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!

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