Friday, June 19, 2009

LF Crafter

[2.Trade] LF Crafter of [Epic Lootz], my mats + 10G tip

This is how I usually satisfy my crafting needs these days. I do have an enchanter, scribe, tailor and leatherworker among my characters but I still require the services of blacksmiths and jewelcrafters on a regular basis. Alchemists, not so much. I used them more in BC for transmutes but in Wrath I've never needed one. I use engineers even less.

I was reflecting lately on how much professions have changed since Classic WoW. I consider myself fortunate that I've experienced those times. I wouldn't go back by any means but life certainly was different back then.

You may recall that crafting professions were pretty much pointless if you didn't have access to rare recipe drops. Yeah, you could craft some crappy stuff for yourself but as a solo player, taking up a crafting profession wasn't going to make you any money. Well, if you were planning to make money, that is. For Role-Playing purposes, any profession was - and is - fair game.

Back then, I grabbed Blacksmithing on my budding Paladin. I still remember running around like crazy trying to farm hundreds of Mithril Ore to turn into bars so I could level up my skill. The Blacksmithing quests were also a pain in the butt. I entertained the romantic notion that when my skill was maxed out, I would spend all my savings to buy 1 or 2 rare BOE recipes such as Lionheart Helm and Titanic Leggings from the AH. From then on, I reasoned, it would be smooth sailing and I would be rolling around in piles of gold.

Well, you can guess what happened. Eventually I got tired of wasting all those bars that I could have sold for a lot of gold instead so I gave up on leveling Blacksmithing. Much later, I replaced it with Enchanting and I never looked back.

The thing is that back then, you could make a lot of money if you had some of those rare recipes. Crafters easily charged 50, 100 or even more gold for crafting rare pieces of gear with the customer's mats. At the time, you may remember that 1000 gold was a very big deal for most people. Recipes for epic items were even rarer, allowing crafters to charge a premium for their services. The "problem" was that these recipes either had a small drop-rate in raids or higher-tier dungeons or required insane faction grinding in order to obtain them. Although many such recipes produced BOE items, even those items were inaccessible to most casual players due to the prohibitive cost of mats + crafting fee. I still remember how proud I was when I managed to have my Core Marksman Rifle crafted with my own mats. I think I paid the guy 100G in addition to the mats which cost another 600G or so. He asked to see how the rifle looked on me. Perhaps he was suspicious that I would try to sell it.

Things have changed - a lot. Now crafting professions are more accessible to everyone although they still remain costly to level. Some are more useful then others. Some can make you more gold than others. In general, every profession can make SOME gold, depending how much time you are planning to spend looking for buyers and researching the profitability of the items it can produce.

Between my Alliance characters I have Enchanting, Leatherworking, Tailoring and Inscription.

Sometimes I'm wondering if I made a good decision in learning these 4 professions. I never advertise my craft and I never look for sellers. However, I do sell some stuff on the AH. Inscription has proven the most lucrative profession of them all by far. The others are mostly gold sinks but they are also very useful to my characters.

Inscription is obviously useful for every character and also makes me a lot of gold. It also has a great synergy with Enchanting thanks to those awesome armor and weapon vellums.

Enchanting is very nice (although expensive to level) because I can enchant my own stuff whenever I need to. Thanks to vellums, I can send enchants to all my characters. Another great side-effect of vellums is that it is now much less costly to level enchanting than pre-Wrath. Instead of wasting very expensive mats by enchanting my own gear over and over again, or begging people for skill-ups, I will simply enchant a bunch of vellums and then sell them on the AH, frequently for a nice profit.

Tailoring was expensive to level. I still get headaches when I think of all that wasted cloth. Well, it wasn't all wasted because I disenchanted 99% of that stuff, but not everyone has their own enchanter. Tailoring was very useful to my Warlock because I crafted nice gear for myself and even epic stuff such as the Frozen Shadoweave set. Tailoring is also very useful for the bags it produces. Unfortunately you can't make much of a profit by selling some types of bags - they are often on the AH for less than the cost of their mats. However, I have fitted all my high level characters and bank alt with Frostweave Bags. The various spellthreads are also useful and can sometimes fetch a profit. Sometimes, when I have too much of a certain type of cloth I can craft lower level items and DE them. The lower dusts, essences and shards sell very well.

Leatherworking is kind of meh... I use it for the leg armor kits mainly. Sometimes I can sell those for a profit. My Paladin can also benefit from the special Fur Linings.

As you can see, of the 4 crafting professions that my characters share, only 2 are nice money-makers. The other 2, although producing some useful items, are not exactly profitable but then again, I haven't really examined them closely to figure out how I can make them profitable. Of the 2, Tailoring seems better overall but mostly due to its synergy with enchanting (or disenchanting rather). Unfortunately leatherworking uses expensive skins and I don't see that changing. While cloth is fairly cheap due to it dropping to everyone, skins can obviously be harvested only by Skinners.

Although I'm a bit disenchanted with Leatherworking (see what I did there?), I don't think I'll ever drop it. It still has its uses and I've already invested a lot in it. However, I'm seriously debating whether I should learn Jewelcrafting. It seems that I'm in frequent need of a Jewelcrafter and this is still one of the most profitable professions in the game.

On the other hand I'm wondering if it's worth the hassle. These days crafters are a dime a dozen. Within 1 minute of looking for a crafter and offering a 5 gold tip with my mats, I'll get 2-3 whispers. Uncut gems can be found relatively cheaply on the AH and sometimes the cut gem is only 5G more than the uncut one. If it's more than that, I can just offer a crafter 5G to cut it for me. If not, I'll just buy the cut gem from the AH. In any case, I have a bunch of raw gems in my bank thanks to mining.

