Jewelcrafting makes for disappointing adventures

29th December 2008 – 12.45 pm

I know that Gnomesblight, my death knight, is ready for Northrend, having got her mining and blacksmithing both above 350 and trained to grand master level. Sapphire, my protection warrior, should also be ready for Northrend, having been 70th level for longer than 'Blighty and already been in to an instance on an unsuccessful run through the Nexus. Sapphire's enchanting skill is over 350 and trained to grand master level, but her jewelcrafting skill languishes at the 335 level. Having to train my jewelcrafting doesn't so much tie Sapphire to Outlands as it does Gnomesblight, because the latter is the miner. Either way, having a skill below 350 prevents full commitment to Northrend adventuring.

It is also more complicated than that. With jewelcrafting being a Burning Crusade profession it was tailored for the Outlands. Whilst it may have looked like it got preferential treatment during the Burning Crusade period, with factions seemingly offering jewelcrafting designs everywhere, this is now causing the profession to be something of a chore to improve. With my skill sitting at 335 I find that I have few options left to increase my jewelcrafting skill.

I could make some adamantite jewellery but this requires mercurial adamantite, which is in short, expensive supply and needs me to destroy plenty of adamantite ore to get its residual dust. I also need a mercurial stone, which will cost more than a little gold to buy. The other option is to cut gems. The problem with cutting gems is that the only patterns available for my skill level are only available from faction vendors, and these require a certain level of reputation before they can be bought.

For example, my best option in gem cutting is to get a Consortium pattern that requires me to be honoured with the faction. As the speed of levelling after the 3.02 patch was greatly increased, and I wasn't entirely thinking of my jewelcrafting needs but having fun, I skipped past Consortium areas and have no faction reputation with them at all. This leaves me in a bit of a bind. I either need Gnomesblight to mine in the Outlands to get adamantite or I need Sapphire to run quests in Outlands to gain Consortium reputation. I am ready to leave the Outlands and concentrate on the new continent but I don't want my characters to get too involved in Northrend if one of my professions will be left behind.

My choice is to run quests in Netherstorm for the Consortium and quickly raise my reputation so that I can buy the pattern that will let me train as a grand master jewelcrafter. And so I begin. The quests are quite easy for someone with more than a smattering of early-Northrend equipment, putting me at least at the mid-range epic Outlands raider, and I blast through several of them. The problem is that the quests are no longer an end in themselves, an adventure to be completed or explored, but a means to the end of reputation gain.

Paying little attention to the details of the quests leads to one of the most disappointing moments I have experienced in an MMORPG. Whilst killing ten rats—well, twelve raptors—Sapphire hits 71st level. I had only been a few bubs away from levelling after the Northrend dash and Nexus encroachment and the dozen or so Consortium quests completed got me close enough to the next level that killing a few mobs pushed me over. But I wasn't aiming to level! My focus is on my reputation bar and gaining 71st level was a by-product of this instead of a primary target. As it is, seeing the flash of lights surrounding Sapphire and hearing the 'fwoom' of gaining a level is as plain as charging the next enemy. How anticlimactic.

Even after completing all the quests the Stormspire and surrounding area wants to give me I am left significantly short of being honoured with the Consortium, although now friendly. Luckily, a guild alchemist appears who has the skills to make a mercurial stone, returning the option of making adamantite jewellery. This path will need Gnomesblight to mine an awful lot of additional adamantite ore but it will probably be quicker than gaining another few thousand reputation points by questing, particularly now that flying has made mining easier. The jewellery can also be disenchanted and those materials sold or used for enchanting, rather than the cut gems that have been surpassed in quality by Northrend jewelcrafters and so will unlikely be sold for profit.

I'll get my jewelcrafting to the grand master level eventually.

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