Insider Trader: Leatherworking, the final stretch

Amanda Miller
A. Miller|03.14.08

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Insider Trader: Leatherworking, the final stretch
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If you have ever rolled a druid, rogue, shaman or hunter, it is quite likely that you ended up choosing leatherworking as one of your professions. Because it can be a valuable source of gear for the leather and mail-wearers, it is a common choice. If this is the case, you are going to want to hit 375 skill in order to make your end-game epics.

If however, you chose leatherworking as a companion to skinning in order to make money, you will only need to reach about 325. Once there, you will be able to convert any type of skin into its available higher form in order to maximize your profits.

Still, leatherworking, like any profession, can be an extremely costly skill to cap. This week, Insider Trader will be taking an in-depth look at some of the best ways to reach 375 from 300. Hop through the break for tips and analysis.

There are several existing guides to leveling leatherworking from 300 to 375, and here are the ones I found most useful, although not all encapsulate items added in patch 2.3:
For ease and convenience, I have outlined several different routes that could be taken to maximize your leatherworking skill. One final note before we begin: if you intend to wear any of the items you can make, including epic patterns you may acquire, always try to milk a skill point out of it, as you will be making it anyway.

The first ten points should be acquired in the same way across the board, no matter how you plan to reach 375.
  • 300-310: At 300 skill, you will be able to train to make [Knothide Leather] from [Knothide Leather Scraps]. Make as many as you can until it turns gray at 310, as you will need the leather. This will also be the cheapest, and easiest to farm if you have skinning, item in this guide.
One common method of reaching 325 involves crafting some gear to sell, give away, or disenchant. The cheapest of the items are:
  • 311-320: You can choose to make [Wild Draenish Gloves], which you will get from your trainer. Each will require 9 [Knothide Leather] and 3 [Rune Thread]. This is a common way to hit 320 skill, and I find that they will not sell well in auction. If you disenchant, or have access to a disenchanter using an alt or a friend, you may recover more money by poofing them.
  • 321-325: Here, you can craft [Thick Draenic Boots]. Although slightly more expensive than the above gloves, they are the least expensive piece of armor for this skill level bracket. You'll be using 10 [Knothide Leather] and 3 [Rune Thread] per pair of boots.
My favorite method of reaching 325 is cheaper, more straightforward, and in many ways, more useful. This will also be the cheapest method if you do not have skinning.
  • 311-325: You can eat up only 4 pieces of [Knothide Leather] to make [Knothide Armor Kits]. This is much cheaper than the gloves, and they are more viable in auction, or for use on your person, storage in the Guild Bank, or to mail to friends and guildmates. In fact, on many servers, you can purchase stacks of [Knothide Leather Scraps] on the auction house, convert them into [Knothide Leather], and either sell those stacks or make [Knothide Armor Kits] and churn a profit without skinning one beast.
Although you could continue with the boots or the armor kits until 340, I recommend the following instead. While it is not as cheap as the kits, you will need to make these conversions anyway for the leather:
  • 326-335: At this point, you will want to make as much [Heavy Knothide Leather] as possible. Actually, you will be doing this for your entire leatherworking career, so you might as well grab the skill points while you can. You will need 5 [Knothide Leather] to make one heavy. Check your auction house to see if purchasing the scraps, or regular knothide, would be a financially viable means of speeding through these points. If you don't skin, you will have to purchase the leather.
For a cheap means of reaching 350, consider the following items:
  • 336-340: Start making [Thick Draenic Vest]s from your trainer. Your skill ups are still fairly cheap at this point, so milk what you can out of these items. For each vest, you will need 14 [Knothide Leather] and 3 [Rune Thread].
  • 341-350: The [Felscale Breastplate] might sell on the auction house, because it is keen for hunters and part of a set. You'll have to check your market for saturation, but disenchanting it is most likely going to give you a handful of [Arcane Dust] and nothing more. For each breastplate, you will need 14 [Knothide Leather], 3 [Fel Scales] and 3 [Rune Thread]. This item is key because it does not require faction reputation.
My preferred method of reaching 365 is the cheapest, easiest and most straightforward means. I also believe this to be the most reliably profitable method.
  • 350-365: [Heavy Knothide Armor Kit]. This takes only 3 [Heavy Knothide Leather], and was introduced in patch 2.3 to help leatherworkers level. This can be learned from your trainer, and requires no faction reputation.
In order to see just how much it did improve things, let's take a look at the cheapest items from pre-2.3 leatherworking for the same level bracket. Although they are viable alternatives, they are expensive, so only make them if you need them, or find you can sell them for a profit. The patterns are also obtained through faction vendors rather than your trainer.

