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Discovery is a mechanic used to learn certain Alchemy and Inscription recipes.


You have a small chance to discover a recipe from a specific list of discoverable recipes every time that you perform a transmutation or that you make a potion, elixir, or flask that was introduced in the Burning Crusade or Wrath of the Lich King. The discovered recipe is learned automatically. Non-factors include physical location, level, and skill level.

When you discover a recipe, your character will perform an animation, and a message describing your discovery will be visible to nearby players of both factions.

Burning Crusade recipes

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade This section concerns content exclusive to The Burning Crusade.

Cauldron recipes

The Cauldron recipes will only be discovered when making a related item. For example, producing enough Major Shadow Protection Potions will allow you to discover the corresponding Cauldron of Major Shadow Protection. It appears that discoveries of cauldron recipes occur with a much higher frequency than other discoveries. Comments on Thottbot for the cauldron recipes report that only 1-5 batches seem to be required before the discovery is made. One estimate for the discovery rate is 30%.

Note: there appears to be no Cauldron of Major Holy Protection.

Non-Cauldron recipes

For the non-Cauldron recipes, the following requirement applies:

  • It is generally believed that you can only make a discovery when using a Burning Crusade or recipe.
  • Flasks and potions are known to be discoverable while creating TBC and WotLK elixirs, flasks or potions.
  • Primal transmutations are known to be discoverable while performing TBC transmutations. It does not seem to be possible to discover them by performing WotLK transmutations.

Discovery of Wrath of the Lich King recipes

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.

Elixir and potion recipes

Performing Northrend Alchemy Research causes an elixir or potion recipe to be discovered. Unlike in Burning Crusade, where discoveries were made by creating elixirs or potions, Research is the only confirmed way to discover WotLK elixir or potion recipes.

Transmutation recipes

When performing Transmute: Titanium, one of the eternal elemental transmutations, or one of the epic gem transmutations, there is a high probability of discovering a new eternal elemental transmutation recipe. Performing one of the lower level transmutations will not give a discovery.

Alchemy discovery myths

Based on reported examples of discoveries:

  • You don't have to be physically located in Outland or Northrend
  • You don't have to have a mastery
  • You don't have to have 375 or 450 Alchemy skill
  • You don't have to have reached level 70 or 80
  • You don't have to use a yellow or orange recipe (even grey recipes have been reported to trigger discoveries)
  • You don't have to be making a related potion (for example, to discover Flask of Shadow Fortification, you don't have to make a Major Shadow Protection Potion or Elixir of Major Shadow Power).
  • You can discover WotLK recipes by transmuting titanium.

It is believed by many alchemists that transmutations are discovered while transmuting and that new potions and flasks are discovered while making potions, flasks, or elixirs. However, there are several reports of discovering a transmutation recipe while making an elixir or potion, and vice versa. It may be the case that the item made doesn't affect what is discovered at all, or it may be that the chance of discovering a new transmutation is reduced when making a potion.

The exact chance to discover a new recipe is not known, and cannot be known without disclosure from Blizzard or extensive analysis collected from logs. From discussion on the official World of Warcraft professions forum, and via comments about the recipes on third-party web sites, most players believe the discovery chance is tiny. One estimation was 0.01% prior to patch 2.1. In the patch notes for 2.1, the discovery rate was described as being increased significantly. However, the new chance is still not known. One estimate is 0.1%, but there is no evidence for that number.

Immediately prior to the release of patch 2.1, Blizzard introduced a hot fix to prevent discoveries from occurring. This was reportedly to prevent an exploit where alchemists who repeatedly tried to create potions with no bag space would still make discoveries even though no potion was created nor potion ingredients consumed.

Patch 3.3.0 introduced a bug which prevented discovery through Transmute: Titanium, however this bug was corrected in Patch 3.3.3.


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Inscription recipes can be discovered from three sources:

  • [Minor Inscription Research], which has a 20 hour cooldown and can be used to discover a random minor glyph recipe. It is currently the sole source of minor glyph recipes.
  • [Northrend Inscription Research], which has a 20 hour cooldown and can be used to randomly discover one of 83 major glyph recipes. It is the sole source of these 83 major glyph recipes.
  • [Book of Glyph Mastery], a consumable with no cooldown which can be used to randomly discover one of 57 major glyph recipes. It is the sole source of these 57 major glyph recipes.