With my recent change in status to employment, I had been cooking more than ever. It was a big personal challenge and life goal of mine to make the transition from depending on fast, instant and frozen foods to becoming my own chef. The benefits have been massive in improving my confidence as an individual, feeling useful, eating what I desire and actually learning a great deal. But there are costs that I realize associated with this too.
Up until Mist of Pandaria, the fishing and cooking professions were some of the most heinous professions to level. Fishing was simply boring as you took ages just grinding through zones until eventually you couldn’t push any farther. Cooking really only saw benefits for raiding but the rest of cooking practically was useless, unless you enjoyed achievements. Worse yet, cooking was painful in that if you didn’t bother leveling up cooking as you leveled, you pretty much was forced to return to older zones to grind out the ingredients just to get a few more skill points. Otherwise, more than likely you would have to spend a ridiculous amount of gold on materials as people just had little patience trying to get the materials themselves.
Mist of Pandaria though made cooking actually useful, injecting all types of buffs with the food you create. Leveling cooking up until 525 is extremely easy as you can get all the materials from the trainer. All you require is gold (around 340) and 42 Golden Carp. As you level, you probably will acquire many of the ingredients from slaying beasts around the land. The hardest thing initially will be having the vegetables for the Pandaren recipes once you hit 525 in cooking and then the fishing ingredients.
To me leveling cooking and fishing pretty much go hand in hand these days. One of the nice things they added a few patches ago was a quest giver near the Halfhill Village who provides fishing training. You just have to get a few Golden Carp from the neighboring river and you’ll be on your way. But rather than forcing you to level all the way to 525 before seeing Golden Carp, you now will start seeing Golden Carp as a kind of “trash fish”. This is far better than just discovering worthless grays as in the past and Golden Carp still can fetch some easy gold on the Auction House.
So I feel that with the ease of leveling both skills, it’s pretty much worth investing the time as you quest and level up to also delve into both. I feel that you probably should grab fishing (if you don’t have it) prior to entering Pandaria. That way as you level through the Jade Forest and other zones, you can take the time to grab the occasional fish you might spot from the random ponds. Also, because there are three dailies at 90 which gives 3 skill points for turning them in (along with some gold and valor points), you have even more ways of leveling fishing than before.
Pretty much what I do is seek ponds as I level and save any excess fish, even if the core stat from a cooking type isn’t really relevant for my class. That way, if I’m a bit low on fish ingredients while I level on a single toon, I might have extra materials on my other toons. Also, I try to save meats I find from beasts just in case someone might need an excess. A lot of meats that you gather might seem useless and a waste of bag space, but they’ll come in handy once you hit higher levels of cooking.
Also with regards to fishing, I enjoy leveling it while I’m waiting for a queue. If you get burned out on dailies, fishing offers a relaxing and lucrative opportunity to be productive. Pop on some tunes, check out online videos or other sites and you’ll find fishing to be worth it in the end.
There’s numerous guides on making gold in World of Warcraft, most of them involve heavy amounts of farming. While having gold in the game is critical to performance, I view it as a residual of what you do in the game as opposed to a focus. As a result, I tend to not be bothered by intentionally farming to make gold. That said, I’ve found gold to be something plentiful but I believe it’s the after effect of how I play.
My theory on making gold is simple: work on numerous alts. On my realm Saurfang, the Auction House tends to be overpriced compared to my old realm Ner’Zhul. When I discovered this aspect, I decided to work on numerous alts for professions. Eventually, I found myself with 10 85s, having every profession covered and then some which were redundant (like tailoring or gathering professions). By having numerous alts, I never found myself towards the end having to spend as much on the Auction House compared to when I started. For instance, bags were a huge issue to me when it came to starting out. Having accumulated a ton of cloth, I ended up hording it all and reserving it until my tailor was of sufficient level to hand off all that cloth to him.
By doing this, I managed to save a ton of money and utilize all the materials I would gather over time. Of course, I occasionally would hit the Auction House for the rare times when I lacked some materials. But this was not a frequent case. Most times, I ended up having an excess of materials like cloth or greens. So I simply gave them all to my alts.
With regards to Mist of Pandaria though, the daily quest system has provided a mechanism for easy gold. Pretty much you’ll be doing dailies whether you want to or not (unless you’re a strict PVP type). The gold you receive from dailies will net you anywhere between 600-800 per day on a single toon. Eventually, you’ll find yourself with a fair amount of gold quite quickly just in grinding out faction reputation, charms and supplemental Valor Points.
