Tips for Cataclysm Gathering

I don't know about you guys, but I've been farming my butt off this first week! Lots of ore for my jewelcrafter, some herbs for my Alchemist and a ton of leather for Kaliope. I've also been collecting some general information and tips that I can share with you guys :)

I think skinning is the least discussed gathering topic, so I'll talk about that first. This tradeskill is very easy to level up, I didn't even bother using my Finkle's Skinner. Something to keep in mind is that phasing can still bite you even though you're not dealing with nodes. I read on Wowhead that the dragonkin in Mount Hyjal will phase away if you finish all the quests there. Luckily I got fed up trying to kill Nemesis with that stupid turtle that aggroes everything - and I left Hyjal for Vashj'ir. So I'm about 10 quests shy of completing Hyjal and the dragons are still phased in for me. I was able to complete Deepholm with no major losses, I also finished Uldum but I haven't checked on all the various critters there. I know the crocs along the river are still phased in and I try to pick up some freebies whenever I'm flying through. I was able to hit 85 without tackling Twilight Highlands, so I have nothing useful to share about that zone.

Something else I discovered this week is that skinners can collect an item called a strange bloated stomach. I actually saw a few of these in Beta, but it was after I had done the bulk of my skinning and I didn't have a good fix on what it was. Apparently this is the skinner's nod to the volatile collection process. Each bloated stomach contains 1-2 volatiles, I don't think I've seen more than two yet. So far I've been able to collect all five types of volatiles this way. Unfortunately the drop rate is pretty low. Last night I went out and skinned 100 critters and got only 3 bloated stomachs. This is a pretty typical ratio for me, sometimes I'll get as many as five but in general we're talking about a pretty low percentage. Considering how many volatiles are required for Leatherworking goods, I really think this drop rate should be bumped closer to the rate for Miners and Herbalists.

The big challenge this week has been mining. I'm still trying to farm up all the uncommon gems needed to cap Jewelcrafting. Even though I'm putting in about an hour a day in the morning and another right before bed, I'm still short on the mats needed to transmute meta gems. I've been trying to come up with some good strategies for farming, but it's hard with all the competition out there. I still think that avoiding quests in Mount Hyjal is a good starting point. Too many players are complaining about the lack of obsidium once they finish Hyjal, so you don't want to risk losing this on your Mining toon. You might also consider aborting Vashj'ir as well. I've had reasonable luck collecting obsidium there - even during prime time hours. It seems that few people bother Mining in the Kelp'thar Forest. Unfortunately I don't know what the phasing situation is like in Vashj'ir, so be careful! To be honest I've gone almost two levels on my Miner just from collecting ore. I've done maybe 20 quests total, mostly to unlock the seahorse mount in Vashj'ir. You may not need to do much questing if you're mining as much as I am!

I wish I had some amazing farming spots to share, but it seems whenever I find a good one more peeps turn up! I'll just try to share some general tips instead. First, I check the population of the zones I'm contemplating to see which is less crowded. You do this by typing:

/who uldum

If you get 49 names, you know you've capped out the list. In that case, I amend the search:

/who uldum 80-83

This will tell me how many players are in that level range and hopefully I'll get a number smaller than 49. Keep narrowing the level numbers until you fall under 49. Then do a second search for the next group (ie: 80-82, 83-85, etc). By doing this you can see how many players are in each zone and pick the least crowded one. Bear in mind this only shows your faction, so you can assume roughly double the number of actual players. I've found it quite handy for picking a zone to try mining. It's also helpful if you want to keep an eye on zone congestion and do something else until the crowds die down.

A few spots you might want to visit if you're just having no luck with Mining are The Abyssal Depths in Vashj'ir (far west end), the Kirthaven & Vermillion Redoubt areas of Twilight Highlands and the central area of Deepholm (Temple of Earth). These spots seem to attract less farmers than the more well-known areas. Also, I've heard good things about Tol Barad though I haven't actually been there myself.

I don't have any special tips for Herbalism yet - I've only done enough herb picking to level Alchemy to 500. If you're hurting for Stormvine, I was able to collect a couple of stacks in the Kelp'thar Forest. As with mining, not many players in this first section of Vashj'ir seem to be collecting nodes there. The northern portions of the Shimmering Expanse also seem to have reasonable herb coverage with lower competition.

As always, feel free to share any tips you've picked up this week in the Comments!


  1. One thing I've seen in Tol Barad (as a spectator, my own miner is not yet level 85) is rich pyrite. Its what got my husband to come out there and help me do the daily quests. His main is a miner. Mine is jc/enchant. So he doesn't have to worry about taking turns mining when he's helping me!

  2. I think skinning may be slightly more profitable for two reasons:

    "back in the day" my alts were all skining and (mine or herb) until near max level.

    1) I think new alts will be mine and herb since both can be tracked and both give XP which skinning does not.

    2) When I got the alt to 75+ and wanted to make them a profession with a cooldown (e.g. transmute alchemist) then skinning was the profession to get sacrificed.

    With the exception of wrathgate, I am not a fan of phasing. With cata it makes it difficult to quest with someone unless you are exactly in sync. And the gathering issues are quite annoying.

    I know in EVE Online there were certain missions (i.e. quests) that had minerals and you did not complete it for a week and kept mining each day. Knowing Blizzard's QA (be it weekly guild rep message, VotS mount, JC daily, pally hotfix) I cynically believe there is a quest somewhere in cata that if you get it you should not turn it in for gathering reasons.

    Re skinning: the dragon-like things in TH that you spear and ride and kill for a quest seem to drop black dragonscale somewhat more frequently than the ones on the ground. I am not sure if skinners should be in a hurry to complete that quest.

    thx for all your efforts!

