It seems that lately I get a lot of questions about professions, things along the lines of “Hey, I’m playing a ____, what are the best professions for that class?” While I would always encourage you to play whatever profession you find most enjoyable, I realized that I didn’t know of an easy place to see an overview of each profession and what perks it provides. While some of them are obvious, sometimes the real benefits don’t show up until later levels. I’ve tried to compile a list that is comprehensive enough to be useful, but without including every single detail of each profession so there are too many details. I haven’t included gathering professions because they are fairly simple, but I may add them later. For the time being, skinning = crit, herbalism = self heal-over-time, and mining = more health. I hope this helps people out!
Description: Use herbs to create potions, elixirs, and flasks. Also, transmute metals and elementals into different types.
Specializations: Potion, Elixir, or Transmute master. Grants a random chance to create more of that type of item, up to 5 extra. It’s a random chance to happen, not garaunteed.
Quirks: For many Northrend recipes you have to use Northrend Alchemy Research on a 3 day timer. Some recipes from the Burning Crusade aura you learn by making other potions, and some transmutes you can only learn by transmuting Saronite into Titanium.
Passive Perk: Mixology: Increase the effect and duration of flasks and elixirs. So your passive benefit is based on what flask or elixirs you use. Most raiders use flasks, so usually this will be spell power, health, or attack power.
Other Perks: Alchemist Stones (Mighty, Mercurial, Indstructible) provide +40% effect on health and mana potions, but only if you have one equipped. Endless Healing Potion and Endless Mana Potion are infinite use Bind on Pickup potions. Also, Flask of the North is usable in Arenas (unlike most flasks/elixirs) and is infinite use, so you can use it for a boost while soloing!
Making Money: At 450 Alchemy you can take Eternals plus rare gems and transmute them into epic gems. You can also transmute “Diamonds” — uncut meta gems. Elixirs, Potions, and Flasks all sell well, too.
Interactions With Other Professions: At low levels, leatherworking requires Shadow Oil and other alchemy-created potions and elixirs. Oily Blackmouth, Firefin Snapper, Glassfin Minnow, and Pygmy Suckerfish from Fishing are used to create various oils. Herbalism provides the herbs used for Alchemy. Mining provides the metals you can transmute. Jewelcrafting uses the gems you transmute like epic gems and meta diamonds.
Fun Items: Pygmy Oil, if you drink about 7-10, turns you into a Voodoo Gnome. You can learn the recipe for Gurubashi Mojo Madness from the stones at the Edge of Madness in Zul’gurub, then use the Mojo to summon a boss. The bosses cycle each summoning.
Classes/Roles: All. As long as the flask or elixirs you use are your best stats, it’s ideal. As most flasks are attack power, stamina, spell power, or mana regen you will usually have sub-optimal effects.
Description: Scribes can mill stacks of 5 of a type of herb into pigments that they turn into inks. Then they take these inks and create glyphs, scrolls, offhands, and Darkmoon Faire cards.
Quirks: Except for three purchasable techniques and one drop, most of what you learn comes from Minor Inscription Research, Major Inscription Research, and the world drop Book of Glyph Mastery. Inscription Research is on a 20 hour cooldown.
Passive Perk: Master’s Inscription of the Axe, Crag, Pinnacle, and Storm. You can also trade Ink of the Sea (common lv 70 ink) for any lower level ink, or trade 10 for the uncommon Snowfall Ink.
Other Perks: Scrolls of Recall allow you to return to your hearth just by using a scroll!
Making Money: You can sell Glyphs, Offhands, Darkmoon Faire Cards (or complete decks and sell the trinkets from them), and Runescrolls. Runescrolls of Fortitude cast a slightly weaker version of Power Word: Fortitude on the entire raid and can be sold to anyone. Glyphs are dirt cheap, but the market takes some time to learn how to adapt to.
Interactions With Other Professions: Enchanters love Armor Vellum and Weapon Vellum. When you cast something like Enchant Weapon – Spellpower on a Weapon Vellum you get Scroll of Enchant Weapon – Spellpower, which you can then sell on the auction house or mail to other characters.
