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World of Warcraft is a virtual reality, massively-multiplayer online role-playing game that owes part of its complexity to players having many professions to choose from. These professions are distinguished from other skills (such utility abilities, combat skills, and spells) by their connection and contribution to the virtual economy of the game. They represent skills that provide goods and services to other players from players. There are ten primary professions from which a character can select.[1] Every character is allowed to learn up to two of these main or primary professions and all of the three available secondary professions.

These professions can all be categorized into subsections of gathering, service, and crafting (Blizzard calls them production) professions.[2] The gathering, primary professions are herbalism, mining, and skinning. Fishing is the only secondary gathering profession. The only service professions are enchanting and inscription. The crafting, primary professions are alchemy, blacksmithing, engineering, leatherworking, tailoring, jewelcrafting. Cooking and first aid are both crafting, secondary professions.

The proficiency in a profession is based on the number of points or skill levels in the profession. The first release (World of Warcraft) allowed ranges from 1 to 300,[3] with the first expansion (The Burning Crusade) increasing the maximum to 375,[4] and the second expansion (Wrath of the Lich King) further increasing the maximum to 450.[5]

The amount of expertise is also divided into steps that limit the maximum skill you can gain before having to train again. They have the following titles:[3] Apprentice (1 - 75), Journeyman (76 - 150), Expert (151 - 225), Artisan (226 - 300), Master (301 - 375), and Grand Master (376 - 450). Usually a the appropriate trainer will allow you to increase your maximum before training again at 25 points before you hit your limit up to Expert (225 max). To go from Artisan to Master you need to be 300 and to go from Master to Grand Master you need to be 375.[citation needed]

Primary professions Edit

Primary Profession Category
Alchemy Crafting/Production
Blacksmithing Crafting/Production
Enchanting Service
Engineering Crafting/Production
Herbalism Gathering
Leatherworking Crafting/Production
Mining Gathering
Skinning Gathering
Tailoring Crafting/Production
Jewelcrafting Crafting/Production
Inscription Service

Secondary professions Edit

Secondary Profession Category
Cooking Crafting/Production
First Aid Crafting/Production
Fishing Gathering

Gathering Edit

In the gathering professions, herbalism, mining, and skinning, a character collects raw materials either to sell, or to use for a complementary profession. The materials gathered to sell are generally sold at an auction house, a place where other players around the globe are able to bid on items in World of Warcraft’s virtual world. Players may also obtain a second profession that uses the raw materials in their craft.

Herbalism Edit

In herbalism, a character gathers all different kinds of herbs from kelp to flowers. Herbs are used in the Alchemy and Inscription professions. Alchemy is the profession in which potions are created through the use of herbs. It is cost-efficient to choose herbalism and alchemy together as a character’s primary professions, because then the player does not have to buy the herbs on the auction house for the alchemy profession, they need only collect the materials.[6]

The Inscription profession also makes use of the herbs gathered by herbalism. The herbs are converted (using Milling) to various types of pigment in much the same way the Jewelcrafting profession "prospects" ore for gems. From the pigments, ink can be produced which is a primary ingredient for most Inscription products.

Mining Edit

In mining, a character mines some common real-world type ores such as copper, tin, silver and gold, but also other mythical ores in the World of Warcraft. The miner can also gather gems that are very valuable and types of stone. These precious materials can be mined in most metal resource nodes (also known as deposits or veins). A miner also learns how to smelt the ore (Smelting subskill), which they collect into pure bars of whichever metal they smelted. The miner can sell these goods, for some of the highest prices of any raw materials in the World of Warcraft. The complementary professions for mining are blacksmithing, engineering, and jewelcrafting. You will need to buy a Mining Pick to mine, and you will need to carry it with you all time. [7] Those three crafting professions all use the raw materials gathered by miners.

Before the Burning Crusade and the Jewelcrafting subskill of Prospecting, mining was the only profession source of gems, but since Prospecting has a much higher return rate of gems it has become the primary source of gems with mining mostly just supplying the ore used by Prospecting.

Skinning Edit

In skinning, a character does not have to go out of their way to gather raw materials—thus making it a very time-efficient gathering profession. The skinner can skin most monsters that they kill, as long as the monster is animal-like and not, for instance, a giant lava elemental. Unfortunately, corpses of monsters that have not been looted completely cannot be skinned. Most skinnable creatures produce leather[8] raw materials or sometimes fur,[9] hides,[10] or scales[11]. A quirk of the game sometimes allow skinning of unusual creatures that yield items other than leather or hides.[12] Despite the ease of obtaining the leather, the raw materials gathered by a skinner are still quite valuable. The complementary profession for skinning is leatherworking. The leatherworkers require various leather, fur, hides, and scales to make their crafts.

