Racial Profession Bonuses Need to Go

When I was starting out in World of Warcraft one of the reasons I picked Jewelcrafting was due to the profession bonus. My Paladin was a Draenei so he had the racial bonus Gemcutting which gave me a +10 to Jewelcrafting, which I thought was just fantastic.

Draenei aren’t the only race to get a profession bonus, in total eight races have profession related racials:

Race Profession (Bonus Skill)
Dwarf You find additional fragments when looting archaeological finds and you can survey faster than normal archaeologists.
Draenei Jewelcrafting (+10)
Gnome Engineering (+15)
Worgen Skinning (+15), skins faster
Tauren Herbalism (+15), faster gathering speed
Blood Elf Enchanting (+10)
Goblin Alchemy (+15), +25% health & mana from potions
Pandaren Cooking (+15), double stats from food buffs

So immediately you see some problems here, some profession bonuses are much more powerful than others. First of all, lets talk about how the skill bonuses work.

How Profession Skill Bonuses WorkIllustrius Mining with Mining Pick Bonus

Racial bonuses work a bit differently than when you use a bauble for fishing, or you’re carrying a Mining Pick, racial bonuses are a bit more permanent and function differently. You won’t see the buff added on to your skill like you would with the bauble or mining pick for example, rather it will show up like your regular skill would. Racial skill points work identical to regular skill points in that you can train based off your inflated score. In fact, there are only two differences between your inflated score and your base score:

  • Achievements don’t count your inflated score, so if you want world first professions you won’t have any advantage over other players.
  • Skill gains (Orange, Yellow, Green, Grey) depends on your base skill, not the score inflated by the racial bonus.

For those that chase realm first profession achievements what those two differences mean is that you have no advantage or disadvantage racing to get to max, the process will take just as long and just as many materials if you have the bonus or not. The only advantage this skill bonus gives is that you will potentially have access to new crafts early; just because you don’t get an achievement for hitting 600/610 doesn’t mean you can’t start crafting the endgame items at 600/610.

Profession Racial Bonuses are Useless Endgame

Here’s the problem with profession skill racials: Once you have maxed your profession, the racial is useless.

The only advantage you get from having extra skill points in a profession from a racial is when you are levelling that profession, either for the first time or at the release of a new expansion. Once you’ve hit the (un-inflated) skill cap for the current expansion, the racial becomes useless. Arguably, the racial is weak even when it’s not completely useless, the effects it has on levelling are minimal depending what profession you’re levelling, the skill bonus you get, and what prices are like on your server for key materials needed to level the profession.

The racial bonuses for most of the professions right now are so weak that they should be a non-factor when picking a race, and very low priority when deciding what professions to give your character since once you’re done levelling the racial might as well be non-existent.

There are Many Terrible Racial Bonuses in the Game

At this point I’m sure many people are thinking about how many shitty racial bonuses there are in World of Warcraft, and you raise a fair point, the racials need a drastic overhaul. However, most of the other racial bonuses at least do something for a player endgame, even if it’s near negligible. That however, could be a whole separate series of articles, and certainly a topic that would be much better served by a blogger with a broader and better understanding of races and endgame content.

How Racial Profession Bonuses Can Be Fixed

First, we need to ditch any racial that adds skill points, they are flat out useless in the WoW end game. Next, we need to look at some racial bonuses that actually do something for maxed characters:

  • Dwarves survey faster and find additional archaeology fragments
  • Worgens can skin faster
  • Tauren can pick herbs faster
  • Goblins get more health and mana from potions
  • Pandaren get double the food buff

Now bonuses like the Pandaren double food buff and the Goblin extra health and mana are being balanced against other stat increasing racials, and aren’t to be compared to the other profession bonuses. Besides, both Pandaren and Goblins also get skill bonuses, to Cooking and and Engineering, respectively.

The Dwarven racial is the strongest profession racial (baring the Pandaren and Goblin we just excluded) because it increases the yield of your Archaeology finds and the speed at which you survey. Archaeology may not be a very important profession, it’s not even as useful as cooking or fishing, and you certainly won’t make gold off it, but it’s useful. The usefulness of the Worgen and Tauren racials are debatable, but I know many people swear by Tauren Druids for their herbalists. But again, they actually do something, and that’s key.

We can’t just pick apart the current system’s flaws however, we also need to provide some alternative and suggestions to improve the system. Sticking just to the professions that currently have a skill granting bonus, here are some of my suggestions. You’ll notice they follow heavily on the Worgen and Tauren theme of doing things quicker, as for this batch of suggestions I wanted to avoid anything that could drastically alter the profitability of professions.

  • Draenei can cut gems faster
  • Gnomes have less chance of their engineering contraptions failing
  • Blood Elves can disenchant faster
  • Goblins can transmute quicker
  • Pandaren can cook faster

I gave Pandaren a new bonus to because the food buff bonus is a separate racial, and like I mentioned above it should be balanced against other stat granting racials. Goblins probably don’t need a new profession racial, but the extra mana and health is fairly weak, and so is my suggested faster transmutes, so I think it would balance out well.

