As long as there has been pockets, there have been thieves to pick them. The pick pocket skill in WoW is just plain fun. It can be dangerous, but that’s what makes it fun. If you get caught, your stealth fades and the mob attacks; so the richer the mob (the higher the level), the more dangerous it gets. But that’s what rogues live for.
Why pick pocket? Because you can get some good stuff, like:
- Locked junkboxes, which can have copper or silver or any of the items listed below.
- Healing potions (potency depending on kind of junkbox)
- Blinding powder. If you’re not an herbalist (and thus can’t gather fadeleaf), this is your best way for getting blinding powder for your blind skill. A single fadeleaf can cost 1 gold on auction.
- Other ingredients for more rogue’s skills like vanish and poisons.
- Recipes (enchanting) and schematics (engineering).
The rare green item and even rarer blue item. *Update* Green and blue items do not appear in junkboxes. They do appear in lockboxes. What’s the difference? Junkboxes are pickpocketed, lockboxes are looted.
- Vendor trash.
Also, rogues increase their pick lock skill when unlocking the boxes, so you can train up your skills for locked boxes dropped in instances, or for helping out other players who are begging for rogues to unlock their boxes in cities (and maybe get a tip for your good deed).
Where are the best areas or zones to pickpocket? Basically, any area where there are clusters of mobs. For example, in Gnomeregan, the gnomes stand around in big groups. You can walk up and pick pocket 5 gnomes very quickly. Lost Rigger Cove is probably the place to pickpockect in your low to mid 40s.
The best technique is to pickpocket from behind, but you can also pick pocket from the front or side. However, using pick pocket from the front gives mobs a chance to detect you (along with the chance to detect your pick pocket attempt). Use your distract ability when you can. If you’re high-enough level, you might not even worry about getting caught and instead go for quickness. For instance, I don’t hesitate to pick pocket the low level gnomes from the front. A macro can turn multiple clicks for pickpocketing into one quick keystroke. A macro also makes the actions happen very quickly in the game. My macro is:
/cast pick pocket
Using a macro is especially useful if you want to pickpocket while with a group in an instance. Sometimes, the longer you take to assist with a mob, the less helpful you are to your group. So the quickness of a macro helps toward that end.
The amount of money you pickpocket from mobs increases along with the mob’s level. A level 30 mob might get you between 50 coppers to 1.5 silver per pickpocket, but a level 50 can get you between 1-5 silver (Note: those are estimates, I don’t have any collected data or anything). So at higher levels, it becomes less useful to pickpocket mobs that are much lower level than you. At level 50, it might be easy and less dangerous to pickpocket the gnomes in Gnomeregan, but the money you make from it added to the time it takes to do it is not relative to the cost of things at your level. But, pickpocketing mobs around your own level can net decent gold. A level 50 player killing a level 50 mob will pickpocket for 3 silver, then kill and loot another 5 silver. 5+3 = 8 silver. Over 100 mobs, that’s a difference of 3 gold coins. That’s 3 gold coins you won’t have to figure out how to get later. Taking those same 100 pickpocket mobs, you will also add in several gold from selling pickpocketed items. Not a bad deal.
Bottom line about pick pocketing is that you won’t get as rich from it as, say, strategically buying and reselling items at the auction house–I’ve heard all sorts or ridiculous claims about making hundreds of gold an hour at the auction house doing this. If that’s your thing, go for it. That seems boring to me. I’d rather make my gold by stealing it from an ogre’s pocket. If you combine pickpocket along with the other money-making skills (eg, skinning), it will help you compete with evil gold farmers and the players who purchase their gold, and you’ll have a lot more fun. So get out there and pick someone’s pocket.