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Filed under: Insider Trader (Professions)

Insider Trader: Enchanting the Cataclysm

Cataclysm is probably still a little bit away. Blizzard has not announced the final launch date, though, so there's really not any way to guess. Still, we're seeing more and more information slough out of the beta like so much tantalizing ice cream falling from the soft serve dispenser. The flavor of the week for professions, of course, is enchanting.

Enchanting is probably the most fundamental template for improving a character beyond levels and gear. Even though jewelcrafters have been around for two expansions, people still talk about enchanted gear as being the baseline for character improvement. It makes sense, then, that the foundation is a flagship for gear enhancement in Cataclysm.

However, with a few small exceptions, the rules about which stats get enchantments are changing. As you'll see as we go through the new enchants one by one, many of the new enchanting standards will be based on procs. We can guess this change is in the interest of making the stat bonuses more interesting and "deep," so it's going to be interesting to see which enchants different classes prefer.

As warning, though, it's beta. It's almost certain some of these stats are placeholders or subject to change.

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Filed under: Insider Trader (Professions)

Insider Trader: Alchemy in Cataclysm

So, alchemy in Cataclysm is starting to look pretty damned good. (Granted, all of the trade skills are looking good in Cataclysm, but I'm writing about alchemy this week.) Alchemy is one of the most stable crafts between expansions, though. You have your standard potions -- intellect, damage, healing, mana, health, stuff like that -- as well as your alchemist-only items like alchemist's stones.

Things get a little more exciting in Cataclysm, though. One of the most interesting potions I've seen so far is the Potion of Deephome. On use, it teleports the user to Deephome. It's a pretty neat effect, but it definitely makes me curious about Deephome. The dungeon finder tool is incredibly effective for teleporting players inside dungeons, so I don't see why your acerage alchemist would have to use the potion. Still, for sheer flavor, it's fun to see potions doing more than just buffing stats. I think that's a nice little side effect that's been a long time coming.

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Filed under: Insider Trader (Professions), Cataclysm

Insider Trader: Engineering your Cataclysm

While a lot of news has already been circulating about crafting in Cataclysm, there wasn't much information out there for engineers. Boubouille updated MMO-Champion today about that situation, saying the lack of data is probably because the items aren't flagged as being for engineering. However, the master of data mining was able to pull together some basic information about engineering in Cataclysm, giving us a tantalizing hint of what the future's going to be like for the mad machinists.

Of course, the staple engineering item ever since the Burning Crusade have been helmets and goggles. The quality of these items were so exceptional that you could see enterprising engineers wearing them deep into each expansion. The goggles possess fantastic stats customized to the engineer's specific raid role and they're darn styling, too. What's not to love?
Now, granted, there's not a lot of differentiation between "healer" and "damage dealer" for spell users. However, if Blizzard created a different item for every particular spec, the whole situation could get far too unwieldy. And since the killshades will probably be first-tier gear, then it's good enough for those first couple of raids. Of course, we're still in Cataclysm's beta, so anything could change.

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Filed under: Insider Trader (Professions)

Insider Trader: Mining, the tradesman's multi-tool

Insider Trader is a column about professions, occasionally written by Gold Capped columnist, Basil Berntsen. Basil can't really tell the difference between the columns, sometimes, although ideally Gold Capped should be more focused on the Auction House, and Insider Trader should be focused on the professions. Well, as long as nobody calls him on it, he's going to keep choosing where he's putting his next piece by flipping a coin. Today was tails. Tomorrow, Gold capped is due. What does that make Time Is Money? Judging by the frequency, an edge roll. By the way; email Basil questions so he can start answering them in a "Ask an Auctioneer" post.

I've said before that farming professions are usually a waste of time. The opportunity cost of a farming profession is another crafting profession, which could make you so much more money per hour that you can always afford to buy the mats you need. The exception to this rule is mining.

All the gathering professions are simple and no risk. You pay nothing but time to level them, and you are able to make money by using them without risking anything but, again, time. The difference between your average player and an auctioneer, however, is that the auctioneer is always measuring his success in gold per hour. Extremely good farmers can do better than extremely bad auctioneers, however if you're capable of being an extremely good farmer, you're probably capable of being at least a good auctioneer, and are spending those hours doing a more repetitive, less interesting task for less money.

Mining is the exception to this rule because it opens up the ability to perform several very important transformations:

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Filed under: Insider Trader (Professions)

Insider Trader: Celebrating with crafted items

We're about a week away from the 4th of July. On this day, our U.S. tradition involves firing copious amounts of explosives into the sky to celebrate our nation. We also barbecue, drink beer and do our best to keep whoever had the most beer away from the explosives. It's generally a lot of fun. There's just something magical about looking up in the sky and seeing fireworks.

The good news is that the holiday has an analog inside the World of Warcraft. The goblins gather across the world and totally rock out with an awesome display of pyrotechnic skill. Sounds pretty cool. But I'm a do-it-yourselfer. Accessing the vast legions of crafters under my command, I put together a list of my favorite celebratory recipes in the game. Here are some crafted items that can help you hold your own in-game 4th of July bash.

