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Insider Trader: The very best buff food

The opening of Noblegarden, and its corresponding real-life holiday, means one thing around my home: food. And this holiday was no different, as about a half-dozen friends and family all gathered around the kitchen to enjoy a spring-time feast. It was good times, of course, with a lot of light hearts and happy faces. And then when the festivities were over, everyone went home, got online and we raided Icecrown Citadel.

Obviously we all knew that we were going to be raiding in the evening, so as we sat down around the dinner, there were more than a few jokes. "Fish down!" "Who's got pig?" My non-WoW family didn't really get the jokes, but the raiders surely did.

We don't cover cooking here in Insider Trader a whole lot, even though it's a fairly universal skill. Since it's a secondary profession, it's one that every character could have, if they took the time to level it. It's also a pretty important secondary skill, compared to its two compatriots, fishing and first aid. Cooking provides a wide combination of buffs as well as the ever-useful health and mana.

Take a look behind the jump, and let's do a tour of the some of the most popular foods used in the end game.

The Fish Feast is the standard food dropped before every boss encounter. It supplies 80 attack power, 46 spell power and 40 stamina for one hour. The buff does drop every time you die, which can be annoying if you wipe a lot. Still, it forms the backbone of raid buff food for most guilds. The materials for a fish feast aren't incredibly difficult to find, but obviously someone has to go fishing. For this reason, auction houses tend to a pretty thriving business in Musselback Sculpin, Glacial Salmon and Nettlefish. The fish feast does require a Northern Spice to create, but those are cheap and easy nowadays.

If you can't manage to get a Fish Feast, you do have the option of its slightly weaker cousin, the Great Feast. It provides 20 less attack power, 11 less spell power and 10 less stamina. If you don't have fishermen handy (and the Tuskarr disapprovingly wag their moustaches at you for that), the materials for a Great Feast are much more easily farmed. You simply need a Chunk o' Mammoth, a Shoveltusk Flank, one Worm Meat and a pair of Chilled Meats. I often recommend using the Great Feast for farming raids and such, when you don't really need the extra edge and you might not want to spend the cash on a full-blown Fish Feast.

Dragonfin Filet can be the preferred food for strength-based DPS classes, however. Since the Dragonfin Filet provides 40 strength and 40 stamina, any class that has a bonus multiplier to strength will tend to prefer the raw stat. Like both the Fish Feast and the Great Feast, the Dragonfin Filet buff lasts for an hour and does not persist through death. This food is made from one Northern Spice and a Dragonfin Angelfish.

The Dragonfin Filet has a sad little cousin called the Firecracker Salmon. Why does the Firecrack Salmon spend his life as a little emo fish plate, posting angsty blog entries about how he feels inferior to the Filet? It's because the Firecracker Salmon only provides 46 spell power. And while that's awesome -- and probably "best in slot" food for many casters -- it just doesn't provide anything better than the generic Fish Feast. So you often see strength-based classes popping their Dragonfin Filet after the Fish Feast, you'll never see someone nomming a Firecracker Salmon post-feast. If you need to make a Firecracker Salmon for your own benefit, though, you'll just need a Glacial Salmon and a Northern Spice.

If you're looking for a little more haste in your stats, then you might want an Imperial Manta Steak. It provides the same 40 stamina everything else seems to but also gives you 40 haste. The required Imperial Manta Ray isn't a terribly expensive material, but most people looking for haste already have it rocking on their gear.

Hearty Rhino is a very popular dish in raids right now, mostly because of the increasingly important stat armor penetration. If you value armor penetration, then you could probably do with eating some rhinoceros. Rhino Meat is incredibly fast and easy to farm, which even further increases the value of this food.

Two other foods seem to come out every single time I'm in the Vault of Archavon. That's the Gigantic Feast and the Small Feast. They're shaped like the Great Feast, so people can easily get these food items confused with the "real" raid buff. What do they do? They make you grow or shrink, according to the version. These two feasts aren't exactly free to make, so I've never understood the obsession some people seem to have with them. But like I said, they're in every single VoA. Every time.
Each week, Insider Trader takes you behind the scenes of the bustling subculture of professional craftsmen, examining the profitable, the tragically lacking and the methods behind the madness.

Filed under: Insider Trader (Professions)

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