The point here is that all these proposed bonuses would remain to be useful after you’ve finished levelling the profession. I picked these bonuses because I feel that while they would be useful, they wouldn’t be game changing, and wouldn’t cause unfair advantages. Would I like racials that would grant extra perfect cuts, more procs, and the like? Yes, so long as I could benefit from them. But that’s the kicker, profession bonuses that altered the yield of production would create too strong a bias, wouldn’t be good for the economy, and I can tell you right now Blizzard wouldn’t go for it.

So those are the two options as I see it, we either need to ditch the skill granting racial bonuses, or change them so they actually do something for endgame characters. Will Blizzard ever update the racials? Unlikely, but one can hope.

About the author

Eric Dekker

Gamer. Student. Nerd. Author of The Golden Crusade. Find him on + and Twitter.


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  1. Zerohour

    I say eliminate racial bonuses entirely. They encourage odd behavior like giving Blizzard money every time they make a change to them, and not just professions.

    1. Eric Dekker

      I think they add flavour beyond aesthetics, and I think they only need some minor tweaks to be effective.

  2. Satyr Knight

    I think I have to disagree with the racial profession being useless at max level. Check out Riddle of Steel which lets you create Living Steel using Spirits of Harmony.


    You need to have an Alchemy skill of 605. Since the current cap is 600, I guess Goblin is the way to go.

    This is the only one I’ve noticed, and unless there is an item that boosts your alchemy by 5 points, Goblins will be the only race able to use this recipe.

    1. Eric Dekker

      You’re misinterpreting the data on that page. It requires 600 skill to make, or else only Goblins would be able to make it. The 605 you see means it turns into a yellow difficulty at 605.

      1. Satyr Knight

        Yeah, after closer inspection of the information I realized this. My mistake.

  3. Steve

    I’ll admit that when I levelled my first toon (also a Dreaeni Pally), I was expecting that there would be a pattern or two that required the higher skill level only attainable by Draeni. A single BOP pet for getting 610/600 would make the racial bonus worthwhile. I’d love to see some interesting endgame perk that doesn’t drastically alter the game. As it sits now, I agree it is basically worthless (although being 10 levels ahead of where the yellow/orange happens increases levelling flexibility quite a bit).

  4. hagu

    The racial prof bonuses do not have near the advantage for leveling that i expected when I first read them.

    But they do provide a bit more help than you suggest. For example, the person with a +10 racial can make the same thing at 350 as anyone else but has the additional option to make a 360 item if that is cheaper. Specifically, while other might be doing some unprofitable (cost > sales) items for the last few skill points, the racial allows you to also do some perhaps neutral/profitable max level items – my gnome eng used her level 600 goggles for skillpoints, something the inferior races could not.

  5. Jojo

    I agree that the +skill racial bonus’ are pointless and can be a hindrance!
    My Draenei hunter is a JC (I wasn’t aware of the racials when I picked my profs) and to get achievements like ‘Professional Zen Master’ you need to get 610/600 which is really annoying!!!
    I like the idea of bonuses that speed up gathering, cutting etc.

  6. Phat Lewts

    I like the argument but I think in certain cases that they do in fact help you get realm/world firsts. Especially when you consider something like mining/herbing, if you can move on to the next level of herb 15 points before everyone else, you’ll be in a less populated zones than the majority of the population going for it, aka less competition for nodes. Also depending on the way the skill ups are set up with the new “+5 point” system, say if the first 10 skill points are all +1’s whereas all the rest were +5’s they’d have a slight advantage over their competition.

  7. scottiegazelle

    I take issue with one statement – you say that professional racial bonuses are useless at max level.There is one grossly unbalanced racial you are wrong about, and that’s the pandaren bonus. As a realm first raider, as well as a goblin, the double stats cooking bonus provides a significant advantage over other racial bonuses.

    I know you meant that it doesn’t provide a bonus to the profession itself, but I wanted to throw that out there.

    1. Eric Dekker

      I mentioned that in one of my paragraphs:
      “Now bonuses like the Pandaren double food buff and the Goblin extra health and mana are being balanced against other stat increasing racials, and aren’t to be compared to the other profession bonuses. Besides, both Pandaren and Goblins also get skill bonuses, to Cooking and and Engineering, respectively.”

      Basically those racials are acting like other stat granting bonuses other races have (like haste or hit). Like you said I was targeting the skill granting bonuses.

  8. draxeo

    I’m in favor of retaining anything that differentiates the races and classes within WOW. I feel there has been quite a bit of homogenization already. One of Blizzard’s goals to make sure there is a fairly even balance amongst the classes and races so I’m sure they will step lightly before implementing any changes that may tip the balance one way or another from a crafting perspective. Blizzard does a pretty good job of shuffling which class and spec gets top billing. Warlocks were missing the love in Cata but have been buffed to bring them back in MOP just as Rogues were brought from the depths in 4.3 with their own LEgendary and mega DPS buff.

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