Ten years ago, a California economics professor calculated the real-world size of the economy of EverQuest. Based on the currency value of in-game items on eBay and the like, he found that
if the “EverQuest” universe of Norrath were a country, its per-capita gross national product would be [US]$2,266–comparable to the 77th richest country on Earth and ranking it between Russia and Bulgaria. Platinum pieces, the in-game currency known as pp, end up with an exchange rate of about a penny per pp, making “EverQuest” currency more valuable than the Japanese yen and the Spanish peseta.
Our beloved Rift isn’t competing with the Russian economy, but there are still plenty people out there banking (literally) on persuading you to give them the very real money in your pocket for virtual plat. The #Rift Twitter hashtag is full of tweets worded much the same as the title of this post. Report the spammer, another takes its place. And it seems like every few days the little charge you get seeing an unexpected mail icon in your UI leads to a letdown when it turns out to be a gold spam message. Report the spammer, another takes its place. Googling for ways to make plat isn’t much better. In the time it takes to sift through all the sites trying to get you to buy plat, you could just get rich the hard way.
So, this is not a ‘get rich quick’ guide, but I will tell you how to become Rift Rich in a relatively short amount of time with a bit of effort–and without resorting to enriching spammers.
I define “Rift Rich” as ‘I can buy anything I feel like and still have plenty of plat left over.’ That’s relative, of course (doubtless some players would consider my current bankroll pretty small). I’m “the rich one” in my guild. My alts are well-funded and I can splurge on things I when I feel like it. But there was a day a few months ago when I didn’t have enough plat to buy even one of the four 4.2 plat vendor items I needed every day to make my 20-hour cooldowns. I was felted.
So, here’s how I went from flat broke to Rift Rich in a few weeks: I made things other players want to buy.
Pretty complicated, isn’t it?
My main has two crafting professions (that, not coincidentally, make gear she wears) and one gathering profession. I also have alts with the other professions. Being able to make more of my own components allows me to make plat somewhat faster now than I used to, but that’s not a requirement. One crafter is sufficient if you’re willing to put in some time. It isn’t an overnight process, though. You have to ladder up to it.
While you’re leveling, plat often gets scarce. You need gear and consumables. You have to train skills and buy roles. Soul healing and porting constantly drain you of small (but sometimes painfully relevant) amounts of your money. Cash from mobs is laughable and you can’t make very many things that players with plat to burn want to buy.
But time, as they say, is money. A gathering profession can make steady plat selling things richer players don’t want to spend the time gather themselves. At the time of this writing, fishing is very profitable if you sell what you catch instead of pumping up your own Survival skill. That will change, but right now players are spending large amounts of money leveling Survival fast and making rare top-end recipes. Filling the niches you can won’t make you Rift Rich while leveling but it will garner you enough money to keep yourself in consumables and start building your nest egg.
Selling green items won’t make you much but, since AH listing prices were slashed a few patches ago, it’s now worth checking to find the ones that go for a significant amount over the vendor price. Certain lower-level blues (the rep vendor and dungeon drop recipes) can also be a good way to start building a bankroll. Things everyone needs like bags, healing pots, and catalytic essences always sell, so get the recipes for those kinds of items as soon as possible. Then, once you get a 20-hour item recipe, make it a point to use your cooldown every day and list the item in the AH.
The per item profit on 20-hour items is relatively small. Depending on your server, you might net a few plat on each when the market is good. You’ll eventually have enough plat to start stockpiling. That’s the point at which you flip from scraping plat together to actually making it.
Fresh 50 blue and purple gear is a good place to start. It’s solid gear for new 50s who don’t have a lot of plat, is affordable to craft, and (most importantly) it does sell. Happily, it also needs to be replaced relatively quickly. Nowadays the overwhelming majority of my profits come from a few high-end purples. I make other items occasionally, but those are my staples. I list one of each every few days (I tried using non-BiS augments a few times and it just caused me to have to relist those items repeatedly until they finally went for little or no profit. Your customers for these types of items tend to be newer 50s who aren’t looking to spend 100+ plat on something offbeat. So don’t get cute, use the ‘standard’ augment for the item). I don’t sweat it too much when prices dip a little bit, but I’ll hold off listing any of these items if the going rate is too low to make me at least some profit over component costs.
The other side of the coin is overspending. Avoid it. A faster mount is awesome, but it isn’t worth blowing your whole wad on one at low level. More often than not, it’s easier to get a 90% mount (and a 110% mount at 50) from PvP vendor than to build up the scratch to buy one just to be broke again. Likewise, a sub-50 purple item probably isn’t worth buying unless you’re sure you’ll still want to have it equipped for a while after you hit 50 (few items meet this standard). Most toons won’t be in such gear long enough to make it worth the investment. Instead, get your leveling gear by making it yourself, finding cairns, farming dungeons, and enlisting your guildies and/or asking for a crafter in Trade chat (tip them!) to make your equipment. It’s easier than in real life where you have to eat and pay the electric bill. Just don’t squander what you make and you’ll eventually have more plat than you know what to do with.
Some people “play” the AH. That can be fun and profitable. If you’re into AH playing, you can sometimes corner the market on a few items that sell well and make a nice profit. There’s finally a worthwhile AH add-on, but it lacks some features that would make it a truly powerful tool for hard-core AH playing.
“Getting rich quick” is for gold spammers, who should not be encouraged by giving them your money. Besides, you don’t need them. Rift’s economy is designed to make players buy from each other. If you have some patience and put in a consistent effort to take advantage of that fact, you can be Rift Rich, too.