17 September 2008

Inscription: What will it take?

I'm debating whether I'll take Inscription as a profession in WotLK, so I've been researching it. I've heard a lot about the products: glyphs that change your spells, regular scrolls, other scrolls that allow enchanters to package and sell enchants at auction, and a few other special things. The WotlkWiki section on Inscription is a great resource, as is Wowhead. I think the Glyphs will sell quite well, and the extra Glyph slot for Inscribers will be nice. It's easy to understand the benefits.

The tough part has been understanding how to level Inscription. I'd like to bank the herbs I would need to level (except for the Northrend herbs, of course). But... how many do I need? I spent some time looking that the recipes known today, and the processes required. I have some very tentative conclusions.

Disclaimer: I'm not in the beta, so I'm going completely from what's available on Wowhead and WotlkWiki right now. The data is still pretty rough, and I'm sure this will all change. So the specifics here should be taken with a major grain of salt, particularly the required mats.

The basic approach, however, is pretty clear and should be set. There are a few variations, but the key cycle is:

Herbs -> Milling -> Pigment -> Ink -> Glyph

Everything begins with the herbs — the same ones used for alchemy. They're processed using milling which is analogous to prospecting for jewelcrafters. Each milling operation consumes a small stack of herbs and creates pigments, sometimes along with useful byproducts. The pigment is then used to make ink, which is a universal key ingredient for every glyph.

So to walk it back: you'll generally create glyphs to level up. You'll need ink to do that, and you'll need pigments to make your ink. For pigments, you'll need to mill stacks of herbs.

Today, you mill a stack of 5 herbs and get 2-3 pigments in return. The herbs are sorted into what I'll call "tiers". Basically, if you mill herbs from the same tier, you'll get the same pigment. The tiers are about what you expect — you'll pretty much find herbs of the same tier in the same zones. Here's how it breaks down:

Tiers of Herbs
Azeroth 1: Sliverleaf, Peacebloom, Earthroot, Mageroyal, Bloodthistle
Azeroth 2: Briarthorn, Swiftthistle, Bruiseweed, Stranglekelp
Azeroth 3: Wild Steelbloom, Grave Moss, Kingsblood, Liferoot
Azeroth 4: Fadeleaf, Goldthorn, Khadgar's Whisker, Wintersbite
Azeroth 5: Firebloom, Purple Lotus, Arthas' Tears, Sungrass, Blindweed, Ghost Mushroom, Gromsblood
Azeroth 6: Golden Sansam, Dreamfoil, Mountain Silversage, Plaguebloom, Icecap
Outlands: Herbs harvested in Outlands
Northrend: Herbs harvested in Northrend

Rare herbs can't be milled. These include: Black Lotus, Deadnettle, Fel Blossom, Fel Lotus, Fire Leaf, Fire Seed, Glowcap, Netherdust Pollen, Nightmare Seed, Unidentified Plant Parts, and Wildvine. Usually they're the herbs with names in green text.

So you gather a stack of herbs from some tier and mill it. Each 5 herbs milled gives 2-3 pigments, which you then use to make ink. (Just to make it more complicated, sometimes you'll get a rare pigment instead of the regular pigment. These aren't used to make glyphs; I'll skip them for now but maybe talk about them in another post.) The inks change at different levels of the profession. Here's a table, with the general skill level that each ink corresponds to.

Basic Inks
Skill lvl   Basic ink:     Pigment:   Milled from:
0 - 30 Ivory, Silver Made directly from Silverleaf or Peacebloom
30 - 75 Moonglow Ink Alabaster Azeroth 1
75 - 100 Midnight Ink Dusky Azeroth 2
100 - 150 Lion's Ink Golden Azeroth 3
150 - 200 Jadefire Ink Emerald Azeroth 4
200 - 250 Celestial Ink Violet Azeroth 5
250 - 300 Shimmering Ink Silvery Azeroth 6
300 - 350 Ethereal Ink Nether Outlands
350 - 425 Ink of the Sea Azure Northrend
So, for example, you'll be using Midnight Ink to make the glyphs that take you from level 75 to 100. (All very rough and subject to change.)

So, how many herbs will you need to level? This is where the uncertainties of Beta come in. The biggest one I'm worried about is that most glyph recipes today look like this:
  • One ink of some kind
  • One Magebloom
  • Four Parchment (one of each kind); these can be purchased from vendors
These are going to change for sure, but I don't know to what. My best guess is that there will be multiple inks required for most glyphs, instead of that single Magebloom. The other alternative is that they will require unprocessed herbs — but of course these won't all be Magebloom. We just don't know yet so that makes any specifics difficult. Also, I'm not sure that we really will get 2-3 pigments for every 5 herbs we mill; that might be adjusted either for everything, or for specific herbs or tiers of herbs.

So things are still a bit unsettled and I don't see any value in being too clinical about it. But I'm willing to do some handwaving based on the skill point gaps. If you need Midnight Ink to get from 75 to 100, let's assume that you'll need 25 vials of Midnight Ink along the way. Given that, it looks like you would need about 5 full stacks — 100 herbs — of each tier to level up. The exceptions are the Northrend herbs, where you'll need 8 stacks. You'll also need a couple extra stacks of Silverleaf or Peacebloom to get from 0-30. That's ignoring the 5 or so skill points you'll get from making each type of ink. But I fully expect the ink requirements to go up too, so think of this as a floor for getting started.

I'll keep watching for more data, and post updates when I know more.

No comments: