- Author: Furious
- Date: January 18, 2020
- Expansion: The Burning Crusade
- Category: Professions
Skinning is the use of a knife to remove leather, hides, fur, and scales from dead Beast, Dragonkin, and Demon mobs. Because it only provides those materials, Skinning is most often paired as the gathering profession for Leatherworking only. This also makes Skinning one of the most focused, single-use professions in all of WoW.
Other than its uses for personal Leatherworking, the value of Skinning has also increased due to the high number of craftable, BoE epics that Blizzard has added in TBC. So, selling high-level leather has never been more profitable.
Like most professions, trainers in any major capital can teach you Apprentice through Artisan Skinning. All you’ll need is a Skinning Knife and you’re ready to go!
Once you cross through the Dark Portal, your Master trainers will be in your faction’s first questing area. This means that Alliance players will be taught by Jelena Nightsky in Honor Hold, and for the Horde, Moorutu in Thrallmar will do the same.
All players can also learn from Seymour in Shattrath’s Lower City, but as there’s no necessary reason to start leveling Master from Terokkar Forest, there’s no distinct advantage to learning from him.
Unlike any other gathering profession, to level Skinning you must kill mobs of certain levels to find skill appropriate carcasses. Because of this, the guide below outlines the level ranges corresponding to the types of leather you’ll need to level and examples of zones to find them in. The lists below are not exhaustive, and there are few set routes to take or specific mobs to target. Instead, the focus is simply on finding creatures of the right level. Below, zones are marked with K for Kalimdor and EK for Eastern Kingdoms to try and streamline your leveling process.
To begin, beasts in any starting zone will yield scraps or Light Leather. To find scraps, the mob must be between levels 1 and 17, and to find Light Leather, the range goes up to level 27.
After you’ve reached skill level 65, you should head back to a trainer and learn Journeyman Skinning.
At 65, you can move on to finding Medium Leather. The level range for mobs to yield it is 15 – 38. Appropriate zones are:
- Darkshore (K)
- The Barrens (K)
- Westfall (EK)
Around skill level 100 – 110, you should begin finding mobs that give you Heavy Leather. They will be levels 26 – 46, and they could be found in:
- Stranglethorn Vale (EK)
- Alterac Mountains (EK)
- Thousand Needles (K)
Once you hit 150, it’s time to become an Expert Skinner.
You should continue gathering Heavy Leather until you get to skill level 175 or 180. From then on, you’ll be able to find Thick Leather from mobs between lvl 35 and 58. Despite the level range going near the Vanilla cap, you can stay in lower level zones to grind this part out. They include:
- Azshara (K)
- Feralas (K)
- Burning Steppes (EK), if you feel comfortable in higher-level zones
When you’ve gathered enough Thick Leather to reach 225, return to the nearest trainer and learn Artisan Skinning.
From 225 until 235 or 240, you should keep hunting for Thick Leather. After you’re comfortable, you can move on to skinning Rugged Leather off mobs level 45 – 60. This should take you through the end of Vanilla’s zones, and prepare you for Outlands nicely. The easiest zones to find a large number of creatures are:
- Un’Goro Crater (K)
- Azshara (K)
- Feralas (K)
- Winterspring (K)
- Blasted Lands (EK)
- Burning Steppes (EK)
After skinning enough beasts to reach skill level 300, it’s time to head through the Dark Portal and become a Skinning Master.
To begin leveling in Outland, the quickest way is to find an area in Hellfire Peninsula that is densely populated by Helboars. These can be either Starving Helboars or Hulking Helboars, depending on where you’re questing and how many people are farming in each area. The two primary spots are just northwest of Zeth’Gor and between Falcon Watch and the Ruins of Sha’Naar.
310 – 330: Knothide Leather
All players can stay in Hellfire Peninsula through level 330, but you’ll need to switch mobs to skin. Any type of Ravager, including the Thornfang Ravager, Razorfang Ravager, and Quillfang Ravager, will do the trick. In order of population: the Thornfang spawn on the border of Hellfire and Zangarmarsh; the Razorfang spawn in the passage from HP to Terokkar; and the Quillfang spawn around Falcon Watch.
