Friday, February 22, 2013

Keeping up with the DMF Trinket Market

Glyphs is one of my favourite markets, but now in Mists of Pandaria I'm finding that inscription has a wealth of markets all competing for those same herbs.

In Cataclysm, the DMF trinket market was ruled largely by the price of [Volatile Life]. Aside from the very first faire, I always had a surplus of [Inferno Ink], so that to this day I still have over 3500 bouncing around in my mail. [Blackfallow Ink] was rarely converted, mostly because the volume of surplus [Inferno Ink] on the AH kept the price well under the conversion threshold.

Now in Mists, [Ink of Dreams] gets traded up for [Starlight Ink] all the time, and the 1:10 conversion ratio is reflected much better in the prices on the AH as well. There are fluctuations of course, but from a quick glance it seems that it is generally always cheaper to buy and mill the herbs in any case (with the caveat that it depends on how efficient your milling processes are).

The first major change for Mists was the introduction of the shoulder inscription market. The major reason I'm not keeping up with my DMF card potential is that my process after bulk milling herbs is:
  1. Restock glyphs
  2. Trade most of the remaining [Ink of Dreams] for [Starlight Ink]
  3. Restock shoulder inscriptions
  4. See what is left over to make DMF cards 
Of late, there hasn't been much left over. Shoulder inscriptions are fantastic. Depending on your server, they can yield as good a mark up as DMF trinkets, while not relying on a daily cooldown, a monthly cycle, as much inventory space or as much capital. With only 8 bag slots, you can automate them right alongside your belt buckles, gems, flasks, potions and other consumables for really low maintenance. The only slight downside is that the deposit cost isn't cheap. 2g81s for 12 hours? That's a little steep!

The second major change is that the second ingredient (to go with the uncommon ink) changed from [Volatile Life] which was produced in large quantities through herbalism, to [Scroll of Wisdom] which is regulated by a daily cooldown. While the scroll cooldown seemed exceedingly restrictive in the early days of the expansion there are many players with multiple scribes that just can't keep up at this point. I only have two scribes, but I still struggle to find enough reasonably priced herbs to keep up with turning my scrolls into cards.

As usual, as I write these posts my problems reveal themselves more clearly, as do the super obvious solutions.

Problem 1: I can't find enough reasonably priced herbs.

The obvious solution is to not be so cheap. I admit I'm the type of player that regularly decides on a price that is "acceptable" for a material. I'll buy anything under that price. As prices fall, I quickly reduce that limit, and more aggressively craft and aggressively price products on the AH to move my stock ahead of the price falling on the products. However, as the price of materials rises I'm much slower to bump up my limit, and often run out of stock. As long as my competitors have similar or smaller stockpiles, I can reenter the market as I please, which is usually how it works out. I could just buy more expensive herbs, as long as the DMF cards remain profitable.

Problem 2: I don't have enough [Starlight Ink] left over after my other markets.

The obvious solution is just to buy inks! While the price of inks is usually much more expensive than herbs plus milling time, the operative word is usually. I'll have another look at what DMF trinkets are selling for, and set a threshold for buying inks to help plow through the scrolls. The threshold doesn't have to be as cheap as the equivalent herbs, it just had to be profitable.

I'll also have a look at the other products that use scrolls, and evaluate those other opportunities.

For those of you that picked the super obvious solution: JUST STOP DOING YOUR SCROLL OF WISDOM DAILY... are you kidding me? Who can resist their profession daily cooldowns?

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