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Insider Trader: The rhyme and reason of crafting

Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

With news of new recipes and crafting tweaks in patch 2.4 flooding in, it's hard not to get excited about what Wrath of the Lich King might hold for our favorite professions. The trades in WoW aren't currently necessarily aging very gracefully, yet fresh directions seem perfectly attainable with a little design effort.

In the meantime, plenty of new players (and new characters) set off on the trade road every day. Many of them naively believe that a trade that complements their chosen class will provide them the gear and cash they need for the road to 70 and beyond. But with today's accelerated leveling curve slingshotting players past Old World content into gear that's positively steroidal compared to crafted options, crafters often don't see any significant return on their investment until the end game.

So why pick up a trade? We've got three good reasons, immediately ahead.

Crafting for income
While it's absolutely possible to carve out a profitable niche with trades, professions are no longer generally considered the best or easiest way to make money. For significant success, you need target a unique need on your particular realm and become the best at filling it. Some players really love the analysis and execution of such a strategy – others, not so much.

The days of making a regular paycheck off the meat and potatoes of your recipe book are over. In today's era of speed-injected leveling, players generally outlevel crafted gear and items before they recoup the investment of time and materials necessary to make them. (Want to nominate a lower-level item that you think has stand-out value? Shoot a news tip to the attention of Insider Trader, and we'll feature it in an upcoming column.)

Crafting for the BoPs
Today's professions are all about the BoP items you can make for yourself as a master crafter. Some of these items are nice little bonuses, while others are considered almost mandatory for some classes and specs. All of them require a high skill in your profession to make, equip and use. (Some crafted items, like Tailoring's Whitemend Wisdom set, are BoE and can be made by any tailor who has the skill and the pattern – but to get the set bonus from wearing it, you must have a Tailoring skill of at least 350.)

Let's hit the highlights of the most attractive profession BoPs:
Crafting for the fun of it
Then there's the whole separate issue of crafting for the fun of it. While Engineering probably gets the most mentions for the sheer entertainment value of the items made, finding a profession you enjoy is definitely a case of "different strokes for different folks."

WoW Insider's own Ryan Carter recently shared some thoughts on his own choices: "I do enchanting, another very looked-down upon profession, and I love it, for a few reasons: You can always DE everything you don't need or use (gear drops) for money or mats. You can help guildies out a ton by enchanting their stuff. It is fun to DE stuff and see what you'll get. It is partly good for those with megalomaniacal tendencies who like to destroy stuff. ... Yeah, that's it."

I think he definitely gets it. Yeah, that's it.

Insider Trader's Lisa Poisso is a big fan of the <Made By> tag and enjoys trades where she can produce things that others will actually use for a long time.

Filed under: Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Engineering, Leatherworking, Tailoring, Enchanting, Items, Making money, Insider Trader (Professions)

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