Now, here’s where having tons of alts start to come into play. As you level your toons through Mist of Pandaria, the quests chains will provide a fair amount of gold. I think you can possibly receive up to 4-5k worth of gold by completing all the primary quests while leveling. If you had already maxed out your flying through the previous expansions on your alts, then the only thing you probably will buy is the 2500 gold Pandaria flying skill. That still will leave you with a reasonable amount of starting gold. Collectively then, if you level multiple toons, you will have a large pool of gold to share among your toons.
Next, as each toon breaks through the 90 level barrier, you’ll probably put them on the reputation and gearing track. It might seem boring initially, but having numerous alts doing dailies will increase that pool of gold quickly. You won’t be able to complete all dailies if you have 11 alts maxed out, but you should be able to do between 2-3/day to a reasonable degree.
My theory behind alts is pretty simple. The goal is to gear them enough to do things like LFRs. So I put them on “tracks”. That means, I’ll focus on a few toons for a bit. Once one toon is maxed out gear-wise, I’ll slow them down and eventually phase them out of my rotation. Eventually, they end up acting in a support role such as my paladin who has blacksmithing and mining. For him, I mostly am picking up ore to hand off to my alchemist for transmuting into Living Steel. Eventually, my alchemist returns the Living Steel to my paladin while he acquires Motes of Harmony. Eventually, he’ll use those components for creating epic armor for my warrior, death knight and potentially put back on the Auction House. Setting goals like this is critical since it’ll give you a road map for your toons and how far you’ll want to take them.
The other thing I do is attempt to have them employ the farm. Since cooking is quite easy to level these days, I feel that every toon should try to max out their primary attribute side of cooking. When you hit 86 or 87 and get your farm, you definitely should utilize that as much as possible. Even if you stop leveling a toon, I would suggest parking that toon at the farm so that you can easily plant crops every day. This is especially helpful once you start to hit the upper limits of cooking and need to push that extra few points out. Don’t bother spending money on the Auction House since it’s a waste of money. If you have a profession that isn’t dependent on things like Motes of Harmony, consider utilizing the farm for cooking components for your alts. Don’t forget that making gold sometimes is about not spending gold.
As you gather up materials from farming, especially in doing the dailies, consider setting up a pool for your farming residuals. Dedicate a bank alt (or toon with tons of bank space) to hosting your farming materials. Since the Auction House tends to overprice materials, use those excess materials for the purpose of selling them back. I’m not a big advocate of buying from the Auction House, but I’m certain that the Auction House will always be full of over priced materials. So take advantage on occasion when you see that you have excessive materials to make some easy coin.
Fishing also can be a great source of income within Mist of Pandaria. By having alts, you can level up your fishing skill as you discover ponds. I heavily suggest this. For instance, the Jade Lungfish are a pretty critical component and there’s a lot in the starting zone. Taking the opportunity to do some fishing while leveling can net you some good gold. On my server, the Jade Lungish are quite expensive and probably way overpriced. So I ended up selling mine for an easy 50 gold, which undercut my competition by a huge margin.
If you do this and manage to hit a reasonable amount of fishing skill, you can do the dailies for the Anglers. Two in particular are quite difficult for people with low fishing skills, but the effect of this is acquiring a lot of Golden Carp. With the new path of cooking, Golden Carp become a huge necessity. Don’t throw this away if you find yourself with an excessive amount. Either horde it for your alts or put it on the Auction House. Either way, you’ll save a ton of gold or make an extra buck or two using this method.
Lastly, do all the LFRs as much as you can. It might be disappointing to receive just gold especially when you’re searching for that critical piece of gear, but don’t give up on it. More importantly, do LFRs if you’re not a die hard raider but have managed to acquire all the gear for a toon. The Valor Points and gold still can add up for an activity you can pull off in a night’s worth of work. I think without rerolls, you can possibly earn 600-650 gold doing full clears of the current LFRs. That’s not too bad if you’re trying to save up Valor Points.
One thing I will admit is that gold is an investment in itself. Meaning that in order to make gold, you’ll have to spend gold. Certainly, you can find gold sinks like mounts or other vanity items, but gearing up quickly can be tough if you shy away from instances. But don’t be afraid to plunk down 10k for some high end gear if it helps you along the way. Gold in itself is useless without an output. Don’t just horde gold for the sake of having a lot. Use it to improve your toons when you have the opportunity. It’ll come back easily.