Insider Trader is your weekly inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.
Nothing interrupts a peaceful night of crafting like a lunatic guildmate ranting about learning a coveted new pattern, only to find that it's already green in skill level – nothing, that is, except that sickening feeling in your stomach as you consider what you'll do when your favorite patterns go green. Skilling up a profession can be a rollercoaster ride, if you don't hit the right patterns at the right time. (Of course, all the professions have those infamous "dead zones," when skilling up seems to be based on either unfathomable luck or unfathomable finances – or maybe both. But we'll cover dead zones in another installment.)
Skilling up in a profession can happen when you create an item that's listed in green, yellow or orange in your tradeskill window. Items listed in grey will not give you any skill points for creating them; red listings anywhere means you don't have the required skill level. Just as it does with creatures you fight, pattern color indicates difficulty and skill-up potential. Green items raise your skill occasionally, yellows about half the time and oranges every single time. (The exception to orange skill-ups occurs in skinning, in which successfully skinning an orange creature does not guarantee a skill-up.) As a burgeoning crafter, your goal is to find patterns that are relatively easy to get the materials to make while providing a solid shot at skilling up. While orange patterns offer a guaranteed chance of gaining a skill point, the best bang for the buck is often a yellow pattern.
And that's where things start getting murky ...