Featured, Items and Equipment, Lunar Guidance, Mailbag
Kehnomar of Nordrassil (EU) wrote in with this great question:
Come WotLK, would Leatherworking or Tailoring be the better profession for healing, in your opinion? I’m currently a tailor because the Primal Mooncloth set was pretty nice for healing before getting some good raiding gear, but I’m considering changing to Leatherworking if it will be more useful in the expansion.
He actually sent me this question at the beginning of November. At the time, I wasn’t sure how to respond because I was under the belief that all of the items for Leatherworking/Tailoring hadn’t been released. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Blizzard has opted to change their policy on armor crafting so that these skills no longer produce skill-defining Bind-on-Pickup epic items like the Primal Mooncloth and Frozen Shadoweave sets of the Burning Crusade. Practically all of the armor that can be crafted with these skills is now Bind on Equip and can be bought and sold. What does this mean and, if there aren’t self-crafted sets any longer, what benefits do each tradeskill now provide to the healing Druid?
Assuming you’re choosing the skill for the reduced cost of items it produces, let’s compare the items each can create. Because you’re likely to graduate out of them fairly quickly, I’m going to ignore green items.
Leatherworking can currently craft a total of 23 items with spell power.
The Iceborne Blues: [Dark Iceborne Leggings] [Dark Iceborne Chestguard]
These two items are itemized perfectly for the raiding Druid with plenty of Spirit and not points wasted on superfluous stats. Note that wearing these two pieces plus one other green from the [Iceborne Embrace] set will net you an additional 26 spell power. With the number of slots available (waist, feet, hands, shoulders, wrist, or helm), it will give you a lot of flexibility when it comes to upgrading your gear.
The Overcast Set: [Overcast Spaulders] [Overcast Leggings] [Overcast Headguard] [Overcast Handwraps] [Overcast Chestguard] [Overcast Bracers] [Overcast Boots] [Overcast Belt]
This all-blue set of items has a great balance of stats for the healing Druid with lots of Spirit and no wasted points spell crit, spell haste, or spell hit. The excess of Resilience, however, makes this clearly intended for use in PvP. Tailoring can produce a similar set called Frostsavage, but a conscientious Druid knows to shy away from cloth in PvP.
These boots are easily on par with the two blue items from the Iceborne set mentioned above but are likely separated from them to avoid having three easily acquired blues that provide the set bonus (you have to sacrifice one slot to a green item).
The Earthgiving Set: [Earthgiving Legguards] [Earthgiving Boots]
These two items are currently the only two crafted leather epic items with spell power, appear to be itemized with the Tree in mind, and are certain to give you a leg up in heroics or Naxxramas. The recipes for both of these items must be purchased for 2 [Artic Fur] from Braeg Stoutbeard in Dalaran and each requires a [Frozen Orb] to make (the WotLK equivalent of a [Primal Nether]).
Non-Ideal Items: [Wildscale Breastplate] [Purehorn Spaulders]
These two items aren’t itemized perfectly for the raiding Druid with itemization points on the breastplate wasted on spell crit and on haste rating on the shoulders. I’d guess these two items are intended more for our Balance brethren.
Tailoring can currently craft a total of 46 items with spell power. Note, however, that a number of these are geared more toward DPS casters and Holy Priests with spell crit, spell hit, and spell haste.
The Mystic Frostwoven Set: [Mystic Frostwoven Wristwraps] [Mystic Frostwoven Shoulders] [Mystic Frostwoven Robe]
This set is similar to the Leatherworking Iceborne set with three blue items instead of two (but both a 2-piece and 4-piece set bonus, the latter of which can be achieved by wearing one of the green items from the [Frostwoven Power] set). This set is heavy on the Spirit but has no Intellect. It also includes a lot of crit rating, which is not an especially useful stat to the Restoration Druid. Overall, this set seems poorly itemized and is likely to be avoided.
The Frostsavage Set
This is the Tailored equivalent to the Overcast Set from Leatherworking. It has no Spirit, a lot of critical strike rating and Resilience, and – as it’s made out of cloth – is best avoided by the PvPing Druid. PTUI!
Spiritual Blues: [Light Blessed Mittens] [Aurora Slippers] [Cloak of the Moon] [Frostmoon Pants]
These are easily craftable blues that have a nice balance of stats, including Intellect, Stamina, spell power and Spirit (or, in the case of the cloak, MP5). I’ve crafted a couple of these for myself so far, consuming Moonshroud cloth that I would otherwise be saving. I’ve already replaced one of the items with an item from a Heroic dungeon, though, so you might instead consider saving your cloth for the Moonshroud set further on.
