Farming: The 8th Deadly Sin

Someone on the Consortium IRC quipped the other day (and I really apologize I don’t remember who said it) that farming in World of Warcraft is the 8th deadly sin. This is a sentiment shared by many in the gold making community and though frankly I can see where they are coming from, I find it ridiculous. Do I go out and farm? Nope. Have I? Yes, I have, during my dark ages where I thought the best way to make gold was to go mining and sell the raw gems from prospecting the ore I collected. Dark days those were.

People in the gold making community seem to make out farmers as the lowest form of gold makers. I could be accused of this as well, as I’ve spoken before how much I hate farming. The hilarity in this situation though is that without farmers, what most Auctioneers do would not be possible without the farmers. The fact that raw materials can be acquired in bulk for reasonably cheap prices can only be accredited to those that take the time to go out and gather these materials.

Farmers are the blue collar workers of World of Warcraft. I know many people look down on blue collar workers in real life, but that is something we should stop as well. Just like in real life, the blue collar workers of World of Warcraft perform vital tasks that must be done for society to function (or in this case, the economy) and their existence supports our existence as the white collar workers. To function correctly the economy needs a healthy ratio of all the various types of players who interact with the Auction House, the farmers to supply the raw materials, the auctioneers to manufacture the ends products and keep the markets in check, and the consumers (the average Joe) that buy the end products.

Here’s another positive for those that farm, there is little to no diminishing returns on the Gold Per Hour while most auctioneering activities are limited by how much demand there is for an item, most of the raw materials you would be farming have nearly perfect demand assuming you hit the right price point as most ‘goblins’ buy everything they can under a price point in case of drought later on, which shifts the worries about demand onto them.

Gathering professions also can garner a lot higher passive income than auctioneering. What do I mean by passive? Well when you’re out in the world doing your quests, dallies, etc. you naturally come by nodes and skinable mobs, meaning you do little out of your way to collect these goods. Most auctioneering practises require dedicated time to do, so it’s either one or the other, not both.

The largest downside to gathering (or farming) is usually a very low GPH, and the fact that is the World of Warcraft equivalent of menial labour.Some people don’t mind the menial labour aspect, some players actually enjoy it and find it relaxing,  to do something not thought-process intensive (would one of these people please offer to do my prospecting and milling? Seriously, please?) The largest problem with it however in the gold making is the stigma. Most people will bash farmers out of hand, and inform them (where possible) that they are doing it wrong and tell them that the Auction House is where it’s at. Personally I don’t think such stigma has ever driven someone away from farming, it’s usually the fact that the Auction House has much more profitable and exciting ventures you can partake in instead.

I think we should stop talking down about people who farm, because frankly without them we wouldn’t be able to do what we do, and for that we should be thankful. I certainly wouldn’t be able to farm.

About the author

Eric Dekker

Gamer. Student. Nerd. Author of The Golden Crusade. Find him on + and Twitter.


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  1. Sinshroud

    During Pre-Bc, TBC and WOTLK I used to farm a LOT. It wasn’t necessarily because I wasn’t as clued up about making gold but more because I just had the time and found it relaxing and enjoyable.

    You actually miss out on a lot of the game if you just sit in capital cities all day and spam a few heroics of raids on a weekly basis. Getting out, exploring Felwood, Silithus, Shadowmoon Valley, Nagrand, Sholazar Basin. Those were great times.

    Even in Cataclysm I farmed all the ore needed to level my Blacksmithing and Jewelcrafting, and I leveled to characters from level 80-84 via just mining or herbing on each respectively.

    Yes, I *DO* think that it’s a lesser form of making gold since it requires more time and gives less gold for the amount of time effort involved. It’s also frequently given a bad name by botters. With that said I don’t think it should ever be discouraged, but I also think that anyone wanting to make their fortune but refuses to do anything other than farming needs to broaden their horizons for some proper results.

  2. Altolycus

    I only have three 85’s (much less than many of the gold bloggers), and one toon is strictly dedicated to farming (i.e Herbs and Ore). My “main” is a rogue that is the killa when it comes to farming instances (solo), and my third is just…well….there. I only log on her to make potions, transmute, and chant.

