Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Profession Overview: Inscription

Rounding out my profession overview series is inscription. New expansion, new material costs, new methods. This will be my N'th entry on how the glyph market works because it's needed as there's so much to cover. A lot may have changed with the glyph market, but a lot has still stayed the same. First I'll go over the pros and cons of working glyphs in today's market.

- High rate of sales
- Very high income potential
- Low amount of major competitors

- Management and milling is very time intensive
- Requires a dedicated banker with 4 inscription bags
- Can be very difficult to stokpile
- Campers will be a serious problem

Best sellers: Glyphs requiring ink of the sea and Ethereal ink

That being said, here's one more alluring tidbit: they can sell for 150g each dozens at a time. That itself was more than enough of a push for me to look into glyphs once again. Ok so here's what you need to know. Instead of buying the max level herbs and trading them down, you need to buy them on a case by case basis. So you'll have to buy certain herbs to make lions ink, certain ones for shimmering, etc. Shamelessly stealing from the consortium forums here's the list of what gives what. You can read the original post here.

Let's start with [Jadefire Ink]. To get this, here are the herbs to mill in order of best to worst.

1. [Dragon's Teeth]
2. [Khadgar's Whisker]
3. [Goldthorn]
4. [Fadeleaf]

Next ink up is [Midnight Ink]. To get this, here are the herbs to mill in order of best to worst.

1. [Stranglekelp]
2. [Bruiseweed]
3. [Briarthorn]
4. [Swiftthistle]
5. [Mageroyal]

Next ink up is [Shimmering Ink]. To get this, here are the herbs to mill in order of best to worst.

1. [Icecap]
2. [Sorrowmoss]
3. [Mountain Silversage]
4. [Dreamfoil]
5. [Golden Sansam]

Next ink up is [Celestial Ink]. To get this, here are the herbs to mill in order of best to worst.

1. [Gromsblood]
2. [Blindweed]
3. [Ghost Mushroom]
4. [Sungrass]
5. [Arthas' Tears]
6. [Purple Lotus]
7. [Firebloom]

Next ink up is [Lion's Ink]. To get this, here are the herbs to mill in order of best to worst.

1. [Liferoot]
2. [Kingsblood]
3. [Grave Moss]
4. [Wild Steelbloom]

Next ink up is [Ethereal Ink]. To get this, here are the herbs to mill in order of best to worst.

1. [Netherbloom]
2. [Nightmare Vine]
3. [Mana Thistle]
4. [Ancient Lichen]
5. [Ragveil]
6. [Terocone]
7. [Felweed]
8. [Dreaming Glory]

Next ink up is [Ink of the Sea]. To get this, here are the herbs to mill in order of best to worst. I did not include Fire seed because it's silly rare.

1. [Icethorn]
2. [Lichbloom]
3. [Adder's Tongue]
4. [Deadnettle]
5. [Goldclover]
6. [Talandra's Rose]
7. [Tiger Lily]

Also here's a pair of nifty macros to use to make milling faster. I use 2 because of the 255 character limit in the interface. Just put them onto a second action bar and you click once and it mills whatever herbs you have. The only catch is if you have a non multiple of 5 stack you'll get an error so you'll have to throw them into the bank.

/cast milling
/use Bruiseweed
/use Khadgar's Whisker
/use Icecap
/use Swiftthistle
/use Wild Steelbloom
/use Felweed
/use Mageroyal
/use Dragon's Teeth
/use Terocone

/cast milling
/use Peacebloom
/use Silverleaf
/use Tiger Lily
/use Deadnettle
/use Adder's Tongue
/use Icethorn
/use Talandra's Rose
/use Sungrass
/use Gromsblood
/use Blindweed
/use Golden Sansam
/use Fadeleaf
/use Kingsblood
/use Dreamfoil

Now that you know what herbs you need to buy and mill, here's how you can go about setting up your ZA for glyphs. There are two ways that you can go about your thresholds. One is to put all your glyphs into the same group with the same threshold for every glyph regardless of what ink it needs. This is far less time consuming than the alternative and can save you a head ache or two but it can easily lose you a good amount of gold by not paying attention to market prices close enough. You can also miss out on glyph markets that need one type of ink when the associated herbs are always above your buying price.

If you go with this method, you'll have to buy all of the different herbs at the same price to ensure that you don't lose money. If you decide to raise a threshold or lower it for one set, things can get very complicated. This method lends itself very well to servers where supply is typically low but stable.

The other way is by creating a separate group for every type of ink that gets used. Such as a group named "the sea glyphs" and another called "jade fire glyphs." This method gives you the most flexibility in shuffling around your buying and selling thresholds. This way if the price of outlands level herbs are up for a while you can raise the sell price of those specific glyphs that use ethereal ink to be sure you don't lose gold and not effect all of the other glyphs that you're selling. This is the preferred method for servers with a large supply of herbs with rapidly changing prices or just a very unstable rate of supply. The main issue here is that this requires a lot of time and effort to set up and maintain but does give you the absolute max amount of possible profit.

Lastly don't forget to add the uncommon inks that you craft to their own ZA section. Personally I set their fall back at 5g with the threshold at 1g. Then if they haven't sold after a few days I just vendor them. They sell slowly but are worth having a pair of stacks to keep about for people wanting to make low level decks for darkmoon rep and snowfalls are sold in droves for NR research.

