The death of secondary professions?

I’ve always enjoyed the secondary professions in WoW; in vanilla I spent many an hour fishing up Nightfin Snappers outside of Stratholm to make Nightfin soup for raiding. Having first aid maxed out also made sense – any extra healing was useful after all!

Over the years I’ve kept up the secondary professions, adding archeology along the way. I’ve become best friends with Nat Pagle, taught Nomi cooking and dug up all sorts of artifacts from the past over several expansions. I’ve gained one or two notable things over the course of my WoW playing.

Realm First 525 Fishing Seeker of Knowledge
Realm First Fishing seeker-of-knowledge

With Warlords I did level all of the secondary professions up to their new maximum level of 700, but now I’m not feeling the secondary profession love so much, the point that I’m rarely doing them any more.

TL;DR: not so useful right now, but we see promise on the 6.1 PTR!


Fishing

Fishing wasn’t too painful – as I leveled to 700 I worked towards having the level 3 fishing shack which gave me Nat Pagel as a follower. Although given that I’d already gotten his hat & fishing chair on Pandaria, you’d have thought that he’d remember me!

Then I started to try farming lunkers to get – what else – a mount. However with a 1% catch rate and needing 100 of them, this was not going to be a fun grind. I’d become best friends with Nat already in Mists by fishing up the daily fish and for some reason Lunkers feel far more grindy than that. I think its due to there being no end to them. With the daily quest fish you could get one and then hand it in. Once you’d gotten it, that was it. You had to go back to Nat. And whilst you could fish up another of the fish once you’d handed it in, that would only mean that the next day you’d not have to fish – it being based around a daily quest.

This put a natural limit on the fishing every day and allowed you to break the work up over several days – between 28 and 84 days depending on how many fish you caught a day.

The daily quest in Draenor is great if you’re leveling fishing – it gives you +15 fishing skill – but the rewards aren’t so great, even with the chance for primal spirits which is present now.

What really killed fishing for me was a hotfix which changed the reagents for combat potions. I was doing a lot of fishing for Draenic Intellect potions. After they changed it to use herbs instead of fish I didn’t even have that as a driver.

As a result I’ve pretty much stopped fishing, although see the section What use are secondaries now? for some other notes on that.


First Aid

My main is a priest so as usual I found myself ignoring First Aid once it was leveled – its useful to have, but a shadowpriest has many tricks to keep alive!

This isn’t the whole story however, see the sections on What use are secondaries now?.


Cooking

With cooking I made the dishes and learned the recipes – lots of secondary stats to be had there. Unfortunately I also have a barn for Savage Blood generation. And for a while I was trapping lots of Wetland Tramplers for their blood. Which gave me lots of Savage feasts as an end result. At least, until our guild begged their members to stop putting feasts into the bank as we were overrun with them!

Using the barn meant that I stopped cooking very early on in the expansion – within the first week or so. Compare this to Mists where I was cooking in the expansion until I had the army of Nomi’s giving me lots of gifts every day across five characters. Meant that soon I didn’t need to make any banquets in 5.3 and when 5.4 rolled around, the guild was well stocked with Pandaren Treasure Noodle Carts for all of 5.4 and I’m still using them up now on alts!

When compare cooking to the barn for effort its not hard to see why guilds use savage feasts. To make the savage feast – +100 to your highest secondary stat, so likely the one you’re stacking anyway – you have to have a level 2 barn and trap a riverbeast; I tended to use the ones in Talador. Then it’s just a matter of waiting for the work order to be processed. Easy production of feasts for a raid of up to 30 people! And if you assign a follower with the Skinning trait to the barn you’ll produce lots more feasts!

Let’s compare that to cooking as it stands today.

First off, there are no +100 secondary stat feasts from cooking – the best is +75. If you’ve got a 10 player raid then you can use the Feast of the Waters – which takes ten segments of every fish type. If you’ve got a high enough level of fishing – eg 950 or more – then you’ll always be fishing up enormous fish. Gut 5 of those for 15-25 segments. So making one feast isn’t too bad, but you’ll have to travel to every zone in Draenor to get the fish together.

