1) Jewelcrafting and Inscription and Archaeology don’t exist
That’s right. There are no gems that increase any stats. There are no glyphs. There’s no milling, no prospecting. There’s no digging. This means that herbalism only funnels into Alchemy and that mining funnels into Blacksmithing and Engineering and that there’s only three secondary professions, not four.
But Kurn, didn’t the Darkmoon Faire exist? What about Darkmoon trinkets?
Yes. The Faire existed, but, sidenote, there were no quests to skill up your professions! And yes, there were Darkmoon trinkets. However, they were not crafted. Each and every card that made up a deck was a drop. The Aces were drops from dungeon bosses. The Ace of Portals, for example, was a drop from Darkmaster Gandling. The 2-8 of each deck were random world drops. What’s a random world drop? It can drop off of anything, anywhere. While I’m sure there was a level cap on this (probably mobs 50+), that’s still a lot of randomness to collect a deck. It was hard. And then you had to wait for the Faire to arrive to turn it in. And guess what? One month, the Faire would arrive in Goldshire, and the next, it was in Mulgore. Yeah, good luck going to hand stuff in at your opposing faction’s starting zone.
And the trinkets weren’t even that good!
Arguably the best trinket from the decks was the reward for the Portals Deck, which was Darkmoon Card: Twisting Nether. You will note that there are absolutely no stats on this trinket. The only thing it does is give you a 10% chance to rez.
That said, Darkmoon Card: Blue Dragon, from the Beasts Deck, is good for a healer. The Darkmoon Card: Maelstrom, a reward from the Elementals Deck, is good for melee DPS. Darkmoon Card: Heroism, a reward from the Warlords Deck, is meh. A tank might use it, particularly while undergeared, or a DPS might want it for grinding mobs to lessen downtime. Honestly, underwhelming. But they all are. Truthfully, trinkets in Vanilla were awful.
Anyway, TL;DR: no Archaeology, no Jewelcrafting and no Inscription and, as such, no digging, no gems, no glyphs and no good Darkmoon trinkets.
2) Fishing, Cooking and First Aid are all useful
Let’s look at First Aid. Not only does bandaging restore a fair amount of health at higher levels (2000 health back over 8 seconds), but it’s really useful to heal yourself when you’re about to die. Players over the last few years don’t think of their own health, don’t use their personal cooldowns, don’t use health potions, don’t use healthstones. As someone who has raided as a holy paladin more often than not, especially back in Vanilla when AOE healing was rare, please, I implore you, train your First Aid and carry bandages with you everywhere you go.
Tip: It is okay to stop DPSing to bandage yourself. I promise.
So the first time my guild killed Lucifron, the first boss in Molten Core, I was dead. Why was I dead? Well, it couldn’t be avoided. Lucifron had this nasty ability called Impending Doom, which caused 2000 shadow damage after ten seconds. So anyone with a dispel magic would have to dispel the entire raid (no mass dispel!) and hope they got everyone before the dot exploded.
There I am, with my potions on cooldown, my bandages on cooldown and my healthstone gone (they were single-use back then!). And I get hit with Impending Doom. And I have less than 2000 health. And I know I’m going to die. But everything was on cooldown. So it wasn’t my fault. And it wasn’t the healers’ fault, either, because they were busy healing and dispelling. So I died. The goal is to stay alive as long as possible, through any means necessary. That includes bandages. RESPECT THE BANDAGEZ.
Fishing and Cooking, as I’ve mentioned previously, go hand-in-hand and can be incredibly useful for late-game buffs. That means raiders are going to fork over their hard-earned gold for your fish or various foods.
Additionally, fishing is basically required in order to summon Gahz’ranka in Zul’Gurub! (Who, BTW, drops the Tome of Polymorph Turtle. Back in the day, you had sheep and that was it, unless you got lucky off Gahz’ranka, which is why people to this day still call it “sheeping” something rather than “polymorph”. Then Polymorph: Pig appeared as a trained skill, IIRC.)
