Owl’s Two Cents: WoD Garrison Limiting Professions?

In The Beginning…

…we start a new character. Let’s say you’re a Night Elf, then your starting zone is in a giant tree called Teldrassil. Lovely place really. Much better shading than the hot and sandy/rocky places of Dutorar where Orcs and Trolls begin questing. As you run through the trees dealing with mobs the quest givers tell you to deal with, you level up, and once you get to level 5 you get to begin training in professions. Huzzah! As a druid, I usually go with herbalism and alchemy. Why? Because druids can shapeshift into various animals for travel, and they do not revert to their true caster forms when they gather herbs off the ground – the only requirement if you’re in flight form for example is that you must be on the ground and not hovering in the air above the herb.

Uses of Druid Shapeshifting for herb gathering:

  • At level 16, druids automatically learn Travel Formwhich takes on the form of a stag and lets you run 40% faster, only usable outdoors. There is a glyph that lets you make your travel form appear as a cheetah (which was the original form since WoW was released – they changed the default to a stag when Mists of Pandaria was released). At level 16, this gives you a useful ability to run faster from point A to point B, and while in this form, even though you can’t cast spells (if you do you revert to caster form automatically) you can still gather herbs without automatically shifting back. In fact, your druid in stag (or cheetah) form will animate digging at the ground as you gather the herbs, and once you’ve collected it you can take off running again. Quick and easy.
  • Also learned at level 16 is the Aquatic Form, which allows you to swim faster underwater and allows underwater breathing (nice tip, if playing a druid and you have to go afk while underwater, make sure you’re in aquatic form so you don’t return to your game only to find that you’ve drowned.) With the aquatic form at your disposal, you can shift into what I call a demented walrus, or a deranged sea lion, and swim faster than normal, and in this way you can collect a few underwater herbs. Stranglekelp is the first you’ll find, but at level 80, if you quest in Vash’jir, you’ll find other herbs to collect, not to mention more beautiful scenery to swim about in. (and if you’re like me, you might despise looking like a demented walrus, so there is the glyph of the orca, that lets your aquatic form (or swim form as I call it) appear as an orca, which is much nicer looking.)
  • upon reaching level 58 as a druid, you automatically learn Flight Form (as of patch 5.0.4), and it is at that level that players can begin entering the Outlands as they quest up from 58-70. This is the fastest way to gather herbs, to simply fly around, land next to an herb, gather it, and fly away without losing your flight form. Other class types wouldhave to dismount to gather an herb and remount their flying (or running) steeds, which takes 1.5 seconds to do. Flight form druids, therefore, can gather herbs much faster.

So with those shapeshifting forms in mind, gathering herbs is a breeze, especially once you can fly. Of course if you can get a hold of the engineering-crafted mount, the Sky Golem, you can gather herbs while mounted, although the flight animation of this mechanical wonder can be a bit annoying, hence I prefer to gather herbs on my druid anyway.

With the druid’s ability to gather herbs while shapeshifted is a great bonus in my book, so I usually tend to learn herbalism at level 5 and level it up along with alchemy. Alchemy uses herbs to make potions, like for healing and mana restoration, as well as for temporarily boosting stats like your overall health or your strength or agility or intellect. It can also transmute metals into forms that are otherwise unobtainable, such as transmuting trillium into living steel, and it can be used to transmute lesser gemstones into more valuable ones. As such, an alchemist can be helpful to other players who are blacksmiths or jewelcrafters, as well as every player who needs a flask or a potion to enhance their gameplay.

At first, at level 5, you can pluck the Silverleaf from around trees and Peacebloom from ground as well as uproot the Earthroot right when you learn Herbalism, and with alchemy you can start brewing potions like the minor healing potion. So basically at the start of the game, once you reach level 5, you can start leveling up herbalism and alchemy right away. It’s something I love to do when I’m bored with questing or running around in dungeons.

