Crafting and You: A Northrend Tank’s Perspective

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!

    ALCHEMY:

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.

    BLACKSMITHING

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.

    ENCHANTING

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.

    ENGINEERING

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.

    JEWELCRAFTING

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.

    MINING

Fortitude! Woot! Not to mention, a great source of free gemstones (even w/out prospecting) and Crystalized elemental motes.

    HERBALISM

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.

    LEATHERWORKING

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.

    SKINNING

If you’re a LW Feral Druid, you’ll be needing this. Otherwise, nothing to see here.

    TAILORING

…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

Comments

  1. I’ve got mining and alch. I almost always have my Indestructible stone equiped the stam and dodge. I’ve been using the Indestructible potions quite a bit for the extra 3500 armor. My second trinket, cant remember the name, has a ton of defense and a use for another 3500 armor. There have been fights were I had the potion, popped the trinket and hit stoneskin (I’m a dwarf) for some massive armor.

    Blacksmithing doesn’t have any advantage. All the good stuff they make including the belt sockets are BOE. You can buy all their crafts so why pick up the profession.

    Engineer has some goodies. I had my son make me the trinket only to find out I couldn’t equip it without 400 engineering. Whats the point of it being BOE? The goggles would be nice.

    Mining = extra 500 health. Got that at level 74 :) .

    Leatherworking = ? I haven’t really looked at this profession since leather is so squishy. You can get the BOE leg armor though because I put some on my legs. +55 stam and +22 agil if I remember correctly.

    I have thought about dropping Alch for Enchanting for the ring enchants. I could have an alt do Alch. I just know enchanting takes a lot of gold to level up.

  2. The AP boost on the engineering trinket is not an on-use ability. It’s a proc that happens once per minute. It’s way more stamina than anything else pre-Naxx, too. I’ve been wearing it for a while now. It’s pretty amazing and I’ll be sad to replace it.

  3. Very nice post. When I saw what was available to blacksmiths, I picked it up instantly. Amazing profession to have, and almost every piece of armor I’ve been leveling with, I’ve made myself. I’ve made tonnes of gold selling the Belt Buckles too, so it’s a very good money maker, would you believe?

    Tankette, I have to say you’re wrong about Blacksmithing having no advantages. Not everything is BOE. Both the sockets for gloves and bracers are self only sockets, so you would have 2 more than any other profession. There’s also new BOP craftables for the armorsmith/weaponsmiths.

  4. I do believe you’re wrong about the new leatherworking leg armors, as I’m a BS/JC and have one of the new leg armors on my current pants.

  5. Khru you are 100% correct! Thanks for pointing that out, I totally misread the item desc. Man, now I want it even MORE! I have GOT to get my hands on some Saronite so I can get over the 407 hump!

  6. Karl – I wasn’t able to find the specialized blacksmith plans anywhere for my review.. do you have a link? If so, please post it and I’ll add those in (assuming they have good tank stuff this time). Thanks!

  7. Ah, ty for correcting me Karl. I didn’t know about the sockets for the bracers and gloves. That makes switching to BS much more attractive.

  8. @ SuraBear:
    http://www.wowhead.com/?item=38374
    http://www.wowhead.com/?item=38373

    These are what I was referring to. I know the lesser ones (Borean Armor Kit or something like that.. the ones that go on Chest, Legs, Boot or Glove) can be used by anyone. I read this as only the person making the item can use it on their own armor. If that’s not the case, then SWEET, cause that was totally going to suck.

  9. Honestly, there no longer is any benefit in being a plate-wearing blacksmith. There never will be best-in-slot BoP items and the two sockets unique to a blacksmith don’t compare to the other profession bonuses. Leatherworking offers by far the most value to any tank despite how non-traditional it is. Picking up an extra 90 stamina on your wrists, or 60 resistance for resist fights is much more valuable than what other professions offer. Throw in the benefit of being able to use drums and having cheaper epic leg armor enchants makes leatherworking attractive for a main tank.

    It’s a bit odd how much has changed with professions, but skilling up leatherworking without skinning is not difficult to do if you have a couple thousand gold to burn and is worth it. :D

  10. I can confirm that these can be used by anyone
    http://www.wowhead.com/?item=38373 .

    I bought them on the AH for about 300g and put them on my legs. You can attach them yourself, LW not needed, but you can’t give the legs to someone else afterwards, i.e. your low level twink.

  11. Depending on your server’s AH, you may want to stock up on these now while leatherworkers are crafting them en masse to get skill-ups. Most of the raw materials for every profession are super expensive in the beginning of the expansion, but finished products are often cheaper now than will be until the very end of the expansion.

  12. Updated errors based on corrections suggested here. Thanks for the input, guys!

  13. I’m struggling to see the Flask of Stoneblood as much better than the BC Flask of Fortification. 650 health vs 500 health + 10 defense. I haven’t tinkered with my Alch in WoTLK enough to know how to get the recipe for the Stoneblood anyway so I’ll be using the old ones for a while.

  14. It’s not a huge increase, but considering the Elixir of Mighty Agility (45) is only 15 AGI points higher than the Elixir of Major Agility (30), 650 Health is only essentially 15 more STAM than 500 Health. Course… that doesn’t take into account the 10 DEF and STAM carries less item value than AGI, but I think it’s safe to say they’ve scaled up similarly, albeit not point for point.

