Tobold's Blog
Friday, March 09, 2007
 
Burning Crusade tradeskills

I've been asking one of the best blacksmiths on my server to give me his impressions on his craft. Of the producing tradeskills I've more towards those that produce mainly "consumables" (Alchemy, Jewelcrafting, Enchanting), and neglected those that produce mainly more permanent gear (Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, Tailoring). So with getting the observations of a blacksmith, I now got a wider view of crafting in the Burning Crusade.

Getting any tradeskill up to 375 is a rather expensive process. The blacksmith needed 1,000 thorium bars and 200 elemental earth just to get to 330. My jewelcrafter used a long list of gems to level up to just 310. But all of these were with materials that could be gathered before the Burning Crusade even started, and lots of people had stockpiled materials to get their tradeskills up fast.

Progress got a lot slower when the only recipes that still advanced your skills were those only found in the new areas. The only lucky one here is my alchemist, because herbs are relatively abundant and easy to find. Finding ore nodes is a lot harder, apparently they spawn less often, or there are far more people searching for them, as ore nodes are used for jewelcrafting, blacksmithing, and engineering. To put this into some perspective: While prices for Adamantium Ore fluctuate wildly, the range is about 1 gold to 3 gold for a *single* ore, 20 to 60 gold for a stack. So with an average price of 2 gold per ore, and an average yield of 2-3 ore per node, finding a single adamantium node is worth 5 gold!

If fel iron and adamantium is already not easy to find, getting eternium and khorium gets really, really hard. Eternium is a random rare "side-drop" from mining fel iron or adamantium ore nodes. Khorium is gathered from khorium ore nodes, which rarely spawn in the place where usually a fel iron or adamantium ore node spawns. There is no way to selectively go after either of them, you just hunt for the normal ores and have to get lucky to find them. That is especially hard on blacksmiths, because they use a lot of felsteel, which needs 4 eternium ore per steel bar to produce, so even one pair of felsteel gloves ends up needing 24 eternium ore.

While gathering materials is slow, getting the recipes to craft something higher level is a lot slower. Trainers don't give any of the higher level recipes, leaving only faction recipes and drops as source. The good news is that reputation in the Burning Crusade isn't all that hard to gather, because except for Aldor/Scryer rep you automatically gain faction by killing mobs in dungeons. Do a lot of 5-mans, and your reputations automatically goes up. Only if you happen to prefer soloing, you're screwed, limited to a few repeatable grinding quests to gain faction. The bad news is that drop recipes are really, really hard to acquire in the Burning Crusade.

This is due to rare drop recipes in the Burning Crusade using a new system. They are all "world drops", meaning there is no mob that drops them more often than another mob. You can't farm a particular corner of the world for a particular recipe any more, as it was still the case at level 60. The other new feature is that the rare drop recipes only drop for people with that tradeskill. If you are in a group of 5 and 2 of the players are jewelcrafters, and a mob drops a jewelcrafting recipe, only the 2 jewelcrafters will even see it and get the need/greed roll box. If there is no jewelcrafter at all, the drop simply doesn't happen, and thus the amount of recipes entering the world is further limited. As these drops are rare to begin with, and the crafters that are the only ones being allowed to get them of course first fill their own recipe books before selling excess recipes, the number of recipes found in the auction house is very limited, and the prices are sky-high, costing many hundreds of gold pieces. On the positive side of that is that crafters are now more unique, you will find few or no crafters having all the recipes of their trade. On the negative side your recipes are now very much random, there is no way to say "I want that recipe" and go after it, except for farming gold and camping the auction house.

The reason why I personally prefer crafting consumables, like potions or socketable gems, is that the resources for them are more widely available. I regularly gather adamantium ore, or buy stacks of them if the prices are below 25 gold per stack. Then I use the prospecting skill and transform them into adamantium powder (needed for mercurial adamantite, which is a major component in jewelry), lots of common gems, and the occasional rare gem. I get about 1 rare gem for 30 adamantium ore on average, so I can make a profit by selling the cut rare gems for 50 gold, and using the proceeds to buy more recipes.

For the crafters of gear, getting materials is a lot harder. The better recipes all use a lot of primals, which makes primals very much in demand and expensive. Both hardcore players and gold farmers nowadays spend a lot of time farming elementals to get primals. If you want to craft epic items, you often need one or several primal nethers. These only drop reliably from the end bosses of heroic instances, and can thus be considered as an added partial epic drop from them. Not something the average player will see a lot of.

