On launch day of Mists of Pandaria, most players are going to be jumping on their mains and logjamming into the new content; jockeying for position around quest givers; fighting over objectives; and razing the land of animal, vegetable, and mineral as far as the eye can see — racing to hit 90 and let everyone know that their main has been there, done that FIRST.

Still others are going to be rolling new monks (pun intended), a great many of them Panadren, so they can palm and kick all the way from the starting zone to the endgame.

Not me. Oh, I’ll be there – I wouldn’t miss it – but I’ll be playing a bit differently. For the same reason I never shop on Black Friday and dislike airports: competing with a throng of other people trying to do the same thing I’m trying to do just plain pisses me off.

Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral?

When Cataclysm launched, I had two 80s — a miner/engineer dwarven death knight (my main), and a skinning/leatherworking troll hunter (an old favorite).

One of the aspects of my main I like the most is engineering. I love goggles, rocket belts, parachute cloaks, and my flying machine “News Chopper 10”, among other things. When I started working through Mount Hyjal on my engineer, I quickly became annoyed with the amount of competition there was for mining nodes. It was vicious and frustrating – almost as bad as being an herbalist and dealing with a flock of tauren druids.

The next day I decided to switch to my hunter and start running through Vashj’ir, vowing to return to Hyjal and mining once all these yellow-dot-jacking jerks had moved on. I knew it would still be overcrowded, and quests would still take longer to complete, but at least I would be able to skin the stuff I killed and no one else would be able to take that from me, right?

The Mother Load

While questing through the Shimmering Expanse on my troll, I got the quest The Great Sambino. As I descended to the designated spot on the map, I saw it: under the feet of the players swarming around the yellow exclamation and question marks was a vast wasteland of green sea crab bodies – skinnable green sea crab bodies – and there was no one taking advantage of it!

Even if there had been a few other skinners there, I don’t think we could’ve kept up with the tide of corpses. Powered by aspect of the cheetah, I gathered as fast as my skinning knife could go (O, to have been a worgen!) and frantically consolidated massive amounts of savage leather scraps as fast as I could click, yet I could see the bodies despawning all around me!

For ~1.5 hours that was all I did. It was December 8th, 2010 – the day after Cataclysm’s launch – and within the first few hours of entering Vashj’ir my troll was at 525 skinning, with bags completely full of mats. I gleefully ran to the leatherworking trainer and started making everything I could, keeping one of each of the best for my slots and selling the rest for phat riches on the auction house.

I logged out much happier than I had been on the 7th.

Back to the Future

Given the above experience, my current sk/lw alt (a worgen druid who can skin while in flight form, tyvm!) will be first into the new content when MoP goes live. I’m not even going to quest for the first few days! I’m just going to follow the throng of other players, and while they’re all fighting over quest objectives and mining/herbing nodes, they’ll be creating nodes for me. 😀