Tobold's Blog
Friday, January 30, 2009
Usefulness of professions

I've been pondering the professions of my three level 70 to 80 characters, and how useful these professions are for me. By far the biggest success in that respect is my warrior, who is herbalist and alchemist. Herbalism not only supplies me with the herbs I need, it also gives me a self-healing ability (Lifeblood). Alchemy gives me Endless Healing Potions (as well as regular ones), increased in effect by 40% through the alchemist's stone trinkets. It also gives Mixology, which increases the effect of flasks and elixirs by up to 50%, and doubles their duration. The combination of Lifeblood, Endless Healing Potion, and Enraged Regeneration means I can normally keep myself up to full life without using any consumables, which is quite nice. In addition to the use for himself, the alchemy also enables me to make flasks and elixirs for my other characters cheaper than as if I would buy them. And I'm making some money from the daily transmute, turning cheap eternals into expensive ones, sometimes getting several due to transmutation mastery. And of course herbalism would be a great money-maker, if I wanted to farm herbs.

My priest is doing mining and jewelcrafting. Mining gives me Toughness, increasing my stamina by 50, useful, but not the most important stat for a PvE healing priest. It is also a good farming skill. Jewelcrafting has probably the best daily quest in the game, as you can exchange the token you get for a Dragon's Eye. Those sold for up to 500 gold earlier, but dropped to about half that now. The other option is to make epic rings, which are also selling for much money, but slowly. The other option of course is to spend the tokens on jewelcrafting recipes, or use the Dragon's Eyes for yourself. That gives you the best gems in the game, although you are limited to 3 of those prismatic gems overall. Another nice bonus of jewelcrafting is the Sapphire Owl Figurine trinket, which not only boosts my stats, but also has a useable ability to restore mana. The only downside of jewelcrafting is that there isn't much of a market for gems. Patch 3.0.8. ruined the last of it with the introduction of a way to turn cheap uncommon gems into rare gems, and the prices for those are in free fall. It seems like a waste to spend 3 tokens on a jewelcrafting recipe for a worthless rare gem cut. Nevertheless it is nice to have jewelcrafting to supply oneself and all alts with gems, when needed.

The least happy crafter is my mage, who has tailoring and inscription. Tailoring is okay, I guess, providing both the mage and the priest with cloth armor, now that crafted epics aren't bind on pickup any more. The spellthreads are also useful, and the flying carpet is at least funny. I tried making money from tailoring by buying cheap spellweave, ebonweave, and moonshroud, and crafting epics from them. But that business is slow at the best of times, and recently I even lost money from it, when the AH price for a spellweave robe dropped from 1750 to 750 gold within a week, with plenty of competition and nobody buying. Inscription I'm not happy with at all. The self-only shoulder enchants aren't must-have. And learning all the glyph recipes takes a long time and much money for snowfall ink. I managed to break even by turning the ink of the sea you gain at the same time into armor vellums, and selling those. But the glyph market is incredibly slow and fragmented. On my faction and server there are two people selling basically all glyphs, and so low is the demand that they can supply the whole market demand. Prices are already low, and when I try to break into the market, prices drop into the loss zone. Milling herbs into pigments and inks is profitable, but the pigments and inks rarely sell, and so you need to turn them into other things, all of which sell slowly. And then there is the big lottery option: Transform huge amounts of snowfall ink and other ingredients into Greater Darkmoon Cards. If you get nobles cards, you make a nice profit. But if you get the other three types you barely break even, or lose money, especially on the chaos cards nobody wants. But the worst aspect of inscription is that you never make anything you need yourself. Like everyone else I set my glyphs once and then forgot about them. There is no good reason to change them, and unless there are some new uber-glyphs, I'll probably just stick to the ones I have until the next expansion, and maybe even beyond. So now I'm at a loss whether I should keep inscription, or drop it and learn something more useful. But what?
Just an idea, perhaps pick up Alchemy with the mage as well? You can supply the skill ups with your warrior's herbalism or just buy the materials you need. The only reason I suggest this is the same reason you enjoy it so much on your warrior. The benefits of alchemy are a very nice reward.

I was going to suggest Enchanting, but from what I've heard lately, that's not much better than Inscription.
It's really strange to me how jewelcrafting seems so much more fleshed out than other professions. I'd suggest enchanting also, you can make some decent gold just from disenchanting BoE greens etc that you pick up and selling the materials.
Skinning made me a fortune early on in WOTLK. I have no idea, but traditionally the high prices for leather go down quickly. Unless you want to create something, Mining and Skinning make money and cost no money to learn, only 1-2 recipes like smelt rare material x per expansion. Inscription is a useful alt char profession, someone said some time ago. I would agree to this, it does not have too much appeal, as you can buy inscriptions and the shoulder enchants are of questionable value.

