One of the most confusing – and often annoying – things in MMORPGs like Elder Scrolls Online is making gold. Gold is essential for upgrading your gear and generally functioning as a member of Skyrim society, but it can be so difficult to make reliably that we spend hours upon hours of playtime just trying to make a living. And ZeniMax doesn’t make it easy for us, either, Elder Scrolls Online lacks a global trading system, and its economy runs with a certain amount of infuriating mystery.
All hope is not lost, however. There are ways to generate reliable gold per hour – crafting, looting, trading, gathering, and occasional thug activities can make you wealthier than you ever thought possible, with the right strategy.
Please note that some of these strategies assume that you’re a subscriber to Elder Scrolls Online Plus and have access to its perks of a 10% gold earning increase, double the bank space, and the lovely Bottomless Craft Bag. We’ve also included a Helpful Addons section for each strategy, but these add-ons are for PC players only. We’re sorry, console players.
One of the best things about Elder Scrolls Online is that you can find resources EVERYWHERE. All you have to do is explore Skyrim and pick up whatever you come across on your way; food, logs, metal, cloth, and all sorts of other bits and bobs that other players are inevitably going to want. Going on gathering adventures can also put you into a position to find crafting motifs and recipes, as a bonus; these can sell for a lot of cash, and you can acquire them while also gathering resources to sell.
While you’re on your travels, make sure that you’re deconstructing any unwanted equipment and glyphs when you’re at their crafting stations for extra resources to sell. You can also allocate skill points into hirelings, which can mail you rare materials every 12 to 24 hours. They increase the possibility of finding more valuable items more often, without you having to grind them yourself.
Skills for Maximizing Resource Grinding
- Metal Extraction III (Blacksmithing): Increases the chance of materials dropping while deconstructing. Allows you to extract Tempering Alloy.
- Miner Hireling III (Blacksmithing): Sends a bundle of resources every 12 hours.
- Unraveling III (Clothier): Increases chance of materials dropping while deconstructing. Allows you to extract Dreugh Wax.
- Outfitter Hireling III (Clothier): Sends a bundle of resources every 12 hours.
- Aspect Extraction III (Enchanting): Increases chance of gaining Runestones from deconstruction by 10%.
- Hireling III (Enchanting): Sends a bundle of resources every 12 hours.
- Jewellery Extraction III (Jewelry Crafting): Increases chance of materials dropping while deconstructing. Allows you to extract Chromium Grains.
- Wood Extraction III (Woodworking): Increases chance of materials dropping while deconstructing. Allows you to extract Rosin.
- Lumberjack Hireling III (Woodworking): Sends a bundle of resources every 12 hours.
- Hireling III (Provisioning): Sends a bundle of resources every 12 hours.
Champion Point Skills
|Constellation||# of Points||Skills|
|The Lover||75||Plentiful Harvest: 10% chance to harvest 100% more resources while gathering.
Master Gatherer: Cuts gathering time by 50%.
|The Shadow||75||Fortune Seeker: Nets a 50% increase to all gold gain.
Treasure Hunter: Arbitrary increase to loot quality from treasure chests
Helpful Addons for resource grinding
A handy map augmentation for finding and marking resource nodes in your UI. When you visit a resource node, the addon automatically drops a pin that will appear in your map and on your compass. You can install it with the Minion tool, and you can import maps with previous pins from external files. It also offers a heatmap mode that can lay out the best path to farm resources, taking the guesswork out of your adventures.
Increases the speed at which you find rich resource nodes.
The player economy in Elder Scrolls Online is where the real gold can be made. Unfortunately, ESO makes it more difficult than other MMORPGs with their complete lack of a centralized marketplace. Rather, player-to-player trading occurs within guilds. Each member of a guild can post up to 30 listings of individual items or stacks of items in their Guild Store, which is only accessible to other guild members. If a Guild wants to sell their items to Skyrim at large, they have to invest in a Guild Trader – an NPC that any player can approach and buy the Guild’s items from.
If your guild has a Guild Trader, they are bound to a specific location and can only sell items from the guild that’s renting them. Unfortunately, this means that ESO’s player market is incredibly chaotic and filled with inconsistent prices. This doesn’t mean its impossible to make a good living in the player market, it just means you need a solid strategy.
The first step is to seek out Guilds who already have a dedicated Trader. Ideally, you should find yourself 5 Guilds that operate in distinct parts of Skyrim to fill your Guild Slots. You’ll start noticing that some Guild Traders have larger inventories than others, and that’s because renting a Guild Trader is based on a blind bid system. Wealthier Guilds can afford the risk of bidding higher stacks of gold to rent the Traders that get the most traffic and thus make more capital. You’ll want to get into the most prestigious Guilds that you can for this method to work.
Next, go shopping: find items that other players have listed for below their average global value (there are addons for this part, we’ll get to those). Buy them and resell them with a markup in your Guild Store. DO NOT flip items inside of your own Guilds; many trading Guilds are run by money-minded people who will not take kindly to you messing around with their inventory.
Note that you’ll automatically see an 8% fee applied to your total price. 1% is a deposit that will be returned when the listing sells, and 7% goes to the Guild’s Bank.
Helpful Addons for Trading
Tamriel Trade Center
This addon provides global listing info on every item in the game by gathering statistics from all of the game’s listings from other players who run this program.
This is a lot like Tamriel Trade Center, but it only displays completed purchases from guilds you’re a member of, giving you a better idea of your own trading empire.
