My alt and profession mindset for Warlords, Part 2: Changes

With little information about professions other than that “change is coming” and some other small points, I’ve stood pat with respect to my current professions, for now. Of course, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been considering some rearrangement…

However, with Celestalon’s recent tweet (H/T The Godmother) stating that primary stat gems are gone in 6.0, my thoughts on changes I will make at that point are becoming more cemented in my brain. More info will determine whether I make these changes a reality, but right now they seem fairly certain to happen.

What are they, you ask?

Well, in light of my earlier post about how I will be paring down the number of toons I level to max by almost half in WoD – and thus, paring down my profession burden – I have been thinking practically about which toons I want to rely on for mats, especially when considering that farms will not be coming with us to WoD. Even if, as The Godmother suggests, professions make no raid-valuable gear in WoD, I’ll still want max-level profs on the toons that I will be playing, for various reasons. But with the expected re-tooling coming, the way I’ve crafted for the past couple of years will change, and the ‘no primary stats on gems’ theme is a perfect example of a good reason to review what I do on which toons.


Case in point: my hunter, who is my main and the toon that I am likely to play far more than any other in WoD, is currently a Leatherworker. I used to have that paired with Skinning, but changed it in Cataclysm for Blacksmithing and the superior 2-extra-Agi-gem bonus. While this has obviously served me well for raiding purposes, it’s been a tad inconvenient in terms of supplying my own leather. My alternatives for leather included the farm, my druid, and leveling my extra hunter – none of which is quite like supplying your own leather.

As such, I’m seriously leaning toward switching Mushan back to a LW/SK. I’m going into the xpac with a different mindset than previous ones, and I plan on immersing myself in playing this toon, rather than getting several profs off the ground ASAP, and trying to make a ton of gold at the AH, and so on. So self-sufficiency on the leather front will be nice, while I should be able to provide for myself financially otherwise. The hunter will lead the way. The rest will follow in their own time.


Speaking of the druid, I’m considering making Ana an Herbalist instead of a Skinner. She’s a Leatherworker, but since I mainly play her as a healer, it would be nice to have a profession that doesn’t rely on killing mobs in order to gather anything in significant numbers. Additionally, since I’m thinking of retiring my paladin, it would be nice to have a source of herbs.

Having two LWs would be redundant, but I have a hard time changing her main prof to, for instance, Alchemy (and hence deleting the thus completely redundant paladin), because I have years of rare and epic recipes on her that I am loathe to get rid of. The option is not entirely off the table, but it would be a very hard thing for me to pull the trigger on.


Droignon is a Blacksmith and a Miner. He shall remain so: both professions are well-suited to a Prot warrior, regardless of any forthcoming changes.


Currently, Modhriel’s a Tailor (which he will continue to be) and a JC (which is up in the air, but which he will probably continue to be). I don’t have any plans for this one; at any rate, he’s low on the priority list).

* * *

The main point is that my hunter is likely to become a Skinner again after more than three years away from the profession. In the spirit of simplifying things and not being as hardcore and nit-picky about the game – and in the interest of complementary professions on my main toon – I like the way this feels. Assuming that Skinning still boosts Critical Strike chance in Warlords, the profession is useful in that regard, so I don’t feel that I’m giving up too much by doing so. And the interplay between the professions feels more natural to me than having the two crafting profs. And that’s how it felt the first time I ever paired the two.

* * *

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!

New hunters: where to go for help/advice/info

On Monday, I got my first ever hit via Reddit.

Wait… what?

That’s what I said to myself when I saw that. As far as I know, I have never been linked on Reddit before. Since I was curious, I followed the link back, and it was to a thread by someone who is new to the game and chose to roll a hunter.

The link to Mushan, Etc. was put there by my friend Cheap Boss Attack, who referred to my blog as “a nice hunter blog.” To which I say, thanks! and /salute! @ Cheap Boss Attack. :)

But at the same time, I was troubled, for two reasons…

1) While this may be a decent blog – and perhaps even fun to read from time to time – I don’t know that I have much specifically helpful hunter content to offer a new hunter here; and

2) There is no longer quite as long of a list of places to send a new player/hunter for advice.

Nonetheless, in case other brand new players come to my blog looking for guides or whatever, there are a few places that I can, in turn, recommend.

Resources for new hunters/players (Not a complete list by any stretch!)

Scattered Shots – the hunter class column at WoW Insider

WoW Insider is a wonderful site. It’s extremely active, with many new posts a day concerning most aspects of the game. There are weekly class columns for most of the classes, including hunters. WoW Insider is also a great source for up-to-date news, lore, commentary on the design of the game, daily Breakfast Topics to promote reader discussion, raiding and PvP columns, a weekly podcast, and much more. It’s a site with something (or many things!) for virtually everyone, and has a very large base of active commenters. Additionally, there is information in the form of new-player “getting started” guides there for new players (of any stripe), which can be very helpful for someone just beginning to explore this huge game.

Scattered Shots – specifically – is the hunter class column. It has been written by different people over the years, and went through a long hiatus during the spring and summer between columnists. However, it is currently active and is being written by Adam Koebel, who seems to be doing a great job. The previous columnist, Brian Wood, wrote Scattered Shots for several years until this spring, and although the game tends to change from patch to patch and expansion to expansion, the pre-Adam posts are definitely worth the read if you’re looking to get a feel for the history and culture of the class and the hunter community.


If you’re looking for a site that is chock full of information on gear/items, quests, NPCs, professions, loot tables, and more information than I am willing to categorize in this post, WoWhead is your place. It’s a massive database/news site/blog that has a just a ton of info on just about anything you could need to find. Definitely a place to bookmark and visit often.


