Insider Trader: Zapping in the North

Amanda Miller
A. Miller|02.21.09

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Insider Trader: Zapping in the North

Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

Engineers have plenty of fun tricks up their sleeves, and that includes a hip, quirky means of gathering. Specifically, they ride around on fancy machines zapping clouds into Crystallized elements, at least in the far North.

Such elements are used in crafting, or combined in stacks of ten to form Eternal elements, which are also a common reagent in patterns and schematics.

Both forms of these elements sell for handsome sums on the Auction House, and can be stockpiled for one's own needs, such as updating item enchants.

This week's Insider Trader is devoted to helping you find those clouds and zap them with a vengeance!

Gear Up
Being an Engineer does have its benefits, but free gear certainly isn't one of them. In fact, one might even go so far as to say that an Engineer's gear is more expensive than your average crafted item, especially if we discount Blacksmithing.

The most important piece of equipment that you will need is the Zapthrottle Mote Extractor. The schematic can be obtained from completing the quest, The Zapthrottle Mote Extractor! which is acquired in Zangarmarsh. Horde players will have to head to Zabra'jin and seek out Mack Diver outside of the village fence. Alliance players will need to visit Telredor and speak with K. Lee Smallfry.

Once you've learned this schematic, you should avoid switching from Goblin to Gnomish Engineering and vice versa, as you will lose your knowledge of how to make this item, and as the schematic comes from a quest and is bind on pick-up, you will never be able to craft it again.

Fortunately, the item itself is bind on equip, and you could commission another Engineer to make one for you. If you've already made one, changing specializations will not delete it, but you'll have to be careful not to accidentally delete it yourself.

As for the art of tracking these clouds on your mini-map, the old days of feeling confined to wear certain pairs of goggles when farming are over. All you need to do now is attach some Spynoculars to your current belt and voila! The best part is, when you upgrade your belt, you can just attach a new pair.

Unlike the other Engineering item enhancements, this does not override the other enhancement that is possible for your belt, the Eternal Belt Buckle. You are free to add the socket and the Spynoculars to the same belt.

Clouds: Locations and Crystallized Elements
There are three types of gas clouds in Northrend, and each spawn in specific locations and will grant you certain Crystallized elements, but not others.
  1. Arctic Clouds can be found in both the Howling Fjord and Dragonblight. These pale wanderers will grant you Crystallized Air and Crystallized Water.
  2. Cinder Clouds produce Crystallized Fire when zapped. Head out to the Savage Thicket in Sholazar Basin, or to the Obsidian Dragonshrine in North Western Dragonblight to hunt for these clouds.
  3. Steam Clouds are commonly farmed in the Geyser Fields and Scalding Pools of the Borean Tundra, although they too can be found in Sholazar Basin. When zapped, they yield Crystallized Fire and Crystallized Water.
While being able to track current spawns on your mini-map is handy, wouldn't it be even nicer if you could track all of the spawns you've found in the past, or even plan out your gathering flight plan ahead of time?

Lately, I've been hooked on Gatherer. It is simple to use and requires little to no configuration. It tracks spawns of herbs and other nodes that I've gathered, allowing me to locate areas with more spawn points. Unfortunately, it won't help you out with your gas cloud needs.

Especially if you have a gathering profession alongside your Engineering, you might be better off going with Cartographer Routes. It will not only remember nodes, it will also allow you to plan your route ahead of time, ensuring that you get the most loot for your time spent.

Lisa Poisso pointed out that this addon essentially grants you "connect-the-dot gathering." You would be able to plan out a path that would take you through the areas that have gas clouds while ensuring that you pass the most (for example) mining nodes on the way there and during your search.

This addon, unlike Gatherer, is not plug-and-play. Fortunately, we've written up a great overview including some of the benefits that the addon offers, as well as a link to an excellent guide that will walk you through configuration step by step.

The only catch is that since its creation, it has branched off from Cartographer to become its own stand-alone addon called Routes, although it still works with Cartographer quite nicely. Because of this, some of the information regarding downloads and plugins will be outdated. The information about using and personalizing the addon should still provide insight into the current process.
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. Still zapping in Outland? Check out our Burning Crusade guide to mote farming, for Engineers and commoners alike.
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