Many Mobs, Much Sparklyage, Skins Ahoy!

This week it finally happened: Primordial Saronite dropped to 500g a chunk. With this in mind it was time to start getting the family booted up, which meant some gathering. As I have a fair proportion of mail and leather-wearing alts, the vast majority of mats for this footwear was going to have to be removed from the backs of accommodating amimals, which lead me to do a little thinking on the question of where it’s best to skin for Borean Leather in Northrend. I thought as a result I’d indulge in a bit of research…

I have a number of ‘spots’ across Northrend I favour for Leatherworking purposes. When I’m skinning I’m also looking for mobs that drop items that can be converted to cash (meat, other gathering mats) or that offer larger-than-normal returns for sticking an arrow in them. Of course I’m also hoping at the back of my mind that I’ll pull a decent number of Arctic Fur too but with a 1% drop rate that’s pretty much in the hands of the Game Gods. With all this in mind, let’s share my favoured grinding spots at present.

#1: The Crystalweb Cavern, Storm Peaks.

First off, as is the case with a number of these locations, you’re in a Quest Zone. Therefore it is only right and proper to show a little respect to anyone else who may be here, especially as you’ll be killing their required mobs for your leather. Yes, people are still questing, and if my experience is anything to go by you’ll meet a fair few Horde and Alliance as you grind here. The Minimap above shows what I reckon is the optimal positioning for killing the three mobs (yes just the three) that hang out in this area right at the bottom of the cave.

The reason why the Icetip Crawlers you’re hunting are so excellent for skinning purposes is their spawn rate, which is approximately once every TEN SECONDS. Once you’ve killed the three you’ll find in this area, at least 1.5 of them will have respawned. As an added bonus to the gray vendor trash you’ll also get Iceweb Spider Silk which on my server is changing hands for as much as 5g a piece over the weekend. This tends to be my preferred spot when I want to skin early, as later in the day you will find more people here wanting to hit the spiders for their quest items. Of course if you happen to have mining along with your skinning as gathering skills, this cave is worth a turn around as it seems to enjoy spawning Titanium with odd regularity. If you get bored of the same three mobs bear in mind you’re surrounded by Crystalweb Spitters too, so you can always take a turn around the rest of the area.

Blizzard, why can’t I skin spiders anywhere else but Northrend? Fix it!

In my experience the Arctic Fur drop rate here seems to be lower than it is with other areas, but as any skinner will know it’s dangerous to speculate on places with ‘good’ rates. An hour’s concentrated graft in this cave was enough for leather for one pair of boots, with a decent side profit on extra skins and silk.

#2: Zul’drak, Gundrak (External)

If you’re ok with purple snow, this is the spot for you. Take the flight point to Gundrak, pick up the quest for collecting Raptor Eggs if you’ve not already completed it, and away you go (quest rules apply here too). This area is often heavily farmed, normally by pet-collectors looking for the Zul’drak Raptor. If you’re lucky you can just trail around after the hapless, skinning with gay abandon. Make sure you pick up the Zul’drak Bats too, they’re useful so may as well contribute to the cause.

I like my mobs in nice neat piles. I’m clearly becoming a Paladin…

There’s one huge reason for farming here. The raptors can drop between 1-3 pieces of Borean Leather per skin, which means you’re picking up more skins with fewer mobs. The payback for this is that these mobs aren’t exactly plentiful, and they’re spread across a pretty wide area. However, if you’re lucky enough to arrive when a farmer’s working, you can pick off the bats and clean up with very little effort for a fairly impressive return. These guys also seem to like to yield green items, useful for any of you with an enchanter to turn them into cash.

#3: Zul’drak, Kolramus

Makes a change from Purple snow…

As a rule, the only ‘speciality’ item in Leatherworking I have trouble gathering in any quantity is Nerubian Chitin. Jormunger Scale is easily obtainable across the Storm Peaks (all those worms in the Hibernal Cavern, or even the mobs you’ll find with the Goblin quests in Dragonblight have a decent drop rate) but unless I’m the only skinner running the Old Kingdom instance I’m always on the lookout for a decent Chitin farming spot. Here has been my best area thus far. Yet again however it’s a quest spot and fairly busy, so respect rules apply.

Kolramus is at 60.6, 78.8 and the mobs you’re looking for are the Hath’ar Skimmers. Sadly they don’t drop much (as is often the case with quest mobs) but the Chitin rate is impressive: a stack takes about 30 minutes to collect and at my current AH prices that’s well worth the effort.

#4 Howling Fjord.

Not a bad evening’s work, all told…

When all is said and done, there really is only one place in my opinion to go if you want to make money from your skinning. As I keep most of what I skin for crafting, it’s about finding mobs that drop items with the biggest return on the AH. Currently that’s Shoveltusk Flank, which sells at 40g a stack. With Volley I can kill a pack of 6-8 at a time, and despite the fact that many of the mobs when skinned only drop Borean Leather Scraps the overall return on invested time is significant. As you can see in this trip I picked up three Arctic Fur to boot (I only managed one apiece in all of the other areas I tested) so perhaps I am biased, but at present if I want a quick stack of leather, this is where I’ll go.

My preferred area of farmage uses Westguard Keep as a base of operations (29,42) and involves moving methodically around the area of Utguarde Keep. If you are skinning continously you’l find the respawn rates for the mobs pretty fast. I’m never waiting for a pact to respawn or too far away from mobs. This tends also to be the area I favour whilst waiting for dungeon queues to come around. The bag shot above was after 60 minutes work: four green items isn’t stellar but it’s a bonus when I got what I wanted.

Leatherworkers tend to be pretty secretive about their best spots, and with good reason. Come Cataclysm you won’t find me sharing top tips for a while, I’ll bet, but for now I hope some of this knowledge will be useful to anyone wanting to help gear themselves or an alt in anticipation for starting the process all over again in the upcoming expansion…

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