Fun Items: Rituals of the New Moon is a book you can learn to make by finding the Technique from the Silverbrook Villagers, Trappers, Defenders, and Hunters in the Grizzly Hills. Upon creation it random chooses a wolf colour and each time you use it it makes you that colour. Also, for a good time, try using Scrolls of Recall that you are too high-levelled for just to see where they teleport you to.
Classes/Roles: Any, as long as the Master’s Inscriptions work with your statistics. So not ideal for everyone. Also, Scrolls of Recall are less useful for a mage (teleport) and shaman (Astrall Recall).
Description: Leatherworkers create leather and mail armor along with armor kiits. Most physical dps and tank cloaks are also made by Leatherworkers. Also makes a few normal bags (not as many as Tailoring), the 32-slot Inscription Bag, the 28-slot Leather Bag, the 32-slot Mining Bag, and quivers/ammo pouches.
Specializations: Tribal, Elemental, and Dragonscale. These used to dictate some special patterns you could learn. Most of the Bind on Equip gear has had its specialization requirement removed and in Cataclysm these specializations are going away.
Quirks: There are many types of leathers and scales which are required. Also, you can convert some leather up. Several scraps make a light leather, several of those make a medium, then heavy, then thick, then finally Rugged. In Outlands, Knothide Scraps become Knothide Leather, and Knothide Leather becomes Heavy Knothide Leather. In Northrend, Borean Scraps become Borean Leather which become Heavy Borean Leather.
Passive Perk: Fur Linings are super-powered wrist enchants for Attack Power, Spell Power, Stamina, or resists.
Other Perks: Nerubian Leg Reinforcements and Jormungar Leg Reinforcements are physical dps and tank leg enchants that are the same as the epic crafted Leg Armor Kits but are self-only and incredibly cheap.
Making Money: Drums of the Wild are not Bind on Pickup, have 50 charges, and cast a weaker version of Gift of the Wild on the raid. Drums of Forgotten Kings are the same but with a weaker version of Blessing of Kings. Icescale Leg Armor, Earthen Leg Armor, and Frosthide Leg Armor can be sold to other people.
Interactions With Other Professions: Skinning provides the leather used in almost all Leatherworking recipes, and Leatherworkers create Trapper’s Traveling Packs (28-slot Leatherworking Bag) for skinners to put leather in. Iron Buckles are made by Blacksmiths and are used in many low-level leatherworking recipes. Alchemy provides some agility elixirs and shadow oils used in Leatherworking. Most items created by leatherworkers can be disenchanted by an enchanter. Leatherworkers make Pack of Endless Pockets (32-slot Inscription Bag) for Inscriptionists. Leatherworkers make Mammoth Mining Bags for Miners.
Fun Items: Leatherworkers can learn to make Gordok Ogre Suites to allow players to transform into black ogres if they complete the quest in Dire Maul North.
Classes/Roles: All, though stamina, spell power, and attack power is probably less than optimal for most classes.
Description: Blacksmiths use metal bars and stone to create mail and plate armor and weapons. Also creates shield spikes and weapon chains.
Specializations: Armorsmith and Weaponsmith, with Weaponsmith also having Mace, Sword, and Axe specializations. They are all going away for Cataclysm.
Quirks: Sharpening and Weightstones do not work on items above item level 165. Specializing is essentially worthless right now.
Passive Perk: Socket Bracer and Socket Gloves allow you to add one socket to your gloves and bracers. This socket is a prismatic socket, so whatever gem you put into it will automatically match it. If the item has no sockets before you add one, and therefore no socket bonus, a socket bonus is not added by using this spell.
Other Perks: None.
Making Money: Beyond the gear and weapons, you can make a good amount of money sell shield spikes and weapon chains. Also, every time anyone gets a new belt they need a Blacksmith to make them an Eternal Belt Buckle to add a socket to their belt.
Interactions With Other Professions: Mining provides the metal and stone used by Blacksmithing. Blacksmithing makes Iron Buckles used by low-levelled Leatherworkers. Jewelcrafters can prospect ore to get gems used by Blacksmiths. Jewelcrafters also create the gems you put in those sockets you add to your gear. Enchanters use the Metal Rods created by Blacksmiths to create their enchanting rods.
Fun Items: Not many, but there’s always the Kittenblade (Lionheart Blade). It has the vague shape of a kitten, but you can upgrade it several times to create the Puppyslaer (Lionheart Executioner.)