A lot of the epic level 70 gear you can craft nowadays is "bind on pickup", and thus becomes soulbound as soon as you craft it. This very much illuminates the philosophy behind World of Warcraft tradeskills: you craft to enhance your own character, opening a business is secondary. If you want to be a blacksmith, you better do it with somebody able to wear plate armor and wield metal weapons, because as a priest, mage, or warlock you'd lose out on many of the crafts advantages. But if you're a warrior smith, you gain an additional source of epic weapons or armor, which are equivalent to what you can get in a raid.

In summary I'd say that the Burning Crusade tradeskills work as intended, giving players an additional thing to do to enhance their characters. This is far, far away from the concept of a player-run economy that games like UO, SWG, or LotRO have. Crafting doesn't play a big role in World of Warcraft, it's just an extra. It fits in the general philosophy of WoW as primarily a game, and not so much a virtual world. That will leave some player (including me) yearning for more, but works well enough for the majority.
Comments:
Similar story with leatherworking, as I was just blogging, the mass slaughter needed just for knothide leather (or more usually, just the scraps) is bad enough, let alone the smaller chances for fel hide, clefthoof leather, cobra scales and other bits. What I find particularly annoying is that, in trying to boost your skill for items which need a certain level of leatherworking to use, or later the BoP stuff, you've no real option but to churn out tons of almost useless stuff, which you might as well dump on the market for less than cost. They might as well rename Scaled Draenic Boots to Pointless Boots of the Timesink...
 
The primal nethers are a bit of a problem.

I need 10 to upgrade my breastplate and we started doing heroic instances and since its guild-runs there is no problem for me to "need" them. The problem is that others want to give me super rare recipies to craft them something BOE that requires primal nethers.

Then it's gonna be known that I crafted it coz of the "made by" stamp and I'm sure I would get more requests for it from others.

Gathering primal nethers at the moment is for my need, not to craft something for others. Later when we do heroic and it drops and I no longer need it for my gear what should I roll? Greed?
Do I take it and require gold for the effort to gather primals and then split profit among the group? Becomes a bit of a social dilemma. Since I spent literally thousands of gold to skill up blacksmithing and if noone else actually need these I think I just take them for future crafting to whomever.

anyway I am rambling here :)
 
I often wondered about that aspect of WOW. Why does Blizzard not encourage crafting as a business? Cearly this is deliberate policy. Would allowing more freedom to craft and sell high level stuff upset the delicate balance of an MMORPG economy? I would have thought that encouraging crafting as a business would go some way to placating the not quite so hard core players - it would give them an alternative game career path as well as allowing people to supplement their gear with bought items. What is the experience of other MMORPGS? Does a less constrained tradeskill economy (i.e. no BOPS) merely fuel ramapant gold farming or does it add to the game?
 
"If you are in a group of 5 and 2 of the players are jewelcrafters, and a mob drops a jewelcrafting recipe, only the 2 jewelcrafters will even see it and get the need/greed roll box. If there is no jewelcrafter at all, the drop simply doesn't happen..."

Are you sure? I got a lot jewelcrafting recipes, and i am no jewelcrafter.
 
@mbp wow is a loot-based mmorpg.
basically your advanced diablo2 hack'n'slash game.
 
Are you sure? I got a lot jewelcrafting recipes, and i am no jewelcrafter.

Certain bind-on-pickup recipes can indeed only be seen and looted, if you have a tradeskiller of the complying profession and, in some cases, skill-level with you.
 
I'm quite annoyed that as a tailor I have to buy Arcane Dust from the Auction House, in order to level up Tailoring (making bolts of Imbued Netherweave). That's a minimum of 2 gold per bolt I am having to pay, on top of all the Netherweave that I need.
Fair enough if I was producing actual robes or pants, but just for the basic cloth?
Where's that gold sellers number again?
 
hmm wat if blizz apply a simple remedy. to craft a BoP Epic u need less material than to craft a BoE Epic of same recipe
 
Thanks for the reply Mafti. In order to learn more I googled "loot based mmorpg" and came across a post by none other than Tobold from 2004 which sets out the disadvantages of "trade" based mmorpgs. http://tobolds.blogspot.com/2004/04/disadvantages-of-player-based-economy.html
It seems that loot and trade do not make comfortable bedfellows. Its a pity really, I feel that trading with other players adds richness to a game.
 
