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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Glyphification Clarification!

This is going to be a pretty long post.  If you're not interested in my 30g Glyph Ceiling reasoning and results it may not be up your alley, but read on if that interests you!

I wanted to first say that I've greatly enjoyed the discussion that has stemmed from the 30g Glyph post.  While some agree with me and many do not I've loved every moment of the conversations I've had with all of you. I don't blog because I want people to praise me, though that's nice too!  I blog because I like to get my thoughts out there and I love getting feedback.  I love that the readers of this blog, be they regular readers or people who were directed here just to discuss the price ceiling, are passionate about what they do to the point they will engage in open and incredibly thought-provoking discussion about the subject, so thank you for being an awesome readership.

That said, I think my post was a bit misleading and I want to clarify my exact stance and motives, as well as where the miscommunication likely stemmed from.

I started my glyph posting and, in effort to "raise awareness" that it's a good time to buy glyphs, I posted both in Trade and on my realm forums.  Though my motives were grounded entirely in having fun and experimenting I was accused of having ulterior motives, people brought up the fact I was ruining the market for other scribes.

I wanted to address my actual motives (Previous posts focused on the plan, not the reasoning behind it) and so I posted "The 30g Ceiling" post.  I set out, when writing it, to explain that it was an experiment.  However, because I was prompted to write this post because people were imposing moral issues upon my plan, I believe I put too much of a moral stance into my post.

While, to me, this is all about having fun and messing around, I wanted to make it clear to others that, if it were to be a moral issue, I would still have ground to stand on.  As such I know that my post contained a lot that could be considered a moral defense, particularly discussing the outrage over previous glyph prices.  That was my mistake.  I set out to explain the "cold hard facts" about what I was doing and why, and instead tried to preemptively defend against arguments I knew were coming. By doing so I brought those very arguments into light and made them valid points, since my talking so much about moral issues implied I had a moral stance, which I do not.

This was poor communication and writing on my part, and I wanted to apologize for that and clear this all up.

Though the plan can be attacked and defended from many different standpoints, this is how the glyph ceiling came into being:

  1. I came back to WoW after a break which was due to boredom.
  2. I saw a few people had moved into the glyph market and wanted to make it known that I was back and ready to party.  It sounds juvenile (hell, it is juvenile) but I've viewed myself as a pretty big player in the glyph market and I wanted to intimidate people with my return. Not necessarily drive them out, but to say "You've been selling for weeks without competition. Be aware this will not continue."
  3. For a day or two I kept with my usual 1c undercuts however I'd run into a player who had a very similar posting strategy to me.  I was online posting glyphs from morning till night constantly posting and reposting and reposting just to compete with them.  I was a bit annoyed, to say the least.  I had a flashback to someone who actually drove me out of the glyph market, Jaav, the only person (before Veisse) I'd seen who was online as much as I was with as much dedication to reposting and being the lowest price.  Worried about having another Jaav on my hands I thought about ways I could combat Veisse's constant posting and seemingly endless AH presence.
  4. I thought maybe a change was in order if I wanted to shake things up with this player and not be stuck in a constant 1c undercut war.  I thought about what tactics were employed by players that were able to really cause me problems.  The one that always discouraged me the most was posting at a very low ceiling, usually around 35g.  I began to seriously consider doing this myself.
  5. I decided to give it a shot.  I crafted a small sample of glyphs and altered TSM to post them at a 30g ceiling.  They started flying off the shelves and Veisse quit undercutting.  I sat down and thought about the idea: I never ever ever pay more than 18g to craft a glyph; often crafting for much less than that.  Even with taking what I viewed as a substantially lower profit margin per glyph, I was still almost doubling my investment on every  single sale. This is something I could keep up.
  6. Then came the actual plan. Up until now I was blinded by a desire to be the big kid on the glyph selling playground. However, after doing this and trying out a bit of "30g or less for any glyph! Support low-cost glyphs!" advertising I started seeing interesting responses.  I've had several players whisper me thanking me for selling affordable glyphs.  I've also had an outcry in Trade about my evil, scheming ways and how surely my plan was to raise prices soon.
  7. By making this single shift in my glyph-selling plans I had changed the entire landscape of the AH. Glyphs are very cheap. I've actually had friends whisper me asking if I'm at fault for the herb prices since, as I buy out all the well-priced herbs at least once, often many times, per day I have changed the average price charged for herbs. New players seem able to buy glyphs.  The biggest change, however, has been in the other glyph sellers.  While a few players seem to have stepped back many glyph sellers have stepped up to the plate.  Most of my glyphs right now have been undercut by multiple people. Right now it's not unheard of to find most glyphs for around 15g when, a few weeks ago, you'd find many for 60+.  Me, a single player, did all of this.
  8. Suddenly I didn't care about the other sellers, beyond studying their actions from a "Oh that's interesting" sort of standpoint.  Though the plan was certainly created out of a . . . I wouldn't say spiteful mindset, but something similar.  Selfish?  Not sure.  The plan was created with an eye on benefitting me and hurting competitors.  However, having seen the results of the plan I've realized how much fun a single change in the way you approach a market can make, how much I can feel invigorated over what I previously hated most, all by shaking things up a bit.
  9. My mindset going out is that I invite anyone to undercut me and I never cancel auctions; once they're posted they're there till they expire. I am no longer competing with anyone.  This is an experiment in pricing and its impact on the server and that is the heart of my current endeavor.
So that's the evolution of the idea to this point.   I'm not backing my decisions on economic theory and honestly I don't really know where I'll end up in the end.  I'm just enjoying myself as it is and I'll continue until I'm no longer enjoying myself.

