MoP Beta Files: Leveling Zen Inscription

We've made it to the final chapter! Inscription is our last profession to be leveled on the Beta Realm. I saved this for the end because I have only one shot to test it. That, plus rumors that it was too easy to level, made me feel that it might get some revisions. But we're about a week out from the end of Beta and it's time to wrap up the testing. So here we go :)

I started with 10 stacks of green tea leaf, 9 stacks of rain poppy and 1 stack of silkweed. From these 20 stacks of herbs I got enough pigment to make 100 ink of dreams and 9 starlight ink. I only used 66 inks to level my Inscription skill from 525 to 600. Depending on what recipe you choose for the last 4 skill points, you can potentially level to 600 with only 60 ink of dreams. You can get by on 16-17 stacks of herbs if you're having trouble finding spawns.

At 525 all of the Cataclysm recipes are yellow or green. When you reach 530 skill the Cataclysm recipes turn green or gray. Luckily all of the Zen level recipes are still orange. As a result I don't believe it's a good idea to make Cataclysm items for early skill points unless you are having serious difficulty finding herbs. Since the new ink recipes are still orange, it's probably best to make them. You're going to need at least 60 ink of dreams anyway, so you may as well get skill-ups while doing it. The two ink recipes turn yellow at 535, the rest of the recipes remain orange.

Assuming you're cranking out inks to use up your pigment, both recipes turn green at 540 and gray at 545. Most of the Zen recipes are still orange at this point except Tome of the Clear Mind. All glyphs and the Scroll of Wisdom are still orange. You'll probably make about 30 inks by the time the ink recipes turn gray, but you need 60+ for the full leveling process so you may as well make them. You also learn first 4 shoulder inscription recipes at 540 which are orange when learned but only grant 1 skill point. Zen glyphs are more efficient use of materials at 540 since you get 3 skill points for making them.

The Zen glyphs are locked behind a discovery mechanism on a daily cooldown. To learn a new glyph, you need to make a Scroll of Wisdom. In addition to the new glyph, you'll also receive a scroll of wisdom. These are used to craft epic items and the new Darkmoon cards. As soon as you exhaust the skill points from ink recipes, you should make a scroll of wisdom to discover a glyph. All glyph recipes are orange at 525 skill and remain so until 595 skill. Once you learn a glyph you can start making it and leveling up. Just cross your fingers that you get a good one because you'll have quite a few of them!

When you reach 560 you'll unlock the new staff and fan recipes. The two rare staff recipes and one rare fan recipe turn yellow at 570, so they don't last all that long. All glyphs, epic items and the scroll are still orange at 560. Once again, the lowest cost items to make are Zen glyphs (3 skill points for 3 inks).

When you reach 575 you can learn the four personal shoulder enchants, which give 2 skill points each. I would hold off on enchanting your own gear just yet, save this for later in the progression. At 580 you learn the upgraded Runescroll of Fortitude. It uses 10 ink of dreams and only gives 1 skill point, so it is not a good use of materials. Zen glyphs are still your best bet here, unless there's a specific item you plan to make anyway.

At 595 all of the Zen glyphs turn yellow. You can certainly continue making glyphs if you like. But if you want to maximize skill points, now would be the best time to take care of personal shoulder enchants. You can get 2 skill points for 3 inks with the "secret" recipes at this point. Otherwise you could crank out a few of the greater inscriptions instead. You should have gotten enough misty pigment to make at least 6-10 starlight ink. These recipes also give you 2 skill points, so you could get your last 4 skill points this way. If you decide to stay with the glyph recipes, it will probably take you about 5 more glyphs to reach the skill cap (an extra 15 ink).

545 - 560: 5x Zen Glyphs (3 pts each)
560 - 575: 5x Zen Glyphs (3 pts each)
575 - 596: 7x Zen Glyphs (3 pts each)
596 - 600: 5 or more Zen glyphs | 2x "Greater" inscription (3 pts each) | 2x "Secret" Inscription (3 pts each)

If you'd like to review the Inscription recipes in greater detail, including trainer locations, just visit the Crafter's Tome Inscription list. The site was just updated last night will all of the latest data. Make sure you change the settings in the "Expansion" tab to show only "Mists of Pandaria" if you want to view just those recipes. Also, the Pandaria locations aren't showing in the list view, but you can click the "More" button to see the full list of trainers.

And now, because you guys are awesome, and this guide is seriously boring, let's get out the party favors!

Origami Crane

Origami Frog

Chi-Ji Kite

Yu-lon Kite

Sadly, the origami items despawn and are gone from your inventory after using them. On the plus side, the kites are added to your pet list and can be called like any other pet!

Special Note: There are 2 Zen glyphs that do not use the new Zen ink. One uses Jadefire Ink and the other uses Ink of the Sea. Now there's a good chance that these will be corrected before launch, because this looks like an error to me. However, if you happen to discover one of them as your first glyph, theoretically you'd be able to fully level Zen Inscription with your current ink stash. Bear in mind that there is about a half a percent chance you'd end up with one of these glyphs. And again, this is assuming they remain unchanged. But I did want to call attention to this possibility so you'd be aware of it.

Feel free to leave any questions or comments below!


  1. Honestly, I think the real story with Inscription in MoP is the way that the Scroll of Wisdom is going to kill the Darkmoon card market. The days of making 100,000-500,000 gold per month are gone. With the daily CD there will be roughly only a week before the next DMF and five weeks before the DMF after that, neither time frame gives one the opportunity to create a full deck unless one is extremely lucky. The drop rate on the SoH make that an unrealistic option as well.