Awesome Guild Store
Provides a much more user-friendly Guild Store interface.
This method goes hand-in-hand with the Grinding Resources method because you have to harvest enough resources to keep up with the demand. However, this method can also be extremely lucrative; a single level 50 character who completes all seven of their daily crafting writs is assured a tidy 4.6k gold per day. This includes the Jewelry Crafting writs, which you have to earn your certification for in Alinor.
If you’re not at level 50 yet, don’t worry – level 6 characters can start completing daily crafting writs after completing the basic certification quests in Davon’s Watch, Vulkhel Guard, or Daggerfall. The gold reward per writ begins at 215 gold at level 6: its exactly 664 gold at level 50.
Of course, the best way to milk this is to level all eight of your characters up to level 50 and make sure they have all of their crafting certifications. With all of these factors, you can make around 36.8k gold in about 40 minutes, real-time. And your cash flow isn’t necessarily dependant on your progress in the crafting skill tree – you can be terrible at crafting and still complete your daily writs to make money.
However, there are some skills that will increase the returns on your crafting attempts and increase the chance of producing items that will fetch high prices with other players. Alchemy, Provisioning, and Furniture Crafting can make you a tidy sum of gold.
For organization’s sake, pick a city that you always travel to when you’re ready to complete your writs. Some of the best cities for this purpose are Vivec City, Rawl’kha, and Stormhold.
Skills for Maximizing Crafting
Chemistry III (Alchemy): Each crafting attempt produces 4 potions or 16 poisons.
Chef III (Provisioning): Each crafting attempt produces 4 food items.
Brewer III (Provisioning): Each crafting attempt produces 4 drinks.
Helpful Addons for Crafting
Lazy Writ Crafter
Adds a GUI button that will automatically craft your writ items for you.
A Life of Crime
If you’re not opposed to turning to darker methods of making money, then the crime can pay in ESO. Thieving, trafficking, and murdering people can turn a profit that’s higher than your average gathering gig.
If you’re planning on turning to the dark path, start by making sure that you’re in Stealth mode as much as possible. While you’re in Stealth, the reticle will tell you whether you’re Hidden or Detected, which is helpful for criminal activities. That said, don’t commit your crimes out in the open. If a guard kills you or makes you bribe them, your stolen goods will be confiscated and gone forever.
Secondly, launder your items that have other uses, like crafting items, motifs, potions, equipment, soul gems, and other various utility items. It helps keep you from getting caught.
Skills for Maximizing Your Life of Crime
If you plan on becoming a master criminal, you should completely fill out your Dark Brotherhood, Thieves Guild, and Legerdemain skill lines. Here are some of the best skills:
- Trafficker (Legerdemain): Allows you to sell and launder additional goods at up to 180% of the default value at Rank IV. (140 total sales and 140 total launders per day)
- Light Fingers (Legerdemain): Increases the chances of successfully pickpocketing an NPC up to 50% at Rank IV.
- Locksmith (Legerdemain): Increases your odds of picking a lock to 70% at Rank IV.
- Scales of Pitiless Justice (Dark Brotherhood): Decreases Bounty and Heat from a witnessed murder or assault by up to 50% at Rank IV.
- Padomaic Sprint (Dark Brotherhood): Increases your movement speed by up to 30% for 12 seconds after assassinating an NPC at Rank IV.
- Haggling (Thieves Guild): Provides up to 10% profit increase from fenced items at Rank IV.
- Clemency (Thieves Guild): Adds a dialogue option to let you sweet-talk a guard into letting you off the hook temporarily. Lasts for 1 minute and only works once per day.
- Swiftly Forgotten (Thieves Guild): Makes Bounty disappear at a rate of 115 and Heat disappear at a rate of 64 every 3 minutes at Rank IV.
If you’ve opted to become a Vampire, the Dark Stalker skill can also be helpful – it allows you to ignore the movement speed penalty of Sneaking and lets you enter Stealth 50% quicker at night.
If you’re more comfortable in combat than in a trader’s guild, then mob farming is for you. Public dungeons are a particularly good spot for this – they usually spawn five or more mobs at a time, and they have a shorter respawn time than other spots. The gold and loot gleaned from encounters like this come at a higher rate per minute than other dungeons or hunting grounds. For even more gold returns, seek out public dungeons with Imperial mobs, who, as a rule, drop more gold at a faster rate.
The three best dungeons for this kind of thing are The Vile Manse in Reaper’s March, Razak’s Wheel in Bang’korai, and Crimson Cove in Malabal Tor.
Notably, this kind of farming is only really viable if your character is capable of AOE damage. Some of the best weapons for this are the Destruction Staff or Bow. A Templar’s Blazing Spear, a Warden’s Impaling Shards, a Sorcerer’s Lightning Splash, or a Dragonknight’s Fiery Breath are also great skills to do this kind of damage. We don’t generally recommend a Nightblade build for this purpose, as they don’t have a lot of AOE abilities.
You can also invest your Champion Points in several skills to make mob farming easier for you. Spell Erosion and Piercing can help your abilities bypass your enemies’ armour and increase your kill rate. Precise Strikes and Elfborn can increase your critical rating for physical and spell attacks, respectively.
Enjoy Your Gold!
With any one of these strategies (or a combination of them, if you’re really hustling), you are well on your way to getting rich in Elder Scrolls Online. Don’t worry if some of them don’t work right away; sometimes, the best money-making strategy is patience. Now, the real question is: what are you going to spend all your hard-earned gold on?