Tag Archives: Skinning

Professions Leveling: Skinning 1-525

Today I’m going to continue my series on Leveling Professions with a gathering guide – Skinning.

Skinning is the primary gathering profession of Leatherworking, and it provides mats which are often used in Blacksmithing, Engineering, and even Tailoring as well.

Gathering professions is where I tend to venture away from the guides at, because I have my own paths I like to travel to get specific items that I know sell for more or are used for more items that what the guide tells you. You can click on this link to find their Skinning Leveling Guide.

I’m going to go through the leveling guide and give you the information that you don’t find at WoW-Professions. I’ll go over how/where I personally go about leveling them (where I deviate from their guides), and some things I like or dislike about the profession. I’ll also give a few tips on how I make gold with the profession, or ways that I might put it to use that aren’t apparent to everyone.

Getting Started: Materials
As a gathering profession, Skinning doesn’t need anything in the way of actual mats. However, it does require you to devote one item in your bags to be used as a Skinning Knife. You can get the actual Skinning Knife item from basically every trade goods vendor in the game as well as any leatherworking supplies vendors and some blacksmithing supplies vendors as well. There are also some items that act as a Skinning Knife, chief among them being the Gnomish Army Knife which acts as the basic gathering and crafting tools for basically every profession.

Special Note: One way that Skinning stands apart from every other profession is that even mobs that show as Orange do not have a 100% chance to skill you up when you’re skinning. Another way it differs is that you’re not guaranteed to get any leather or any other items when you skin something either. Sometimes you’ll skin orange mobs and get nothing at all for it. It’s more rare that you’ll get no items than it is that you won’t get a skill point, but both of them happen.

You can also get several bonuses to your Skinning skill from items and enchants in the game.
Enchant Gloves – Skinning: Permanently enchant gloves to increase skinning skill by 5.
Enchant Gloves – Gathering: Permanently enchant gloves to increase Herbalism, Mining, and Skinning by 5. Requires a level 60 or higher item.
Finkle’s Skinner: Equip: Skinning +10. (Also counts as a skinning knife.)
Zulian Slicer: Equip: Skinning +10. (Also counts as a skinning knife.)

I keep a pair of white-quality Cloth gloves that have the enchant for each of the gathering professions (the individual enchants for each, not Gatherer) on them to pass around to toons while leveling. Skinning typically doesn’t need it, but if you’re going to power level it then being able to move on to the next stage a bit early can save you some time.

The Zulian Slicer is no longer in the game, so if you don’t already have one you’re just out of luck. Finkle’s Skinner can still be found in Upper Blackrock Spire, and you can use two of them for +20 Skinning if your class is able to dual wield. Both of these items count as a skinning knife as well, so you can get rid of your regular one if you have these, or your gnomish army knife if you don’t need it for your other professions.

If you are looking for a guide to farming specific leathers, WoW-Professions has a guide for that as well: WoW Leather Farming Guide.

From WoW_Professions:

Up to skinning 100, you can find out the highest level mob you can skin by: ((Skinning skill)/10)+10. Example: ( 50 / 10 ) +10 = 15

From skinning level 100 and up the formula is simply: (Skinning skill)/5. Example: (175 / 5 = 35)

Trouble Areas
Skinning doesn’t really have any trouble areas, it’s basically about as straight forward as you can get since it’s keyed off of mob levels. If you find yourself in a zone that doesn’t reward you skill points for skinning then you simply move on to another zone that does.

However, if you’re Skinning for the sake of doing Leatherworking then there are definitely some bottlenecks.

The problem is that it’s so easy to level Skinning. If you skin everything while you level you’ll still find that you’re short on certain leathers if you’re using them for LW because you spent so little time in areas that give you the kind of leather you need in the quantities that you need it.

So while Skinning itself doesn’t have any bottlenecks, I am going to tell you which leathers you want to spend a little extra time farming. If you’re interested in leveling Leatherworking or in selling the leather for profit, then you’ll want to take a look at this list. If you’re just interested in getting to max level as fast as you can so that you can focus on Cataclysm leathers, then just disregard the list and move on to the next section.

Heavy Leather: While you only need 180 of these to level your Leatherworking, the level range that these drop in are generally gone through so quickly that you won’t have near that amount even if you skin while you’re leveling your character. If you are leveling your profession with your toon then the best place to farm this on your own is in Feralas. However, I prefer to farm it via dungeon, particularly Uldaman.

In Uldaman you’ll find three (four?) little pits filled with scorpids that all have a great drop rate for Heavy Leather. You’ll also find several bats and basilisks in the instance that can also be skinned for Heavy Leather. You will end up scoring some Medium Leather and Medium/Heavy Hides from them as well, but the Medium Leather can be combined by a Leatherworker to turn it into Heavy, and the Heavy Hides are often hard to come by and sell pretty well on the AH, so they’re an added bonus.

Thick Leather: You need 410 Thick Leather for Leatherworking, and while you’ll find plenty of it while you’re leveling a toon, you probably won’t find the 20.5 stacks worth before you’re ready for Outlands. If you’re going to farm them solo while leveling then your best bet is to head over to Badlands and kill the dragon whelps northwest of New Kargath. You can also go kill the Ravasaurs in Un’goro Crater.

Because you need so much of this one and so much of the Rugged Leather as well, I like to farm these in a place that gives me a nice mixture of both of them: Sunken Temple. If you’re a high enough level to solo this place then I highly recommend it. There are a ton of dragonkin in here and almost every mob in the instance is skinnable (save the one wing filled with trolls). You’ll find Thick and Rugged Leathers in almost exact proportions each run. You will end up with some Green and White Dragon Scales as well which aren’t used for much, but sell reasonably well on the AH.

The two skinners that I recently leveled to 525 both went here, and I farmed it a third time to help my wife with her Skinner/Leatherworker a couple of weeks ago as well. The instance is a fraction of the size it used to be now and it’s full of skinnable mobs in a fairly small area. Reaching my five dungeons per hour limit I got an average of 185 of each of these leathers per hour.

