Power-Leveling

A guide to leveling Inscription from skill 1 to 700. Rewritten and updated for Warlords of Draenor. On this page:

Introduction

This guide is intended for people that want to power-level their Inscription skill efficiently from 1 to 600, and then on to 700. Efficient means using the smallest number of raw materials. Scribes should not expect to power-level beyond 600 skill: Leveling from 600 to 700 is likely to take a month or more. The basic method outlined below can be used at lower character levels, but the maximum skill obtainable is capped by level and expansion (see Ranks). Skill 600-700 requires at least level 90 and Warlords of Draenor.

There are two methods of Raising Skill which are not appropriate for power-leveling across large skill ranges, but may be of limited use to certain Scribes in certain situations - Darkmoon Island monthly quest, and the Draenor Garrison turn-in items. Both are described in the boxes below.

The quest Writing the Future, from Sayge the fortune teller on Darkmoon Island, rewards +5 skill points. This quest is repeatable once per month during Darkmoon Faire week only (starting first Sunday of the month). Simply bring 5 Light Parchment, then use the items provided by the quest.

Creatures in Draenor occasionally drop Inscription-related items. These items only drop for Scribes and cannot be traded. Each item must be combined with specific reagents (commonly Draenor herbs) and the result delivered to your Garrison (Shadowmoon Valley for Alliance, or Frostfire Ridge for Horde). For example, Waterlogged Book is combined with 10 Frostweed to make a Dog-Eared Book, which is turned in as the quest Moldy Book. The main reward is Garrison Resources (Garrison currency), however if your Inscription skill is below 600, you will gain 5 points of Inscription skill. The volume of reagents required is generally less than that required to gain 5 skill points by following the main method below. However these Inscription-related items cannot efficiently be farmed for, so this is only worth considering if you are already killing Draenor creatures for other reasons (such as questing).

Basic 1-600 Method

Inscription can be divided into tiers. Each tier is associated with a distinct range of herbs, a single primary ink, a single research method, and (broadly) a skill range over which techniques guarantee a skill-up when used. For each tier, the approach is as follows:

  1. Mill herbs to create sufficient pigments to skill-up through the whole tier.
  2. Convert all those pigments into the tier's ink.
  3. Conduct the tier's ink-named Research.

For example,

  1. Earthroot, Peacebloom, and/or Silverleaf are milled (5 at a time) into Alabaster Pigment.
  2. 2 Alabaster Pigment make Moonglow Ink.
  3. 3 Moonglow Ink and 3 Light Parchment conduct Research: Moonglow Ink.

Research is not just the most material-efficient means of leveling (below 600 skill), but the process teaches many of the glyphs new Scribes will want to learn anyway. Each research in the previous example discovers a glyph that uses Moonglow Ink.

Each research gives 3 skill-ups while orange. To level efficiently you should only conduct research that is orange. Research is taught automatically when you reach the minimum skill required to train the associated ink. For most inks you will need to visit a trainer at the start of each tier to learn how to produce the ink. Trainers also teach intermediate Ranks. Learning other techniques from trainers is optional.

The exact number and use of raw materials is explored below, but in simple terms, if leveling from 1 to 600 outside of Draenor:

Inscription Tiers (excluding Draenor)
TierSkill RangeHerb OptionsSkill to Mill
Moonglow1-125 [1]Earthroot, Peacebloom, Silverleaf1
Midnight75-175Briarthorn, Bruiseweed, Mageroyal, Stranglekelp, Swiftthistle25
Lion's100-200Grave Moss, Kingsblood, Liferoot, Wild Steelbloom75
Jadefire150-250Dragon's Teeth, Fadeleaf, Goldthorn, Khadgar's Whisker125
Celestial200-300Arthas' Tears, Blindweed, Firebloom, Ghost Mushroom, Gromsblood, Purple Lotus, Sungrass175
Shimmering250-350Dreamfoil, Golden Sansam, Icecap, Mountain Silversage, Sorrowmoss225
Ethereal290-390Ancient Lichen, Dreaming Glory, Felweed, Mana Thistle, Netherbloom, Nightmare Vine, Ragveil, Terocone275
Sea350-450Adder's Tongue, Deadnettle, Fire Leaf, Goldclover, Icethorn, Lichbloom, Talandra's Rose, Tiger Lily325
Blackfallow425-525Cinderbloom, Stormvine [2]425
Dreams500-595Desecrated Herb, Fool's Cap, Green Tea Leaf, Rain Poppy, Silkweed, Snow Lily500