The Moonshroud Set: [Moonshroud Robe] [Moonshroud Gloves]
These are the big cahuna items of Tailoring for healers, the equivalent of the [Primal Mooncloth] set in TBC. Like the Earthgiving pieces from Leatherworking, they are perfectly itemized for us. You will note, however, that there are only two pieces to the set and there is no set bonus like that of PMC. This will make these items less painful to replace.
While not perfectly itemized for a Restoration Druid (having MP5 instead of the more desirable Spirit), it is an epic item with good spell power and Intellect.
Non-Ideal items: [Silky Iceshard Boots] [Hat of Wintry Doom] [Deep Frozen Cord] [Cloak of Frozen Spirits] [Black Duskweave Wristwraps] [Black Duskweave Leggings] [Black Duskweave Robe] [Spellweave Robe] [Spellweave Gloves] [Ebonweave Robe] [Ebonweave Gloves] [Deathchill Cloak]
Given the allotment of stats on these items, they’re better for other casters than the Restoration Druid.
By choosing a crafting skill, you’ve chosen to give up one of the potentially lucrative gathering skills. However, there are still a number of items that can be produced for profit (in addition to the BoE armor listed above).
Leatherworking can craft a number of useful BoE armor kits, including the [Frosthide Leg Armor], [Icescale Leg Armor], and [Jormungar Leg Armor]. The [Heavy Borean Armor Kit] isn’t spectacular, but it’s nice for alts while they’re leveling.
As with TBC, Tailors can create spellthreads to enchant players’ legs, including [Azure Spellthread] and [Shining Spellthread]. In addition, Tailors can train the Northern Cloth Scavenging ability that gives them an additional chance to find extra cloth on humanoids (and Undead humanoids). This ability means Tailors will continue to acquire more cloth than non-Tailors, making it easier to level first aid or sell the unneeded excess.
Tailors can also make bags, though the introductory level [Frostweave Bag] is a popular choice for skillups and is therefore harder to sell at a profit (or break even point). The 24-slot [Glacial Bag] requires 4 pieces of Ebonweave and 4 pieces of Moonshroud, making it a valuable (but time-consuming) item to produce.
Additional Self-Only Benefits
Leatherworking and Tailoring both provide nice self-only enchants as well as items that can be used to “enchant” the equipment of other players. Let’s look at the healing-oriented options for each.
Leatherworkers can apply several fur linings to their bracers (these are self-only enchants). Restoration Druids will prefer the [Fur Lining – Spell Power]. There are also versions for every resist type. It’s assumed that Blizzard will also be adding Drums like in TBC, but the recipes haven’t been released, yet.
Tailors can embroider their cloaks with one of three caster-oriented embroideries. Restoration Druids will likely prefer the [Darkglow Embroidery]. They can also craft a self-only [Sanctified Spellthread] to apply to their pants, a significantly more potent version of the [Shining Spellthread] and cheaper self-only alternative to the BoE [Brilliant Spellthread].
Perhaps the most iconic self-only benefit of being a Master Seamstress is the [Magnificent Flying Carpet]. It can be crafted at 425 tailoring, and the materials are surprisingly affordable. There are more prestigious, specialization-specific versions of this mount including one sewn from Moonshroud.
Summary and Comparison
- Both Leatherworking and Tailoring have a good number of similar options for a healing Druid.
- Tailoring is a self-sufficient gathering tradeskill. Northern Cloth Scavenging will help you acquire the cloth you need to level your skill, especially if you run a lot of instances with humanoids. A leatherworker has to pick up Skinning on her main character or an alt or be willing to place herself at the mercy of the auction house. /cower
- Tailoring currently has slightly more self-only Druid-friendly benefits (one of the self-only benefits for Leatherworkers only benefits melee characters), though the addition of Drums should even the score.
- Leatherworking includes the Overcast PvP set, and the Improved Tree of Life talents make all leather armor more valuable than it would have been otherwise.
- Tailored items are typically more attractive (and more visible since Leatherworking doesn’t include an epic chestpiece), but this doesn’t matter to everyone and is only relevant outside of Tree of Life. Tailoring also comes with a sweet-looking magic carpet (beautiful Persian princess not included).