Oh, one of the few appearance-changing items in the game at the time, Savory Deviate Delight, can always be relied upon to be bought by people who want to turn into a ninja or a pirate. The recipe is simple, one Deviate Fish, and Mild Spices from a trade vendor. The Recipe: Savory Deviate Delight drops from mobs in the Barrens, so it’s well-worth taking the time to visit there. (And, you know, immediately leave General chat for the duration. Ugh. Barrens chat.)
3) Herbalism and Alchemy
Much like today, herbs and potions/elixirs/flasks are always going to be in demand so long as people are running challenging content. Whether that’s level 55+ dungeons like Scholomance or a 45-man Baron run in Stratholme or stepping foot inside Zul’Gurub or Molten Core or tiptoeing down to Onyxia, alchemy’s products will always be in demand, from the major mana and even health potions to the flasks.
As such, herbs will also always be in demand. Some good ones to stock up on include Ghost Mushrooms, Golden Sansam, Dreamfoil, Mountain Silversage, and, of course, Black Lotus, as every flask recipe in the game requires one and they’re super rare. Oh, and Icecap is definitely useful, too.
Tip: Tauren get a natural +15 boost to herbalism.
Herbalism and Alchemy obviously go very well together, so I’d recommend picking up both if you grab one.
One major difference between Ye Olde Days and now is flasks require Alchemy Labs to create them. Right now, on retail WoW, you can create all your flasks or potions or elixirs or transmutes anywhere. In town, on a mountain top, inside a dungeon, anywhere. In Vanilla WoW, there were exactly two alchemy labs, special areas where you could create flasks. Do you know where they were? Well, one was inside Blackwing Lair and the other, more reasonable one, was inside Scholomance. And I’m not talking two rooms in, either. Both are placed well-inside these instances. As such, your flasks not only take materials to make, but also time and effort to get to Scholomance (more reasonably than BWL) and to clear down to the alchemy lab. Flasks are expensive, requiring the very rare Black Lotus herb, other herbs, plus the time and energy to craft them. Alchemists would likely do well to make sure they have materials for a flask any time they go to Scholomance. Of course, it would be helpful to have a flask recipe, right? Right.
So where do you get flask recipes? Not from a trainer, oh no. They’re drops. The caster flask recipe, Recipe: Flask of Supreme Power, drops off Ras Frostwhisper, in Scholomance. As such, if you’re an alchemist, even if you don’t know the recipe for a single flask, kill Ras and you might get that recipe. So make sure you go in loaded with Dreamfoil, some Mountain Silversage and, of course, Black Lotuses and Crystal Vials, even if you don’t know any flasks, because you might luck out with Ras.
Recipe: Flask of Distilled Wisdom, typically the healer flask, drops from Balnazzar in Strat Live. (Fun fact: I was using these in Wrath because there was literally nothing better for healing for a holy paladin.)
Recipe: Flask of the Titans, typically the tank flask, drops from General Drakkisath in UBRS.
There, uh, is not a lot for physical DPS folks in the way of flasks. Sorry.
Recipe: Flask of Petrification, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen used, drops from the green dragons, perhaps specifically Taerar.
Recipe: Flask of Chromatic Resistance, which may be handy in BWL (???), drops in UBRS from Rend’s dragon, Gyth.
Tip: For money-making, focus on Flask of Supreme Power, Flask of Distilled Wisdom and Flask of the Titans and try to always have mats for at least Supreme Power when you visit Scholomance.
4) Tailoring & Enchanting
Tailoring and Enchanting are a good pair of professions for a cloth-wearer. Enchanting will always be in demand and, as a tailor, you can disenchant stuff you create for dust, shards, etc. However, it’s important to note that, back in the day, there were no enchanting vellums. That means you had to actually find an enchanter and ask them to perform the enchant for you, usually with your mats, and then you definitely wanted to tip them gold, depending on how difficult the enchant was to farm up. Crusader? Tip a lot. Fiery? Less so.