Table notes:

  1. Moonglow Ink Research starts at skill 25, but Moonglow Ink can be made from skill 1.
  2. In addition, the following herbs can be used to level up to skill 500, but cannot be milled by scribes at 425 skill, when they are needed to make inks: Azshara's Veil, Deathspore Pod, Heartblossom, Twilight Jasmine, Whiptail.

Pre-Draenor research cannot be used to efficiently bridge the gap between skill 595 and 600. Ideally this should be leveled using Warbinder's Ink Research (where 10-15 Draenor tier herbs simply replace 10-15 Dreams tier herbs). Without Warlords of Draenor, produce Scroll of Wisdom for the final few points to skill 600: This remains orange throughout and costs 3 Ink of Dreams per skill-point, so will only require slightly more Dreams-tier herbs.

Scribes with access to Draenor (level 90 and Warlords of Draenor) can level from 1 to 600 using the same method above, but entirely using Warbinder's Ink Research. This remains orange from skill 1 to 600. Assuming no skill-ups are gained from making ink:

Options and Optimisations

Since each tier uses the same proportions of reagents, the total volume can be calculated for the entire 1-600 leveling process. In practice there are some important caveats which mean (for example) one herb is not necessarily an option for leveling from 1-600, described below. But broadly, 2,400 herbs to level from 1 to 600:

The most important thing to note is that each research type only gives 3 skill points between certain skill ranges shown in the table below. Overlaps between tiers create flexibility to conduct more research in one tier than another, but unless you have the option of leveling via the Warbinder's Ink (Draenor) tier, you cannot use one ink throughout.

Research (11)
ItemPartsTechnique SourceInscription Skill
OrangeYellowGreenGrey
Research: Blackfallow InkBlackfallow Ink (3), Light Parchment (3)Automatic (at minimum skill)425 (3⇑)525560595
Research: Celestial InkCelestial Ink (3), Light Parchment (3)Automatic (at minimum skill)200 (3⇑)300350400
Research: Ethereal InkEthereal Ink (3), Light Parchment (3)Automatic (at minimum skill)290 (3⇑)390440490
Research: Ink of DreamsInk of Dreams (3), Light Parchment (3)Automatic (at minimum skill)500 (3⇑)595598600
Research: Ink of the SeaInk of the Sea (3), Light Parchment (3)Automatic (at minimum skill)350 (3⇑)450500550
Research: Jadefire InkJadefire Ink (3), Light Parchment (3)Automatic (at minimum skill)150 (3⇑)250300350
Research: Lion's InkLight Parchment (3), Lion's Ink (3)Automatic (at minimum skill)100 (3⇑)200250300
Research: Midnight InkLight Parchment (3), Midnight Ink (3)Automatic (at minimum skill)75 (3⇑)175225275
Research: Moonglow InkLight Parchment (3), Moonglow Ink (3)Automatic (at minimum skill)25 (3⇑)125175225
Research: Shimmering InkLight Parchment (3), Shimmering Ink (3)Automatic (at minimum skill)250 (3⇑)350400450
Research: Warbinder's InkLight Parchment (3), Warbinder's Ink (3)Draenor Inscription1 (3⇑)600603605

Our first calculation assumed only research granted skill-ups. While most inks have a low chance of granting a skill-up even when first learned, there are exceptions where producing primary inks guarantees a skill-up over specific skill ranges:

For these inks, at these skill ranges, it is worth trying to produce as much of the ink that you need while the recipes remain orange (or at least yellow, for just a good chance of a skill-up). Simply producing these inks will account for 100 skill points, meaning only 2,000 herbs will be needed overall - assuming the 4 tiers highlighted above were not skipped. This herb saving cannot be applied to Scribes that level entirely in Draenor, who are assumed to gain no skill points from producing ink.