Honestly, the differences between the two professions aren’t that pronounced. I’d be inclined to recommend Leatherworking to a Restoration Druid that intends to PvP and Tailoring to a Restoration Druid who intends to have Balance as her off spec (sadly, there appear to be fewer few Balance-friendly rewards from Leatherworking). Of course, you could be a masochist like me and level both! /wildtreecackling
A Note on Leveling Your Tradeskill
To raise your skill to the level required to make a desired item, you’ll have to invest a considerable sum of money to craft items that aren’t necessarily useful to you (or an alt). In the realm of Tailoring and Leatherworking, the sooner you can raise your skill and place your excess merchandise up for sale, the better off you will be. As time passes, more players enter the market, flooding the auction house with the most easily crafted items, often selling them at a loss in order to sell them at all (I’ve found this to be the case of Imbued Frostweave Bags). At the same time, players are graduating out of this “tier” of items as they find replacements through Heroic drops, badge gear, and demand eventually trails off. This temporary increase in supply and ever decreasing demand can lead to a glut in the crafting market that will leave you “holding the bag” on raising your skill. In short, raise your skill as quickly as you can and try to craft items that are not only economical to produce but seem like they would sell. (Don’t produce 10 pairs of cloth bracers if there are already 8 of them on the auction house.)
Production vs. Gathering
In the comments below, reader Faradhim inquires:
Given that there are no longer large number of BoP items for either profession do you think there is a good reason to even pick up one of this crafting professions? Like you have observed leveling up tailoring/leather crafting is very expensive and seems like you will be able to buy just about every items you need on AH from other tailors/leather workers save spell threads and Fur lining. And there will be stiff competition from other crafters which means items is likely to sell at a deep discount.
This is such a good question that I wanted to append my response here. Since discovering that Blizzard wouldn’t be providing tradeskill-defining BoP epics, I’ve wrestled with this question myself. Am I not doing myself a disservice by choosing a production tradeskill over a gathering tradeskill? While it’s true that each gathering tradeskill provides some form of self-buff or self-benefit in addition to their obvious monetary potential, how do these benefits stack up against the ones provided by production tradeskills?
Lifeblood (Rank 6): This ability does not scale with spell power and for a class that uses HoTs, its effect is pretty negligible.
[Fire Seed]: Makes you vulnerable to magic, but increases your spell power by 200 for 10 sec. Assuming you could chain the use of these, the benefit works out to be 33.3 spell power.
[Fur Lining – Spell Power] replaces [Enchant Bracers - Superior Spellpower] (or the much more affordable [Enchant Bracers - Greater Spellpower]) and [Enchant Bracers - Major Spirit]. It’s 44 more spell power than the greater enchant and 37 more spell power than the superior one, not to mention considerably more affordable.
Assuming that drums recipes are eventually added for Wrath, we can likely expect the WotLK equivalent of [Drums of Restoration] to be 30 MP5 or greater.
Toughness: All your hard work spent mining has made you exceptionally tough, increasing your maximum health by 500. Obviously, more health is always welcome even if it’s generally more useful for Feral tanks.
Master of Anatomy (Rank 6): Skinning all those dead animals has broadened your anatomical knowledge, increasing your critical strike rating by 25. As a Resto Druid, I /spit on 25 crit rating. PTUI!
[Darkglow Embroidery] replaces [Enchant Cloak - Wisdom]. With a 35% proc rate and 75 second internal cooldown, the embroidery works out to be 0.79 PPM or 20 MP5. Honestly, the enchant seems better to me, not to mention substantially easier to acquire. I think adjustment to the embroidery is needed to clearly make it superior to what could be acquired otherwise.
While significantly cheaper, the [Sanctified Spellthread] is equivalent to the [Brilliant Spellthread] available to non-Tailors.
To me, none of the gathering profession benefits seem to match up with the strength of the production tradeskill benefits (which, in my mind, is as it should be). Therefore, the most ideal situation is to keep two production tradeskills on your main character and keep an alt for gathering to supplement them. For instance, my Warlock is a Skinner and Herbalist helping Phaelia raise her Leatherworking skill and keep her stocked with potions. This has the additional benefit of doubling your return from any reputation gains that afford you new recipes.
Kaliope actually recently addressed this issue on her post To Keep or Not to Keep, THAT is the question. She seems to present the opposite point of view, so it’s definitely worth a read.
Thank you to Kehnomar for the wonderful question and for all of the information he later sent to me that assisted with writing this article!
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