    I haven’t looked at the Wrath flask recipes… it could be that they are easier to make than farming Fel Lotus for BC flasks was, which might explain the less-than-overwhelming upgrade. *shrugs*

  15. Shalandra says:

    My herb farming char is up to 400 herbalism skill (picking goldclovers like mad), and thus far I’ve found one Frost Lotus. I recall having a similar experience when I first entered Outland, so I’m guessing the trend is the same.

    Blacksmithing is pathetically easy to push up to 440, which is when you get to build all the important pieces (Titansteel, etc)
    Tailoring is harder to push up in WotLK than Blacksmithing.

  16. I’ve been BS/Miner since my first day rolling my tank so I was pleasently suprised with some of the additions since WotLK.

    Good article — a couple of comments.

    Re: Mining – One big benefit to being a maxed out miner is titansteel. I’ve sold my CD on this for 50g or more every time that I’ve decided not to use it myself. This may be an early effect which is not experienced once more miners are maxed but it’s a handly little boost in daily gold right now. Also, it is really, really easy to max mining. I did it after dedicating a few hours to it at level 73.

    Re: The comment that BS isn’t really worth rolling now (Tankette). I have to respectfully disagree on this one. As I’m leveling up my warrior tank, I’m making new plate gear which is as good, if not better than anything that is loading in instances…..and when I arrive at 80, I’ve got good entry level epics that are available to me, including the Titansteel Shield wall which has great defense for putting you over the 540 hurdle. Is it the best for top-end raid readiness….no, probably not. But then again, we don’t know what BOP patterns may be added in the next patch. The BS-only sockets are also very win. Got nice new loot that will drop you below the defense hurdle…bam, you just got 2 new sockets to play with. Need more stam, or avoidance, or whatever… The benefit to these isn’t the sheer amount of contribution, but the flexibility of it. Think of it this way: It is a blacksmith only enchant that you may enchant as you wish that stacks with other enchants to the same piece of eq. It is so money…it doesn’t even know it.

  17. My point on BS is you don’t have to be one to get the good BS gear since it is BOE. I am using the Tempered Titansteel Treads and Helm as well as the Shieldwall. I’m also using a few of the BS blues. So in the long run the advatage of BS are the extra 2 sockets, which I don’t think is enough of an advatage for me to pick up BS. If we could still use sharpening and weight stones there would be a little more reason to take up BS, especially if they made the very best ones BOP.

  18. Shalandra says:

    Under that aspect, alchemy would also make less sense than, say, inscription. No single potion is BoP, Mixology does add a bit of kick to the potions you drink but IMHO not enough to really stand out. The trinkets you can make are nice but also obviously take up a trinket spot.

    Blacksmithing is fine in its current state. It may be a little behind compared to some other professions in terms of crafter-specific equipment/enchants, but keep in mind that blacksmithing will benefit the most when epic gems for socketing will be introduced.

    I’m not advocating blacksmithing as being the best profession, nor am I trying to say that alchemy is bad.

    That said, I think Blizzard is trying to make all professions equally viable for every class that would *sensibly* pick up that profession. A warrior won’t gain much benefit from being a tailor, sure. But every class can benefit from being an engineer, a jewelcrafter, or even a blacksmith (even a caster could theoretically be a blacksmith and enjoy the added sockets).
    It’s really just a matter of working what you currently have. Each profession offers its own distinct bonus. My warrior has been a blacksmith since level 5 and I’m glad I never got rid of it.

  19. Well dont forget mining ? when you reach 450 i gain passive, “toughness” 50 stam xtra x)

  20. Yep, otherwise known as “Fortitude,” already noted and wooted. :)

  21. I, Druid, am a 450 insriptionist 408 LW. I have noticed that as far as the shoulder enchants go…. Inscription are nice. And I will proudly and HONESTLY admit that I dropped herbing for LW only for the +90 stamina bracer enchant……..for a bear… +90 stam seemed more solid than 2k heals on cooldown … BUT if it weren’t for the upcoming 3.1 patch changes..I might drop inscription for JC.

    The crab and the hare are nice.. AND with sockets? I can get Sons of Hodir rep and get shoulder enchants (half as effective), but still I would be looking at +100 stam or so.. Dunno I have to weigh the benefits on that.

  22. I can see the validity to each side of this discussion. And I think it’s safe to say it boils down some to individuality. Some laud avoidance, some are all about the health and others take the time to crunch numbers and find the balance. While LW and JC can definitely be a good way to go, I assure you that BS is a very valid craft to take on.

    As noted above, the fortitude is a great bonus. And the 2 sockets are, in my humble opinion, quite the boon. They’re prismatic which means they can be tailored to assist in any meta requirements you might have.

    And if you don’t have a lot of play time or don’t get in many groups, there are two BoP northrend sword recipes that are decent if you haven’t gotten specific quests done and/or don’t get lucky on the drops in instances. (or if you were spec’d differently while questing and got the “wrong” item)

    I was Kara geared and able to be heroic capable defense-wise just by capping blacksmithing and gearing myself out from my own craft. So I can’t agree that being a BSmith is a waste.

  23. Eh… still on my first cup of coffee.. sorry..

    Previous post was referring to the Blacksmith / Mining combo. Since the fortitude bonus isn’t attached to BS.

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