Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
The state of inscription

Of all the World of Warcraft professions, I would say that inscription changed in character the most from Wrath of the Lich King to Cataclysm. In WotLK, inscription was mostly about glyphs. Patch 4.0 killed the demand for glyphs, as you now keep your old glyphs when you respec. It also significantly increased the cost of production of glyphs, ending the previous situation where sometimes you could make a glyph for 1 gold and sell it for 60. In Cataclysm inscription didn't even get any new glyph recipes. You had the choice of skilling up either fast by making very expensive off-hand items, or slowly and cheap by making forged documents every day.

Nevertheless, once you reach 525 skill in inscription, the profession is still a money maker, at least this early in the expansion. The thing to make are Darkmoon cards, leading to level 85, iLevel 359 epic trinkets. Some of these cards sell for up to 4000 gold, while others are only worth a few hundreds. You know there is a tank shortage in the game if the tanking trinket costs only a fraction of the dps trinkets.

There are two reasons why Darkmoon cards are a money maker: There is a significant amount of "work" involved, and the prices for raw materials (herbs) are all over the place. I've seen prices for Cinderbloom, the most common Cataclysm herb anywhere between 2 and 8 gold. One factor here appears to be gold farmers: I recently bought 83 stacks of Cinderbloom from the same seller on the AH at just under 3 gold each. It is hard to imagine how a regular player would gather 83 stacks of herbs and then sell them at low prices to turn them into money quickly. Those 83 stacks of Cinderbloom netted me 88 inferno ink, so my cost were under 60 gold per ink. I could have sold the inks for easily twice that, but I decided to turn them into Darkmoon cards. I got reasonably lucky with the distribution, not getting too many of the low value Stones cards, and was able to turn my initial investment of under 5k gold into 15k gold. Not a bad profit for an hour of milling herbs and crafting.

Of course that sort of profit depends a bit on luck, on picking up herbs at low cost from the AH, and on being lucky with what cards you get. With time the value of those epic trinkets is going to fall, and then inscription will stop being highly profitable. I wonder what Blizzard thinks should be the sustainable business with inscription.
The reason the tanking trinket is cheap is not because of a lacks of tanks. It's simply a crap trinket.
The tank trinket just sucks, that's why it is so cheap. I wouldn't buy it for my tank for 100g...
While the vulcano is best in slot for many classes, even if you take heroic trinkets into consideration.

And on a side note: I'm selling way more glyphs for way more proftit then pre 4.0
That market is anything but dead.
As other posters have mentioned, the tanking trinket is sadly really bad. Its the big risk atm for making DM cards. Now if they would change the on use health into maybe a <35% health increased armor/mastery thingy...

An glyph selling is far from dead, it just takes alot of time to succesfully make money against competitors. I make nice profit during the weekend, when I am able to spend those hours online, not so during the week where I rather raid than play the AH.
One problem with inscription is getting hold of the Glyph mastery books now that far fewer people runs Wratch dungeons. They don't seem to drop from Cata dungeons.
I can agree to the commenters saying glyph business is far from dead.

I'm doing better money now than I did before Cataclysm (excluding the two to three weeks of glyph harvesting after patch 4.0). A reason for that might be that quite a few competitors stopped their business.
Also while the costs for making glyphs increased, their prices increased as well. That is probably depending on the server but on ours around 30% of the glyphes sell for 250 gold and above. The old world herbs prices didn't increased that dramatically at all.
You might not make glyphs for 1g and sell them for 80g, but you can make glyphs for 18g and sell them for 250g.

I started my paladin alt with a 50g nest egg, quadrupled it in the first day after starting Inscription. With practically no questing in Outland and Northrend, I'm now at 434/450 with 3.4k gold and fast flying. I won't reach the gold cap anytime soon, but glyphmaking does pay the bills.
I have to disagree about glyphs Tobold.

On my server you have prices of Twilight Jasmine and Whiptail at about 180g.

Milling a stack of those, on average, gives you 1 Inferno Ink and 6 Blackfallow Ink.

Inferno Ink sells for about 130g.

Thus, 180g - 130g = 50g cost of the 6 Blackfallow Ink.

Since glyphs now take 3 ink to make, and you get 6 per stack which costs you 50g, each glyph costs 25g to make.

I just checked my numbers in my personal spreadsheet, and I'm at an average sale price of 76g5s34c per glyph, on 147 total glyph sales for the past week.

So I made roughly 50g per glyph times 147 glyphs = 7350g profit last week.
Why would you buy stacks of whiptail or twilight jasmine? They may have a very slight advantage for better ink but at 2-3 times the cost of cinderbloom, it's not worth it.
Tobold, glyphs are not dead. I goldcapped via glyphs in wotlk as everyone, then spent like half my gold on various things with Cata, and I´m now back to 250k. I make an average of 65k a week, with days as high as 22k in a 24 hours period, selling only glyphs. Of course I hold a dominant position in my server, not many dedicated glyphers with all the tools to compete.

Anyway, point is there´s more gold on glyphs than there was before and I can see that happening in every server even if the actual numbers grestly differ from one to another.
Ditto the other commenters on the profitability of regular glyphs. At the start of Cata, I spent most of my gold to get profession Realm Firsts, bringing me down to 100k or so. 2 months later I'm over 250k, mostly due to glyphs.
Inscription is clearly a huge income producer; not as clear on risk-adjusted profit producer. If you take 1000g of herbs and 300g of life and make a 500g 2 of stones repeatedly, then you can use up a lot of profit. One in a million attempts someone will get 10 straight

Blizzard had a bad alchemist stone, that is fixed in 4.0.6. Having one of four DMC being worth so much less just makes this most complicated of professions more complicated.