For good basic guides on how to raid with your class once you hit the max level – as well as dungeon/raid boss guides, news, forums, reputation guides, lengthy quest lines, etc., Icy-Veins is a great resource for any class.

The Brew Hall

Darkbrew (The Brew Hall) not only blogs about hunters, but he’s a co-founder of the Hunting Party Podcast, which is the podcast for World of Warcraft Hunters. He posts each episode on his site, and you can also find podcast information at OutDPS!, which Darkbrew recently took over when the podcast’s co-founder, Euripides (founder of OutDPS!), retired. The Hunting Party Podcast is both entertaining and informative, and listening to back episodes can provide a further look into the history of the hunter community, and of the game itself.

MMO Champion

For all the latest news, datamining, first looks at new gear/quests/mounts and pets/blue posts and changes, etc, MMO-Champion is a great site. Not only do they have frequent posts (and updates to those posts) with info on the game as it changes, but there are also forums with helpful guides to many aspects of the game. Additionally, in the past couple of years they’ve put together a great site in WoWdb, which is, among other things, a comprehensive item database with some excellent search-filtering features. Another great resource.


Have a question about hunter pets? Wondering what special abilities certain pets have, which pets are best in certain situations, or which pets bring which buffs to your group? Want to know which food you can give your pet without him spitting it back at you? Petopia is your one-stop shop for pet info!

El’s Extreme Anglin’ – World of Warcraft FIshing Guide

Fishing can be both an enjoyable and profitable activity. If it interests you, or if you need to find certain fish, or have any other questions about anything fishing-related in WoW, El’s Anglin’ is the top resource. He cover’s fishing, cooking, achievements, and related topics on his site.


WoWpedia is the wiki source I use whenever there’s something I want to know about the game that I feel they might cover better than most. There’s information on almost everything – I tend to use it most for lore and history, but over the years I’ve gone there for information on just about anything you can think of.

Ask Mr. Robot

Looking to optimize your gear and character for end-game raiding, dungeons, or PvP? Mr. Robot can help you gem, enchant, and reforge your gear, as well as find upgrades, and also has an in-game addon for all of that. There’s a lot to explore on Ask Mr. Robot – I use it all the time. Check it out!

As I noted above, this is nowhere near a comprehensive list of resources. There are also some important links to resources that I didn’t include on this list at the right side of my blog, so feel free to check them out. Additionally, check out resources you can find on other peoples’ blogrolls, and links to great sources of info in articles on the sites I mentioned. There’s a lot of info – and fun stuff to read – out there, and I don’t even know about all of it!

World of Warcraft is a big game – and by that, I’m not referring to how many copies it sells or subscribers it has. What I do mean is this: we’re four full expansions past the game’s release, and looking at possibly a fifth during the next year, which is also the 10th anniversary of the game’s release. That’s a lot of lore and history and community and commentary to discover: you could theoretically lose yourself for hours on some of the sites I mentioned above, and for days on others!

I hope that someone finds this post helpful. I’m not a guide-writer or a theory-crafter, and I’m not even a nine-year “been here since WoW-beta” veteran. But I’ve been around a while, and have found all of these tools useful. Hopefully, sharing them with you can open your eyes to new things as well.

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments and suggestions are welcome and encouraged!

That elusive crafted belt pattern

Most hunters with Tier 16 set-bonus considerations are probably only looking for one of the new 5.4 crafted pieces. While the legs would be a not-insignificant upgrade, I’m not terribly excited about the prospect of using my hard-earned mats (28 Hardened Magnificent Hides) for something that could be replaced by a tier piece. With that in mind, I’m basically aiming for the belt.

As luck would have it, I’m all set on Int-mail, Int-leather, and Agi-leather patterns as of this morning. Yay…

Of course, since I’m a hunter and this is not World of Wear Whatever (WoWW), I’m not interested in those patterns. I have two Leatherworkers: two chances a day to proc the pattern I need.

Granted, the chance that I get that one belt pattern is small – smaller than it is for any other current-patch daily crafting cooldown, in fact. The Hardened Magnificent Hide cooldown teaches 82 patterns, minus the one you possibly learn the first day. Blacksmithing (41 patterns) and Tailoring (40 patterns) take a great deal less time to complete, which is understandable since there are only three PvE spec-types for BS (tank, melee, heal; and only melee and heal plate for the PvP gear) and two for Tailoring (caster, heal), as opposed to LW (Agi-leather, Agi-mail, Int-leather, Int-mail). Without going into the probability math, it’s safe to say that Leatherworkers have, in general, the smallest chance of getting the pattern they’re looking for as soon as possible.

There’s a profession design post somewhere in that last paragraph, but I’m not going to write it – it’s been written by better writers than me, on both blogs and the forums. Some people, however, may not realize that there’s a lack of equality in the mechanics of epic-pattern-learning.

Anyway, that’s not why I’m here talking about this today. Well, it sort of is, because, between my two LWs, I’ve got 3 of 4 belt patterns on the hunter…

...And belts for all... almost.

…And belts for all… almost.

…and 3 of 4 leg patterns on the druid…

Hehe... britches...

Hehe… britches…

…but no Agility mail. Yet.

Since we’re well past the point where these items can be crafted – September 30th was the first day belts could be made, and October 7th the first day for legs – I’ve thought about other options.

35k? Drop in the bucket.

35k? Drop in the bucket.

For instance, the belt I’m looking to make – Gorge Stalker Belt – is on the Auction House. It’s 35-40k gold, depending on the day. At this point in the game, I would normally drop that kind of gold for new gear without the slightest regret. In fact, I’ve dropped way more for that in the past. I like getting gear upgrades, whatever the method. I dropped 22k on the Ranseur of Hatred 4.2 (and again for my druid), 40k on the Lava-Bolt Gun Sound Maker Crossbow in 4.2, and much more than that on several Darkmoon trinkets early in this expansion. But there’s something different about this…

There’s something about making your own gear. It’s not a very big part of the game right now. We only get a couple of pieces per tier, and other than PvP/starter/leveling gear, there isn’t a whole lot else that really makes a difference. Which is kind of boring, given the huge amount of recipes that one learns (see the “82 pattern” thing from above). And this is the second time this expansion we’ve grinded this number of patterns through daily CDs.

