I’ve seen posters and commenter dis gold per hour (gph) as a useless tool. Criticism usually comes in the following flavors:
Diminishing returns - WoW markets flood/saturate quickly. Based on what you can reliably sell in the short term, the first hour of farming and listing Pets A through C might net you 1,000g. The next hour might only net 700g. The argument loves red herrings: the daily transmute might be worth 6,000gph, but that isn’t your rate cuz u can’t make that much, neenerneener. Translated: Sellers in WoW don’t face flat demand curves.
(Though one might argue that certain exceptions such as Whiptail and Elementium Ore can behave that way at times – I certainly have found myself buying 20, 40, even 100 stacks of stuff at a time, when those large volumes hit the “flat” bottom rung of the typical price ladder)
Well, so that’s the only one criticism I can think of right now, though I’m sure they are others.
Is gph the perfect tool? No. Does it beat the pants off any other standard? Yes. It is a standard measurement. Regardless of its shortcomings, one’s overall activity CAN be measured for gph, thus providing a global yardstick for everything you do. Most individual activities can also be measured for gph and measured against that yardstick.
The simplest way to reliably figure out your pay rate is to take your wealth increase over time (week, month, year), then divide that by the time you spend on goldmaking stuff.
Example with yours truly data. I probably spend 8-12 hours per week on gold stuff since Cata launch, excluding about 5 weeks of no play, and have netted 1.22 million since Cata started.
1.22 million divided by 312-468 hours = 2,600 – 3,900 gold per hour
Sounds about right. 50 gold per minute, 3,000 gold per hour. I have run this calculation a few times before, and so it is the number I usually have in the back of my mind when considering new enterprises. I often round to 60g per minute – 1g per second.
This by itself doesn’t help answer the question as to whether something is worth doing, although it is the most important start, and can serve as a benchmark against which to measure activities. If you think your pay rate is worthwhile and find a new activity that comes close or exceeds that pay rate, it is probably worth doing. If something you are doing right now only pays half as much as your average rate, you should probably drop it altogether.
Take a simple example: daily volatile transmutes. If I can buy 15 Volatile life for 120g (8g each), and turn that into 15 Volatile Air worth 345g (23g each) plus 60g worth of “extra average procs,” and the process of mailing/listing/selling the volatiles brings time spent to an average of 2 minutes per day, then my pay rate for this activity is
405g – 120g = 285g less 20g AH fee = 265g in 2 minutes = over 6,000gph.
That’s considerably more than my average, so it’s worth doing every day, if only I can remember to do so.