How to Defeat a Goblin on your Server

This strategy was written quite a long time ago when snowfall inks sold like hotcakes (they still can for the faire but it's better to convert them into runescrolls and offhands now a days) and herbs were around 20 gold a stack on my server. The experiment went very well and I managed to raise the price of glyphs by several gold over the course of a month or two. Many bloggers still link to this post so I thought it needed this preface and a small update. Enjoy.

Points of this Strategy

  1. Glyph sellers who are trying to make gold by selling glyphs very cheap need to make up the cost of their original stack of herbs through the sale of snowfall inks. We are talking about true goblins who are camping with 2-3 gold thresholds here.
  2. By reducing the cost of snowfall ink the glyph sellers must raise their glyph prices or else they will lose money.
  3. Goblin gives up the market or moves towards a more average price of glyphs in the 5-8 gold range.
I've had numerous emails from people trying to discover the secret to out'ing a goblin on their server. Some even have an infestation of goblins running around undercutting glyphs down to 50 silver.

Before I explain how to defeat a goblin, perhaps I should discuss what exactly being a goblin entails? A goblin gets their herbs and focuses on selling the snowfall ink to make up for most of their herb expenses. If they sell their snowfall ink for 60-100% of the cost of their initial investment then they can sell their glyphs (using the average 6 inks per stack of herbs) for super cheap and that is where their profit comes from. This profit margin is entirely dependent on how much the goblin paid for his/her inks, but the key here is that the snowfall ink is always the linchpin for their profits.

How then, do you defeat the goblin and raise the price of glyphs on your server? I have a theory and I'm going to implement it very soon on my own server. There are currently three goblins I've found using approximately 3 gold threshold and QA2. They post a 40 gold glyph three times and if anyone undercuts they will in turn keep undercutting down to this 3 gold threshold. To defeat these goblins I've been recruiting dedicated farmers with these mouth watering prices for herbs:

10 gold a stack of lichbloom, icethorn, or adder's tongues
5 gold a stack for any other stacks of WOTLK herbs

Sounds delicious right? Well with that price I can sell snowfall inks for 7 gold and then glyphs for 1.1 gold and make a 10 silver profit (-50 silver each for resilient parchment). The only thing is... I'm not going to sell glyphs! In fact I have almost never sold glyphs (I only focus on the discovery ones), and instead sell armor vellum III's and weapon vellum III's, as well as the inks themselves.

So my plan is to focus on getting snowfall ink [EDIT: I wrote ink of the sea here by accident the first time this was posted... sorry!] down to the 10 gold range (It's going to take thousands probably over the course of several weeks, I'm currently down to the 13-14 gold range) and in a sense cut the legs right out of the goblin method. Next, I'm going to control the armor and weapon vellum markets so that they have no way to compete with my prices. They will be FORCED to sell glyphs for more in order to make any profit at all.

I like to think of it as out-goblining the goblins. What do you think of my master plan? Comment!

47 comments: on "How to Defeat a Goblin on your Server"

  1. Why not attacking them on their snowfall ink market, as it is their lever for cheap glyph... if they don't sell their snowfall's, they can be rentable by selling their glyph at those prices ?

  2. 10g a stack of 20 adders tongue ?

    On my server the prices for 20Adder's tongue Starts at 20g

    Snowfalls are between 20-32g each

    Glyphs are anywhere from 50s to 59g

  3. Holy crap! Those herb prices are ridiculously low - about 20% what "cheap" herbs go for on my server.

  4. I have an idéa... If your playing on a server with low population, there isn't so many you can compete with.. but also if ur playing on a low populated server it can take longer time to get your stuffs sold..

    Whats most worth ?

  5. I don't really understand the strategy.

    Are you going to sell your snowfalls so cheap that they can't sell theirs and it increases their ink of the sea costs? If that's your plan, then you will need to also undercut the other ways of selling snowfalls, the epic offhand tomes and darkmoon cards.

  6. geez, its far more difficult on my server. sink of the sea goes for 1g5s per one. its just too cheap! whereas snowfall ink goes around 10g.

    any advice what you would rather do?

  7. What is your aim?

    To force the goblins to give up trading or transfer?

    To make money?

  8. sorry i was too unspecific.

    i recently entered the glyph market in here. most of the glyphs are just too cheap over here. about 50% go for under 1g, its not even worth milling the herbs.

    so i always put on the glyphs that give at least a little profit, lets say that sell >4g.

    but its not really enough to make a real good copper as you might know. so i'll have to look for different ways.

    the question is - would you try to get a real stand in the glyph market by deep undercutting and so on, or would you rather advice to sell snowfall link and keep ink of the sea for the few goodselling glyphs?

