You should all know by now that I am willing to do anything to bring you the scoop when it comes to crafting. I trashed my Scryer rep to demonstrate how to switch between Scryer and Aldor. Krystella still hasn't recovered, she continues to plod slowly through Honored. Not to mention all the stealth mining missions, which involved much dying and repairing.
My newest challenge was presented by Flowbee on the CT Forums. He claims that there are "amazing" drop rates from skinning in the Black Morass. Now that Kaliope has been level 70 for a few weeks and she's experienced first-hand the crappo drop rates of leather in Netherstorm, it seemed time to investigate this tidbit.
Kaliope had just opened up access to the Black Morass last week by rescuing Thrall, so I made the arduous journey over to the Caverns of Time in the hopes of confirming this rumor about the purported Holy Grail of Skinning. First off - I'd like to say that we need some stinkin' signage in that place! I can't figure out which path goes to which instance and it's annoying!! I find myself resorting to stupid things like comparing the plant life to the various locations that I *think* are in the instance and hoping I guessed right. Plus the whole thing is in a circle which makes it easy for spatially challenged folks like me to get discombobulated. So anyway, I saw some swampy-looking flora and a few crocodiles loitering near one entrance and I popped inside to see if it was the right place. Luckily I got the confirming "You've discovered the Black Morass" message and made my way down the sandy path to whatever lay beyond.
What I was greeted with was very similar to the Swamp of Sorrows. In fact if I didn't know any better I would have thought that's where I was. There were crocs drifting in and out of shallow rivulets of water and super-sized hairy gray spiders meandering to and fro. What I did not see was the stealthing black jaguar that was making ready to pounce on little, unsuspecting me.
So right off the bat Kaliope is defending her life and of course hadn't buffed up or anything. Well this little guy was level 68 so naturally I go catform to take him out quickly. WRONG! He beat me within an inch of my life people! Apparently these are not normal level 67-68 mobs we're dealing with here. They are more like level 70 named mobs with 10k hitpoints and a power-punch with sugar on top. Thankfully, Elune was watching over me and I took the kitty down before he got me.
Now I back out of the swamp a bit, heal myself and start buffing up. A little Talbuk Steak, some MotW, OOC and thorny goodness and I'm good to go. I also swap on my "uber" feral gear which includes a couple of high-armor numbers I've gotten from quests. I timidly walk out again, hoping I won't be ambushed by another sneaky jag. Clearly I need to be careful on my pulls here since I don't feel comfy that I'll survive an add in this place. I start using my baby Moonfire to pull so that I can create a safe zone around myself. I also used bear form most of the time to try and conserve my health as well as guard a bit against adds.
Everything here is pretty standard except for jaguars, they are visible in stealth but the landscape is so busy that it's still hard to see them. Also I think the jags might have been respawning sometime over the 30 minutes I was there. I thought I had cleared one mound and as I came back through to get the surrounding crocs I got jumped by a few more jags. Of course it could have just been me getting discombobulated again =)
Anyway, here are the results of my 30 minute skinning adventure:
68 Jaguar: 3 knothide leather (woohoo!)
67 Croc: 1 scrap
67 Croc: 1 scrap (here is where I started feeling duped!)
?? Jaguar: 3 scraps (sorry, forgot to write the level down)
67 Croc: 3 knothide leather
68 Croc: 2 knothide leather
67 Jaguar: 1 scrap
68 Croc: 3 knothide leather
67 Croc: 3 knothide leather
68 Jaguar: 3 scraps
67 Jaguar: 3 knothide leather
67 Jaguar: 3 knothide leather
68 Croc: 1 scrap (and then I got drafted for a Shadow Labs run...)
So I walked out with 20 knothide leather (1 stack) and 10 scraps, not too bad for 30 minutes effort. Now originally I was thinking, these fights are too long and maybe it would be just as fast to kill regular 67-68 mobs and skin them. But now that I'm really looking at the numbers, I'm not sure I could kill 3 mobs in the same time it took for one BM beast. Truthfully, the BM critters were taking me down to 30-40% health each time and I was having to heal/bandage after each fight. So it's not like I was cutting through them like a hot knife through butter or anything.
I think the main reason that this method may be better is that you get 2-3 leather off of 66% of the kills. Only 4 of the 13 beasts I killed dropped a lone scrap of knothide. While this ratio of leather/scraps might be equivalent to regular mobs, none of the world mobs have a chance to drop multiple scraps or multiple leathers the remaining 2/3rds of the time. This is where I think BM skinning might pull ahead of world skinning in terms of time investment. I never actually documented my normal skinning kill speed and drop rate, so I can't say for certain. Plus the fact that some classes (hunters) can drop a green mob faster than others, so the efficiency rate would be slightly different for everyone.
In the end, I think this plan has merit. Obviously you'd have to compare for yourself with 30 minutes of world skinning vs 30 minutes of BM skinning and see if it's more efficient for you. But IMO the drop rate itself is better -- it's the difficulty of the BM mobs that muddies the waters a bit.