If you’ve got more than 10 players – and that’s likely – then you need the Feast of blood. Which needs 10 of each of the meat types which drop in Draenor. You’ll be killing a lot of clefthoofs, boars, talbuks, riverbeasts, rylaks and elekks to get enough meat.

Given this, its not hard to see why raid teams just get savage feasts. In ~30s you can easily farm a riverbeast to trap it & get a +100 feast.

But say I’d like +100 in a specific secondary stat? Well, that’s possible with cooking, but expensive as you have to use +75 cooked food to create it.

Let’s say I need mastery as a secondary stat, well I can eat Sleeper Surprise for that. Which needs 5x Braised Riverbeast, 5x Fat Sleeper Cakes and 1x Starflower herb. So that means fishing lots of fat sleepers in Nagrand – easy with a good level of fishing – and lots of killing of riverbeasts. Hope you’re doing that on a skinner… At least the herbs are easy to get if you’ve opened up the herb garden.

I can see the logic of why these specific secondary stat foods were added, but there isn’t really much point to them. If you’re raiding then you’ll tend to prefer one secondary stat over others. And so stack, enchant and gem for that specifically. Which means that you’ll just be using a savage feast anyway.


Archeology

As for archeology, I may have leveled that to 700 but I found once I’d reached the cap that I just didn’t want to run around and do it any more. None of the rewards seemed worth it – compare with Cata where an archeology staff was BiS for shadowpriests at release – and the removal of flying didn’t help much given the size of some of the digsites.

Plus I think I was a little burned out on archeology after grinding the Seeker of Knowledge title.

I may return to archeology; certainly now that my main is better geared I have less concerns about moving around the place – being geared for mythic raiding means that most of the mobs you encounter in the world are squishy!


What use are secondaries now?

So what use are secondaries right now?

The answer is “Not much” – you can get better food using the barn. Archeology is painful and whilst it has some useful items from it, my main doesn’t need them now and I’m not so concerned by alts. Especially since I can craft 640 gear which can be used at level 91 and the archeology items are only 620 ilvl. Fishing has a grind attached to it and first aid isn’t that useful.

The above isn’t entirely true however; I recently pulled my fishing gear from the bank and went fishing for Enormous Sea Scoprions whilst on standby for a raid. This was to send to an alt to craft Healing Tonics whilst leveling up their first aid.

The Healing Tonics were also for my main to use in raiding as they heal for 68,000 health. Compared to the 50,000 a warlock’s healthstone will heal for. The tonics share a cooldown with the healthstones and can only be used once a fight. They also don’t count as a potion – critical for raiding where we’ll use a potion just before the fight starts and then use another potion again during the fight. That 18,000 doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re progression raiding every little helps and it’ll mean the heals will hate me that bit less. Unless I use one just before a long cast, big heal hits anyway!

However it only took me ~20 minutes to fish up enough enormous sea scoprions to make healing tonics for several weeks of raid.


The Future

The 6.1 PTR is now up and we’re seeing signs that Blizzard is aware that the Barn has pretty much replaced cooking.

WoWHead has details of food which given +125 to secondary stats and all of the reagents are from fishing.

For example if I’d like to have +125 to critical strike then I can eat some Pickled Eel – they’d better come with jelly!

Right now to make them we’d just need 12x Abyssal Gupper Eel flesh and 6x Crescent Saberfish flesh. It would take some effort, but not that much really.

Now, this is on the PTR and its early days in the 6.1 development so things can change. But right now the above will get me doing at least fishing and cooking again.

… it also means that there could be a gold making benefit here. Since there is little worth to fish right now people are tending to dump them onto the auction house.

So right now is a good time to take a punt and buy those cheap stacks of fish up, based on them increasing in value after 6.1 hits. Naturally there is a risk here of the reagents changing before 6.1 releases, but that’s the risk of decisions for gold making based on PTR data!

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