MoP Beta Files: Round One Mining

Yesterday I mentioned that I was working on a Mining guide. I also mentioned I was having issues. I think I managed to work out some of the kinks in my plan, so here goes. Some of you have already hit on the trouble spots with Gathering (let's call it that to distinguish it from Farming). Panda zones have phasing and some hubs are completely absent until you've quested through them. While I can't promise this won't bite you, I personally have not run into any massive roadblocks due to this. From my experience in Beta there's enough content/areas available that leveling Mining is very workable from a volume standpoint.


The main problem with Mining is access to high level ore. There just isn't very much of it, even if you get yourself to a higher zone. I took my 85 rogue to Kunlai Summit and while there's some ore on the map, it's pretty much the same ghost iron you will find in the lower zones. The vast majority of the ore I've seen in all the zones is ghost iron. Unfortunately ghost iron ore grays out around 580, so getting those last 20 points is hard. At this time in Beta, you can still get skill points for mining gray nodes. If this changes before launch, getting a Realm First on Day One could be impossible. I say this now as a huge caveat to the information that follows!

Obviously you'll want to get yourself to Pandaria as soon as you can. Camp your Miner in Stormwind (Orgrimmar for Horde?) near the Mining trainer. Train Zen Mining as soon as you log in and then start sprinting through the quests. The first quest is a pop-up that triggers when you enter Stormwind, but that may not be functioning well when mass players hit the city. If you don't get the pop-up, ride into Stormwind Keep/Grommash Hold to start the chain. After a couple of quests you'll zone into Pandaria, then just ditch the quest chains and just hoof it to Valley of the Four Winds. You want to get to the middle of the Jade Forest, along the western border. Just follow the western road north as I've shown on this map:


If you stay on the road as I've depicted above, you'll end up at a bridge that crosses into Valley of the Four Winds. From there you can reach Halfhill with minimal aggro (there's a quest area with virmen just past Pang's stead that you may want to skirt around). You can see on this next map that you simply follow the main road west (marked in red) to Halfhill. After that you continue west to the yellow section marked "The Heartland".



This is where you should be able to find plentiful ghost iron. I've done the bulk of my ore gathering in this area. If for some reason you have too many folks infringing on you, travel a bit further west to the second yellow area. This section also has plentiful ore and few if any players hang out here. You can collect ore on the outskirts of Paoquan Hollow and up around the plateau east of it. Hopefully one of these two locations will be workable for you.

Ghost iron nodes are orange when you start, then change to yellow around 540, green around 565, then gray around 580. Rich ghost iron cannot be mined until 550 (540 with your pick) and will be green by 580 (don't have a number for yellow, not enough nodes for me to keep tabs on that). By 590 all of the ghost iron nodes will be gray to you. However, I was able to keep getting skill points all the way to 600. I don't know if this will be corrected by launch or if it's intended. If you choose to stay in VotFW where the ore is plentiful and the aggro is near zero, you can still grind out the last 10-15 points on ghost iron ore. The skill up rate is around 10% which means you'll be farming a very large amount of ore. I finished my test run with about two full bags of ore.

I do have an alternate strategy, but I'm not sure which of them will end up being faster. I've done a second pass of this process on another Miner. In the alternate strategy, once you reach 575 or so, you book it to Kunlai and jump off the Shado-pan Fallback wall into Townlong Steppes. If you can execute this trip quickly and avoid aggro in Townlong, you might get an edge over someone else who stays in VotFW and grinds the points on ghost iron. Expect this trip to take about 8-10 minutes.

If you decide to do this, you need to go back to the eastern side of VotFW at the spot called the Grassy Cline. This is roughly north of the "T" in Thunderfoot on the map above. Right next to the flight master is a footpath that leads up into the hills. This turns into a set of stairs that take you up and into Kunlai. Follow the stairs up and ride through the Veiled Stairs and into the tunnel. Stay on the left side of the tunnel to avoid aggro from the level 90 mobs in here. Usually they don't aggro but you can lose them at Kunlai if they jump you. Here is a video that shows the route if you need the visual.