Another decent place is Blackrock Depths. You can kill all of the hyena/dog things there for Thick Leather. There are a fair number in the first room and then there’s a boss right down the hall that’s surrounded by them. You can get a decent amount here, but not as much as Sunken Temple. The side benefit of running BRD for the leather is that you can also get a bit more profit if you also take the time to go upstairs to take down the Pyromancer for a chance at the Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon recipe which you can sell for 50-150g.

Because it takes 410 of these to power level Leatherworking, Thick Leather is a decent option to grind for profit. Thick Leather prices are always all over the place any time I look at getting into them. They’re either incredibly high or ridiculously low. Watch the market and find a decent time to jump in. And in case you didn’t know, right now is a good time. Currently Leatherworking is one of the top raiding professions in the game and people are powering through it.

Rugged Leather: You also need 410 Rugged Leather for Leathworking, and it’s a bit harder to come by than the thick in general leveling. The reason for that is because you’re generally going to leave for Outlands at level 58 and it’s pretty likely that you’ll manage to get a least a level or two into the 50’s while questing or running dungeons in areas where the mobs are still dropping Thick Leather. If you want to solo farm these at level then you want to head to the Blasted Lands, farming the boars and hyenas that inhabit the northern half of the zone.

As I said above though, I prefer farming these in Sunken Temple alongside the Thick Leather. The level range of the mobs in Sunken Temple is great for being able to double-dip into two different level ranges of leather at the same time. You need the same number of both types for LW, and you’ll find them at almost the exact same rate in the instance, so you might as well skin two birds with one sunken stone.

If you have all the Thick you need/want already, then you can also head into Blackrock Spire to farm these. There are a lot of mobs there that can be skinned for Rugged Leather, but I don’t care for the layout of the dungeon and you have to run through a lot of humanoids to get to the areas where the farming is really good so it’s kind of a pain.

Again, with 410 of these required to power through Leatherworking, Rugged Leather is a great option for farming if you want to make some gold on the AH. Rugged Leather is typically the top seller for Vanilla leathers, because so much is needed and so many people are eager to get into Outlands as soon as possible which means they miss out on farming opportunities.

Borean Leather: This is your biggest road block in the whole leveling process. If you’re leveling it along with your toon then it won’t be such a mindnumbing grind (yes it will), but it’s still going to suck. You need almost 1,000 Borean Leather to power through Leatherworking, so you’ll be here for a very long while if you want to farm it all yourself and for that purpose. Arctic Furs can drastically reduce the number of Borean Leather someone needs to level, but with the number of people in Northrend dwindling, it won’t be long before the supply disappears.

When you first get to Northrend you’ll start with the Rhinos in Borean Tundra (my preference) or the Shoveltusks in Howling Fjord. Once your skill reaches 390 you’re off to Sholozar Basin for some monkeys. (I resisted the urge to put a joke in there, so you should thank me.) The Gorillas there are your farming spot of choice for the rest of forever as far as Northrend is concerned. If you get tired of farming the monkeys, or your competition picks up, then you can kill the mammoths, worms and proto-drakes in Storm Peaks, the mammoths, raptors and cats in Zuldrak, or the Nerubians in southeastern Ice Crown.

If you feel like running dungeons your best bet for the leather is going to be Violet Hold. Almost everything in there is a dragonkin that can be skinned. The only exception being most of the bosses.

Psynister Preferences
I break away from the guide on Skinning quite a bit because I have my own way that I just prefer to use. I don’t really use the guide much at all until it’s time for Outlands, honestly.

Following the WoW-Professions you’ll be skinning mobs that are generally always either orange or yellow to you, so you have a higher chance of skilling up per skinning attempt. I prefer to level mine with quantity over quality, so I often farm large packs of mobs using AoE that are only green to me because I can get more skill points in a shorter period of time without having to do excessive amounts of travel to get to new zones just to get orange/yellow mobs when I could just as easily the same skill level by spending another 10-15 minutes right where I am.

To start off, I start leveling all of my skinning at the farms south of Goldshire. I don’t care whether they’re Horde or Alliance, I’m going to the Human’s capital zone to start my skinning because it is hands down the best place to do it. The pigs at these farms have a forced respawn, meaning that when you kill them you force others to spawn. The fastest way to farm them is to find a Mage that’s high enough level to one-shot them with Ice Lance and just have them run circles around the farm killing everything that moves. Set the loot to Free For All and you loot/skin while they kill.

Don’t worry about the bodies despawning before you get to them because there’s literally an endless supply here and you’re just going to skin your little heart out until you hit 75. Personally, I hit 50-60 and then go to the trainer north of Goldshire to train the next level and then I go back and farm them again until I reach 90 skill. After I hit 90 I run around the zone on the eastern or western edges to kill the packs of wolves and bears until I hit 95-100.

From there I generally skin the wolves in northern Duskwood since they’re right there just south of me, but the real sweet spot is the Wailing Caverns instance. That place is filled with raptors and snakes that can be skinned from skill level 95+ and so is the cave outside of the instance. There’s also the added bonus that every Druid of the Fang in the place has a chance to drop Gloves of the Fang which sell on the AH for 45-175g. My current record is four pair of the gloves on a single run.

There are also two rare spawns in the cave outside of the instance portal, one who drops a two-handed axe that sells for 50-125g and the other which drops a mail belt that I’ve sold for 175g. They won’t be there all the time of course, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look when you’re in the area.

The Barrens itself is a great place to level your skinning as both North and South Barrens are just filled with beasts. What you don’t manage to get skilled up in Wailing Caverns can be done by farming the plateau just north of Ratchet which is filled with raptors, zhevra and and lions (and two rare spawns), or in the packs of lions and hyenas that are spread all over the zone.

Once you reach skill 150 it’s time to go down into Southern Barrens where the level 30+ mobs are. Here you can skin the raptors and hyenas that are spread along the northern border as you make your way to the mountains west/northwest of Northwatch Hold (on the eastern shore). There you’ll find a pack of raptors set back into the mountain. There’s an Alliance quest that sends you in there to get supply crates or something now, and I don’t recall what the quest was before the Shattering. Skin all of these until you reach skill level 165 or so and then it’s time to hit another instance.

