Tag Archives: Engineering

A Lust for Living Steel

As I noted back in December, coming back to Azeroth after a long stretch away has left me with an embarrassment of options when it comes to what to do.

One of those was trade skills.  Once I got Vikund to level 90 I went about getting his chosen professions, Engineering, up to 600.

Engineering is a strange profession, one of those aspects of WoW that probably seemed like an interesting idea at some point, but which took quite a while to really come into its own.  In the end, engineering gives you some benefits… you get an engineers-only auction house broker in Panderia… and some interesting little gadgets… the wormhole generator, and the required parachute to accompany it, was fun… but I am not sure that it is a “must have” profession for anybody.

Getting to 600 went well enough… there is so much ghost iron in Pandaria that Potshot was wondering why they bother to build things out of bamboo… and I even got the drop for the final batch of engineering recipes, Chief Engineer Jard’s Journal, as I was finishing off the some quests in the Kun-Lai Summit.

Those recipes gave me yet another goal to pursue, another mount.  In this case, it was the Sky Golem.  I will go quite a ways out of my way for another mount, and this one seemed especially silly.  And the recipe seemed simple enough.  I just needed 30 units each of two items.

Sky Golem parts...

Sky Golem parts…

That screen shot shows me having 41 of Jard’s Peculiar Energy Source and 30 Living Steel.  But when I started I had none of each, so it was time to figure out how to get there.

The energy sources were simple enough.  Engineers can make them.  They only require 10 ghost iron bars to make, and as noted above, ghost iron is pretty common in Pandaria.  The only hitch was that it was a “once per day” recipe that generated a soulbound item.  I would be at least 30 days getting there.

And then there was the Living Steel.

Engineers cannot make Living Steel.  That is the domain of alchemists.  But alchemists can’t really use it once they make it, so it is like any other raw material in that it can be bought and sold at the auction house.  So my first option was to just buy 30 bars of Living Steel on the market.

On our server, Eldre’Thalas, Living Steel tends to hover at around 400 gold per bar, so that would require at least 12,000 gold, maybe more if the price wandered up, as it tends to at times.

That was not an insurmountable price.  In the age of Panderia, where there is a plethora of daily quests that will give you 20 gold in reward, you can rack up some gold pretty quickly.  Add in the auction house and gold is there if you want to put in the effort.

The problem is that I have trouble dedicating myself to accruing gold, and the gold I was earning was earmarked for other items.  All of those Pandaria factions have mounts for sale when you hit exalted, and I wanted them.

So it was time to look for an alchemist.

Potshot turned out to have an alchemist in the form of his instance group character Skronk.  He managed to level up alchemy to 600 pretty quickly and soon I started feeding him resources to produce Living Steel.  An alchemist needs six bars of Trillium, which comes from a rare harvest node in Pandaria (if I see two in one day, I feel blessed), but which you can also grow on your farm, if you have chosen to indulge in farming.

A farmer's life is full of toil...

A farmer’s life is full of toil…

Of course I have a farm.  And every day I plant my 16 snakeroot seeds, which in theory should yield me 4 Trillium bars.  Trillium is difficult in that it comes in black and white and you need two of each to make a single bar, and the farm (or nodes) toss the two types out at random.  So to make up the difference I had to buy some of the correct ore to cover imbalance and shortfalls.  Trillium bars can also be created from 10 ghost iron bars, so I sent a bunch of those to Skronk early on to cover daily shorts.

So we started off.  But then Earl got his level 90 alt up to 600 in blacksmithing, and guess who what other profession needs Living Steel.  Earl deferred his Living Steel requests until I finished the Sky Golem… like many of us, he is a sucker for mounts and will no doubt be working on one when his engineer gets to 600… but I could see a serious Living Steel bottleneck approaching for our little guild.

So I cast my eye upon my alts to see who might take up alchemy as well.

As I mentioned before, I have parallel druids on our server, Alioto and Selirus.  Don’t ask why.  I am not sure I could explain it.  They are both night elves who went with restoration for much of their careers (Alioto swapped to feral when he became my entry for the instance group) and who picked up herbalism and inscription for professions.

Alioto was further along with inscription, so I decided to drop inscription on Selirus and pick up alchemy.  Fortunately, herbalism is a must for both, and he was far enough along there to be set.  I just had to get him from 1 to 600 in the profession.  And I started off doing it the hard way.  I went to WoW Professions, looked at their 1-600 alchemy guide, and started harvesting.

