I think Leatherworking has gone through a lot of upheaval during the Beta. I didn't actually level it early on, but I designed a leveling strategy several times. Even my most recent version was significantly different from what I actually did today. I think it went through at least three major revisions. This is the main reason I've waited until the end of Beta to level professions. I knew my information would be dead wrong if I tried to write a guide before they were done tweaking recipes. It could still be off a few weeks from now, but I think any changes that come along will be minor at this point.
The first thing you should understand is that almost all the gear recipes learned from the trainer use random stats. This means that the item crafted will have a variety of stats, either caster oriented or suited to physical dps. Most of the items I've seen have had pretty decent stats, but not always. I made five pairs of boots at one point and every one had Agility on it. Not very useful for a healing druid, but that's the luck of the draw. I know you guys can't see the tooltips on my recipes yet (that should start working once Wowhead updates the Cataclysm content to Live status) but the Darkbrand set is leather armor and the Tsunami set is Mail gear.
This is our first profession that uses a lot of volatile fire. I'm not a fan of this design, I'd prefer to see volatiles evenly distributed amongst the professions so you don't have one or two variants that players battle over. There are some spots where relying on volatiles is the most efficient use of materials, but I provide alternates for those who just can't get their hands on enough of them to justify the lower use of leather. For those last 25 points I think it's pretty much unavoidable, so focus on that area if you need to economize. Farming mobs may not be the best way to get volatiles, I've found mob drop rates to be lacking for most crafting materials. If you're having trouble, you may need to break out a Miner and start farming ore. That's how I got most of my volatile fire, it drops from elementium nodes.
I also want to share my experience with skinning, for those of you who might want to strategize your collection efforts. Deepsea scales come from mobs in Vashj'ir and Blackened Dragonscales come from dragonkin in Mount Hyjal. In my months of collecting I've gotten 28 deepsea scales, so you may have trouble farming these in quantity. I was able to gather about 10 stacks of dragonscales, mostly by farming in Hyjal. These drop rates could have changed, but be prepared for the worst. My guide does not force you to use these items, gathering them would be strictly for your own needs. If you're a mail wearer you'll need to calculate your use of scales separately where appropriate to make substitutions.
When you first start Leatherworking, some of your WotLK recipes will still be yellow and orange difficulty. You can use them if you wish, but the most they can save you is about 6 stacks of leather. Ultimately you'll need closer to 60+ stacks of leather to reach the new cap, so it's hard to justify this small savings which will leave you with largely useless items. If you are willing to do that, the best candidate I would use is the Drums of Forgotten Kings. This item turns green at 455 and gray at 470, so you could theoretically eek out 20 points with it. It's a lot less expensive than making epics that no one will buy and you can still possibly use the drums if you plan to level up with dungeons. Drums of the Wild is also viable, it just has less utility so I wouldn't favor it as the top choice. The bad news is that Savage Leather is gray at 450, so it's not usable for those at the current skill cap. The Savage Armor Kit turns green after just 2 skill points - not much help there either. All self-buff recipes are green as soon as you train them.
Since I know some of you are curious, I did find some multi-point recipes in Leatherworking. They aren't quite as handy as other professions because these recipes range from 2-3 skill points instead of 3-5 skill points. The rare leg armor doesn't give extra points at all, just the leather gear. Also the leather vendors have finally put up some prices on their recipes. All the recipes they sells are worth 10 heavy leather and you'll need three of them to reach the new skill cap. That's an extra 30 heavy leather needed for the leveling process, I'll be sure to include that in my final tally at the end of the guide.
All the trainer recipes will be green to you by 510 and gray by 515, so you really can't level Leatherworking without accessing the vendors in Twilight Highlands. As I've mentioned in previous posts, these vendors are phased and you cannot purchase from them unless you're level 84 and have done the handful of quests to activate them. The vendors are listed in our Leatherworking chart for the recipes they carry, you can click on their names to see a detailed description of their location.
Even though you only have 15 skill points left at 510, each vendor recipe changes to yellow after just 5 skill points. Therefore I assume you're going to purchase a new recipe every five points. Each of the recipes I tested gave 2 skill points at orange difficulty, which means you're better off purchasing a new recipe than trying to get skill points from a yellow recipe. There are 8+ recipes to choose from at each skill level, so I just list them as "Rare PVP" instead of specifying one. All recipes at the same level also have roughly the same materials, except that mail uses 2 less pieces of leather in favor of 10 blackened scales.
Here are my recommendations for leveling Leatherworking from 450-525:
|450-455:||Darkbrand Bracers or Tsunami Boots (35 savage leather)|
|455-460:||Darkbrand Bracers / Belt or Tsunami Shoulders (35 savage leather)|
|460-465:||Darkbrand Belt or Savage Cloak (35 savage leather)|
|465-470:||Savage Cloak (35 savage leather)|
|470-475:||Darkbrand Boots (50 savage leather)|
|475-480:||Scorched Leg Armor (30 savage leather + 20 volatile fire)|
Alt: Darkbrand Shoulders or Tsunami Gloves / Belt (60 savage leather)
|480-485:||Twilight Leg Armor or Scorched Leg Armor (30 savage leather + 20 volatile fire/water)|
Alt: Darkbrand Chestguard / Shoulders or Tsunami Leggings / Gloves (60 savage leather)
|485-490:||Heavy Savage Leather (25+ savage leather)|
|490-495:||Darkbrand Leggings (3 skill points) (8 heavy savage leather + 24 volatile earth)|
Alt: Tsunami Helm (25 heavy savage leather)
|495-501:|| Cloak of Beasts (16 heavy savage leather + 4 each volatile air/fire/earth/water)|
Alt: Darkbrand Helm (30 heavy savage leather)
|501-510:||Cloak of Beasts (64 heavy savage leather + 16 each volatile air/fire/earth/water) (Users report this item gives poor skill points, materials may go higher than listed. Consider doubling the mats shown if you want to avoid getting stuck here.)|
|*** All trainer recipes are green ***|
|510-516:||Rare PVP armor, 2 skill points each (30 heavy leather + 30 volatile fire)|
|516-520:||Rare PVP armor, 2 skill points each (20 heavy leather + 20 volatile fire)|
|520-525:||Rare PVP armor, 2 skill points each (30 heavy leather + 30 volatile water)|
Final Tally for materials used is:
250-358 Savage Leather
168-182 Heavy Savage Leather (840-910 savage leather)
30 Heavy Savage Leather to buy recipes
Volatile Fire = 90-110
Volatile Water = 50-102
Volatile Earth = 44
Volatile Air = 20