On Min-Maxing Professions


Ever since her creation, Sydera has been a dual crafter. She toiled not, and neither did she spin. I’ve changed the specific crafting professions a few times for one raid advantage or another, but in late BC I decided on Enchanting and Alchemy. I took on Alchemy–without an herbalist alt–then for the Alchemist’s Stone, which was a best-in-slot trinket at the time. I still love Enchanting and Alchemy for raiding. They combine a raid advantage with convenience. The self-only ring enchants continue to be strong, and I love being able to disenchant my old gear and turn it into a useful commodity. Moreover, I always raid with a flask or dual elixirs, and I enjoy the boost to those consumables when it counts. My favorite raiding advantage, though, would have to be the four-hour flasks. The psychological effect is quite positive, and I would say that the boost to morale counts more than the actual gold saved.

However, the big disadvantage to Sydera has always been that she can’t extract anything useful from the game world while she’s questing. Lately I’ve been buying herbs and selling the resultant flasks on the AH. I always make a little bit of money, mostly because of the procs from being elixir-specced, but it’s nothing fantastic. The bulk of my gold earning in Wrath has been from selling the BoE Emblem of Valor bracers. However, it wasn’t quite enough for me.

Min-maxing for raiding is always my priority, but I need money too. The primary reason has nothing to do with me. Rather, the recent discussions of relative tank health among the four classes coupled with the imminent release of a more difficult raid dungeon prompted my A#1 Tank and Significant Other, Briolante, to make a plan to level jewelcrafting to replace his herbalism. The problem? My flask business and his glyph business didn’t make enough money to support a profession change, especially with Ulduar and its higher repair bills looming. So, enter Part B of the min-maxing plan: my under-utilized, underprivileged paladin alt, Marfisa.


Marfi was my second WoW character, but she was the first one to leave her starting area. I raided with her in Classic, back when I didn’t know what I was doing, and I healed through Kara with her in early BC. She’s been Retribution since mid-BC, but I didn’t really do much with her even when Ret was the Flavor of the Month (for about 10 minutes at patch 3.0). In the last three weeks, however, Briolante and I tag team-leveled her up to 77, and she has a brand-new shiny fully-leveled herbalism to go with the mining she’s had since Dire Maul was a cool new place to go. As for Brio’s jewelcrafting, the last I checked, it was at 200, so we’re moving right along.

Now, I know I could have gone about this differently, focusing on earning money through the AH to buy ore and herbs, but I chose to level an alt for gathering because it’s a solution that will work not just for now, and for this profession change, but future ones should we choose to do so. In the next expansion, Marfi might be leveling skinning instead of herbalism, but now that she’s close to max level, she’s in a good position to be a helper-gatherer over again should things change. With Crusader Aura to help out and the movement speed increase for Ret, she’s an excellent choice for a hunt-n-fetcher as well. My warlock would have been a poor choice in comparison.

For me, leveling an alt just to service my household’s two raiding mains was an extreme move. Now I’ll use Marfi to provide herbs to Syd and herbs and ore to Brio. I have to say, I’m liking the convenience of it. I’ve already made some flasks on Syd just on the herbs I used to level, and I can tell you, I’m not going to be hoarding Frost Lotus anymore. But who knows when poor Marfi will hit 80! Probably in 6 months, when she gets there purely through killing those pesky mobs that like to stand next to my Icethorn.

Here’s what I told my guild when I dinged 450 herbalism. They were teasing me about my ambition to buy a Je’Tze’s Bell, which sells for about 8,000g on my server.

I said: “Now that I’m a gatherer, money is like dirt. There’s always more lying around on the ground.”

I’m proud to say that I came up with that truly terrible pun on the fly.

My question to you, dear readers, is this:

How far will you go to min-max your character?

26 thoughts on “On Min-Maxing Professions”

  1. Hey Syd,

    I’m an enchanter and scripter so I was kind of in the same boat as you.

    But I’ve got a druid alt and he’s into herbalism and alchemy.

    I feel quite lucky having my druid to pick flowers. Using flight form I swoop into herbs, pick them up (not cancelling flight form) and just fly off to the next patch.

    On the rare occasion I draw attention to myself I just shadowmeld then flight form off – super fast gathering ๐Ÿ™‚

    Although I don’t get the 4 hours per flask I can make them for free (well for the cost of my time) so it doesn’t hurt quite as much as having to buy them.

  2. I would find it much less hassle to level an alt than to drop a tradeskill and swap it for a new one. Blacksmithing in particular was such a pita that I won’t ever drop it, however bad it gets (or got) ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Maxed herbalism while mining is on 448? At 450 you could create titansteel bar that has about 100G/day profit rate with a single click. If you’ve chosen to make money by farming instead of AH, at least make it right! Tip: the northern mountain in Crystalsong Forest (just below Dalaran) is full of saronite and titanium nodes.

