Monday, May 19, 2008

Professional Ambivalence

A recent email to the author, a reader who will remain anonymous because she still hasn't taken up my offer for doing a guest column, says...

...How are you enjoying skinning and leatherworking? You've seemed kind of ambivalent in your blog posts....

Ok, I'll admit, I looked it up.....

  • ambivalent
    uncertain or unable to decide about what course to follow; "was ambivalent about having children"

I got a chuckle out of their example usage. Children? Skinning/LW? Same difference :-) but I digress.

Ambivalent does describe my feelings on WoW professions.

I love Herbalism and Mining. Back when I was lvl 20-ish, the same reader who wrote this email looked me over in the Armory, saw I didn't even have any professions trained yet, and gave me a stern talking to. It changed my WoW life unrecognizably for the better, and gathering quickly became the cornerstone of my WoW'ing, and most of my character development and progress through zones from mid 20's until I maxed out the professions at 300 was via picking flowers, and gaining quest or kill XP along the way.

The only thing I didn't like was having to press my tracking macro over and over to swap between the two mini-map tracking modes. Other than that, it was pure win as the gold tracker on the right will show you. Look at the chart and tell me when I dropped herb/mine. Actually, it was just before the peak, as selling off the crafted stuff and disenchanted mats from levelling LW reaped quite a profit.

But it became mundane, and once I achieved my savings goal of 10k gold, I took up the more standard Hunter combo of Leatherworking and Skinning.

And I've been ambivalent ever since. Or something like that.

Levelling the two up was a breeze, with only one little spell of a few hours of mindless grind to some Scorpid Scales, and another grind for those last few points. And even that grind could have been cut short if I wanted to spend gold to power through it, but I was stubborn-ish (did buy some leathers, but not all of them).

My primary reason for taking up LW was for Drums of Battle. WoWInsider had put up an article saying the fancy guilds who write the guides for killing bosses I'll never see actually run with as many as 22 leatherworkers in a 25-man raid, thus allowing chaining of the Drums in each party and a permanent Haste bonus to the raid.

Well, I'm the only LW in my guild, so we're definitely not chaining anything. I tried Drums of Battle and the haste messes up my shot rotation and kills my DPS. I experimented a little but can't get the hang of it. So I just use Drums of War for an attack power/spell damage bonus. Probably not enough benefit to justify occupying an entire professional slot.

I was also hoping to craft some stuff to wear. That hasn't really panned out. I suppose that if I had been playing WoW right at the release of TBC, then I'd perhaps have crafted some stuff to wear as entry level kara gear. But, joining the game at the time that I did, the gear I've gotten from PVP and Badges trumps anything I can craft. There's one pair of craftable shoulders that provide haste that I might try but nobody on the server is selling the pattern. I'm not even sure there's anybody on my server even raiding in the dungeon that drops the pattern. Stupid inaccessible content.

So LW is a bit of a dud for me.

Then there's skinning. On the surface, its a gathering profession just like Herbalism or Mining. But its different. With H/M, you just fly around going about your normal business, spamming your macro that swaps between Track Herbs and Track Minerals, and just swoop down and pick stuff up along the way to your destination. Only if you're really pressed for a specific type of herb, or find yourself needing some cash (yeah right, as if you'll need cash if you're a H/M) do you ever do a focused effort at farming.

Skinning is different. When you fly around with Track Beasts on, there's skinnables EVERYWHERE. So as you fly around doing your normal business, you pretty much have the option to stop and kill/skin at all times. This means that I usually don't do it, since if I stopped whenever I saw beasts, I'd never get anywhere. It comes down to doing the Nagrand Spirit Fields SSO daily quest pretty much daily and taking a break and killing a few of those roaming 8-packs of Clefthoofs to the east. Or when they want me to cook up some manaberries for the cooking daily, I skin everything I can find in the ecodome.

But it just doesn't feel right. Not the same as how Herbalism & Mining, my two little babies, felt.

So I remain ambivalent with regards to my WoW professions. I should mark the date to see how long it takes before I decide to take Herbalism back up. Especially with the inflated prices that these extortionists are charging for Terocones lately.

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