The glyph market has spawned quite a few of the important modern auction house addons. It's a uniquely challenging market, as there are hundreds of different products, each with their own balance of suppliers, buyers, and materials. The challenges faced by early glyph producers were met by a hodgepodge of fairly complex addons and macros, and only recently have unified solutions began to appear. I remember that at one point, I had addons to:
- Keep track of how many glyphs I had on the AH, in various characters' banks and in their inventories.
- Allow me to queue a list of glyphs and build a materials list (that allowed me to buy the vendor mats with one click).
- Automatically queue enough glyphs in the second addon to assure that I kept stock levels at my desired level.
- Automatically post every glyph I made onto the AH.
Starting with milling
Oh god, milling. If it ever gets redesigned so it isn't quite as wrist-breaking and mind-numbing, expect the prices on glyphs (and all ink-based products) to trend down. As it is, the real money makers in the inscription game are the ones who can mill the most. There are a few legal ways to increase the efficiency, so let's start with that. Here's a macro you need to have:
/cast millingYou should have a /use line for every type of herb you mill on a regular basis. Bind that macro to a button, and go to town on it.
An advanced tip is that while it's illegal to use macro programs for everything else, they're permitted for the sole purpose of multi-boxing, so if you can figure out how to send a keypress past your streaming video and into the WoW client, you're not breaking the ToS. Honestly, the only difference between you and that incredibly rich scribe to your left is that she likes streaming anime. Fair warning: This is Blizzard's game. The terms of service don't specify exactly what multi-boxing programs are allowed, and if you break their rules, you'll get banned. Blizzard is, however, very clear on the one keypress, one in-game action rule.
There are addons you can install that may help in some way, but I've never bothered with them, as I haven't seen one that does enough more than my macro. Auctioneer has an "auto-DE" feature that gives you a box with a "yes, please mill this" button you can click (or macro a /click). Unfortunately, the rest of it is bloated and unnecessary. Panda has people writing angry letters to me for overlooking them, and TSM has an experimental (so alpha that even I won't link it yet) "_destroying" module that will likely become the defacto utility for glyph makers.
Once you've milled your inks, you need to craft your glyphs. TSM was built for this. Go read through my guide posts, set up your groups and thresholds, run a /getall scan, and click "restock queue." You should be looking at a craft queue that, when finished, will provide you with enough stock to meet your threshold (as defined in the profession options, see the advanced guide). In my case, that's two of each glyph.
Crafting this queue will require a ton of vendor mats, and depending on whether you've been milling old herbs or only Cataclysm ones, some ink trade-ins. A recent patch has added all the ink trades to the guy who normally sells you your paper, so TSM can pull a complete package of all the mats needed to craft any list of glyphs with a single button. Simply right-click on the vendor, then click the TSM button on top of the window.
Depending on how many different types of glyphs you've queued up, you may not have room in your bags for all of them. If you want to manage a glyph business without resorting to complex and time-sucking inventory management techniques, the simplest answer is to make two or three glyph mules, each with a bunch of Packs of Endless Pockets, and have each one responsible for a few types of ink. TSM allows you to group your glyphs by ink, which in addition to being very handy for calculating costs, allows you to keep your stocks nice and orderly when combined with the TSM Mailing module.
You can get to the setup page for this module in the main options window of TSM. It's pretty simple, allowing you to define groups to be auto-mailed to specific alts. Assuming you followed the above linked guide, you will have a group for each type of ink. Add those groups to your glyph-posting mules according to bag space. The biggest ink group is going to be Ink of the Sea; the next biggest is Ethereal Ink, and the rest of them are all about the same size in terms of the number of glyphs made from them.
You can also designate individual items or other groups in this, so if you craft (or buy) something on one character that you always want sent to another character, just set it up here, and every time you click the auto-mail button at the mailbox, it'll send everything where it goes.
The business end of TSM
Now that you have all your glyphs made and delivered to your (likely well-dressed level 1) alts, you need to post them. You need to decide your pricing strategy before fiddling with the pricing options, and then translate that into what to tell the addon. Here are the components you can control with TSM:
- Undercut by How much less do you want your prices to be. Keep your bid percentage at 100.
- Minimum price (aka threshold) How low you are willing to go. You can use the dropdown to set it at either a percent of the defined cost of the materials, a flat gold number, or a percentage of the market value (only available if you've enabled advanced options).
- Maximum price Your fallback means if you're the only one, how high will you post? Same options as the threshold. The maximum price percentage is how high above this number you'll go when undercutting a higher auction.
- Reset What do you do when someone is below your minimum? If you don't have advanced options turned on, you won't see this at all.
If you decide that you want to post a wall of glyphs at some low profit (well, low for glyphs, but high for fortune cards) to try and convince some competitors to roll jewelcrafters, then you'd set it up differently -- for example, a 1g undercut, a threshold of 120% crafting cost, and a fallback of 170% crafting cost. Your reset would be to post at your threshold (120%), and you'd have to make sure your maximum price percentage was 100% or so (or else you'd be undercutting 300g competitors by posting at 299g).
Strike a balance
Most people have settings somewhere between these two extremes; however, the less you undercut, the more you have to cancel and relist. Most markets are defined by having one drooling AH grinder willing to spend every waking hour canceling and relisting their glyphs for 15,000g of business a day. Matching that level of activity will get you half their business.
Honestly, most of the AH PVP will be done in the first two paragraphs of this article. The decision of how much to craft and how frequently to craft are going to be much more important than how you market your wares. You can always deal with camping competitors by making them choose between buying your stock out and living off 40g glyphs.
Maximize your profits with more advice from Gold Capped as well as the author's Call to Auction podcast. Do you have questions about selling, reselling and building your financial empire on the auction house? Basil is taking your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.