Or the - Comprehensive Guide to Making Gold No Matter What Your Level
--> Update: October-18-2010
The original intent of this gold making guide was to help new players accumulate the gold they needed for their first mount at level 40. At that time this first mount was quite expensive when one took into account the meager gold making opportunities available. Most brand new players were genuinely unable to make the money needed on their own within those first 40 levels. It would be several levels later that they were able to accumulate the needed gold. It was a small failure in the larger scheme of things but no less demoralizing for the person involved.
The rules surrounding mount acquisition have changed numerous times since this guide was first written. As of this writing, getting your first mount at level 20 is not that hard, nor is getting the fast ground mount at level 40 very difficult. In fact it's essentially trivial. Even getting your first flying mount in Outland isn't all that hard anymore. The amount of money available to players by the introduction of Northrend game content is just about an order of magnitude larger than what came before, just like Burning Crusade content did before that. All that gold has inflated auction house prices greatly. Because of the expanding money supply, making money at low levels is very very easy. I created a mage on a new server recently. At level 15 he has 375 gold. And I only speculated on one item, a blacksmithing pattern. The rest of the money was made selling low level gatherables like silverleaf and copper ore.
Because of the mount changes and expanding money supply, the genuine need for this guide no longer exists, at least at low levels. The only somewhat difficult purchase players have anymore is getting fast flying, or epic flight. Without the reputation discount it is 5000 gold. Even in Northrend it takes a noticable amount of time to accumulate that much gold, specially if it's your first character to get there.
This guide now hopes to provide the tools any player would need to realize their goals, to give a sense of accomplishment. And hopefully allow them to keep making the gold they need when they need it, to take down at least one barrier to enjoyment of the game.
I edited the guide as a whole rather than issuing another appended update. Hopefully this will be the last whole guide edit needed. You can read the previous updates at the bottom of this guide page.
Lastly I must offer a much belated but no less appreciative thank you to all those readers that left comments below. Again, thank you for the kind words.
Now for the guide proper.
Some people will read the following specific pieces of advice and conclude that following them will destroy the fun of the game. I agree, it can easily do just that. I'm not enough of an obsessive to even attempt to follow all of the advice listed here all of the time. Nonetheless, everyone should know about these things. You can't make the choice if you don't even know the option exists.