MoP Beta Files: First Look at Zen Mining

Last night herb and ore nodes were activated in the first zone of Pandaria, Jade Forest. I hunted for ore in two other zones (Valley of the Four Winds, Krasarang Wilds) but did not find any nodes there. It looks like we get just the starter gathering materials for now. I was still leveling my Panda Monk miner when the changes were made, so I spent some time in Cataclysm zones to get my Mining up to 490. I purposely stopped at 500 so I would be able to see the gathering requirement for the new ore.

You may be wondering why I stopped at 490 instead of 500. Well, that's because of the changes to the Mining Pick. On the Beta realm, the standard Mining Pick you purchase from vendors has a +10 skill buff. Here's the tooltip for the pick:

As a result, your Mining skill is always 10 points higher than your actual skill level. As a tester, I could not take this buff off without losing my ability to collect ore. This made careful skill leveling more challenging, but for most players this will be a bonus. So I left Twilight Highlands at 490 (effective level 500) to test the Panda ore and see what level it required. The Mining trainer was offering the smelting ability at 515, so I was pretty sure the ore would be the same. But it doesn't hurt to double-check these things :)

I was able to confirm that Ghost Iron requires a Mining skill of 515. As a happy bonus, I also found some Rich Ghost Iron nodes and they had a skill requirement of 550. I was actually pretty impressed that there were rich nodes in the very first zone, since that hasn't been the case in WotLK or Cataclysm. Another observation I made is that ore is pretty plentiful in the zone. It's not unusual to have 2-4 nodes showing on your mini-map as you travel across the zone. Granted, once the masses show up this will not remain so, but it was nice to see that the devs have planned for lots of node locations.

Here's a picture of a ghost iron deposit:

And here's a picture of a rich ghost iron deposit:

You can see that ghost iron is orange for my panda and remains so through 525.

Hagu has kindly pointed out that I left off the XP numbers for Mining. I did actually track XP while I was mining but just didn't remember to include them in the post. I went ahead and added some Cataclysm numbers for comparison purposes:

Obsidium vein @ level 85 = 5500 xp
Rich Obsidium vein @ level 85 = 8800 xp
Elementium vein @ level 85 = 8800 xp
Rich Elementium vein @ level 85 = 13,900 xp
Pyrite vein @ level 85 = 8800 xp
Ghost Iron deposit @ level 85 = 13,900 xp

The Pyrite number looks pretty out of place to me, but you can see that ghost iron is equivalent to the rich elementium. I kinda think ghost iron should be a bit higher than Cata ores, but since it kicks in at 515 I can make an argument for it to be the same. It's possible that these will be tweaked before launch, but I'm guessing they're pretty solid. What I like about this chart is you can see that there is not really a penalty for collecting higher Cata ores vs. lower MoP ores. This may make the Realm First races kind of interesting in terms of strategy.

That's all I'm able to share for now, but I'll be sure to keep an eye on other zones and let you know when I find more content!


  1. Thanks again!

    What is the [Beta subject to change] XP situation? How many regular node will level you from 85 to 86?

  2. Crap! I knew I was forgetting something =) I have those numbers in my notes, I'll update the post and add that. Thanks for asking!

  3. I forgot to check the details, but I did "ding" from 87 to 88 by picking up a "Green Tea Leaf" (the lowest level pandaria herb), so at least you get some experience for it, and enough of it to be significant.

    More from the herbalism front: "Golden Lotus" (the green quality herb) is a separate plant, which occasionally spawns instead of a normal herb - I picked up two lotuses in locations where I found tea leaves before.

  4. I started working on Herbalism today as well and I hope to post about that next. I did not find any lotus during my travels, so I appreciate you sharing that information :) I'll have to keep an eye out for it!

  5. Herbs seem to be far more prolific than I expected them to be. I look forward to seeing your numbers.

  6. Is the buff Beta only, to make leveling mining easier for testing?

    When the expansion arrives I planned to sell a hundred Gnomish Army Knives because they've got a +10 bonus to all gathering in the beta. If this is just a temporary thing, I'll scale it back to a score or so.

  7. I have no reason to believe it's a Beta-only change. Typically our Blizzard guys do not like to make special changes to support testing as they want real world data from testers. When they do provide test-only support, it's more likely to be for something that testers cannot provide themselves, such as glyphs that don't exist on Live realms. Alternately they use tools such as premade toons to force players to conform to a specific metric that otherwise players would thwart, such as gear level. Currently the premade toons in Beta have a gear level of 378, which makes it pretty obvious to me that they want content tested against 378 gear. I don't recall ever seeing anything introduced in a Beta/PTR that was done purely as a convenience to the players.

    But the mining pick I found was on the regular vendor in Stormwind and I have checked several others. It's the item itself that's been changed across all vendors. This is not the kind of change I would expect to see made purely for testing purposes. Given the fact that all premade characters come with capped Enchanting, anyone who wanted a gathering boost could easily just use a premade to create a Gatherer scroll. Making a change to the pick would not have been necessary to provide a boost for testers.

    In general, crafting content seems to be the red-headed stepchild of the Beta/PTR. I rarely even see blue posts on it. Even when there are obvious bugs (like whole professions disappearing from your character) workarounds/fixes aren't announced in patch notes nor do they get responses from Blues. In two weeks and six pages of posts on the Item/Profession forums, only 3 posts had a Blue response and none of them were about professions (they were about items).