  9. I'd love to find those kind of herb prices on my server. I'm lucky to ever see anything below 18g a stack. Given, I've managed to make over 300k gold here, but making more by spending less wouldn't hurt my feelings at all.

    As for the strategy, I think it will work, you just have to hope they don't possess the same sort of farming connections.

  10. The goal, as I understand it, is to get the goblins to leave the market. Goblins make money the same way Walmart makes money - low profit margin but they move enough product to have a decent total profit. By making their own profit margins razor thin and finding a good farmer or two, the goblins make it so that it is very difficult to compete with them and most people don't bother which allows the goblin to move a lot of product and therefore make a lot of money.
    So, when you out-goblin a goblin, you run your operation even more efficiently than them so you can sell for cheaper than their normal price points and make it too difficult for them to operate at your prices and still turn a profit.

    So, in short, the goal is to push the other goblins out of the market or at the very least, force them to work very hard to match your own efficiency. Or at least that what it seems like to me, I could be wrong.

  11. Ok If herb costs are so low that 10g a stack is GREAT price.
    goblins will be paying way less a stack on your server, glyph costs even without sales of snowfall ink are next to nothing.
    if you can get goldclover for under 5g a stack your glyphs cost silver to produce + scroll cost.

    So any sale at 2g or more will be 100%+ profit. And if they have established herb supplies, they'll just undercut your snowfall as well.

    at under 1 gold per ink of the sea, your gonna have a hard time dominating the vellum market without crashing it into the less than 1g per vellum range. as its gonna still be profitable to them to sell at that point.

    Meanwhile your buying herbs at massive cost for little return other than armor vel sales.

    So all a goblin has to do to stop you is keep selling his glyphs at a few gold each, and earn profit from this, sell snowfall for less than you and keep undercutting on the vellums.

    all you'll do is hemorage money.
    Both parties will loose on the vellum and snowfall market but the goblins will still get income from glyphs.

    So unless you can somehow guarantee no one is supplying goblins with herbs for less than you I cant see how the goblins are going to raise their price mroe than perhaps 1 or 2 gold to counter your tactics.

    this is just based on the standard goblin pricing methods. I just have problems seeing it working for more than a week before they counter. and it would i suspect take months to be effective in a high population server.

    but, I do hope it is successful as it would be handy tactic to have in future.

    Also, how do you factor in the demand for snowfall and ink of the sea that the new glyphs in 3.3 will create, this could drive the price of ink high again and scupper the entire plan as demand outstrips supply

  12. On my server, the vellum market is a minuscule fraction of the glyph market. A 100 vellums will take me weeks to sell, and runescrolls are even worse. Any scribe that's not in the glyph market will starve.

    Our herbs are 20g and up, and there is no Snowfall market, Faire or no Faire. Nothing gets rid of a goblin faster than watching all of his Snowfall Ink auctions expire after he's just sold all of his glyphs at a loss.

  13. Exactly Zamboni, exactly. They have no where to run if you take away their snowfalls.

  14. You also need to keep eternal life high as well to cut out the card factor of snowfall inks.

    I agree alot of the profits goblins use comes from the snowfalls, some sell the snowfall raw, some sell them as cards and some sell them as offhands.

    In order to cut the legs completely out from under them you need to cut off all of the hydra's heads or they may just shuffle over to the next marketing path for the snowfalls.

  15. To me this doesn't seem much against "Goblins".

    It seems you are following the same model but selling Snowfall inks at marginal profit using Vellums to fund future herb prices.

    While at the same time speculating that the demand for Vellums is high enough to give substantial profits in it's own right.

    Yes this has potential to increase the price in Glyphs, but it won't oust anyone. "Goblins" not being stupid have access to the same method of recruiting farmers as you do.

  16. So how do you recruit a farmer and convince them to give you a price significantly lower than the AH?

    I know a couple of farmers, and I get prices that are a good percentage below the AH, but they're not giving it away for 10% of the AH cost.

    Would love to know how that conversation went.

  17. @Richard

    I have a feeling his farmers, or at least one in particular enjoys picking on people on the AH.

    Plus I needed the bank tabs too.

  18. I don't have inscription...yet...
    450 mine, skin, alchemy, jewelcrafting.
    herb 393, enchant 265
    So I have no idea of the inscription market.

  19. So your idea of beating a goblin is to find a farmer that will sell you herbs at a significant loss.

    You mean you'll make more money if you get herbs for half price than full price?! No way!

  20. There's another problem here for many of us.. on lower pop servers, it's not goblins that have destroyed the glyph market, it's kids who get the mats "for free" and sell things at a loss.

    Regarding the strat, I think that the question boils down to who has better resources to last longer, but.. what happens if the goblins just shift their glyph prices up a bit to counter for the loss? It might be like trying to push water.