Potentially I could have just bought the supplies on the market, but low to mid-level herbs can be surprisingly expensive and I had still wanted to spend gold on mounts and not raw materials.  So I set myself a goal of boosting alchemy between 25 and 50 skill points a night to keep the whole thing from becoming a soul sucking grind, and stuck to it. (Actually exceeded it most nights, but just didn’t do it in one giant grind.)

I also worked a bit on leveling Selirus as well, since he was level 78 and you need to be at least level 80 to train into the Zen Master (525 to 600) range of alchemy.

That went well enough and after a week Selirus had passed into the Cataclysm recipe range and harvesting was becoming a bit more challenging as was just getting exactly the right herbs.  But it was a Saturday night, when the market is usually stuffed and prices tend to dip to their lowest, so I decided to splurge.  I spent approximately 1,000 gold and bought all the herbs needed to get Selirus to 600.  That was about how much he had made from the auction house by selling his creations and excess herbage, so it was something of a wash.  And along the way he learned the recipe for Living Steel.  The guild now has two level 600 alchemists, doubling our potential Living Steel production.

So I was able to stuff Selirus with yet more ghost iron to hurry along my Sky Golem project by a few days.  Another mount obtained.

The Sky Golem

The Sky Golem

The mount itself is another in the line of silly engineering mounts.  It looks crazy, makes the usual array of odd noises, and swerves all over the sky as you fly along, doing the occasional barrel roll.  The prime benefit it bestows is that it does not require you to dismount to harvest herbs, allowing non-duids to enjoy the benefit that druids have long had in that regard with their flight form.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t help me much.   All of my herbalists are druids already.  But I am happy enough to have yet another mount.

Right Ho, Jeeves!

I have at time considered dropping the engineering profession.

I picked up engineering originally with my paladin, Vikund, primarily to support my then main-character-of-the-moment Tistann, who is a hunter.  Among the many things that engineers can make are guns, gun enhancements (scopes), and upgraded ammunition.  All very useful to a hunter that has specialized in guns.

But while the engineering recipe list has some other interesting items, it can be a less than thrilling professional path.

It is certainly not a money maker as most of the interesting items you can create require that the user have an engineering skill close to what it requires to build.  So most of your wares can only be used by other engineers who would probably rather just make the item themselves.

And there are a couple of flat spots when leveling up the engineering skill where you either have to keep grinding inexpensive green items that give rare skill ups or very expensive to build orange items that always give a skill up.

Still, there was some utility for a paladin back in the days when they had no generic ranged attack to have a supply of thrown explosive weapons to pull bad guys.  And there were those seaforium charges to open up chests, though I have yet to find something in a chest that would sell for more that the cost of the opening charge.

So I have persisted with the profession, grinding it up in bursts then letting it idle.

Finally though, in Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard decided to focus a lot on one of the engineering profession themes, convenience items.  There have been a number of cool things, like the wormhole generator, that have made pursuing the career worthwhile.

But the ultimate item on the convenience list is Jeeves.

Named for the “gentleman’s gentleman” of the P.G. Wodehouse novels, Jeeves is a repair bot extraordinaire.   When you summon him, your party can repair its gear, sell items to him to clear bag space, and buy reagents and ammunition.

In addition, if you are a master engineer, you can also access your bank via Jeeves.

I have been working towards Jeeves for a while now, getting all the parts required to make him lined up and grinding those final 10 expensive skill points.  Last night, I was finally ready.

First, I had to go get the recipe.  The recipe is a drop that engineers have a chance to get by salvaging any mechanical corpse in Northrend.  And after killing and salvaging nearly 200 mechanicals by the Inventor’s Library, the recipe showed up.  It was time to make Jeeves.

An Expensive Parts List

An Expensive Parts List

The parts list is a bit pricey.  The Titansteel bars are about 200 gold each and the King’s Amber around 150 gold each, plus what goes into making the other repair bots that get folded into Jeeves.  But I managed to harvest everything but the King’s Amber, so the out of pocket expense was not so bad.

So once I put all those parts together, I was able to summon Jeves.

Jeeves in the Morning

Jeeves in the Morning

There is a one hour cool down on summoning him, and he only stays around for 10 minutes because it seems he has other things to which he must attend.

Still, a gentleman’s gentlerobot indeed.

Of course, now that we’re somewhat done with the five person content, I am not sure how often I will need to call on Jeeves.