If you want ten decks, then you need to make about 200 cards which is 2000 stacks of herbs and 6000 Life which cost about a quarter of a million gold. This will entail pressing mill 8000 times plus the time it takes to convert pigment to ink.

And if you spend 500g on a scroll of fortitude II, you get a buggy scroll that does the same as the WotLK scroll.

Glyphs now sell for a lot more than they used to. Again, profit is not as clear. They use triple the number of herbs than they used to. You now have to stock a half dozen inks, because trading Blackfallow ink is not viable.

Interesting is it just hit me about the learn-once glyph change. It obviously reduced the demand for glpyhs and thus the inscriptionists income. However, it also increased the cost to the user. Before a lot of the glyphs sold for under 5g, many more under 10. Certainly you could get a guildie to make you a stack at a few gold a glyph; deadnettle, adder's tongue were not that expensive. So the 10g it costs to activate a glyph now is an increase.

Alas, a lot of the inscriptionist income is from running non-stop barking of fortune cookie sales/semi-scams; not me, I am not a fan of trade channel.
@ Blockfire -
Cinderbloom/Azshara's Veil/Stormvine, etc is exactly half the Twilight Jasmine & Whiptail cost for exactly half the inks. No difference there.

Also, that's just the MINIMUM profit. Any lower-level herbs I buy for cheaper reduce my cost that much more.

@ Hagu -
Trading Blackfallow is profitable based on my numbers in previous post. Again, one has to just look at average glyph sale price vs cost to make. If glyphs are 75g, and the worst it costs to make them is 25g, then trading Blackfallow Ink is certainly viable.
"Patch 4.0 killed the demand for glyphs" Tobold you are funny sometimes. I made over 400k gold only from glyphs after December 7, 2010. First days of patch 4.0 its around 40k daily, now its stable 10k. I spend 1 hour daily on glyphs repost, its easy and mostly automated task. Fun AH pvp. To win you must get some addons and knowledge. Check "Auction profit master" "Inventorium" "Skillet" "Bank stack" "Postal" "Reagent restocker" Glyphs demand on high populated serwers never be gone. Having 14000 glyphs stacked on 3 alts feels a bit like industry, but its passport for big and easy made gold.
AuctionProfitMaster's been obsoleted by TradeProfitMaster, which makes evaluating the market's state, canceling, restocking and relisting almost automatic. However, like all tools, it's a double-edged sword. If you don't pay attention to minimum/maximum prices, you'll be extremely efficient in shooting yourself in the foot.
I'm afraid you are mistaken. I ONLY sell Glyphs and make a killing. Glyphs still sell incredibly well.
To add to my previous comment, the reason that Glyphs still sell well is that previously people would only buy Glyphs they need. So there were a large number of Glyphs which sell in very low quantities because they were not necessary.

Now, however, all classes can see a list of all possible glyphs for their class and so feel inclined to get them all, making every glyph a scribe can craft a saleable product.
I'm pretty sure Blizzard is simply not thinking about the economy meta game in any way OTHER than in terms of stopping gold farmers and preventing exploits.

The fact that a player can make money in a particular craft is pure luck because, based on what I can see, Blizzard has not even tried to implement an actual working economy. What is in place is incredibly rudimentary.
Question for you Scribes: Have there been any new glyphs to learn since Ulduar? I learned all the glyphs that I could back then (including the ones from the books), but I did a Northrend Research a couple weeks back, learning one new glyph but haven't learned anything since. Are all the new glyphs (if any) learned from the Book of Glyph Mastery?

As for money making, I rake in a decent amount from my glyphs, though Inscription is not my primary market at the moment. For Darkmoon cards, I funnel my Blackfallow inks into Mysterious Fortune Cards. The only problem there is that they require a lot of effort to move.
Erus, You get half the inferno from cinderbloom to jasmine but I normally get more then half the blackfellow.

You get good margins from inscription solely because of its perception as a hard and awkward market to sell in.

Think of it this way, if one in 20 players is a scribe then each of those players has a potential market of 20x25 glpyhs - brought once.

In practice, I have s scribe alt, if I need a glpyh the first thing i do is check the AH and if it looks cheap I buy it. Otherwise log the alt, do i have the ink, whats the herb needed to mill the ink,do I have it or is it on the AH at a horrendous price. Meh.

As for the earthquake deck its just bad, I gave one to my DK as a slight upgrade over the green I had.

3xx parry with a stacking buff to add 4xx stam? it would have sold like hotcakes.
Well currently you can farm Whiptail in Uldum at a ridiculous rate. As In I farmed over 6k Whiptail in the last two days on my Tauren Druid. It is currently respawning so fast you can gather, go to fly away and have the node pop again. Or a node right across from it, over and over. Even with 40+ people farming it after this was discovered there was more than enough for me to get what I got and if I didn't have to sleep, eat, and run a guild I'd have more :P

That is going to increase the supply of everything. Inks, Cards, Etc. And it is not a server only bug. This is going on across every server and nothing has been said from Blizzard about it. It is ONLY whiptail and only in Uldum.
So I guess me and tobold are sort of on the same page here. The glyph market on my server crashed a few weeks ago. went from 3k sales down to sometimes under 500 gold per day. Most of the glyphs that are bought from me are sold for around 45-60 gold each. (threshold is set at 45. there are hundreds on my server i can pick up for under 5 gold a glyph on ah)
i know everyone is loving the inferno ink mill free blackfallow ink tricks right now but like tobold is saying once the DM:C are old news as we level past tiers those inferno inks will Fall drasticaly in price. same as in wotlk the DMC inks turned almost worthless.
So im not saying that you cant make money NOW but looking forward with inscription the days of big profits daily from glyphs will fade away.
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