Cataclysm Leatherworking Leveling Guide (450-525)

Since we're getting down to the wire here, I decided to take on Leatherworking. I know this isn't a super-popular profession, but Kaliope has had it since I first created her six years ago. That makes Leatherworking special to me, even when it falls out of favor. Additionally, I have three characters who wear leather-crafted gear (hunter/druid/rogue). So my toons make out like bandits when I level it up :)

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


  1. well looks like my hunter is going to be busy!

    keep up the great work kaliope!

  2. Ouch! Well, LW is an expensive hobby. Here's hoping my guildies will help me out some!

  3. Has blizzard hinted at what the new bonuses for each profession are going to be?

  4. I think what you see on the recipes lists is what we're getting. Most professions have the same perks they did previously. For Leatherworkers it's the bracer enchants at 500 skill.

  5. I remember back in the day when LW could craft nice BoP epic's, that would be a nice bonus.

  6. Wowhead has heavy savage leather as orange from 425 to 485 - was that not your experience? Wouldn't that be the easiest/cheapest way to go from 450-485?

  7. No, I have it turning yellow at 490 and green at 495 in my beta screenshots. You'll notice that regular Savage Leather is listed as yellow @ 440 and green @ 445. The Wowhead information has to be an error, Blizzard would never allow us to learn the heavy leather recipe before/with the regular one. Plus I've never seen a recipe that stayed orange for 60 skill points, it would essentially negate the leveling process.

    You may also note that some 30 other recipes are indicating a starting skill level of 425. This is another a sign that we're dealing with bad data, Blizzard would be unlikely to hand out 30 new recipes in one step like that unless it was the current level cap.

    I'm guessing that Wowhead is trying to update their database and this listing is an aberration stemming from that process.

  8. stuck @ 508 with my LW.. no sign of any of the pvp crafteds u mention in your article... but you also dont name the NPC or the location. any tips?

    much obliged

  9. If you visit my site at Crafter's Tome, you'll see the 510-525 recipes with the two vendors listed in the "Location" column. You can click on either name to get more information about that vendor, including their location. Here is a link to the Alliance gal:

    Misty Merriweather

    You won't be able to see her until you reach level 84 and unlock the quests at Highbank in Twilight Highlands. The town is phased and cannot be accessed without doing the quests.

    Good Luck!

  10. Great guide! helped me get Realm first LWer on Azgalor!


  11. Cloak of beast goes yellow at 505 and only gives 1skill up after that so that phase requires more

  12. oops my bad you taken it into consideration already :) sorry

  13. Yep, you have to crank out more of them at that point. If you make the first one at 501 (as I have it shown) and the second at 504, you only have to squeeze out 3 more points from that recipe. I have the mats calculated for 6 cloaks to get the last 3 points and that should be pretty close for a yellow item.

    Don't worry, the guide has the change from orange to yellow @ 505 taken into account :)

  14. No worries, it's a valid concern! It's good that other readers are sure it's covered :)

  15. Just a thought for saving some Heavy Savage Leather...if you farm in the dragonkin area of Mt. Hyjal (down by Sethira's Roost), there are many Black Dragonscale drops (and lots of skins lying around from people questing there constantly). It's pretty easy to get 60 of them together to make a Cloak of War, which is the alternative to Cloak of Beasts. This might help you grind through that nasty 505-510 phase, where nothing is a sure-point red.

  16. I second that Oak - same spot was a favorite for me in Beta. You can collect tons of scales from the piles of dead bodies left by questers there :)

    There's also a spot in Vashj'ir that I liked to camp at where you kill crabs for a Goblin dude. It's the same place where he gives you another quest to collect air for his inflatable balloon. Lots of players have to kill crabbies there, so I just loitered and skinned crabs.

    Another spot in Vashj'ir that was pretty hopping this week was the Briny Serpent quest spot. Tons of folks killing briny serpents and leaving dozens of dead bodies all over. I could have skinned all day there!

  17. It seems that the place in MH is not available after You complete the whole questline, including killing Ragranos

  18. Thanks for sharing that! I wondered if it would be phases away but I haven't managed to finish Hyjal yet so it's still there for me.

  19. I just wanted to say thank you for this great guide for leveling LW
    I got my realm first achievement and this guide has really been a great help, so thanks!


  20. Thanks Kaliope! Even Wowhead's not updated to list all the LW recipes properly...this is a huge help!

  21. Are there any areas a skinner should keep unphased? (I'm thinking of the infamous nerubian chitin phased area in Lich King.)

