By now you’ve most likely chosen 2 professions. In fact, you probably chose them 3-4 years ago and are 400+ ranks into your chosen professions by this point. However, if you’re a new tank or, more likely, a Frosty Death Knight, and are wondering what crafting can do for you as a tank, here are some of the new craftables available in WotLK, with direct comparisons to other available items that are of reasonably comparable level. If you’re ever looking for good information about craftables, I always reference www.crafterstome.com. Calliope does a FANTASTIC job here. Recipes are very easy to locate, good search filters, and the information is always very very accurate. And of course, there’s always my other highly recommended site for all your searching needs – www.wowhead.com. Lets get to those professions!
Elixir of Mighty Agility – a nice 2-hour long (hooray for Mixology!) +45 Agility boost. It’s a battle elixir, so you can’t use it in conjunction with any other Battle Elixirs
Elixir of Mighty Defense – the perfect soulmate for Mighty Agility, this Guardian Elixir provides you, the tanking Alchemist, with 2 hours of an extra 45 Defense. However, if the extra defense is wasted on you (Bears, for instance) then really, you’re better off sticking w/ old school BC’s Elixir of Major Defense for your Guardian Elixir of choice.
Nothing beats a Flask for progression raiding, though, thanks to the super-handiness of the persistence through death of Flasks. If that’s where you find yourself, this health nut recommends you start your raid night off with a tall, cool, refreshing Flask of Stoneblood. An extra 650 Health may not sound like much, but what if I phrased it as +65 Stamina for 4 hours that perisists through death? Not too shabby, eh?
From the shorter duration department, if you can manage to make it to the waning minutes of that really hard-hitting melee boss without needing to use a Runic Health Potion and need a little extra mitigation to stay on your feet through the soft enrage, I really like the Indestructible Potion. Now I have not tested this myself just yet, but as I understand it Mixology only affects Elixirs and Flasks, which means Potions are most likely only going to last an average of 2 minutes… but in my experience, that’s still a SUBSTANTIAL amount of time during any boss fight. Potion sickness, however, does exclude use of this and a health potion or multiple uses of this potion, like we could do before v3.
In addition to consumables, ever since BC Alchemists have been able to create very nice trinkets for themselves via Transmutation. The WotLK incarntation of the Tank’s Transmute Trinket is the Indestructible Alchemist’s Stone. GREAT Stamina boost and a decent Dodge bonus, plus the nice benefit of additional effect from all the Runic Health Potions you’ll be making for yourself.
Finally, one big benefit of being an Alcatank – you can craft your own metagems to be cut by your JC buddies, which saves you a fortune in mat gathering. You’ll be able to transmute your own Earthsiege Diamonds for cutting into the absolutely sensational Austere Earthsiege Diamond.
Despite being one of (arguably THE) hardest profession to skill up due to the amount of mats required in nearly every recipe, Blacksmithing remains a very popular choice for tanks, and with good reason. There are innumerable benefits to being able to make your own armor and weapons. The quality is better than nearly anything you’ll find outside of heroics (and some even better) and you save yourself the small fortune in AH prices to buy the gear yourself. It’s worth noting that nearly all the craftables worth having in Blacksmithing in WotLK are BoE, which means if you have a guild blacksmith, he/she can make all this for you (though it might cost you.) Arguably the biggest benefit to being your own blacksmith is the ability to add your own prismatic gem slots to your equipment for gem socketing. Some of the better craftable pieces, however, are…
Icebane Chestguard, Icebane Girdle, and Icebane Treads are likely to be must haves for Sapphiron and Kel’Thuzad and beyond (what are the odds something in Icecrown Citadel will do a metric ton of Frost dmg… hmmmmmm? Maybe Sauron, Jr. himself for instance.) Tempered Titansteel Helm is one sexy head piece and Tempered Titansteel Treads will go great on the other end. Finally, la creme de la creme, the Titansteel Shield Wall. Oooooo Mamacita! The Icebane pieces require 425 (waist and feet) and 440 (chest) and all the titansteel pieces require 440 to craft, but again. all are BoE, so you don’t necessarily need to be a blacksmith to enjoy them… just bring a very full wallet.
As always, the vast majority of Enchants can be placed on virtually any piece of gear by any enchanter and you need not be an enchanter yourself to enjoy the benefits. The sole exception is, once more, Ring Enchants. There is a very nice Tank Ring enchant available in WotLK, and that is Enchant Ring – Stamina. Getting an extra 48 Stamina from your fingerwear is a big plus for tanks who also Enchant, however, just as a matter of personal opinion, I don’t think the end value for being able to grant one special boost to only 2 of your gear slots is worth the time and expense involved in the long run. That said, for those who want to absolutely positively maximize every single stat point possible to be the absolutely most awesomely perfect number machine that they can be, then Enchanting and Jewelcrafting are likely the (highly unprofitable) answers you seek.
