My main character is a level 60 Tauren Shaman (go cows!), I dropped Skinning (very easy to level) and picked up Herbalism, for one reason - cash. Although all server economies vary a lot (and I do mean a lot!), high level herbs sell for enough to make it worth spending an hour picking them and selling them on the auction house. At the top end, a stack of herbs might sell for 10g/15g (or more), and getting a couple of stacks in an hour isn't too difficult. If you have picked up Herbalism at level 5, then you can largely discount this guide as a way of skilling up. By picking Herbs where you are currently leveling, you should naturally improve your skill in Herbalism.
Instead this guide is really intended for people who have already reached a high level, and wish to either change or pick up Herbalism as a profession. There are a few things that you can do to speed up leveling Herbalism. First off, is that Tauren receive +15 Herbalism as a racial skill - not (in my opinion) as good as Human's bonus to reputation gains, but better than a kick in the teeth if you take up Herbalism Next up, there are two glove enchants that provide a small bonus to Herbalism (+2 and +5).
These bonuses don't make much difference, but will mean that you can go from one area to another just that little bit quicker. One tip that I can give, is that if you have a set of gloves with either +2 or +5 enchant on them, only use them if you can pick herbs you otherwise wouldn't be able to. By not wearing them, you can eak out more skill ups than otherwise (eg, if you have a skill of 195 and Herb goes grey at 200, wearing a set of +5 gloves will mean there's no chance of a skill up, not wearing them gives you 5 potential skill ups and a stack or so of herbs). Finally, Druids and Shaman have a distinct advantage over other classes as both have a travel form. In Ghost Wolf form, you can actually pick herbs (no need to come out of it), and Druids can flick into Travel Form and back again, with no time issues. If you are using a mount between each spawn of herbs, then you have the extra 3 second cast time to summon your mount after each pick.
To grind out a gathering skill from 1 to 300 is a relatively simple process for a level 60. Very few mobs will give you real jip, and most won't even agro you. For Herbalism, I reckon that a 4 or 5 hour solid grind would be enough to sort you out (excluding travel time). The following is a rough list of where I would recommend to pick herbs and at what skill levels.
Please use your own intelligence when it comes to picking herbs! Grey herbs won't ever give you a skill up, so unless you want/need them, leave them alone. Don't go into a new zone until you can pick at least 50% of the herbs available. Download and install the gatherer add-on and gatherbook (use this to download a large file with every spawn point), this will allow you to make educated guesses as to what areas to go to, to collect different herbs. 1-100 - Durotar. Couldn't be simpler, just go the length of Durotar and collect anything you can.
Herbs are close together and to be honest, pose no real difficulties. You can quite happily stop Durotar at skill level 75, and go onto The Barrens. However with the very high concentration of herbs, I actually found it quicker to carry on until 100 (where almost everything goes grey).
100-150 - The Barrens. Begin in the Northern Barrens and then head south. Although there are lots of spawn points, I found that most herbs seemed to appear in clumps of two or three and then a big gap between them. As such using a mount isn't a bad idea.
150-200 - Alterac Mountains and Arathi Highlands Two options that to be honest, arn't too different from each other. Arathi has more spawn points, but is slightly larger. However I actually preferred Arathi Highlands as it allowed me to do Arathi Basin Battleground runs and flick back to picking herbs with no downtime 200-240 - Tanaris This was the slowest place for my grind but I wanted Firebloom to level up enchanting. The spawn points are miles apart and it's frankly in the middle of nowhere.
Better alternatives would be Stranglethorn Vale (for those not on a PvP server!), Dustwallow Marsh or Swamp of Sorrows. 240 - 280 - Feralas and Swamp of Sorrows Feralas has an abundance of Sungrass and the Swamp of Sorrows an abundance of Blindweed. Simple really; By now you are picking herbs that sell for OK cash. As such, I'd recommend sticking to a single zone and try to get stacks of the same herb as this ought to bring in more cash (whole stacks rather than part stacks). 280 - 300 - Varies To be honest, I'd say that there isn't a single area that is better than another for the last 20 skill levels. Winterspring is nice once you hit 290, as there are only three different herbs there that sell for good money.
The Eastern Plaguelands has an OK amount of Plaguebloom. Pretty much, do whatever you fancy, providing you're getting skill ups, who care! On the Auction House OK, some pretty fundamental ground rules for using the Auction House. First off, know your punters and your opposition! If you want to sell something as a regular event (such as Herbs) check the Auction House every night for a week or two, for the item you are selling. Look for patterns.
If there appears to never be your item on the Auction House every Monday, Tuesday and Friday, but items overloaded on a Wednesday and Saturday, and then you've already spotted a trend that you can exploit. Next up ensure that you know what professions and recipes require your item. One example of this is the herb Wildvine.
Wildvine is used in Alchemy, Tailoring, Blacksmithing and Leatherworking; it drops from other herbs when you pick them. Now the greatest single quantity of Wildvine used in one recipe is 6. Others use 1, 2 and 4. As such, selling a stack of 7 Wildvine is not as desirable as a stack of 4 or 6 to most punters. Not all customers have big blobs of cash to spend, and if somebody just wants to make an item that requires 4 Wildvine, why do they want to spend extra gold on 3 more when they're never going to use them! Next up is overloading.
If you've spent 4 weeks farming Icecap from Winterspring, and have ended up with 40 stacks of the stuff, don't be so stupid as to stick all of it onto the Auction House all at once. As well as costing you for each listing, it will actually lower the cost of that herb as your opposition undercuts you, and customers see that there is now an abundance of it available. Don't forget that many players have real lives. During the weekend, the Auction House goes mental and items are bought and sold every minute. During the week, this is much, much slower.
Having said that, never be afraid to try selling items in the week. If the regular farmer of an item only plays at the weekend, and there's a person out there who plays every night, then you've found your corner of the market! Finally, don't forget the basics. If you are farming for a specific profession (herbs for Alchemy, ore for Mining, etc), then identify the most basic item required and farm it like mad! Selling Copper Ore at 50s for a stack of 10 will make you quite a bit of cash over time.
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