Once you pass out of the tunnel, you will be at Binan Village in Kunlai Summit. Follow the road west towards the Shado-pan Fallback as I've marked it on this map:


I advise you to stay on the road since you want to avoid aggro in this zone. Try to dodge any mobs that wander near the road if you can. Once you reach Shado-pan, you'll need to go inside the tower. There are mobs fighting nearby and they may attack you. Just click the door if it's not open, run inside and start booking it up the stairs. By the time you reach the top, the mobs will have given up on you :) At the top you should head south down the wall (you can use your mount here) and ride until you are parallel to Townlong Steppes.

After you exit the Fallback tower, ride through the next brick tower you encounter and keep going south until you see a second, smaller tower with open walls. On the north side of this tower, you will be parallel to Townlong at a subzone called Shadowstep Pass. If you drop down onto the higher ridge between the two ground levels, you won't die. From here you want to travel in a southeasterly direction, there are no aggressive mobs in this lower area. The spot you'll be camping is just above the "A" in Gao-Ran Battlefront. If you see a neutral NPC named Mao the Lookout, you're in the right spot. Two kyparite nodes should be visible on the mini-map. There is a path leading northwest from Mao which goes into a camp of Shado-pan that you can use as a safe zone if needed. There are a few ghost iron nodes in the nearby vicinity, just don't stray too far or you'll find baddies!


At this point, you're an aggro magnet. The closer you land to the lower level (Shallowstep Pass), the more angry mobs you avoid. If you drop down into upper level (Hatred's Vice), you'll likely get jumped by the mobs in that area. There are two ore nodes near Mao that regularly spawn as kyparite. These nodes require 550 skill to mine and are still green at 600. They will give you the skill points needed to reach 600 with a somewhat better skill-up rate than the ghost iron. They appear to be on a respawn timer of 2.5 to 3 minutes, so expect to spend about 30 minutes working on the final 25 skill points.

Just to reiterate -- the travel time from the Grassy Cline to Townlong is about 8.5 minutes, likely a bit longer for someone new to the area. I would estimate this "Plan B" option taking a good 40-45 minutes, which is very close to the 40-45 minutes it took me to get the last 15 points from grinding ghost iron ore in VotFW. I really can't be certain which strategy will take less time, I think it's a gamble either way.

9/7 UPDATE:
I was lucky enough to have one of our readers volunteer to help me test Mining in a head-to-head race for 600. We both started in VotFW, he took the Heartland and I took Paoquan Valley. He was able to reach 575 in 20 minutes, for me it took 25 minutes. Bear in mind that we had practically zero competition for nodes.

Then we both went out to farm Kyparite. I stayed at Gao-Ran in Townlong and he did loops around large trees in Dread Wastes. Here is a map of the rich kyparite nodes which should give you a general idea where to find kyparite. I got to 600 in 33 minutes by camping the nodes in Gao-Ran, he capped in 27 minutes by running around Dread Wastes. A huge caveat - he was using a Rogue and making liberal use of Vanish to escape mobs. I believe he also had to kill some when Vanish wasn't an option. Your mileage may vary!

9/22 UPDATE:
Tonight my youngest son was mining in Twilight Highlands, trying to find pyrite nodes so he could cap out at 525. He said he finally got it on a gray elementium node. It seems the skill point bug is Live, for what its worth.

I hope this additional information helps some of you finalize your plans, feel free to post additional questions in the Comments!

37 comments:

  1. By the way, it occurred to me last night that the mist-piercing goggles might just allow you to see nodes that are phased out because of where you are on the quest chain. Have you seen any trillium at all while wearing the goggles in a high-lvl area?

