Recently I pulled out my reputation pane, a calculator, and my warrior's bags. I couldn't argue with the math. I had enough decks to hit exalted with the Darkmoon Faire. This impacts my business model. Maybe.
My goal was not gold. It was reputation. I had a scribe, so it seemed straightforward: make cards and decks and turn them in for rep. Sell the cards.
I had it figured out pretty well too. I was patient, buying eternal life when it was cheap, buying herbs when they were cheap, and saving up cards until the faire came around again. Somehow it became bigger than making cards. As you read further, keep in mind my accounting is a little strange: I effectively did not count snowfall ink anywhere, so it's an unaccounted profit (on the milling end) and cost (on the card-making end).
Milling herbs generates a ton of ink of the sea and I needed maybe 1/10 of what I produced. It wasn't so easy to sell on the AH since it's made by scribes and used by scribes, and unlike enchanters, there's not much of a trade-chat-based market. People just buy the cheapest one off the AH. I did what most people would do: I found the highest price glyphs, made a few and posted them.
That was really stupid. The glyphs tended to be unwanted and only priced so high because no one cared to undercut in a market that has no demand. Or maybe one glyph a week. Whatever it was, it wasn't working for me. I was burning up bag space on unsold glyphs. To make it worse, making 3-4 of a glyph here and there barely dented my supply.
That's when I discovered the vellum market. Oh it was glorious. I could make a dozen stacks at a time, burning through ink like no tomorrow. There seemed to be barely any competition. It was boring and by that I mean reliably profitable. It was like printing gold. The profits seem high to me, compared to other professions such as my JC or enchanter, at 50-200%, with no deposit. Eventually that started to have competition, but it remains a decent way to use excess ink.
As the vellum market ceased to be perfect (for me), I moved back to glyphs, determined to give them another try. I stopped looking for the highest price for a quick bit of gold (which I never got anyway), but instead looked for what people want and isn't a throwaway glyph spammed by leveling scribes. This I determined from a mix of AH prices, wowhead averages, and comments on the usefulness of glyphs. Eventually I settled on a couple dozen glyphs and began making them 20 at a time and posting 20 at a time. I switched to 48 hour auctions as well, since I had learned that cutting my mailbox and posting time to 25% was way more sensible than constantly reposting and undercutting and getting undercut. Lots of long auctions at a very low profit per glyph. I used up my ink, I got some gold back from it, I didn't irritate myself with AH work.
And all the while I was making darkmoon cards.
Next to working with Northrend herbs, I also was milling and crafting decks from low level herbs as well. Those decks give lowbie rewards and can be turned in at any time. Turns out the rewards are somewhat in demand. The result was a cycle of wealth generation: I got rep, I got got, some herbalist got gold, and some alt got a new chest, shoulders, neck, or weapon. It was mildly annoying to work with so many different herbs and inks, but I was gaining gold and rep. And the extra common inks from that were needed for some of my glyphs.
A goblin might say I should keep doing this, just without turning in the decks anymore, selling them to other people going for the achievement. I'm not so sure. Gold just isn't especially interesting to me. I don't like to lose it, no one does, but gaining gold for the sake of gaining gold just doesn't excite me. Still, between making cards and a few highly risky, and profitable deals I worked out with someone leaving the glyph business, I've made a decent pile of gold. Enough that I think of going for the cap. But I'd have to rethink how and why I use my scribe.
I rarely try to make gold. Instead I want something else and find ways to get profits along the way. When I wanted Argent Dawn rep, I would AoE stratholme trash and sell the runecloth and DE the BoEs, and walk out with more rep and more gold. When I wanted to fix my rep with the goblin towns I ran Dire Maul and came out with cloth and books and epic patterns, and gold. Gold has always been a side-effect of some other goal.
Now I no longer have the goal. It's done. My scribe may find himself unemployed. He doesn't even get to sell the cards he makes. Those get sent to my warrior, for bag space reasons. The process of liquidating my assets could take a while, and bring in a good bit of gold. I can hand them off to the next insane person.
Maybe when he is no longer tied to Orgrimmar, weighed down by herbs and inks and glyphs and parchment, maybe my druid will be able to level again. Of course that raises the question: how many tanks are too many?
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