Razorfen Kraul has two wonderful spots for skinning. The first is the trench that’s typically considered the end of the dungeon, though you can easily reach it from the entrance, and the other is the cave near the middle/end of the dungeon filled with bats. The first time I run it I usually run the dungeon as it’s meant to be run, and just skip all of the humanoids that aren’t in my way. I kill and skin all of the bats and the big piggy boss that’s in the cave as well, and then I drop down where the final boss is and clear out the trench full of boars. Then I leave and reset the dungeon and go run it again clearing out just the boars and skipping the rest of the instance until everything has gone green to me or I’ve reached the next level of skinning and have to train.

Again, I go for quantity over quality, so I’ll often give RFK at least one more run after I train, just hitting the boars real quick and then heading out to Dustwallow.

At 225 it’s time to head over to Dustwallow Marsh just east of the Southern Barrens. There are beasts all over this zone, but three areas in particular interest me. The first is in the mountains west of Muddsprocket; there’s a small area filled with annoying trees where you’ll find a pack of raptors. That’s the first place I clean out because of how many there are in the small area, they’re very easy to AoE.

The second spot is north of Muddsprocket, near the center of the map, called the Stonemaul Ruins. This area is covered with dragonkin that can all be skinned. The ruins themselves hold a lot of dragonkin, and so does the area around it. You’ll also find a lot of crocs in the swampy area all around the zone which are also great for skinning. There’s also a cave between the raptor area I just mentioned and the ruins that is filled with these same type of dragonkin, so I’ll move from the raptors to the ruins killing everything in between.

The third area is east of Muddsprocket, surrounding Onyxia’s Lair. This place is also swarming with dragonkin just waiting to be skinned. There are some drakes that fly above you too, so if you have a ranged attack you can pull those down from the sky and kill/skin them as well.

Each of these three areas is great for skinning, but most of what you’ll find is going to be Heavy Leather with a little Thick Leather mixed in. While that’s great for your skinning skill, it doesn’t do a whole lot for the massive quantities of Thick/Rugged that you’ll need if you’re a Leatherworker, and that’s where the next part comes in.

Once you reach 260-270 though it’s time to move on to yet another instance: Sunken Temple.

Here you’re going to kill dragonkin by the dozen. While you can skin two of the three bosses in the instance, they don’t drop any special type or special amounts of leather so I suggest you just skip them if you’re only here for the leather. Kill all of the dragonkin, leave the instance, kill the three dragonkin right outside the portal, reset the instance, go back inside and repeat those steps until you reach 300 skill.

If you get close to 300 and you aren’t getting skill points as often as you’d like, go ahead and move on to Un’goro Crater and kill the ravasaurs there to finish it off. Some of the mobs in Sunken Temple will go grey before you get to 300, so you might just leave for Un’goro a little early if you don’t need any more Thick Leather and finish your skill levels with better mobs.

I didn’t find any better options for 300-525 that what WoW-Professions suggests, so I stick to their guide pretty much from that point on.

Power Leveling List

1 – 60 Durotar, Dun Morogh
60 – 110 Barrens, Loch Modan
110 – 185 Ashenvale, Wetlands
185 – 205 Dustwallow Marsh, Hinterlands
205 – 265 Thousand Needles
265 – 300 Un’Goro Crater
300-360 Hellfire Peninsula, Nagrand
360-450 Borean Tundra, Sholazar Basin
450-525 Mount Hyjal


Posted by on February 1, 2011 in Guide, Leveling, Professions


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Leveling Professions

The one thing that I may enjoy more about this game than leveling toons is leveling professions. While I don’t often powerlevel my toons, I most definitely powerlevel my professions. When my characters reach a level that their professions can be trained to the next level I typically power the profession to the new maximum before I reach the next character level.

My many acquaintances on Twitter are familiar with my habits of deleting max level toons, and have decided that since there are a few others who do the same that there needed to be a name for it. Thus, Psynister Psyndrome was created to describe those who delete and reroll their high level toons. But that’s not the only thing I’m known for deleting at high level. I’m also well known for dropping maxed professions to pick up another, max it, drop it, max another, drop it, and so on.

So, mini-rambling aside, I’m no stranger to leveling professions. For the most part I farm all of my mats myself, though I’ll definitely dip into the AH to fill in any mats that I’ve missed (so long as the price isn’t ridiculous). The purpose of this post isn’t to guide you through leveling certain professions, but rather a general look them and the benefits of leveling them, as well as tips for how to make leveling them easier.

Why Level (With) Professions?
Leveling your professions is something you should do on every toon. If nothing else, you should have dual gathering professions simply for the additional experience and the additional income of selling what you find on the auction house.

Some of the benefits of leveling your professions along with your toon rather than waiting for higher levels include cost savings (from farming mats instead of buying them), increased speed or power while leveling, easy access to gear upgrades, and increased leveling speed in the case of Mining and Herbalism (and Archeology, though I’m not counting that here).

If you’re playing a caster for instance, Engineering provides excellent goggles for increasing Intellect and Spirit. Enchanting and Alchemy can provide a wide variety of buffs for every class. Inscription gives you buffs similar to Alchemy through scrolls, but also gives access to additional “hearthstone” via Scrolls of Recall as well as access to excellent off-hand items for casters. Jewelcrafting is excellent for filling out your ring, neck, and trinket slots at early levels where gear for those slots is often hard to find.

Leatherworking is the single-best resource for Agility gear for any leveling toon as well as a very strong source of caster leather. Tailoring provides great caster gear while leveling. Blacksmithing…well, blacksmithing sucks for the most part, but you do get access to keys that can be used to open locked chests or doors, shield spikes to make your tanks more deadly, and spurs that increase your mounted speed.

There are also three gathering professions that can help you out. Herbalism is the most beneficial as it provides an instant heal that also grants Haste when used, not to mention is the most abundant of the gathering professions which means you can get a significant amount of experience from farming herbs. Mining is next on this list as it provides a decent amount of survivability by increasing your stamina, and also grants gather experience. Skinning is for those of you who like to deal damage as it gives you a boost to your Crit, and while it does not grant gather experience it is incredibly easy to level it.