    I imagine it would be useless for a realm first, because the goggles require spirit of harmony, but it would certainly be worth it to get trillium and start living steel production :)

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    1. That's a good theory but I'm not certain if it's valid. I did a full loop around Townlong and found one trillium node. That's rather pathetic if the goggles were showing extra nodes :(

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  2. Ty kaliope very helpful and detailed as someone going for a realm first without the benefit of being in beta this helps a ton. Me personally the decision to travel or stay at heartland will be determined by competition in the area. High competition plus 10% skill up rate probably means the traveler gets the rf.

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    1. Would stocking Up on invis pots help with these high aggro areas? If so would using a invis pot knock you outta invisible on that drop part? Might be a good way around that part dropping of the wall

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    2. I don't know if the invis pots would help but I can try it on my next run. My Panda Monk has no combat dropping abilities (like my rogue did, used Vanish several times) so sending her out with some potions should be a good test.

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    3. I think this is a difficult decision because the amount of actual competition is so uncertain. The longer the chase for the RF goes on the more impact competition will have. Within the first hour you're likely to have to compete with the serious contenders but after that a lot of the stragglers (who have no hope but don't know it) will begin to bog things down. Then there is the whole issue of cross-realm poaching and how that is tuned at launch. The whole thing makes my head hurt.

      Even without flying, I wonder if it's worth trying to mob dance in the higher zones rather than just waiting for the nodes to respawn for those last 20 points. Yes, you run the risk of getting killed but you also avoid the mobs of players all hunting for the last few nodes in the lower zones. What is the node availability in the rest of the zone outside of the one spot you found in Townlong?

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    4. I agree, I feel the cross realm phasing is a variable that we really can't account for. As for the higher zones, if you chill in the spot where the kyparite is you will have no aggro. The quest in that spot is phased and the mobs mostly ignore you. There's also a small camp nearby you can run into if you really need to escape. So that's not an issue. I'd be more concerned about other players grabbing the spot ahead of you.

      As for the rest of Townlong, the nodes there are decent but not as plentiful as VotFW. Adding the aggro on top of the lower density makes is a worse choice for ghost iron. The only reason to go there is to camp the kyparite nodes.

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    5. There are also pots to increase your runspeed for a few seconds. They're useless if you're mounted, but if you're in combat (or indoors), they're great for getting away(around). I also try to have a few swimspeed and waterwalking pots on hand because I find swimming slowly the most boring part of the game; luckily there's a shortage of lakes in this expansion. Last expansion I stocked up on food to track humanoids, but I hardly ever used it, and don't recommmend it.

      I strongly recommend waterwalking pots for anyone who plans to fish alot of pools.

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  3. TYVM! this will be key for a number of reasons - there are pretty different goals that this addresses:
    1) How do I get RF mining?
    2) How do I get quick or RF BS, Eng, JC?
    3) How do I maximize profit the first week?
    4) How can I maximize some combination of XP & profit? I.e. not quite as much profit as full focus and certainly not as fast as questing but ...

    I vacillate between these and my first reaction was the 580 was not a huge deal for profit or JC then remembered the rest. So if you think of it, thry to mention where the strat might be different for the other goals. Although maybe I am poor and the RF BS/Eng/JC will be buying everything not farming.

    E.g. RF miners need those last 20 points. but if the higher end ore takes more than twice as long as GI, then GI would be preferable to get you JC RF. Similarly, where to mine for profit might be GI even if it is 580.

    Kyparite just feels odd; perhaps a huge waste; perhaps very efficient. Considering how Blizzard does not get everything with professions quite right on launch ...

    The everyone is +10 skill means that you can use max level ore for your last 10 points?

    Of course if RF is really over in a couple of hours, then I may be overthinking it.

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    1. 1) If you think Blizz will fix the gray ghost iron bug, I would go Townlong. If you think Blizz won't get around to it, I'd go ghost iron. I don't think higher ore will take twice as long as ghost iron unless competition occurs in Townlong. For sure count on RF being nabbed in 1.5 to 2 hours.