  21. @ karl: not matter what you do, how low or high u sell or what u sell, you CANT destroy a market. Thats bs.

  22. @Karl my goal is to have them post glyphs higher. If glyphs get above 3.5 gold per then I've won.

  23. So you intend to rout the goblins who are making glyphs at dead cheap/even by undercutting snowfalls, and then shifting your profits to vellums? Do I understand this correctly?

    I'd be surprised if you could sell vellums at any kind of volume. My server is not very eager to buy them up. Keep us posted on how it goes, though!

  24. oh no there's no loss on my part, i'm rather pleased with the epic flight training+ I make a day (now even that is small change compared to some), i'm only after the Frost Lotus anyways.

    @last anon

    you're in the wrong blog if you are looking for drama

  25. @Markco:

    Your economic strategy seems sound, assuming it goes according to plan. However, I could say that I have a plan to drive the price of all glyphs up %50, come back in three weeks, and say that I succeeded with no proof. Screenshots would go a long way to proving my claim, wouldn't you say?

    Are you planning on proving your theory, or just "reporting" on it? Even Gevlon had screencaps of his strategies.

  26. I think some of you have missed the point of this post. Forrest, assume you can't get the herbs at that price and I think you'll be able to grasp the concept.

    I have been doing this for weeks with anywhere from 500-1400 gold per day. I'd say that is pretty successful for the time it takes me to mill/craft/post each day.

  27. if you want to cut the snowfall market you should take over the eternal life market. just buy every single eternal life you can get your hands on and repost it at 5 times the market value, that way nobody will be buying snowfalls and the market will fall.

  28. @Anonymous commenters. This is the last warning. Stop posting spam hoping for drama. Don't read so much into the post, you're hoping for something that isn't there.

  29. Go get them irritating low-life goblins! I intend to do the same on my server <3

  30. The mathematics might work. I took a different tact and used social engineering.

    Seeing the horde of barbarian baby goblins at the gate a couple weeks after the MMO, I decided I'd try to use a firebreak.

    I didn't want to camp the ah to undercut every few instead, I enlisted help.

    Backstory: For weeks some friends and guildies had been pestering me about how I was acquiring wealth and I told them Inscription was one of my main tools. A few had tried to post some glyphs but realized soon enough that I kind of had a dominant presence.

    So.....what I did was point about 8 of them to the MMO guide, telling each I wanted to take a month-long break from frequent posting. Seeing me retreat from the market, all 8 started posting and undercutting. My own little zergling rush. Sure, I didn't personally make many glyph sales during this period, but with glyphs going for less than 2g, why would I want to?

    As a few weeks went by, I saw fewer and fewer posts by strangers in the glyph section. About half my zerglings dominated the listings. So I told each one that I was planning on coming back and that if they preferred, they were welcome to sell me inks rather than keep up with the camping.

    So now all of them are convinced glyphs are a cutthroat business, I have four steady ink suppliers and I've been selling glyphs in the 30-35g range again.

  31. Wow... 10g per stack of the high-end northrend herbs? I dive at the chance for anything under 25g for those...

    wtb 10g per stack...

  32. There are few issues with this plan.And since i am a goblin, i will tell why this plan won't work.
    First, as many have said, 10g and 5g for the herbs is not even close to reality.But, lets asume u will have a farmer who will sell u those herbs for the said price.This means that the entire plan relies on that farmer.I would not make such a mistake.Thirdly...u can lose your farmer to another guy who will pay 15g and 10g.Fourth...herbs are NOT only for milling, they used also in alchemy.Fifth, u will need A LOT
    of herbs to sustain this plan on long terms.And we all know that a goblin cannot be driven away so fast.
    Sry, but ain't going to work.

  33. Haha, finally someone grasps the concept.

    The key to winning the market is through the supply chain. i.e. Make your costs so low that you can afford to sell over low and still make a profit.

    Too bad a lot of people think that the pricing strategy or technique (i.e. QA2 vs Auctioneer, etc) is the way to win the market.

    Pricing strategy only works when you're faced against scrubs.

  34. I have been selling glyphs for ages and there is no way this tactic will drive the goblins out of the market.

    I'm buying Adder's Tongue for 12g (ah price is 15g). On average I'll get 6 Inks of the Sea and 2 Snowfall Inks from stack.

    Snowfall Inks sell for 6-10g not to mention if you bother making Runescrolls of Fortitude or offhands it pays the price you used on herbs.

    If I sell around 200 glyphs a day for 2g each it's 300g profit since the Inks of the sea are just profit and it's easiest to get rid of them via glyphs.

    The time the posting takes nowdays with QA2, postal and reload macro it's just too easy to repost all that have been undercut. It's still very good gold/hour

  35. @Marcko

    "If glyphs get above 3.5 gold per then I've won."

