MoP Beta Files: Leveling Zen Leatherworking

Today I tackled Leatherworking as the next tradeskill to get some Beta action. I've actually been working on Leatherworking for a long time, mostly on the leather collection side. As a result I started with over 30 stacks of exotic leather and almost 4 stacks of prismatic scales. These are the new leather materials from Pandaria. My main goal in producing this guide is to propose a leveling path that conserves materials and still gets you to the Zen level cap. Luckily with some super sleuthing this week, I've been able to work that out.


In comparison to Cataclysm, Zen Leatherworking will be much easier to level. First of all, no funky ingredients are needed. You can get all the way to 600 skill with just leather, leather and more leather. I'm happy about this because it means no need for alts to provide additional items. On top of this, the amount of materials needed is significantly lower in this expansion. I feel like I'm seeing a trend here :)

Even though I had enough panda scales from skinning that I could have used them in my leveling plan, I did not. So far I've collected over 700 items from skinning and only 10% of the the drops were scales. With such a low drop rate, I didn't want to force anyone to use them up during the leveling process. You can easily reach the cap without them and that's what I planned out for the leveling guide. I'd prefer you save any scales you get for making marketable gear :)

As with other Zen professions, I'm not recommending the use of older recipes for early skill points in Leatherworking. One of the first things you'll learn from the Zen trainer is a recipe for exotic leather. This is good for at least 5 skill points and it's a more efficient use of materials. While you can combine the sha-touched leather (aka scraps) yourself without the recipe, I'm advising that you save 2-3 stacks of the sha stuff just for those early skill points.

If you won't be collecting your own leather, you may prefer to make Cataclysm recipes to get those points. In that case the Vicious Leather Legs/Chest are both still orange at 525 and have the lowest mats of the Cataclysm items (these recipes change to yellow @ 530). Or you can just use an extra stack of exotic leather and make some sha armor kits.

Going into this you should be aware that you can't get to 600 skill just using trainer recipes. These recipes dry up around 560 and stop being useful for skill points at 575. The last 25 skill points will require you to venture to VoEB and track down the trade vendor at the main city (Shrine of Seven Stars for Alliance, Shrine of Two Moons for Horde). You can use the instructions in my Mining guide to help you navigate there, just drop over the opposite side of the wall to land in VoEB.

One final tidbit before I get into the progression list, most of the Leatherworking recipes give you 2 skill points for each item crafted. As a result, the list doesn't break down nicely into 5 point increments. After the first 10 points or so, you'll end up in more of a 6/4/6/4 type of pattern. That's fine, just go with it. Once you cross into the next skill range on the list then switch to the newer recipes. In fact, you can save yourself about 10 leather if you purposely start a 6/4 split when you're making sha armor kits (go to 526 instead of 525). This will save you from needing to make the final crafted item at 599, assuming you don't have to make more than one armor kit for the point :)

So here we go!

525-530: Use the Exotic Leather recipe to convert sha-touched leather.
530-535: Sha Armor Kit | Misthide Boots (if you prefer not to make kits)
555-560: Misthide Gloves

At 575 you'll need to travel to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and find your profession vendor. For Alliance this is Tanner Pang at the Shrine of Seven Blossoms. Horde players can buy from Krogo Darkhide at the Shrine of Two Moons. Both of these vendors use the Spirit of Harmony as their currency for Leatherworking recipes. You will need 1 SoH to purchase the recipe needed for the final push to 600 skill. If you collected your own leather, this should be no problem. If not you'll probably spend 30-60 minutes killing mobs so you can get the motes you need.

The total materials used to reach the Zen level cap is 330 exotic leather and 1 Spirit of Harmony.

Realm First Suggestions
The most important thing you can do to prepare is to make sure you understand how to get to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Read my Mining guide carefully and try to familiarize yourself with the route. Being able to get around quickly and accurately may be a deciding factor in who gets the RF achievement. And make sure you have at least one Spirit of Harmony to purchase the recipe you need. It can't hurt to have an extra one just in case Blizzard makes a last minute change (not a problem if you farm your own leather).