I tip 5G for blue items and 10G for epic ones. I'm sure I would find crafters for even less. Some people will probably think I'm a cheap bastard but let's face it: nowadays there aren't many rare recipes since most of them (including many epics) are easily learned from the trainer. Yes, they do cost around 15G for an epic pattern but that's nothing compared to spending 800G for a rare recipe back in Classic WoW. Thanks to this, there are also plenty of crafters out there who've learned all these patterns and they are willing to undercut each other on the crafting fee. On top of all this, a crafter will probably even do it for free if you bring the mats and they get a skill-up. Not to mention that some will even pay YOU for skill-ups. I admit I will go so far as paying a crafter 50G for crafting a rare Ulduar recipe but not more than that. Pretty soon those too will be common.

I'm telling you, things are topsy-turvy. I almost pity crafters trying to sell epic crafted items on the trade channel. There isn't much profit in that anymore, especially when you account for the time spent acquiring the mats, crafting the item and trying to sell it.

So I am hesitating to learn Jewelcrafting. The only aspect that attracts me is the prospect of making lots of gold from it. Also, the synergy with mining is very nice due to Prospecting.

In conclusion, I feel pretty good about the state of crafting professions in present-day WoW. I'm sure many - especially those who raid and who would potentially have access to very rare patterns - will disagree. As a solo player with many alts I really like how things are. Now we have choices: I can level my own profession or I can find someone to craft it for me for cheap. I can even find certain items on the AH for less than the cost of mats. Furthermore, professions in general are still useful and sometimes profitable to a certain extent. However, I'm still on the fence about whether I should pick Jewelcrafting or not. It would mean even more micro-management and sometimes I simply get tired of that.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, my main has maxed Herbalism and Alchemy. This also supplies my DK, who has Inscription leveled up to about 420, which as you say is definitely the most profitable - Alchemy flasks are great to see but the Frost Lotuses are darned hard to find.

I also have an Enchanter and Tailor in the 400s - don't currently use these professions for money making as I'm focused on leveling, but once it gets too expensive or they effectively max out, I'm going to start selling enchants and bags and what-not on the AH.

Jewelcrafting I've not really bothered with; I have it on a low level alt somewhere for completeness' sake but I can't say as I fancy leveling it up. It looks costly and really fiddly - or as you termed it, it needs a lot of micro-management.

Overall though it is handy to be able to make everything yourself as it really cuts costs. This is especially true of enchanting - just saving all the Outland and Northrend BoE greens and blues that drop randomly (3 or 4 alts in NR at this time) and sending them to my mage to be disenchanted has left me swimming in mats.


Anonymous said...

great to sell *

Darth Solo said...

It's all about opportunity cost. My understanding of economics is dodgy at best but this much I do understand.

If you hadn't leveled that crafting skill, let's say, to 450, how much gold would you have saved by not burning through those mats, or how much gold would you have made by simply selling the mats?

That's the question that always haunts me.

Yes, the professions are useful to yourself but if you hadn't spent all that money to level them, you would afford enchants and crafted items more easily now.

Some professions, for me, are definitely profitable. Inscription is right there on top. Enchanting is second and now it's slowly paying for itself with vellum enchants and disenchants.

Shawn said...

I'm having a hard time getting myself to do anything with the crafting professions. What makes me pause is not the fact that I could be using all these mats for money, but the fact that it's taking all this extra time to get anything worthwhile out of it. Time that I could be spending actually playing the game, not sitting in a town somewhere smelting things into bars, and making 6 runed copper belts at a time just so I can get the next skill up from the trainer. Sure, I can DE them, which takes more time to mail them to another toon, or I can just sell them back for a huge loss. Nobody buys basic crafted stuff from the AH, so that's pointless. Gah, why bother when I can be hitting something in the face?

Darth Solo said...

You got a very valid point Shawn. Professions aren't for everyone. Some people simply don't enjoy that aspect of the game. I tend to like though sometimes it's frustrating.

If you don't have enough gold to satisfy your main priorities, I would definitely skip professions. However, you may reach a point where you're looking for something new, some way in which to spend your gold. In that case, leveling a profession is not a bad idea. You can even consider it an investment of sorts.

Joar said...

I've actually really toyed with the idea of just having gathering professions on all of my alts to maximize their money making abilities. It always seems to be very easy to find someone willing to make you something if you've got the mats and usually a guildie that can do it for free.

That being said, I love having enchanting on maxed on one of my toons because I think it's a great resource to be able to DE all of those various greens and blues that you accumulate. I'm not always sure you get a ton more gold for the mats, but they do seem to sell faster, which requires less mailbox maintenance and less time at the AH!

I really would like to level Jewelcrafting on at least one of my toons as well but haven't bothered with it yet. Seems to be the only one that has something that I can't get elsewhere.

Bloodshrike said...

You might not get a ton more money for the mats, but at least you don't have a posting cost to deal with. If you post armor and weapons, and they don't sell, you're wasting gold. With enchaning mats, no posting cost = win.

I've found there's actually good money to be made in the lower levels of professions, and especially if you've gotten a rare recipe. I just spent a few hours farming the Arkkhoran Oracles in Azshara for the, since the set sells very well to feral druids, rogues, and glass cannon hunters.
I sell the entire set for around 200 gold, when I remember to log on to the toon.

Darth Solo said...

I love selling enchanting mats. I never undercut. In fact, I always overcut. And they always sell.

My Tailor has a rare recipe: White Bandit Mask. Since that one uses very few mats to craft, I disenchant it and sell the mats.

Bloodshrike said...

Ahh yes, the White Bandit Mask. DE'ing that was what I used to get my first 700 gold, as well as paying for leveling my other toons in all the other professions (only up to 225).