I wasn't totally clear on the recipes only visible for people of that profession. This isn't true for all recipes, but only for some, and those are mostly bind-on-pickup. I haven't seen a comprehensive explanation of the system, nor a list which would tell me which recipes are affected by that and which are not. I only stumbled over them when some crafter asked "can I roll need on that recipe" and got blank stares and "what recipe?" comments from the rest of the group.
 
As a blacksmith, my only request would be that the items you churn out vary in quality, i.e. strength on a breastplate could be anywhere between +10 to +15, and agility likewise +5 to +20.

Whenever you make an item you could end up with something average, poor or very good. This would give me an incentive to farm more mats and make more items, knowing that I really want that top of the range item.
 
367 Tailor currently sitting on 14 Primal Nether from non heroic instances. Cant use them because the other mats for the items that use the nether are all on a 4 day cooldown, and require a month to make myself...

WTB reduced cooldown for Primal Mooncloth/Spellcloth/Shadow Cloth...
 
Some recipes for tradeskills can be farmed off a particular mob and aren't random world drops. If you use wowhead.com or any other wow information site you can see what I mean.

The +15 shadow resistance to cloak recipe only drops from the shadow creatures around Manaforge Ultris. Also my friends regularly farm the elves at the Path of Conquest for a alchemy recipe that drops from there.

Most dungeons will also have one particular type of mob that can be farmed for a recipe. I think two of the felsteel patterns have to be farmed this way and aren't a random drop.
 
Just a clarification on recipes -

There are some BoP recipes that, as far as I can tell, only drop from certain mobs in dungeons. The recipe for Enchant Weapon: Savagry for example only has a chance to drop from the four Centurions in Shattered Halls. These BoP recipes can only be seen by people with that profession. Since I'm an enchanter, I'd be able to see BoP enchanting formulas, but not tailoring or blacksmithing patterns.

Then there are random world drop BoE's and specific world drop BoE's. The random world drops have a chance to drop from many mobs in a certain level range. The specific world drops only drop from a certain mob. For example, the formula for Enchant Cloak: Greater Shadow Resistance only drops from Voidshriekers in Netherstorm (boo 0.4% droprate).
 
Like Zoso, I'm still (idiotically) a leatherworker. Skinning can make decent money, but my leatherworking has been 359 for a couple weeks now. The thing is, I can't find any reason to raise it any higher. I sell any of the 365 recipes that I get as drops, as they all require Primal Nethers which is a bottleneck that I don't intend to deal with.

Most of the "master" BOP items you can craft are good to very good (my buddy is living his shadowweave shoulders), but the leather set for rogues? Total garbage. For some reason Blizzard in their infinite wisdom decided that rogues should get the only master set without gem slots, and the stats on the set certainly don't warrant the loss of those slots.

C'est la vie. I've been saying for 2 years I was going to drop leatherworking and I haven't. I'm convinced that the instant I drop it they'll make it worthwhile. I keep thinking I'll go enchanting just for the personal ring enchants, or maybe take up a 2nd gathering profession to go with skinning.
 
My general take on trade skills in reference to blacksmithing:
Consumables are more useful in the long run.
Blacksmithing stinks.
My blacksmith stalled at 272 because I tired of chasing high mat requirements. Three primary professions use Thorium veins, which are scattered widely and low yield per node. The stuff I'd make is valuable than the mats. The sharpening stones - the consumables - are actually more useful than the crafted armor and weapons.

As I consider Blacksmithing:
Blacksmithing is spread over too much area -- mail and plate armor, virtually every melee weapon slot, and a few trade goods. The sharpening stones, and to a lesser extent keys, are useful (consumables).
Since there is no stone from Outland nodes, there are not even any higher sharpening stones.

So to sum up, every once in a while I go back and look at what it would take to skill up blacksmithing without paying oodles of gold (assuming for a moment that I had the recipes). That would probably be with Imperial Plate Bracers at 12x Thorium bars; it will go yellow at 290.
First, leave Outland, because there are no Thorium nodes in Outland.
Second, farm Thorium; an odious task since the nodes yield 1-4 ore depending on node type.
Then the next problem:
Looks like the first Fel Ore recipe requires 315 skill.
Imperial Plate Boots (18x Thorium bar) would do the trick, 295 skill start and taking to 315 before going yellow.

