Today we’re going to talk about professions.

Now, I know that Elitist Jerks have very definite opinions about which professions will maximize your performance in raids.  I’m talking today about practicality.

TL;DR – It’s Herbalism and Alchemy, hands down.

Let’s face it – if you want to raid, you will need flasks.  Week in, week out.  It’s unavoidable.  No matter how good your gear gets, you will be flasking every raid.  For me, that’s 6 hours a week, which (if I were not an alchemist) would mean 6 flasks a week.

If you’re an alchemist and herbalist, you will always have your flasks.  And you won’t need as many flasks because they last twice as long.

It’s easy to level, especially now that there’s old world flying.  The material costs aren’t insane.  I was able to level it on-and-off in a matter of a week or two with very few auction house expenditures.

Second Choices

My second choices for the busy raider are enchanting and gemming, although they are a pain in the ass to level.  Basically for the same reason as alchemy – that you will be using them on an ongoing basis as you raid.  Every time you get a new piece of gear, it needs to be gemmed and enchanted.


And of course the “bleh” – Leatherworking, Tailoring, Blacksmithing, and Inscription.

Leatherworking, Tailoring, and Blacksmithing look really cool at first because you get GEAR.  And whoa, you need gear!  But after you get that initial gear, you find yourself replacing it almost immediately.  And then what?  Those skills just sit around gathering dust on an ongoing basis, except for the occasional pants enchant or belt buckle.  Or making something for a guildie.  But let’s be honest here, we’re talking about YOUR ability to raid with your limited time.  Not your ability to outfit the guild or to have one-of-a-kind self-enchants for your bracers.

Plus, they’re a pain in the ASS to level.  The material costs are just gross.

Same with inscription, really.  Unless you want to make money, you’re not going to need glyphs on an ongoing basis.  Once you get all of yours, that’s it.  At least herbalism isn’t too painful.

Gathering Professions versus Crafting Professions

Now you might be tempted to take 2 crafting professions for the bonuses, which is fine if you have the money to spend on the auction house.  Chances are, if you’re casual, you don’t have that much cash unless you’re playing the auction house on your phone or PC while you’re not in-game.  Also, you’re at the mercy of what happens to be for sale at any given time unless, again, you’re playing the auction house from your phone.

I’m also assuming, maybe incorrectly, that if you’re that casual, you may not have time to level up a “support alt” to do your gathering for you.

In short: skipping the gathering profession is a luxury which you may or may not be able to afford, depending on your situation.

Partners in Crime

OK, I’m being Captain Obvious here, but if you’re leveling with a significant other or friend, coordinate!  I cover flasks (which is a big job when covering them for 2 people) and ATT covers gems and enchants.  So for day-to-day raiding needs, we’re pretty much set.  When both of us were doing tailoring, it was just plain stupid as we had to share cloth resources (but, back in the day, there were a lot of very valuable BOP items that could be crafted, so it made sense).

In Conclusion

I recently switched from tailoring to alchemy on my priest and never looked back.  I would have done it on my druid for the ease of gathering in flight form – however, I remembered how much of a total pain in the ASS it was to level the leatherworking, and I just COULDN’T bring myself to drop it.  Even though I hate leveling it the rest of the way.


The Casual Raider’s Handbook: Professions — 13 Comments

  1. Even for the min/maxing crowd, using two non-gathering professions will get you within 3 points of each other. Herbalism also offers a haste boost on a 2min CD, so it’s not a bad perk.

  2. Don’t forget that as a healer, herbalism and alchemy go well together too.

    Other things to consider whilst actually raiding:

    herbalism: 2min cool-down haste buff
    ability to make flowers grow round your feet!
    alchemy: access to the epic trinkets – 351int and 194 haste without actually having to raid or run heroics to get the valor points is rather groovy.
    increased stats from elixirs and flasks – mixology still applies a boost – apparently although the tooltip doesn’t show it, the stat boost is equivalent to the other stat boosts from professions.

