Saturday, January 31, 2009

Professions for a Death Knight

I had a request the other day to review professions in light of their benefits to Death Knights. Needless to say this will be a long post. For the min/maxers in the crowd you will need to compare the benefits of each profession against its closest substitute. For example, how much better are the Inscription Shoulder Enchants than the exalted Sons of Hodir ones? Questions such as these will help you decide which two jobs you want.

I will try to break the walls of text down enough that their crits don’t kill you. I’ll review the 3 gathering professions first and then cover the crafting ones. I am also assuming money is no object and you are making your decision based purely off of benefits.

Gathering Professions:

It’s safe to say all three gathering professions are moneymakers. If you are willing to devote an hour a day to these you can rake in big bucks. But that’s true for any class, so the question becomes how do these directly benefit the Death Knight.

Skinning – At max skill you get Master of Anatomy rank 6. This gives you an extra 32-crit rating. DK Tanks can skip this but DPS may be interested,

Herbalism – Lifeblood allows you to restore 2,000 health over 5 seconds at max skill. This doesn’t have a lot of benefit for DPS and even when tanking, the likelihood that this skill is the difference between living and dying is incredibly small. This provides less than 1% of health per second for most tanks.

Mining – Cap mining and you’ll pick up 50 stam. For tanks this will translate to 550 health in Frost Presence, Taurens will get even more. As a tank you are better off with this health buff than Lifeblood from herbalism.

Crafting Professions:

Hope you saved a lot of gold. After you get your epic cold weather flying leveling these to cap will cost you. However, these will provide much more benefits than the gathering professions ever will so min/maxers take heed.

Alchemy – The first benefit is Mixology, which doubles the duration of flasks and elixirs you can make as well as buff their effects. Wowhead comments indicate buffs between 20% to 50%. That means your Mighty Strength gives at least 10 more STR than the usual one etc. There are also two nice trinkets currently, one for DPS and the other for Tanking. Neither is best in slot, but they are nothing to sneeze at either.

Blacksmithing – As of patch 3.08 there are no craftables in BS that a Death Knight would kill for that are Bind on Pickup. Therefore the only benefit this has for us is the ability to add 2 gem sockets, one to your bracer and one to your gloves. If you are a tank and stacking stamina you can easily surpass the stam that Alchemy has to offer with these two slots. Needless to say, two extra gems can be a great boon to DPS as well.

Enchanting – As with most crafting professions there are very few benefits you can’t get off the auction house. For enchanting, what Deathknights will look for are the two enchant Ring spells, 24 Stam for Tanks and 32 AP for DPS. Since these are the only way to improve your rings you will realize the full gains from these.

Engineering – The beauty of this profession remains its helms. You can get some of the best DPS and Tanking helms as early as level 72. Titansteel helms for DPS and Tanking, which you can buy from any Blacksmith, will surpass these in quality. There is also a good trinket that is really nice for tanks and can be fun for DPS as well. The sonic booster grants 81 stam but can occasionally buff AP by 430.

Inscription – The only reason to take this profession is the best in class shoulder enchants. Getting Exalted with Sons of Hodir is nice, but these chants for Tanking and DPS blow them out of the water.

Jewlcrafting – BoP Trinkets for Tanking and DPS, check. Sweet sweet JC only gems, check. The trinkets aren’t best in class but they are very good, it’s the 41 stam and 27 str gems that should get your juices flowing. That’s 17 more stam and 11 more strength than any non JC gem. Add in the fact that these will fill any color and your golden.

Leatherworking – How does 114 AP sound to your wrists if you're DPS, 90 Stam sound better for tanking? If this sounds good, get yourself some Fur Linings and prepare to be OP.

Tailoring – DPS might be interested in the 300 AP proc cloak enchant but there is nothing for Tanks.

Let's see how the professions stack up on some key stats.

Jewlcrafting - 51 Stam (17 more stam per gem x 3 prismatic gems)
Leatherworking - 50 Stam (90 fur lining - 40 enchant bracer)
Mining - 50 Stam
Blacksmithing - 48 Stam ( 2x24 stam extra gems)
Enchanting - 48 Stam (2x24 stam ring enchants)

Jewlcrafting - 66+ AP (11 extra str per gem x 3 prismatic gems)
Black Smithing - 64+ AP ( 2x16 Str gems)
Leatherworking - 64 AP (114 AP - 50 AP wrist enchant)
Inscription - 64 AP (114 AP - 40 from Sons of Hodir)
Enchanting - 64 AP (2x32 AP ring enchants)
Skinning - ~36 AP (Crit rating 32 x EJ APE factor)

I didn't include trinkets since they can be replaced by drops. These two rankings also do not do justice to the buffs to Elixirs and Flasks.

Thanks to all the commenters in helping to clarify this post.


  1. just a correction, miners smelt titansteel, blacksmiths can't do that :)

  2. @ Slayerboy,

    In the engineering section I was refering to the titansteel helms themselves as compared to the engineering crafted helms.

    But I have edited the section to be more clear.

  3. This was great, thanks! I've decided to take mining+JC in the long run. Currently I'm doing mining with skinning on the side, saving up mats for the JC grind and making a nice profit from the extremely simple skinning grind until I'm ready to drop it and take up JC.

