This is probably one of the most difficult professions to master, and definitely the most complex. But it can be very rewarding in terms of the rare and epic items you’ll be able to make when you reach the Master level. Just be aware that aside from Enchanting, this is probably the hardest craft to learn. It’s also not a guaranteed money-maker, as your wares have to compete with loot drops that often have better stats than what you’ve created. This is not to say that you can’t make money, you’ll just have to be a bit more savvy when choosing what items to make.
The best choice by far is Mining because 90% of your materials will be mined. Also, as difficult as it can sometimes be to make money as a blacksmith, if you have to purchase all your ore and gems you will be very unlikely to make a profit. You also use leather and potions in some of your recipes, but probably not enough to justify taking one of those instead of Mining. It may be viable to learn a gathering profession purely for the extra cash, but mostly likely it would just balance out the money you are losing by purchasing all your ore. Truly the best option would be to collect your own ore, you can always sell the excess for additional income.
The first step on the road to Blacksmithing is to find a trainer. Any major city should have one of these, just ask a guard. There are also some trainers located in towns in various newbie zones, but this is not reliable so your best bet is to take care of this in the city.
There are a few items required for Blacksmithing that you’ll need to purchase from a vendor. First is the Blacksmith Hammer, which you’ll need to have in your bags whenever you want to make an item. You don’t need to equip it, just carry it with you. From time to time you’ll need varying types of flux that appear to be used mostly in weapon recipes. Vendors also sell coal that is used to smelt steel bars. Coal can also be gotten from higher level elemental mobs, but at lower levels (under 30) you’ll just have to buy it. Presumably by the time you need to smelt steel you should be able to farm the mobs that drop coal.
Finally, you’ll need to use an anvil for most of the items you make. There are a few things like grinding, sharpening and weightstones that don’t require an anvil. But most recipes do, so make sure you have access to one when you’re ready to create something. Most cities and towns have an anvil, and there are even anvils out in the world at large, usually in camps with humanoids.
Your first few recipes will be very low level armor and weapons of inferior quality, not much better than the newbie loot that players get from mob drops. These items are unlikely to sell at all, so plan to sell them back to the vendor and take a loss on the materials. Your other option is to save them for the various quests that are available later on (listed below). Whenever you gain a new recipe for grinding stones, use it as much as you can until it goes gray. The grinding stones will always be needed for other recipes and it’s an easy way to get skill points.
Once you have some green items available to make, you can start listing your wares on the Auction House. If you have a choice between making a weapon or armor, at the lower levels weapons are arguably a better choice. Lowbie weapons are harder to come by than armor. Odds are you’ll see a glut of crafted armor on the Auction House at any given time (made by your fellow blacksmiths). But it’s not unusual to look at the available weapons for players in the 5-50 range and see little or no selection. So don’t bypass weapons just because they require more materials. In my experience they sold much better than armor and I was usually able to make at least a modest profit on them.
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Blacksmithing has the highest number of crafting quests of any profession in the game. Some of these are optional, but you gain new recipes by doing them. If you plan to do these quests it’s a good idea to work them into your skill leveling plan. Since you’ll basically be giving away the items you’ve made, you might as well be getting skill points for it. Here’s a list of the various quests and what you need to make for them:
|Quest||Level||Starts with||Items Needed|
|Supplying the Front (Alliance)||5||Tormus Deepforge (Ironforge)||6 Copper Axes
6 Copper Chain Belts
|Gearing Redridge (Alliance)||5||Tormus Deepforge (Ironforge)||4 Runed Copper Belts
4 Heavy Copper Mauls
|Barbaric Battlements (Horde)||32||Orokk Omosh (Orgrimmar)||2 Patterned Bronze Bracers
2 Bronze Greatswords
2 Sharp Claws
|On Iron Pauldrons (Horde)||32||Orokk Omosh (Orgrimmar)||4 Bronze Battle Axes
4 Bronze Warhammers
|Trampled Under Foot (Horde)||32||Orokk Omosh (Orgrimmar)||4 Green Iron Helms
4 Green Iron Bracers
2 Green Iron Leggings
|Horns of Frenzy (Horde)||32||Orokk Omosh (Orgrimmar)||2 Solid Iron Mauls
2 Silvered Bronze Boots
2 Silvered Bronze Gaultlets
By this point you should be getting ready to train as an Expert, so talk to Bengus Deepforge in Ironforge (Alliance) or Saru Steelfury in Orgrimmar (Horde). Eventually you’ll reach Artisan level and need to find the next trainer (be sure you reach level 35 and 200 Blacksmithing first). The Artisan Blacksmithing trainer is Brikk Keencraft in Booty Bay.