Resources for Leveling
When it comes to leveling your professions, the single-best resource I’ve found online is by far WoW-Professions. The site has a list of all of the mats you’ll need to level each profession from 1-525, a list of which items to make, when to make them, and how many to make.

I never follow any of the guides 100% because I’m a natural farmer and always end up with additional mats, so I don’t mind making items even when they go green when I’ve still got the mats to make 60 more of them. But, you can follow the guide almost to the letter and get exactly where you want to go with the profession.

The site also lists specific recipes that you’ll want to look for that can be found only from vendors or mob drops that can make leveling significantly easier or more cost effective if you can find them, and gives a link back to Wowhead so that you can easily find where to get the recipes.

Another good resource I’ve found is It hasn’t been updated for Cataclysm yet, and I’m waiting to hear back from the author, Darth Solo of WoW Alone, about whether or not he plans to update it. But, even if it’s not updated it’s an excellent resource for crafting everything up through the Wrath expansion. It doesn’t tell you what to make or how to make it, but instead it shows you everything you need to make a specific item, broken down into its rawest form.

So if you’re looking to make some specific items to help you while leveling, and you know it takes crafted mats but aren’t good at remembering or calculating the amount of base mats, then this site is golden. For instance, look at the Frostweave Bag. If you’re not a long-time bag maker, do you know right off the top of your head how much cloth and dust each of those bags takes?

If you go to the site and click on the Tailoring link at the top you’ll be able to type “Frostweave Bag” into the search window to have the item pop up. You can then see the item’s actual mats which are 2 Eternium Threads and 6 Bolts of Imbued Frostweave, just like you’ll see it in your professions window. But, you can click on the Expand button right next to the mats and it will break those mats down to their basic form, showing you what you actually need to get in order to make one: 2 Eternium Thread, 6 Bolts of Imbued Frostweave (12 Infinite Dust, 12 Bolts of Frostweave [60 Frostweave Cloth]).

General Profession Leveling Tips
There are a lot of small things you can find or do to help level your professions. You can find them in the form of in-game addons, online guides, and sites such as Wowhead that offer a searchable database.

In the case of gathering professions there are several different addons that you can get to help you locate nodes. The one I prefer is called Gatherer, though I have several friends and guildmates who prefer GatherMate.

As far as things you can actively do to help level your professions, the first is to be sure you’re throwing mats away. If you know you’re going to level a profession, don’t sell the mats that you find or farm for that profession. For example, if you’re about to roll a Druid with Herbalism and Alchemy, don’t get rid of herbs that you find on your other toons.

If you’re leveling a character with dual gathering professions and have any intention of leveling professions that use those mats on another toon(s), consider establishing a bank alt and sending all of those gathered mats to the bank alt to be stored in their guild bank.

When I’m ready to start leveling a crafting profession on one of my toons I like to send all of the mats over from my bank alt and then use the mailbox as storage. When sending the mail over I like to have each type of mat in their own “envelope” or grouped with other mats of the same level. Doing this allows me to easily withdraw the mats that I need while leaving the mats that I’m not ready for stored in the mailbox, and by doing so it’s completely organized and easy for me to find any item that I might need. Being rather anal when it comes to organization, I also send them in reverse order of when they’re needed so that the earliest mats used show up first in the mailbox, but I’m crazy like that.

Sometimes I like to level a toon with dual gathering professions with the intent of dropping one of them for a crafting profession that matches the one I’m going to keep once I reach a higher level. For example, I might level a toon with Herbalism and Mining, but drop the Herbalism once I’m nearing the end of Outlands (mid-high 60’s) and replace it with a crafting profession like Blacksmithing or Jewelcrafting. While the JC profession can give you rings, necks, and trinkets that are good for leveling, the real draw of the profession is the gems and gems serve no purpose prior to Outlands and Northrend, so I almost never level as a JC. Blacksmithing similarly provides very little benefit to a character while they’re leveling and most of the items that are significant enough to really look into making them don’t show up until Outlands or Northrend levels.

If you’re leveling Gathering professions, be sure to gather as much as you need in your current leveling zones to open up gathering in the zone you intend to move to. A good way to judge those levels is by looking at the WoW-Professions site for your gathering profession to see what skill level it tells you to build up to before moving on to a new zone. If you’re still questing in an area when your gathering skills are high enough to move on, don’t stop gathering but because you’ve reached the necessary level, just don’t stick around farming needlessly either.

Specific Tips: Gathering Professions
For Mining the general rule of thumb is that every range of new mining nodes covers 40-60 skill levels. So if you just learned how to smelt a new type of ore then you know you have about 50’ish skill levels that you need to gain before you can start mining/smelting the next type of ore. Also remember that you can smelt your ore to help increase your skill if you find yourself leveling out of the zones you’re trying to farm in and end up in zones where your skill isn’t high enough to mine.

Smelting turns grey before gathering. If you’re trying to speed your mining skill by smelting, remember to smelt early if you’re farming nodes of the same type. Also remember that you have a small chance of gaining a skill level if the smelting is “green”, but you still have a high chance of gaining a skill point from actually mining a node when it’s “green”. Because mining nodes are in fairly low supply, the chance of skilling up from the nodes is higher than other gathering nodes.

Also keep in mind that while Blacksmithing and Engineering rely primarily on ore being smelted into bars, Jewelcrafting most often uses the raw ore. Smelting requires 1-2 of the ore in question while Jewelcrafting always requires ore to be in stacks of 5 for Prospecting.

Herbalism is similar, but the sheer number of herb types means that you’ll find a smaller number of skill levels between different types of herb nodes, but you’ll find higher level herbs that are 60+ skill levels higher than other herbs in the very same zone. There are many more herb nodes than mining nodes, due in part to the fact that gathering those nodes is the only way to level Herbalism where Mining can be leveled by both gathering and smelting.