However, despite the problems that exist in profession design, I do enjoy crafting. I especially enjoy crafting for myself. There’s something particularly satisfying about crafting: getting the last piece(s) you need for an item, watching the materials disappear as they turn into the item, and then equipping and enhancing it as necessary.

Reading back through that last paragraph, it seems like a pretty boring thing. And perhaps it’s nigh impossible to explain why I get a small bit of enjoyment out of that particular activity, but when I make a piece of gear for myself, it gives me a feeling of fulfillment, and lends to feeling a little more immersed in the game. That feeling may not last long, but it’s certainly not something I don’t care about.

As it stands, with no pattern to make anything useful with yet, there are only three options: 1) wait patiently for the pattern to happen; 2) toss aside my desire to make it myself and buy the item on the AH; 3) find a way to trade with someone.

I’ve already managed Option 3 one time this patch, and it was on a plate piece. Due to a combination of luck and, oh, the fact that there is a smaller pool of Blacksmithing patterns to learn than Leatherworking, I learned all six 553 patterns on my warrior fairly quickly. I had made a deal with Somb, my teammate, that if I learned the melee DPS belt before he did, I’d make it for him if he made me a tanking belt once he had learned that one. We had ourselves a deal, and so, on the Saturday night before last, I made him the DPS belt. Then, this past Thursday morning, I opened my mail to find this:

Tank belt!

Tank belt!

Now the fact is, even if it had taken him a month or two to get the mats, I wouldn’t have minded since my plate tanks are somewhat dormant alts right now. I wanted to make him the belt, because we’re good friends and because it helps our team. The fact that he was able to get a belt back to me so soon was a bonus.

Trading is certainly an attractive option for me. Why? Because, as much as there is satisfaction in making something for yourself, there is even greater pleasure in mutually benefiting from crafting items for one another. It’s a bond-strengthening experience, and it involves interacting and working together, which is a big draw of the game for me.

However, unlike the Blacksmithing situation, I don’t know any Leatherworkers who have the pattern and would be willing or able to trade me a Gorge Stalker Belt for a similar item. We have a resto druid who is a LW, but he only has two patterns, neither of which either of us can use. And the worst part? I found out this morning that my girlfriend’s druid LW has the Gorge Stalker Belt pattern(!!), but when I asked her how many pieces of leather she has, she said “Oh… four.”


I was all ready to suggest a trade – “I’ll make you the shammy belt/druid belt if you make me the hunter one…” – but no. At the rate she is remembering to do the daily CD (lol!), I’ll know the belt pattern before she has enough leathers to make me one.

But if she did have the mats, I would have been happy making the trade, and she would have been happy with a new piece of gear as well. There’s a positive (and partly intangible) element to trading crafted items that I feel Blizzard doesn’t allow us to fully explore with crafting (on a certain, “epic” level…).

I could certainly just buy the piece and be done with it, if I were impatient enough. But it’s not a BoE drop, and it’s not a weapon, or a big enough upgrade that it’s almost essential. And so I am determined to have the pleasure of either making one for myself or trading a crafted leather/mail piece for one with a friend. I’m determined to have that small slice of satisfaction from a portion of the game that could provide so much more of it.

Is this the best decision from a pure-performance standpoint? No, probably not – and I begrudge nobody’s decision to do so. But because I could soon make it myself, performance is not an important-enough reason to just spend the gold. If the wait proves to be worth it, on a good-for-the-soul level, then I’ll take the wait.

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!

“World of Warcraft: 100”

Mushan, the "Golden Lotus Hero"

Mushan, the “Golden Lotus Hero”

I’m just sort of winging it here…

The past couple of days, I’ve been thinking a bit about the next expansion and how I want to approach the opening week(s) of play.

With the past two expansion releases, I made increasingly concerted efforts to get to 90 quickly. In Cataclysm, my druid went first, leveling as a tank, and my hunter came second, leveling as… well, as a killing machine!

(/queue a Joe Swanson “YEEAAAHHHH!!! LOCK N LOOOAAD!!!”).

Hunters! Anyway…

The druid took longer, obviously – I finished on Friday after playing almost non-stop other than sleep and meals since the Tuesday morning of that launch. The hunter wasn’t speed-leveled, but it took less play-time regardless. In MoP, I reversed course, leveling my hunter in about 30 hours and finishing on the Thursday, after starting at about 6pm on the Tuesday of that launch. The druid and warrior soon followed, but the speed-leveling was done at that point.

The reason I leveled the druid so fast in Cataclysm was because I wanted to devour the content. In retrospect, I should have done that on the hunter, but I wasn’t thinking about it that way at that point. In MoP, however, the reason that I speed-leveled the hunter was because I wanted to be ready for raiding as soon as it was available. I was chomping at the bit to start raiding, without a doubt.

So, how did that go?

Well, it had its positives and negatives.

I had fun leveling on Mushan, because it’s the toon I would have the most fun doing most things with anyway, but I also blew through content that I could have enjoyed more, particularly given the speed at which we actually started raiding. (For those not in the know, it took us more than six weeks to get into Mogu’shan Vaults.)

In light of those general facts, I’m contemplating different leveling strategies for BC2*. More on those later in the post.

In addition to the 90-95 or 90-100 grind that is forthcoming, I’ve also been thinking about the leveling game as a whole recently.

