Insider Trader: Your guide to profession-specific buffs

Amanda Miller
A. Miller|06.05.09

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Insider Trader: Your guide to profession-specific buffs
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The World of Warcraft's second expansion pack, Wrath of the Lich King, changed the way that we players, as tradespeople, view professions and altered the reasoning behind our choices to pursue them.

The driving factor behind this change was Blizzard's commitment to make each profession seem beneficial and dare I say, fun, to any player, regardless of class. While we did see some changes in this direction in The Burning Crusade, such as an Enchanter's singular ability to enchant his/her own rings, this new vision for trades really hit its stride in Wrath.

To accomplish this, Blizzard shifted focus away from bind on pick-up gear and added self-buffs and self-enchants, as well as some other incentives, to give players more choice.

It used to be, for example, that PvP characters would take Engineering. Leather and 40+ mail-wearers would take Skinning to feed their Leatherworking. Tailors would take Enchanting because it allowed them to recoup some of the costs of crafting gear, and so on.

In essence, we could choose between fun, PvP, gold-making, and the best gear. Now, we can purchase gear from the gear-crafters, and be free to pursue something else, should we wish.

Today, Insider Trader is going to break down the incentives offered by each profession to help you choose what is right for you. Rather than focusing on fun items, I will be addressing stat bonuses.

The purpose of this guide is not to tell you what you need to take in order to be the best raider, or make the most money, or have an edge in PvP, but rather to gather the information to one place and present it for your consideration.

Don't forget to read through the comments section at the end of this article, as there are sure to be tips and stories from our readers!

Jewelcrafting: Rumors and Nerfs
Jewelcrafting is extremely popular right now in the raiding scene, and offers one of, if not the, best ways to make money. This "superiority" has been on the minds of the developers lately, as illustrated by the upcoming nerf to prismatic JC-only gems.

As Ghostcrawler put it, min-maxing is a valid and challenging way to play the game, but when it becomes less about making the most out of "subtle, perhaps small differences" and more about choosing something clearly labelled "Most Powerful" then "you're not being clever or insightful." You're just picking the obvious.

I mention this mainly because it indicates that Blizzard intends to bring this profession down a notch or two. This nerf may be enough to accomplish this, and it may not.

JC Perks
Let's get down to business. As a max-level Jewelcrafter, you can expect the following perks:

Until the nerf of patch 3.2, Jewelcrafters not only have more powerful, JC-only gems, these gems are also prismatic. You are allowed to equip three at any given time. These currently benefit you in the following ways:
  1. You can stack your best stats.
  2. In doing so, you can achieve your socket bonuses and Meta gem requirements.
  3. This makes Meta gem requirements essentially worthless. Blizzard implements these requirements (or, conversely, adds sup-par sockets to your gear) with the intention to force us to have some gems that are not ideal.
As an example, let's consider a level 80 mage wearing tier 8 gear. There are two blue, two red and three yellow sockets. Let's assume that this mage is also wearing Belt of the Darkspeaker to bump this up to three blue sockets.

This JC mage would be able to put three Runed Dragon's Eyes in the blue sockets rather than, for example, three Purified Twilight Opals for the socket bonuses, or three Runed Scarlet Rubies for more spell power, ignoring the socket bonuses.

This effect is even more pronounced when you factor in your Meta gem. Equipping three prismatic gems means that you have at least three of any color to meet Meta requirements. A raiding mage might choose the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond, which requires two blue gems. This is intentional on Blizzard's part, because having to equip two less-than-ideal gems (in this case) in order to get your Meta working helps to balance the power of that Meta.

Once this nerf hits, these gems, Dragon's Eyes, will no longer be prismatic. Most likely, they will morph into the colors of their lesser counterparts. While you will still have access to three gems that are superior, they will have color restrictions.

You will be left with the ability to equip three gems with very high stats, which is on par with the bonuses you'll see coming from the other professions.

Enchanting Perks
Enchanters can enchant their own rings. Unlike other professions, where you are getting a better version of something that someone else can have, such as a gem, cloak or bracer enchant, you are getting something unique. There are no ring enchants for the masses.
It should be noted that Jewelcrafters get to equip three Dragon's Eyes while characters can only wear two rings, and thus, two enchants.

Three Runed Dragon's Eyes would net a JC +96 SP. Assuming that the rest of us equip three SP gems of our own, Runed Scarlet Rubies, which grant +57 SP, the actual bonus for the JC is +39 SP.

Enchanting two of your rings with SP enchants grants you +38 SP, making them roughly equal.

Inscription Perks
Scribes are able to enchant their own shoulders, which is currently something that the rest of us have to have done by the Sons of Hodir.
The best shoulder enchants that non-Scribes can acquire come from the Sons of Hodir and require exalted reputation, which takes some work! Here are the differences between the Scribe's enchants and the best that the Sons of Hodir have to offer:
  • Axe: +64 AP bonus for Scribes.
  • Crag: Scribe's version has +37 SP.
  • Pinnacle: Scribes get +32 more dodge rating.
  • Storm: Scribes get +37 more SP.
Continuing our spellpower comparison, JCs could stack up +39 more SP than other citizens, with Enchanters coming in with +38 SP and Scribes with +37 SP.

Next week, Insider Trader will finish this guide with break downs of the other professions, including the gathering trades.
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. Have you heard about the upcoming Jewelcrafting nerf? Read all about it and join in the discussion.
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