Can I skin this?

A more light-hearted post today. I've been levelling my hunter's leatherworking lately and it's been tedious. (In fact, that's a whole other post really, levelling crafting professions in Cataclysm...) So I've been travelling across the land, killing and skinning things, and once again I can only be amazed by the things that you can and can't skin in WoW.

You see, I'm no expert on this skinning thing in the real world, but I would think that in general you should be able to skin anything that does, in fact, have a skin, meaning a soft and supple outer layer that you can peel off if you're so inclined. However, Blizzard has some boundaries in place that prevent you from skinning certain creatures that you'd expect to be able to skin. Who has never considered the option of a tauren leather hat or a gnome skin bag (depending on your faction)? Then again, maybe you just find that idea creepy, which is probably why the game doesn't allow it. Skinning anything that's too similar to a human sort of brings up images of deranged serial killers.

Still, in a fantasy game like WoW, the borders can get fuzzy. Yetis are quite humanoid if you ask me, yet we never have a problem hunting and skinning them en masse. Yet if you want to wear a furbolg's shiny coat for example, you're out of luck. For me it's the worst with naga - I don't think they are particularly human-like, considering that they don't even have legs - but for some reason they are still taboo. I've known for years now that they can't be skinned, but every time I kill one on a character that can skin I still have that brief moment where I long to turn their shiny scales into a handbag or something. As if to tease me, Blizzard allows some naga to drop scales that can be used for crafting - we just have to hope that they fall off their bodies on their own while we're focused on killing them, or something. There are also a variety of armour pieces whose names imply that they are made of naga hide - I do wonder who makes them?

The worgen are another funny case. Prior to Cataclysm they used to be skinnable, and made areas like Duskwood a wonderful place to level a character with the appropriate professions. However, since they became a playable race in this expansion and started wearing top hats, they are suddenly off limits for skinners. I mean, I never expected to be able to skin player characters, but finding that the evil worgen NPCs in Duskwood for example have become useless to me as well was somewhat disappointing.

On the other end of the spectrum, we then have things that can be skinned but I don't think it makes any sense: silithids, nerubians and certain spiders in particular. Sometimes the items we get from them even explicitly state that they are made of chitin, which just bugs me all the more. I learned in basic biology that this stuff makes up the exo-skeleton of spiders and insects, or in other words, the bits that are not soft and supple. So I find the mental image of my hunter chipping off bits of "spider bone" rather odd. Not that I'm any less grateful for the spiders in Tol Barad providing a convenient source of savage leather - I just don't think that it makes any sense.

Do other people have pet peeves when it comes to skinning, i.e. creatures that they'd really love to skin but can't, and others that just leave you scratching your head?


  1. I had no idea you can't skin furbolgs; that seems odd indeed given they're furry beasts. skinning spiders makes hardly much sense either.

    for the naga I could imagine that you can't skin them because they're 'fish' and indeed, you can't really peel off anything but bits of scales off a fish. so from that PoV there's no material really to make clothes or a blanket, sad as it might be! and while the handbag sounds awesome IMO, it would be a very stinky handbag, you sure you want that? :P

  2. Naga can't be fish, after all they can survive on land! From a purely visual point of view I always thought that they must have skins similar to snakes or crocolisks, which is why I think that they could be turned into some very posh-looking gear.

  3. Hmm ,u have a point. Somehow I thought they have gills, but obviously they breathe on land.
    I have this Vashj figurine at home, I'll go check her out more closely tonight! ;)

  4. @Shintar: being able to survive on land does not disqualify you from being a fish! Mudskippers are fish that can survive on land. According to Wikipedia, they can leap 2 feet straight up in the air using their muscular bodies! And they are part of the Goby family.

    But of course, Naga are not fish. They are corrupted High Elves, fallen under the sway of the Old Gods. Insofar as Blizz is using a pop lit reference, they are based on Lovecraft's hybrid humans / fish that started life as humans but were mutated into fish creatures by the Old God Cthulu, in the novel The Shadow Over Innsmouth, also ref the film Dagon. I know these things because I was a long-time Call of Cthulu pen and paper RPGer back in the early 80s.

    So, I guess they can't be skinned because they are just mutant elves.

    Incidentally, their skins are not dry and scaly like a crocodile or snake. They are in fact rubbery, and slightly artificial, which befits their being a rushed magical adaptation to sea life, rather than an evolved adaptation. This is what the Blizz tooltip has to say about naga hides. I guess the scales are perhaps more like armor and don't cover their whole body, like many animals fur coverage is not uniform.


    Now, as enjoyably distracting as that discourse was, I should go do some work!

  5. What I want to know is why a little fox can give me one or two pieces of leather, whereas the big dragon boss in Grim Batol (which you need special enchanted gloves to skin on heroic) gives you...one or two pieces of leather. He's a huge dragon, I should be rolling in leather from his body!