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You are most likely here because you enjoy crafting. I have been reading up on some of the WoW issues regarding gold making, which make me realize that WoW is not the game for me.

If you want to play a game where gathering and crafting is the cornerstone of the economy, and are not faint of heart, I recommend EVE Online. EVE even has releases purely to support industry. You can play for free if you are good enough manufacturer or trader.

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05 May 2011

Costs in my glyph making process - part 4 of 6

This is post 4 in a series - about my glyph making process.

If you have an infinite supply of blackfallow ink costing silver each, have no competition, and are continuously selling 300g glyphs, you can skip this section.  Either that or tell me what realm, and I may come and visit.

Herbs mill into two broad types of inks - normal and 'rare'.  Not all herbs created equal, and not all are available on the AH. Not all inks are created equal.  Not all 'rare' inks are valuable.
I do know that farmers regularly pick a lot of whiptail.  Assuming your scribing skills are high enough, you can make all your glyphs using only whiptail, mill into blackfallow and inferno, and trade your inks in Dalaran, Ogrimar, or Stormwind at the ink trader (next to your scribe trainer).  Available, simple, and expensive.

Whiptail produces two valuable products : Blackfallow and Inferno inks.  According to my spreadsheet, my current whiptail cost is 2g74s, and based on this it costs me 4g18s to make an blackfallow ink, and 29.7g to make an inferno ink, assuming we have not yet priced the cost to mill.  My spreadsheet is a mass of data, so I will walk through a few examples

  • B1 : CostToMillPerInk.  If for some reason you wish to add a cost to convert a herb into ink, add it here.  I often will pay people to mill inks.
  • Column A : Names of the herbs (stating the obvious)
  • Column B: These are the costs per individual herb or ink.  (I do everything in individual costs).
  • Column C :
    • for herbs :  If you mill a single herb, this is it's milled value (I know you can't but remember that I price everything individually).  The reason that Whiptail and Twilight Jasmine have a higher value is you get more pigments per herb than the other herbs in this bracket.
    • For inks, a reasonable cost of the ink.  This is a matter of angst among bloggers, with their own little flame wars.  Yes, I am pointing in Breevok's direction.
  • Column D : percentage markup turning herbs into inks.  Green is good profit, Yellow is acceptable profit, White is barely a profit, and Red is loss.
  • Column I (not shown) : the number of ashen pigments per herb (used for Blackfallow Ink)
  • Column P (not shown) : the number of burning embers per herb (used for Inferno Ink)
  • F107 ( and similar items across in column F) refer to how much your glyph costs are, based on that ink type.
The numbers you need to keep track of and update for your server are all in column B, based on your reasonable AH (or direct sales) prices.

How to determine the value of standard vs rare inks?  You buy a bunch of  herbs, and mill them ending up with X standard inks and Y Rare ones.  You know your costs, but not how much it cost you to make each standard or each rare ink.  First of all, Snowfall and Inferno inks are never truly worth more than 10 Blackfallow inks; you can swap them at your ink trader.  After that I use the AH to tell me their relative worths; currently Blackfallow are worth around 7g and Inferno are worth around 60g.  The spreadsheet uses these numbers to bias the different costs.  (Maths junkies can just read the spreadsheet and comment below if they would like).  To those that think that farming milling makes it free or that blackfallow ink is worthless, you may continue to be wrong.  (I think I mentioned flame wars above).

There are a couple of scenarios :
  • Blackfallow is selling for 7g, but all your glyphs only sell for 20g or less.  Also your costs were only 4g20 for inks.  Sell inks and take your gold.
  • Alternatively, someone is selling inks at 3g, but your costs are 4g20.  Buy your inks instead.

You might need snowfall ink for research, so again look at the sreadsheet, but up a few rows, where it lists northrend inks, and put a slightly higher value for snowfalls (you are now buying, not selling).  Or you need ink of the sea.  Compare the prices (and availability) making glyphs directly from northrend inks vs trading down snowfall inks.

The same applies all the way back to midnight ink.  With the numbers I currently have in my spreadsheet, it is cheaper to make Lions and Shimmering inks, and Ink of the sea glyphs directly from herbs, but the others you are better off trading blackfallow inks.  These numbers will regularly change as farmers & stockpiles come and go.

What do I do with my 'Rare' inks?  Generally I sell them where I can.  Some are so cheap that I am just sitting on them waiting for me to do some research about how to use them.  I am also sitting on a bucket full of darkmoon trinkets, and a few cards here and there.

Keeping control of your costs per glyph can earn you an extra 8 or 9 gold per glyph in sellers markets, or allow you to match lower thresholds in buyers markets.

Ps.  I thought I would be done in 4 posts.  I was wrong.  More walls of text to follow.


  1. I use TSM for my herb buying as well as my glyph choices & crafting. I have preset price for each ink type & never buy above that price. That then forms my threshold or floor price for my automated listing process. I only ever trade blackfallows for ethereal or Ink of the seas & then, only if the blackfallow price is within my chosen price range.

    I get the feeling from comments on my blog & blog posts like yours, that I'm one of the lucky ones - I only craft glyphs that TSM tells me are selling for 100g or more & I can hardly keep up with demand.

    Inferno inks are selling for 60-90g each so I usually just sell those on the AH. Yes, I could be making cards or relics or whatever but I just don't have the time to babysit those markets too!

  2. Blackfallow ink is only worth the auction house price if you can sell additional units at that price, otherwise that opportunity cost is not applicable. Part of the motivation behind the people disagreeing with Breevok on the notion of a zero, or even negative, production cost on glyphs are assuming that this opportunity cost perpetually exists. There may be additional opportunity costs that apply in the scenario however. Also, you are making the assumption that making glyphs is more profitable than selling the ink via the auction house (e.g. on average the profit from glyphs is greater than the materials used when the blackfallow ink market is not saturated).


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