    • I realized that I hadn’t been getting much out of lifeblood, so I macroed it into some of my slower spells (Prayer of Healing). Thanks for reminding me just how good it is.

      The trinket is also awesome. Since I hate running dailies, and I can’t tabard for Tol Barad, this is huge.

  3. First the Grid thing and now this? /sigh

    The right answer: Engineering
    Second profession? If you’re broke: mining. If you’re not: any other crafting prof.

      • Rocket Boosts get you out of THE BAD(tm) right now. Or kill you (technically, it just removes you from combat. 100ft in the air). Parachute cloaks make you look good. The glove tinkers give a comparable stat bonus to the other profs, particularly good for dps. So other professions save you gold? Engineering provides the stat bonus and can save your butt.

        Pro Engineering cooldowns? Glad you asked:
        (Boosts @ 2:45, Parachute @ 5:50)

        It’s only been since the start of Cataclysm that flask prices have been obscenely high and they’re likely to come down eventually. It’s not like I don’t already have a reason to do dailies. A few hundred gold per week is no big deal.

        • I didn’t even INCLUDE engineering in my analysis. I guess I forgot it existed. To me, it seems like a vanity profession (chopper) but you can’t beat the convenience of Jeeves.

          Before pallies had a ranged ANYTHING, hubby dearest used to pull with shrink ray. He shrank Gahz’rilla. Hilarity ensued.

  4. Love it. I’ve been telling people for a while that the “armor” professions just weren’t worth it any more, for the exact reasons you’ve put in print here. The only minor disagreement I’d have is the value of inscription. If you want to make a lot of money, inscription’s actually a good choice. It takes a lot of materials at the end of the skill, but once you hit 525, which you can do just from farming (which as you pointed out is pretty easy for herbalism), you can make a mint from darkmoon cards, rare inscriptions, and BOE off hands and relics.

    My wife complained about inscription a lot between 500 and 525, but now she swears by it. Of course, we have an alchemist friend already, so that’s covered, and I foolishly took engineering (a terrible choice for basically any reason, though I took it because it was the only profession I’d never tried before), so we’ve got a small support system already.

  5. I think the armor crafting professions wouldn’t be so bad if they gave them the same sense of importance and longevity that they had in Burning Crusade and even early to middle Wrath. There were people that would choose those pieces over their Tier gear because they were that good. Now you have a better chance of getting more mileage out of the PVP blues (and by the way, why are there more of those than actual pieces a level 85 can really use) you can craft than anything else. That’s mighty depressing, if you ask me.

    I do agree with your post, Zel and others who have commented on Herb/Alch. I love the combination of professions and I get a lot of use out of them. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!


  6. For me I think the best convenience profession has always been enchanting. The ability to break down the gear I take off and turn it into something useful just cannot be beat. Also, enchanting mat costs tend to stay fairly high, almost to the end of the expansion. Herb prices are already falling and they’ll be in the dirt before too much longer.

    I’m also a die hard two crafting professions person. I have more time than a lot of casual players right now, so I do have that luxury and I hate (HATE) farming gathering. Anything someone else can farm for me, I’ll buy and be glad. I’m at the point where I’ve been buying flasks the last few weeks because I can’t be arsed to hop on my mage and fly around Uldum looking for weeds.

    I like my second choice of engineering. My belt gives me a shield, my gloves make me have better stats, my hat is full of cogwheels, and I get a flying machine. Oh, and repair bots. And portable mailboxes. And cannibalizing mechanicals for parts. I’m satisfied.

  7. As a raider, I have to agree that I LOVE alchemy on my healers. However, I prefer Jewelcrafting for the pure throughput bonus gems, especially for my holy pally (she also has Blacksmithing for the 2 extra sockets). My raiding discopriest, however, has always been an alchemist – currently paired with inscription.

    What would I recommend (from my experience) as a healer? Jewelcrafting + Alchemy, hands down.

    If I had every gotten the nerve to level up engineering that may have been my fav instead of jewelcrafting, but I’ve never done it hehe