Friday, January 18, 2008
The Mining Issue
Today, I’m considering the 5 gathering professions and their progression as you level. What? You didn’t realize there were 5? While 2 of them aren’t really professions at all, they still have reason to be in this discussion. Instead of using the word “profession”, maybe I should say the way you get materials for your producing professions. How’s that? So, from easiest to hardest to skill up:
The only thing that I found challenging about this profession is that you have to remember to go to the trainer to get your next cap level. As long as you got this as your leveling, it’s pretty dang simple to get it leveled to max and always have enough leather to hand over to your leatherworking profession.
This is one of the non-profession gathering things. While it’s easy to get cloth, as a tailor, I found that I ran out of materials before leveling on the mobs of the next higher cloth, especially starting at silk. Furthermore, I didn’t even bother leveling First Aid until I was upper 50’s. So, leveling those at the same time, I imagine you’d probably be having to take up a personal vendetta against humanoids around the transition from Wool Cloth to Mageweave Cloth. Still one of the easier “gathering professions” since you don’t need any skill at all.
The only issue here is that when you enter a new area, your skill isn’t usually high enough for all the herbs. Example: when you first get herbalism, there’s a lot of earthroot around, but your stuck picking peacebloom. Through my adventures, the herbs were generally where you were questing anyway, so just took you a few seconds to go pick a flower real quick. Of course, the lure of that yellow dot could also lead you into some dangerous spots. But it is fairly easy to gather enough materials while leveling to progress alchemy at a steady pace appropriate to your level.
This is one of the more difficult gathering tasks (excluding the use of the AH), because how do you solo farm for greens that are at your level? Sure, you just kill a bunch of mobs hoping for a drop. That’s about it. You can’t really go after the elites at your level. The career path my mage chose was to do Tailoring and Enchanting, so at least I could disenchant the greens that I made. But it’s amazing how much money you lose (in opportunity cost) by disenchanting all your greens. So for the “poor” factor, it rates up there as more difficult. (As a high level enchanter, you can make a pretty good living, but expect to be poor on the flight up.)
Like Skinning and Herbalism, there’s no way to power level this profession. At the beginning levels, it helps that you can skill up by smelting the ore as well, but for most of its life, you have to be in the foothills and caves looking for these nodes. While leveling my Shaman, I felt that this wasn’t really a bad profession. I could generally mine the nodes in the areas I was leveling. Like herbalism, I may not be able to mine all the nodes at first, but by the time I was almost finished with the area, I usually could. Then I got to Thorium. My routes during leveling changed a bit, as I tried to stay near the mountains to find the nodes. I did all the non-instance quests in WPL, EPL, and Silithus and was just barely able to mine the Rich Thorium Veins (requires 275 skill). And since I hit 58 last night and headed off to Outlands, I can’t mine anything unless I get to a skill of 300. So, I had to loop the Burning Steppes for a couple hours last night to hit 300. This profession is further complicated by the professions it supports. I’m now at 286 with my jewelcrafting, but I should still be mining Thorium to get the mats I need to level. (Sounds like a trip to the AH for me.) And from my high level blacksmithing friends, the nightmare only grows worse for them. Each item to produce takes far greater amounts of ore. If you want all the recipes, you have to produce items that require massive amounts of these metals. Even if you just want to specialize, it’s not exactly an easy task.
So, when Blizzard said that they’re looking into easing the pain of leveling Mining… To that, I applaud. I hope that just means that there are more nodes out there. If you simply can get credit for smelting Thorium, and other higher ores, you still have the issue with the professions. Along the same lines, I wonder if the faster leveling from level 20-60 has made a negative impact on the ease of these gathering professions since you probably spend less time in each area.