Classes/Roles: Everyone! You can find a gem for almost any stat and most combination of two stats, so adding sockets to gear makes this one of the very best professions for everyone.
Description: Jewelcrafters make necklaces, rings, and cut gems for use in socketed gear. Jewelcrafters also learn the prospect ability, which destroys 5 of a type of ore to generate gems. Does not work on all ores.
Quirks: To learn your Northrend patterns you are forced to do dailies to get Dalaran Jewelcrafter’s Tokens, then you spend those on the recipes you want to learn. On a 20 hour cooldown a Jewelcrafter can make an Icy Prism which can contain all sorts of rare to epic gems.
Passive Perk: Dragon’s Eyes (Cataclysm: Chimaera’s Eyes) are special gems. You are only allowed to have three of them, but they are super powered versions of red gems.
Other Perks: Jewelcrafters can create special trinkets that are good starting gear.
Making Money: Gems sell well, and prospecting is a great way to get them. You can also sometimes sell cut gems for more than uncut gems. Some necklaces and rings also sell.
Interactions With Other Professions: Tailors create Bag of Jewels 24 slot Gem bags. Blacksmiths require gems for their “Add Socket” abilities. Blacksmiths and Engineers need gems, and Jewelcrafters can use the Prospect ability to get them. Alchemists can take a rare Northrend gem, combine it with a 20 hour cooldown and some eternals, and create an epic Northrend gem. They can also combine elementals and uncommon gems to create uncut meta diamonds.
Fun Items: The Jewelcrafting trinkets summon a metallic or gem small companion pet when you use them!
Classes/Roles: Everyone, this is probably the best profession for most classes as you basically pick your stat bonuses.
Description: Enchanters destroy uncommon, rare, and epic items to create dust, essences, and shards using the Disenchant Ability. Then they add enchants to weapons, cloaks, chest pieces, wrists, gloves, boots, and rings.
Quirks: Mana Oils only work on certain items, and do not work on heirlooms nor level 80 gear.
Passive Perk: Enchant Ring Assault, Greater Spellpower, and Stamina.
Other Perks: None.
Making Money: By putting enchants on weapon and armor vellums you can sell them on the auction house to make money.
Interactions With Other Professions: Tailors can create Mysterious Bags (32-slot Enchanting Bag) for Enchanters to put their materials in. Some professions like tailoring and leatherworking can use some enchanting materials in their recipes. Enchant Gloves – Gatherer adds +5 to Herbalism, Mining, and Skinning and works. Enchant Gloves – Angler provides +5 Fishing to gloves for Fishing.
Fun Items: For a very enjoyable experience levelling up herbalism, try combining Enchant Gloves – Advanced Herbalism on a pair of Herbalist’s Gloves for +10 Herbalism to any class that can wear leather. Toss it in a Tauren with their herbalism racial for some very easy flower-picking.
Classes/Roles: All roles, but with the only options being spell power, stamina, and attack power this is probably not ideal for any of those.
Description: Tailors use cloth which drops from humanoids and the undead to create cloth items, shirts, cloaks, bags, and flying carpets.
Specializations: Moonshroud, Ebonshroud, and Spellfire. Talk to the trainers in Lower City, Shattrath to specialize when you have the appropriate skill. While all tailors can create the Shadow, Holy, and Spell clothes, when you create the cloth that matches your specialization it creates two per cast instead of one.
Quirks: In Northrend you can talk to the trainer to learn Northern Cloth Scavenging, a passive ability which causes humanoids to drop more cloth for you. In a group, after someone loots a body, sometimes you will then be able to loot extra cloth off of it. Only works on humanoids and undead who drop Frostweave Cloth.
Passive Perk: Swordguard Embroidery, Lightweave Embroidery, and Darkglow Embroidery. Lackluster, but they exist!
Other Perks: You can add cheap epic leg enchants for healers and casters to your own pants at the cost of just a thread with Sanctified Spellthread and Master’s Spellthread. You can also make Flying Carpet mounts for yourself. Note that if you drop Tailoring the mount stays in your spell book and counts for achievements but you will be unable to cast it.
