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Insider Trader: Getting your mote on

Amanda Miller

Once you hit Outland and begin to surf through the materials required to not only reach 375 in your given profession, but then to proceed through making your epic sets, you might start feeling a tad dizzy. One of the main reasons for this across all crafting professions is primals.

As an example, let's consider the Ebon Netherscale pieces from Dragonscale leatherworking. In order to make the breastplate, bracers and belt, you will need, among other things: 36 [Primal Fire], 36 [Primal Shadow] and 3 [Primal Nether]. In other words, 360 [Mote of Fire] and 360 [Mote of Shadow], and this only once you've reached 375.

This week, Insider Trader explores the best places to farm for the motes you'll be needing, along with the benefits provided by engineering, alchemy, mining and herbalism. We also take a look at how to benefit from trades, with a list of further reading.
Each week, Insider Trader takes you behind the scenes of the bustling sub-culture of professional craftsmen, examining the profitable, the tragically lacking, and the methods behind the madness. For more farming guides, check out our cloth farming guide. For a complete list of profession guides, feel free to peruse our directory.

[Mote of Air] x 10 = 1 [Primal Air]
Where to farm:
The two main provinces in which air elementals roam are Shadowmoon Valley and Nagrand. The drop rates for the motes are between about 25 and 35% for the upper level mobs (69+).

In Shadowmoon Valley, you will find Enraged Air Spirits reaching between the Sanctum of Stars and Dragonmaw Fortress, and spreading down through Netherwing Pass. You can also find them wandering on the edge of the province, just north of the Altar of Sha'tar. I often find that these mobs are not being farmed as heavily as the elementals in Nagrand.

If you choose to farm in Nagrand, which can more easily be achieved by lower level players, then you have two options. For level 70s with flight skill, the upper level Storming Wind Ripper lives atop the Elemental Plateau, just east of the Throne of Elements. While the drop rates here are as high as those in Shadowmoon Valley, the area is often heavily farmed because of the sheer concentration of elementals of many types.

If you are in your low to mid-sixties, you might want to consider the air elementals that roam the plains of Nagrand, including Storm Ragers, Dust Howlers and Living Cyclones. While they sport a significantly lower drop rate at roughly 12-19%, they are also lower levels, from about 64-67, and do not require flight to reach.

Still, because they are spread throughout the entire province, I recommend farming them as you move through quests, hit nodes, skin beasts, farm cloth, etc. They are not tightly packed, and farming them exclusively would be time consuming and require avoiding the mobs that they walk around with.

Engineers have a unique, albeit time consuming, method of acquiring certain motes. Using the [Zapthrottle Mote Extractor], they can tap into Windy Clouds in Nagrand and extract motes of air. Of course, the clouds are few and far between, but it's a nice bonus.

[Mote of Earth]
x 10 = 1 [Primal Earth]
Where to farm:
By killing earth elementals, you have a mediocher chance (10-20%) of receiving a [Mote of Earth]. All along the southern edges of Nagrand, you will find Shattered Rumblers, although you can find earth elementals along many rock outcroppings in the province.

In Netherstorm, you'll find many on the same rock as Area 52, as well as up and around Forge Base Oblivion. In Shadowmoon Valley, Enraged Earth Spirits can be found encircling The Hand of Gul'dan.

Mining is really the easiest and most effective means of acquiring [Mote of Earth]. In addition to the motes being mined directly from many nodes, miners can mine the piles of rock left behind when an earth elemental dies, making farming them much more lucrative. The motes will pop up from Fel Iron, Adamantite, Nethercite, and Rich Adamantite deposits, as well as Khorium veins.

[Mote of Fire] x 10 = [Primal Fire]
Where to farm:
The drop rate on many elementals for [Mote of Fire] is actually pretty high. For tailors crafting [Spellcloth], the Angered Nether-wraith that spawns often drops two or three motes.

While doing your level 70 Shattered Sun Offensive daily quests, Blood for Blood and Blast the Gateway near the Throne of Kil'Jaeden, the Incandescent Fel Sparks have a near 50% drop rate. If you are still doing the Blade's Edge Mountains daily quests, you can fly to the southern Forge Camp Terror for Bombing Run and Banish More Demons, with an almost 40% drop rate on the fire elementals there.

Alternatively, Raging Fire-souls on the Elemental Plateau in Nagrand have about a 30% drop rate, and the Enraged Fire Spirits around The Hand of Gul'dan in Shadowmoon Valley have a similar rate. You could even farm the Searing Elementals in north eastern Blade's Edge Mountains, near the footbridge to Netherstorm.

Miners also have a leg-up on [Mote of Fire], although considering the high drop rate from the fire elementals, they don't own the market. The motes will show up in Fel Iron and Nethercite deposits, as well as Khorium veins.

[Mote of Life] x 10 = 1 [Primal Life]
Where to farm:
The highest drop rate for these motes is from the mossy bog mobs found in the Underbog and Steamvault. At a 30-40% drop rate, you can pick up some Cenarion Expedition reputation while you're there. I also recommend the ones found in the Dead Mire, the Spawning Glen, and the cave south of Umbrafen Lake in Zangarmarsh. While farming, you can snag some Sporeggar reputation.

