Thursday, August 9, 2012

World of Warcraft Newbie Guide 7: Professions

Something of a staple in the MMORPG genre, professions or tradeskills are present in World of Warcraft as a method of populating the economy through means of a variety of trades in which a character can choose some from in addition to the loot characters find normally by adventuring. While not mandatory, professions are beneficial beyond generating a good bit of cash and/or providing specific services to players. They can strengthen your character and provide other perks exclusive to characters who practice said profession. That is why in this article I will go over each profession in detail.

Profession Trainers

The previous article went over the NPCs one could find by asking a guard. In it I mentioned profession trainers could be found. Since we're now covering professions, ask a guard in applicable towns or capital cities and find a profession trainer you're interested in. Using the directions in the previous article (and tracking, if you so desire), you will soon be before a profession trainer. In this example, I sought out the Blacksmithing trainer. Like a class trainer, mousing over a profession trainer will show a book. You will also see a familiar sight when interacting with them for profession training, as shown below:
As you can see, learning professions can be similar to that of learning class abilities. You spend money and obtain profession-related abilities, whether it is the ability to craft new items or further advance profession skill leveling. Keep in mind, however, that not all profession skills are learned from the trainer but can be found in the form of recipe scrolls, objects, quests, and so on.

As you can see, at the very top you have the ability to train the profession by learning a tier of the profession. Each tier opens up 75 profession skill levels. Tiers may have a character level requirement and always have a profession level requirement that is equal to the total level of the previous tier minus 25. Thus, if you want to have access to 225 skill (Expert level) in a profession, you must at least have 125 skill (150-25). When you learn the Apprentice tier in a (primary) profession and have open (primary) profession slots, you will see a prompt like this:
You can replace "Blacksmithing" with the name of any primary profession
Accepting will teach you the profession. You can now view it in your professions window, which can be opened with the hotkey "K" or by clicking the Professions tab in your Spellbook. When you go there you will see something like this:
From here you can see the professions you have currently learned. You can access your profession skill books from here too if applicable (you can also drag them onto an ActionBar for quick access, which I highly recommend, but keep it to the side).

The top part shows the primary professions section, of which you can only know two at a time. If for some reason you don't like a primary profession and want to get rid of it, you can click the red circle to the left of the profession skill bar. You will then see a prompt to unlearn the profession. However, if you ever pick up that same profession again you must start over, so think carefully before unlearning.

The lower section shows the secondary professions, of which there are four of and all of them can be learned at once.

This leads to an important question, however. In each profession subsection there is a bar that shows the aforementioned profession skill level. How does one go about increasing the level to unlock higher profession skill tiers?

Leveling Professions

Leveling professions is elementary but at the same time can be quite frustrating. In a majority of cases, you open the profession you want to level by clicking on the respective icon. This will bring up a window like this:
As you can see, you can now do things with your profession in the form of making something. This is the window you'll see for a specific profession, which will list all the recipes you know for that profession. They will also be color coded to determine which recipes can cause a profession skill up.
  • Orange: This color means you will always obtain a skill-up when crafting that particular object. Gives one skill-up per interaction.
    • The exception to this is if you see a number with an arrow next to it. Crafting such recipes will grant multiple skill-ups equal to that number. They are often very costly to make.
  • Yellow: A yellow recipe means there's a good chance of obtaining a skill-up when crafting such a recipe. The skill-up is not guaranteed.
  • Green: A green recipe has a low chance of granting a skill-up when making such a recipe. It is generally not recommended you make this sort of recipe for leveling up unless it's very inexpensive to craft.
  • Grey: A grey (or gray) recipe will never grant a skill-up. Do not ever attempt to craft solely to level a profession.
  • It should be worth noting that if your race has a profession bonus effect, while a craft may show a lower tier color like green or grey, there may be a heightened chance of a successful skill-up. This is to compensate for the fact recipe seemingly become unusable for profession leveling (to determine the true level of your profession in terms of how skill-ups are gained, subtract the racial profession bonus from the profession total).
These color codes also apply to anything else related to professions. This means that professions that involve interactions with world objects will also show the same color codes and for a prospective profession leveler it is important to observe these colors.

