I recently read an article at The Consortium that advocated having a dual-gathering (mining/herbalist) character, especially at the start of an expansion. Since I was already shuffling professions around on my characters, I figured that I'd shift Aeven from being a miner/skinner to a miner/herbalist. How long could it take, really? Besides - I'd actually be making some money in the process, which is different from leveling a crafting profession. So, why not?
Four hours later, she's now at 475 skill in herbalism, and already able to start picking nodes in Cataclysm content. Running through Hyjal was fun - it seems like she was running into a node (Cinderbloom, Stormvine or Obsidium) once a minute or so, and her bags started to fill up pretty quickly.
If Aeven is going to become my main gathering character, I'm not sure what I'll do with Aretae. Having him as an herbalist seems redundant, but I'm not sure it's really worth it to train him as a leather worker or a smith.
In any case, I'm pretty sure that for MoP, I'll end up rolling and leveling a female Pandaren monk. Take a look at that link, there. She's so FLUFFY! Ahem. That's another two primary profession slots to look at - perhaps I'll level skinning/leatherworking on Aelin, and blacksmithing on Aretae? Hmm. Decisions, decisions.
Since Aeth is now an enchanter, I dropped that profession on Laenshield and picked up alchemy. The total time to level was about the same - a couple of hours a day over 2-3 days for collecting mats, picking up recipes, etc. - but the overall cost was vastly different. It cost Laenshield less than 3k, total, to level alchemy, and even that's probably on the high side, since I'm still making money off of selling the potions, elixirs, and other items he produced while leveling.
Granted, I spent a couple of hours on Aretae gathering herbs for Laenshield before I started leveling alchemy. That wasn't really to avoid spending gold on the AH, though. Truth be told, there were almost no low-level (pre-BC) herbs on the AH at all. Given that, farming up what I needed was the only real option I had.
I did a couple of HoTs on Aeth last night, then had a guild member ask if there was anyone interested in running normal Cata dungeons.
It. Was. Glorious.
Srsly. I had about the best time I've had in the game for a long while.
The first dungeon was the Vortex Pinacle, which is always neat to run. With three other guildies, we had enough room to hit LFD looking for a tank, and got one really quickly... and got one who was not only competent, but had a sense of humor.
That became significant rather quickly.
After the first pull, the tank took a look at our healer - a Worgen druid - and said words to the effect of "Holy cow, heals - your gear!"
And yeah, the healer was in a mix of quest greens, crafted and quest blues, and the occasional epic. Nothing unusual, really, but... something of a mismatched set.
"I've had really lousy luck with drops", she mentioned.
At which point I commented that her gear "was lovingly crafted from the finest bubble gum and sticks we could find."
Aaaaaaaaaaaand we were off!
Pretty much from that point on, we were joking back and forth about everything. Standing in the green is good? What about fire? "Fire heals you. You just have to stand in it long enough." Riffing on fragments of movies and songs. "Sheep this one..." After Aeth did a turtle polymorph, "That's not a sheep! That's not even the same species!" "It's a... uh... SEA SHEEP!"
I think I shocked someone by knowing who Barbara Manatee was. (That came up in Throne of the Tides, of course). "Don't stand in the bubbly green stuff!" "I thought green stuff was good!" "No, the bubble are like in the bathtub. Toxic farts."
Yeah, not exactly the lofty heights of humor.
But it was relaxed, we were having a good time, and even when people 'asploded from various things, we managed to soldier on and beat the living loot out of the bosses. The tank (who was an amazingly excellent and a wonderful person to boot) stuck with us through two dungeons, rolled with the strange comments and weird humor, and was generally was just the right person at the right time for our pack of only moderately lucid lightning-throwing, arcane blasting, stabbity heroes.
Whatever - she's dropped Mining, leveled enchanting to 525 over the course of a couple of days, and is now sporting a couple of nice +40 int ring buffs instead of a boring old +120 stam buff.
All for the cost of... (drumroll, please!)
... 17,000g. Give or take a few coins.
But hey, who's counting?
