[Cataclysm] You don’t have to be crazy to do blacksmithing, but it helps

The price of ore seems to have settled as much as it is going to in the short term so I decided I might as well level up Blacksmithing. (If you are looking for a guide for levelling Blacksmithing, this is as good as any. The only place I disagree is that I’d make Pyrium Weapon Chains from 500-510.)

Every time I raise the skill by another point I feel like a prize idiot. It’s expensive in terms of materials, and you barely have any consumables to sell. I would never recommend this tradeskill to a new player. I have never seen any other blacksmith recommend it either. The only thing it really has going for it at the moment is that Blizzard didn’t put any higher level Cataclysm recipes for sockets, so if you just want extra sockets for your gloves and wrists, you don’t actually need to level blacksmithing past 400.

Especially when jewelcrafters make tons of gold, have lots of different gem cuts to sell, have daily quests and can also make really good trinkets for themselves. It’s not remotely on par. They also tend to drive up the price of ore, because they can make more money from it than blacksmiths can on the whole. This is why it’s a pain in the arse to have to share raw crafting materials with a more profitable profession.

Having said that, if you are crafting then you should be selling PvP gear at the moment. The new arena season has just started. This is about the only time you’ll get good prices for blue PvP gear so make the most of it. I sold some blue plate gloves for 2k yesterday. And don’t forget the weapon chains, which are fairly cheap to make too.

But I want to go back to the crazy material requirements to level blacksmithing. Obsidium, the lower level Cataclysm ore, has been in short supply recently. Blacksmiths require 4 pieces of ore to make 1 piece of folded obsidium, which is the base material for levelling blacksmithing to 500ish. So when you see a recipe that requires 20 folded obsidium, you’re looking at 4 stacks of ore. Oh, and it won’t sell for anything remotely near the cost of that ore because most people will realise that if they keep questing they will probably get a better quest reward eventually.

But wait, it gets better. Once you hit 500, you need to buy all your recipes with large amounts of elementium ore. Granted, some of them are PvP blues which sell well at the moment. Others are epics which all require truegold (available on a 24 hour alchemy cooldown) and chaos orbs (BoP drop from the end boss of a heroic), and lots of volatile element drops. It’s fine that epics are supposed to be difficult, but I wonder how many players  will be willing to pay the sort of prices that would incur. Mind you, someone just paid me 2k for some blue PvP gauntlets so who knows? Only one way to find out. (Incidentally, if you are a tank or melee dps, pick the caster epic recipes if you want people to run heroics with you to help get ‘their’ obs. If you are dps or healer, pick the tanking epics. etc.)

Bottom line is that for crafting professions at the moment – blacksmithing, tailoring, leatherworking – the material requirements to level the skill are pretty high. There are fewer zones than in previous expansions in which to compete with other gatherers if you want to gather your own. And volatiles in particular can only be farmed in a few places. So if you aim to make gold via gathering, expect a lot of competition. (Having said that, I am getting pretty good at the Obsidium circuit in Vash’jir.)

And also, Blizzard doesn’t really care that some professions are simply better than others for making gold. Jewelcrafting has been good ever since it was introduced. Alchemy looks to have been given some perks this expansion too, with the very desirable truegold transmute (in the last expansion, miners had the equivalent) and they also have options to transmute volatiles, and presumably will be able to transmute epic gems when those get introduced.

Anyone having better luck with their professions?

Cataclysm Screenshot of the Day


This was taken inside the Vortex Pinnacle, a 5 man instance which is all about the element of air. Those teeny black things in the middle are our characters running back after a wipe. It’s hard to really do justice to the scale of this place, it’s gorgeous.

21 thoughts on “[Cataclysm] You don’t have to be crazy to do blacksmithing, but it helps

  1. I recently powerleveled tailoring past WotLK, and I haven’t even looked at what I can make with it. It doesn’t really need an accompanying gathering profession, so I’m looking at enchanting or archeology to supplement it.

    Also, it seems that leveling Cooking past WotLK levels requires doing those Cooking dailies at Dalaran. I have one recipe that’s yellow, and it requires plenty of materials. The trainers won’t let me learn anything else yet.

    • You don’t need to go to Dalaran for cooking dailies. There’s one daily quest in Orgrimmar (so I assume there’s one in Stormwind also).

      And Archaeology is a secondary profession so you can take that in addition to cooking, fishing and first aid and still have a spare primary profession slot.

  2. If you don’t like your profession, switch. There’s nothing forcing you to stay BS and not level up JC.

    Having said that, I was never able to make money with JC. The marked is distributed between AH campers and you can’t compete against people valuing their time less then you. But I made quite some money with belt buckles (and disenchanting the way to cheap chest at the beginning of WotLK).

