But I Don’t *Want* Another Toon!

It’s just hit me that despite my best attempts to curb the trend, I have to roll at least one more character on both the US and EU realms in preparation for the next expansion.

I am an admitted alt-o-holic.  But for me, it a bit different.  Other people I talk to say that they have multiple alts to experience different server types, to play with friends on other realms, or just to try out various classes in a fresh environment.

Me?  I roll alts to build a tradeskill empire.

I’m a completionist, at least when it comes to tradeskills.  I am obsessed with the idea of never having to rely on anyone else for tradeskill services.  I may not have every pattern for every tradeskill, but I do have the ability to get those patterns if I put the time into it.

This may be a strange attitude to take in a game with a well-developed economy and auction house system, but that’s just the way I oplay the game.  I want to have a max-level character in every profession under my control.  And I’ve achieved that.  On my EU realm, I have every tradeskill at 450 between six characters.  On the US realms, I had all professions at 375 when I moved to the EU, and now that I’m back to leveling those characters, I expect to have 450 in every tradeskill by summer’s end.

The problem is – what do I do when the new expansion comes out?

My Kingdom For a Free Tradeskill Slot

It’s a fair bet that the next expansion (which I hope will be announced at Blizzcon ’09) will introduce a new tradeskill.

But I have no tradeskill slots available.  On my EU toons, every slot on every character is used up with no duplication.  I already have two death knights (one for each account), so I have to roll a new character from level 1.  And because I dualbox and can’t stand the idea of leveling a character solo, that means rolling a pair of toons.

On my US realm, I have no slots available, but I do have a bit of overlap – two miners, two skinners, two tailors, two enchanters, and two jewelcrafters.  I have characters on both the Alliance and Horde on this realm, and while I regularly use the neutral AH to move tradeskill mats and products between factions, it’s the kind of thing I try to keep to a minimum.  Transferring bushels or herbs or bags full of ore on a daily basis isn’t something I plan to do.  On the upside, I have no death knight there, so rolling one will save me some time for my new crafter-to-be.

You Leveled Jewelcrafting … Twice?

Yep. In TBC, I leveled Jewelcrafting, Enchanting and Tailoring all to 375 twice.  Three times if you count my EU toons.  Some people find it crazy to do any one of those once.  I did so because of the direct benefits that having those tradeskills gave me in TBC.  My tailors are a warlock and mage, so being able to create the BoP Frozen Shadoweave and Spellfire sets went a long way in early tier 4 raids.  I needed two enchanters because in TBC there was no way to enchant the items of other characters on the same account.  My alliance jewelcrafter was a character I didn’t play much, so I rolled a Horde toon to make my jewelcrafter because I thought I’d spend more time running heroics with him to get the good jewelcrafting patterns.

My tradeskills even factored into which account I put each new character on (which in turn changed the pairs of characters I could play together and thus affected my gameplay style).

Enter WotLK

WotLK changed all that.  Enchanters can create scrolls using Scribe-crafter vellum, so I can enchant the gear of any of my characters regardless of what account they’re on.  Jewelcrafters can complete daily quests to get all but a few patterns.  Tailors can still make epic gear at high levels, but the items are no longer best-in-slot at tier 7, nor are they BoP.

So in theory, I could drop one of those three tradeskills to free up a slot, then put the new tradeskill there and shuffle items across via the neutral AH if I needed them on my characters of the other faction.  I just can’t bring myself to hit that “drop skill” button.  Even though the duplication isn’t needed, I spent so much time and effort leveling things that it seems sacrilegious to throw all that away with a single button-click.

Why Level a Character Now?

Another question that comes to mind is “why level a character now?”.  I tried this when TBC first came out because I wanted to level a Draenei Paladin.  I had mining on my hunter and skinning on my rogue, but decided to move those to the new character.  So before TBC was released, I  dropped the gathering skills.  My hunter became an engineer and my rogue I left empty to become a jewelcrafter.  When TBC released, I rolled my Dranei, got her to level 5 to learn Mining and Skinning, and immediately went back to leveling my mains in preparation for Karazhan.

The problem was that all through the leveling process, I passed by all this lovely ore and creatures without the ability to harvest them.  By the time I had leveled my main up to 70, we were raiding Karazhan regularly, and it took a good few months until my paladin was able to level up and get a flying mount.

So, I’d prefer to level this new character now, and have a level 80 with an epic flyer ready to go.

An Epic Flyer for an Alt?

Yes, all of my alts have epic flyers (or the money ready to purchase them when they hit the appropriate level).  That’s 15 characters at 7000 gold each (800g for 225 flying, 5000g for 300 flying, 200g for a mount and 1000g for Cold Weather flying).  That’s 105k gold, and I probably have half that again across my various vanity guild banks.  No, I don’t buy gold.   I just finish all the quests.  Every one of my characters has or is in the process of getting Loremaster of Northrend.  One of my DKs even has the full Loremaster achievement.

If you go for the zone-by-zone completion style of questing, you used to ding 70 no later than Blade’s Edge Mountains and today you’ll hit 80 no later than Zul’Drak.  That leaves two or three zones full of quests that will net you about 3000g per zone per character via XP-to-gold conversion.  In WotLK, it’s even better as you will probably hit 68 while in Nagrand, so once you hit 80 you can finish up Northrend, then come back and get the gold from completing Loremaster of Outland.

When I roll a character, I know right from the start that I’m going to take it all the way to 80.  So I prefer to have 7000g in the bank before I level hit “create character” so that all the big-ticket costs are taken care of.  Sure, in the course of questing I usually end up with the money I need when I need it, but for some reason it feels better to bank the earned gold and pay for my mounts from money I set aside earlier.

But What About the New Hero Class?

While we don’t have a clear indication from Blizzard whether the next expansion will include a new Hero Class, I think it’s fair to say that the success of the Death Knight would make it silly for them not to include one.  Given my nature, I’m sure to roll one (or four, as the case may be).  Surely one of those can be used as my new tradeskill character, right?

Well…. yes.  Damn you and your infernal logic.  The problem is that I’d face a similar problem as I did with the paladin back in TBC.  Assuming that the new hero class starts at level 65 and exits their starting area ready to hit Northrend, I would be without my flying mount for seven levels.  The travel changes coming in patch 3.2 suggest that at some point the level requirement for Cold Weather flying will be dropped, but I wouldn’t put money on it happening right when the new expansion drops.  Look for it to happen in 4.1 or 4.2, if at all.

What if the new tradeskill has a gathering counterpart instead of building on one of the existing ones?  My main characters are crafters, not gatherers.  I don’t want my progress on the new tradeskill to be stunted while I’m leveling through the new content.  So I’ll probably roll a DK to be my new tradeskill character, then roll a hero class anyway.  Perhaps I can turn this into some strange wave-like pattern where my hero class from one expansion becomes my new crafter for the next expansion.

Am I Crazy?

I suspect that I am.  Do you go as crazy as this for tradeskills?  Do you make rational decisions about whether it’s cheaper to buy instead of build on a tradeskill-by-tradeskill basis, or can you just not be bothered to do the crafting?

Or am I the only one this insane?