Profession Descriptions

With all that out of the way, it's best to know what each of the many professions in World of Warcraft can offer. I will also recommend classes and other professions that go best with the profession in question.

Gathering Professions

Gathering professions are primary professions that involve gathering materials for usage by other professions. In general they're a good way to make some quick money for going out of the way to loot gathering nodes while doing other activities. In addition, gathering from nodes as an Herbalist or Miner will award experience points. However, it is very easy to get behind if zone and quest progression are ignored in favor of other methods of leveling. There are only three gathering professions. Gathering professions have an additional color coding of red to indicate a node cannot be harvested from at the time due to insufficient skill level.

Because gathering professions are generally pretty easy to level, the perks for a character are considered inferior to other professions. Gathering professions don't have a level requirement up to Journeyman (150), but require a character level of 10 for Expert, 25 for Artisan, 40 for Master (375), 55 for Grand Master (450), and 75 for Illustrious (525).
  • Herbalism: Herbalism is the act of gathering plant manner for usage in other professions. Some plants can be consumed for temporary effects. Herb nodes tend to be very frequent in outdoor areas but yield only a few plants per node. An experienced herbalist can heal themselves for a small amount and haste themselves for a time periodically. Herbalists go best with professions that make good use of the harvested material, meaning Alchemists and Scribes. All three professions generally benefit all classes equally so it's a good choice if you have certain professions that are more beneficial to a class covered.
  • Mining: Mining is the act of extracting usable materials from rocky terrain in the form of ore nodes. Ore nodes often show up in mountainous terrain and contain more material than herb nodes. As a result they are more rare. Unlike the other two gathering professions, ores obtained in this profession must also be refined at a furnace for usage which can help level up the profession further. Mining goes best with Blacksmithing, Engineering, and Jewelcrafting, which can all make use of the ores, stones, and other materials Miners can gather. Because Mining inherently increases Stamina, which in turn increases health, and because one of the three professions directly deals with making durable Plate equipment, Paladins, Warriors, and Death Knights make excellent Miners. Mining requires a mining pick to extract ores, which can be acquired at a trade supplies or mining vendor.
  • Skinning: Skinning is the act of acquiring animal pelts from dead beasts and the like. To skin something, it must be fully looted and you have to be in the level range to skin (divide your Skinning level by 5 after 100 to get a general idea of the highest level beast you can skin). Experienced Skinners have a higher chance to critically strike enemy targets. Leatherworking uses leather obtained from Skinning and thus naturally goes hand in hand with it. Rogues, Druids, Hunters, and Shamans can all use equipment from Leatherworking, making Skinning a choice profession on them, though any class you are adept at farming large amounts of mobs with is also a good choice since Skinning is partially about one's ability to defeat beasts for the leather. A skinning knife is required to skin beasts.
Crafting Professions

