Why Alchemy is better than you think

Alchemy is a great (and possibly the best) DPS profession because of one thing: versatility.

Night Elf MohawkAlchemy offers opportunities to tailor your DPS output on the fly, fight to fight, even phase to phase, that no other profession can compete with, for example:

You’re fighting the Northrend Beasts, you blew your cooldowns on Gormokk right from the jump, Rapid Fire, Call of the Wild, all popped immediately as your trinkets got their first proc off. You know Heroism/Bloodlust is going to go off when the worms come out, and you’ll pop your RF and CotW again when Icehowl smashes his face into the wall in phase 3, yes? Alchemy shines here, while you’ve downed a Flask of Endless Rage, which gives you (because of your Mixology talent) 244 attack power for 2 hours, you also have options:

There are at LEAST 4 potions that may prove useful for this fight: Wild Magic, Potion of Speed, Runic Healing and Runic Mana (real quick, what’s an anagram for potions? OPTIONS! Thank you, yes, I’m here all week). But possibly none are more valuable than the Crazy Alchemist’s Potion (which, of course, is only available to an alchemist). Say you’re running low on mana and/or health in this fight, pop one of these babies, and you get the base 3100-3500 health and 4200-4400 mana, but it can also proc, doubling either of the first two effects, or giving you Speed, Wild Magic, or one of a few assorted OTHER buffs, as well. Of course, if your health and mana are fine, you can also pop a potion of Speed or Wild Magic to assure yourself of the buffs, secure in the knowledge that popping that potion cost you less than someone with a (lesser) profession.

Want more versatility? Okay, instead of popping a flask of endless rage, how about elixirs of agility and intellect? Using the spreadsheet on femaledwarf.com, you can see that (mana dependent), it can be a DPS BOOST (by possibly keeping you out of Viper entirely) to use these instead of a flask of endless rage. Obviously these are available to anyone, but again, no other non-alchemist is going to be able to create them as cheaply as you can, and mixology is not a talent to be underestimated, as it will buff these elixirs, as well.

If you’re of the PvP bent, Alchemy shines here as well. Flask of the North (another alchemist only item) provides 80AP, 40 STR or 47 Spell Power, depending on what’s best for your class, and it works in arenas!  It lasts for an hour, and has no cooldown, so you can refresh it whenever you like. While not as convenient as a perpetual buff like the extra sockets from BS, it’s a nice addition to a profession already packed with bonuses, and again, the utility offered incomparable, but let’s make a quick comparison anyway:

Alchemy vs. Jewelcrafting (my other profession), fight to fight versatility:

Okay, you’re a Jewelcrafter, gratz, and you need extra hit for a boss since the only Draenei in your raid is DC’d and had to be replaced (tell me this never happens, more spacegoats, please!). What can you do? Well, you can cut yourself a couple of replacement gems super fast, pop them in the best possible sockets, and off you go. But what happened here? You’ve replaced a gem or two with hit rating gems, and when you raid next time, you’ll have your spacegoat back, and want agility gems back in those spots. Cost effective? Hardly. How would an alchemist handle this sitch-e-ation?  Pop a hit elixir and keep on truckin’. What? Raid wiped and the Draenei is back? You don’t need that crappy hit anymore, hooray! Pop another flask of endless rage and commence to crush the hopes and dreams of that boss, fo sho. Is this an extreme example? Sure. Is it a possibilty? Absolutely.

(I’m not going to get into the pros and cons of being hit capped in this article, but stay tuned, gentle reader, I may get around to it eventually!).

Pre-potting is another way to make use of the economy alchemy offers. Pre-potting, is, in short, quaffing a potion right before a pull, allowing you to get most of the buff of the first potion, and still allowing you the flexibility of drinking the appropriate potion later in the fight.

I hope I’ve convinced you to immediately switch to Alchemy instead of whichever lesser profession you favored prior to this little bolt of enlightenment, err article (or at least, failing that, given you a slight appreciation for it).

20 thoughts on “Why Alchemy is better than you think”

  1. Very enlightening article. I hadn’t given much thought to alchemy as a profession for my hunter but this write-up has gotten me thinking and researching a little more. To that end, I have a concern:

    Assuming that there sill be a level 85 equivalent to the Crazy Alchemist’s Potion, the focus-based hunter of the future will not have a need for the mana portion of the potion. The healing potion aspect is certainly useful in a pinch, but unlike mana, there’s no guarantee that it will be needed. However, given that haste will increase the rate of focus regeneration, proccing a haste potion would be useful, but without the need for mana, it would be more reliable to use a regular haste potion.

    While Cataclysm is still a way off, there are still long-term implications for alchemy and hunters. I also realize that, because information IS still sparse with regard to Cataclysm, my commentary assumes 1) that existing flasks/elixirs/potions will receive an upgraded version with the same effects but larger numbers, 2) there will not be a potion that has a comparable effect (to that of a mana potion) for energy/focus users and 3) that potion use will continue to be limited by the out-of-combat cooldown, therefore assuming that fight mechanics will not dictate a need for frequent healing potion use.