Skill gains from ink production could be even better:

  1. Inks still have a chance to a skill-up while yellow or green, so even more skill points may be gained from ink production, reducing the total amount of herbs again.
  2. The core method does not use the secondary pigment that is rarely found while Milling. The box below explains why. If you can mill enough secondary pigment to make something with it that gains skill points, then consider doing so. You will use slightly fewer herbs overall as a result, but you may prefer to be discovery glyphs.

Not only is secondary pigment far rarer than the primary assumed in this guide, but the amount of secondary pigment gained from Milling depends much more on the precise item level of the herbs milled in each tier - higher ilevel herbs within the tier tend to produce more secondary pigment. This adds unnecessary complication to the leveling process: It is likely that only a few skill points will be gained via secondary pigment, yet there is always a chance of not having enough secondary pigment to create anything that grants a skill-up. If you can gain skill-ups by creating and using secondary inks, then using that option will slightly reduce the amount of primary ink (and hence herbs) used to level.

If you are leveling Inscription at lower character level then some of the items made using secondary pigments may be useful to you. The guideline above is aimed at power-levellers, who are typically already at high character level.

Unlocking Draenor

Ashran Trainer
Ashran Trainer - Inscription trainer atop the Alliance mage tower in Ashran.

Heading into Draenor expecting Inscription to be as immediate as in previous expansions will lead to frustration. In reality Inscription is still quite familiar, it just moves at a different pace.

Draenor Master rank is taught by the Draenor Inscription scroll. You must have at least Inscription skill 1 and be at least personal level 90 (with Warlords of Draenor) for either method of obtaining this scroll:

If you progress through Draenor by questing, the Inscription questline above will normally be available before the flight path to Ashran is obtained, so will be both the quickest and cheapest way to obtain Draenor Inscription.

Draenor Inscription also teaches a number of Techniques, including War Paints, Research: Warbinder's Ink and Secrets of Draenor Inscription, plus Card of Omens, trinket Techniques Laughing Tarot, Ocean Tarot and Savage Tarot. These are learnt as low as skill 1.

Leveling 600-700

A few techniques first learned at lower skill continue to offer a chance of a skill-up for a few points after 600 skill, but in practice the leveling options after skill 600 are limited, as shown in the table below.

Draenor Inscriptions (18)
ItemPartsTechnique SourceInscription Skill
OrangeYellowGreenGrey
Card of Omens (10)Light Parchment (10), War Paints (5)Draenor Inscription600700703705
Crystalfire SpellstaffSimple Wood, War Paints (100)Technique (purchased with Secrets of Draenor Inscription)600 (10⇑)700703705
Darkmoon Card of DraenorLight Parchment, War Paints (10)Technique (purchased with 5 Secrets of Draenor Inscription)600700703705
Etched-Blade WarstaffSimple Wood, War Paints (100)Technique (purchased with Secrets of Draenor Inscription)600 (10⇑)700703705
Glorious CrystalSavage Blood (15), Sorcerous Earth (40), War Paints (200)Technique (purchased with 5 Secrets of Draenor Inscription)600 (20⇑)700703705
Inferno TarotSavage Blood (15), Sorcerous Water (30), War Paints (150)Technique (purchased with 5 Secrets of Draenor Inscription)600 (15⇑)700700700
Laughing TarotLight Parchment, War Paints (5)Draenor Inscription1 (5⇑)600603605
Molten TarotSavage Blood (15), Sorcerous Earth (40), War Paints (200)Technique (purchased with 5 Secrets of Draenor Inscription)600 (20⇑)700700700
Mystical CrystalSavage Blood (15), Sorcerous Water (30), War Paints (150)Technique (purchased with 5 Secrets of Draenor Inscription)600 (15⇑)700703705
Ocean TarotLight Parchment, War Paints (5)Draenor Inscription1 (5⇑)600603605
Research: Warbinder's InkLight Parchment (3), Warbinder's Ink (3)Draenor Inscription1 (3⇑)600603605
Savage TarotLight Parchment, War Paints (5)Draenor Inscription1 (5⇑)600603605
Secrets of Draenor InscriptionCerulean Pigment (2)Draenor Inscription1600650700
ShadowtomeLight Parchment (10), War Paints (50)Technique (purchased with Secrets of Draenor Inscription)600 (10⇑)700703705
Volatile CrystalCerulean Pigment (5), War Paints (10)Technique (purchased with Secrets of Draenor Inscription)600700703705
War Paints (4+)Cerulean Pigment (10)Draenor Inscription1700703705
Warbinder's InkCerulean Pigment (2)Draenor Inscription1600600600
Warmaster's FirestickSimple Wood, War Paints (100)Technique (purchased with Secrets of Draenor Inscription)600 (10⇑)700703705

