On Min-Maxing Professions

On Min-Maxing Professions

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Ever since her creation, Sydera has been a dual crafter. She toiled not, and neither did she spin. I’ve changed the specific crafting professions a few times for one raid advantage or another, but in late BC I decided on Enchanting and Alchemy. I took on Alchemy–without an herbalist alt–then for the Alchemist’s Stone, which was a best-in-slot trinket at the time. I still love Enchanting and Alchemy for raiding. They combine a raid advantage with convenience. The self-only ring enchants continue to be strong, and I love being able to disenchant my old gear and turn it into a useful commodity. Moreover, I always raid with a flask or dual elixirs, and I enjoy the boost to those consumables when it counts. My favorite raiding advantage, though, would have to be the four-hour flasks. The psychological effect is quite positive, and I would say that the boost to morale counts more than the actual gold saved.

However, the big disadvantage to Sydera has always been that she can’t extract anything useful from the game world while she’s questing. Lately I’ve been buying herbs and selling the resultant flasks on the AH. I always make a little bit of money, mostly because of the procs from being elixir-specced, but it’s nothing fantastic. The bulk of my gold earning in Wrath has been from selling the BoE Emblem of Valor bracers. However, it wasn’t quite enough for me.

Min-maxing for raiding is always my priority, but I need money too. The primary reason has nothing to do with me. Rather, the recent discussions of relative tank health among the four classes coupled with the imminent release of a more difficult raid dungeon prompted my A#1 Tank and Significant Other, Briolante, to make a plan to level jewelcrafting to replace his herbalism. The problem? My flask business and his glyph business didn’t make enough money to support a profession change, especially with Ulduar and its higher repair bills looming. So, enter Part B of the min-maxing plan: my under-utilized, underprivileged paladin alt, Marfisa.

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Marfi was my second WoW character, but she was the first one to leave her starting area. I raided with her in Classic, back when I didn’t know what I was doing, and I healed through Kara with her in early BC. She’s been Retribution since mid-BC, but I didn’t really do much with her even when Ret was the Flavor of the Month (for about 10 minutes at patch 3.0). In the last three weeks, however, Briolante and I tag team-leveled her up to 77, and she has a brand-new shiny fully-leveled herbalism to go with the mining she’s had since Dire Maul was a cool new place to go. As for Brio’s jewelcrafting, the last I checked, it was at 200, so we’re moving right along.

Now, I know I could have gone about this differently, focusing on earning money through the AH to buy ore and herbs, but I chose to level an alt for gathering because it’s a solution that will work not just for now, and for this profession change, but future ones should we choose to do so. In the next expansion, Marfi might be leveling skinning instead of herbalism, but now that she’s close to max level, she’s in a good position to be a helper-gatherer over again should things change. With Crusader Aura to help out and the movement speed increase for Ret, she’s an excellent choice for a hunt-n-fetcher as well. My warlock would have been a poor choice in comparison.

For me, leveling an alt just to service my household’s two raiding mains was an extreme move. Now I’ll use Marfi to provide herbs to Syd and herbs and ore to Brio. I have to say, I’m liking the convenience of it. I’ve already made some flasks on Syd just on the herbs I used to level, and I can tell you, I’m not going to be hoarding Frost Lotus anymore. But who knows when poor Marfi will hit 80! Probably in 6 months, when she gets there purely through killing those pesky mobs that like to stand next to my Icethorn.

Here’s what I told my guild when I dinged 450 herbalism. They were teasing me about my ambition to buy a Je’Tze’s Bell, which sells for about 8,000g on my server.

I said: “Now that I’m a gatherer, money is like dirt. There’s always more lying around on the ground.”

I’m proud to say that I came up with that truly terrible pun on the fly.

My question to you, dear readers, is this:

How far will you go to min-max your character?

Choosing the Right Meta Gem

I’ve touched on gems briefly in my Priest gear list. What I failed to address at the time was what meta gems to use when you had an item that could use it.

What are Meta Gems?

Meta gems are like your standard blue, red, or yellow gems but with one very significant exception: They are fairly rare to obtain. These gems are special because they bestow a special effect or passive ability to the head piece that it is socketed in.

Light-Collar of the Incarnate

Mouse over that link for a moment and you’ll see a helm that has a meta socket and a blue socket which activates the healing bonus. Most head pieces don’t have meta gems. But for healing helms with a meta gem, there’s a few options.

What gems should I use?

3 Choices:

Mystical Skyfire Diamond

  • Abilities: 15% chance on spellcast – next spell 50% casting time
  • Requires more Blue gems than Yellow gems

Insightful Earthstorm Diamond

  • Abilities: +12 Intellect, Chance to restore mana on spellcast
  • Requires at least 2 Red gems, 2 Blue gems, 2 Yellow gems

Bracing Earthstorm Diamond

  • Abilities: +26 Healing Spells, 2% Reduced Threat
  • Requires more red then blue gems

I can tell you right off the bat that I would knock off Bracing Earthstorm Diamond from the list of considerations. The abilities are attractive. But the requirements are too difficult to meet as Priests. The requirements are a little more reasonable now. The 26 healing is nice. I’d consider using it if you’re having some issues with lack of healing. I’ve never really had much of a problem. You’re going to be socketing Nightseyes more than anything else anyway.

You’re better off weighing the other two choices.

In a nutshell, it’s either going to be faster spellcasting or mana regen over time. In a raid setting, Priests will be spending mana like crazy. It would help to have other ways of replenishing your mana, so that’s the argument for the Insightful Earthstorm. I don’t know how often I’ve preached mana regen. If you close your eyes and click a post of mine at random, you’ll probably find some mention of it. The requirements aren’t insanely hard or ridiculous to meet either. 2 reds, blues, and yellows are easy to slot up with. The trick is to find the right combination of gear which will have the necessary slots available.

But don’t discount faster casting entirely. Sometimes, having a fast heal can pay off. My Shaman has this meta gem equipped. I’ve gotten many timely procs of the ability when I thought my party would wipe. The requirements for this to activate are even easier. You just need 1 blue gem and no yellows and you are set. There’s going to be encounters where tanks are taking huge hits and you need that spell haste. Those heals have got to land or else your healing assignment is dead because you can’t keep up with it.

Bottom line

If you’re still unsure of which meta gem to choose, I would suggest picking up the spell cast gem first. Odds are, you may not have enough gear with the necessary sockets for effects to activate. Go with that for now then as your gear progresses, make the shift towards the Insightful Earthstorm Diamond (mana regen). You can’t heal without mana. Always remember that.

Sadly I’m still using the Headdress of the High Potentate which doesn’t even have any slots. I’m waiting for Vashj to surrender a token so I can finally replace it.