Enter Warlords of Draenor (Beta)

I’ve been able to play a bit of Warlords of Draenor in it;s Beta stage. It can be pretty laggy because most of the time a lot of other players are online at the same time, so the server can be a bit overwhelmed. Then there are bugs and incomplete things out there. Sometimes I ride past some blue and white cubes on the ground and wonder what rock or shrub that will become in the future. But the one thing that irked me was the lack of training for my professions.

I copied my character Owlaf (my trusty Night Elf Druid, Balance) for the test realm, and began questing through the dark portal and fighting orcs galore. After a while I finally ended up in Shadowmoon valley and began building my garrison. Of course I started questing after I discovered that I could not train up my alchemy or herbalism skills, so there I was capped out at 600 skill points in both professions. Normally I’d stock up on my empty crystal vials and have an empty herbalism bag and train up so I can gain skill points in herbalism right fromt he get-go, but no. The Iron Horde is attacking! Fight back, the flower picking and potion brewing MUST WAIT! And I’m thinking, sheesh, I’m not the only one fighting these orcs am I? Fine, fine, I’ll blast them with lunar and solar energies. Fine… sheesh.

So eventually I got to my garrison and started building it up. No profession trainers or anything there yet. Jeez, where are they?! I love to level my professions, I mean I brake for herbs on principle, and I can imagine some people would love to go on a ore mining, creature killing/skinning craze from time to time, but herbs in shadowmoon valley seemed scarce. Either I wasn’t the only one gathering herbs consistently, or draenor is very poor when it comes to herb spawning locations. I mean if there’s only five locations that herbs can spawn in one zone, then I’d say nerf the amount of creatures available to skin, because there’s more mobs and animals out there than there are herbs. Jade Forest in Pandaria is a smorgasbord of herbs, while Shadowmoon Valley was like, “Herbs? What’s that?” … in my opinion anyway.

While questing around, the few herbs I found I collected, but the one downfall that I absolutely detested was that since I was unable to train up my herbalism, I was not gaining any skill increases for these herb pluckings. I mean sure, I was gathering the herbs, but not raising my skill at all. With each expansion, all trade skills got an increase that you trained and leveled to gain. In Draenor it seemed oblivious.

Then I found and completed a quest “Shadows Awaken” and the reward was a little box called “Gift of the Draenei”, and when I opened it, since I’m an alchemist, it gave me an item called Mysterious Flask, which began a quest of some sort. So I click it to activate it and I had to bring it to someone at my garrison. When I finally get round to it, the quest giver, and it leads through a quest chain where I eventually obtain two things. One is the garrison blueprint to let me build an alchemy lab at my garrison, and the other is, finally, A Treatise on the Alchemy of Draenor.

You know, I always thought “treatise” meant something like a treaty, like a signed paper to propose peace or something… turns out the word “treatise” means “a book, article, etc., that discusses a subject carefully and thoroughly.” Well, I guess my blog is either “A Treatise on the Ramblings of a Druid” or, “An Owl’s Two Cents” or perhaps, “My Rant on WoW’s Beta”… tkae your pick.

Anyway, I get this… treatise… and read it, and boom, my alchemy skill is increased to 700, finally allowing me to gain skill ups from 600 up to 700. Great! Wonderful… now where the hell do I learn recipes that can help level up this skill, eh? So far I can still transmute trillium bars into living steel bars. What do I do with these draenor herbs, mmm?!

So then I go to my garrison and get them to build my alchemy lab. Oh look, it’s gonna take a while for them to build it, and once it was done I could do daily work orders to get the things I’d need to craft certain items and learn new recipes. It all seemed rather tedious to me. I’d rather just go to the trainer in Stormwind or some other capital city and learn the skills/recipes there, then go out in the world to farm to my heart’s content.

But nooooooooo. I have to go 4 or five quests to open the garrison building and learn the draenor alchemy skill so I can get dailies to level it up and learn new recipes. It’s so limited and time consuming, which I despise at times.

As for the herbalism, I’ve trained in it on my beta character, but I can’t even remember how that happened. Probably after a quest or two that gave me a treatise on the skill itself perhaps. Why they are forcing us to learn our trade skills via questing, I don’t know, but I’m sure this will tick off those players who avoid questing as much as possible and would rather farm their way up to the maximum level.

Of course I’ll quest as much as the next person, but when I first started playing this beta expansion I wanted to sink my teeth into herbalism and alchemy, not kill dozens of orcs and build a garrison. I guess now I have to play backwards. I mean, when you start leveling in Pandaria, you COULD go to Sunsong Ranch and begin the tilling quests that gradually opens up the farm for you, but you’re stuck with only four mounds of soil to plant seeds in until you reach level 90. In Warlords of Draenor, they have you build up your garrison before you can focus on other things like your personal professions. The Sunsong Ranch provided the means to grow food ingredients for cooking, but the garrison is focusing on all the other professions as well, and you absolutely must unlock the garrison and build buildings in order to progress in any and all of your professions. With Sunsong, it was more of a bonus, a way to grow your own ingredients for your cooking skill, but there was a cooking trainer near the market place all ready to go and level your cooking from 1 to 525 in a pinch. As for the garrisons, you HAVE to quest and UNLOCK the trainers for your professions. It sorta sucks to me. I have no idea what Blizzard was thinking when they came up with this.

Final thoughts

So basically, in Warlords of Draenor, when it comes out, don’t rush to your profession trainers in Stormwind or Orgrimmar when you first log in, it’s pointless. Just quest and build up your little garrison and eventually you will get the blueprints to build your profession specific building and somehow learn the Draenic (Profession Name Here) along the way. No rush, it seems. I hate it because I’d like to level it up as soon as I log in, and as I ran around killing orcs I could be gathering herbs and leveling my herbalism in the process, but NO… you gather some herbs at first maybe, and eventually you learn the next level of herbalism, and you can’t do a think with those herbs, other than perhaps sell them on the Auction House, until you quest enough to learn some alchemy. To me, this seems very limiting. I don’t know how it will be for all the other professions, but I’m guessing it’s about the same: Quest for a while, get blueprints, build the profession garrison building of your profession specialization, THEN you get a quest or two and a vendor to buy your new recipes from…. what a headache. Imagine going through all this when the game is released this November. All those new players running around doing the same thing as you all at once? Oh, joy.



I tell ya, I loved how it was when Mists of Pandaria came out. You went to the trainer, trained up for the next level of alchemy and herbalism. For herbalism I could now go out into Jade Forest and start picking herbs left right and center, and with alchemy it gave me only two new potions I could make, but when I crafted those potions, I’d randomly learn a new recipe, and each of those new recipes also had the potential to learn new recipes when I crafted them. So with Mists and Alchemy, I was able to learn new recipes as I crafted potions and flasks, and I was leveling herbalism as I went. With Draenor, I feel like it’s going to be tiresome, slow, and extremely limited… since I only seem to find one herb a day in the wilderness and I am forced to buy new recipes instead of discovering them like I used to.



Transmute Mastery

In World of Warcraft, there is only once class that I know of that still has specializations. That would be Alchemy. There used to be specializations in blacksmithing, which were weaponsmiths and armorsmiths, which made special weapons and armors respectively. Also, leatherworking, specializations that made certain armor types. For some bizarre reason, Blizzard did away with these specializations.

The only other profession that has a specialization is Engineering, which has goblin and gnomish engineering. As for alchemists, they actually have 3 specializations, but they all act similarly. Potion Mastery, Elixir Mastery, and Transmute Mastery, and all of them allow you to occasionally, and randomly, create more than just one item. Elixir Mastery allows you to make extra elixirs and flasks, which is great for making flasks for raiding, but if you need living steel bars for other professions like engineering or blacksmithing, then a transmute mastery is what alchemists should go for.once in a blue moon transmute

Or so I thought. For a long time, my character Owlaf had been a transmute master, and almost the entire time of the Pandaria expansion, she hasn’t seemed to have gotten an extra bar of Living Steel to proc when she transmuted Trillium Bars. I started to doubt the system and sent several “suggestions” thanks to the new blizzard submit bug and submit suggestion buttons. I was tempted to tell Blizzard where they could really shove their transmute specializations. After all I was only getting procs on Trillium bars and gemstones, but not living steel.

