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Building an Empire 101 - 6. Inscription and brewing

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Inscription seems to be the hottest profession these days due to Glyphmas 2.0 or Glyphs-giving or whatever you want to call it. Since I am starting from scratch I have missed the window on cashing in on this. That is the official explanation, but truthfully I hate glyphs! Whenever someone on these forums starts a new thread including the words “help” or “advice” in conjunction with “glyphs” I am the first one to leap at the opportunity to tell them to get the hell out that market.

The reasons I hate it with a vengeance are manifold:
• It requires a long build-up time. From the time you decide to enter the market to the time you have all glyphs take several months i.e. annoying design (not necessarily bad, but annoying)
• It requires a lot of warehouse management. Even the guide by @Stede to optimise it on one toon it is still a lot of hassle (especially emptying the mailbox of unsold glyphs I find incredibly frustrating)
• It requires a lot of time online due to constant undercutting, thereby it is not ideal for my limiting time
• Aside from Glyphmas I find it a rather poor GPH when you include milling, crafting, posting, mailing, and management (CKS to the rescue)

With all the hate I have towards Inscription I still expect to hit it hard in MoP when the prices settle. My goal is twofold:
• Make everyone else hate Inscription as much as I do
• … ehm… ok, so primarily the above, but of course also to make gold

Before I explain my strategy I want to drag you through a bit of background to illustrate my thought process.
The process of brewing beer requires various raw materials (tempted to call it herbs ), such as hops, malt, barley etc. When the brewing is completed the end product is a nice ice cold refreshing beer, but about 95% of the mass of the materials is still left. If you look at the process of brewing it only has a ~5% yield, but still makes money. The residue material is a waste-product from the perspective of the beer production. However, the breweries sell this waste as chicken fodder as an alternative to simply scrapping it.

If you compare a brewery selling their waste with another company solely focused on producing animal fodder, then it is obvious that the brewery doesn’t need to make as much money on this product.

The parallel to brewing is not unlike the situation for Scribes (NO! it is not called Inscriptionists). On this forum a lot of people are producing chicken fodder (glyphs) and cannot understand why they cannot compete someone who treats glyphs as waste and focuses on DMC (beer).

The strategy explained
I’ve been heavily involved with inscription with a focus on DMC production in both LK and Cata, so I know what worked previously. Flipping, combining and crafting cards have been a major source of income for me previously, and I expect it to happen again in MoP around 5.1 or 5.2 when the initial rush is over.

My strategy is very simple; craft DMC to the capacity I have available. Shift all the waste inks into glyphs at very low fallback.

There are two relevant changes in MoP which makes it even more interesting:
• DMC is linked to daily cooldown
• Not possible to trade common inks to uncommon inks (if this goes live)

The reason this works is because of the interdependency between Herbs, Glyphs and DMC:
1. I crash Glyphs
2. Casual Scribes leave the market
3. Casuals not creating Glyphs means lower supply of DMC
4. Lower supply of DMC increases the price of my DMC
5. Lower demand of herbs leads to lower prices

The last point is the dangerous part as that will result in the market finding a new equilibrium at a lower value. To counteract this I am going to buy anything and everything I can get my hands on, thereby simulating a much higher demand. I’ve done this for ore in Cata quite successfully, so I want to try it in MoP as well. I expect that this strategy will require a couple of hundred thousand in todays gold value, to invest and make an impact on the overall market.

Under no circumstances are you every going to raise the price of Glyphs again. That is the key to this strategy. It is not a trick or bluff to temporarily scare off the competition, but rather a statement that these are the terms of this market, play along or run away.

The immediate response from a competitor to this strategy is just to buy me out and say “thank you for crafting for me”. This is ok, because the strategy does not depend on making money through Glyphs, but rather unload the chicken fodder and focus on the ice cold beer.

The trick here is persistence, as whoever caves first loses. If I stop listing new glyphs then he can pour my glyphs back into the market at a premium. If he caves first, then he will be stuck with a lot of glyphs he thought he bought at a good price, but the price will not come back up again, so he cannot sell at a profit.

At this point it is all just speculation as there are some prerequisites to be in place before execution:
• The initial must be over and the economy must stabilise
• Build up a large stockpile of Glyphs before starting as they will be flying off the shelves
• Large bank-roll to keep pouring money into a losing business until it starts making money (the Microsoft business model)

I hope to link back to this article in 3-6 months, hopefully with a “yes, it works” attached 

Lastly I’ll show my progress status.


The following professions are now leveled to 500:
• Blacksmithing
• Jewelcrafting
• Alchemy
• Inscription
• Tailoring
• Enchanting
• Herbalism
• Mining

I have chosen to level only to 500 for the most part as the first part of levelling is usually easy (such as creating bolts for tailoring). I may level a few of them all the way to 525 if it is cheaper now than in MoP.

The profession levelling has been constrained by availability of raw mats and my liquid gold.

It feels great to have reached my primary goal in preparation for MoP and the last week will be spent on levelling characters the last stretch. Aside from this I will be spending a lot of time on setting up TSM, other addons, macros, CKS and basically streamlining my setup in preparation for MoP.

Updated September 17th, 2012 at 11:39 AM by Nilaus



  1. Kathroman's Avatar
    Appreciate the shout out, but that was @Stede's guide for single toon glyph optimization. I'm currently using 2 toons to post myself, and may not even bother with optimization until well into MoP.

    FWIW - this requires very little (subjective) "warehouse time" until you hit the Mailbox, but I prefer to AFK at this point to save myself some time, and have been adding more and more of the 36-slotters when I see them for cheap. I'd ultimately like to shorten this list down to about 150 glyphs on each toon (would still cover the most profitable 75% of the market) but again, will wait and see how demand and sales with the newer glyphs play out.
  2. Nilaus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kathroman
    Appreciate the shout out, but that was @Stede's guide for single toon glyph optimization. I'm currently using 2 toons to post myself, and may not even bother with optimization until well into MoP.
    Damn, don't tell @Stede I attributed his achievements to you. I'll correct it before he notices
  3. jimbodan's Avatar
    Very interesting article! This might prove to be a very viable strategy for dealing with the glyph campers as well, either force them into DMC (hopefully not) or force them out of the market completely. I don't think I have the balls to try it on my server but I'm very interested in how it plays out for you. Should be cause for some epic hate mail too!
  4. torkin's Avatar
    Very informative. Looking forward to next post!
  5. Branikald's Avatar
    Thank you for posting this. I never looked at Inscription and the glyph market like this before.

    Glyphs were a decent money maker in Cata. I was able to log in & repost pretty much 14 hours a day, 5-6 days a week, raking in 10-20k gold a day. Nowadays I only have a few hours of play time a day and posting glyphs is hardly worth the effort.

    I the mean time I'm milling pretty big amounts of herbs to fuel supply my scribes with [Starlight Ink] for their DMC. I get rid of the [Ink of Dreams] mostly by vendoring shoulder enchants as well as some [Mysterious Fortune Card].

    The bottom price of 6g for through the shoulder enchants means I could dump all my glyphs at 19-20g in order to still get my for free & hopefully drive some competitors away, meaning more cheap herbs for me to buy and mill. In the best case scenario they get fed up and don't bother with DMC, thus more profits from my trinkets.

    Your original post was made ~4 months ago and pre-MoP. Are you still using this tactic?