Right now, I have seven 90s. Of those, one raids, two can do LFR whenever I want, and the others are currently in various states of “profession mule”/”play when I feel like”-ness. In addition to these, I have my 85 scribe druid – and I am loathe to level her right now (although I probably will sometime before the next xpac, because I do like having a scribe) – and low-level (25-30) hunter and shaman.

I usually enjoy leveling, and had some good fun leveling my death knight during this expansion. But I can’t get into leveling either of my lowbie toons right now.

This is a somewhat sad thing for me, because I remember a time just five years ago when the game seemed much bigger. There was so much that I didn’t know about it: I was leveling my druid, and having so much fun. The quests were awesome (if painful at times), there was no way to fly around and air-drop into quest spots, there were a ton of materials and items that I had to figure out what to do with. As this was my first MMO, and one of my first RPGs, there was a lot to learn about crafting and questing and the like. I made my way through this completely huge world in constant awe of everything before my eyes, which is something that I miss – indeed, it’s even something that’s easy to forget when you become a jaded veteran, which is what I sort of consider myself.

These were the days before I was a raider. The days when I was scared shitless just thinking about PvP. When I got stuck on some quests in Dragonblight and got so frustrated with questing that I grinded Crystalized Water at The Mirror of Dawn (to sell on the AH) for two-thirds of a level so that I could just skip to Grizzly Hills… which took me for-EVER…

Yes, you read that right.

There is something terrifying and wondrous about being a complete noob and learning new things through the sheer experience of encountering them in the game. It causes you to work through problems in your own way, even if your solution seems completely asinine to others or upon reflection – like what I did back then in Dragonblight. It causes you to tread with care, to learn by trial and error what you can handle and what you can’t. It causes you to make mistakes – like using a rare crafting mat to make something that maybe you don’t need, or wearing something from the wrong armor class because you thought it might help, or spending your gold on something dumb and then not having enough to buy your first mount – and to learn to both live with the consequences of that choice and to get by in spite of it. This all comes in addition to the constant joy of new discovery through exploration and interaction.

In some ways, those experiences are both irreplaceable and unrepeatable. You can look back nostalgically, and revisit, and even still learn new things, but the first wave of eye-opening is a powerful thing.

Back when things were new... (remember Fox? lol)

Back when things were new… (remember Fox? hehe)

There’s one time you can do this again (without rolling a toon on the opposite faction, which is still an incompletely new experience), and it comes every couple of years or so: when a new expansion drops. And even then, it can’t be a completely new experience, because there are elements of the game that are the same as they’ve been since the beginning, and you’ve already experienced them to some degree or another.

Regarding what I said toward the top of the post, I’m thinking about these things as I imagine Week 1 of BC2*.

*BC2, for those who haven’t read me lately, is my attempt at a semi-humorous working title/reference for the next expansion, which may, or may not, be about the Burning Legion. Your mileage may vary… and we’ll find out in about a month what’s really going to happen!

There’s not much that we know about it at this point. There’s speculation, based on the tooltip for the heirloom weapons in Siege of Orgrimmar, that the next expansion will feature a level cap of 100. Presumably, this will mean that individual levels will be achievable more quickly, since the last thing many people want is an even more brutal leveling experience..

Beyond that – and that there will be many changes to how we play the game – not much has been confirmed. But it’s pretty much certain that there will be new zones to explore, new characters to meet, and so on.

My current m.o. is that I prepare and conquer, but I’m not so sure that that’s the way to go in “6.0.Whatever.” Based on my experience at the beginning of MoP, there probably wasn’t much value for me in getting to level 90, and getting geared to the teeth, as fast as possible. I sat and waited – impatiently, I’ll admit – for six weeks before we started raiding. And it took a long time for the raid team to come together even after that.

Oh, there was definitely value in being as geared as possible when we made our first foray into raiding. That extra preparedness on my part certainly didn’t hurt our efforts to kill the first boss or two in MsV. Being 90 in less than a week meant reaching the Valor cap the first week, being able to do LFR on schedule, getting the long rep grinds underway, getting the legendary grind started, and so on. But was it more fun than the alternative?

At the time, I spent a sizable portion of my time stewing over the fact that people weren’t leveling as fast as I thought they should. Several people had talked enthusiastically about raiding, but then disappeared, or whatever, and while there were several of us that were getting there, ready to go, there were others that took longer than I liked or even fell off the map. And the key here – given that switching guilds isn’t really an option that I’m interested in, since I’m playing with my friends (Period.) – is that I spent time resenting people when I could have been enjoying myself and my game-time more.

So the value was there, but I think I went about it the wrong way. Perhaps the uber-intense Mushan isn’t the best Mushan for Mushan’s guild.

We’re a casual guild – like, hard core. And I think that I’d like to embrace the opportunity that that can afford by enjoying my leveling time and experience in the next expansion. I’d like to complete more zones, get into the story a little more, and not worry about being the first to everything, the most heavily armored, one of the best-geared peeps on the server right away; that sort of thing.

I think that taking a different approach to this next expansion can help heal some of the malaise that I’m feeling about the leveling game right now. If I’m going to raid with good players / friends in a casual guild – in due time – perhaps I would have more fun if I allowed myself to enjoy the process of getting to that point.

I know this is all sort of general and abstract, but hopefully it makes sense.

This morning, I talked with a Pandaren NPC. Of course, at the end of the encounter, he left me with “Slow down. Life is to be savored!” I thought to myself that, given what I am contemplating for the next xpac, there’s a certain irony that I’m thinking of “slowing down and savoring” my experience a bit more, but an expansion late.

Ah well, better late than…

P.S. I’m going to suggest that the new expansion could be called “World of Warcraft: 100″… not that it should be, of course! But “100” and level 100 both go with the 10th anniversary kind of well, do they not?  :)

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan by Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!