    A Goblin won't raise the price of glyphs the "under-cutters" will because of their fallback price in QA2. Your theory has a few major flaws that being the first.

  36. Some problems.

    1) Snowfall doesn't really sell all that much. The market is small and will be smaller come 3.3 (when the DMC:G is superseeded by a new badge trinket).
    2) If the actual cost of making glyphs increases, then they will increase their prices. Unless you want to wade in with 1000+ glyphs in that market.
    3) I just don't see people selling herbs for that low. That's half the cost of the servers i'm on. If you can find someone who will do that, great.
    4) Glpyph market isn't all that much more profitable than vellum. I'm heavy into both markets, I can't keep enough vellum in stock whereas with glpyhs its 1-2 hours a day for 100-200g profit. Vellum is far better money/time.

  37. What's the goal in this? Is it just to get rid of competition? Is it to make as much gold as possible?

    I gotta say I've been a long time reader (of this, and of all wow economy blogs). I normally don't post however. I am really wondering why everyone seems to be in the glyph market. I see very few people doing really really well from glyphs, and most just make around 500g-1500g per day. I make atleast 1k per day doing my thing(herb/alc and other cooldowns on my alts), and I've maxed out at 3.5k for one day.

    I'm not trying to ignore glyphing as it does work, but it just seems the market is so over saturated with mmo-champion glyphers that it is better to turn elsewhere.

    If my goal was to run out the competition I would be failing, as I'm no longer glyphing. If my goal was to make gold I'm winning.

  38. Hi Markco, my thoughts..

    1) those prices seem extremely low to get from a farmer for herbs, while servers vary with price you shouldn't expect to find a farmer dumb enough to consistently sell you herbs for more than -15% of the avg lowest price of herbs.

    I'm sure they check the AH and know that they could be selling for way more. the value you are providing is being a "sure" sale for instant gold.

    2) I think you have to do more than just flood the snowfall ink market... I NEVER sell my snowfall inks on the AH because I invest all my inks into Darkmoon Cards and runescrolls... now I agree that if THOSE markets became over saturated and low profit I'd have to raise my glyph prices to compensate.

    Would be pretty tough to cover the entire darkmoon card market... you'd have to post greatness cards at like 4,000g each and nobles for that price, not sell out and remain profitable... interesting experiment though.

  39. Who's this Forrest character you were replying to? I'm trying to find what he said, but I'm having zero success in finding it.

    Oh... that would be me.

    I try to imagine not being able to get those prices when someone tries to corner the ENTIRE HERB MARKET (or any market in an environment with unlimited natural resources), but just cannot wrap my brain around that end result, because:

    1. More often than not, a farmer's loyalty is tied to the size of the coin purse offered to them. They care little for the motivations of their buyers. All it takes is upping the ante, and your offer is not so "mouth-watering".

    2. You deprive not only the goblin of raw materials, but also EVERY OTHER SCRIBE AND ALCHEMIST, TOO. How long do you think they will wait to cry "market manipulation" in a flood of GM tickets? My guess is - not long at all.

  40. Forest calm the hell down lol I accidentally deleted your post when I was getting spammed.

    I don't think you have the slightest idea what I'm proposing here. I'm not cornering any herbs, I'm just getting farmers who are are getting extra herbs and trying to clear their bag space each day.

    They sell super cheap and I get to mill at starting prices that no one can compete with unless they farm the herbs themselves.

    I hope that clears up your confusion.

  41. ...also Market Manipulation" will not result in a GM response. I am not offering a great deal to the farmers either. I think you misread what I was saying to mean the opposite of what was writting.

  42. How exactly do you recruit a farmer to get the herbs at such low prices?

  43. Well, since you guys are visiting take a look at the rest of Markco's posts and his forums. You will like what you see and you will see the truth in Markco's postings.

    NOT everything is great or earth shattering, but it is superior to what you will get at ANY other site.


  44. The herb prices vary on different servers. On my server there are only two other major glyphers so if none of us are buying Adder's Tongues for a day the price may well slip below 13g in AH.

  45. "If glyphs get above 3.5 gold per then I've won."

    Won what?
    What is your goal here? I don't really get it. You keep on making oblique references to winning and forcing the 'goblins' to up their prices.

    Would you mind stating your goal clearly?

  46. The goal is to make ah camping goblins running QA2 increase their threshold while I also make a steady income off my sales. I can then do w/e the hell I want in all aspects of inscription, including glyphs if I feel the need to.

  47. means he has:
    a) driven a competitor out of the market and the market is re-adjusting to their absence.
    b) forced a competitor to adjust their QA2 thresholds upwards.

    This is just one more weapon in the arsenal, thanks.


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