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A Comprehensive Guide To The Elder Scrolls Online Economy – Part I

Overview Of Guild Traders & The Elder Scrolls Online Economy

Editor’s Note: This guide was written, in its entirety, by Ixtyr, a long-time trader who has served as a Guild Master or Senior Officer in three high-end trade guilds on the PC North American megaserver since the game’s launch in April 2014. He currently actively manages The Ska’vyn Exchange (Wayrest)If you would like to learn more about his guild (and possibly join), you can visit their website here.


Over the course of the past several years, I’ve been approached by an overwhelming number of players, both new and old, who ask me a wide variety of questions regarding the Trading System in ESO, how to make more gold, and different tips and tricks to make the entire process easier. Many of these are questions I’ve answered multiple times over the years, as a Guild Master and Officer in multiple high-end Trade Guilds on the North American PC megaserver – but as time passes, I’ve found that I’ve had fewer opportunities on a day-to-day basis to proactively help everyone with tailored advice or one-on-one trade lessons.

Because of this, I’ve decided to sit down and write this “ESO Gold Guide” to help everyone grow their wealth, improve their trading tactics and strategy, and find greater success in the ESO economy. If you have any questions, or would like to voice your opinion regarding anything in this guide, please feel free to leave a comment below!

I’ll be splitting this guide into a few parts, each linked below:

  1. Overview Of The Elder Scrolls Online Economy
  2. Useful Addons For Trade & The ESO Economy
  3. Earning Your First Five Million Gold
  4. Amassing Your Fortune And Wealth

A Basic Overview of The Elder Scrolls Online Economy

The Guild Trader System

The economy of ESO functions rather differently than that of many other MMORPGs on the market. Rather than having one, massive “global auction house” where all players can go to buy and sell their goods to other players, in ESO the market is facilitated, in large part, by player-run guilds. Once a player-run guild has a minimum of 50 members in its roster, that guild unlocks an internal “Guild Store”, where players within the guild can list items for sale to other players who are also in the guild.

In addition to this, every major city, as well as various outlying locations, has a select number of static NPC shopkeepers. Trading Guilds enter a blind auction every week by bidding for the rights to sell goods through one of those NPC’s storefronts. The guild that bids the most gold will win, meaning that for the next seven days, their Guild Store is no longer purely internal – any player in the game can publicly access it to make purchases by visiting the NPC.

“Hub Cities” & The Trade Guild Hierarchy

That’s the basic gist of the system – but I should mention that not all “Guild Traders” are created equally: some are better than others. For instance – cities like Rawl’kha, Belkarth, or the Alliance Capitals all tend to have significantly higher foot-traffic than other towns (like, say, Stormhold, or Sentinel, or Riften). And the outlying outpost Traders in various zones usually receive even less traffic.

This creates a bit of a “ladder” for Trade Guild progression, since Traders in Mournhold and Wayrest are more competitive and easier to sell goods through than a Trader in Daggerfall City might be – and it also means that those more desirable Traders cost significantly more gold to retain with weekly bids. It’s not been terribly uncommon to see guilds in a Trading Hub like Rawl’kha lose bids of over 5,000,000g, 10,000,000g, or even 20,000,000g in a given week – whereas a less popular city like Evermore may cost a guild well below 500,000g per week.

This trading hierarchy is important to note for a few reasons:

First, because if you’re serious about trading, you’re going to want to have at least 1 or 2 guilds in strong locations so you can make a lot of sales in a short period of time. And those top-tier guilds can be expensive to stay in – they generally have steep minimum activity/contribution requirements and expect players to remain more active than lower-tier, less serious guilds.

Secondly, this trading hierarchy presents a great opportunity for you as a player looking to make some quick gold – it’s not uncommon to see items severely marked down in low-traffic Traders because those sellers are forced to sell lower just to make their inventory move. If you can find that right deal, buying an underpriced item in one store to resell in another can yield you some fairly quick, effortless profits.

Third – it’s just nice to know where to go to buy something when you’re in a rush! The best guilds in the game tend to be in those bigger cities, so if you need to go find 40 Tempering Alloys to upgrade a new set of gear, heading to Rawl’kha or Mournhold will probably save you some time, as you’ll be less likely to need to shop around multiple locations to find enough supply in stock.

The Top Trade Cities (PC North America)

I’ve written up a short list of the top Trade Hubs in North America (PC) below.

  1. Rawl’kha (Reaper’s March)
  2. Mournhold (Deshaan)
  3. Wayrest (Stormhaven)
  4. Elden Root (Grahtwood)
  5. Vivec City (Vvardenfell)
  6. Alinor (Summerset Isle)
  7. Belkarth (Craglorn)

Please note that composing this list is not an exact science – for example, there are guilds located in Wayrest, Elden Root, Belkarth, etc., that can regularly outsell some rivals in “better” cities like Rawl’kha and/or Mournhold. The order of this list is also only accurate for PC North America – for other platforms and regions, things may change. Belkarth, for example, is considered to be the #1 city for PC Europe, and Rawl’kha drops down a few spots.

After those main “Hub Cities”, as I’ll begin referring to them from now on, it becomes a bit more difficult to issue rankings. Generally speaking, any other “Zone Capital” city would follow – each tends to have at least 1-2 decent guilds, as well as a few not-so-great ones. From there, you’ll finally have your Outliers – those Traders that exist in what seems to be the middle-of-nowhere in each Zone. Oftentimes, these spots are occupied by social, PvE or PvP guilds that don’t really care to make use of their Trader seriously. For most players, these spots are a waste of time – but for the savvy flip-artist, they do occasionally offer some pretty slick deals.

That concludes Part I of this guide. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading thus far! If you found this at all helpful, please consider sharing. Otherwise, check out the links below to read more:

  1. Overview Of The Elder Scrolls Online Economy
  2. Useful Addons For Trade & The ESO Economy
  3. Earning Your First Five Million Gold
  4. Amassing Your Fortune And Wealth
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Long-time gamer, podcaster, writer, and digital marketing geek. I currently focus most of my time producing content for, moderating the /r/elderscrollsonline subreddit, and playing The Elder Scrolls Online, where I run a number of different in-game guilds.

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