Gnomesblight the grand master miner, crappy blacksmith Death Knight

11th December 2008 – 1.30 pm

My Death Knight has been mining, mining, mining. I finally kicked the mithril habit, after making many laps around Tanaris collecting ore and crafting a couple of dozen mithril coifs. Finally able to use thorium I withdraw the one hundred and sixty four thorium bars from the bank and continue refining my blacksmithing skills. My optimism for not having to mine mithril is soon dissolved in a sea of disappointment when I realise all those bars of thorium leave me far from the next goal of reaching blacksmithing 300. The one hundred and sixty four bars get me to blacksmithing skill 280 leaving me at least two hundred and forty bars short of becoming a master blacksmith and able to use the fel iron found in Outlands.

I am still surprisingly motivated. This is partly owing to seeing that when I get to be a master swordsmith, with blacksmithing skill 330, I can craft a decent two-handed sword that would be both an improvement over the one I am currently wielding and most suitable for the Death Knight class with the strength boost it imbues. I start running more laps for ore, swapping Tanaris for Burning Steppes to get the thorium I need instead of mithril. It takes more time than I would care to spend but I eventually get all the thorium I need. With some rugged leather from the auction house and a bunch of star rubies I have uncovered, I finally get my blacksmithing skill up to 300! I can smith fel iron at last.

Of course, I don't have enough fel iron to advance my blacksmithing skills far enough to make the sword I desire, and finally to craft something useful after hours of mining and smithing, so I head to Hellfire Peninsula and start hunting more fel iron deposits. As I am mining for the struggle to advance my blacksmithing skill I notice that my mining skill is approaching the limit for a master miner. With only a couple more deposits I have hit the 375 limit. To make best use of my mining skills I head back to the Eastern Kingdoms to catch a ship out to Howling Fjord, my first trip with Gnomesblight to Northrend, and train to be a grand master in mining.

I suppose I should be pleased with my progress, but it is frustrating how my mining skills advance so much more quickly than blacksmithing. It is more frustrating that I have spent so much time mining and crafting without anything useful to show for it yet, particularly when I hardly get the opportunity to enjoy the Death Knight class when mining. Were I levelling up and mining and crafting as a consequence of adventuring in various zones the crafting process would be an interesting distraction. It is always fun to being completing quests only to take a swift diversion as the yellow blob of a mineral deposit grabs my attention. There would be a balance to the combat and crafting. The crafting could also supply a levelling character with the occasional useful item.

As the Death Knight starts at 55th level but has to start professions from zero skill all crafting done is purely to level up the skill. No useful items can be made when the character starts with superior equipment in the first place. At least with alchemy the potions can give minor buffs, but as a Death Knight's weapons are etched with custom runes a blacksmith Death Knight cannot even use the sharpening stones made. Everything is thrown away. If ever there were a sign that an activity is pointless this would be it.

The crafting system doesn't even advance the character in any meaningful way. As a player, I learn nothing from crafting two dozen copper bracers, apart from how tedious it can be to watch a progress bar advance. It doesn't matter to me that my character learns how to mine and smelt copper, then tin, then iron, all the way to thorium, I could understand the necessary progression just as well simply moving from thorium to fel iron.

There seems to be no reason why a Death Knight's profession skill couldn't start at a skill level of 270, just as weapon skills and first aid does. Or, rather, it seems pointless to force a Death Knight to start gathering and crafting from scratch, resulting in pushing these high-level players through beginner zones and wasting hours of time to produce nothing useful. It should be as simple as granting a character a skill level, no recipes would need to be automatically memorised initially. All recipes would be available to buy from the trainers, or auction house, but the player could pick and choose which ones were worth learning.

As it is, I am sick of mining. If I ever want to craft something useful—surely the whole point of any crafting system—I need to spend time away from enjoying the class and concentrate further on collecting ore. And until I can craft something useful the whole gathering and crafting process is as much of a chore as I have encountered in any game. I have come so far and got so close that it would be unfortunate to give up on blacksmithing now, but the thought of loading Gnomesblight just to collect more ore is quite unattractive, which is a real shame considering the huge amounts of fun I have when actually playing the character.

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