    None of this takes away from the fact that Alchemy does provide flexibility and frugality for the hunter, as well as a benefit for us while we finish out Icecrown, nor is it outside the realm of possibilities that things will change (as they are want to do come expansion time), but from where I sit now, it looks like hunters are slated to lose one of the neatest benefits of this profession.

      • Edit button in full effect. Let me know how you like this feature Texicles.

        You can’t edit old posts, as you only have a 10 minute window or so, but at least you’ll be able to quickly fix comments just after they’ve been submitted.

        Not too many options out there for WordPress comment edit tools that I’ve found. :-\

          • Hmmm, I wrote an edit to that post as follows:

            “This is a test of teh edit buttin!

            EDIT: This is a test of [the] edit [button]!

            Garwulf, you’ve done it again! The people ask and you deliver. You should consider writing mods… or better yet, find gainful employment on the Blizz staff post haste!

            In all seriousness, keep up the great work. You and your growing “staff” run a fabulous resource for the hunter community and are a testament to the quality players that make the hunter community what it is.”

            However, when I went to post the edit, it told me I didn’t have permission. I might have taken too long to write my response though.

            EDIT: Working as intended now. WTB +typing skill :-/

            • Thanks for the kind words Texicles. 😀

              Actually, the comment edit feature is not something I created (way beyond my scope), but it was about the best option I could locate. Glad you like it anyway. 😉

  2. Thanks for all the compliments, I’m very appreciative. I’m looking forward to adding to the website, and am working on another article right now.

  3. Tested almost all the useful professions for our class and I agree with author, Alchemy is amazing. Coupled with Engineering (best cloack enchant, best gloves enchant, loads of useful things) will make your hunter much more fun to play.

    • I agree. If I could roll any two professions, they would be engineering and alchemy. They both offer so much more than just the additional stats you gain from the other professions. Plus, they’re both fun.

      My professions, leatherworking & skinning, are really only useful while leveling. The crit bonus from skinning is okay, but I mainly keep it because I can’t really afford two crafting professions. Leatherworking could be a lot better if they let us make the potion-like drums again. It’d be nice to be able to craft haste or AP drums, like we had back in TBC. Really, all we get now are cheaper leg and wrist enchants, plus the boring extra AP or stamina buff to our bracers.

      While the extra stats are nice, I’d rather have a rocket on my gloves or the ability to get a random proc off of a potion. Now that’s the kind of stuff that makes the game more interesting. 🙂

      This is a great article Tamarlane. Makes me want to level my druid now so that I can craft all of the new WotLK goodies.

  4. ive never thought about alch on a hunter… my priest has it but on a hunter? i know jcing is really nice on hunters cas of the jcer only gems +34 agi [correct me if im wrong] that would be nice over the +20 but you can only have 3 D:
    @ mousie you can easily take up gather skills on a DK or level a new character but farming hcs and raids and if your a miner stack of 20 saronite sells 25g to a vendor and there loads in the basin depends how long you do it for … i think i make about 1-2k and thats just after a hour slacking xD and ofc hunters love the sholzar cas of the nice pets you can get there, though with the new epic bullets out … im finding it hard to ditch engi or mining D:

  5. Very good article. I do have one question though… Can you sustain yourself on crafting professions alone? I’m a gatherer, and I can get by pretty well, but, as a JC/alch, do you make much money at all via professions? Do you have a gathering alt (or main) that collects the raw ingredients? I’m thinking about switching professions to maximize DPS, but I’m not sure I’m going to be able to pay the bills if I do.

    • Hey Mousie, thanks for reading it, I enjoyed and learned quite a bit from yours as well 🙂

      Regarding sustaining myself monetarily on crafting professions alone, I don’t. I could probably make money using jewelcrafting if I chose to bother, but flasks are way too competitive on my server to be profitable. I have a max level herb/inscript drood, and a max level skinning/mining paladin. They are my primary resources for mats, altho a little AH buy low/sell high works for me as well, in actuality I make most of my gold with Inscription. I chose Alchemy based specifically on the Mixology talent, and I love it. I’m elixir spec as well, so the occasional proc of 4 flasks of endless rage that last 2 hours each doesn’t hurt my feelings, either!

  6. very nice article, thanks! I am leveling alchemy on a side, on my warrior alt and I love it. In battlegrounds, for example, the speed run potion lasts twice as long for the alchemist which allows me to catch a sprinting rogue. It is easy to make money with alchemy and I am saving some serious gold not having to buy stuff on my other alts. On my main, hunter I chose engineering, and second profesion is skinning , for now — extra crit is nice too.

    • I levelled my hunter and played at 80 for some time as a skinner. I did enjoy the extra crit, but I feel it lags as a DPS maximizer compared to most of the crafting professions, unfortunately.


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