It’s been a bit since things have been implemented. Time to throw down my thoughts on the Gathering professions.
So, there are three Gathering professions; Herbalism, Mining and Skinning.
Each one, at each level of skill, grants one neat extra ability.
Mining grants a passive Health increase. (Toughness +300 at 375 skill)
Skinning grants a passive Critical Strike bonus. (Master of Anatomy +15 Critical Strike bonus at 375 skill)
Herbalism grants a self-cast Heal over Time spell that does not trigger the global cooldown, can be cast in forms, and costs no Mana. (Lifeblood 1200 health over 5 seconds at 375 Skill)
Now, my Druid is an Engineer/Herbalist.
No, please, don’t ask me to explain why this happened. I’m not sure I even know anymore.
The point is, I can farm Herbs, and also gather Motes with my Extractor. If anything, Engineering is a second gathering Profession for me that also let’s me make neat stuffs.
I have to say, looking at each Gathering profession, applying the results and looking at gear and stat levels in Wrath of the Lich King, that I think that the decision as to whether you take Mining or Herbalism as a feral Druid tank is going to be interesting.
On the one hand, the extra Health is always on, and providing a nice benefit. At level 450 skill, that will be +500 Health. If you raid a lot, it is likely you have multiple Healers watching your back. You might very well feel that the Health will be more beneficial in the long run, increasing the effect such things as Survival Instincts and Frenzied Regeneration have on you. It’s all trickle down, and the more Health you have, the more other things it affects in positive ways.
But I’m going to go against the common thought on this one. I’m going to throw my money behind Herbalism as being the one that is, long term, the best overall choice.
The Heal over Time effect, Lifeblood, is very powerful in a world where we can only use one Potion in a single fight, no matter the fight’s duration, and where Ghostcrawler has said that instead of challenging a Tanks’ ability to hold aggro, they are instead going to task the healers with long mana-draining fights.
Lifeblood restores 1200 Health over 5 seconds, and generates corresponding threat, at the current skill max of 375. In Wrath, with a max skill of 450, it’ll go up to 2000 Health over 5 seconds. It has a three minute cooldown.
It works in forms… it works in Stealth… it works while flying in our Flight Form. But it does not scale with +Healing/Spellpower.
In raids, like I said, I think it’s going to be tight. The extra Health from Toughness is a nice big chunk.
But if you 5 man tank or solo tank as much as or more than you raid tank, then I think Lifeblood is just better.
In a 5 man, having only one healer, if something happens to silence them or take them out early, having your own HoT on a 3 minute cooldown can be amazing. Sometimes, you just need to hold out for a minute or two until the Healer can be rezzed and regain some mana. Or run back in.
If you’re soloing, well, it’s even more of a life saver, obviously.
Here, I’ll give you a pair of examples.
We ran a couple regular Magisters Terrace runs last week, with me as the main tank.
We didn’t really plan on using CC. We were going to have fun, and since on the first run we had two Hunters, and on the second I had another feral tank with me, I figured that if we want something kept busy we had two pets to throw at it (Sent em after the warlock every time, damn that warlock went down fast). On the second run, we had two tanks, what the heck do you need CC for?
Anyway, on the first run, we went to take down the first boss, and while pulling the first group of trash in the bosses’ chamber, clustered around the crystal, one of the pets ran wild, grabbing not only the second group, but then running into the middle and pulling the two trash there, plus the boss, all while we were still outside the chamber working through the first trash group.
The great big wall activated, locking us out from affecting the green crystals the boss drinks from when he runs out of mana, so yeah. Whoops!
An army of trash, and the boss.
I had the immediate thought, “Well, that’s a wipe”, but I figured, as long as we’re here, might as well kill as much trash as possible, right?
At this point, I’ve settled on a routine of using Lifeblood early and often, Barkskin whenever it is up, and Survival Instincts/Frenzied Regeneration only when things go belly up.
I also carry Health Potions and Charged Crystal Focus whenever I can.
So I pop Barkskin and Lifeblood, Demoralyzing Roar, Swipe and Mangle and Maul, most especially Maul since the new Glyph lets it hit two targets, and it does a LOT of buffed damage now. I get everyone on me as much as possible.
Pretty quickly, everyone died but me and Barrhona, the Paladin that was healing the run. Not much I can do to stop the boss chain-exploding at full mana over and over.
I used every trick in the book to keep aggro on me and whack stuff, and really focused on the trash and only tagged the boss to keep him off Barrhona. My attention was reducing the numbers of trash for as long as we lived.
Barrhona did some great healing, but I never saw him dip below 2000 mana. And although I did trigger Survival and Frenzied midway through the fight, the fact is that the trash was all dead, and the boss was down to around 10k health before I mildly inquired in vent to see if any of our other members ever planned on rejoining us, since you can zone back in and come all the way to where we were, on the far side of the door.
So we ate every one of the bosses full force explosions, because we had no way to interrupt him drinking. In the end, he was out of mana and forced to whack on me.
And I attribute our longevity to being able, during a long long fight, to pop Barkskin and Lifeblood every time the cooldown is up. Well, and to Barrhona’s healing.
“Ah!” I hear you say… “But you had a Paladin healing you! That just means the Pally kicked ass, not that Lifeblood was your savior!”
Yes, I’ll grant you that. But that brings me to example number two.
We were in the second run, with a Shadow Priest, a Shaman Healer, another feral Druid, a Mage, and me. Names are withheld to protect the guilty.
We were squared off against Priestess Delrissa, and her PvP cohorts.
I equipped my tanking gear, which is light on Hit but heavy on longevity. And we kicked it off.
Our first goal was to kill the Priestess and get rid of her heals, and then move down from there. We had the rogue, the mage, the warlock, and the saurian warrior adds.
We got the Priestess down, and were working on the second kill when party members started dying. We got the second one dead just as our last team member went down… except for me.
I was facing the Mage and the Rogue, and the Warlock had been sheeped off the pull but would break any second.
Since I’m a Druid, I fear no sheepage. The stunlock of the Rogue, though, that I fear. So I go stun the Rogue in bear and shift to banzai in cat form with Berserk and Mangle and finish the rogue off just as the warlock breaks sheep and joins the fun. I shifted back to bear and turned to the Warlock.
The Mage has been pounding away, so his mana is getting low. I figure the Warlock is still full, and can fear me bad, so I’d rather take his ass down as fast as I can first.
I turn on the warlock, and it’s a pure health race to see if the two of them can beat me down before I can get it to one on one odds. And my health is hovering right at the 500 – 1500 mark, up and down, with Lifeblood and Improved Leader of the Pack making all the difference.
The Warlock goes down, all my abilities are on cooldown, I’m at less than 500 Health, I turn to the Mage, Feral Charge him, and he Ice Blocks.
He Ice Blocks!
Needless to say, I shifted and threw down all my heals on myself, and it was over. Sucker!
A longevity fight, against three opponents. If I had 300 extra Health, it wouldn’t have helped that much. I would have been toast.
Having Lifeblood every three minutes, however, makes a massive difference when the fight goes sour and you’re on your own, or the Healer is silenced and you just need to hold out another couple seconds to get your Berserk/Mangle x10 thrown in there.
There ya go, my opinion on Gathering Professions.
I would never recommend taking a profession just for the extra buff. But IF you have the characters to allow you to shuffle professions around, and the free time, and you’re interested in trying it, I can assure you it is pretty sweet.
I understand Moonkin love it since they can cast it in forms without a mana cost, too!