Archive for the 'professions' Category

The problem with inscription


There’s one thing I never liked about the inscription profession, and that is that there’s is no good way to do person to person trading with it. I have tried, but it doesn’t work well, unless I bring my own mats, but that would defeat the purpose.

The problem is that non scribes, or customers, who want to do direct trading with a scribe, can hardly obtain mats for the items they want. Scribes by definition seldom sell pigments, or inks. I’ll get back on the reason for that later.

There is one other option, you could say that herbs are the basic material and that people could provide those in direct trading. This is possible, but annoying for both parties, some reasons:

  • The result from milling is random. You’re likely to get pigment than you need. It can give icy pigment, which will definitely be uninteresting to the customer.
  • Different herbs give different results. A scribe knows this, but not for the customer. Chances are that they bring herbs that will give too much pigments, or too little.
  • Customers are likely to get the herbs that produce the pigments, which in turn produce the inks they need for their glyph. Who can blame them? Not everyone has heard of Jessica Sellers.
  • It’s not possible to know what herbs are required unless you do extensive research on sites like Wowhead or Allakhazam. Which makes external information mandatory for customers. Simply deriving it from the profession link on itself is not possible.

It’s a little less silly than, say, bringing a stack of ores to a JC and hoping he can cut you a gem from it, but it’s definitely not straightforward and easy way to work. In any case, the customer will end up with useless mats, which he can sell perhaps (or let the scribe keep), but it’s still stuff he probably doesn’t want, or feel cheated out of losing.

Scribes are also bound to the AH when it comes to selling glyphs. P2P selling requires mats to be available by anyone. But there’s the problem. Those mats are used and created only by scribes. So there’s not really a point in selling them, also because they’re not as profitable as the end product. There’s also no pigments on the AH, for the same reason.

As long as 1 ink = any 1 glyph, selling mats isn’t interesting, selling glyphs is.

The customer is forced to buy the glyphs from the AH unless he has a scribe friend. The problem for the customer is that there’s always the chance that the glyph is either not being sold, or it’s sold by some asshole that wants to bleed him dry for it.

Selling P2P is supposed to be a solution against both those problems.

Selling P2P has a few advantages for both parties.

  • The customer can get what he wants, as many as he wants. For a negotiable price.
  • The customer is not only dependent on availability/price on AH, or friends if he needs glyphs.
  • If any of the parties already have the mats, there’s no need to go to a city with an AH.The scribe doesn’t have to keep large stacks of mats, the customer can provide them (too).
  • The scribe doesn’t have to take the risk of making glyphs that either don’t sell because of heavy competition, or simply because they’re not popular (anymore).
  • The scribe isn’t forced to use AH addons, or otherwise spend an evening listing glyphs.
  • No re-listing, undercutting, all that jazz.
  • There’s some personal interaction instead of just standing next to some auctioneer NPC.

So, what is the real issue here?

The problem lies in the fact that the whole process from raw materials till final materials is strictly conveyor belt like scribe business:

  1. Scribe mills herbs, creates pigments.
  2. Scribe creates inks from pigments.
  3. Scribe creates glyphs, or scrolls, from inks.

In neither of these steps is there any incentive to take the resulting product to the market. The results from milling is always the same: it produces normal pigments, and sometimes rare pigments.

Pigments are completely useless on their own. There’s nothing, no other profession that has any use for pigments, so there’s just one thing to do: turning them into inks.

There are two kinds of inks, Ink of the Sea, which is the base material for all the glyphs and scrolls, and there’s the “special” ink, Snowfall Ink, that’s used for some craftable epics, darkmoon cards, and the Runescrolls of Fortitude. All scribes can (and do) use these, even the ones with just trainer recipes. None of these inks are used by any other profession.

Sometimes a scribe that only make darkmoon cards sells normal inks, and scribes that just focus on glyphs sell snowfall inks, but that’s usually still a very small market in both cases. Making the end products from these inks is much more profitable.

And when they sell, it’s nearly always in large stacks, so useless for customers.

A Jewelcrafter for example, can sell prospected gems he doesn’t need himself. With just trainer recipes there will be many uninteresting gems for a JC. Until he has a fair set of designs, he will probably sell the gems he doesn’t use.

It’s likely to see uncut gems being sold by JC’s, much in contrary to inks from Scribes. But that’s not the main reason why there are much more raw JC materials on the AH than Inscription mats: gems can be obtained in many ways besides prospecting, like: drops, mining, vendor, alchemy.

There is a very healthy material market for JC’s on the AH, making prospecting entirely optional.

Inscription has but one source of mats: the scribes. And they’re keeping them.

So, how can this be improved? And how can we promote P2P sales?

I have an idea, that seems so logical to me that I don’t understand why blizzard didn’t implement it this way.

Take a look at mining for example. The miner mines ores, but is also capable of smelting it into bars for blackmithing. Ores are interesting to JC’s, bars are interesting to blackmithing. The miner has a choice here, he can process his mined materials if that’s more profitable at that moment.

The same should happen for herbalists. Herbalists should get the option to mill the herbs. I don’t care if it’s instead of, or together with the scribes. Even logically this makes much more sense: a herbalist knows about herbs, so he/she should be able to to mill them into pigments. The scribe knows inks, let him make those.

A seemingly redundant step now makes sense.

This way, there’s also a market created for these inscription mats. Pigments will be sold directly by herbalists. This is great for them in the case that they’ve got herbs that are hardly selling anyway. This is a nice boost for them. Second result: anyone can buy these mats to use them in P2P sales with any scribe. Scribes themselves can buy these, not having to go through the tedious process of milling themselves, and then having to creating the inks also, and finally still the glyph too.

Additionally they could include some random pigment drops while picking herbs, and perhaps drops from those tree elementals, lashers and the like. Together this should create a healthy inscription materials market, opening up inscription more to P2P sales, giving herbalists extra options and scribes one tedious step less to do.

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