Level 90!

I hit level 90 at approximately 4:30 pm Eastern on Thursday, after almost exactly 30 hours of time /played (total time minus bio/stretch breaks, sleep – about 11 hours over two sessions –  and meals, basically) over a 46 hour period. Then I took a shower.

Yes, leveling quickly isn’t the healthiest way to live, particularly when you do it the way I did – late nights, marathon quest sessions, short sleep sessions, and not enough caffeine (as weird as that sounds, I leveled to 90 without soda, coffee, chocolate, Red Bull, or 5 Hour Energy). Wednesday morning from 4-11 am, I got seven hours of sleep – which is a nice chunk – but that’s because my body simply wouldn’t function without it.

I have all kinds of thoughts on the expansion so far, but I don’t know if I will write about most of them now. For one, they may make better separate posts. Additionally, I don’t know if I have the will or energy to even do much here today.

At any rate, I hit up the Golden Lotus dailies, as well as the Klaxxi and the Tillers. Halfhill is such a cluster right now that I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be doing it, and in my exhaustion I initially got pissed off about my lack of understanding about how it worked. So I did what you do in situations like that: just do the quests, dammit! Now I’m all settled in and learning how to make all kinds of yummy and beneficial foods…

I’ve done a couple of scenarios – Arena of Annihilation and Crypt of Forgotten Kings – and have enjoyed them immensely more than Theramore. For both scenarios, I went with my leveling spec, and, particularly for Crypt, I was able to pet tank – and to do so effectively – as Survival, as we had three DPS for both scenarios. That was fun for me. The new true taunt that pets have now is great, because a couple of these guys already out-geared me by quite a bit.

I’ve also done three of the four dungeons that aren’t heroic – Shado’Pan is the only holdout – and intend to do some more this evening, or more scenarios. Or both. I just reached ilvl 441, thanks to getting my Brewfest trinket on my fourth try today, so I will likely hit up some heroics this weekend.

I enjoyed the leveling experience, and am enjoying the end game so far. Other than that, there isn’t much to report. Or, there is, but I’m too tired to sort it all out and get it down “on paper” for you to read. I have many thoughts that I’ll write about later, but I have to get myself presentable and go to work tonight! More thoughts to come.

Hope you’re all having a lot of fun!!

– – –

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!

Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Custom-Fit Professions

 Aka “I’m doing it wrong!” At least, by this topic’s premise. :)

This week’s Shared Topic at Blog Azeroth is from Effraeti, who asks:

Professions are fun for some and a necessary evil for others.

Some of us have farming professions. Some of us have crafting professions. Some of us have a little bit of everything! Professions are leveled because they fit our style of play, help us in raiding, allow us to outfit our alts, and make us money.

What professions do you have on your main? Do his/her professions fit their personality? Why did you choose them? If you chose professions based on your character and not on gaming needs, would that change some of their professions they use?

(This can include the secondary professions of archaeology, fishing, cooking, and first aid too!)

I have eight toons that are level 85. I won’t be talking about all of them, but several will come into the discussion, even though this BAST specifically asks for mains. Since I like to run my mouth (so to speak), I’ll take that liberty here – I just can’t help myself.

Mushan – hunter (main) – Leatherworking, Blacksmithing

Mushan is a max level LW/BS, and each secondary profession is also maxed with the exception of Archaeology, which I’ve only ever touched on my druid (who is max level in all of her profs).

The Blacksmithing portion of that line was something that came along later – in other words, he didn’t start off as a LW/BS. Rather, he was what I believe a hunter will generally be, and that is a Skinner and Leatherworker who is also skilled in Fishing (and should also be skilled in outdoor Cooking, although that distinction is not necessarily available to us in WoW).

After I had been 85 for a while, I leveled my mage, paladin, and then my warrior to 85. The warrior is a Blacksmith and Miner, and was my first toon to reach 525 with those professions. I tend to be someone who knows the merits of each profession for the most part, but I hadn’t necessarily made the jump to ‘min-maxing’ with professions on any one character before Cataclysm. While I certainly made sure the professions themselves were maxed on my most-played toons, and I applied their benefits properly (extra +Agi to wrists for LWs, for instance), every single character had a gathering profession, which made them all fairly self-reliant.

I made Mushan a LW, even though my druid is a LW as well, for a few reasons: 1) I’m one of the three people total who actually enjoy Leatherworking (which many people view as the worst prof); 2) I feel hunters naturally gravitate toward leatherworking as a skill that complements their main job (hunting and killing prey, and then putting every part of the animal to good use); and 3) I already understood the aforementioned benefits of being a LW from a +Agi perspective.

However, after I leveled Blacksmithing on Droignon, something happened that is completely typical of me: I fell in love with the extra sockets.


I’ve always loved sockets. So much fun to be able to add whatever you want to your gear! Of course, I’ve seen people do stupid stuff with their sockets (like the max-level hunter on my server who has had a Misty Chrysoprase (+5 Crit, +4 Spirit) in one of his/her yellow sockets since 4.1, at least). And of course, for min-max purposes, there are restrictions on what you should prioritize (like Agility for hunters). Still, there’s something about socketing a gem that pleases me a little too much.

Anyway, after re-awakening to the joy of even more sockets on my warrior, I decided that I needed those sockets on my hunter.


So my hunter is a Blacksmith now instead of a Skinner. And he has +100 Agility from that now, instead of the +80 Crit or whatever you get from Skinning. And I’m very, very happy with the way all those sockets look on his armory.

I know, crazy, right?

Silly, at least.

But it also means more DPS, and I love that. Even if the fact that my hunter is a Blacksmith doesn’t make as much sense as being a Skinner – although, to be fair, a smithing-hunter is not necessarily outside the realm of possibility, when one thinks about it.