      2) Can't fully speak to that yet since I don't know how hard it is to cap. I'm guessing for JC that ghost iron is going to be the more productive path. BS may be impossible period with all the 565+ recipes disappearing to faction vendors, I still need to work on that one.

      3) Ghost Iron for sure. Kyparite is useless to most professions and trillium is not plentiful enough to justify chasing it.

      4) There are a lot of variables here, I think it's gonna depend on what class you want to level first. Right now my druid is not very powerful, so I wouldn't bother trying to power level her. My warrior is quite potent, but has no gathering abilities (she's EG/EC). I'm leaning toward working my rogue purely because Mining has so many uses.

      I would do some research on the toons you're considering, find out where they stand on DPS (can also wait for 5.0 to drop and run your own tests). That should narrow down the toons who can plow through new content, from there choose the one with the best professions. I would prioritize gathering over production of course.

      On the other hand, I think LW could be a dark horse. I'm seeing complaints about it in beta, which may indicate that it will get low priority at launch. With all the new monks, there could be serious shortages of leather gear. Just a thought :)

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    2. After reading about resto shaman (Method's resto shaman doing less healing than the monk tank), I see no reason to level my shaman. My second healer is priest which is even worse than restos atm.

      My druid is very undergeared and I don't like them, but will probably level him fist since they are in the best shape healingwise i.e. 2nd best so after the inevitable Pally nerf be in good shape) And the druid is a miner/herber with 310 so make some. I don't see being able to make RF; besides dual gathering is bad for RF for the same reason it is more profitable. And i don't see how I could pass a node knowing it will never be as valuable.

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    3. I wouldn't worry about the druid being undergeared - there are vendors who can sell you 372 gear in Pandaria to boost yourself up. A gathering druid sounds like a great RF toon, you have prowl and shadowmeld :)

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  4. Also that traveling part with the cave and the steps is that the area called "the hidden pass" I saw a YouTube video on this area and it sounded like the area you were describing think the video was titled "The Hidden Pass - MoP Beta

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    1. Yes, I believe when you're in the tunnel it's called the Hidden Pass. It's not marked on the map that way so I tried to stick to landmarks that are visible from the map.

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    2. 5.0.3 is less than 7 weeks. 5.0.1 is 3-5 weeks away. How's it looking (with the caveat of profession are the RHsetchild of development and get their attention late?)

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    3. I think it looks decent, but I haven't run most of the professions yet. Sometimes problems present when you level up that didn't seems obvious from looking over the recipes. I think they've still got time to deal with bugs. Plus I believe the test realms are several versions behind the current dev build.

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    4. Could you gather some GI and then smelt out a few levels?

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    5. Sadly, no. The recipe for Smelt Ghost Iron is gray at 525.

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  5. I may have missed this in another post, but will it not work to start out in a Cata zone to get the first 20-25 points in a profession, like we did when Cata came out? My RF Herbalism in Cata definitely happened because I started out in Storm Peaks as Kalliope suggested.

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    1. I haven't run tests on that yet but I'll try to include that type of information in the final guide. At this point I'm not convinced it's worth doing unless VotFW is just insanely crowded.

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    2. I think the key difference here is the starter quests. If you go to TWH you might get that first 25 points faster but then you are going to have to deal with more people doing the quests. Maybe you could do the quests, portal to TWH, hearth back to SW, then get on the boat and jump off in Panda land??

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    3. Actually, I did an unintended walk-thru of the quests early yesterday. I don't think it will be that bad. I was able to get a brand new premade to Pandaria in about 3 steps: 1) Accept pop-up quest and go to SW Keep, 2) Board the airship above SW, 3) Jump off the airship after zoning into Pandaria (and don't die).

      Naturally the quest on the ship was buggy and laggy, but if you're just going to fling yourself overboard it doesn't matter at that point.

