Step 2: Farming
So how many of you farm your own mats? Well, unless you enjoy flying around looking for herbs, ores, and/or things to kill, STOP IT!!! I used to be of the opinion why pay someone else to farm something I’m perfectly capable of doing? The answer? Because I’d rather spend 3 hours leveling an alt, running heroics, or raiding than spending 3 hours flying around Sholozar Basin. But if you think you can get away without farming, you’re wrong. You just need to change where you farm and that place is the auction house.
Example: Farming The Right Herbs
I’m going to use Inscription as an example here since the majority of my income revolves around glyphs. So my farming revolves solely around herbs. So let’s take a look at what herbs to farm:
- Goldclover, Deadnettle, Firethorn, Talandra’s Rose, and Tiger Lily – I use the estimate of acquiring 4 Ink of the Sea and 0.5 Snowfall Inks per stack milled. Often selling for 20-25g/stack on my server, but will get as low as 15g/stack on the weekends.
- Adder’s Tongue, Lichbloom, and Icethorn – I use the estimate of acquiring 6 Ink of the Sea and 1 Snowfall Ink per stack milled. Often sells for 25-35g/stack, but will get as low as 20g/stack.
Now remember these are estimates on the low end, but I tend to plan for worst case scenarios. The added benefit of the 2nd group is not only more Ink of the Sea, but a higher proc chance for Icy Pigment to create Snowfall Inks. I’ve only ever gotten one Icy Pigment from milling herbs of the 1st group, but often get procs yielding 2 or 3 Icy Pigments from the 2nd group which then yield more ink.
So depending on the prices on your server you may feel that buying herbs from the first group is the way to go and based on Ink of the Sea yields, it may very well appear that way. But I propose that buying from the 2nd group is what you should do whenever you can. It yields a little more Ink of the Sea sometimes resulting in a slightly lower cost per ink, but the big bonus is the Icy Pigments.
Evaluating Ink Costs
Snowfall Ink on my server goes for 20-30g/ea depending on how flooded it gets. When it gets to 20g/ea someone always pulls their stuff off and it gets reset to 30g. I’ve got so much right now that I actually posted it for as low as 14g 80s the other day to try and recoup some of my costs.
Let’s say I paid as high as 35g/stack for herbs. Let’s assume that I yielded 6 Ink of the Sea and 1 Snowfall Ink. I sell the Snowfall Ink for 15g because it’s low right now and avoids a best case scenario. Given that I’m crafting single ink glyphs, I now have 6 glyphs I need to sell for 23g to break even.
Wait! 35g minus 15g is 20g, not 23g…
Yes, but assuming that I’m spending 0.5g for the parchment on each glyph I’ve got an added 3g cost for the 6 glyphs. So each glyph must sell for about 4g each (23g divided by 6) to break even.
Let’s relook at this buying herbs from the first group and spending 25g/stack. I get 4 Ink of the Sea and 0.5 Snowfall Ink. That Icy Pigment is worth 7.5 gold (half of 15g). So my costs are 17.5 gold plus 2g for parchments totalling 19.5 gold. That’s 4.87g per glyph. That’s more expensive than the other ones…
Go ahead and do all the math for yourself. There’s a breaking point which makes the lower-end herbs the better choice, but generally no one sells them for that. So I ultimately recommend sticking with the higher-end herbs whenever available. Use the others when not.
But why these herbs? What about all the other inks I need to make glyphs? For those of you in the know, don’t laugh. I ran into a guy that didn’t know you could trade in Ink of the Sea for other inks on a 1:1 basis in Dalaran. He’s not yet 80 and hasn’t played the game since vanilla WoW. So not everyone is aware that for glyph purposes you should only ever buy Northrend herbs unless you can get them for dirt cheap and I mean almost free once you account for selling Snowfall Inks. The difference you get from Snowfall Ink makes buying any other herb more expensive period.
Auction House Farming Made Easy
As if buying herbs on the auction house wasn’t easy enough, they make an addon that can help you buy 100 stacks in about 20 secs. OK, that might be an exaggeration, I’ve never timed it, but I do know I’ve spent 3000g on herbs in less than a minute. 🙂
In order to do this, you need to have the complete AuctioneerSuite as far as I know. I haven’t used the basic setup for quite some time, but if you want to play with the different versions or turn off the additional addons Suite provides and you find what works feel free to let me know. As it stands, I’m too lazy to figure it out myself and just leave all the addons turned on.
Go to the Auction House and select the Search tab. Underneath the Searchers options on the left, you should see a Snatch option. Click that and you should see something like this.