Fishing Edit

Anyone can learn fishing if they have a fishing pole. Most bodies of water in the game can be fished, but require varying minimum fishing expertise to catch fish from. Lures can be applied to fishing poles to provide short term fishing bonuses. The player just casts their fishing line, waits for their bobber to signal activity and reels in to see if something was caught. Most of the fish caught in the game can be used in cooking recipes. Some fish have various other uses for alchemy or even as weapons.

Every sunday a fishing contest occurs that gives players access to special fish and the opportunity to win special fishing-related items.

Service Edit

Enchanting Edit

An enchanter can enchant their own items as well as other character’s items. The enchanter will usually offer their services to others across the main chat channel. Other players will privately respond to the enchanter and they will do their business. The enchanter can increase attributes such as: strength, agility, stamina, intellect, spirit, critical strike rating, etc. The enchanter, to make their wages, usually adds a fee for the enchanting, besides the cost of the materials.

The enchanter, like most crafting professions, needs to have consumable materials. The enchanter also needs to have a non-consumable, runed rod (similar to the various tools of blacksmithing, engineering and jewelcrafting) of the appropriate type to apply enchantments.[13] The enchanter does have the option to opt out of gathering consumable materials and just buy the enchanting supplies at the auction house, but that is a very costly way to do enchanting. The way to gather enchanting materials are by disenchanting magical quality armor or weapons into dusts,[14] essences,[15] shards,[16] or crystals.[17] These items are denoted magical quality by their name color in green (uncommon item), blue (rare), and purple (epic). The materials gained can then be used for enchanting. The materials that the enchanter gets from disenchanting these items can be sold at the auction house just like the materials from any gathering profession.

With the advent of the Inscription profession, enchantments can be applied to vellums[18] to be used later to apply the enchantment to an item by the purchaser of the enchanted vellum. This allows enchantments to be more portable and sold on the auction house.

Inscription Edit

For inscription a character mills plants into pigments[19] to produce inks,[20] and with the help of parchments[21] available from a vendor near an inscription trainer, creates glyphs or scrolls. Glyphs can be inserted into the sockets designed for them. These sockets can be accessed by opening the spellbook and clicking on "glyphs" tab. To insert a glyph one has to be at a Lexicon of Power (a sort of floating, glowing book), which can be found near any inscription trainer. Scrolls typically can be used to provide a temporary buff to some attribute.

Glyphs are class-specific. They enhance the abilities a class has by increasing damage, making effects last longer and the likes. There are major and minor glyphs. Major Glyphs are glyphs which modify the mana cost, the cooldown, the duration of effect, or add an effect to a spell or ability. Minor Glyphs can be used to enhance or modify a spell's effect or cost, but at a much lower degree than Major Glyphs.

Crafting Edit

The crafting professions all require raw materials collected by the gathering professions in order to make their crafts. These craftsmen start out creating cheap items, but as they grow in skill they can create some of the best products available in the virtual world, short of slaying a ferocious dragon in a dungeon or by doing some other arduous task.

Alchemy Edit

In alchemy, a character creates potions for healing, replenishing mana (the amount of magical energy a caster possesses), increasing run speed, etc. Alchemy requires inexpensive and easy to acquire herbs at the starting levels of the profession. As an alchemist increases their skill level, they require more expensive herbs; the up side is, these more expensive herbs can be used to make more effective and more potent potions. For example, a low level alchemist creates a minor healing potion and can heal themselves for 70-90 health.[22] As they increase in level they learn can learn to make a lesser healing potion which heals from 140-180 health.[23] The alchemist can keep all the potions they create for their own use, but they can also sell some or all of them at the auction house.

Blacksmithing Edit

In blacksmithing, a character creates weapons and armor from smelted bars of metal and in some cases the item that the blacksmith makes will also require gems or diamonds of some sort. Being a blacksmith is especially useful for a warrior or some other heavy armor wearing character. By being a blacksmith that character is able to make all their own armor and weapons. There would be nearly no practical use for a mage to be a blacksmith—since they can only wear cloth armor—except if they were to sell the products at the auction house. That is not always possible either, because certain items that a blacksmith makes in the higher levels of their craft are soulbound, meaning he cannot sell them at the auction house.

