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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Profitable Power Leveling

I've been spending the week getting my gold making 'biz more established on Horde, which included doing some work on my professions. Two days ago my professions looked like this:

74 Warrior - Alchemy/Engineering
48 Paladin - Enchanting/Inscription
20 Mage - Tailoring/??

So, clearly there's only one that will hit "profession endgame" but with my eyes on the future and not on the present I wanted to make sure my professions were in order.  My big issue was the warrior and the mage.  I really wanted Engineering on my mage but I certainly didn't need two Engineers.  What I could really use Hordeside was a JC.

I hit 75 on the Warrior two days ago and realized that it was now or never; if I wanted to profession shuffle I needed to do it before I was "set in my ways" with which toon had what. So my mind was made up; I dropped Engineering on my warrior and hit up the Dalaran JC trainer.

I started up Hoarders on Netflix and powerleveled her from 1-485ish in a single sitting. (Only need enough at the moment to do the dailies/make the JC jewerly.) I wanted to power level so I could start getting JC tokens ASAP. I've never been against power leveling professions; but I've also never been a penny-pincher; if I end up in the black at the end of it all I'm okay, even if I didn't do it the most efficient or the cheapest it could possibly be.

Quickly I realized I was in for a problem though.  It was time to make some Delicate Copper Wire.  As you've seen, I don't have any gathering characters on Horde; so I was to be a slave to the AH.  The problem? No. Copper. Bars.  It was about 3 AM on the smaller faction and there wasn't a single Copper Bar on the AH.  Uh-oh.

A Slave to the Auction HouseS
This wasn't too big of a deal for me actually.  You see, during my Server First Engineering push I ran out of Volatile Air on Alliance very quickly.  At the time I had about 30k on Hordeside entirely from vendor pet/recipe flipping and I spent about half of it buying all the Air from the Horde AH and moving it over to give myself the edge. 

I certainly wasn't looking to spend 15k on Copper, let me assure you, but I decided it was stupid to limit myself to the Horde AH when the Alliance AH was just flowing with Copper, Thorium, Fel Iron, and Adamantite, all ores which I had issues with on the Horde AH.

Hordeside I invested about 2k gold, on Alliance I invested about 3k.  All in all I ended up investing about 5,000g.  I didn't do tremendous bookkeeping since I didn't anticipate writing a post about this experience, but Auditor tells me the generics. =]

Ouch, 5k down?
Not quite.  I'm not JC expert, I've only power leveled it once in the past, and that was back when I had no real gold-making knowledge.  However, as time's gone on I've taken note of many different things.  For example, I personally will pay 5-10g  for Woven or Heavy Copper Rings for my alts.  Rings at that level are hard to come by and +1 or +2 is a nice stat boost at level 10!

I knew that Sapphire Pendants of Winter Night can disenchant into the immensely valuable Illusion Dust and Greater Eternal Essence.  I have sold Sapphire Signets of Awesum Suffixez for 200+ gold. I knew not to use my Mercurial Adamantite and sell those for 100g each to other aspiring JCs. I knew not to bother cutting Cata "gems" and instead make jewelry to DE the greens and AH the blues. 

By using all this information I was able to spend most of my levels crafting something that would be profitable.  Some of it wasn't so great and got DE'd or vendored, but if I spend five skill ups at a 10g loss each but spend the next five skill ups crafting items that were 60g profit per item, I'm okay with this.

So why do other people experience losses after power leveling?
A lot of people will claim that power leveling a profession is a net loss, and in some cases it may be.  However, for most professions I hold the opinion that you can profit through leveling without having to drag out the process.  

If you are experiencing a loss through power leveling you are probably: 
  • Not utilizing both Auction Houses to get your materials at the cheapest possible rate at the time.
  • Not taking the time to buy vendor or AH recipes that offer cheaper skill ups or more valuable items. (When leveling Blacksmithing you can craft items with twelve Mithril Bars, or spend 100g for the Mithril Spurs pattern which only takes four bars, for example. They sell pretty well too!) 
  • Crafting the "easiest" item to craft, not the most valuable.

Power Level ALL THE THINGS?!
Nah, don't do that.  Power leveling will not always 100% of the time result in a profit.  Plus, it's an aggravating experience that just makes me scream "ONE MORE SKILL UPPPPP" all night. 

My point, though, is that if you engage your brain and think about how you're skilling up instead of blindly crafting "whatever's orange at the time" you can minimize loss and even see a profit.  At the end of my JC leveling venture into which I sank rougly 5k I posted auctions "valued at" 17k.  I expect to see closer to 12k from sales after AH cuts, feels and combating undecutting.  So, around 7k profit, not bad. 

You don't need to be an expert about the profession and you don't need to plan ahead for every skill up. As you go along just be sure to actually look at what you have available to craft.  Also, check the AH recipes for your profession. Here are my two favorite profession resources:

  • Ackis Recipe List - Scans your profession and tells you what you're missing; you can sort it by skill to pinpoint ones that should give you skill ups, and their sources. Very handy in finding out if you can just run over to the vendor in the next zone and get a great pattern to skill on.
  • Crafter's Tome Guides/Kaliope's WoW Crafting Blog - Kaliope has an amazing and informative blog all about professions; including great news from the PTR when patches are coming out and all that jazz. I followed her 525 Engineering Guide because I knew it would be my best bet for Realm First and it certainly paid off.  If you're ever looking for profession news or guides, check her work out.  Some of the guides may not give you the most profitable way to level, but they will likely be very efficient/easy, and the whole site is just an amazing resource.

Good luck with professions, whether you choose to go slow and steady or power level like a maniac! =D

A few days ago Cold posted a different opinion on the same topic, this was not meant to be a direct challenge to his post as much as, perhaps, a dissenting opinion or different way to look at it.  After talking a bit on Twitter about my profitable venture several people encouraged me to make this post and I felt it was interesting enough. =D  Check out his post if you'd like to see another side of the same coin.


  1. Another reason power leveling tends to be wasteful to the uninformed is from people using power leveling profession guides.

    Often these guides are written to be the fastest way to max, while throwing cost completely out the window. They also don't focus on sellable items. They just hit on what will give a guaranteed skill point.

    Further compounding this issue is the fact that many of the profession leveling guides are out of date and lead newer players down a more expensive path than the path of knowledge.

  2. I'm a huge fan of the blog, and and even bigger fan now that I noticed that ninja Hyperbole and a Half link. Keep writing, I'll keep reading. ^_^

  3. Depends who does the powerleveling. I could easily make 20-30k in the time that I would waste leveling my professions efficiently ; but for a newly starting player powerleveling is probably not the way. By seeking the most profitable route he/she will also learn what sells and what doesn't.


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