Place your item in the slot above and enter the maximum unit price you want to pay for the item. In this case, I have selected Adder’s Tongue and a unit price of 1g. I have also included Lichbloom and Icethorn and saved this search as High End Herbs. At any time I can select High End Herbs, press the Load button, and then press the Search button in the lower left corner. I do not have Allow Bids selected because I’m only interested in buying the item now.
Before you start your Search, it’s a good idea to run a scan of the AH prior to this. If you don’t, it isn’t a big deal, but your scan will be based off your last AH scan and probably throw up a few false items as they no longer exist.
Once you start your search though, you’ll see a progress bar move across your AH window. When it’s done you’ll see something like this:
Note that you can sort all of those columns by clicking on the headers. You can then select which items you want to buy and Purchase them using the appropriate button. But I said this was easy, didn’t I? 🙂
Press and hold the Shift, Alt, and Ctrl keys. Notice anything different? Look at the next screenshot. Your Purchase button has now become a Purchase All button. 🙂
Now if you select Purchase All the following appears.
Now you can’t see this, but I actually sorted this from lowest to highest before pressing the Purchase All button. The cheapest stack was 18g, but the 20g stack has just popped up. For some reason it doesn’t seem to want to buy the cheapest first, at least not all the time. There may be a way to make it happen all the time, but I don’t know how so if I want to buy the cheapest first, I change the unit pricing of the search. As you can see I have it selected for 1g/ea right now, but I’ll generally go as high as 1g 75s depending on how much there is.
Look at the bottom left corner. I have some numbers circled. Based on my current search and what is available on the AH those numbers are telling me there are 16 auctions available. This doesn’t mean 16 full stacks, just 16 individual auctions. Aside from the 20 stack that popped up prompting me to purchase, as far as I know all the others could be single stacks. The second number is the total cost I will pay if I buy all the auctions. In this case 306g. This way I know right away how many auctions I’m going to buy and how much I’m going to spend.
If I decide I want to buy these, I will click on the Yes button. Another one will pop up. I will click Yes again, and again, and again… You get the picture. Each time I click Yes or No, the counter will decrease and the total price will decrease. Since I’m willing to pay 306g for whatever is there, regardless if they are full stacks, I know I will buy them all so I’m going to click really fast on all of them. I can buy all 16 in about 4 seconds given that the window pops up fast enough. Can you do that the normal way? 🙂 (FYI, press that little stop button next to the 16 if you want to cancel the search or you’ll have to click Cancel a lot.)
Now I’m going to go back and change my unit parameters because I know I want more than 16 stacks. So I click on Snatch again. That will get rid of this little search window. Then I’m going to select Adder’s Tongue, change the unit price, and hit Add Item. I’ll do this for Lichbloom and Icethorn as well. If I want to save that unit pricing, I’ll go ahead and select Save up top where High End Herbs is selected. If I don’t, it’ll default back to my 1g price the next time I open up the AH window. I recommend leaving it saved to your lowest price so you’re always searching for the cheap stuff first, but that’s up to you.
As you can see I’ve changed all 3 to 1g 50s. Performing my search under new parameters we see:
LMAO! As I’m writing and screenshotting this one of my competitors bought up everything, including the 16 I just showed you! 🙂 Hopefully you get the idea though and normally you’d be able to hone in and determine how much you’re willing to spend on herbs and clicking fast to snag them all up. Just to let you know I don’t usually jump from 1g to 1g 50s, but go in increments of 10s or 25s depending on how much is currently available.
I also have a Low End Herbs search saved. In order to get it set up without screwing up your current saved search, add a couple of other items and their units prices, then select the ones you want removed and select Remove Item. DO NOT HIT THE DELETE BUTTON ABOVE!!! I did that once and it deleted my saved search. Then whenever you want to switch back and forth, use the drop down menu and select Load. I also did this for Saronite and Titanium Ore.
Analyzing Farming Costs
Remember, you can always farm the hard way by flying around and collecting the materials you need. If you enjoy that and it’s a part of the game you like, feel free to do it that way. There are people that will argue that you get more profit from farming your own mats and not paying for them. This is true after a fashion because your actual gold costs are almost zero so you will get more gold, but not on a per hour basis.
Just because it takes 10 minutes to post glyphs on the AH and you make 1000g before reposting doesn’t mean you’re making 6000g/hr. How much time did it take to craft those glyphs? How much time did it take to craft the inks? How much time did it take to mill the herbs? How much time did it take to farm the herbs? Add all of that up and your per hour take starts dwindling exponentially.
I believe most people would rather farm the AH, still make gold, and do other things in the game and this is easiest way I know how.