The full list of Zen Leatherworking recipes is available in our recipe charts. You can also get more information about vendor locations and the new faction recipes that I did not mention here. To see just the MoP recipes you can use the "expansion" tab to filter the list.

If you have any questions about this guide, feel free to share it in the Comments!

21 comments:

  1. Did the shoulders you made from 576-600 give 2 or 3 skill points?

    I was looking at wowhead, which is often out of date in these things, and the orange recipes in that range give 3 or 4 skill points, with the 3-skills needing 15 leather and the 4-skill needing 20 leather.

    If this is the case on live, then any of the recipes will do. I only mention this because if 5 of your followers are in the same realm, they might never sell all their shoulders, but by varying them, they might turn a profit.

    If anyone has 2 SoH to buy recipes, and has taken your advice to level up on the even skills so they need 24 points for the last bit, be careful mixing 3-skill and 4-skill recipes or you'll need a few more leather.

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    1. The shoulder recipes give 3 skill points and use 15 leather each. So you'd be making 8 or 9 of them to get them to get the last 25 skill points (8 if you give yourself the extra 1 point buffer at 535, 9 if you don't). It can't hurt to farm an extra SoH if you're concerned about those recipes changing but in the current build the 575 recipes are good all the way to 600.

      I would agree that you should consider varying your purchases if you're not chasing a Realm First and I do that myself on my live characters. I listed the two leather recipes above, but you could also make the mail shoulders if you don't mind using your scales at that point. And if you have another SoH, you could purchase a new recipe at 590 and make 3-4 of those instead of more shoulders.

      I feel pretty comfortable that if you're doing your own skinning, you'd probably have at least 2 SoH by the time you get to 575. But if you are using two different toons (one skinner and a separate LW) then having to farm extra SoH could be too much of a time sink for a RF seeker.

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    2. Sorry, I meant that if the RF seeker wanted, they could make 6 chests instead of 8 shoulders for the same leather, and if too many people are making shoulders then it might be more profitable. and if they had 2 SoH they could make 3 chests and 4 shoulders.

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    3. I don't think you can escape making at least 5 shoulders, the chest recipes aren't available until 590. Probably the best you could do to minimize the shoulder glut would be to purchase a mail recipe instead of a leather recipe and use your prismatic scales. I suspect there would not be many folks opting for mail when leather is so plentiful.

      It seems like the best path for marketable goods would be to make mail shoulders, purchase a 2nd SoH recipe at 590, then make chest pieces until 600. Assuming you had a good supply of scales you could even go with a mail chestpiece. I'd be surprised if anyone had enough scales to do 5 shoulders and 3 chests though. In my months of farming I've only managed to collect about 75 of them, which would barely cover the 5 shoulders.

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    4. This is why I ask you questions instead of screwing it up next month. :)

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    5. No problem :) I'd rather people ask me now then run into a nasty surprise that costs them an achievement or ends up wasting materials.

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  2. You mention getting far more leather than scales while gathering materials. That's ok if your only goal is to level up, but for those of us actually trying to make gear for hunters and shamans it is a big problem. I made a post about this on the european beta bugs forum, explaining the problem in a bit greater detail - http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/5168357168 (so far there haven't been any replies to it).

    What I haven't tested myself yet is if the ratio of drop rates has changed recently. When you got those 30 stacks of leather and 4 stacks of scales, was that in a recent build or already a while ago? If the drop ratios stay as they are, and the required mats stay as they are as well, i think we are going to have a a bit of a problem as rogue/druid/monk crafted gear will have much cheaper mats than hunter/shaman gear.

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    1. Most of the leather was collected early on in the Beta, when I first arrived. Kaliope leveled through the first 2 zones and picked up a good bit of leather while questing. I also gathered some of it during my 2 skinning/mote of harmony tests. Very little of it was collected in the last month.