  4. There is a change that you need to make to your JC post. The JC only gems, are unique equip(3), meaning that you can equip 3 of any of the gems, even 3 +27 Str gems, but no more that 3 of any of them at one time.

    That should put i out as the clear lead. Another thing that is good to mention is that you can place them in a blue socket and still get the socket bonus, and they count towards the meta gem requirements as well.

  5. @ Anon,

    Thanks for the tip, Wowwiki was still showing only one prismatic allowed at the time of this writing. That said, I found a few corroborating sources and will update accordingly

  6. I went mining/BS with Grim. I paused leveling around 62 to level up both - leveling up mining can be a pain, but leveling up BS is an absolute headache until you get into BC recipes. I really hope they add some new recipes to BS with the next patch, because right now we seem to be on the short end of the stick.

  7. Don't forget that leatherworkers can make Fur Lining for their bracers. 114 AP or 90 stamina is nothing to sneeze at, and is vastly superior to two sockets from BS.

  8. Just a quick note for everyone found this site on google and reading it now...

    ALL 4 Professions ( Inscription, Leatherworking, Blacksmith, Enchanting ) give 64 AP !

    ( Because there is a 50 AP wrist enchant wich downrates the bonus from the 114 AP enchant down to 64 AP )

    Jewelcrafting is definatly a MUST HAVE for everyone as it gives you prismatic gems, and you save alot of money cutting your own gems instead of buying them @ AH.

    For everyone deciding what to take, i advice you the best thing to do is go Inscription, because then you can safe alot of time getting the shoulder enchant, instead of wasting WEEKS OF GRINDING SONS OF HOLDIR REP!

    Also you can make yourself the darkmoon card trinket, wich is currently the best trinket by far for a Deathknight.

    This trinket, together with the Mirror of Truth trinket ( Gives 1000 AP if procs ) gives you a total of 1780 AP !! GET READY TO FEEL OP NAO!

  9. @ Anon, thanks for clarification on the wrist enchant of 50 AP.

    Though saying everyone needs to be a scribe to save time from grinding sons rep is counter to your reason of taking JC to make money.

    I like to report info the best I know and let individuals decide what's best for them :)

  10. I don't know exactly how to quantify it but str is much better than just the 2 ap per..

    you can't forget that str has a bigger effect on your ghouls weather they are the temporary kind or the permanent ones and lets not forget the extra parry that comes from strength only and does not care about ap at all.

    taking that all into consideration it becomes pretty obvious that jc and blacksmithing are ideal for dps and mining becomes a very strong 3rd place with the additional stamina and gold income

    even for tanking i would say the same rules apply as the additional strength = additional threat and the parry is the dk's preferred way of tanking as we have a very strong ability that you can only use when you parry an attack.

    and at the upper eschelon pre raid there are very few good/great pieces of plate with gem slots so the slots that come with certain trinkets and rings (not to mention the very high stamina boosts) can come in very handy.

  11. For tanking I found JC and mining are the best. JC gems and trinkets are simply amazing. The +40 Enchant to bracer plus the mining boost equals 90stam, same as LW, plus you have a gathering profession to make money, or prospect the ore for your own gems. Win win...

  12. I have a 73 Death Knight tank with 450 mining and 441 (Gnomish) Engineering. I love my epic Armored Titanium Goggles! I also have several trinkets I can trade out, depending on the situation. My Gnomish Lightning Generator has +81 stamina and is great for the initial pull, which let's me save my Death Grip to fetch back any mobs who are aggroing the clothies. The Sonic Booster trinket also has +81 stamina and can proc, increasing AP by 430 for 10 seconds.

    For general utility, my Zapthrottle Mote Extractor helps me farm the illusive crystallized air; my MOLL-E mailbox lets the raid send/receive mail; and then there are my repair bots...

    So, I am definitely keeping engineering. However, I have thought about saving up the mats to level Blacksmithing to 450, then dropping mining as my JCer can do any mining I need. I am less enamored of this idea now because of the labor investment in getting all the mats and because some of the epic BOP items are now BOE, and I would lose the extra +50 stamina from mining.

    I could go JC in palce of mining for the three BOP prismatic gems, but it's hard seeing the math working out to really make it worth it.


  13. @ Blattaria

    If you dropped mining for JC, you could get 3x41 stam gems instead of 3x24. The difference works out to 51 stam.

    However, JC is much more flexible since you can really pump your STR or Defense or Hit as required.

    At the end of the day, it's always your decision so do what's fun for you.

  14. Thanks, Scourge! Those are some excellent points. I will pick up JC, once I save for my epic flying in Northrend

  15. Good points all, but for the many of us that rolled DK's as our only toons on new servers, mining is almost a given as one of your professions. It gives the stam bonus regardless of what gear you have, and it is almost impossible to get enough gold to get flying training, etc. without a lucrative profession. It took me 2 evenings to get mining to 300 (so I could mine in Outland), even leveling skinning at the same time.

    When your DK is your only source of gold, it changes the equation. For tanking, I would pair it with jewelcrafting. The trinkets + BOP gems is hard to beat until you upgrade the trinkets deep into the hardest raids.

  16. I think JC and BS are better option (for a dk, like myself xD), cause str scale better from buff that ap. Kings, Gift of the will, etc.

  17. Let's not forget about keys and explosives. Aside from rogues, engineers and blacksmiths are the only people who can open locked boxes.

  18. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.