  4. To put it simply, I’ve mostly always raided on my priest in BC. She was a tailor/herbalist to balance my mage’s enchanting/alchemy combo.

    Then, then the new healing trinket came out for Sunwell, I knew that it needed to be hers. I dropped tailoring (no more golden spellthread), and picked up alchemy.

    Now I had an herb/alch toon and an enchanting/alch toon. Needless to say, my mage dropped fast and picked up mining for gold.

    Stuff we go through to power level professions for min/max is crazy, and causes us to spend much more time in Azeroth than we intend.

  5. I don’t go though any trouble to have the best profession bonuses at all. I’m a pretty casual player, so I think that’s acceptable.

    My one and only 80 (my druid) is Herb/Alch, and he has been since his early days, battling quilboars in central Kalimdor.

    I like Alchemy for all of the fun potions. Who else can boast being able to walk on water, or turn invisible? (Thrall and Jania, respectively, but that doesn’t mean that my druid isn’t awesome for being able to as well).

    Herbs help keep up with Alch (of course), and herbing + swift flight form (and Cycl-OWN) is awesome.

  6. I’ve always had tailoring/jewelcrafting on my main for the BoP gear and gems. Now with the changes to Tailoring (BoE!?) I might consider swapping out to alchemy, but I’m not sure just yet.

    I’ve been leveling my death knight as a purely gathering character… she’s 65 right now and has mining/skinning.

  7. At level 70 with my enchanting still not maxed and spending all my few gold to level it, I decided to dump it and take up herbalism and at the same time went for achievement “the explorer”. By the time I leveled up the skill and the WotLK started I had over made over 1000gold on herb nodes and mining nodes. Low level herbs sell for alot. High levels cant be bothered to farm them I guess. Dual gatherer is a real cash cow for me. One tip I noticed is for mining, is that be careful first to see what is selling for more the ore or bars. Sometimes the ore is going for more than the bars or vice versa and it is constantly changing on my server. I guess it depends if someone is buying the ore for levelling.

  8. My boyfriend and I did the same thing, excepe he’s mining/herb on a DK! I actually had a hunter I leveled to about 60 for the same purpose, but then I realized I had no interest in leveling my hunter to 70, or even 80… she’s just so .. boring.

  9. @Gevlon: Photo taken about 10 minutes before I maxed the mining. I needed to take a dinner break and I found a good photo spot after I smelted a bunch of crap in Dalaran.

  10. I think Syd has been logging on to my account. =P

    My druid went to Enchanting/Alchemy after Wrath was released and I leveled a pally, now 72, with full Mining/Herbalism as a gatherer for the Crusader aura since my priest who was the previous gatherer was just feeling slow and easily killed when in PVP heavy zones.

    Note – I just play a pally better in PVP personally, I’m not saying a priest is a bad PVP choice.

  11. I have a ton of alts, and they usually have 1 crafting and 1 gathering profession. Between them I cover all the professions, and so I am loathe to change one if it meant reducing or losing entirely my personal access to a certain profession. I’ve only ever once dropped a profession, switching my herbalism/skinning druid to herbalism/inscription when inscription was added to the game. Sure, on my mining/engineering ret paladin (with whom I raid) I’m jealous of the benefits people with enchanting, blacksmithing, or jewelcrafting get. But I am not really a min/maxer by nature and 1) I’m not interested in going to the trouble of leveling another profession when I’ve sunk a cost into what I already have. 2) Changing professions fits into the “huge work for incremental gain” category that I usually avoid.

  12. I Wish I could go back and have forethought on my profession selections. Right now I have 4 chars. My warlock alt, who was my main until mid bc, where I switched to my priest, was herb/enchanting for money. I send him boes for dust and such.

    My main is Herb/alch, for obvious reasons. I leveled a deathknight tank for running heroics when I couldn’t get a tank (which inevitably means I don’t have a healer). She’s Mining/BS. And then my 70 hunter, who was to pew-pew when i got bored healing in BC, is Inscription/Jewelcrafting.

    If I could change it without having to re-level them I’d give my priest-main: Alch/Jewelcrafting to take advantage of the self-buffs from both profession, and use one of the alts to gather mats. I drool over dragon-eye cuts while I’m doing the dailies on my alt.

  13. My Druid had Mining and Engineering coming in to Wrath. Mining naturally went to 450 during normal leveling to 80 and I had gotten Engineering to 440 before I decided to drop both in favor of the extra stats from Enchanting and Jewelcrafting.

