In case any of you missed my previous Beta posting on Smithing, I thought I'd revisit this particular stretch of the leveling process and add my current experiences to it. As you other Smiths probably know, expansion smithing is a serious horror. Since I knew going into it that I would be sucking up a ton of materials, I planned very carefully to traverse the path of least resistance.
This started with Kaliope and Krystella sending me all their unidentified plant parts, as well as purchasing cheap lots on the Auction when I spotted them. I got my CE rep up to Honored as quickly as possible to open up the Adamantite Weightstone and Sharpening Stone recipes. These recipes only last 5 points until they turn green, but I promise you they are much cheaper than any other recipes at this stage. If you really want to milk them you can go for 360 when they turn grey. They actually sell pretty well on my server so that's a reasonable choice.
At 355 I started making the Felsteel Whisper Knives. I know the mats are not terribly inviting, but frankly the mats for other viable recipes are just as bad. The upside to the Knives is that A) They sell at a higher price point than other recipes you'll be able to make now and B) You can learn this from the trainer... no rep farming or mob farming required. Don't expect to make back the cost of materials on any of these items, it's not going to happen. But if you go with the Knives you should be able to get from half to 2/3rds of your component investment. With the plate armor you'll be lucky if you can get enough to cover 1 or 2 primals.
If you really want to ease the path to 375 as much as you can, you could try farming the Felsteel armor set. The plans drop in various instances and have a low drop rate, so this would require a lot of farming too. On the other hand the mats are ridiculously cheap, just a handful of felsteel bars per item. Since my hunter is not going to be a raider, I chose not to go the instance farming route. Plus I didn't think I'd have much luck finding groups for her, Hunters aren't the easiest class to PUG with.
I did however pick up the Flamebane Bracers recipe from my Aldor vendor, since I had a bunch of Marks saved from Kaliope and Krystella's adventures. So if you want to use that recipe (or the Scryer version) instead of the Knives, feel free to do so. I only made one of those myself, just to break the monotony of Air Mote farming. I saved it for my wee tank girl to use someday if she needs FR gear when she grows up, rofl.
The run from 355 to 365 went fairly well, I only had one miss in terms of lost skill points. Of course, I was cursing that one item that didn't grant me a point, but a 90% overall hit rate is pretty decent. Now that I'm at 365 I plan to use the nifty Ragesteel Gloves I lucked into to make the final push. It requires a ton of Primal Fires (about 60 for 10 gloves) but I've been hoarding Khorium and Fel Iron in preparation for this phase so hopefully I can make this happen pretty quickly. Wish me luck!