As for the results, here's what I've learned so far:

  • You can profit, but it requires moderate effort.  I spent a lot of time making the original stockpile and spend about 15 minutes a day, sometimes more, restocking what I sell to avoid going into my stock for as long as possible.  It is not as labor intense as I had anticipated, but it is not hands off either.
  • "Larger" mailbox reveals still happen.  I"ve always liked the term "mailbox reveal" for that time when you check your mail for the first time since yesterday or whenever and you just have gold pouring in.  Most mornings I wake up to 3k gold, once this weekend I had 7500g-aroundabout in my mailbox one morning.  (This character sells only glyphs and Inferno Ink.)  I had anticpated seeing mailbox reveals around 500g, so I'm happy to see larger!
  • People are cynical. I don't blame them!  To raise awareness (lol that sounds ridiculous) about the 30g glyph prices I will bark in trade about them once or twice a day.  People are more likely to question my motives, warn people not to buy from me because I'm bound to spike prices up soon, etc. etc.  I don't blame them, but it was funny. I found it interesting how many players I'd never heard of from a gold-making standpoint were suddenly discussing WoW market tactics in depth!
  • I've also learned how to combat the strategy I'm using if someone's doing it on your server and you don't like it.  Well, I'm not sure if it would work on everyone, but I guess my point is that I've identified my Achilles' Heel.  I'll share it when I get bored of keeping this up. ;P

So that's my report thus far.  I'll keep you posted on any changes to the plan, or new things I learn.  As always, I welcome any civil discussion and invite anyone to participate in said discussions and share their opinions. 


  1. The tough part comes a few months later when you get new scribes who have never experienced 300g sales or realistic scribes. Both of which are ok with 30g sales just like you.

    That's when the real challenge starts. You'll have lots to write about then.

  2. "I never ever ever pay more than 18g to craft a glyph; often crafting for much less than that."

    This is the biggest hole in almost every single one of these "wall" strategies. This is an assumption. It may very well be a safe assumption, but it's still an assumption. All it takes is for someone or something to come along and influence the herb prices and you are forced to reevaluate. The problem at that point will be that you have now spent all this time and effort promoting this specific price-point, that it may have become an expectation among buyers, and they might start waiting for the price to come back down.

    The only way you can safely calculate your production cost would be is if you are acquiring your mats for yourself, but that is likely never going to be your best option, so the next safest route would be to ensure that your profit margins have enough breathing room to cover any hiccups. Either that, or your stockpile had better be plenty deep. ;)

  3. @Critical Goblin: I'm wondering how much that would actually impact my situation. Are you implying that they will undercut me because this price is "normal," not low for them, and then my sales will dry up.

    That's kind of already happened! I'm currently lowest-priced on about 20% of the glyphs on the market right now; many competitors have jumped in and lowered the price even more. Once the backstock is created it's no longer a chore to keep up, and so the experiment can continue in that atmosphere, even if profits diminish. I'll keep you posted. :)

    @Kathroman: I'll be interested to see if the change in herb prices comes to pass. I'd be foolish to say "Meh, not gonna happen" because anything can, and it's because of that I'm taking precautions and creating a large stockpile of inks while herbs are abundant.

    Right now my defense strategy against such a happening will be a large stockpile. Currently it's mediocre; it gets the job done but doesn't add much "back-up security" against price hikes on herbs. But I'm hoping to change that over time.

  4. I entered the glyph market for the first time (about 2 months ago) despite having a scribe with 95% of all patterns. My strategy was to only sell the high profit glyphs--anything that retailed for over 50g.

    I made decent profits but the cancel/repost competition was finally just too much for me to maintain. I have a very active bank alt who produces significant income in all other areas. Adding a second bank toon just for glyphs became too distracting to my main business.

    That said, I often considered a very similar strategy as the one you tried. My thought was since the +50g glyphs changed week to week (others must have had the same strategy as me) I gradually developed stockpiles of glyphs that I had to hold for a while for the desired margin to come around again.

    I never pulled the trigger on my (your!) single price idea. I wish I had done so.