Being a BS on my hunter is one of the few things that I don’t necessarily love about my hunter from a fantasy standpoint. But I do love those extra sockets, so I’m generally glad I changed it. I don’t know how I’ll feel about that when I have to level both crafting professions up to 600, without the benefits of self-gathering, but I suppose I’ll live – and I’ll like all the extra Agility in MoP!

Anacrusa – druid (main alt) – Leatherworking, Skinning

Anacrusa was my first 70, my first 80, my first 85. But she wasn’t my first 60. That was a hunter by the name of Bloodheim, which I abandoned before Wrath came out and deleted in 2009 at the tender age of 63. At this point, I generally sucked at everything in the game, and the hunter was no exception. I hated mana as a hunter resource, hated managing it, and just didn’t enjoy the toon after a while. I eventually got used to mana when I made Mushan, but I really enjoyed the switch to focus, and have never looked back.

Anyway, Bloodheim was a LW/SK. And when I gave him up for the druid back in mid-07, I chose to make Anacrusa a LW/SK also, since I could make some of my own gear, and since I enjoy LW, as I said before. But I don’t really feel that it fits best with my character from a fantasy or story standpoint.

If my druid fit my idea of what a druid is, she would be an Herbalist first. She would plant, nurse, and harvest herbs as part of the nature concept that is a large part of druidism. I wasn’t thinking about that when I made her, though, so now she’s a bloodthirsty killer who wields skinning knife with her bloody paw.

She would also be a healer (if I were actually good at that), and she would likely be…

I don’t know that I feel that Alchemy is necessarily a great fit for any class that isn’t a warlock, priest, mage or, maybe, death knight, but I can’t think of another profession that is really better. Maybe Inscription, which is tame – you write magical glyphs and tomes and so on. Eh. But yeah, while I think that Alchemy is a great fit story-wise for mages and warlocks in particular, it can be argued that it can be an acceptable fit for classes that can heal, so from that perspective, my druid – were I to make her again – might be an Alchemist/Herbalist. However, like I said, she is a bloodthirsty killer who uses her kills to make stuff out of.

Ah well. I enjoy it, and it’s made me a lot of gold. I enjoy skinning, too. It’s nice to be able to feel like I’m using everything I take off the beasts (and yetis) that I kill.

Droignon – warrior (alt) – Blacksmithing, Mining

Yeah. This one is – while not perfect – very nice both from the standpoint that he’s a tank (extra Stam, etc.) and because he can make his own gear and weapons and harvest his own materials. Additionally, he’s a big strong warrior, so he can carry all of those rocks around with him, no problem. Love it.

Theophilos – mage (alt) – Tailoring, Jewelcrafting

If I go with what I said earlier, I would say that Theophilos should be two of the following: Enchanter, Alchemist, Scribe, Jewelcrafter, Tailor, and maybe Herbalist – in order from most fitting to least.

In reality, he’s a JC because I wanted to have a JC among my stable of toons. He’s a Tailor because that’s an easy connection to make. But if I had to choose again, and didn’t need any professions for practical purposes, for story purposes I’d make him an Enchanter/Tailor, weaving spells into cloth and vellum to make magical items for himself and others.

But it’s not a toon I’m as dedicated to, in general, as I am to the first three on this list. So practical wins out.

Abenadari – paladin (alt) – Alchemy, Herbalism

So here we are, with my paladin, who I actually created before my druid, doing the jobs that I currently envision would be most appropriate for my druid. I wouldn’t think that a paladin, beacon of light that one is, would be getting all down with nature and chemicals. If I were to choose again, I would probably make her some kind of combination of Scribe, Blacksmith, Enchanter.

But she’s my max level Alchemist, and because of that she still exists. I don’t feel like leveling Alchemy again. If I do level another Alchemist, she may go, because I don’t love playing paladins, but I don’t anticipate that happening in the foreseeable future. Besides, I would have a tough time deleting her anyway, for Transmute cooldown reasons.


At any rate, that’s probably too much info about some of the characters I play the most, their professions, why I chose them, and how well I think their professions fit with the characters themselves.

Above all, I have professions because I use them, and sometimes they fit better with the toons than others. Between my eight 85s, I have every profession covered except for Engineering and Enchanting (and my girlfriend is an Enchanter, so that’s effectively covered, too). I’ll likely get to those eventually. I have some toons – like my other hunter Ghilleadh – who are simply gatherers, because that is easy and profitable, and I have less problems with resources than I used to simply because I play those toons and gather as I go.

The only toon where I have redundant crafting professions is Mushan – since I already have a LW and a BS, seperately – and that’s because he’s also the only toon that I’ve chosen professions for based primarily on min-maxing and DPS.

But yes, if I went into the game fresh, with the knowledge I have now, I might choose my profession-toon alignment differently, because I become immersed in my characters to varying levels, and professions are certainly a part of that.

Thanks for the great Shared Topic, Effraeti!

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Some thoughts on the Black Market Auction House and the economy in Mists of Pandaria

One of the hottest topics in the WoW universe this week – not named Diablo 3, anyway – is the Black Market Auction House.  If you haven’t heard about it, click the link (as well as this one) and check out what MMO-Champion has to tell us about it thus far.

Black Market Auction House (BMAH)

The items in the BMAH haven’t been finalized by Blizzard yet.  To take that idea further, I think there’s a chance that the pool of items that can go up for auction will be a living one; that is, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an announcement that “[Item Such-and-such] will be added to the BMAH pool for Patch 5.2.” (Etc.)  This will, of course, elicit a variety of responses from players, from those who are upset that a rare mount is able to be bid on, to those who are delighted that they can now bid on something that is very difficult to get (due to RNG, having been removed from the game, etc.) and different points and issues in between.