Note that this was the cost to go from 0 to 525 - my original estimate of what it would take to level enchanting to 525 in Cataclysm assumed that you were starting out at 450 skill already, and was based on market prices from over a year ago. On my server, the price of hypnotic dust has fallen to about 10% of what it was a year ago, and celestial essences are running at about 75% of what they once were. That reduces the total cost to go from 450 to 525 from 14,950g to around5700g.
Now, granted - I was in a hurry, I had the cash, so I was willing to pay more than the lowest possible market price for a lot of mats. What's the difference between 42g for a BC-era essence and 45g for the same essence? Well, 3 gold, times 50, times how many times I made that decision... it adds up. Plus, I spent quite a bit of gold at the end of the process to buy up some heavenly shards to trade for the top-end Cata enchantments. So let's say that I was paying at least a 15% surcharge for my mats, and knock the total price down to 14,450g.
Still, that means leveling from 0 to 450 cost about 8,750g.
Yeah, it stung a bit. On the plus side, I've made about 3k selling some of the enchants I used to level on the AH, so that helps knock the total price down a bit. In real terms - what I actually paid - that means that I'm only out about 14k. If I had been more careful about buying and stockpiling mats, I probably could have knocked the total cost down to 11k and some change.
But... hey, +80 int on my rings now.
That's only 175g per point of intelligence.
Definitely worth it, right?
Now to start running some dungeons to make use of my new found disenchanting skills... I figure I'll only need to run something like 100 random HoTs to make up the cash I blew on this little diversion.
Last night, as I waited for the queue to pop for a run through a random HoT, I gave some thought to some changes.
Right now, I've got a couple of stable alts with a nice selection of professions:
Aetherna - level 85, Jewlcrafting and Mining
Laenshield - level 85, Tailoring and Enchanting
Aretae - level 85, Inscription and Herbalism
Aeven - level 80, Mining and Skinning
Overall, a nice spread of capabilities. I've got all three gathering professions (Mining, Herbalism, Skinning) represented, plus the major gear enhancement professions (Inscription, Tailoring, Jewlcrafting and Enchanting). There's a couple of gaps, though...
Aeth is my main. She's the one that gets all the love, all the randoms, all the effort at advancement. I honestly don't think this is going to change any time soon. There's just something about playing a mage that really appeals to me. On top of that, she's my achievement hound... if I'm doing something in the world, it's almost certainly on Aeth.
In particular, it's annoyed me the number of times I've gotten a bit of random loot in the LFD that's soulbound. On Aeth, that means I can sell it to a vendor for about 10% of it's real value (should it happen to be disenchanted). Sometimes there's an enchanter along for a run, so she can get a shard or a crystal instead of a purple that sells for 15g, but that's not certain by a long shot.
So, I'm thinking of dropping Mining on Aeth and picking up Enchanting. Being able to add some ring enchants would definitely be nice. Where will she get ores to prospect for gems, though? Aeven, of course. So that's one change.
If Aeth has Enchanting, then there's not much point in keeping that profession on Laenshield. It would be nice to have an alchemist around, though. I leveled Alchemy on Talesin (my Horde shaman) to max level, and having access to a transmutation alchemist would be nice. Where will he get the herbs to turn into potions, though? Aretae, of course! So that's change number two.
Now, Aeven's skinning skill was a nice little money maker as she was leveling. I suspect that it will continue to be so for a while. Still, it would be nice to have something else available. Blacksmithing? Leatherworking? Engineering? Frankly, each of those has a minor appeal. However... Aretae's my only leather wearer, and I'm not really interested in gearing him up for PvE (though PvP might be interesting). Engineering is really tied specifically to the character who has the skill, so unless I'm planning on Aeven being more active than she is now, that leaves blacksmithing as an eventuall profession for her. Change number three.
So my tentative plans:
Aeth drops Mining, picks up Enchanting, and levels it to max.
Laenshield drops Enchanting, picks up Alchemy, and levels it to max.
Aeven (eventually, possibly) drops skinning, picks up Blacksmithing, and levels it to max.
It'll probably be a bit expensive, but I've got plenty and to spare at this point, so why not?