Near and dear to my heart (I never said this would be an impartial write-up) is Engineering. Not only is it fun (and reasonably profitable… old Parts always sell) but you can also make some great Trinket, Head and Ranged pieces to boost your tanking skills. IF you want them (like I do) the new Tinker stuff is cute and situationally beneficial, but in the long run, you’re better off sticking to Enchants to boost your gear (Belt being the exception, as there are no Belt enchants, so go ahead and Tinker up your belt with whichever option you like best… just don’t expect any major combat benefits out of any of the available choices.) Bombs are great for AoE DPS/Threat, too, and pulling with Grenades is always fun, and a great way to initiate the fight with more threat spread out among all mobs.
The Sonic Booster – a great little pre-Naxx trinket available at 420 Engineering. Tons of Stam and a great equip proc that can happen once a minute! YAY! The AP boost will be nice for both DPS and Threat.
Armored Titanium Goggles - the craftable headpieces have been THE crafting goal of many engineer tanks ever since BC introduced the Tankatronics. These really kick it up a notch and put you in great shape headgear-wise for Naxx. For Bears, there’s the leather version, the Weakness Spectralizers.
Finally, for Warriors there’s the Armor-Plated Combat Shotgun. A ranged weapon with lots of extra-crunchy stats we like to see on an item that otherwise only serves as a mob-puller.
I’m skipping Inscription for now, as this really should have it’s own article. No two tanking classes are going to use the same inscriptions, so to really do it justice, it needs to be featured.
An excellent choice for tanks due to the variety of Crafter Only recipes available. Even with the new limit of no more than 3 Crafter Only gems socketed at any given time in equipped gear, the benefits are huge.
In terms of crafter-only gems, my personal favorite is the Solid Dragon’s Eye. However, Thick Dragon’s Eye is great if you need help reaching 540 DEF. Flashing Dragon’s Eye and Subtle Dragon’s Eye are great for upping your avoidance, and Precise Dragon’s Eye or Rigid Dragon’s Eye will help you reach Expertise and Hit caps, respectively.
Something new in the JC Trinket department (which I had found a little lacking for tanks previously) is the Monarch Crab! Not only is it a nice Stamina bump for a trinket slot but it has 2 SLOTS (ON A TRINKET!!!) AND a FANTASTIC 10 Sec. Dodge Boost on ONLY a 1 Min CD!!! I really like this item as an excellent pre-Naxx choice, especially compared to some of the lackluster trinkets available from heroics. There are a couple of other really nice epic (but expensive!) neck and finger choices as always from JC’ers, but as they are BoE, you don’t have to be a JC to enjoy them.
Fortitude! Woot! Not to mention, a great source of free gemstones (even w/out prospecting) and Crystalized elemental motes.
That little self-heal is cute, but ultimately not a gamebreaker in my experience. Still… better than what we got before from Herbalism! The real benefit to Herbalism is if you are an Alchemist or Inscriber in the metric tons of gold you will save yourself buying overgouged herbs from the AH… OR, benefitting by selling overgouged herbs on the AH yourself.
Hardly an orthodox choice for most tanks, Feral Druids will really get a kick out of some new Leatherworking features. Fur-Lining: Stamina allows you to basically “Enchant” your own bracers with +90 Stamina…which is VERY FTW if you are a Bear. Gone may be the days of the Strength of the Clefthoof set where Leather Craftables offered Feral Druids tons of Bonus Armor and great tanking stats, but there are still some benefits to Leatherworking. Obviously, however, I would really only recommend this for Feral Druids, as the Fur Lining and making your own Leg Armor bonuses just don’t seem worth it to me for Plate Tanks who would really get no other real benefits from any of the other items they crafted.
If you’re a LW Feral Druid, you’ll be needing this. Otherwise, nothing to see here.
…Seriously? If you need bags THAT badly, befriend a Mage who was around Pre-BC. They’re all Tailor/Enchanters.
So there you have it. Based on my findings (and strictly in my opinion) the best choices for crafting professions for tanks are Jewelcrafting, Blacksmithing (Substitute Leatherworking if you are a Druid,) Engineering and Alchemy. There are some benefits to be gained from the other choices, but ultimately, you’ll get the most mileage out of these. Obviously, for gathering professions, you’ll likely want to select the one that best corresponds with your chosen crafting profession. If you’re just looking to turn a quick profit, Mining and Herbalism are a dynamic duo and you will be rolling in gold before you know it based on current AH prices on most realms, and that quickly becomes gold you can use to deck yourself out in BoE goodies from all the other crafters on your server. But me, I do it for the fun, and I really love making my own stuff