      I've noticed that the drop rate for some beast types appears to be better than others. Turtles and mushan all seem to drop scales reliably. It could just be a matter of focusing on the correct mobs. I would encourage any hunter/shaman out there to farm the turtles/mushan/other reptilian beasts as much as possible. It's pretty easy since there are multiple quests in VotFW that involve both turtles and mushan. It may not boost the drop rate a whole lot, but it could get you closer to your collection goals.

      I agree with your thoughts that the scales should be used in combination with the leather. That's how the recipes were done in Cata and I felt it worked out fairly well. I also noticed that mail gear held it's value much better than leather gear because of the extra effort involved in collecting scales. On the other hand, deep sea scales failed to become a commodity because they were ridiculously hard to farm. As a result most players avoided those recipes and no market ever solidified. So there is a balance needed and I think a drop rate of 20-30% on the scales is probably a better rate.

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  3. I understand your article is geared towards the 525-600 range. But I was curious if you had any experience with the 1-525 range. I'm interested in how much leather I will be needing to level up my monks LWing. I was hoping it will be easier than current but have not been able to find much information on it. Thanks!

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    1. I don't yet have a leveling guide for 1-525, but I do have guides for 1-300 on Crafter's Tome. You can see the LW one here. You can also browse through the archives on this blog (click "leatherworking" in the tags) and see all of the older leveling guides I wrote for previous expansions. I've been doing this since the Burning Crusade beta, so all of the content is still here!

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    2. Kal did you find any preferred spots to grind leather?
      Jaf

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  4. Kal, do you have any preferred location for levelling skinning? The section in the far south west of Vot4W has a mix of Koshun and turtles. Would you recommend any preferred locations from a mob number/level point of view? I'd like to mix it with SoH farming too, but that's a separate issue. Thanks for your brilliant guides sir!

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  5. Kaliope, just wanted to thank you for this I waited to level my Leatherworking on Beta and could not figure out where to get to 600. Training recipes cap you out around 585 (When everything turns gray). All I knew was that you needed to craft Contender's Gear. So thanks for the information, I"ll be double checking it this afternoon. :)

    As far as the Spirit of Harmony goes, I've leveled a couple different toons and no one should be worried about not having 1 SoH, you'll easily end up with 3-4+ just reaching 90 (not even counting skinning)

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  6. K, do you have any preferred area for farming leather? Far SW in Vot4W for mix of turtles and other mobs?

    Tyvm for your blog,
    Jaf

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  7. Wouldn't it be possible to level to 600 without a Spirit of Harmony considering the misthide chestguard doesn't grey out until level 600?

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  8. wouldn't it be possible to reach max level without a Spirit of Harmony, considering the misthide chestguard doesn't grey out until level 600?

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  9. For those pushing for Realm First, where do you recommend farming Exotic Leathers? My guild will be helping me, so it's important to have a fast respawn rate or maybe even beasts in packs, since there will be a solid 5-man party killing skinnable beasts. Great article by the way, and thanks for the map to the Alliance hub in the Vale.

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  10. Hey Kaliope, thanks so much for this post. I went through it the day before launch and it helped get my Realm First! You pointed me to the right direction for what to expect, research and look for. The best beta LW zen guide out :D

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  11. Just wanted to thank you for all your guides. I have leatherworker, jewelcrafter, enchanter, tailors and alchemist that will be looking to level up in MoP. Only saw brief action in the beta and it's good to have a source with basic steps for these professions.

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  12. Just a quick thanks for all your guides. I have at least one of every profession except blacksmith and inscription, and it's helpful to have all these well-organized guides in one place.

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  13. The scales are still a low drop rate and if I'm going to craft a full pvp set, it will cost me around 132 scales for mail versus the 132 leather. See the farming difference? It would be better for Blizzard to change the skins of turtles to scales with like a 75% rate to help this out.

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