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Filed under: Insider Trader (Professions)

Insider Trader: Starting your own crafting empire

Last week, I spent some time discussing how crafting has saved WoW for me in the past. More than a few folks echoed that statement, which was pretty heartening. Just as importantly, though, I had a couple readers drop me a line and ask for tips on how to go down the same path. They wanted any advice I might have on how to start one's own crafting empire. How do you get from "I have no professions" to "I am a master of all, a rival to the goblin kingdom" in a few easy steps?

The basic idea behind building your own crafting empire would be that every profession is covered. You have it all. But it's actually a little bit deeper than that. You not only have to have characters with the requisite recipes, you also must have characters with the requisite gathering progressions who can then perform the gathering for you. It gets a little deep depending on how you design your empire. And it all boils down to one thing.

Your ability to build and conduct your own crafting empire will revolve around your willingness to level alts. The actual class of your alts won't matter directly but you'll need at least a few. It is impossible to cover all the professions with fewer than four alts anyway, so you'll be doing the grind from level 1 to 80 at least three times. (Not four, because you can use a death knight for at least one of these crafters.)

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Filed under: Insider Trader (Professions)

Insider Trader: Profession hints from the press event; no pony, no moose

In case you didn't hear, there was a rather large press event over the weekend. All at once, a seeming floodgate of information spewed forth with Cataclysm goodness onto our waiting ears. Of particularly exciting note for us, the hammer-and-apron crafting crowd, we finally got some hints about what we're going to see -- and, painfully, some definites about what we're not going to see.

First, Path of the Titans is out. And while that does mean that Blizzard is going to focus on making other content as high quality as possible, that means that Archaeology is being ditched as a true profession. It will be focused on providing lore benefit instead, which I'll acknowledge is a pretty cool idea. I was hoping to have a Bones-like character ready to to engage in forensic archaeology and absolutely make a killing on the auction house with my squinty goods.

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Filed under: Insider Trader (Professions), Cataclysm, Archaeology

Insider Trader: Crafting has saved WoW for me

If left to my absolute own devices in a complete vacuum, with functional equipment and skilled team members, I'm a PvPer at heart. I love the arena, love the battlegrounds and even love world PvP. However, my real-life friends are mostly PvE players. As a result, I tend to follow my second love: raiding. It's a great deal of fun cruising through the halls of Icecrown Citadel and killing Arthas' men. And having been a roleplayer in one medium or another for longer than Robert Pattinson's been alive, I tend to do all this in character. (I have forsaken vampires, though, don't worry.)

However, we can't always play in a perfect vacuum, with friends or with functional equipment. Real life happens. I currently live on a mountain. Awesome views, but really bad internet. My internet connection drops like it's hot. I love playing with friends, but time is limited: I work two jobs, train the Dark Puppy and am maintaining a garden, a marriage and a household. And I try to stay fit in the meantime. Ultimately, this all means time, friends and equipment can all be in short supply. I keep up pretty well in terms of gear and skill, but I just can't be around much.

While WoW is probably the most friendly MMO out there for the casual or time-restricted player, it's still a pretty big bummer to always be the guy getting dragged along in a raid. No one wants to be the deficient player. And more than a few times, it's left my mouse pointer hovering over the "cancel" button.

But crafting and professions have saved me, every time.

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Filed under: Insider Trader (Professions)

Insider Trader: Cooking for cash

Insider Trader, when written by Basil (also of outdps and Call to Auction), will be all about how to use tradeskills to make money.

Cooking is one of those secondary professions that anyone can learn, even if they already have two primary professions. Because of this fairly low barrier to entry, there are a lot of cooks around. So many that I've actually never leveled it myself! I just rely on the generosity of friends for my cooking business.

How profitable is cooking? That all depends on what you cook. I got into this because I once paid 100g for five Spiced Mammoth Treats for my hunter's raid night. Why was I buying them on a Tuesday? Poor planning. What did I learn? The value of planning. We're going to start with a very important concept for auctioneers, here: tenacity.

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Filed under: Economy, Insider Trader (Professions)

Insider Trader: How to profit with tailoring

Tradeskills are the best tools for making in game gold. Every single profession can be made profitable. Insider Trader, when Basil writes it, is where you can turn to find tips and tricks to using professions in a profitable manner. That or rants about arrows. Really, mostly rants. Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out where the blurry line between Insider Trader and Gold Capped is, let alone what direction it runs. Have something to say to Basil? Feel free to email him! He strongly encourages all mail. Even the angry letters! He'll read those out loud dramatically to amuse his friends.

Tailoring is not the profession most people think of when they think of gold making. Most people will find inscription, enchanting and jewelcrafting are the big money-makers, but what do you do if that's not the path you've chosen?

When you select your profession, there are a lot of reasons to choose one over another. Tailoring has a cool mount and some awesome end game bonuses. If you've taken it for these, rest assured that you can still find a niche in the marketplace if you want to make money with it.

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Filed under: Economy, Insider Trader (Professions)

Insider Trader: Selling arrows in singles for the price of a stack scam

Got trade skills? Want money? Insider Trader is the column to read. Whenever they let Basil write it, he'll do his best to fill your head full of ideas and your bags full of valuables and gold.