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    4. I did a mining test in Twilight Highlands on the beta. Elementium and Rich Elementium were both gray, and neither gave a point. I was also hoping for this method, as I used it (on Kaliope's suggestion) to get my Cata realm first miner. :(

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    5. I did a mining test in the beta, however I went to Uldum. Don't know if it's the same in live now, but in Beta uldum is RIDDLED with pyrite ore. The first five points I got from Pyrite were immediate- mine one, get one point. Then it slowed down to what you'd expect of a 'green node'. So I suppose if you think it feasible time-wise to get those 5-10 points in a place that's not going to cause aggro issues, go for it. I'll be trying it again on a character before beta shut down, just to time it.

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    6. Thanks for that, I meant to do a test with the Cata ores but I ran out of Miners to test with! Certainly worth a looksie if Pandaria is crowded.

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  6. Be warned that there are now scripted events between the wall and Gao-Ran Battlefront in Townlong Steppes: Every so often a platoon of insect-creatures advance up from the gate on the border with Dread Wastes and attacks the friendly outpost on the hill. When I say platoon, I mean it. About a dozen march up with military precision. If you are anywhere near these at level 85, you'll be flattened. I don't know what triggers them, or how frequently, only that level 90 El armed with a fishing pole stood no chance. The area is otherwise "safe" because the mobs are either stealthed or phased as part of quests.

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    1. Thank you for sharing that extra information, I hadn't run into those fellas during my test. I will definitely be sure to revisit that area in my 2.0 pass of Mining and give better information on the correct spot to find the kyparite ore.

      I sure don't want any needless deaths on my hands!!

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  7. More details added to the Townlong section of the guide which explains how to locate the kyparite nodes and get through the safer sections of the area.

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  8. It is still that for mining, all enchants and devices are worthless - they don't stack with the +10 item in your bags?

    Is this the same pick I already have - or is there an additional step on 9/25 to go buy a new "we hate scrolls of gathering" pick?

    What about herbing or skinning (e.g. gatherer on herbalist gloves?) Speaking of herbing, in that guide I am looking forward to your Golden Lotus / hour number; some posters claim that it is not excessively high.

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    1. Well vendor pick + Gatherer = 10 bonus to Mining. And gnomish army knife + Gatherer = 10 bonus to Mining. So I'm gonna say that the bonuses do not stack. I believe it's the regular ole pick from the vendor that has the bonus now.

      As for Golden Lotus, that may be quite a wait. So far in all the herbs I've collected, I've seen like 3 lotus. I'm not sure how long it takes me to get five stacks of herbs but I've probably farmed at least 40 stacks. That's something like .003% Golden Lotus per herb.

      Bear in mind that I'm not farming high level zones where the drop rate may be better. I'm farming herb in VotFW where herbs are plentiful and aggro is low.

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    2. Note about the bonus.
      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

      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

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  9. If you want to put up a pic of the starting horde area to the Vot4W bridge, you can use the one I made here - http://imgur.com/l5Vg7

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  10. For what it's worth: I just leveled my Druid to 600 Mining on the Beta, can still do it on Ghost Iron ore. Hope it stays that way!

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  11. In Valley of the Four Winds (Vot4W), your western path that goes north into Padquan Hollow; I've found it profitable to continue to the west, and then south hugging the walls as far as the forest lasts. After the forest ends, there are fewer nodes, and the monsters get much tougher.

    There are monsters in the hollow (its a small forest), but nothing deadly to a lvl85 in blue armor (and there's an armor vendor in Halfhill that wanders around supplying Firelands-epic quality gear).

    It may be, that the addition to the path was so profitable for me, because no one else was using it, but I'd recommend the longer path at least every other time, if not every time.

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  12. Hey Kali, ive just tried the way u showed in the video, with the boat, but i am unable to get in the boat, is there a lvl req?

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  13. Hey thanks alot for the tip! managed to get realmfirst zen master minner thanks to u :D very appreciated!

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  14. Hey thanks alot for the top managed to get realm first zen master minner at the area u showed in valley of the four winds or w/e its called :D THANKS!

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