The flip side here, for enchanters, is that it’s hard to level up enchanting because you can’t just enchant vellums to sell! Still, it’s always going to be in demand once you get to max, or close to max, level. However, just like now, the most valuable enchants are generally the ones that take effort — or rep — so be prepared.
As to tailoring, some of the neat patterns you can get as a tailor give you an item that is BOP, so you can’t sell it, so it’s worthwhile for you to be a cloth-wearer as a tailor because then you can equip those items. For example, the Pattern: Robe of the Archmage is able to be looted by anyone and sold, but the ROBE ITSELF is BOP, so only a mage would want to create it, because it’s class-locked to a mage. (Fun fact: the alcove to the right on your way up to Mother Smolderweb is where the mobs that can drop this are.) Meanwhile, Balnazzar in Strat Live drops the Pattern: Truefaith Vestments, and Truefaith Vestments? BOP. And class-locked to priests. Meanwhile, Darkmaster Gandling in Scholomance drops the Pattern: Robe of the Void, which gives the BOP Robe of the Void, class-locked to warlocks.
Of course, beyond the sweet armor you can craft yourself, tailors also make… bags. Bags are going to be at a premium. 16-slot bags are typically the best bags you’ll use in Classic. Finding a Traveler’s Backpack is basically like hitting the jackpot. Meanwhile, one of the best bags is the Mooncloth Bag. It’s identical, except it’s crafted and it will likely be expensive (which is good for you, as the tailor!). Why? It requires:
- Mooncloth. The recipe itself is hard enough to get, as it’s a limited-item available from a vendor in Winterspring. Making Mooncloth requires two Felcloth and it’s on a 4-day cooldown.
- Pattern: Mooncloth Bag. As to where this comes from, Wowhead is saying Lethon, who’s one of the green dragons, but it also used to drop off of random, high-level mobs. Keep an eye out for it and snatch it up immediately if you see it.
Until you get that, you can at least try to get the Runecloth Bag recipe, which may be sold from Qia in Winterspring (same one for Mooncloth), which is a 14-slot bag, which really isn’t bad comparatively. Easier to make and it’ll be in super-high demand.
Tip: Make friends with a skinner because each bag requires 2 Rugged Leather.
5) Skinning and Leatherworking
And speaking of skinning and leather, let’s look at Skinning and Leatherworking, my favourite professions, period. I started out with these professions in Vanilla and didn’t change for eons. It was towards the end of Vanilla that I swapped to mining for a while (Thorium Ore and Arcane Crystals sold quite well!) before, yes, dropping mining and going back to skinning. Skinning is really the only way to get “enough” leather to supply your Leatherworking. The other bonus here is that you don’t have to wait for a node to respawn. Skin what you kill.
Tip: Don’t loot everything at once. Loot one corpse, then skin it. Repeat for as many dead bodies are around you. Otherwise, people can skin your kills.
Also, there are Leatherworking Specialties that will mean you can’t craft certain items while you can craft others. You were, at least until Burning Crusade, stuck with your specialty, so choose wisely! That said, unlike the Tailoring patterns I mentioned previously, these items are not BOP, so even if you pick the “wrong” specialty, you can sell stuff and purchase what would benefit you more. The specialties are as follows:
- Elemental Leatherworking: Meant for rogues (and feral druids)
- Tribal Leatherworking: Essentially meant for moonkins/resto druids (there’s a decent couple of melee pieces in here, too)
- Dragonscale Leatherworking: Gear for hunters and shammies
I don’t have a comprehensive list of all the items yet, but that should change at launch, or closer to it. Still, those are decent guidelines.
It’s important to note that, outside of the specialty gear, a leatherworker creates both leather and mail gear, while a tailor is just cloth gear and a blacksmith is just plate. Leatherworkers can sell to rogues, druids of any kind, hunters and shaman (12 total specs – 13 if you count holy paladins in search of spellpower mail!). As such, especially if you can get a couple of rare recipes, it’s definitely worthwhile to be a Skinner/Leatherworker. I made a lot of money off the Black Dragonscale Leggings, personally. That said, don’t be a paladin and skinner, because a paladin can’t wield a dagger like Finkle’s Skinner. (They can, however, wield the Zulian Slicer, but ZG won’t be out for a while yet.)