Crafting professions use materials acquired from gathering professions, normal gameplay, and other crafting professions (including itself) to craft items related to the tradeskill. While usually not profitable at first, there are many crafting professions and each usually has multiple recipes that are in high demand for some reason or another (equipment, materials for another profession, etc). Because of this, crafting professions are often very rewarding, but usually require significantly more investment in materials and funds to skill up. Apprentice-level crafting professions can be learned at character level 5, while Journeyman can be learned at level 10, Expert at 20, Artisan at 35, Master at 50, Grand Master at 65, and Illustrious at 75.
  • Alchemy: Alchemy is a profession that mostly uses materials gathered by the Herbalism profession to brew potions and elixirs that can be used to grant temporary stat bonuses or other enhancements. Alchemists can also transmute items, creating objects of great value. Alchemists greatly benefit from potions and elixirs they are able to make and have their own exclusive infinite-use elixir for a long-duration stat boost. As mentioned above, Alchemy goes well with Herbalism and can generally benefit any class.
  • Blacksmithing: Blacksmiths can craft metallic items, mostly arms and armor from metal bars. Blacksmiths can enhance a few pieces of equipment to have sockets, which can then have gems inserted into them for stat bonuses. Blacksmiths work best with Miners because Miners provide most of the materials a Blacksmith needs. Since Blacksmith creates a large amount of plate equipment, Paladins, Warriors, and Death Knights make excellent Blacksmiths. Blacksmithing usually requires the usage of a Blacksmith Hammer and Anvil (which are in most major towns).
  • Enchanting: Enchanting is a profession that thrives on disenchanting uncommon, rare, and epic equipment (keep in mind disenchanting destroys equipment) and using the resulting dust and shard as materials to enchant equipment, giving it additional stats. It generates materials through the usage of the profession itself, though often Enchanters won't naturally get enough items to disenchant to skill up the profession. As a result, it is considered an expensive profession to level up. Enchanters can enchant their own ring equipment to improve statistics. Enchanting works well with most equipment crafting professions, especially Tailoring, as they create uncommon or better items that are suitable for feeding skill ups to Enchanting. Because Enchanting works well with Tailoring, Mages, Priests, and Warlocks are good classes for taking Enchanting.
  • Engineering: Engineer is a profession that revolves around making parts that are then used to make nifty gadgets, explosives, scopes, and firearms. Engineering recipes often require a noticeably larger amount of materials to craft from the Mining profession, making Engineering more expensive to level than Blacksmithing. Most of the gadgets an Engineer makes is exclusive to Engineers, including stat boosting glove enchants, belt enhancements, class-exclusive goggles, and special trinkets. Because Engineers can make scopes, which enhance ranged weaponry, and guns, Hunters have a slight edge for using this profession. However, all classes can benefit from Engineering. It is not recommended that you take Engineering on your first character. Engineers sometimes use a Blacksmith Hammer and Anvil.
  • Inscription (Scribe, not Inscriptionist): Characters with Inscription can create Glyphs, which are used by all classes to enhance specific abilities. Because the first Glyphs are usable at level 25, I will cover this in more detail later on. Scribes can also create special books that can be equipped in the Off-Hand slot, and just about anything else that involves using ink and parchment. Scribes can also enchant their shoulder slot equipment with a very powerful Inscription. This profession mills ink materials from herbs, making Herbalism a good profession to pair with it. Classes that can use off-hand items, such as Druids, Mages, Priests, and Warlocks benefit slightly more from this profession though any class will surely benefit from the ability to create glyphs for themselves.
  • Jewelcrafting: Jewelcrafters can create jewelry such as necklaces, trinkets, and rings that can be equipped to improve stats. In addition, at higher levels, Jewelcrafters can cut gems into specific patterns that increase stats when put into a socketed item (something you will start seeing around level 55 or higher). Jewelcrafters also have exclusive gem cuts for themselves that grant an enormous stat boost when socketed. Jewelcrafters can prospect raw ore to find gems. Jewelcrafting requires a large amount of metal, especially rare precious metals like gold and silver to craft items. Because of this, Mining is a good choice pairing with Jewelcrafting. However, the profession is expensive to level and is not recommended for a first character. All classes benefit pretty equally from Jewelcrafting.