    • I made a ton at the beginning of Wrath by mass producing those cheap things too 🙂

      I could change it but meh, I have an alt with jewelcrafting and besides which, Spinks has been a blacksmith since day 1 and I feel stubborn on that respect. And I think Blizzard should just equalise the tradeskills, not press everyone into picking the same optimal one or two. So yes, it is my choice to stick with it, but it doesn’t mean I can’t comment on the inequities.

      • > And I think Blizzard should just equalise the tradeskills

        They should also turn all classes into hybrids… the queue on my Warlock bothers my much more 🙂

        I see your point but you can make money with every tradeskill (I’ve never tried to make money with engineering). It just plays very different and not every play-style is the correct for everyone. I don’t think they should change all tradeskills to play the same like JC because I would loose the ability to play the tradeskills I like. 🙂

    • Yeah, but you actually need to have maxed out blacksmithing to learn that recipe. (Which is annoying really, it wasn’t the case in Wrath IIRC.)

      I’m amazed that people feel one gem socket might be worth 2000g though. Definitely will have to experiment with that.

      • They’re one of those ‘Must have to Raid’ things and since there’s so few people with maxed tradeskills at the moment, they’re pretty rare.

        Which means yeah, they’re going for 2000 to 2500g on my server.

  3. Jewelcrafting is a swine to level if you don’t have mining, because the ore is so expensive at the moment. I am making rings and disenchanting them to sell the dust but it’s still pretty brutal in terms of mats cost.

    All you need to do though is get to 475 when (I believe) the JC daily opens up and you can start to get tokens. Once you have those there should still be some value in getting the right recipe and buying uncut gems, cutting them and relisting for a profit.

  4. Welcome to what it was like to level up leatherworking for the first several years. I kept at it hoping that there would be something good. The introduced late in TBC helped make it kinda worthwhile… except I was a Feral Druid and couldn’t use them in animal form back then. Not that I’m bitter.

    Anyway, it’s always seemed that WoW’s crafting was rather broken. It strongly favors the crafts that can make consumables. Anything that makes equipment has to compete with quest and raid drops. The crafted raid-quality stuff always required a stupid amount of materials, assuming you were lucky enough to get the recipe drop.

    Compare it to LotRO’s crafting system, and while LotRO’s crafting has some issues of its own it stands head and shoulders above WoW’s crafting. I think the depth and variety of the system (dyes, housing decorations, equipment, consumables, etc) is what made me fall in love with it. I have a Supreme Master crafter of every profession with Kindred standing in each guild on my home server. I haven’t gotten that into crafting in any other game.

    LotRO’s crit system with the ability to make superlative items that are better than quest equivalents is what really sets it apart, though. But, since crits are a random thing and require a lot of work to get your skill up that high, the market isn’t flooded with that type of gear. Unlike WoW where anyone with X skill can make Y item, and will flood the AH with their crap in the hopes of making any money back.

    • LOTROs crafting is also broken in the exact same way, I find. Don’t ever do tailoring, for sure. It’s good while you are levelling, and the crit system is fun. But it sucks dreadfully if you end up with a craft that can’t make consumables.

    • Really?

      I’d say LotrO’s crafting doesn’t cost as much but is just as unfair.

      Tailoring sucks, always has, always will – there’s very little worth making there.

      Scholar and Tinker really make everything saleable in the game.

      Weaponsmiths/Woodworkers are ok on the vague legendary stuff, but nothing they can really make money from anymore.

      Cooking is great though, and farming fun.

      I don’t think Turbine ever really had armour worth crafting except when the game launched and the odd piece since. But getting tokens for better gear is SO much easier now, it’s really not worth it.

      Yes, I’m bitter they never gave us radiance cloaks to tailor ;p

      And even the new consumables for classes don’t include anything for some crafts – it could be evenly spread if they wanted it that way.

      • (This is in reply to Spinks above, too.)

        It’s been my experience that the crafted stuff, at least the crit stuff, is vastly superior while leveling up. Maybe you could put a negative spin on this and say that LotRO’s quest rewards suck, but I like to think of it as giving a bonus to crafters. Compare this to WoW where I almost always regretted trying to gather up mats to craft something that wasn’t max level, since I would often hit a quest within the next week that would make that item obsolete.

        My lower level crit items have always sold for a handsome profit in any craft; in WoW terms, the number of “twink” items is pretty good for any craft. Even non-crits that I’ve made while trying to make crit items for my alts sell at a reasonable pace.