At level 40 you can also choose a specialty of Armorsmithing or Weaponsmithing. Bengus and Saru can direct you to the proper specialty trainer when you are ready to make your choice. Armorsmiths are required to complete the full quest line starting with Hank the Hammer in Stormwind or Ox in Orgrimmar as a prerequisite to Armorsmithing. After doing their quests, they send you to Galvan the Ancient in Stranglethorn Vale who will force you to hand over insane amounts of ore in order to learn his recipes. Once you’ve done that you can return to your faction city and start the Armorsmithing quest. Luckily Weaponsmiths don’t have to do that quest if they prefer not to (but they’ll be tortured later on, don’t worry).
Blacksmiths have a great variety of items they can craft which are useful to other players, in addition to armor and weapons. This includes sharpening stones and weightstones, which add a temporary damage bonus when applied to a weapon. There are also Shield Spikes that adds a damage bonus to shields, Mithril Spurs that give a speed increase to mounts, and a Steel Weapon chain that makes it impossible to disarm a weapon. Any player can use these items, and some of them are consumable which should provide a steady market.
Blacksmiths are also the only source of the rods needed by Enchanters for their craft. You can also make skeleton keys that can open various locks in the game, similar to a Rogue’s lockpicking ability. Leatherworkers and Tailors use our Iron Buckles for their belt recipes, and Engineers require the Inlaid Mithril Cylinders. So don’t forget to add a few of these items to your crafting repertoire, some of them are very nice cash generators.
That’s right, there are more specialties in store for those that go the way of the Weaponsmith. When you reach 250 Blacksmithing and level 50, you can go to Everlook in Winterspring. There are three NPCs in the building with the banker and the auctioneer. Each of them starts a quest for one of the three Master level weapon specialties. If you want to be a Master Axesmith, speak with Kilram and get the Snakestone of the Shadow Huntress quest. To become a Master Swordsmith, talk to Seril Scourgebane and get the Corruption quest. To learn how to be a Master Hammersmith, talk to Lilith the Lithe and accept her quest Sweet Serenity. Each of these quests will take you through a high level instance and require you to kill a specific mob in order to complete it. You’ll need a full group of level 55+ players to help you with this task. Luckily when you finish the quest, not only do you get a recipe as a reward but you’ll now be able to learn any recipe in your new specialty, in addition to all the Weaponsmith recipes you had access to previously.
For those of you who want to increase faction with the Thorium Brotherhood, these are a necessity. It’s very difficult to get faction with TB and by doing this quest line you can gain 1100 faction points with them. You must be level 50 and have 265 Blacksmithing skill for these quests to be available to you. Luckily any Blacksmith can learn these plans, not just Armorsmiths. The other nice thing about doing this is that you can actually sell these items for a reasonable profit. Because they comprise an item set with set bonuses, players will actually pay decent money for them. The only other reasonable option for leveling your smithing skill at this stage is the Radiant and Thorium armor, which is very hard to sell and predominantly unprofitable.
The downside of this quest is that once again this guy wants obscene amounts of ore in exchange for the plans. Derotain Mudsipper in Gadgetzan will make you hand over 250 bars of thorium to get all of his plans, ouch! But if you decide not to do this quest line, it will take 230 dark iron ore to get the same amount of Thorium Brotherhood faction, so in the long run this is the less painful route.
This is a very expensive mistake and a very serious decision. If for some reason you decide that you don’t like the specialty you’ve chosen and you want to re-specialize, there is a way out. If you decide to re-spec, you need to visit your previous specialty trainer and ask them to “unlearn” your specialty. They will charge you 100 gold to do so and all of your specialty recipes will be removed from your tradeskills window. After that, simply speak to your new trainer of the specialty you wish to learn and they will teach you their specialization. In the case of the various weaponsmithing specialties, the quest givers in Everlook cannot teach you any actual recipes. You’ll need to find a Weaponsmithing trainer, such as the one in Ironforge or Shattrath City (both located near the city’s forge) after you select your new specialization in Everlook.