Let me say how I feel about it.

I think it’s a fun new thing that they’re bringing to WoW.  It may give certain people a reason to continue playing or to come back: some people love mounts, or old rare gear, or old unobtainable recipes.  It is a fresh feature in a veteran game that is fighting to maintain subscribers.

This is what Blizzard does, and while they are far from perfect, it’s evident that they’re constantly trying to improve the game.  The BMAH is like pet battles, account-wide achievements / mounts / pets, Lorewalkers, a new playable race or class, new zones, better graphics, transmogrification, 64-bit, Raid Finder, Dungeon Guides and maps, improvements to “Report Spam” in your chat window, revamped and improved armory, and so many other features like these.  What do they have in common?  They’re all attempts to improve the game, to make the game more fun, and/or to keep people interested in what’s going on in the World of Warcraft.

I’m glad they’re doing it.  I have no qualms about it.  Will I bid on anything?  At this point, I’m inclined to think that I probably won’t.  I love my transmog, and I enjoy certain races and mounts* and gear more than others, but I’m not interested enough in what looks to be a source consisting largely of vanity items to pay tens or hundreds of thousands of gold for those items.  But I still think it’s a good thing.

*Ground mounts, mainly.  When I’m not flying around as a stormcrow on my druid, I’m using either a gryphon or hippogryph on every single one of my other toons.  Big flying mounts annoy the crap out of me.

This isn’t to say that I’m one of those who considers himself “rich” with 50K gold, nor am I anywhere near gold-capped.  However, I have plenty. of. gold.  Early in Patch 4.2, when the Ranseur of Hatred was selling for a ton of gold, and I wasn’t raiding yet, and I had about half the gold I have now, I dropped around 40K on two of them (druid and hunter) and considered myself to have gotten a major steal.  And those items got heavy use – particularly on my hunter.

That’s the sort of thing I generally spend my gold on: items that will help me perform better, like reasonably priced weapons or other gear, enchants, things like that.

However, the BMAH will be a big hit, I’m sure of it.  I think it’s a good thing.  I don’t think it’s part of some conspiracy, or horrible because it takes away from whatever gear or mounts people earned back in the day, or whatever.


Gold sinks and the economy in MoP

One of the prevalent topics regarding the BMAH is that part of Blizzard’s motivation for it is to introduce another gold sink for MoP.

I think that’s a correct assumption.  Blizzard already has one potential gold sink in the works, the “Something Expensive” –  currently named Golden Sink according to Wowhead – which is an ingredient in the new MoP Jewelcrafting mounts.  The Golden Sink currently costs 25,000 gold, and while it may have a different name and price come MoP, the reasons for its cost – mainly, for the purposes of rarity and to pull money out of the economy – are fairly obvious.

However, the question is not whether the BMAH and the Golden Sink are gold sinks, but rather whether they will be enough to stave off the massive rate of inflation that we’ve experienced over the past several years.

My opinion?  No, they’re not.  They’re steps in the right direction, but not enough.  I don’t actually know what would be enough, other than maybe making a few pieces of epic BiS gear, for each spec, that are only purchasable from a vendor for 100K gold apiece (not won, not BoE, not dropped from bosses).  And I can’t see Blizzard doing that, because it makes gold too large of a factor in end-game raiding.

No, there are two reasons why I don’t think inflation will change much.

1.  First of all – for example – have you seen how much quests are rewarding?  I’ve only seen one quest screenshot so far where I’ve actually looked at the gold reward.  It was 60 gold (give or take some silver).

Now, when I leveled Anacrusa during the first week of Cataclysm, I netted well over 5K gold just from questing and vendoring trash, after reforging and paying repairs at each level change.  Level 84 quests in Cata averaged – judging by many of the dailies I do nowadays – 16-17g per.  If the 60g per level 89 quest is anywhere close to an accurate comparative in MoP, we could be looking at anywhere between a 100%-300% increase in the amount of gold we gross just from leveling.  This doesn’t include any AH activity, just quests minus expenses.

Right there, you’re looking at the following: for those who level primarily through questing, 10K is probably the lowest amount of gold each character will make.

There are, of course, variables.  Do you level your crafting profession as quickly as possible?  That’s going to cost you.  Do you only pick up gold and usable items from mobs, and leave grays on the corpses?  That’s not generally a wise choice (gold-wise).  But for the most part, I expect that leveling alone will bring you a nice chunk of change – and a much larger chunk than leveling in Cataclysm brought.

So gold will not be harder to get, and therefore AH prices will not necessarily go down much, if at all, relative to players’ incomes.

2.  Secondly, the number of people who play the AH game to the gold cap, as compared to those who will bid on such items as will likely be available on the BMAH, is not a one-to-one ratio.

One of the more prominent WoW gold-making writers out there, Euripides of WoW Insider’s Gold Capped column, has said on a couple of occasions on the Hunting Party Podcast that, while he’s not interested in transmog or other vanity aspects of the game, one of the reasons he likes making so much gold is so that he can purchase BoEs and other performance-necessary items without worrying about cost.  He is someone who I can’t really see bidding for vanity items on the BMAH, and I would be willing to bet that a significant portion – not necessarily the majority, but a prominent number – of the AH mavens around WoW will not make as much use of it as some people think.

I play on a relatively high-population server, which means that the AH is fairly competitive and prices aren’t that bad (but also aren’t rock bottom), but there are a significant number of people who play the AH fairly heavily, and I know some of them.  Most of them are people who prioritize the ability to buy gear without worry – and the AH meta game – to be way more important than bidding on vanity items.  This doesn’t mean that someone like Euripides would never spend money on something like that, but it’s not like every single “rich” player will be in the active bidding pool for each of the items – if they’re BoP – thereby excluding the have-nots from a chance at something fun.