There are two crafting professions that specifically rely on herbs, Alchemy and Inscription. With Alchemy you’ll always use your herbs in lots of 1 or 2, so if you’re looking for a specific number to stop gathering at, try to get multiples of 10 of each herb. For Inscription you’re always going to use exactly 5 herbs of the same type for every use of milling. So if you’re about to leave a zone that offers a specific type of herb and the zones you’re moving to do not contain that herb, then farming until you reach a multiple of 5 or 10 is optimal.

For Skinning the best tool is mathematics. The thing to remember about Skinning is that the skill level required is based on the level of the beast. Beast Level x 5 = Required Skinning Level. That restriction doesn’t apply on beasts up to around level 10 or 15, because you don’t generally get the profession until you’re already level 5 or higher and mobs in the starting zones can’t be skinned anyway, so they give you a little room to catch up at the earliest stages. Skinning is similar to Herbalism in that there is no alternative way to level it, you have to actually gather. However, Skinning is also the only gathering profession that does not reward gather experience.

If you’re about to move into a new zone, take a look at the level of the beasts that appear there. If your skill level isn’t five times as high as the beasts then you’re not going to be able to use your profession. Beasts can be found in nearly every zone in the game, so as long as you’re skinning whenever you have the chance you should theoretically never fall behind. Just don’t be in too much of a rush to move forward unless you’re willing to go back to catch up.

While many of the crafting professions make use of leather here and there, Leatherworking is of course the primary one. The LW profession typically uses forms of “leather” in multiples of 2-4, and “hides” in multiples of 1-3. The great thing about LW is that you can combine multiple lower-level leathers to make the higher level leathers. So while your Skinning will typically far outlevel your LW while you level your character, you can always turn the excess leather from lower levels into the higher level versions if you have enough of it.

If you’re not especially good when it comes to math, here’s a quick reference for you to judge how close you are for the zone. If the mobs are between these levels then you know you need somewhere between the two skill levels. Similarly, if you know that your skill level is almost 200 but you’re still in a level 20 zone, then you know that your skill is high enough to cover the entire zone since you can skin mobs that are level 40. And the reverse is true as well, if you find yourself in a level 40 zone but your skill is only 150 then you probably aren’t going to be able to skin a single mob in the entire zone.

Mob Levels Req. Skinning Skill
10 50
15 75
20 100
25 125
30 150
35 175
40 200
45 225
50 250
55 275
60 300
65 325
70 350
75 375
80 425
85 ???

[Update: Cataclysm mobs level 80 require 425 minimum to skin, level 81 mobs require 440.]

General Tips: Crafting Professions
When it comes to crafting professions you need to keep two things in mind. First, can you do anything at all with the items you’re crafting besides vendor them. Second, are you wasting mats by making items that aren’t “orange” or are you saving mats?

[UPDATE: And as Khraden pointed out in the comments, save yourself some bagspace and buy a Gnomish Army Knife (or 10), or have them crafted by an Engineer that you know. They count as every form of “tool” that’s used in crafting with your professions, saving all the space that those items would normally take up in your bags. If you’re not a Blacksmith, Engineer, Jewelcrafter, Miner, or Skinner, then you can skip it.]

Alchemy is a good example of that first question; can you do anything at all with the items besides vendor them? There are a lot of things you’ll make with Alchemy that are great for leveling the skill but that aren’t really all that useful or valuable. You’ll find yourself making all sorts of potions and elixers, and while some of them are really good, others just kind of…well, suck. If you can make items that are useful to at least one of your toons, then it’s not a waste. If you know that certain players would make a lot of use out of your potions, such as twinks or people who like utility potions like Water Walking for fishing and such, then making those types of items can net you a lot of gold on the Auction House. But every now and then you’re going to find yourself making random crap that nobody’s going to want and your only option is to either vendor it or use it yourself.

Blacksmithing is the spaghetti and meatballs of crafting professions. Most of the items you can make are just filler, they’re the noodles and if that’s all you got then it would really suck. Then you have some items that are pretty cool and can help you while you level, such as gear for your class and items such as spurs or shield spikes; these are your sauce that make the meal worth eating. And then you have the fantastic items, the meatballs, that are the whole reason you chose the profession in the first place. These are items such as epic gear, the ability to socket your own gear, or items that sell really well on the auction house because they’re useful for other professions (i.e. Enchanting).

Blacksmithing takes a ton of mats to level up, and in my opinion it’s the second most underwhelming profession in the game. However, there are some really great items you can make with it, and it’s an excellent source of gold if you craft the right items and list them on the auction house. It’s one of the best sources of gear to be disenchanted, and an excellent source of gear for Plate wearers and Melee DPS classes with some good caster weapons thrown in here and there as well. It’s also the only source for Rods which Enchanters require to level and make use of their profession.

A lot of items you make with BS, particularly pre-Burning Crusade, are going to suck to the point that vendoring them or having them disenchanted is about the only thing they’re good for. Once you’ve reached BC level crafting, and especially Wrath and Cataclysm level crafting, there are two primary markets to keep in mind when crafting gear that you’re not going to use yourself. First, Weapons disenchant into more valuable items than Armor. Second, gear for Tanks sells better on the AH (generally) than gear for any other class or role.

Enchanting is a profession that many people hate to level, and it’s my favorite profession. The easiest way to level Enchanting is to pair it up with a crafting profession so that you can easily disenchant the gear that you make to get the mats for Enchanting. Another great way to get mats is to make frequent use of the LFG feature and disenchant everything that drops in dungeons that isn’t of immediate use to you. When you’re questing and it’s time to choose your rewards, take a close look at the items rewarded. If none of the items are a great upgrade to you then choose weapons over armor and disenchant them.

A tip for farming Enchanting mats once you’ve reached a high enough level that you can solo lower level dungeons is to have one of your friends log into one of their alts and form a party with you, and then log out and go back to playing on whatever toon they feel like playing on. By being in a group, any items that drop which can be disenchanted will pop up the loot menu that will allow you to auto-disenchant anything you don’t want to keep and roll greed/need on anything you do want.