Additionally, a skinner is really important for a guild. Why?
- Pristine Hide of the Beast can drop from skinning the Beast in UBRS and is a valuable reagent for some great gear.
- Scale of Onyxia: A key ingredient for the Onyxia Scale Cloak, required to defeat Nefarian, the last boss of Blackwing Lair.
- Core Leather: Skinned from Core Hounds in Molten Core, Core Leather is necessary for several fire-resistance recipes and more. For the love of all that’s holy, LOOT YOUR HOUNDS SO YOUR GUILD SKINNER CAN SKIN THEM. Ahem. Thank you.
Tips: Don’t skin as a paladin and pick a leatherworking specialty that will ideally benefit you.
6) Mining and Blacksmithing
I’ll talk about Engineering later, just know that mining is useful for just those two professions. That said, miners not only collect ore, but smelt them into bars. Smelting is no longer part of the profession in retail — raw ore is used by Blacksmiths and Engineers — but it was a big part of the profession in Vanilla. A great way to make some money is to buy cheap ore and sell expensive bars. Or, combine bars to make a different kind of bar. A Bronze bar, for example. You don’t mine bronze, you have to take a Copper bar and a Tin bar and smelt them together to get the Bronze bar. Additionally, mining Thorium Veins in the later stages of the game meant you could get Arcane Crystals. These, in turn, are used in a transmute with a Thorium Bar to create the very-popular Arcanite Bar. Some of the best weapons and armor in the entire game require many of these, including Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros. The precursor, Sulfuron Hammer, requires 50 Arcanite Bars, for example.
Tip: Be friends with an alchemist and tip them well for using their transmute cooldown. It’s a 2-day cooldown.
As to Blacksmithing, full disclosure, I never had a Blacksmith back in the day. However, you do have a choice between Armorsmith and Weaponsmith, which is then further broken down into Axesmith, Hammersmith and Swordsmith. You’re not going to be making money off these recipes, largely, because the materials are end-game items from Molten Core in many cases. You should select what you think will be most useful to your guild. In most cases, this will be Armorsmith.
This is another profession I have little experience with. But, true story, one night, we all convinced our buddy Majik to drop… I think it was enchanting (?) in favour of Engineering. Specifically, goblin engineering. And we helped him to level it, helping him buy mats and all that. Why? Field Repair Bot 74A. This is partly because a group of us could never find a tank and so we’d 5-man stuff with three clothies, my cat tanking, and a priest. We all died. A lot. Anyway, we made him become an engineer for the repair bot/vendor bot. And the jumper cables were fun, too.
Anyway, my point is, Engineers are useful. You can be either a Gnomish Engineer or a Goblin Engineer. Like Leatherworking, you’re stuck with the specialty, so again, choose wisely.
Which to choose? Well, Goblins get the jumper cables, so if you’re a hunter or a rogue or a night elf who can avoid dying in a wipe, that’s useful. You can try to rez a healer. Goblins also tend to have more, uh, explosives. Gnomes have more utility items.
Tip: Gnomes get a +15 Engineering racial bonus.
Engineers can also craft scopes for increased stats on ranged weapons as well as ammunition (yes, guns and bows and crossbows all need ammo!). Their Thorium Shells can be turned in for Thorium Headed Arrows. Man, even just writing this makes me feel like I should make my hunter an engineer, but I genuinely love skinning dragons and crafting armor… Anyway, probably a good choice for a hunter.
Whew. That was a lot of information. I hope it was useful! As for myself, I’m planning on Skinning/LW for my hunter, Herbalism/Alchemy for my paladin and Tailoring/Enchanting for my mage. My brother is, I believe, aiming for Mining/Blacksmithing on his warrior, Engineering/Leatherworking on his rogue (he’ll get the ore from his warrior, the leather from me) and Tailoring/Enchanting on his mage.
Next time, we’ll have some more general bits of advice, this time about various zones. Stay tuned!