Friday, February 8, 2008

Druid Profession Choice

What are the advantages and disadvantages of various professions for Druids?

The two top choices for druid primary professions are probably Alchemy/Herbalism or Leatherworking/Skinning. I will only discuss these two combinations, though certainly other combinations are possible.

Casual players and money farmers should note that the king of moneymaking is probably a combination of two gathering professions. However, gathering is not as much fun as crafting something, hence the remainder of this post.

Features of Alchemy/Herbalism:

1) Druids can gather herbs in any form, which markedly increases the speed that druids can collect herbs. With the use of Hibernate, Entangling Roots and Soothe Beast, druids can incapacitate nearby enemies and beasts, making herb collection simple. Gathering may not be available in Swift Flight Form.

2) Alchemy provides a constant source of buffs at little cost. These pots/buffs will allow you to level faster and spend less money on healing and mana potions, which are necessary and can be expensive.

3) Many herbs can be sold for great profit to other classes for quests and some potions sell well to PvP and raid users. Many herbs sell for more gold than the potions you can make from them.

4) Transmutation allows players to make gold easily (read without grinding extensively), albeit at lower rates, by finding inexpensive reagents (Primals) on the Auction House and turning them into valuable products (more valuable Primals). With Transmute Mastery, multiple products can be made from one set of reagents. Transmute Masters may be able to sell the "chance" of extra products to other players or keep extra products obtained when using other player's reagents. I cannot comment on Potion or Elixir Mastery, but the ability to sell finished products is generally more difficult that selling raw materials.

5) The drawbacks of Alch/Herbs include low rates of "discovery" of new potions and reportedly low rates of extra products from Mastery (despite appx 400-500g cost of Mastery). Though, the probability of extra products is reported to be 20%, which is quite high.

Features of Leatherworking/Skinning:

1) Leatherworking will allow players some freedom from trolling the Auction House for good gear and the time required to find quests that have desirable gear rewards.

2) The high-level leatherworking patterns are probably the best non-raid/non-PvP gear in the game. The patterns are expensive and rare. If your destination is player versus environment (PvE), you do not plan to raid and gear is very important to you, leatherworking should be good for your purposes. You could always buy most of this gear (that are not BoP) from a leatherworker, but the BoP's (which require leatherworking to wear) are the best. If your destination is PvP or a raiding guild, leatherworking will hold less value.

3) If you have friends or alts who are druids, rogues, low-level shaman or low-level hunters and you want to craft gear for them, leatherworking could be fun. Your guild will certainly benefit from having a leatherworker for armor kits.

4) Don't take leatherworking to make money. There are many posts on the official forums about the slow pace of leveling leatherworking and about products selling for less than the cost of their ingredients.

5) Skinning takes very little time, as many mobs that are killed and looted can be skinned. This is an advantage over many other gathering professions that require extra travel-time to a node or herb. Tailoring has its own gathering profession without even having to dedicate a primary skill toward that gathering profession (cloth drops from all humanoids).

In summary: Most Druids should probably take Alchemy/Herbs as this combination will create the most profit and allows for upgrades while leveling and for end-game. Alch/Herbs seems to be much easier to level than Leatherworking due to readily available recipes that allow yellow and red skill-ups. Those players who enjoy crafting their own armor or enjoy crafting for friends, and who do not need to make a profit from a profession, should consider Leatherworking/Skinning. Again, those soley interested in a profession for money making potential should take two gathering professions.

For additional information, see this discussion thread on the Druid Wiki, which has many great perspectives on this issue.