So I might go with the Bracers from 272 to 295, requiring 276 Thorium bars and use Boots to 315, another 360 Thorium bars, for a grand total of 636 Thorium bars.
To earn the right to craft Fel Iron Pants at 315.

636 Thorium...
Or I can run around Outland and pick up 30 Zeppelin crash parts and get Plate legs that are roughly equivalent of the Fel Iron Pants.
 
Omission in the above:
The stuff I'd make is [less] valuable than the mats.
 
I'm surprised no one addressed that many of the "epic" crafted items are far from it. So far, my lucky lock char has looted 1 epic tailoring pattern, 1 epic leatherworking pattern, and 2 rare tailoring patterns. I mailed the leatherworking one off to an enthusiastic leatherworking friend, but the stats on all 4 of these items frankly stink.

The tailoring epic item is Manaweave cloak: 20 int&spir plus 8/mp5. The mp5 is nice for extended fights, but I'd rather wear the cloak my priest got in some mid-60's instance with +20 something in a few stats and +40 to heal and damage. And it's a blue. The epic cloak should have at least some sockets - something to make it epic. It's actually the same stats as a blue cloak that drops in Khazawhatever.

And don't even get me started on the mats for it. Would take me almos a month to self make them.

I've seen some really nice dropped epic weapon patterns, but the crafted armor, that isn't BoP, has been largely unimpressive.
 
Just to correct a few misconceptions...

The blacksmith needed 1,000 thorium bars and 200 elemental earth just to get to 330.

Only if you're really dumb. If you talk to the trainer in the first city of the Outlands, you're immediately offered a number of Fel Iron recipes. Make those instead! The first few just take 6-8 Fel Iron, which is not hard to find.

This is due to rare drop recipes in the Burning Crusade using a new system. They are all "world drops"

Not true. I just went last night and farmed the Boulderfist Warriors in Nagrand to find a Ragesteel recipe. Took me ~ half an hour.

Since there is no stone from Outland nodes, there are not even any higher sharpening stones.

There are in fact two higher-level sharpening stones that are made from Adamantium and Khorium respectively.
 
It fits in the general philosophy of WoW as primarily a game, and not so much a virtual world.

Exactly! I too long for the more worldly-type game, but WoW is what it is.
 
Tobold, I hope you're checking the comments still on this post, 'cause I'd like to ask you a question. Have you had a chance to really explore the tradeskills of LoTR Online very much?

If so, I'd be interested in what you think of them (perhaps a post when you get time?). Also, I know that LoTR is a different game than these others, but I'd be interested in your opinion of how it compares and constrasts with the PvE from Dark Age of Camelot as well as World of Warcraft.

Of course, I don't know if you have any experience with Dark Age of Camelot or not.

Why don't I just join the beta? Because I'm interested to know, but don't have the money for the computer system to deal with it (mine no longer even runs WoW) and I don't have *any* spare time right now, unless you count a little posting while at work.

Thanks!
 
Have you had a chance to really explore the tradeskills of LoTR Online very much?

Only the farming and cooking I wrote about. I tried the others, did some mining, smithed some weapons, gathered wood and crafted wooden weapons from it, but all just the starting recipes. Can't really judge how it will work out in the retail version yet.

The only thing I noticed is that by giving out tradeskills only in bundles of three, it is sure that players will need to rely on resources gathered by other players, which is a start of a player-run economy.
 
Tholal wrote: Only if you're really dumb. If you talk to the trainer in the first city of the Outlands, you're immediately offered a number of Fel Iron recipes. Make those instead! The first few just take 6-8 Fel Iron, which is not hard to find.

Totally wrong. If you stored up the thorium before the Burning Crusade, it was much, much cheaper skilling up with that. You could buy a stack for 3 gold. So 1000 thorium bars were 150 gold. During the first two weeks after the release, you could sell a single stack of fel iron for 80 Gold or more. Now that we are several weeks into the Crusade, things have changed, though both Fel Iron and Thorium still cost gold.
 
Totally wrong. If you stored up the thorium before the Burning Crusade, it was much, much cheaper skilling up with that.

I wasn't talking about the cost factor, but the pain-in-the-butt factor.

*shrug*

I had no trouble skilling up blacksmith so that I was always able to make items higher than my level all the way up to level 70 using materials I gathered in the Outlands myself (if you're trying to skill up without the appropriate gathering skill, then that's a whole different sort of pain).
 
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