    Sad to say, but professions really get no love on Beta. Not to overwhelm you with information, but it's the systemic lack of support on all levels of testing that leads me to reject the idea that they would modify the pick and then revert it for launch. I hope you haven't made the Gnomish knives yet because I would seriously reconsider that plan :(

    Honestly I'm not ready to call anything where MoP professions are concerned. There's just too much wildly in flux at the moment for me to be confident about anything in the way of MoP strategy. That's just my thoughts, but I tend to be conservative about these things =)

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  9. Do you know if the Gnomish Army Knife gives the same +10 bonus as the mining pick?

  10. Actually, the Gnomish Army Knife has no bonus at all. The only benefit to using it would be to consolidate tools if you have BS/Mining or some other profession combination that would require you to carry multiple tools in your bags. But with the +10 bonus to Mining on the vendor pick, I would be hard-pressed to choose the Army Knife over it, personally.

  11. I'm seeing bonus mining/herbing/skinning +10 on the gnomish army knife. It doesn't stack with gathering enchant.

    I transferred my gathering slave druid over this afternoon (and bought her a set of gear off the vendor). It is a yellow dot zoo. Two herbs and a lotus. Normal and rich ore.

  12. If you trained Zen herbing before, you may have to do it again. I was at 559, but I had to train it again before the nodes would acknowledge that I could pick herbs.

  13. I had the same problem with Skinning, but after I retrained all Skinning levels I was able to skin again. This seems to work with any borked professions, as my Blacksmith was able to get her skill back this way too.

  14. Note about the bonus.
    I leveled a toon in dual gathering on the beta and I can tell you the bonus is capped at +10
    I tried it with herb gloves +5 and Army knife +10 = total on spellbook +10
    tried it with herb gloves +5 and new herb spade +10 = total on spellbook +10
    tried it with herb gloves +5 Chant +5 and spade +10 = total on spellbook +10
    tried it with gloves +5 chant +5 and army knife +10 = total on spellbook +10
    No matter what the combo max bonus was +10
    No idea if the bonus +10 will stack with racials.

    Note on gathering tools all tools give the same +10 skill in the relevant field.
    pick - hammer pick - army knife - mining +10
    army knife - herb spade - herbing +10

    Side note last night I smelted several stacks of ghost ore and while the ore diapered I got 0 bars !!!!

    1. Tagging this post as mine wasn't logged in when I wrote it only noticed it when checking for new comments

  15. TYVM - you're awesome!

    But the +10 bonus has me confused; I can't guess what they were trying to address. Surely it can't just be to ruin the market for herb gloves & gatherer enchants.

  16. Yes, thank you Anon! I do not have a Gnomish Army Knife or my Engineer on the Beta, so I had no way to check the Knife for changes. Nice testing =)

    As for the ghost iron ore, I saw a thread on this in the forums, it appears to be a known bug with ghost iron bars (NYI apparently). So hold onto your ore and don't smelt yet.

    1. Anon is awesome but I meant you; Kaliope is the awesomest. THe latest proof is you answered my XP question.

      If leveling continues to be more and more trivial timeframe, then I am tempted to level my first toon as herb/miner just from gathering since that is the most profitable time to do it.

      But it is too soon to make any decisions, especially where professions are concerned.

    2. TY Hagu - you're too kind! I was only able to jump on that request because I had the numbers right in my notes. It was an oversight to leave them out.

      I can certainly see the temptation to skip questing and go with gathering or some other alternate (Arch) to level for a variety of reasons. The financial boost would be one, avoiding the glut of players another. Blizzard has said they want to support a variety of playstyles, so I would keep that notion on the back burner. I think my upcoming Cooking post might interest you in that regard :)

    3. @Hagu
      Another thing to think about is they are using a lot of phasing.
      So without doing the quest lines whole areas will not even be populated for you.

      I have maxed crafters of each main and secondary skill transferred over from live.
      All the crafts are maxed as far as possible in the beta current state.
      Also have tons of pre-MoP mats if you need any I way past using them.
      Should you need any help investigating this or that feel free to drop m a note.

    4. @Desade - but in light of the mess that was Hyjal node phasing, the question is what will not be populated? If the nodes are in my phase-of-the-noob but the mobs are not, then it is great. Even if I can get nodes that people on flying mounts that have completed the zone can't that's fine. If there are zero nodes until I phase in - the most likely but nothing is ever certain with Blizzard & professions - then my lowbies are useless until they slog through the zone.

    5. The fly in the ointment here is that Blizz is messing with phasing in Pandaria. That makes it even harder to figure out what the right tactics are. I have already watched nodes vanish before my eyes when there was no one anywhere around me. The cross realm phasing technology is a wildcard factor here and we have no information to guide us on how it affects nodes. For now we have to assume we're dealing with a whole new ballgame.

  17. Desade: Thank you so much for the offer! I'm still mulling over how much I want to tackle in terms of testing but I will keep you in mind if I do any pre-MoP projects :)

  18. The phasing is a real mess I think.
    Some places you got nothing there other places you got mobs but nothing else other places you got everything but are not able to interact with NPCs.
    If I am not mistaken I swear nodes must be persistent between phases as I had them mined/herbed from under me actually saw the message of blah blah mines ghost iron but noone was in my sight.