Herbalists will be able to "herb" these mobs after they die, giving them an extra chance at these motes.

[Mote of Mana] x 10 = 1 [Primal Mana]
Where to farm:
Unfortunately for low leveled Outlanders, these motes are not going to be easy for you to farm. For everyone else, especially level 70s, they are becoming increasingly easy to acquire.

For tailors crafting [Spellcloth], the Angered Nether-wraith that spawns may also drop [Mote of Mana] at a very high rate (over 100%). You can also pick up 5-10 with little effort while completing your new Shattered Sun Offensive daily routine. While Intercepting the Mana Cells, the Phase Wyrms at the Bash'ir Landing you'll encounter while in phase have a roughly 50% drop rate, and are standing in the way of your cells. Before you phase, you can even kill a few Unbound Ethereals for a roughly 20% drop rate.

While you're in Netherstorm discovering the Sunfury Attack Plans, why not choose the evil b'elfs at Manaforge B'naar? To the south, there are plenty of Warp Aberrations, and they stretch east right through into the Arklon Ruins, and fetch roughly a 30-something drop rate.

If B'naar is too crowded, consider Manaforge Ara, as it is surrounded by Phase Hunters. These mobs can also be found spanning from north of Manaforge B'naar, up and around the Ruins of Enkaat, and down along the ridges of the two "islands" housing Area 52 and Eco-Dome Midrealm. Phase Hunters have a mid-twenties drop rate.

For strict farming purposes, you will find Mana Wraiths surrounding Area 52, which will drop the motes about 24% of the time. While there are still other mobs in Netherstorm that will drop these motes, they have a lower drop-rate or are more out of the way.

While you are performing Further Conversions on the Isle of Quel'Danas, make sure that you loot the bots before you zap them, as the Erratic Sentries will drop the motes for you at around 40% of the time.

If you're in Shadowmoon Valley, you might as well hunt down some Netherwing Rays on Netherwing Ledge, or Netherskates south of the Black Temple and down around Dragonmaw Fortress.

Arcane Vortexes in Netherstorm are a sneaky sort of "cloud," invisible for the most part. Wandering around, these give 20 mana per second to players and mobs within a 40 yard radius, and its effects can be seen by paying attention to the faint glowing around affected characters. Using detect invisibility talents or potions, or certain engineering goggles, engineers can hunt these down and sap them for [Mote of Mana] like they do other clouds.

[Mote of Shadow] x 10 = 1 [Primal Shadow]
Where to farm:
The Voidspawns wandering near Oshu'gun in Nagrand are my favorite mobs to farm when I'm looking for these motes. Unfortunately, they're popular with many farmers. Still, you can collect [Oshu'gun Crystal Powder Sample], [Netherweave Cloth], money, and complete the new daily quest, The Multiphase Survey. There are even air and rock elementals in the mix if you like to switch mobs now and then. The drop rate from these demons is in the low 20s.

To the east of Zeth'gor in Hellfire Peninsula there is a strip of Collapsing Voidwalkers and Vacillating Voidcallers, both with around an 18% drop rate.

The Voidshriekers with a drop rate in the high twenties and Unstable Voidwraiths with a more modest drop rate around Manaforge Ultris in Netherstorm are also decent options, although I find they are not tightly packed enough for my liking, and the fact that they hang out with ooze makes me question whether or not I'd like to sew their motes into my garments.

In Shadowmoon Valley, you might come across Felmist, from which you can extract [Mote of Shadow]. Again, these clouds wander, so farming them exclusively would be slow, but they're a nice bonus for engineers.

[Mote of Water] x 10 = 1 [Primal Water]
Where to farm:
By far the best place to farm these motes is in the waters in Skettis. Although you will need flying mount access, you can hunt them for awhile every day after you do your dailies there, or while you wait for the escort to spawn, thus avoiding long farming sessions. In addition, the drop rate is a whopping 40% from the Skettis Surgers.

They will also drop at around 18% from Shimmerscale Eels in the waters in Terokkar Forest. From Enraged Water Spirits north of the Hand of Gul'dan in Shadowmoon Valley, you can farm them at around a 20% drop rate. In Nagrand, Lake Surgers in the waters south of Sunspring Post, Muck Spawns in the waters around Halaa, and Lake Spirits in the waters around the Throne of Elements all have a 15-20% drop rate. Many of the mobs in the Steamvault also drop these motes with frequency.

Swamp Gas floats around Zangarmarsh, waiting for eager and enthusiastic young engineers to zap it for [Mote of Water]. Although it too moves around, it stands out quite well and is therefore easily spotted.

A note on trading and transmutes:
You may find that rather than farming for the motes you need, it is easier to farm for specific motes because of your other professions, such as engineering, mining, herbalism or alchemy. If you can more easily acquire an abundance of one type of mote, you can trade the motes or primals for the ones your crafting profession requires. You could also sell yours, and buy the type you need.

Alchemists also have a leg-up on the competition should they choose to perform transmutations on their primals. Many have been able to take less marketable primals and turn them into profit after a transmutation.

Further reading:

  1. Our super duper awesome guide to using your [Zapthrottle Mote Extractor]!
  2. The ins and outs of rolling for [Primal Nether].
  3. An overview of Cartographer Routes.

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