If you have a crafting profession on another character and none of the items you make sell on the AH after a round or two, send them to your enchanter to be disenchanted instead. Unless you need the gold for vendoring the item, it’s better to get enchanting mats that are more widely demanded than to sell an item that’s useful to only a few people.

The other tip I want to mention about Enchanting is that if you aren’t enchanting your own gear or those of your friends, don’t waste enchants on crap you’re going to just get rid of. Put them on Enchanting Vellums which you can now purchase from every Enchanting Vendor in the game. Try to sell the enchanted scrolls on the AH and if they don’t sell you can either ship them to a bank alt to then be distributed to other toons you level to help them along, or to be saved for other gear at a later date.

An excellent example of a profession that benefits greatly from making green-level items is Engineering. The most cost-effect method of leveling Engineering through pre-BC content is to rely heavily on explosives. Explosives come from Blasting Powders, which come from the “stone” that you get while mining. Stone is very easy to come by and often very cheap on the Auction House because of it. Making blasting powers is the typically cheapest way to level by making them until they go grey. Once they’re grey you make the cheapest (mats-wise) explosive you can that uses the blasting powder along with some cloth until it too goes either green or grey. You’re not going to be able to level 1-525 on powders and explosives alone, or even 1-300 for that matter, but you can cover a lot of skill levels by doing this.

Inscription is an excellent, though…interesting, profession. You can either make a ton of gold with it, or you can make almost nothing with it, depending on how and when you use it. Inscription got a big change in the 4.0 patch that tripled the mats required to make all of our glyphs. As part of that, we also had the vast majority of our items grant multiple skill-ups if you craft them while the recipe is “orange”. Other professions got this as well, but it’s more apparent in Inscription than any other that I’ve seen.

The big thing to remember about leveling Inscription, because of this, is that the ones that offer multiple skills when orange generally only do so until the next multiple of 5, so it’s best to craft them when your skill level is at a 4. For example, if you are at skill level 150 have an item that gives you 3 or 5 skill points when you make it, you get the most out of your mats if you can get your skill up to 154 before you make the item that gives you the 3-5 points, because in almost every case as soon as your skill reaches 155 the item that gives you 3-5 points before then will then turn “yellow” and only grant you 0-1 skill points when you make it instead. By crafting it at 154 you’re able to jump to 152 or 154 which will likely give you yet another recipe that grants 3-5 points when you make it; effectively giving you a chance to leap frog your way through the leveling profess to the point that tripling our material cost becomes a benefit rather than a big nerf.

The next thing to remember about Inscription is that there are five sources of getting new glyphs. The first is to simple level up your skill as new patterns will open up the further you go. The second is your Minor Inscription Research when you can do once per day (resets at midnight server time). Next you have the Northrend Inscription research which can also be done once per day and resets at midnight-server. Then, there are the Books of Glyph Mastery which drop in Northrend. All of these glyph sources are independent of one another, meaning that none of the recipes discovered from one of them is available from any of the others. If you want to be able to make all of the glyphs then you have to make use of every source. Finally, there are a few recipes that you can learn by purchasing the recipe from an Inscription Supplies Vendor. If memory servers, there are only two of these now.

Jewelcrafting is one of the “most important” professions in the game as end game raiders require the best gems the can find. The kind of Gems I’m referring to don’t really exist until you reach BC content, and they’re not really essential until you reach end game, though they are definitely useful from the time they become available. Most of what you make from pre-BC patterns will be pretty useless save for a few upgrades to your rings and neck slots, and an occasional trinket. Some of the items will sell well on the AH, and others are better disenchanted.

When leveling JC, especially in pre-BC, you’ll need to decide for yourself whether you’re better of prospecting your ore for gems or selling your ore on the AH and instead buying the raw gems for cheaper prices to level instead. Once you get to Northrend especially, you’ll often find that the best source of income for JC is a combination of cutting gems and making jewelry to be disenchanted. Some Wrath gems are still being used today, but that’s quickly dying down as Cataclysm gems drop in price and increase in supply from people leveling their alts or spending time gathering in their spare time between queues and raids.

Leatherworking is the one profession I have never gotten to max level, or even to Burning Crusade level content. I have no idea what the secret is to leveling LW, because I just can’t bring myself to do it. Every toon I’ve tried to level it on has been deleted. What I do know about LW is that it’s a great source of leveling gear for classes that like Agility. It’s also decent for leather-wearing caster classes and Druid tanks, though to a somewhat lesser degree.

The only tip I have for leveling LW is one that I already mentioned in the previous section when I mentioned Skinning, which is to remember that you can turn your lower level leathers into higher level ones. The more skinning you do, the better off you’re going to be, and unlike other gather-craft combinations your low level mats still have at least some value to you even after you’ve increased to higher skill levels. The major obstacle I ran into while leveling LW on my own toons was Hides. Hides cannot be made from lower versions, they can only be skinned off of mobs of the appropriate level.

Another thing to mention in relation to that tip though is that while low level leathers can become higher level leathers, it’s usually faster and easier to just go farm the leather you need off of the appropriate level mobs. If you’re leveling the two professions together while you’re leveling your toon, pay attention to the types of leathers that your “orange” recipes use. If you see that there’s a new type of leather being called for that you’ve never seen before, then you may need to farm in a different location to find the right level of mobs. I often run into the problem where I’m making things with Medium Leather for instance, and I find new patterns calling out for Heavy Leather, yet the mobs I’ve killing at the moment are dropping Thick Leather which is actually above Heavy. Somewhere in my general questing paths I end up skipping the mobs that drop most of the Heavy Leather and I get bottlenecked there because of it.

So if you ever find your Skinning skill jumping ahead of your LW skill as far as what mats you’re receiving, do yourself a favor and go back to farm the lower level mobs that drop what you need. Because while you have that nifty feature of turning lower leathers into higher, there’s nothing you can do to turn higher level leathers into lowers.