I would suggest enchanting+tailoring for your priest, because of the synergies. You can disenchant crafted items. Or just simply take skinning + mining or herbalism.
Check the price of Eternal Belt Buckle, and its materials. If there is more than 50% profit rate between them, roll BS. Having a tradeskill that provide no income is a waste. If you quest a lot, skinning is also an alternative, +crit is always nice to a mage.
I think there is a lot of value in the collecting trades only, inscription is pointless, enchantment isn't far behind and a lot of the good stuff on the crafting trades is BOE so you can just pay someone to make it for you anyway. Levelling any crafting profession is so time consuming or expensive that you might just be better off with skinning/mining or skinning/herb for cash and that's it. The only thing you lose by going down this route is the BOP items, but I don't think this is a great loss, a lot of the BOP stuff is recipes not items anyway.
Professions are only useful to make gold since the new expansion. Blizzard doesn't want everyone to reroll leatherworking because they've got an imba items (see drums in TBC). All professions give a similar bonus too now. Sure, the enchanting rings bonus is a bit better then inscription bonus but not by much. Nothing really is a "must have" these days.

All in all, if your profession doesn't make you money, it's useless. Want that epic item? Just ask someone to craft it for you.

I have been making some gold with glyphs. But it takes huge amounts of time to make it profitable and there's only need for one guy on a server to provide all glyphs. And even then, they don't sell a lot. Mostly new DK rolls and a few hybrids reglyphing between raids.
I'd suggest working out how much it'll cost to level a different crafting profession - in terms of time or money (since they essentially are the same thing). Enchanting is expensive to level (on my server at least).

I recently dropped herbalism for tailoring, because I wanted the flying carpet. At 440 I'm a bit disappointed with the high-end tailoring recipes. My current epics (5 man heroic drops) are better than the craftable ones already. Compared to something like jewelcrafting, which has dailies, boss drops, rep patterns etc, the devs seemed to have thrown the carpet bone out to tailors, and forgot to add anything else. Even enchanters can buy some more recipes with shards. Tailors get... a few recipes for slightly bigger, expensive bags... oh and a few shirt patterns. Wooo...
My main is a protection pally with Alc/Herb. In retrospec I wish I chose blacksmithing/mining as I did on the DK....that would net me two sockets and 50 stamina...or in total close to 1k more health. Much better for a tank. Although Alc/Herb isn't without it's benifits. I really enjoy making my own flasks and having them last 4 hours. Last night during Naxx I only needed one stoneblood flask, which cost me $0 and lasted 4 hours. I farmed the mats, however if I wanted to sell this flask I could easily make a quick 50g-75g. Lifeblood is a quick 2k which is near useless since I have 30k health, a 6% hot is a bit on the cheep side. Perhaps make this a % of health to make it usefull for tanks.

My DK is a BS/Miner and they are my favorite. Mining 50 stamina si great for when my DK tanks pugs, and the two extra sockets BS gets is priceless. I never have to worry about meta gem requirements because of this. I also enjoy being able to craft my own epics, and send them to my pally. I've made a ton of cash from selling titansteel, or even just the cooldown.
Fishing has been my cash cow for professions. Watch the AH market and know where to get your fish. When you see an opening in the market to exploit, gouge the hell out of it. You can sometimes sell fish for well over 100g a stack, though more consistently 40-50g a stack. Individual fish sell well and at inflated prices to cooks just looking to cook one fish for the chef title. Also small stacks of 5 sell well for raider cooks wanting to grab some mats to cook before a raid.
"Like everyone else I set my glyphs once and then forgot about them. "
You don't PvP then. Aside from that I know a lot of healers and tanks who change them frequently. It's very profitable for this alone, same reason gems constantly sell.

If you are looking to make money gather. If you are looking for most buffs for you char, JC/inscription is currently the most powerful combo for raiders.
I know it's not a money making profession, but I still have an engineer (or two!) in my army of alts. The profession itself is just a lot of fun =) If you don't have one, and you aren't looking to milk the cash cow, I'd say give it a go! And if you are quick with your invis button, you can use jumper cables for a potential recovery! (and who doesn't want a lil' smokey/pet bombling, or a gnomish poultryizer!)

