In today's World of Warcraft, there aren't many dedicated craftsmen left. As early as a year ago, I wrote about the death of the salesman: "Most enchanters don't enchant for the general public at all, unless you provide mats and a tip. And in any profession, with so many other players on the servers who have the same patterns (even rare patterns are generally available from more than one player) and so many easy ways to make money (hello, daily quests!), there's little reason to hang around town to build a regular clientele. Components provided or created by other professions are readily available on the Auction House – there's no need to seek out and nurture relationships with another player from a complementary profession. "
That situation has solidified in the Wrath era. Players roll up new professions strictly to earn achievement points or use a specific crafted-only item to plug gear gaps until they can loot something better.
But if you look carefully, on every server, you'll find a tenacious handful of players who've made crafting their meat and potatoes. These are the folks you see in town for hours on end, buying and selling and crafting endless items for newbies and 80s alike. They're the go-to guys for their professions, and their reputations earn them customers even when their prices aren't scraping bottom.
Main character Gaiusseptimo
Server Moonguard-US (RP)
Main profession Blacksmithing
15 Minutes of Fame: Gaiusseptimo, have you always been a dedicated craftsman in WoW?
Gaiusseptimo: My craftsmanship didn't really take off until Wrath of the Lich King came out. Part of this was the timing; I only started playing WoW at the start of August '08. By the time Wrath came out, I was lvl 68, and while I had all of the trainer recipes, I was limited in my holdings on rare recipes.
It was the introduction of the new recipes though that made my crafting possible. Because they were all available, and based around just crafting the items, I was able to invest a large amount of gold in leveling them quickly. Once I hit the 450 cap, I settled down for a month (this was November) and did nothing but sell my wares using my non-macro'd creative ad approach.
What do you enjoy most about WoW crafting?
My favorite part about crafting is kind of tough to pinpoint. On one hand, I love the sell. I create all my advertisements from scratch on the spot, and none of them are ever macro'd. Most of them I try and tell a story with, a short little piece about how my gear will make your life better/easier or will protect you from harms caused by bloodthirsty Orcs and raging Magnataurs. This selling part is great.
On the other hand, though, I really enjoy interacting with my customers, who are always appreciative that I offer the lowest prices around and who are usually grateful for my creative advertisements. Since I'm on an RP server, having a creative approach goes a long way.
How has Wrath of the Lich King changed your approach?
In the last few weeks, it has become increasingly difficult to make any significant sales. I believe the reasons for this are twofold. One, the recipes are easy to get -- you just level your skill at the trainer, no questing needed. While this was a boon to me and my dedication early on, now any Smith can do it.
Two, I'm experiencing server maturity. Many (or most) of the people on my server have 80 mains and likely have gear that is the equivalent (or nearly so) of my items. There are a few items that have not experienced a slowdown in sales, though: Titansteel Helms (the DPS and tank variety) and Titansteel Destroyers are still as popular as ever. The prices have dipped, though, with the increase in capable crafters. Fortunately, I can lower my prices because I actively seek the lowest price on my materials.
In this day and age, tradespeople seem to have less of a following and fewer personal relationships with regular customers. Have you found that your regulars have diminished over time?
Not at all! I'm very lucky in that regard, and I find many people are very loyal to me. Oftentimes when I log in, I have in-game mail waiting for me asking me to make something with materials attached, or I'll get a few whispers about specific items people would like me to craft.
I've managed to accrue a considerable following, and I'm very grateful for it. I have several regulars; one person I've geared from level 70 through 80 and geared her husband, too. It's little things like that that I really appreciate.
Do you think crafting in WoW has become more or less desirable over time? On a related note, do you think it has become more or less enjoyable over time?
I do think that there is a smaller desire to craft over time for many people; not me, though. When the expansion first came out, Blacksmithing was extraordinarily profitable and therefore popular. Now, you have many people barely breaking even, and there are more folks switching to gathering professions.
I've managed to avoid this and maintain the enjoyment through two reasons. One is that I have a dedicated base of people who use me and who recommend me to their friends. Two -- and this is important: I'm on an RP server. People on the server like rare recipes, and I aim to provide them. While I don't have anywhere near all the classic and BC recipes, I do have some rare ones, and people always like that fact when looking to make their character look special and fit an RP storyline.
What changes or additions would you most like to see to WoW crafting in general?
I believe they're adding four or five (at least) new recipes at the patch for Smiths, and the recipes will be BoP plans from Ulduar to make BoE plate armor. I'm looking forward to this change because it will give the highly dedicated Smiths an edge in their crafting again.
I think, too, that there should be greater incentives to take a profession. Give Smiths some more high-quality BoP items like they did with the Lionheart sword in BC, and add more than just a "socket bracer/gloves" Smithing bonus to taking the skill.
What add-ons or other tools do you use to streamline your crafting?
I don't use any add-ons in relation to my crafting at all. I tried Auctioneer once but hated it and deleted it after about an hour. I just pay close attention to the AH prices and try and base most of my crafting out of Stormwind City so I can be close to the AH, near the bank and in a location that is popular with many people still.
So you're generally found in Stormwind?
Stormwind works as my base most of the time, although Dalaran has increasingly become popular. I like Stormwind for a few reasons. It still has a high population, thanks largely to the harbor and the fun of RPing there. It also has the Auction House, an attractive feature for me in pricing my goods and for my customers in visiting and buying them.
I've started using Dalaran more and more, though. Because I primarily make Titansteel items, the people are likely to be level 80 and hanging out in Northrend. Dalaran is convenient to them. It also has the benefit of being small, so people can move to the enchanted anvil quickly, meet me and be on their way. Additionally, the portal room makes it incredibly convenient to get anywhere in the kingdom if I need to meet someone to craft something.