After you reach 330, the fastest way forward is to head to the plains of Nagrand. There, you’ll be skinning Clefthoof, Clefthoof Bull, and Aged Clefthoof to get a combination of Knothide Leather and Thick Clefthoof Leather. Keep reading to find out about Clefthoof Leather’s uses!
To finish out your skinning, you’ll need to head to the far eastern edge of Netherstorm or just south of Death’s Door in the Blade’s Edge Mountains to find Nether Drakes. These include Nether Drake and Nether Dragon in Netherstorm and Lesser Nether Drake as well as Nether Whelp in Blade’s Edge. The drakes will drop a combination of Leather and Scales; you can go to the end of this guide to see the uses for Nether Dragonscales.
Like several other professions, there are a few items littered throughout all of WoW that can improve or buff your Skinning ability. Other than Enchant Gloves – Skinning, there are two notable weapons that not only double as skinning knives but also improve your skill. They are:
- Finkle’s Skinner
- Has a low drop rate (The Beast in Blackrock Spire
- Zulian Slicer
- Has an extremely low drop rate (High Priest Thekal in Zul’Gurub
Both of these weapons, however, come with drawbacks. Because each of them has the unique properties of their weapons class (i.e. Finkle’s Skinner is still a dagger, meaning a Paladin could never use it), you should be careful before deciding which of these to try for. Especially given the raised level cap, however, these should be faster than ever to farm.
Endgame Leathers, Hides, and Scales
Like in Vanilla, there are materials that can be skinned that don’t neatly fit into the normal category of Heavy Leathers or Hides. They’re often used for Endgame gear, and they usually require players to farm them specifically because they’re tied to a specific type of mob. Check out the list below for the scales, hides, and leathers like that in TBC.
Nether Dragonscales are the last type of unique reagent skinned from mobs in TBC. As mentioned in the guide above, they’re skinned from Drakes and Wyrms throughout Outland, and the easiest places to find high concentrations of these are in Netherstorm or Blade’s Edge Mountains.
The Nether Dragonscales are used in:
- Earthen Netherscale Boots
- Thick Netherscale Breastplate
- Ebon Netherscale Belt
- Ebon Netherscale Bracers
- Ebon Netherscale Breastplate
- Living Dragonscale Helm
- Netherdrake Gloves
- Netherdrake Helm
- Netherstrike Belt
- Netherstrike Bracers
- Netherstrike Breastplate
- Sun-Drenched Scale Chestguard
- Sun-Drenched Scale Gloves
Fel HideFel Hide
is most commonly found on elite Demons in dungeons, but it can also be skinned from regular mobs. One of the easiest ways to farm it is to head to Netherstorm and focus on Artifact Seeker and Warp Chaser around Arklon Ruins and Mana Forge Duro, respectively, Another non-elite, farm-friendly mob is Daggertail Lizard in Blade’s Edge Mountains.
The hides are used to make:
- Carapace of Sun and Shadow
- Gloves of Immortal Dusk
- Redeemed Soul Cinch
- Redeemed Soul Legguards
- Redeemed Soul Moccasins
- Redeemed Soul Wristguards
Fel ScalesFel Scales
are particularly important for creating Epic quality Mail gear. It has a higher drop chance from skinning than most of the other endgame materials, and it can easily be farmed by flying through the northern part of Blade’s Edge Mountains and skinning the various types of Basilisks throughout the zone.
They’re used to make:
- Boots of Shackled Souls
- Bracers of Shackled Souls
- Greaves of Shackled Souls
- Waistguard of Shackled Souls
Thick Clefthoof LeatherThick Clefthoof Leather
is one of the unique kinds of leather necessary to craft endgame gear in TBC. It’s primarily skinned from Clefthooves and Elekks, and it can easily be farmed in Nagrand.
It’s used to create:
The rarest of these materials, Cobra Scales can only be skinned from 3 different mobs. This can make farming them either incredibly easy or incredibly challenging. Two of the mobs — Coilskar Cobra and Shadow Serpent — both spawn on the northern ridge of Shadowmoon Valley, making that the best spot to gather them. The other, Twilight Serpent, only spawn in Nagrand, on Twilight Ridge. So, if one spot is being overfarmed, you’re always free to visit the other.
Cobra Scales are used to make: