Holiday update – Herbalism!
I knew I wasn’t going to be playing much over the holiday. Between visiting my wife’s family on T-Day, cooking dinner for my family on Saturday, taking turkeys down and putting Santas up there just wasn’t going to be much playing. Besides – holidays are for spending time with your spouse and family, not spending hours up in the PC room playing WoW.
That being said, I did get one extended play session in on Saturday afternoon into evening. After taking down Thanksgiving decorations, the wife started putting up Christmas stuff. Being 100%, second generation German on BOTH sides of her family, let’s just say she has her own way of doing things. As in, the ONLY RIGHT way. So after helping bring up most of the stuff from the basement, I was excused to do whatever I wanted to do.
So, following up on some sporadic, limited playtime I was able to get herbalism up to just shy of 375. (BBBB – the herbalism trainer you need to get to 375 is in Honor Hold. She’s in the single tower with the Alchemy trainer, up on a hill to the left of the inn.)
Most of my weekend I spend in Swamp of Sorrows. Once you get to level 150, you really don’t need to go anywhere else. Liferoot, Fadeleaf, Khadgar’s Whisker, then Blindweed will get you close to 300 just in this one zone. Blindweed is embarrassingly abundant, however Liferoot is medium. So you have a bit of slower going from 150 to 235 until you can pick Blindweed, but then you should make 260+ in under an hour as Blindweed is about as thick as pot in a suburban basement.
I probably could have leveled faster with more zone hopping, but all in all SoS is a very herb-rich zone and I wouldn’t overlook it if you’re trying to powerlevel herbalism.
Once I hit 275 or so, I was off to Winterspring to pick a few Icecaps to hit 300. Finally – back to Outland! After training at Honor Hold, I picked Felweed in Hellfire Peninsula until 325, then flew to Zangamarsh to pick Ragveil. I didn’t find it to be as thick as I remember it (of course it never is when you wantto find it), but it didn’t take long to hit 350. From there I flew to Netherstorm to pick Netherbloom to 375.
All in all not a very painful process – and definitely better than when I leveled mining. I can’t remember a time I didn’t get a skill point picking a yellow herb, and I’d put my percentage at just under 50% on getting skill points on green herbs.
I agree with BBBB that the best leveling guides I found were on TenTonHammer. This basic guide was the starting point for my leveling. I also had the basic herb pageon WoWwiki up almost the entire time to reference when I could pick particular herbs and when they turned green. Along the way I found some great guides on synergies between Herbalism and Alchemy, but I can’t seem to find the links now. If I come across them, I’ll update this post.
The process got me thinking again of ways to make herbalism more interesting and profitable. These are thoughts I had before and just resurfaced going through the process again.
Include lower-level herbs in high level potions: It’s natural that herbs progress in level as your character progresses in level throughout the zones. It also makes sense from an economic point of view that lower level herbs not generate gobs of cash for lower level characters. But these are“professions”, and it makes some sense to reward high-level characters that return to lower level zones to pick herbs that are in demand. Now I’m not advocating making Peacebloom an ingredient in flask recipes, but perhaps some mechanism could be implemented to not only give lower level characters a little cash infusion early on, but reward high level characters that take the time to return to those zones.
Another option could be to implement the concept of a “binding agent” for alchemy recipes. I’m not an authority on Chinese herbal medicine, but I know enough to know that there is often a common ingredient that is the basis for many mixtures. Licorice root is the ingredient that I’m aware of, but there may be more. What if this concept was carried over into Alchemy and low to mid level herbs became common binding agents for multiple high-level Alchemical recipes?
Lastly, a third option might be to put some high-level herbs in low-level zones. Either herbs that are also in high-level zones, or all together new herbs. Then I have a choice: do I return to the low-level zone on the chance it’s less crowded, or stay where I am? If it’s a brand new herb, then that’s where the profession part comes in – I forsake questing and instancing to go pick an herb that I can sell.
More additional drops: Current Swiftthistle and Fel Lotus are the only two herbs I know of that aren’t directly picked, but are additional drops from picking other herbs. This is a great mechanism that results in higher prices for the products. I wouldn’t want to see this over-used, but I definitely think it could be extended a bit. At the very least, I’m hopeful that Blizzard continues this mechanism into the next expansion.
Worthwhile zone-specific herbs: I’m thinking here of the Whipper Root Tubers (among others) in Felwood. Here’s an example of a zone-specific “herb” that is still somewhat useful in upper level raiding (even though it doesn’t restore much health, it doesn’t share a cooldown with potions). While anyone can pick the tubers with the appropriate quest item, it’s an example of what I’m talking about. There could be zone-specific herbs, perhaps paired with zone-specific recipes to create food/drink/potions items. Perhaps there is an NPC only available in that zone that transmutes the herbs into the end product. I’m talking here not about Burning Crusade potions and food that’s only usable in certain zones, rather potions and food that can only be created in a particular zone.
Unique profession buffs/gear: Enchanters can enchant their rings. Leatherworkers, Blacksmiths and Engineers get to make stuff only they can use. Yet, there isn’t much that us gatherers get that makes us unique. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining about gathering up stuff and selling it for gobs of money. I like that. And there are a couple buffs out there for herbalists: Dreaming Glory and Netherbloom come to mind (although the buffs come only when picking the herb and don’t last all that long.) So in my mind, there isn’t much in play that could be considered a buff for us herbalists. I’m not sure what I’m thinking here, but things like being apply to apply herbs to weapons and gear for temporary effects or eating herbs for buffs.
Finally, how about herbal specialization? Much like the other professions, how about specialization in herbalism? Here’s my ideas for our three specialities:
- Medicine Man: Specializes in creation of herbal remedies and potions. Could combine various herbs to produce a small catalog of healing and restorative salves and potions. Could produce some existing items, like Restorative Potion and Healing Potions, along with new salves. An interesting thought is perhaps the salves could only be used on party members. Maybe they get classified just like potions: battle salves and guardian salves? Maybe they can only be used by the herbalist? Maybe they can be applied to not only humans but weapons?
- Botanist: Specializes in the herbs themselves, generally lending to greater production and herbs not generally available anywhere else. Here I see the ability to get an increase to the herbs per node that can be picked. Or maybe there are additional drops that only generate if you are a botanist? Or maybe each herb belongs to a “class” of herbs, and I can choose to pick any herb from that family? Or maybe, I have tools that I can use to plant and grow herbs?
- Naturalist: Specializes in creation of various tinctures and smoke bombs. Tinctures would be concoctions that could be applied to weapons for particular effects (much like rogue poisons), and smoke bombs could be lit to have various effects on creatures within an area.
So, there’s my two cents worth on Herbalism. It wasn’t hard at all to get leveled back up, and I really do anticipate making more money with it versus mining. With mining I found I had to go looking for mines. Herbs just seem to be more prevalent and more abundant. The upper level herbs also seem to fetch comparable money as upper level ore. And while I expect the price of ore to drop as demand new upper-level recipes dwindles, I don’t see the same happening for herbs as they will always be in demand for potion creation.
The stuff on adding to the profession is just my personal musing and shouldn’t be taken as a statement that I think the profession is broken or needs improving. It is a gathering profession after all, and as such works fine as it is. However, I can’t resist the urge sometimes to think creatively on how and where it could go in the future.
Here’s hoping you had a great holiday weekend.
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