Myself, I use the first grouping method as finding old world herbs for under 4g each is a miracle, let alone getting them for a decent price at all. I buy any herbs that I can find at 1.8g/each and below and set my threshold for all glyphs to be sold at no less than 30g. That way with the average amount of inks I get per stack of herbs I'll make at least a couple gold or so after the AH cut. Just as before, I list them for 48 hour auctions with a 6g undercut to drop prices and clear people out. I check them only once a day for a cancel post and I craft new ones every other day. Right now with the limited supply of herbs I only use stack sizes of 3, but if I had a good supply I would be listing them 5 at a time.

Random note for those starting up the glyph business. For some reason I've "unlearned" a few glyphs when they changed everything with cata. I had to use a glyph book to learn glyph of vanish again. I also had to do northrend research again to learn a few others that I've managed to "forget" somehow.

An important thing to point out when working glyphs is that in the ZA setting for them you'll want to have "Override auto fall back" selected and enabled. What this does is if you try to list a glyph and the current lowest listing is under your threshold it will post it at your fallback price instead of undercutting them. This is primarily in the interest of bag space and to reduce the number of trips to the mail box and the bank.

Ok that basically covers it. If you read my business reports lately you'll see that glyphs are indeed a very profitable market to be in even if you limit yourself to only a few types of inks. The real key to the glyph racket is organization. You have to be on top of what materials you own and have to buy, what glyphs you need to craft, have your addOns situated etc. And of course, you absolutely must have a system otherwise you'll be spending far too much time working and not enough time selling. Remember, work smarter not harder.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. The problem with Inscription today is for the newcomers. By the time they develop their system and research all the necessary glyphs the glyph industry will return to its somewhat stale state. The sales will be lowered and the prices will fall drastically. Only the most stubborn will have the time and the nerves to continue to obtain small profits from it. It's a tough competition. :)

  2. I think you've missed a bit with concentrating on glyphs. Inscription now has relics/off hand and the new fortune cards/cookies. Also the old favourites are still around that wolf book, darkmoon cards and selling the inks.

  3. Jesus Stok. Mill macros? Enchantrix ftw.

    Also ZA I guess za is still being updated but tradeskillmaster has ZA plus many more features that would be perfect for you stok. You certainly know your stuff, but when I read some of your posts it seems like you might be doing more work than you have to. Let me know if you want to discuss TSM and what it can do for you!

  4. @ Sheldor
    You're completely right. It takes a huge time investment with just research alone, you can't really compete until you have it all done. That and glyph books are insanely expensive sometimes. They sell for 400g on my server =\

    @ Bobbins
    I didn't cover the DMC or gambling aspect of it because a lot of people aren't willing to make that sort of investment or deal with selling in trade which is an important part of the fortune cards.

    @ Dale
    I thought enchantrix was just a DE tool, how does it work with milling? And I don't use TSM because a little bit of hands on time with crafting glyphs is important unless you spend a good amount of time studying what glyphs you're selling, when, etc to keep yourself up to date on the market. Unless you already own it entirely then it doesn't matter of course.

  5. Enchantrix will behave the same way with herbs and ore assuming you have the profession. The same popup message will display a 5stack of herb or ore and ask if you want to proceed. Just click yes and it will do it and auto loot the contents. Only downside is if you are on a character with prospect/mill and enchanting is it will try to do both, but it will only de greens by default. However greens are a little more common now on a character you may not play as much. Thankfully you only have to ignore those items once when it pops for disenchant and it will never try again.

    In regards to TSM could you clarify what you mean by hands on time with the glyphs? There are a lot of features in tsm so I'll try to see if anything can address what you do manually.

  6. @ Dale
    Mostly to get a feel of what level glyphs you're crafting the most often. If you're having to craft certain ones far more often. The sort of things that you'll notice a lot faster than if you just look at a read out of "craft all of these glyphs."

    The main problem with glyphs is the massive amount of tiem that it takes to cancel and collect and post more. But with the changes Blizz has made to the AH I don't see how you can get around that without going against the EULA.

    The enchantrix bit does sound pretty neat though, I'll have to work that into my routine.

  7. Unfortunately for the APM/TSM guys, there are private addons like this:

  8. @Stokpile
    TSM does make the list of glyphs that you need to re-craft so you can see which ones you are making more often, if you are looking for it. TSM also is much easier to post glyphs then zero auctions, ZA makes you click once per glyph and then waits, TSM queues up all the auction that it wants to post and then asks for confirmation on each indivitually, the end result is that you can click post and then alt tab, come back and then quickly click for each ( very easy if you quickly rebind your mouse wheel to a button and use a /click macro) as apposed to baby sitting it.

  9. I'm another TSM fan but I came late to the glyph world & never automated anything before with ZA or whatever. I like that TSM lets you sort by ink or by class. I like that when I do a 'restock' it shows me what inks I need (or I can change it to 'on hand' list) & the shopping function is one click to buy each stack. Cancel & post are also pre-queued so I just let it run then do a mass clickathon on the one button. I use my mousewheel for something else but I've seen it done that way too.

    I've had a few teething troubles to be fair so I do a 'restock' queue then go thru the list & take out any I really don't want.

    I've even got it working for my JC & enchanting too. Just don't forget to set up profiles per alt or per prof - especially if you have alts on diff servers with different price structures.