The point that I’m trying to make is this: the amount of gold leaving the economy via gold sinks will not be enough to offset the amount of gold that will continue to be generated via the usual means – which is akin to printing money out of little more than time, really.  Therefore, I don’t expect inflation to be affected much.

Anyway, to summarize all of this into something short and simple, I don’t think the economy will change all that much.  Everyone should have a relatively easy time making some start-up cash from leveling, at the very least.  Unless Blizzard changes the gold cap again – and it looks like they won’t for the time being – people won’t be able to make an astronomical amount of gold.  However, people who know how to make gold quickly will still be able to do so, and they will.  Since there will still be more gold coming into the economy, in spite of the BMAH and the JC mounts, prices won’t be drastically lower than they are now, so comparative (Cata-for-MoP, blue-for-blue, purple-for-purple, etc.) mats / enchants / gems / gear / vanity items will sell for similar or proportionally higher prices.

Final thoughts… for now

I love that Blizz is adding these gold sinks in the next expansion, although I don’t think it’s the most important reason they’re adding them.  Ultimately, the BMAH and JC mounts are, first and foremost, about making the game fun.  The gold sink idea is good, and necessary, but buyers looking forward to a near future of low-cost mats and BoEs as a result of gold sinks are likely to be disappointed, as far as I can tell.

I could be wrong, though.  We’ll see.

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Hunter Transmog – Black Dragon Mail

Mushan in Black Dragon Mail (click for a much better view!)

This is the first of what will be several posts about some of the Transmog sets that I use.

Hunters and mail

We play World of Warcraft, in the fantasy world of Azeroth.  As such, things don’t necessarily have to make sense, and they often don’t.  After all, what is a misdirect, really?  How does that work, exactly?  How can I shoot an Auto-shot at the same time I’m casting Cobra Shot?  Why do hunters wear mail?

Well, it’s a fantasy game, so things tend to be fantastic.  We wear the heads of our kills on our own heads and shoulders.  We wear their scales on our legs and torsos, pieces of their bones fashioned into our boots and bows, their eyeballs on various pieces of armor.  It’s just the way it is.

I’m not that big of a fan of the hunter-mail thing, personally.  Certainly, there are some amazing-looking sets out there, but, as I play only big-shouldered male hunters at the moment, I find many of them to straddle – or cross – the line from fantastic to ridiculous.  The Lightning-Charged Battlegear comes to mind (apologies to those Murloc-stalker fans out there!)…

Mail users lead sort of a double life when it comes to gear.  We start out looking something like the leather-wearing rangers we are, but at level 40 we learn to wear mail, and at 50 we pick up Mail Specialization.  The 5% Agility bonus makes it very important that we wear only mail.  With this, we tend to stop looking like rangers and start looking like something other-worldly.  For some, this is great; others are indifferent to the change.  I tend to be a little disappointed that I lose that look.  But, as I said, this is a fantasy, and we’re hunting demons and dragons and undead and monsters from the shadow realms, so it’s not entirely an unexpected development.

With transmogrification, we get to mitigate some of the abominable looks that happen throughout the course of both leveling through the game and gearing our characters.  Hunters are still limited to mail choices, but it’s absolutely better than the alternative: anyone else remember sporting the combination of T-11 pastel-green, Zandalari, and T-12 orange?  Yeah, I was glad to put that kind of look to bed, too.

Side note: here’s a great photo of Rades trolling LFR in a crazy transmog set: OH GOD MY EYES: Trolling LFR With Bad Fashion.

Black Dragon Mail

This is not the first set that I put together for Mushan – it’s actually the sixth or seventh.  It’s also not my ideal set, which I’m one piece away from completing and will unveil at a later date, provided I find the elusive chest piece at some point.  However, when I saw this one on WoW Roleplay Gear several months ago, I was intrigued enough to bookmark the page for future consideration.

The Black Dragon Mail set is, unfortunately, only four pieces – Black Dragonscale boots, shoulders, chest and legs.  Creating a set around this is a bit challenging, since there is nothing else made in the exact same color and style, but the fine folks at WoW Roleplay Gear put together a combination that I felt I could do something with.  Their suggestions of Nerubian Gloves and Nerubian Belt seemed to fit the green-tinged grays in the set, so I went with them.  The great thing is that all of these items can be crafted with Leatherworking, although the Black Dragonscale gear comes from Blackrock Depths drops and vendors, and the boots in particular require Exalted reputation with the Thorium Brotherhood.

This set shows a lot of midriff, which I suppose is great for female toons if you’re into that sort of thing.  However, I wasn’t too keen on that for Mushan, so I tried out several shirts, finally settling on the Stylish Black Shirt.  However, the black in the shirt contrasts quite a bit with the greenish-gray belt, in particular, so I finally decided to add the Lower City Tabard.  This made for a much more satisfactory look, in my opinion.

For a weapon, I fell in love a while back with Keeshan’s Bow, which is available toward the end of the Redridge questline.  Although I really wanted the bow that John J. Keeshan actually uses, which is a badass black compound bow, this one is a perfect blend of “bow that a night elf would use” and “doesn’t look like a child’s toy.”  Not only does it match well with the hues in the armor and tabard, but it fits that somewhat understated aesthetic that I was going for.

Finally, there’s the eyepatch.  Malefactor’s Eyepatch is a quest reward from completing a chain in Blade’s Edge, but I didn’t get it specifically for this set.  Rather, I got it because it was an eyepatch, and I’ll be wearing it with every set, regardless of how it looks with that set.  I enjoy having an eyepatch, so that’s the end of that!

My (currently) green-haired elf looks pretty good in this set.  When trying to visualize it, before I pulled the trigger, I wasn’t sure it would work out, but I’ve been very pleased with it!

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