    Honestly, I keep looking through all the professions to see where there sweet spot is and I don't see one. Maybe that's a good thing in the big picture but I can't help but wonder if the real winners are the AH flippers.

    1. The sweet spot is making 8 scribes and rolling over all your competition.

  2. Yes, the DMC market being quite crippled relative to past expansions was very, very, very disappointing. For me, it was the second most disappointing thing in the expansion. (The most disappointing was the open declaration of war on crafting alts in the BoP SoH blue post.)

    Blizzard did ship 5.0.4 with new icons and old prices on the ink trader, so these glyphs could (but shouldn't) make it in.

    1) Do we know about oragami leveling items? i.e. now the cheapest way to now level is to go to 3 zones and get 3 oragami pattern drops. But I spent a lot more gold doing it the hard way back in 2010.

    2) How many SoH does it take to make a DMC?

    3) How many DMC (or is it SoW) do the weeklies pay?

    4) RF? 18 stacks of herbs and 10 minutes?

    5) TotCM is still 50s on vendor? so it will be a huge % loss to make; just for skillups in 2012?

    1. 1) I don't know anything about origami leveling recipes and I don't see any listed on Wowhead either. The few recipes I see there which aren't in my list all require SoH, so I don't think they qualify as leveling recipes.

      2) One SoH is required for a DMC, they only use one of the Scrolls of Wisdom.

      3) I'm not sure I understand this question - there are weeklies?

      4) I think it will go quite quickly, yes.

      5) I'm not seeing Tome of the Clear Mind on the vendors in SW. The folks on Wowhead are saying the tomes can be bought from Jeeves and the mammoth mount. I can confirm that Jeeves does have them and they are selling for 50 silver. I'm not actually recommending them in my list though, they have about the same difficulty as the two ink recipes. So I stayed with ink since you actually need that to progress.

    2. 1) I just meant "recipes for cute non-combat items used for leveling, like the origami beetle." MoP looks like all of those are 600 so not involved in leveling.

      2) Weeklies: I have read some speculation but it seemed quite vague
      Basically, Mobs to MoH (5% drop?) and then SoH somehow becomes DMC. Just how much effort will it take to get an additional DMC?

      3)Are forged documents on the SoW c/d? The skillup is wasted since you will be 545 when done inking regardless. But a tiny amount of XP by MoP standards (and feeling clever) is the main motivation.

    3. 1) Yes, unless they change something they are of no use in leveling

      2) I've seen no sign of weeklies. Farming SoH is not something I would try to do on an alt. Your main may end up collecting 2-3 per day if you are running dungeons, doing daily quests, etc. You can also plant songbell for alts who need SoH.

  3. About the personal shoulder enchants: there is no need to have two sets of items if you want to use those recipes twice without wasting mats. Unless it was changed very recently, those recipes don't enchant your shoulders directly, but rather create a BoP item that performs the enchant upon use (just like the non-personal shoulder enchants, except that those are of course not BoP). So you can make a few in advance and keep them around for when you find shoulder upgrades.

    1. Wow, you're right! I didn't actually make one of these, so I wasn't aware that it made an item you could stash in the bank. Nice :)

  4. I thought I could give all my casters lvl 85 inscription staves, and then upgrade them at lvl 90; but it looks like that'd be impossible.

    While the lvl 90 staves are BoAccount, the lvl 85 are BoE, so if you use them you couldn't pass them back to your scribe to upgrade them.

    Am I missing something?

    On the plus side, based on a search on wowhead, they're some of the best weapons available
    before townlong stepps in the game.

    1. No, I don't think you're wrong. The mats for the 85 staves are fairly low considering you get a rare quality staff from it. I think the easiest solution is to give your Scribe a staff, then have them upgrade their staff. That way at least one of the 85 staves would not go to waste :)

      Really, the upgrade path for staves is an option no other tradeskill gets. So in the grand scheme of things it's still a good deal. Luckily my Scribe is a mage so there's no issue for me with using a BoE which then gets converted.

    2. Well, it takes 20 MoH. If I understand your comments that is killing about 400 mobs? In the couple of hours killing them, you could mine 30 stacks of ore? Is the math correct? So to my mind the 2 SoH is about the same as 300 bars; except worse since I do not have the option to buy them. It is not high mats but it feels non-trivial.

    3. Yes, 2 SoH would take around 400 mobs. Bear in mind that these drop rates are for the early zones. It's my understanding that the drop rate improves once you make it to level 90. From what I'm reading it's mostly a hardship for level 85 peeps who are trying to do Realm First achievements. I don't think it will be a burden to folks who are capped.

  5. Special News Flash!

    They've replaced discovering glyphs by making scrolls of wisdom, with a new daily game of Plants Vs. Zombies!

    Well, OK, they haven't. But they might! There's still time. Those developers could do ANYTHING!

    1. Lol, that would be fun IMO. But yes, everything I've written is subject to change before release. Always good to keep that in mind.

  6. Has anyone tested whether or not the DMF quests work for 525+?

    1. I have not tested the Inscription quest because my Scribe was capped before DMF activated. However, I've tested the Cooking quest twice and it works. So I would assume the others do as well.

  7. Hi there!

    When MoP launches, I want to get Server First! Can I get this with Inscription right away, or is it somehow gated? What I mean, is can I mill, make glyphs and get to 600 in a flash, or will it take a few days, since I need to learn a new glyph each day?

  8. Maybe unrelated but I've been stockpiling loads of ink for MOP and one side product of doing all that milling is the burning embers... What have you guys been doing with them recently? Darkmoon cards aren't really viable any more and I have ***loads to get rid of.