I'm going to come right out and say it: Don't do this. I recently wrote about ways engineers can make money, mentioning (among other things) selling epic ammo to hunters. The problem with making the best raiding and PvP ammo in the game only available from players is that it forces hunters to either find an engineer with the recipe who is willing to do all the crafting by mail, or buy it off the auction house.

What do I have against the auction house, you ask? Well, overall it's an excellent tool and far superior to the much nastier alternative of being forced to actually use trade chat for, you know, trade. It's not perfect, however. In fact, there's one massive glaring inadequacy that can be found.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Economy, Insider Trader (Professions)

Insider Trader: Powerleveling professions on the cheap

Can I have 5 gold please? I need it to train my new level of skills. Woah, did you just put two hundred and twelve thousand gold into an open trade window?! Wait, where are you going? Wait!! Get back here! I'm not letting you get out of trade range! Oh my god, all this scrub has to do is click "trade" and I'll be able to buy every single mount in the game!! I am not letting him out of range. I wonder why he's wearing a monocle? Hey, he's jumping down to the docks! I'd better keep up with him. Hmm, he's taking an Elixir of Water Breathing? Strange. This guy must be a gold farmer or something. "/g ZOMG I'm gonna be rich guys!" Oh, you want to go for a swim? I don't care where you go, I'm not closing this window or letting you get out of range. You can't get away from me by swimming under a boat. Or into a cave. Or into that ... what the H-E-double hockey-sticks? "You are dead"? How? This guy is in the same faction as me! Oh.

Professions are expensive! Getting a crafting skill to 450 involves geting all kinds of finnicky odd-ball mats from content that nobody ever runs these days, which typically means paying a whole lot for them. On top of it, all the stuff you make is pretty much valueless, and often fetches more at the vendor than it will in the auction house. What can you do to help turn these lemons into lemonade?

First off, it helps if you're popular, smart, and patient. Popular people have friends who have tradeskills that might be able to help stem the losses, smart people have addons that can provide them with valuable information, and patient people are not at the mercy of low supply.

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Filed under: Economy, Insider Trader (Professions)

Insider Trader: Reviewing blacksmithing in Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath of the Lich King has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for blacksmiths. It's passed through a few tunnels of high importance, then settled onto a kind of vestigial relevance before finally settling into a kind of usefulness. We'll take a look at that in a little more detail, but the great blacksmithing heartbreak of Wrath of the Lich King was our defunct specialties like Armorsmithing. These specialties were great when we had them, but they never really mattered in Wrath.

Let's start with the one constant benefit of blacksmithing that lasted through the entire expansion. Like its close cousin jewelcrafting, blacksmithing is probably the most flexible craft in terms of profession bonuses. You get two more colorless gem sockets than anyone else. How worthwhile is that, though, really?

In terms of raw itemization points, it's not necessarily a huge advantage. Most tradeskill character bonuses tend to boil down to an additional 80 attack power, 47 spellpower or maybe 60 stamina. These two colorless gem sockets are consistent with that level of crafting bonus. What makes blacksmithing's bonus extra special, though, is that you obtain the crafting bonus by using gems, which means any stat that's available from gems is available to you for your crafting bonus at about the same itemization cost. If raw attack power isn't your thing, you can focus on strength, agility or even haste. It might not sound like a big deal, but it's a nice little side bonus on top of everything else.

So, the crafting bonus for blacksmithing was pretty nice. What was very important at the beginning of Wrath of the Lich King?

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Filed under: Insider Trader (Professions)

Insider Trader: 7 things that should stay in Cataclysm

We had the class preview series from Blizzard a few weeks ago, and it was a very welcome glimpse at what we could expect in Cataclysm. It's provided some hints about what raiding and PvP might be like in the new expansion, and it's led to a lot of commentary about raid instances and design.

What we've not heard about yet, though, are professions and crafting. We know the Path of the Titans is lurking around the corner of Cataclysm either like a mugger hiding out in the shadows or a shiny present waiting under the tree. We can guess that professions might play into that to some degree, but it would still be guessing.

Still, while the expansion is still many moons away, now's the time to start crossing our fingers and hoping for the very best. Here's a small list of things that were awesome in Wrath of the Lich King and should continue forward in Cataclysm.

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Filed under: Insider Trader (Professions)

Insider Trader: Inscription without grinding glyphs

In meat-space, Insider Traders are shifty Wall Street criminals who endeavor to make personal profits at the expense of retail and institutional investors alike by acting on foreknowledge of events that the public does not share. In World of Warcraft, Insider Traders use their their trade skills, professions, tenacity, bank alts and enormous piles of gold and mammoth mounts to inspire awe around the auction house.

Inscription is a great profession for making money. Once the addons for making and selling glyphs efficiently became popular, many people selling glyphs became gold-capped. Selling glyphs these days is not all it's cracked up to be, however. There's now tons of competition, and on a lot of servers, glyphs sell perpetually for the cost of the mats to make them. Assuming you're not interested in going down that road, what can you do with this skill to make money?

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Filed under: Economy, Insider Trader (Professions)

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