For those of you with the Burning Crusade expansion, you’ll be able to craft a new “Master” level of goodies up to 375 skill. The first thing you’ll want to do is visit Honor Hold or Thrallmar in Hellfire Peninsula and find your Blacksmithing trainer. For Alliance this is Humphry, who can be found inside the forge at Honor Hold. For Horde players, Rohok can be found at the forge just south of the mage tower in Thrallmar. There are six new recipes you’ll receive at 300 skill, but don’t be in a hurry to use them just yet. You may notice that some of your old, pre-expansion recipes are still orange. These will give you skill points too, so if you still have old materials laying around you may as well use them for easy points. Either that, or you can make the Enchanted Thorium Blades, which is a new recipe but does not require any expansion materials. These actually sell fairly well too.
If you do not have a stash of thorium to use, I’d suggest starting with the consumable items and milk those as long as you can. As usual, crafted armor is not a good seller and you’d do well to avoid making it unless you want it for yourself. You should be able to reach at least 315 and possibly 320 just by using pre-BC recipes if you choose to go that route. For the most part in these early stages you’ll just be collecting Fel Iron and crafting items with it. Be aware that smelting ore into bars now requires two ore for each bar. So you’ll need to collect twice as much ore for each item you plan to make.
As mentioned earlier, weapons are a better bet for sellable items than crafted armor. Most crafters prefer to make armor because of the lower materials requirement, as a result there will be an excessive amount of crafted armor posted for sale at a loss. If you can swing it, try making some of the melee weapons instead and you’ll be more likely to recoup the bulk of your cost. Melee weapons are usually in shorter supply than armor and tend to sell better. Generally speaking it’s not too difficult to reach 340 skill with the various Fel Iron recipes from the trainer and a good supply of fel iron ore.
Once you reach 340 skill, you’ll probably be forced to start using Adamantite recipes to skill up. I would strongly recommend that you purchase the Lesser Rune of Shielding. It goes yellow immediately, but it is by far the cheapest recipe you’ll have right now. After that you can make any of the green adamantite weapons to skill up, even though the recipes are yellow they still give very good points. This would also be a good time to make any of the level 65 specialty items or or blue Adamantite armor that you’re interested in having. The mats are really high and not worth crafting just for skill points, but if you plan to use the item anyway, you might as well get a point for it.
Hopefully by now you have reached 350 skill and this is where things start getting really ugly for blacksmiths. If you haven’t done so already, I strongly suggest you get your Cenarion Expedition reputation up to Honored level. They sell two recipes at Honored that will ease the initial burden of this last phase of smithing, the Adamantite Sharpening Stone and the Adamantite Weightstone. If you aren’t Honored yet, buy yourself a bunch of Unidentified Plant Parts from the Auction House (250 rep per 10) and raise it up. These two recipes start out yellow and turn green at 355, but they’re still very cheap compared to your other options now. They also sell very well, being the best melee weapon buffs in the game, so there’s no excuse for skipping over them. Once you play out the easy Adamantite recipes, you can make the Felsteel Whisper Knives that you learned from the trainer. If you are Aldor, you also have the option to make Flamebane Bracers now, but Friendly reputation is required and they don’t sell very well. Since both items require a handful of Primals to make, it’s probably better to go with the Knives that have a higher sales value. You should be able to reach 360 skill with either of these recipes.
For the final 15-20 points of Smithing, you’re going to need a disgusting amount of Primals. You’ll also need to farm for viable recipes, as there are no world drops that are reasonable for skilling up. There are no good choices here, it’s more a matter of what’s less painful for you. The least material intensive recipes for this range are the Felsteel armor plans, which require only 6-8 Felsteel bars per item. But since the recipes only drop in dungeons, they are difficult to farm unless you run instances a lot.
There are some static drop recipes that are farmable, but the components for these are notably worse. This includes the Ragesteel armor set, which requires khorium bars (a rare ore) and 6-10 Primal Fire each. The other farmable recipe set is the Khorium Ward, which requires 4-8 Primals for each piece as well. The drop rates on all of these static smithing recipes are extremely low, sometimes requiring several hundred kills before the recipe drops. As you can see, there is a tremendous amount of farming associated with this last phase of Smithing. Sadly, most of these items don’t sell particularly well either. It’s my understanding that the Felsteel armor is the most viable in this regard, but as I’ve noted those are also the hardest plans to acquire.
Those who reach 375 in this craft should be truly proud that they’ve accomplished something extremely difficult. Good luck to you!