    P.S. in both guilds I was in I checked guild achievements and there were about twice as many mining as herb nodes. JCs and BS and Eng use a lot of bars but the herbs for darkmoon will be massive!

  3. They recently increased the amount of obsidium in Deepholm. I haven't done much in Twilight Highlands but so far Deepholm is mining paradise. The drop rate for gems is ridiculously low though. My miner is also an herber and I find there are plenty of cinderbloom and heartblossom in Deepholm as well.

  4. What happened to the wowhead links?

  5. Vashir with it's multiple levels seems to be an issue for some. My husband (miner) has a trick where he will fly over the water and then once he is right on top of the nod, plunge into it's depths. This seems to help him because it's never above or below where he is, it's always below giving him one direction to focus on.


  6. Amazing post as usual!

    I never thought to utilize the /who when deciding where to farm ore/herbs, nice touch. Now only if they will add a /who botter....

    ALTOs Gold"ish" Advise- The Worst WoW Blog Ever!

  7. I apologize in advance if this is something everyone knew for the last 2 years, and I was too unobservant to see it:

    I had thought throughout WotLK that phasing was only a problem for gatherers because people out of phase might be harvesting the node you're sneaking up on.

    But I tracked a Cinder Blossom in Uldum (lvl 80, I was there just to gather the whipweed, but I'm willing to stoop to conquer). I could see it, but when I approached it, it disappeared. I assumed I had been too late and someone else had herbed it, but after walking a few feet, it reappeared.

    It was straight out of an Abbot and Costello film, where one of them tries to drink from a water fountain, and the water receded as his mouth drew near, and returned when he backed off. There was a phased area, in the phase I was in, the flower wasn't there; outside of the area looking in, it was there.

    I tried 3 times to swoop in and herb it before it disappeared; It did let me start herbing it, but twice I was fast enough to make a photo finish between the 2 sec cast and the item disappearing. I don't know if it'd let me actually loot it if I were faster. I left and entered enough times to convince myself that it was crossing an invisible line that caused the plant to vanish within a few seconds.

    Since then I've seen several cases where I flew over where a node I was tracking should have been but wasn't, turned around and it was in relatively plain sight. I can't be sure that I didn't overlook them, but I believe some of them merely required a few seconds to fade into view; I haven't caught it fading in yet. The time necessary for it to appear seems to be within 2-4 sec.

    I've also repeatedly seen nodes on the minimap disappear when I walked away (to get a different node); when I flew back to where I was sure the blip was, it didn't reappear on my minimap for a few seconds, even though I was almost ontop of it. At first I attributed it to lag, but I now suspect that it was the result of the opposite of the whipweed (in the default phase the node wasn't there, but when I entered the phased zone, I was in the right phase to see it).

    I'm convinced Blizzard can now have phased areas that only have nodes in phases when there are monsters to defend them.

    I've only entered Mt. Hyall once on my gatherer, and did several circuits without finding much; I hadn't done any quests. Has anyone else tried it? I wonder if it was just my bad luck that others got the nodes before me, or if you actually have to do some quests for some of Hyall's ore to appear.

  8. On my server, mining elementium in Uldum worked better than trying for obsidium. There is still a lot of competition and ore ninja-ing in Hyjal and Vashj'ir. Prospecting elementium gives a fair amount of the green gems along with some blues, which I'm saving for later. There's even a bit of pyrite there.

  9. Thanks for sharing your tips folks! I've been varying the zones I go to in an effort to find a stable mining area, on my server there's just too many miners to make any real headway on that.

    As for the phasing issues with ore - nodes are absolutely tied to different phases. I have seen numerous nodes in Hyjal where I fly toward a node that is there and it vanishes when I get within striking distance, then I fly away and it pops back up on the map. This same pattern occurred for me in Beta when the server populations were much lower, so it's not a sniping issue. At this point I've deduced two specific nodes in Hyjal that are out of phase with me, whenever I see them on my map I know they are not accessible. These two nodes will consistently show up on my map, disappear when I try to mine them, and reappear when I walk away.

    From what I can tell, most of the ore in Hyjal is not phased. If you're having trouble finding ore on a toon with no quests done, most likely the nodes are just being farmed to death. On my server players are actually camping specific spawn spots instead of flying around. The level of competition in Hyjal is pretty fierce!

  10. I've more-or-less given up farming metal on my server even though I've a maxed lvl 84 druid.

    The prices in the AH are expensive, but so is the income from anything made with the metal.

    And with the amount of people farming (I don't believe I'm seeing bots, just alot of players with the same idea) nodes are scarce, and metal in the AH is plentiful with people undercutting all the time.

    Herbs and Violent Life [sic] are still worth farming for, especially for Inscription, but I expect that to change soon. My playtime's too valuable to farm, when the mats are purchasable, and money flows in from other sources.

    The exception is skinning. The price of hides is actually rising, and at 10g a leather it's worth farming. AoE farming leather with the treasurefinding potion buff brings in a steady trickle of cloth and volatiles as well.

  11. Thanks for a great article!! I am a miner and herbalist. I have not been selling the ore or herbs I get. I give them to my friends/guildmates. I wish I would have been selling them thou!! I could afford 310 flying on my alt haha. I have gotten so much XP from mining and herbing in Vashj'ir that I dinged 83 and still have 10 quests left in Vashj'ir. I do notice that Hyjal is lacking in the amount of herbs/ore that Vash has. Is Hyjal more popular than Vashj'ir? My alt is an 81 alchy/herb. And I have had lots of trouble finding availible herb nodes. I am prolly not going to finish the Vash quests and just go to Deepholm, specially since you talked about how they put more nodes there! Thanks again!!