If you have received honored reputation with the Scryers:
  • 351-355: At this point, you could choose to drop the breastplate in favor of [Enchanted Felscale Gloves]. Unfortunately, you must be honored with the Scryers in order to do this. You will need 4 [Heavy Knothide Leather], 10 [Fel Scales] and 6 [Primal Mana].
  • Considering this is a pattern obtained through reputation with a faction not chosen by everyone, and the fact that it is a bind on equip blue with two sockets, you may make some change on the auction house with these. In addition, should you choose to disenchant it, you're likely to get a [Large Prismatic Shard] out of the deal.
  • Should you already be revered with the Scryers, consider making [Enchanted Felscale Boots] instead. They require the same materials, but because they will be rarer, might fetch you more money at auction.
If you have received honored reputation with the Consortium:
  • 351-355: You can now make [Fel Leather Boots]. These will also disenchant into a [Large Prismatic Shard], and are a BoE blue with two sockets, but these are also part of a set. Although they might be a more common item because of the availability of the faction, they should be of comparable demand. Each pair of boots will set you back 10 [Heavy Knothide Leather], 8 [Fel Hide], 8 [Primal Shadow] and 3 [Rune Thread].
Once you have reached friendly with the Cenarion Expedition:
  • 356-365, up to 375 if desired: If you fancy some torture, and have skinning, then park your hearth in Nagrand and start farming Clefthoof. [Heavy Clefthoof Boots] will require 4 [Heavy Knothide Leather], 20 [Thick Clefthoof Leather], 4 [Primal Earth], and 2 [Rune Thread]. Purchasing the Clefthoof leather will not be cheap, and because this is a common method of leveling, you might not make a profit.
  • Once you establish your stomping grounds in Nagrand, you will find that farming the Clefhoof isn't so bad. Put on some catchy tunes, grab your favorite Well Fed Buff snack, and settle in for a few days. Or weeks. I found farming this as a hunter was a piece of cake. I could round up and knock off 3-5 mobs without blinking at a time.
  • Fortunately, the Clefthoof drop [Knothide Leather] and scraps as well, so you'll be improving your leather stores. I also would take out groups of Talbuk for extra leather, and any of the air elementals, as they occasionally drop [Mote of Air]. In addition, the Clefthoof Bull all along northern Nagrand, and the Aged Clefthoof roaming western and south western Nagrand, seem to drop more [Thick Clefthoof Leather] than the Clefthoof in the eastern parts.
Keep in mind you will need to be friendly with the Cenarion Expedition to get these boots. If you continue increasing your reputation, try switching off to [Heavy Clefthoof Vest]. Although more expensive, it stays orange for much longer.
  • For the vest, gather 6 [Heavy Knothide Leather], 40 [Thick Clefthoof Leather], 4 [Primal Earth] and 2 [Rune Thread].
Once you have reached 365, and are bone-tired of farming Clefthoof, there is a very simple and straightforward method of going straight to 375. This route is obtained from your trainer and requires no reputation whatsoever.
  • 366-375: As of patch 2.3, you can train [Glove Reinforcements] at skill 350. Although they are not cheap to make, you can market them to clothies and arena junkies. Caution: be sure to check the market first, as these do gobble up resources. Calculate how much the mats cost vs. how much you can sell these for. You might have better luck directly approaching guilds or putting out tells on the auction house.
  • Each kit will cost [18 Heavy Knothide Leather], 14 [Primal Earth], and 1 [Rune Thread]. Ouch, right? Well, get used to it. You might want to make friends with a miner for a nice primal discount.
Of the other items available for capping your skill, here are the cheapest. If you can reach honored with the Consortium:
  • 366-375: If you prefer the Consortium, then snap up [Fel Leather Boots] at around 350 leatherworking. For 10 [Heavy Knothide Leather], 8 [Fel Hide], 8 [Primal Shadow], and 3 [Rune Thread], you can at least avoid the Clefthoof.
While you could make it to 375 with the above pairs of boots, you'd have a heck of a time farming or even buying all of the necessary leather, and the last 5 points or so might kill you. As a result, you might want to switch off, and if you do not want to work up through the heavy Clefthoof family, there are other options.

If you can reach exalted with Honor Hold or Thrallmar, are running heroics daily for [Primal Nether], and can either purchase or otherwise acquire [Cobra Scales], this is the item for you. You will almost certainly make a neat profit, and needn't worry about wasted time or money. Unfortunately, it is expensive to make. Very expensive.
  • 366-375: Each [Nethercobra Leg Armor] kit will cost 4 [Heavy Knothide Leather], 4 [Cobra Scales], 8 [Primal Air], and 1 [Primal Nether]. Talk about expensive, in-demand items. Fortunately, as of patch 2.4, you will be able to purchase [Primal Nether]; it may even drop in value. Even so, make sure you assess the market before you begin so that you don't accidentally pay too much for materials.
Another popular method of reaching 375 is using leatherworking drums. This is partly because of their utility in upper-level grouped quests and dungeons. Unfortunately, the drum sets that will take you to 375 do require reputation with different factions.
  • 366-375: If you can reach honored with the Sha'tar, which might require quite a few Tempest Keep runs, you can start crafting [Drums of Battle]. These are much cheaper to make, using only 6 [Heavy Knothide Leather] and 4 [Thick Clefthoof Leather].
The down-side to drums is that they aren't going to sell as well because they can only be used by leatherworkers, who likely made their own drums. Still, there is some market for them, and you can always use them when you run dungeons.
  • 366-375: [Drums of Panic] can be acquired from the Keepers of Time at honored, and require the same materials as the Sha'tar drums. By running the Caverns of Time dungeons, you should be able to reach honored without too much difficulty. I would recommend working towards whichever set of drums has the buff that you would prefer to bring to an instance.
  • Always remember to increase your professions using trade vendors in a faction's town with which you have high reputation. The discounts on the threads and dyes really add up.
  • Speak with your GM about leaving some of your crafted items in the Guild Bank. At least this way, you will be contributing to gearing your guild.
  • Find a disenchanter friend or guildmate if you do not have a high level enchanting alt. Many of the items you will be making will already be flooding the market, selling for much less than you could have made selling the materials. This is because other leatherworkers are also trying to level their skills as cheaply as possible. For more information, check out our guide to disenchanting.
  • If you are not sure about the marketability of an item, gather or purchase the materials for an item, and then offer to make it with mats. This way, if no one bites, you can resell the materials or use them in another pattern.
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