Mining is one of the primary tradeskills. Materials found while mining can be used to make items in the Blacksmithing, Engineering and Jewelcrafting professions. While out in the world, you will often be near a mine. Many ores and other things like gems can be found from mines. Crafters can use mining to save on the cost of materials and mining can be used to generate cash by selling to crafters.
No matter if you mine while you fight or fight while you mine, mining can help you reach your goals.
Miners can be found in the low level areas or at the capital cities for the most part. Most trainers will have a supplies merchant nearby who can sell you a mining pick, the one thing needed for mining. General Supply merchants also tend to sell picks. After you get the Mining skill, you can then use the 'find minerals' skill which puts dots on the minimap showing where the minerals are close to use. A good starting point is to zoom the minimap all the way in, then zoom out twice, to see minerals around you. You will find that minerals are often in odd places. You may have to zoom the minimap in to be able to find the deposit. You will also tend to get better at mountain climbing to reach some deposits.
The first thing you will find is copper. Copper is easy to find and has many uses. Copper ore stacks to 10 in your bags and can be converted to copper bars with smelting which stack to 20. Smelting is the process of converting the ore to bars which are used to craft or can be traded. Ore can be traded also, but there is little reason not to smelt the ore. Early on, you will get skill point for smelting. However, you will find that you stop getting skill for smelting and have to mine to get more skill.
As you start exploring away from the newbie areas, you will see tin now and then. By the time you reach around level 20, you should be able to find tin without trouble. From around skill 75 and up, you won't be getting skill from smelting copper or tin, so keep busy with that pick! Most of your trainers will train you to Journeyman, so this is easy to find and get.
Once you start finding tin, you will have a chance to find silver. Silver is a rare respawn of tin mines. It takes skill 75 to mine silver. Smelting silver will give skill after copper and tin stop, but still won't get you to Expert. Once you find tin, make sure you visit a trainer to get tin and bronze smelting. Bronze is smelted from copper and tin bars.
As you reach the end of your Journeyman period, you will find that the skill slows down. Copper mining stops giving skill and only tin and silver mines will give skill. Stay with it, for you may soon see that iron mine! At skill 125 you can mine Iron, and will start to skill up again.
Between skill levels 125 and 150, you should find an Expert Mining trainer, and pick up Expert Mining so you can keep increasing skill past 150. Expert Mining trainers can be found at:
- Thunder Bluff
Training is somewhere on the order of 75 Silver and allows access to iron and gold ores.
Artisan Mining trainers can be found in Auberdine, Ironforge, Thunder Bluff, and Orgrimmar.
- Durotar is an excellent place for copper: it's entirely possible to make a circuit of Durotar in around 20-30 minutes (on a mount, of course) and pick up 70 ore and 40 or more rough stones.
- For tin, the Azureload Mine in Hillsbrad can provide a number of veins, and the mobs inside and outside are a nice source of silk and wool cloth.
- For iron, Alterac is where it's at. Run a beat between the yeti caves and ogre caves, and you can easily score 20-50 iron, along with a little mithril and occasionally some truesilver.
- As for mithril, most people prefer Badlands, and it's also a good place for iron, though it's not as productive as running a beat in Alterac. For mithril, the ravine where the whelps and drakes can be found is an excellent source. As far as running a beat goes, the Nethergarde Mine in Blasted Lands generally produces a little less mithril than Badlands, but the mobs inside are excellent sources of cash and mageweave.
- Lastly, small thorium can be found in various places in such zones as Azshara and Felwood, and you'll see relatively large numbers of rich thorium in later areas such as Burning Steppes and Winterspring.
A helpful macro for switching back and forth between finding herbs and finding minerals is:
- /script if (trkflg==nil or trkflg=="1") then CastSpellByName("Find Herbs"); setglobal("trkflg","0"); else CastSpellByName("Find Minerals"); setglobal("trkflg", "1"); end;