as simply looking at stores to see what similar items are priced at, but if you’re in a small-town trader these addons may not be that accurate, and they still don’t help you figure out what to sell.
Typically, materials sell the fastest and the most consistently, even at low levels. Farming materials for an hour or two a week may not be the most interesting thing ever, but it’ll meet your guild dues and keep the gold flowing in.
Alchemy mats are the best to focus on at all levels. They sell better than the crafted potions, and since they’re the same for all levels it’s easy for new players to farm.
Raw materials also sell for high prices. A stack of raw iron ore will sell for 6k gold; a stack of iron ingots will sell for only 1k. This is because refining also drops tempers, including a chance at gold tempers. The drop rate of tempers increases with skill points in the refining passive. Therefore, if you don’t have max points in this passive, you should always sell raw mats rather than refined. If you do, then you have a choice to make. Take the gamble for gold tempers, or sell the raw mats and let someone else roll the dice? In the end it doesn’t really matter because the market is so well defined that you’ll come out about the same either way. If you refine 500 or 1000 raw materials, you’ll probably come out a few thousand gold ahead of just selling them, but you’re only making like 5% profit. (However if you wish to keep some mats and sell others, this is the best option).
Enchanting runes typically don’t sell that well. In fact this is one of the places where the crafted item sells better – a gold cp 160 jewelry rune will sell for around 4.5k gold, and almost as fast as a kuta for 3.5k gold. However this is a place where low levels can make a good profit. There’s no way for high level players to get consistent amounts of the square runes – the ones that define the level of an enchant – for low levels. Therefore, those of us who want to enchant gear for our alts or new players are forced to buy them. I often see these sell for 100g apiece or more.
The items that drop in your normal adventures also have value. Intricate gear and runes sells for ~200 g apiece, more than the mats you’d get from deconstructing them. Most zones have at least one gear set that sells for 5kish gold if it’s the right trait (and max level). Some overland gear sets sell for 20kish gold in the right trait, and weapons for 200k. Motif pages such as Celestial and Xivkyn sell for a few thousand gold apiece; rare motifs like bouyant armiger can sell for 200k gold apiece.
Many players find a niche that compliments what they like doing already. Exploring? Pick up the mats and sell them. PvP? Farm tel var in imperial city and buy sets or mats to sell, or buy motifs and sets with AP. Dungeons? Deconstruct that useless off trait gear and sell the mats, or simply sell the intricates and other random stuff that drops unbound. Farming motifs for yourself? Sell your extra pages for a large profit.
Playing the economy itself is where the biggest (and some say the easiest) profits lie. Buy low, sell high. It’s common to find items that are priced much lower than people will pay for them – maybe a new player doesn’t realize how much Kuta is worth, or someone priced that necropotence sash low so it’d sell fast, or even someone made a typo.
I don’t find it all that easy to find items that are certainly underpriced – but it is kind of fun and satisfies that “gotta find a deal!” urge without wasting a bunch of gold. And if you’re going to guild stores to buy what you need anyways, you may as well look for things you can flip.
Doing this requires a good understanding of the economy and the meta. For example, my MM currently says that essences of health are worth 20 g per. This is because some idiot bought them at 110g per thinking they were crafted tripots, and I don’t have enough data to overrule that outlier, because essences of health actually sell for about 5g (same as the price to the vendor). On the other hand my MM has no data at all for a reinforced werewolf hide shield – one that I sold for 40k in less than a week to a tank looking for a buff set.
That said you can make easy money. Today I:
- Purchased two green divines necropotence pieces at 6k gold; improved them to purple; and sold for 12k and 18k gold respectively. (Improving them to purple cost about 500g and the higher quality can help guarantee the sale. If they were heavy armor it would have cost more like 2000 gold and may not have been worth it).
- Purchased a bunch of green alchemy mats for about 10 g per lower than they were selling in my guild. Rapidly sold them at the higher price.
- Purchased a few kuta for 2.5k gold, crafted some gold runes, and listed those runes at 4.5k gold.
Those are just some examples of the kinds of deals you can look for. I usually have a search set up in awesome guild store with parameters All > green or better profit range > 500 or more gold profit, and I run it when I’m bored and visiting guild stores. It’s possible to flip within your own guild, but the best thing to do is to visit guilds in places that aren’t visited very much. They may only have a page or two of listings but here is where you’re most likely to see low priced items.
Keep in mind the guild store cut! If you’re making less than 7% profit by flipping, you’re actually losing money.
If you’re unsure if something is worth selling, or at what price… ask! People in trade guilds are happy to help you out with advice, since you selling well is healthy for the whole guild. And zone chat often has some idea as well.