        Plus, as Arbitrary points out, now most crafts can make consumables of some nature. It’s not exactly equal, but it’s something.

        One thing I didn’t mention that I think makes LotRO crafting nicer is the crafting guilds. Creating the emblems is a cheap, if slow, way to gain points. Gaining faction with your crafting guild also gives you access to nice recipes. I felt this took a lot of the “grind” out of leveling up, and it keeps too many cheap items from flooding the AH.

        But, to address the elephant in the room: Radiance gar and legendary weapons screw everything up. In fact, the whole game at the level cap is a mess, to be honest. At the top levels, your armor will be coming from grinding instances if you want to raid, and your weapons will be legendary if you want to not be laughed at. Weaponcrafters can make legendary items for a hefty price (and a rare drop in some cases), but First Age weapons were still only available from a short raid. They’re getting rid of Radiance, though, so we’ll see how that treats tailors. But, yeah, the otherwise lovely system falls apart at the top. But, until then, it’s one of the most engaging crafting systems outside of a complex economic simulation like EVE.

        That’s my experience, at least.

  5. I feel your pain. The only thing that I really like about the new blacksmithing is the multiple skillups you get for crafting blue items. Five points for a polearm? I’ll take ’em! I am sitting at 501 now, and cried a bit when I saw all the Blacksmithing plans in the Twilight Highlands, and their metal costs. Make me farm more, will ya?

    Screenshot is gorgeous. Vortex Pinnacle is one of the most fun instances I have ever run. Absolutely breathtaking, and I enjoy the encounters too!

  6. “This was taken inside the Vortex Pinnacle, a 5 man instance which is all about the element of air. Those teeny black things in the middle are our characters running back after a wipe. It’s hard to really do justice to the scale of this place, it’s gorgeous.”

    How hard was it on the hardware?

  7. Seems to me that production tradeskills are a time and money *sink*, not really designed to be a profitable venture on the whole. Perhaps they are a redistributive sink, but still, gear that outperforms anything crafted is too easily available to make crafting worthwhile. It’s especially prominent in the leveling content, not just at the endgame. Yes, endgame crafting is more tedious, but leveling crafting has very small windows of usefulness, at least in my experience.

    Bind on Pickup gear and stuff that requires a tradeskill (like a lot of the Engineering stuff) is even worse, as it doesn’t even affect the market much beyond maybe subsidizing the gatherers.

    I think this is largely unavoidable, though, given the nature of the gear treadmill. Crafters would need unique and useful gear to compete with quest and dungeon gear, but devs seem leery of that direction. We do see some of that uniqueness with the slim pickings on cosmetic gear, especially Tailored stuff, but since we still don’t have appearance tab functions, the demand isn’t anywhere near what it could be.

    I’m just not all that impressed with WoW crafting. There are some fun bits to it, but overall, it’s underwhelming.

    • At the risk of sounding like a raving LotRO fanboy after my two posts above, I really do recommend checking out LotRO. It’s not a perfect system as Spinks and Arbitrary point out, but I think it does a pretty good job of making crafting feel like it’s own pursuit and gives the player the ability to make good equipment without making it too easy to create.

      As I said, WoW crafting always left me underwhelmed as well.

  8. I ain’t in a ripsnortin’ hurry.

    I don’t need epics ta do heroics.

    Most items is sellin’ fer less than the cost of the mats.

    It’s easier fer ta get quest rewards than ta smith up comparable greens.

    There ain’t no raidin’ bonus other than extra sockets, what I can already create.

    Why does I wants fer ta level me blacksmithing this expansion? I’s drawin’ a blank.

  9. Vortex Pinnacle is beautiful. I have a feeling that’s going to be one of my favorite dungeons.

    I’ve made a lot of money with Alchemy, transmuting volatiles, metagems and the blue-quality red gems. It wasn’t too bad to level up, either.

    As for Blacksmithing, well, at least you get one of the most flexible stat benefits. BlackSmithing and Jewelcrafting were usually the goto professions for hardcore raiders.

  10. I’ve been a herbalist/alchemist from day one and never regretted the decision. So many of the production professions seem to make pointless items at high level, but as an alchemist I know that people will always need consumables. On top of that I have awesome daily CDs that I can sell for some easy cash.

    I’m not trying to brag, you just wanted to know how other professions were in Cataclysm. Your analysis is correct, alchemy/herbalism seems to be easier and is making me money.

    I hope they balance out the production tradeskills a bit. I would love to see more player created items get used at max level. It’ll be interesting to hear more about your blacksmithing experience as time goes on.

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