Tailoring is the a lot like Blacksmithing except that our spaghetti is now more like lasagna. You start off with some fairly crappy items, then you get some good items, then some great items, then another layer of bland filler, then some more decent stuff, then some more great, then it sucks again and so on. You can get a lot of great cloth gear for your casters, and you can get a lot of random junk that isn’t really good for anything or the mats are insane compared to the little return you get on the item and how quickly you’ll outgrow it in today’s leveling environment.

Leveling Tailoring is all about resources. If you have a character that can easily farm all the cloth you need to level it, then you’re golden. If you don’t, then it’s probably going to suck. Also, once you move into Northrend you’re going to need access to Enchanting mats to level your skill, specifically Infinite Dust. Luckily, with Cataclysm recipes available you now only need a single stack of Infinite Dust on your way to 525 Tailoring. Unfortunately, the fastest and most mats-effective way to level your Tailoring to 525 also requires a bit over 90 stacks of Embersilk Cloth, so I hope you like farming or have the gold to throw away to get it.

While you’re leveling Tailoring, don’t bother making the items that require a ton of obscure mats, especially from pre-BC and BC patterns. Even if they’re upgrades, they most likely won’t be for long and are not worth the cost in mats. Keep it simple. Once you’ve out leveled a certain type of cloth you’re pretty much done with it. The best way to farm your cloth is through dungeon runs, though the I’ll get into that more when I write the specific to Tailoring. And remember, humanoid mobs are where you find the cloth.

Specific Tips: Crafting Professions
Crafting professions are far too broad for me to throw specific details about them into this particular post. Instead I’ll take a look at each one individually in posts to come and talk about specific tips for leveling them, farming mats, and where to find recipes that you’ll be particularly interested in picking up to make the process smoother.

Shall I Continue?
If you’d like me to go on and talk about each of the professions in a more detail, please let me know in the comments as having direction from my readers can really help a lot in deciding what topics to blog about and in what order.

Also, if you have any tips you would like to share about leveling your professions, or resources that you like to refer to when doing it yourself, please share those with us as well.

Shame: I Have None
To finish it off here I’m going to drop a plug here in a fashion lacking in shame. One of the projects I’ve started up this year includes a podcast called The OverLores.

We’re taking five Worgen through their entire storyline, delving into the lore of the race and the events surrounding their reintroduction to the world now that the Greymane wall has been breached and the forces of Undercity seek to wipe them from the face of Azeroth.

As everyone rushes to reach the level cap once again, start up new Recruit A Friend accounts to powerlevel new races and classes to add to their collection of raiders and end game farmers, we’re dedicating this podcast and this project to finding all the lore that people miss while doing so.

Deathwing has emerged.

The great dragon has sundered the world of Azeroth.

Our land has been shaken, burned, and torn open in ways unthinkable.

Five Worgen have left their home of Gilneas to venture out into the world, to learn, to explore, to gain a kingly knowledge of all that has transpired.

Will you join us?


Posted by on January 6, 2011 in Guide, Leveling, Professions


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Gathering Professions: Benefits

There are several professions to choose from in the game, and it’s a question that comes up often when someone rolls a new toon: Which professions should I take? Heck, even I ask it when I’m rolling a new class, or when I’m thinking about trying out a new one.

There’s no definite answer to this question as it can vary based on what you want to do with the character, what you want to accomplish with them, whether you want to make gold, improve yourself at end game, supply your alts, or any number of other reasons. That’s not a question that I can answer directly because I’m not you. What I can do though, is give you a list of what benefits you get from certain professions.

If you want a nice overview of the various professions then I will direct you to WoWWiki Professions for information about what each profession is and so forth.

If you are interested in power leveling professions, then I direct you instead to When I want to power level my professions (which is basically every single time), this is the site I turn to for reference on what I need to buy and in what quantities.

Gathering Professions: Basic Information
The one term I want to make you familiar with in case you aren’t already is Training Cap. All professions are limited by a Training Cap, which is a certain level of the skill that you cannot go beyond until you have reached certain requirements. The Training Cap (TC) for all professions are multiples of 75 (75, 150, 225, 300, 375, 450). Also, each of those caps requires a certain character level before you can train to move up into the next skill range.

Skill Level 1-75: No requirement (crafting professions require level 5 to train)
Skill Level 76-150: Requires Herbalism Skill 50+
Skill Level 151-225: Requires Character Level 10, Herbalism Skill 125+
Skill Level 226-300: Requires Character Level 25, Herbalism Skill 200+
Skill Level 301-375: Requires Character Level 40, Herbalism Skill 275+ (trainers in Outlands/Northrend only)
Skill Level 376-450: Requires Character Level 55, Herbalism Skill 350+ (trainers in Northrend only)

Herbalism: The Mighty Harvesters

Herbalism allows you to pick herbs across the world that are used by players with the Alchemy and Inscription professions. Other professions use them on occasion as well, as do a few quests here and there, but those are the two sources with the highest demand for herbs. If you want to get crafting professions to go with this one then those are the two you want to choose from.

Each time you reach the training cap with Herbalism you get a new version of a spell called Lifeblood which will heal you for an amount over 5 seconds. Lifeblood has a base amount that it heals you for which is then increased by your character’s maximum health (though I can’t find anywhere how much it is increased).

Lifeblood is an instant cast spell, does not break stealth/invisibility, has a three minute cooldown, and it makes springy little flowers pop up from the ground/floor whenever you use it.

Skill Level: 75 Lifeblood (Rank 1): Uses your skill in Herbalism to absorb energy and nutrients from the earth, healing you for 300 (increased by maximum health) over 5 sec. Can be used while stealthed or invisible.

Skill Level: 150 Lifeblood (Rank 2): Uses your skill in Herbalism to absorb energy and nutrients from the earth, healing you for 480 (increased by maximum health) over 5 sec. Can be used while stealthed or invisible.

Skill Level: 225 Lifeblood (Rank 3): Uses your skill in Herbalism to absorb energy and nutrients from the earth, healing you for 720 (increased by maximum health) over 5 sec. Can be used while stealthed or invisible. (Side Note: This is the highest rank for a level 19 Twink.)

