What you need
In order to start with this skinning leveling guide, you will need to purchase a Skinning Knife, which is usually available near the Skinning trainer. It doesn’t have to be equipped, you just have to have it in your bags. In addition, you should keep in mind that you need to be able to kill the mobs you skin, which is why I recommend just skinning everything you can on the way.
Every major city has an Artisan Skinning Trainer. Other than the crafting professions, skinning does not require you to find a specific Trainer to get the higher ranks. For the TBC Skinning Trainers, there is one in Honor Hold and Thrallmar respectively. In addition, there is a neutral Master Skinning Trainer in the Lower City of Shattrath, which does not require you to choose The Aldor or Scryers.
How to know what you can skin
There are two handy formulas you can use to determine what level beasts you can skin with your skinning level. If your Skinning level is below 100, the formula goes like this:
Mob Level = (Skinning Skill / 10) + 10
For a Skinning level above 100, the formula is different:
Mob Level = Skinning Skill / 5
So, here are a couple of examples: Say your skill level is 50, and you want to know what the highest level beast is that you can skin. (50 / 10) + 10 = 15
In this case level 15 would be your limit. Now a second example, you have leveled up a bit more and are now skill level 120. 120 / 5 = 24, so the highest level beast you can skin is 24.
With this knowledge, it is quite easy to level up skinning, as beasts are everywhere, and now you know which ones to look for. I will still provide the fastest routes for Alliance and Horde that I have found, which are cutting down on travel time as much as possible.
Alliance Skinning Leveling Route
- 1-50: Dun Morogh
- 50-120: Loch Modan
- The higher level beasts are in the east part.
- 120-160: Wetlands
- Start with the Crocodiles near the river.
Horde Skinning Leveling Route
- 1-50: Durotar
- 50-160: The Barrens
Skinning Leveling 160+ (Horde & Alliance)
- 160-180: Hillsbrad Foothills
- You can go further here if you want with the Yetis and beasts towards Alterac Mountains.
- 180-200: Arathi Highlands
- 200-270: Stranglethorn Vale
- You can get up to 300 in STV, there are high level gorillas on the large island in the south-east.
- 270-300: Western Plaguelands
- Bears & Wolves near Andorhal.
TBC Skinning Leveling Guide
- 300-330: Hellfire Peninsula
- Boars in open areas & Ravagers in the west & south-west
- 330-375: Nagrand
- The Talbuks in the north are good. Alternatively, you can start farming some Clefthoof Leather near the center of the zone.
Which mobs have which leather?
Classic Skinning Level Ranges
- Ruined Leather Scraps: 1-16
- Light Leather: 1-27
- Light Hide: 10-27
- Medium Leather: 15-36
- Medium Hide: 15-36
- Heavy Leather: 25-46
- Heavy Hide: 25-46
- Thick Leather: 35-63
- Thick Hide: 40-59
- Rugged Leather: 43-63
- Rugged Hide: 47-63
TBC Skinning Special Leather Locations
- Knothide Leather Scraps: These are more common the lower the mob level.
- Knothide Leather: The higher the mob level, the more likely you are to get this.
- Nether Dragonscales: Any Netherdragon in Outland can have these. Typical area for these are Netherstorm, southeast Shadowmoon Valley and a small area in the Blade’s Edge Mountains.
- Fel Hide: Skinned form any demonic bests, like hounds and boars.
- Fel Scales: Skinned from Ravager type beasts throughout Outlands.
- Thick Clefthoof Leather: Typically farmed from the Clefthoofs in Nagrand, though there are small areas in Blade’s Edge Mountains and Shadowmoon Valley where it can be acquired.
- Cobra Scales: These are probably the rarest ones. There is one area in the northern part of Shadowmoon Valley, and another in the far west of Nagrand, though there are Elite mobs near.