  22. Could you please post a link to the Horde LW vendor that sells 510+ recipes.

    I was unable to locate it on your site.

  23. Horde Leather Trader is Threm Blackscalp

    I think skinners might be wary of questing fully through Mount Hyjal. I've heard rumors that the dragonkin of Serithia's Roost phase out, which would remove a good source of blackened scales.

  24. I'm havin a little problem... i'm stuck at 509. i've made 5 cloak of beasts at this level still with no skill up. has anyone else experienced this? any help would be great.

  25. I also had a bit of bad luck with the Cloak of Beasts when I leveled my Leatherworking. I ended up making more than I originally planned for and had to purchase extra volatiles from the Auction. Unfortunately the two cloak recipes are the only reasonable way to reach 510 skill. The recipes you have right now are the only ones available to you until you get that final skill point. I agree that it's frustrating, but to my knowledge there's no way around that particular road bump.

  26. I'm having the same problem with 509 LWing. I've made at least 7 cloaks and I'm still 509. I may end up petitioning for them to look into this.

  27. It's been my experience that yellow recipes should give skill points at least 50% of the time. If you are making seven in a row with no skill point, that would indicate the recipe isn't performing according to it's skill setting. Four or five crafts is unlikely, but still in the realm of plausible. Once you hit six or seven tries with no skill point, I would suspect a problem and petition a GM about it.

  28. I did.

    They replied with:

    "It appears the behavior you are experiencing is intended operation." And to go to the forum and post suggestions.

  29. Ouch! I'm not sure where to go with that. I guess you guys are stuck with the Cloak madness until you get those last few points. I'm sorry to hear that. I don't think it's appropriate for a recipe with those mats to be giving such lackluster skill points.

  30. I had the same problem with that cloak recipe
    I was going for realm first and had to relog to my bank alt 3 times in those last dying moments before getting the actually cheev

    It took me 6 crafts which was quite a lot more then i expected after reading your guide :P

    Anyway, maybe you could change the amount of leather needed in the guide? So people are better prepared for needing a few extra tries

  31. I have the mats doubled on that particular item because the recipe is yellow. I can add a note to let people know about it being a troublesome spot as well :)

  32. I have had the same problem at 509 and the ticket answer was that it is a know bugged, and will be fixed.

  33. Ahh, thank you for sharing that :) I'm sure our other LW peeps will be happy to know that Blizzard considers it a problem, even if they aren't publicly discussing it.

  34. Now you need only 8 heavy savage leathers for each craft above 510, which is great :)

  35. Hey great site mate, just wondering what the rare pvp armor is your talking about at 501 - 525?

  36. Ben: The Rare PVP armor is sold in Twilight Highlands at Highbank (Alliance) or Dragonmaw Port (Horde).

  37. Just been over to look at the Twilight Highlands vendor recipes - it appears that the epics on page 5 of the vendors list are available at 425??? A guildie bought these at 510 points & was mighty upset when he couldn't use them yet! I'm guessing this is just an incorrect tooltip but I've not seen it mentioned anywhere so thought I'd add it here, just in case.

  38. Yes, it is most likely mislabeled. I'm hesitant to modify our database just yet, because that will likely prompt corrections as well. I can add a note to those items to indicate their questionable status though :)

  39. I bought and tried to use the 425 recipies, with an error of "Item was not found" petitioned and the response is that they are incorrectly labeled and will be useable at 525 skill

  40. This error with the recipes at 425 is being corrected in the next patch and I am updating my database to reflect the changes. The confusion should be over in the next few days :)

  41. are there any other places besides twilight highlands and SW for high level patterns id like to find all available besides whats posted above? please send me a message in arathor Thank you Winterhawk

  42. High level recipes can now be purchased from trade vendors in any major city. Trade vendors are usually located next to their respective profession trainer.

  43. I'm wondering about the 530 skill level required for skinning bosses in Cataclysm. I'm trying to get the dagger from The Beast in The Furnace in BRS. It adds +10 to our skill level when equipped, so it's said. Any truth to this? Anyone have experience skinning bosses in Cata? Also, can we still get a skinning enchant on a pair of gloves?

    Thanks for all your work,

    IyaYansa, Lvl 85 Night Elf Hunter, Kael'Thas

  44. You can still use the skinning enchant and Finkle's dagger, but so far I haven't run into mobs that can't be skinned. I've been skinning trash in Firelands for months. We're working on our first boss, so I may know more after we take him down if his dogs are skinnable.