Profession guides are da poop

As I’ve been levelling my cute little midget of destruction a.k.a gnome death knight, I’ve also been trying to keep up with his professions. Since my wife has stopped playing, I’ve chosen to go with Blacksmithing and Mining since I don’t have those two professions on my active characters now.

Mining was initially tough to level up from 1-300, but once you get it up to the same level as where you are questing it generally goes fine. Outland/Northrend are both very mining-friendly compared to Azeroth, so it’s pretty easy to max it out.

Blacksmithing however remains a royal pain. As expected most of the low to mid range crafted gear is worthless and you can only disenchant them in an effort to partially recover cost. Also, it takes a multitude of materials to make an item. The ores also have to first be smelted into bars, which can only be done if you’re a miner. The whole process is just time consuming.

This is largely true for most crafting professions, except Blacksmithing is exceptionally expensive. So it’s not surprising that many people ask for profession guides to level up their crafting professions. Just do a simple search on google and you’ll get tons of sites offering 1-450 guides for all professions.

Except that the vast majority of them completely suck.

You can break down 95% of guides into the following format:
1) At each skill level, list all the recipes that are orange.
2) Pick the orange recipe that is the cheapest in terms of mats, and make that.
3) Go back to 1)

This is exceptionally dumb, because first of all I have eyes. I don’t need a guide to tell me which of my skills are orange and therefore are guaranteed to give me a skill up.

Secondly, I’ve found that unless you are really close to the threshold where a recipe goes green, you are usually MUCH MUCH better off making yellow recipes since you get a skillup pretty reliably anyway.

And lastly, it is extremely short-sighted to simply craft orange items without any regard as to the market value of the item. I believe that this is the single biggest reason why most people complain so much about the cost of levelling up a crafting profession. If I’m making profit from an item, why does it matter if it is a green recipe? I could make 100 of them for 1g profit each compared to losing 50g on an orange skillup, and I’ll probably get a skillup anyway.

Another example is choosing between 2 items to craft for a skillup, one of which has a cheaper material cost. You might think “well duh, it’s a no brainer which one I choose to make then, I’ll make the cheaper one!” Unfortunately, you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake and it is very likely that every other person levelling the profession made the same choice, meaning that the item has next to no market value due to oversupply. Meanwhile, the other more expensive item may cost 20g more to make but sells for 50% profit (an example of this is the savage saronite pieces for Blacksmithing, everyone makes the cheaper pieces…) The initial cost doesn’t matter, what matters is the profit/loss per item. What does it matter if it costs 2k gold to make, if you can reliably sell it for 2.5k? (Don’t tell me you don’t have 2k gold in the first place…)

So this is why I would rather just open up wowhead or thottbot for a listing of all recipes instead of following a profession guide. There are of course some guides which are exceptions and provide extra information, such as estimated materials required (useful for advance shopping, though potentially inaccurate if the rest of the guide is just recommending orange items as usual…) or information on where to get non-trainer recipes which provide cheaper skillups.

Of course, if you are only interested in powerlevelling it to the skill cap in as short a time as possible, then just make anything orange and vendor it. But don’t complain later about spending 10,000 gold to level up blacksmithing when good old-fashioned research and planning could have made it a profitable enterprise instead.

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