Making Money: While some cloth gear sells, the specialty cloth and bags usually sell. Glacial Bags are in high demand as the only crafted 22 slot bag. You can also create Sapphire Spellthread and Brilliant Spellthread to sell to casters and healers. The highest warlock soul shard bag, the Abyssal Bag, is made by Tailors, also.
Interactions With Other Professions: Tailors can make many specialty bags for professions, including the Emerald Bag, Mysterious Bag, and Bag of Jewels. Some tailoring patterns require herbs, provided by Herbalism. Starting with Outlands and then Northrend, you also create Imbued Bolts of cloth which require dust provided from Enchanting.
Fun Items: While I was tempted to point out the Black Mageweave gear and how trendy they are on Role-Playing Servers, who can resist the Blue Jumberjack Shirt?
Classes/Roles: Healer, Caster, and Physical DPS all have embroideries, but they often don’t compare to others. For many physical dps classes, this is the worst choice that provides at least some bonus.
Description: Engineers use a combination of metals, gems, and creativity to make wacky gizmos. Guns, scopes, and ammo are created by Engineers. Engineers can make Flying Machines for themselves and motorcycles for everyone.
Specializations: Gnomish and Goblin. The difference is a few gizmos between each of them, and if they can make epic arrows (Gnomish) or bullets (Goblin) at level 80. Engineers can also Scavenge high level mechanical mobs to get parts, schematics, and other items. Also, a lot of fun, wacky gizmos.
Quirks: It can be very difficult to specialize and train if you are below neutral with the Steamwheedle Cartel. Also, the parts for motorcycles are sold in limited supplies and cost about 12,000g.
Passive Perk: Many, many passive perks. The interesting gizmos of the past have become enchants in the present. Mind Amplification Dish provides 45 stamina to a helm and allows you to mind control people. Nitro Boosts provide 24 crit rating to boots, and let you get a speed increase for a few seconds. Hand-Mounted Pyro Rockets allow you to fire rockets every 45 seconds. Hyperspeed Accelators provide 340 haste for 12 seconds on a minute cooldown. Reticulated Armor Webbing provides 885 armor to gloves. Personal Electromagnetic Pulse Generator allows you to confuse mechanical units or detonate decoys. Flexweave Underlay provides 23 Agility (or spell power from the Springy Arachnoweave) and a parachute cloak. Frag Belt gives you an AoE on a cooldown. Finally, working Saronite Bombs into your rotation is another dps boost.
Other Perks: As if the main perks weren’t enough, the secondary perks almost overshadow them. You can use gizmos to teleport to most places in Northrend with Wormhole Generator: Northrend. Or go to Area 52 or Everlook or even Outlands! Teleporting around isn’t enough for you? How about making Jeeves, your own Personal Butler? He is a bank, repair vendor, and guild bank on a 1 hour cooldown. He also allows anyone to repair, and other engineers to use all of his features. Almost as fun as Jeeves is MOLL-E, which places down a portable mailbox. Mana Injector Kits (also Health) can be used to turn a potion into an injector which gives you more health or mana. While we’re at it, why not just making yourself a Turbo-Charged Flying Machine Control. You can also make your own Titanium Toolbox (32 slot Engineering Bag) instead of worrying about finding a tailor or leatherworking to make you a bag like most professions.
Making Money: Arrows, Bullets, Scopes. You can try to sell motorcycles but they cost so much people usually do not want to tip. Also, this is the perfect profession to entice those pet collectors with a menagerie of little mechanical monsters: Mechanical Squirrel, Tranquil Mechanical Yeti, Lifelike Mechanical Toad, Lil’ Smoky, and then the amazing Pet Bombling!
Interactions With Other Professions: Alchemists make rocket fuel for low-level recipes. Engineers make Salt Shakers to purify salt for Leatherworkers. Jewelcrafters can prospect ore to get the gems Engineers need.
Fun Items: Do I even need to list any? The whole profession is awesome! Well, I suppose there is the Gnomish Poultryizer, which allows you to cast Polymorph: Chicken. Also, the Wormhole Generator for Northrend can sometimes have a hidden option show up to go to a secret room with a secret vendor. Oooh.
Classes/Roles: Everyone, often being the best choice for PvP or near the top for dps classes. Slightly weaker options for tanks, but still options. With the current stamina and armor trend in tanking, they may be better than I’m giving them credit for.