Leatherworking is one of the fundamental crafting professions in world of warcraft. With leatherworking, four classes are covered by what items are manufactured (Druid, Hunter, Rogue, and Shaman) while 3 other classes use speciality items to augment their leg armor (Warrior, Death Knight, Paladin)
All of these present multiple money-making opportunities with just a little knowledge and skill in the Auction House.
This is in no way a power leveling guide to bring a leatherworker to maximum. Crafters Tome is an excellent source on power leveling any profession, including leatherworking. What we will be discussing are techniques that will take you from a small gold production to a master auctioneer. With the announcement that Epic Gems will be dropping in Raids Only (see Epic Gems in 4.3 for more information); diversification will be a strong weapon in your arsenal.
Leatherworking mats many times is a numbers game. If you know certain basic conversions from memory it will allow you to make quick decisions on stock and whether it's worth to buy the basic mat, or already converted mats.
Materials in Cataclysm Leatherworking end up breaking down into 5 main categories
Savage Leather Scraps
Heavy Savage Leather
It's important to know these basics because it will be the decisions on when and what to buy that will
drive your profits up or down.
Savage leather scraps convert at a 5 to 1 to Savage Leather. For every 5 scraps converted (by either a Leatherworker or a Skinner) you receive one piece of Savage Leather. For skinning this ends up being a break even item. But purchasing these from the auction house generally is at an inflated cost So we will ignore these, assuming that they are not cost-effective to buy and use.
Here is where a little mental math will be useful for those quick decisions.
Savage Leather converts to 5 to 1 also to Heavy Savage Leather. On many servers Savage leather can drop down to as little as 2-3g per. Take 5 of those and you have a piece of Heavy Savage Leather for 10 15g.
So why is this important? Because many of your "bread and butter" sales will be in the realm of Epic
Leg Armors (Also remember that 10pieces of Heavy Savage leather or 1 pristine hide is used for the purchase of the PVP patterns and other leatherworking patterns in your home city).
For every 10 Heavy Savage Leather pieces you have, you can purchase one pristine hide from the leatherworker vendor in your town. The pristine hide is continually used for production of the epic leg armors..
So many times, you may see on the auction house pristine hide listed at 250 per piece, where you can obtain Savage leather (to make 10 Heavy Savage Leather you need 50 pieces of savage leather, or two and a half stacks). Purchasing 5 stacks of Savage Leather can generate you 2 Pristine Hides. Allowing you to either list them at the higher price, or to easily convert to one of your leg armor recipes along with the required other materials. Using this conversion gives you a larger strategy of both being able to convert to a pristine hide for a quick sale. But also allow you to craft your items requiring pristine hides at lower cost per item.
With patch 4.2, new type of leg armor was introduced, the drakehide leg armor. These have consistently been a high seller especially for the 4 tanking classes (Druids, Warriors, Paladins, Death Knights).
Physical dps classes (Death Knights, Warriors, Paladins, Druids, Enhancement Shamans) benefit from he Dragonscale leg armor. Leg slot enhancements are sold quickly, they become very popular to craft. Driving the price down per item. .Subsequently this also means that they have the less amount of profit because supply is kept very high by leatherworkers on most servers.
Hunters, Enhancement Shamans and Rogues also have the option of using Charscale leg armor to increase their agility bonus on leg slot items. Depending on the class build determines which of the two items are purchased for the leg slot enhancement With this patch also brought the introduction of the firelands dailies, Increased droprate of volatile fire caused a large drop in the prices. They are still a money making opportunity to keep stocked, but in comparison the percentages of cost vs materials drakehide leg armor tend to be more profitable on many servers.
Patch 4.2 introduced a large amount of new recipes that could be purchased and crafted by leatherworkers. The key being many of the high ilevel items required the pristine hides. Where these recipes were only available from drops in fireland raids. They created a larger demand for pristine hides for both the crafters themselves, as well as those massing the materials to have them crafted for them. Also the pristine hides are required for manufacturing of the fireland leather epics, driving up the prices quickly. Investing in a pattern could give you a quick return on investment.
With Patch 4.1 and 4.2, Beginning armor pieces for PVP were brought into focus for sales. Expectations are this will be repeated with patch 4.3 as it is released. Benefits are that the recipes will convert to the higher recipe without need to repurchase. But the item itself does not convert. Production gets boosted at the start of the patch week as casual players upgrade pieces of their PVP gear. Allowing sales to boost the gold making target.
When looking to diversify you should look at both the past as well as the future. What items will be in demand and what will not be as necessary. Items such as Arctic Fur (available for trade for 10 Heavy Borean Leather) may give you an added source of income. Twilight leg armor and scorched leg armor can also augment sales and your gold production. Where both of these do not have the profit potential of the epic leg armors, they are a good counterbalance for those that buy leveling consumables. Low mat costs (6 savage leather and 4 of the proper volatiles necessary for crafting); allows this to reach the suggested 20% continual profit margin. Finishing up the fireland dailies up to the point of unlocking the vendors gave two new profession bag recipes: the royal scribe's satchel and the triple reinforced mining bag which has been a constant seller on many servers.
Advanced auctioneers will continue to look for chances to buy out items that are being "dumped" on the AH for the new patch. The PVP blue gear that are produced by leathworkers disenchant to Heavenly shards. So as the patch progresses and casual auctioneers begin to eliminate crafted stock. We can look to purchase these items to convert by an enchanter in our personal production guild. Many of the low-level gear that's used to level leatherworking will be available.. Disenchanting of these items can give a boost in sales to make up for slower sales as we get closer to the patch release date.
Speculation for patch 4.3 has already begun with the announcement of epic gems available through raiding in 4.3. For leatherworkers, there is less speculation necessary on what will be the future. Ghostcrawler announced that professions will receive a large amount of new patterns. So it is logical to assumed that leatherworkers will receive some, if not many recipes for the classes covered. A larger demand of core leather materials we happen.. So a well stocked bank of Heavy Savage leathers will put a crafter at an advantage. I do not suggest converting these stocks to pristine hides form the start. Where they will be useful, a more liquid state of being able to use both heavy savage leather and pristine hides ends up being more advantageous.
Also speculation would say that blackened dragonscale may again be in short supply at the beginning. This was important because these are used for some of the epic crafting patterns. They were also used for the sales of the leg armors used for upgrades. Suggestions for your stock would be to keep an eye on these and purchase at a low price, being ready to use these or flip these on the AH for higher profits.
To recap, my suggestions if your setting up your production for patch 4.3
- Purchase all of the leatherworking vendors recipes, starting from the leg armors available and working through the pvp armor. (all recipes would take 440 Heavy Savage Leather or 22 stacks
- Start to collect materials used for leatherworking manufacturing (Savage leather, Blackened Dragonscales). Convert your savage leather to heavy savage leather, but do not buy pristine hides from the vendor. Watch the AH for times when the pristine hides drop low to purchase and store for price flipping purposes after patch day. Keep a 30% expected income for items such as this.
- Purchase volatiles such as water and air. These will dry up quickly due to production needed, where volatile earth and fire will continue to be available, even expecting them to drop lower than current prices . The required materials for the new crafted will determine which volatiles will be in short supply
- Set aside some of your stock for purchase of any new patterns, 2 PVP cloaks and the Drakehide leg armor were introduced in 4.2. There is a high possibility that another type of production item such as this will be introduced in the new patch (perhaps a casting leg armor or a higher type of physical dps)
Hopefully this will help with preparing your leatherworker for the next patch update. When the PTR is released, stop at Just my two copper, where a much more detailed discussion on its impact with the leatherworking community.and much more.