    I had no gathering alts. I leveled solely on what I had saved up and what I could buy from the AH or buy/borrow/steal from guild mates. It was rough. I went through a few thousand gold on Jewelcrafting alone.

    My only regret is that I didn’t make the epic roflcopter before dropping Engineering. It’s one more mount I could have towards the big 100.

    Megaliss last blog post..Glory of the Hero: Completed

  14. My druid started with Herb/Alch, maxed both of those. Then.. discovered the PMC set for tailoring, so away with Herbalism and I rapidly leveled Tailoring instead! So around comes Wrath with the tailoring and LW BOE items.. along comes my baby priest leveling to 80.. yeah. I now have a druid with Tailoring and and priest with Leatherworking. It just wasn’t worth it to re-level both from scratch.

    Cazenovias last blog post..Healing Assignments.. how to? (And what do you look for in a raid?)

  15. Oh, I forgot to say:

    I actually DID buy my Je’Tze’s Bell (yay!). Between the time I wrote the article and the time it came out, I snapped one up for 5250, which is not too bad for that item on Ner’zhul.

  16. Your miner can always make money by smelting my ore for me / selling me titansteel cd. Be careful with the gem market though – it’s hyper competitive on Ner’zhul – you can get in over your head very quickly. Once he levels J/C it makes at least 100/day from the daily.

    Also – bug me in game regarding leveling Brio’s J/C – I’ve got literally hundreds of some cheap Northrend gems.

  17. Oh good! You can buy my titansteel CD when I’m done making what I need to stockpile for Marfi’s mace. I figured I’d outfit her with something nice when she finally gets to 80.

  18. in TBC I had my Rogue as main with a Druid alt (at 70) before any others,
    now it’s Rogue main with Warrior alt (at 80) and the rest is slowly catching up.

    Rogue – Skinning/LW (yay for +crit on skinning, won’t ditch it)
    Warrior – BS/Engi (that was horrible without a Miner in November/December)
    Druid – Herb/Mining

    and then the 70 alts:
    Warlock – Mining/Tailoring
    Hunter – Skinning/LW
    Shaman – Herb/Alch

    Armagons last blog post..Armagon: @Kadomi Wasn’t it already pointless not too far into TBC? One last small rise with the sunwell badge gear…

  19. Well — In BC I had a spriest with maxed tailoring for FSW and a hpriest with maxed tailoring for PMC — so I guess you could say I did go out of my way a bit for min-maxing but really those sets were so good for the cost …

    Now in Northrend I’m not sure what to do with Emoni (at all really) she’s my highest alt at 73 and I know when she’s 80 (or before if I’ve replaced all her tailored gear by then) I am going to replace tailoring with another craft. Currently I’m debating between herbing and inscription –but..– seriously given how poor i’m always feeling and that she’s unlikely to become a raiding main (possibly used if my guild or friends desperately need a priest for something (which given the way blizz is homogenising everything is becoming more and more unlikely..) I think i’ll end up taking the herbing and feed the herbs down to my druid and whatever I make an inscriptioner…. possibly the druid. she’s currently a herber and I probly don’t desperately need two of them.

  20. Hehe…this post was timely considering all I’ve been doing lately to get some gear for my fiance and my alts (who are now 79 and we are getting them ready for 80). My priest is an enchanter/tailor so I just went crazy enough questing to get the deathchill cloak recipe finally and make two of those for my alt boomkin druid and my fiance’s alt elemental shaman. Then we used up all of his main’s (ret pally) titansteel cooldowns after mining a ton of ore and eternals on it to have our GM make us both titansteel guardians. And my skinning/herbalist druid provided his skinning/alchemist shaman with herbs to make flasks and pots for us both and we’re both having the starter leather/mail sets made for us by our guild leatherworker. ๐Ÿ˜›

    Then send them all to my priest to get enchaned before we put them on. ๐Ÿ˜›

  21. I started my priest with, suprise suprise! Tailoring and Enchanting, I switched tailoring to Engineering in BC when the imba helmets came out and I only raided Kara. I really should change engineering atm but on the other hand repairbots are still handy sometimes. And someone gotta make cheap manapotion injectors wich my guildies love.

  22. There may be even one more benefit to your new alts money making potential.

    Its one I noticed personally a few days ago when I finally decided to drop engineering for jewelcrafting. I ended up spending every shinny loveable gold coin I had to get to 450. Lets just say I could almost buy a bell and a half for the final sum…

    I decided to level my own pet ret paladin within about 2 hours I had made almost 500g just from quest rewards/vendor trash ๐Ÿ˜€ (70-71) it might not look like much in the beginning but it sure does stack up.


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