Skill Level: 300 Lifeblood (Rank 4): Uses your skill in Herbalism to absorb energy and nutrients from the earth, healing you for 900 (increased by maximum health) over 5 sec. Can be used while stealthed or invisible.

Skill Level: 375 Lifeblood (Rank 5): Uses your skill in Herbalism to absorb energy and nutrients from the earth, healing you for 1200 (increased by maximum health) over 5 sec. Can be used while stealthed or invisible.

Skill Level: 450 Lifeblood (Rank 6): Uses your skill in Herbalism to absorb energy and nutrients from the earth, healing you for 3600 (increased by maximum health) over 5 sec. Can be used while stealthed or invisible.

Interesting Facts
Though it really makes no sense to anyone, there is a sword called the Phytoblade which requires Herbalism Skill 100 to use. Why do you have to be able to pick fancy flowers to use this sword? I don’t have a clue, but there it is regardless.

The Tauren race receives a +15 Herbalism skill from their Cultivation racial. It’s great for being able to pick higher level herbs faster, but it’s a drawback in that your skill level requirements to gain the additional ranks of Lifeblood are similarly increased by 15, so you receive the first rank at Skill Level 90 rather than SL 75, and so on.

You can purchase a Leatherworking Pattern from an Alliance vendor to make Herbalist’s Gloves which provide a +5 Herbalism bonus which can also be enchanted (see below) to provide a total of +10 to your skill.

There are a number of Enchants you can get to increase your Herbalism skill as well: Gloves – Herbalism +2 Herbalism, Gloves – Advanced Herbalsim +5 Herbalism, Gloves – Gatherer +5 to all Gather professions.

Mining: Hi-ho! Hi-ho! It’s off to work we go!

Mining allows you to gather Ore and the occasional Gem by using your mining pick on mining nodes across the world. Mining also gives you the Smelt ability which can turn Ore into Bars. Raw Ores are used primarily in Jewelcrafting, while Bars are used in Blacksmithing, Engineering, and Jewelcrafting. Materials gathered with Mining are used in some of the other professions at times as well, and in quests (mostly Alliance quests).

Each time you reach the training cap with Mining you get a new version of a passive buff called Toughness which which provides a flat bonus to your Stamina based on the skill rank.

Mining also requires you to have a Mining Pick, or other item that counts as one, in order to gather ore/gems from mining nodes.

Skill Level: 75 Toughness (Rank 1): All your hard work spent mining has made you exceptionally tough, increasing your Stamina by 3.

Skill Level: 150 Toughness (Rank 2): All your hard work spent mining has made you exceptionally tough, increasing your Stamina by 5.

Skill Level: 225 Toughness (Rank 3): All your hard work spent mining has made you exceptionally tough, increasing your Stamina by 7. (Side Note: This is the highest rank for a level 19 Twink.)

Skill Level: 300 Toughness (Rank 4): All your hard work spent mining has made you exceptionally tough, increasing your Stamina by 10.

Skill Level: 375 Toughness (Rank 5): All your hard work spent mining has made you exceptionally tough, increasing your Stamina by 30.

Skill Level: 450 Toughness (Rank 6): All your hard work spent mining has made you exceptionally tough, increasing your Stamina by 60.

Interesting Facts
An Engineer can craft the Goblin Mining Helmet which grants +5 Mining skill when you have it equipped. It binds when picked up so you have to make it yourself in order to wear it, and it does require you to be able to wear Mail armor to wear it.

While Dwarves seem a perfect fit for a racial modifier, there are actually no existing races that provide a bonus to Mining.

There are a number of Enchants you can get to increase your Mining skill as well: Gloves – Mining +2 Mining, Gloves – Advanced Mining +5 Mining, Gloves – Gatherer +5 to all Gather professions.

Skinning: I’ll rip the secrets from your flesh!

Skinning allows you to “loot” skins and hides corpses of beasts across the world after they have already had their dropped loot removed. The skins and hides are used primarily in the Leatherworking profession, but also see frequent appearances in Blacksmithing, Engineering, and Tailoring as well.

Each time you reach the training cap with Skinning you get a new version of a passive buff called Master of Anatomy which provides you with a boost to your Critical Strike Rating.

You can use skinning on corpses of beasts that other people have killed who are not in your party, so long as they have been looted. Also note that beasts in the initial starting area of each race cannot be skinned, nor can critters.

Skinners require a Skinning Knife, or another item that counts as one, in order to use the skinning ability on a corpse.

Skill Level: 75 Master of Anatomy (Rank 1): Skinning all those dead animals has broadened your anatomical knowledge, increasing your critical strike rating by 3.

Skill Level: 150 Master of Anatomy (Rank 2): Skinning all those dead animals has broadened your anatomical knowledge, increasing your critical strike rating by 6.

Skill Level: 225 Master of Anatomy (Rank 3): Skinning all those dead animals has broadened your anatomical knowledge, increasing your critical strike rating by 9. (Side Note: This is the highest rank for a level 19 Twink.)

Skill Level: 300 Master of Anatomy (Rank 4): Skinning all those dead animals has broadened your anatomical knowledge, increasing your critical strike rating by 12.

Skill Level: 375 Master of Anatomy (Rank 5): Skinning all those dead animals has broadened your anatomical knowledge, increasing your critical strike rating by 20.

Skill Level: 450 Master of Anatomy (Rank 6): Skinning all those dead animals has broadened your anatomical knowledge, increasing your critical strike rating by 40.

Interesting Facts
If you want to get extra serious about your Skinning abilities you can get both Finkle’s Skinner (main hand dagger) and Zulian Slicer (one hand sword) which each provide the wielder with a +10 Skinning skill.

While they are not available for play just yet, the Worgen race that is coming in the Cataclysm expansion will receive a +15 Skinning bonus as well as an increased speed in skinning.

There are also two Enchants that benefit the Skinners: Gloves – Skinning +5 Skinning, and Gloves – Gatherer +5 to all Gather professions. There is no +2 Skinning Enchant as with the other gathering professions, though I’m not entirely sure why that is.


Posted by on March 1, 2010 in Guide, Professions


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