    Like Sin mentioned above, back before my AH endeavors, I was a farming king. Daas it. I think starting in Vanilla, a few weeks after WoW came out, most of the Vanilla Babies have a habit of farming solo, whether it’s mats or drops, it doesn’t matter. We all have our “go-to” spots.

    For anyone that disagrees with that statement, lemme ask you a few questions (and I know you have the answers):

    Dagger. SFK. Need I say more?

    How many dog whistles have you had from SM runs? Too many, I imagine…

    How many “tower” runs have you done for the crusader?

    Silver Ore anyone?

    Dire Maul farming? Hmm.

    Or even when you found out you could farm the Fiery Enchant on your rogue or druid…at level 60….

    Speaking of 60, what about the Lifestealing Enchant too? Or Smoking Heart of the Mountain farming?

    I could go on and on, and most Vanilla’ites could as well.

    I enjoy farming, but sometimes farming the AH is a better bet on GPH. But the fun dissolves much quicker there….

    Good job on getting me to comment, although it’s a mess. Adderall hasn’t kicked in yet….


    1. Hazumil

      haha, thanks Alto.
      I remember starting out as a farmer. Rerolled on Bladefist when it opened and made a ton of money off liferoot from wetlands of all things. I still farm/ fish for the relaxation. Loot is a side benny.

  3. skorpsy

    I started out with farming . I think I am above it all ‘now ‘cuz my gold has made me lazy. but I am thankful to those who do farm, as they enable me to do what I do best. Also, since i am on a tiny server I have kept the profs on my toons “just in case”. Probly the only thing that overrides my laziness to go out of my way to farm. is my disdain to have to actually bark in trade for something I need if it isn’t on the ah.

    lol and two of my toons actually ventured out of org this morning (a super rare occasion for me) in the ugliest sweater I’ve ever seen to go caroling in the ally towns. I am easily distracted so my hunter had to stop to mine every shiny she saw along the way, but somehow a stack of mithril and thorium makes having to visit the ally towns slightly less of an annoyance. :P

  4. Boska

    I have a bit of a chuckle at the elitest attitude of some against farming.

    I hit my first gold cap in 4.1, and my 2nd in 4.3 – farming atm nets me about 7k an hour (mining / then shuffling). Its not my first choice if I can get cheap enough mats on the AH, but it compliments what I do very well.

    Even friends who dont have 10k on all their toons after 5 years in the game, laugh at the idea of farming as a way to make gold.

    Not that I am complaining, let them continue to think this and let us that know better continue to dominate

  5. Eric Dekker

    Whoa didn’t expect so many comments on this post :P

    Honestly I find I can’t do anything too repetitive in this game, even running 5mans for gear drives me to insanity, so when I farm it’s usually only for about 30 minutes at best until I find something else to occupy my time. Maybe I have some ADD? Lol

    I enjoy the scenery of many zones in world of warcraft (Howling Fjord comes to mind) but I’d rather experience it leveling a new toon than mindlessly farming.

  6. Rich Uncle

    Surely you’d agree that that botting is the source of the overwhelming majority of cheap ore and herbs on the AH?

    Also, I hate to be “that guy,” but 7K per hour from mining? Really? Let’s say you hit a fresh node every minute. That’s about 15 stacks an hour. Say there’s an Inferno Ruby or three Carnelians in every stack, and the total value of the other gems and Volatiles is equal to another Ruby. That would be 7K per hour on my server… but that’s outrageously optimistic. Care to elaborate?

  7. Boska

    re Rich Uncle – all good mate, I know what you mean with people with outlandish claims :)

    On my post I said mining / shuffling – the first part is mining in Vash, there is a circuit I do that nets me 24 stacks of Obsid – current price for raw on my server is 150g / stack, but shuffled is 250 / stack – takes it to 6250 – then there is the left overs (my miner is also a herber, which is low on my server, so generally just skip all that and keep mining.

    Obviously servers vary, but mine is still madly in love with ore and red gems – prices still sky high. When it goes back to normal my rate will drop etc

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