  • Leatherworking: Leatherworking is the art of using leather harvested by the Skinning profession to create Leather and Mail armor. Leatherworkers can also craft hide drums that can buff your group or debuff opponents and armor kits to improve armor, especially leg equipment. Experienced Leatherworkers can add fur lining to their bracers to greatly increase stats. Rogues, Druids, Hunters, and Shamans can benefit from the usage of Leather and Mail armor, making them choice classes for practicing this profession.
  • Tailoring: Tailoring uses cloth, which drops from Humanoid enemies, to create Cloth equipment. In addition, Tailors can craft bags, making it easy to profit from a constant demand to increase inventory space. Accomplished tailors are more adept at finding cloth that other characters. At higher levels, Tailors can make spellthreads that can be knitted into leg armor to enhance it like the Leatherworking armor kits. Tailors at high skill levels can weave embroideries into their cloaks (back slot item) for an enormous stat boost. This particular stat boost is different from that of other crafting professions (which, mathematically, are all similar if not identical). As mentioned above, Tailoring works best with Enchanting because Tailors don't rely on a gathering profession to fuel its crafting and crafted items from Tailoring can be used for Enchanting materials via Disenchanting. Mages, Priests, and Warlocks are excellent Tailors because they can use the Cloth gear.
Secondary Professions
    Secondary professions are professions that can be taken by any character with no limit. They do not have the same benefits of a primary profession but are beneficial in their own sense, as I'll describe below. Secondary professions also have their own level limits for advancement.
    • Archaeology (Requires Cataclysm): Starting at level 20, characters can take Archaeology. Upon training the profession, you will see markers on continent maps (open your map and right click to zoom out) that indicate digsites. These digsites will also show in the zones as orange regions. When using the Archaeology skill Survey (definitely put this one your ActionBar) in a digsite area, you will often see a telescope and a light next to it. The light indicates the distance you are from the dig, with red being far away, yellow being a moderate distance away, and green being close (the faster the green light blinks, the closer you are). When you're at the right spots and use Survey, you'll find a lootable object that yields fragments and possibly keystones (when you find an object and loot it, use Survey again because objects can spawn in the same spot multiple times). After finding three such objects, the digsite will be depleted and a new one will spawn. These can then be converted into artifacts of up to nine specific races in the Archaeology profession window. Some of these items are rare finds that can only be completed once. Completing finds will increase your skill.
      • Archaeology can be skilled up to Expert at level 20. Artisan training requires level 35, Master requires 50, Grand Master requires 65, and Illustrious requires 75. Digsites will always spawn in areas within your level range. Surveying objects successfully awards experience points.
    • Cooking: Cooking is a profession that allows for the creation of many dishes that can be eaten to replenish health and mana. In addition, unlike most conventional consumables bought from vendors, many foods and drinks from cooking provide Well Fed buffs that increase stats (only one can be active at a time). Experienced cooks can create feasts for their group that provide Well Fed buffs. Training Cooking also allows you to make a Cooking Fire that provides a minor Spirit buff and allows cooking, though most fires and heated surfaces (you can  tell if you see a name like "Fire" when mousing over such objects) also allow cooking.
      • Cooking has no level requirement for all profession skill levels, but may be limited by the materials one can obtain, since many items that can be cooked are gathered from enemies or the Fishing profession.
    • First Aid: First Aid uses cloth to create bandages that can be used as a quick heal in or out of combat. Bandage usage is limited by a debuff that prevents further bandaging for a minute. Bandage usage is interrupted by all forms of damage. Bandages are handy for emergency situations where you need to stay alive by healing.
      • First Aid has no level requirements up to Expert, but then requires level 35 for Artisan, 50 for Master, 65 for Grand Master, and 75 for Illustrious.
    • Fishing: Fishing is a very straightforward profession. By using the Fishing ability with a Fishing Rod, which can be acquired from fishing vendors, near open water, you will cast out your Fishing Rod. A bob will show in the water, which will splash in the water with an audible sound to indicate a fish is on the line. Right clicking on the bob when this occurs will catch an item, which can range from fish to junk to a small chest that contains items. Fishing, like in real life, requires a little patience, and is a relatively difficult skill to level up. Fishing skill can be gotten just about anywhere but higher level zones require higher fishing levels to fish successfully in (for better loot). There are also fishing pools in bodies of water that always yield a certain type of object.
      • Fishing requires level 5 to initially train, but has no level requirements beyond that.

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