True power-leveling Scribes can use Mists of Pandaria techniques and reagents to rapidly level for a few skill points from 600. Most Pandarian techniques turn grey at 605 or 610 skill, so such leveling will not be resource-efficient.

Both Secrets of Draenor Inscription and War Paints have daily cooldowns. You should be using those cooldowns anyway, at least until you have gained the 30 Secrets of Draenor Inscription required to buy all the oher techniques.

Everything else that reaches skill 700 uses War Paints... which are tied to a daily cooldown. War Paints are bound, so no trading. This effectively means leveling post-600 is tied to a daily cooldown. That's not entirely true, because War Paints can also be produced as Work Orders at your Garrison Scribe's Quarters. However Work Orders are produced on a 4-hourly cycle, so while not strictly daily, the net result is much the same: You are only going to be able to produce a finite amount of War Paints per time period.

It is recommended, but not strictly necessary, that you build at least a level 1 Scribe's Quarters at your Garrison to maximise your production of War Paints - see Warlords of Draenor for details. Each Work Order produces a single set of War Paints - 6 per day, in addition to the 4-10 War Paints (increases form skill 600 to 700) produced using th edaily cooldown.

Most of the techniques with guaranteed skill-ups between 600 and 700 skill must be purchased with Secrets of Draenor Inscription from vendors in Ashran (ask a guard about Inscription) or your Garrison Scribe's Quarters (if you have one). The most advanced of these techniques (including that for Darkmoon Card of Draenor) cost 5 Secrets, others 1 Secret. All these techniques have the same ratio of skill-ups to War Paints used (1:10). Some have additional reagents that are more difficult to obtain - notably Savage Blood. However, almost every option will be valuable at auction.

Card of Omens are the important exception. The technique is automatically learned with Draenor Inscription, and is the only technique so-taught that remains orange (guaranteeing a skill-up) until skill 700. Card of Omens is also the most material-efficient method of leveling, since it only uses 5 War Paints - a skill to Paint ratio of 1:5 - twice as good as the options above. The disadvantage is that limited (in time) supply reagents are being used to produce something whose value is defined primarily by its vendor price. While Card of Omens are expected to be auctionable (because some people like to gamble), their value is likely to be a fraction of some of the options above, especially at the start of the expansion.

So there is a clear choice between Card of Omens and the rest:

The decision is not quite so straightforward, because at higher skill more War Paints are gained from cooldown production. So reaching 700 skill quickly may be advantageous, simply for the subsequent bonuses to War Paint production: At skill 600, 4 War Paints are typically produced when using the daily cooldown, rising to about 10 by skill 700.

However, any optimum calculation also needs to consider the basic question, what are you aiming to produce? This is a particular concern at the start of the expansion, where auction house prices for crafted gear are typically at their highest - a market that might be missed by leveling via Card of Omens.

Assuming an average of 13 War Paints per day while leveling (average 7 from daily cooldown, plus 6 from Work Orders), leveling from 600 to 700 will take at least 39 days (using Card of Omen). That will be reduced by several days through skill points gained from Secrets of Draenor Inscription, but in practice expect to spend at least a month leveling to 700 skill.

Learn More