    At 18g production cost you are buying herbs at 30g/stack. Average 5 inks/stack to get the 6g price point.

    On my server the herb market is not as stable as yours apparently is. Sure, I can buy herbs for 25g/stack on occasion but there are other times I can't buy anything for less than 50g/stack.

    (If I had to guess your Achilles Heel it would be that someone controls the Herb market to choke your cheap supply, forcing you to increase prices or sell at lower margins--making it untenable for you to continue at 30g)

    In the end, I abandoned the glyph market because the 12-15 minute sessions gathering mail, canceling and reposting, then gathering mail again finally drove me insane. The time spent on glyphs ended up being better spent on my other AH ventures.

    I applaud your courage in attempting and publishing your notes on this strategy. I hope it continues to be successful for you.

  5. @Faid, another option would be to start playing the "Whiptail Shuffle" (TM pending) and run the old vertical monopoly on your herb markets.

    Check out this quick little SS I made if you'd like more of an idea about how it should work: Inscription Profitability Spreadsheet

    I always prefer to be the influencer, rather than the influencee ;)

  6. @Faid At the moment you have short term competitors who will keep undercutting because they have a few hundred glyphs sitting there that need to be converted into gold. You cannot control what they do with this stock. What you can do and need to do is someway or somehow convince them to stop replenishing their stock. No stock no ammunition. These ones are easy to drive out, a $100/hr consultant will not be happy with a $12 job. Later you will have scribes who are happy with $12. Hohoho that’s when the fun and games really begin.

    Pricing strategies (aka Sell cost) is only 1/3 of the glyph game. To win Critical preaches you must have lower Buy and Make costs than your competitor.

    PS: Critical is kicking himself for not patenting the process of milling herbs into pigments, then inks then glyphs and darkmoon cards and calling it something snazzy like the whiptail shuffle. Hmmm but really, can you really call a straight line process a shuffle? Yes I can hear your screams: who cares! It sounds snazzy! Fair nuff Kathy u win.

  7. The glyph market is a tough market. Based on my server it has for some time been possible to just sell the inferno ink and have zero cost for your blackfallow ink. There has always been a very very strong supply of herbs. If someone wants to mess with the market they can sell for a few gold and still make gold based on the conversion of the herbs to inks. Despite this fact the average sale price of herbs is over 100gold as people with inscription dont stay in the market.

    Every market is different so your pricing and buying strats will vary. I find this article a better explanation of what you are up to. Interesting to see how it works out.

  8. You know Faid I accused you of being bored and sensed you wanted to affect the glyph market on Argent Dawn 'because you can'.

    I made a toon on Argent Dawn and wanted to see what exactly you were expressing here on your blog.

    There is opportunity on Argent Dawn to make profit from buying underpriced glyphs.

    I started out with zero gold. I'm already profiting. A market requires competitors. Competition makes you better, faster, smarter.

    Faid thanks for the opportunity to profit! If you were selling with your competition on your skill level I'd never be able to profit from your experiment.

    Keep up the good work!

  9. @Saf reading your post all I can imagine is a goblin dancing around waving 2 handfuls of gold around grinning with glee. What Critical wants to know is: what are you intending to do with your phat profits? Its just going to rot on AD unless you are intending to ship it back to your own homeworld?

    Silly Safa, u just wasted 4 hours for gold u cant use. Even newly depreciated pyrite is worth more than your gold on AD.

    Oops is Critical allowed to say silly? Will Saf’s tears flow? There there have a tissue. Finished blowing your nose? Well then Critical says get back to the grindstone and keep profiting on the back of Faid’s experiment! Quick smart boy! (or girl).

  10. @CriticalGoblin: Gold on other servers isn't useless. I've rolled characters on other servers to try out a gold making tactic, found I rather liked it there, and kept alts on servers. Also, it can be a good experimentation ground for new tactics one might not be ready to start on their own server. It's kind of like "bonus gold" to play around with. :)

    That said, your post was very rude and condescending towards Saffronia and that wont be tolerated in these comments or anywhere on this blog.

    If your intent was to ask Saffronia why they care about gold on AD you may have said: "Why is it you're interested in making gold on a server you dont usually frequent? Do you have any intent on Argent Dawn?" It's entirely possible to ask questions of someone you don't agree with without coming off negatively, or at least I hope I don't come off that way myself!

    I try to let any comments through that have merit. However, I will not tolerate anyone being blatantly disrespectful to myself or to other readers/commenters on this blog. While our opinions may differ I hope that we can all agree that civil conversation is key to expanding our knowledge in goldmaking.

    That said, any further comment you make that serves only to incite another commenter will be deleted on the spot.

    I like anyone who takes the time to give input on my posts and welcome you to continue commenting, sharing your thoughts and ideas, as long as you do not disrespect others while doing so.


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