But today, when I transmuted some steel for a friend of mine, I finally got a proc. I created two Living Steel bars instead of the usual one, and I wasn’t even crossing my fingers. I therefore came up with the calculations for transmuting epic bars. I can only create extra Living Steel…. once in a blue moon.

Owlaf’s Adventures in Pandaria

Well, it’s been a few days since the launch of Mists of Pandaria. Owlaf has had her plate quite full with adventures. The short version is, we have new allies, new enemies, and new things to do.

Before landing on the misty island of Pandaria, the Horde attacked and destroyed Theramore, an Alliance base that has been in Kalimdor for a long while. It seems Garrosh Hellscream is getting paranoid, trying to claim all of  Kalimdor for the horde. What he’s forgetting is that the orcs never owned it in the first place; they came from another world entirely. The Night Elves have always been in Kalimdor even before it was sundered. The orcs are the invaders. Hopefully we can do something about this. Obviously, going back to what’s left of Draenor is not a good idea, but there has to be a way the Horde and Alliance can co-exist peacefully. Night elves are generally peaceful, but tear down our forests and destroy our land, and our wrath has no bounds!

Riding on the Jade Serpent

In other news, the mists surrounding Pandaria has lifted, and at last we can see it and explore it. It’s amazing. It looks as though Deathwing was oblivious to it’s existence, and yet HE was the aspect of Earth… he should have known it existed. Still, I shrug my shoulders and go into battle. The Horde are trying to take over Pandaria for themselves, or so I’ve believe after what I’ve seen in Theramore and Ashenvale. I went to see what I could do to stop them.

The Horde were quick to ally themseves with some monkeys… figures. So we ally ourselves with the fish people calling themselves Jinyu… Some might think they’re related to the murlocs, but these guys speak common. After doing a few quests for them I get to be exaulted and for all my efforts, I got a pet fish. What a wonderful faction. I wonder if the Horde equivalent is a banana? ^-^

The Farmer’s Market I presume?

Then I headed west into the Valley of the Four Winds. A wide area of green hills, many small farms dot the landscape. Some grow carrots and turnips, one had silkworms where they create their fabulous silk cloths, and in the very center of these plains is a town called Half Hill. Here I discovered that the Pandaren have many unique ways of cooking food. I was used to just cooking over a basic campfire, and I still do, but there are various dishes that can be made in a number of ways. I’ve learned how to cook quite a few foods already, but the one thing I was excited to learn was my alchemy.

Turns out Pandaria is a paradise for green tea leaves. I’ve plucked several hundred of the versatile plants and brewed them into fabulous healing potions for the guild. Eventually, I discovered how to make all the flasks, elixirs, and even learn some transmutes. I can transmute ten Ghost Iron bars into one Trilium Bar, and then six of the Trillium bars into Living Steel.

I explored the Jade forest, trying to find Prince Anduin, but he keeps insisting on getting to the Vale… whatever or wherever that is. Meanwhile I help the Pandarens out as I travel. Doing things like trimming hedges, painting, killing crocolisks, tricking Vermin into eating a carrot which is really a turnip painted orange, and searching high and low for herbs to use for my alchemy. I’ve seen serpents that fly through the air without wings, and I’ve taken on one world boss so far and came out of it with an achievement and a sack of gold… I was hoping to get something more than that. Curse you, Random Number Generator!

All that, amidst lag spikes and bugs galore. Although, this new land I am exploring is very beautiful. I can only hope we can prevent the Horde from destroying it like they did Theramore.

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