I have an Herb/Alch, Miner/JC, Miner/Engineer, Tailor/Enchanter, Engineer/Enchanter, Herbalist/Tailor, and Skinner/Herbalist. I've currently got my DK as an engineer/miner, but I'm thinking about moving him to miner/BS since I'm not sure my current BS, a low level warrior, is gonna make it =)

If you are just looking for professions that make cash, I'd say go herb/miner. There is always gold in ore and herbs. My current money maker, by a long shot, is still my JC. For an hour or so of mining saronite, I get a few hundred gold worth of prospected gems to sell. (Meta gems on my server are hot. For a lot time I was the only one listing the relentless earthseige diamond, and made a fortune from it!). I have seen the cost of gems drop some due to the influx coming in from the frozen orb transmutes, but it is still a very profitable profession.

But, if you are looking for fun, try out an engineer!

I agree that Inscription and Tailoring are both lacking. However, I'm happy I have them both do to my altism. Between my high end characters, I have every trade except Leatherworking and Jewelcrafting (my Dk will have JC if I ever bother to level him).

Financially, I've had the most profit from Enchanting and Cooking. My Scribe writes Vellums which I then Enchant and sell (Icewalker has been the best seller by far). Cooking provides such an array of buffs I'm shocked there are people who still haven't leveled it up.
I have a 72 prot paladin with 450 inscription. I'm happy with that profession for the following reasons:

1) Shoulder enchants. As an alt, he never acquired much scryer/aldor rep. And being sub-80, he naturally doesn't have access to Hodir rep (nor will he ever do those dailies). The scribe-only melee DPS shoulder enchant is +104 AP, +15 crit. That is 67 stat points, more than 4 rare gems worth (at 16 stat points per gem).

2) Vellums. My main is an enchanter with a few rare drop recipes, so I have a continual income stream by enchanting vellums to sell on the AH.

3) Glyphs. The key to making money with glyphs is to know which ones are in demand, and have patience while undercutting your competition and gouging at the right time (like a rogue). For example, I recently sold a few Immolation glyphs for 100g each. It takes a long time on the AH, and a good amount of time on Wowhead to learn which glyphs are desired. People are always rolling alts (since not everyone is a raider or pvp-er), and characters in every level range need glyphs. Also, I like having the ability to make glyphs for my other characters. If there are only 2 scribes on your server active on the AH, then there must be glyphs they haven't discovered yet. I've been doing the Northrend research almost every day since 11/16 and still haven't exhausted the set of discoveries.

4) Darkmoon cards. On my server, a stack of Adder's Tongue will sell for 50g on average. That produces 4 millings for a total of 12 azure and 6 icy pigments, which works out to 6 Ink of the Sea and 3 Snowfall Ink. So 2 stacks of those herbs (100g), with 3 eternal life (50g) will make a Darkmoon card. The Nobles cards sell for 600-1200g each, while the other cards sell for at least 100g. Long-term, the math works out in your favor.
I recently posted about my disappointment with inscription. A very poorly conceived profession IMHO.
Remember those hybrids of which you're so envious for their ability to respec to fill any role (assuming they have the gear and the experience)? They buy inscriptions like mad. When going to certain specs, such as resto druid, their costs for respec'ing can rise by over 100g, because some of the mandatory glyphs are learned through Northrend Inscription Research. You will make the shoulder enchants for yourself, and you will thank the heavens that you don't have to grind Hodir rep to exalted to get something ~40 points inferior.

The cost of rare gems will rise again when people's stocks of frozen orbs have been exhausted and the prices start to rise. Jewelcrafting generates a lot of money if you keep tabs on uncut/cut prices. I generate 150-200g a day with minutes of effort buying rare gems off the AH, cutting them, and re-listing them. The prismatic gems also mean you never have to compromise for a meta gem, and often not for sockets, either.

In terms of "must-have" bonuses, the stat bonuses you get from JC, BS, LW, Insc, Ench, Alch (from mixology boost), and mining are all within a point or two of each other. Unless the rest get something new, BS will win the contest when epic gems come into play. Jewelcrafting has utility in helping to socket. Alchemy offers on-the-spot versatility, but only gives its bonus when you have a flask or elixir (that you know how to craft) running. LW, Inscription, and Enchanting don't have the versatility of the first three, and mining provides only health. Skinning loses the stat bonus competiton, and Herbalism and Engineering offer other bonuses.
I'm so glad that my server's economy isn't like the ones described above. Inscription has made me approximately 17,000 gold so far since 3.0, I simply do my research every day, and keep one of each discovered glyph I know up on the AH. Check each morning and evening, relist the ones that expired, make new ones of the ones that sold. I doubt I spend much more than a quarter of an hour on it a day, and it consistently makes hundreds of gold a day, now.

Plus of course it's nice to be able to take care of my own glyphs whenever I respec, and help out my guildmates. I'm getting pretty close to having every discovered glyph now, once I reach that point I'll be pretty happy.
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