Engineering Edit

In engineering, a character can create various gizmos and gadgets that do a variety of tasks. Engineers can create little toys to play with and even make jumper cables that have a chance to shock another character back to life.[24] The same materials that a blacksmith needs are what an engineer primarily needs as well. The engineering products sold at the auction house are targeted toward a smaller audience than the other craftable items from the other professions, because many engineering products require an engineering proficiency of a certain level depending on the quality and level of the item.

Leatherworking Edit

In leatherworking, a character uses the leather from animal hides to create leather armor, quivers, armor kits, etc. This is a very practical profession for any leather wearing character, because they will be able to make their own armor. The armor kits that they make are useful to all. The lower level kits increase the armor points of a certain piece of armor. The higher level kits increase attributes from health to agility, depending on the exact type of high level kit. Mainly because of the armor kits, leatherworking is a marketable profession that reaches out to the general consumer.

Tailoring Edit

In tailoring, a player crafts many different things using cloth. Such things include bolts of that specific cloth, which takes a bundle of a type of cloth and compacts it into one bolt, spell thread that can be applied to a pair of leggings to improve spell power and stamina, and pieces of armor, which increase in quality as the profession skill is upgraded. The material that a tailor primarily needs is cloth. There is a wide variety of cloth to be found in the World of Warcraft. Cloth is obtained by killing many varieties of enemy npc's (non-player characters). The type of cloth depends on the level of the character’s foe. Such classes that benefit from this profession include: Mage, Warlock, Priest. These classes are only able to wear cloth armor, whereas all other classes can wear leather or better. Linen, Wool, Silk, Mageweave and Runecloth are all acquired in Azeroth, which consists of the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. Netherweave cloth can be acquired from the Outlands, released in The Burning Crusade expansion set. With the newly added continent of Northrend, released in the expansion set Wrath of the Lich King, players acquire Frostweave, which is used to level the tailoring profession from 375 to 450. Players become able to fly in Northrend when they reach level 77, and are able to craft the newly added flying mount for tailors: Magnificient Flying Carpet. This mount can be crafted after a player skills up their tailoring to 425.

Jewelcrafting Edit

In jewelcrafting, a character makes jewelry such as rings and necklaces, as well as cutting out gems to put into armor or weapons. Jewelcrafting mainly needs the materials that a miner gathers—ore, bars, and various gems and diamonds. The jewelcrafter can be useful to themselves because they can wear their own jewelry and use the gems that they cut; however, the profession has a much broader scope than just to fit the needs of the jewelcrafter. The jewelry crafted by the jewelcrafter can be worn by any character regardless of their class. Also the gems that they cut are important for all characters that have higher level armor and weapons that can socket those gems. So, the items that the jewelcrafter makes appeal to the general consumer in the World of Warcraft.

Cooking Edit

Cooking is just what it sounds like. Players gather raw food ingredients like flour and spices to make food to eat that restores health and sometimes mana. Some foods provide special buffs or have other unique effects. Salt is not considered as a specific ingredient for cooking for some reason. Fishing complements cooking as a ready source of meat ingredients. Otherwise meats for various dishes can be looted from dead creatures soon after a kill. A few drinks can be made from cooking as well.

First Aid Edit

A simple profession for making mostly bandages and a few anti-venoms. Bandages are made from the same basic cloth ingredients that are used for tailoring. The few anti-venoms are made from venom glands of poisonous creatures in the game. Unlike food, which can only restore health over time while out of combat and sitting, bandages can restore health in combat, but their healing effect can be easily interrupted like eating food.

Real-World Connection Edit

The professions in this game may be fictional, but they parallel professions in a real-world economy. The gathering professions in the game are needed so that the craftsmen can create his crafts. The service profession is around to meets the needs of the character on an individual level, as well as enhancing the crafts of the craftsmen. As the characters grow in level they need better armor and weapons. So, it spikes the virtual economy and the gatherers gather, the craftsmen craft, and the servicer serves.

Researcher’s Thoughts Edit

Nina Fefferman from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston says, “Virtual-world modeling could give valuable insights into… improving models and the accuracy of simulations.”[25]

Professor William Bainbridge from George Mason University says, “Online virtual worlds, electronic environments where people can work and interact in a somewhat realistic manner, have great potential as sites for research in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences, as well as in human-centered computer science.”[26] t

References Edit

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