Mists of Pandaria Preparation: Professions (Part 1)

In the World of Warcraft, fortunes are made on patches and new expansions. Each new expansion and patch brings the opportunity for you to get gold-capped. Will you be the next in Mists of Pandaria? Now is the time to prepare! This series is about preparing for the next great gold rush in WoW: Mists of Pandaria!

Choosing Your Professions
If you're starting with a blank slate, some combinations of professions are better than others streamlining your gold-making business. Which professions should you choose? Which professions should be your highest priority if you can't get them all? Based on Cataclysm and Wrath of the Lich King, and what we know right now about Mists of Pandaria, here are some things to consider when choosing your professions...

The Long-Haul Professions
These professions will be the mainstays of the expansion. These will be some of your strongest gold-makers in the early stages of the expansion, but will also remain very profitable throughout.

Nearly every gear upgrade once you hit heroic dungeons will contain sockets that need to be filled by your gems. I expect dungeons to be shorter in length, more in the style of Wrath of the Lich King based on the return to that formula late in Cataclysm. Faster, smoother gear upgrade cycles will result in steady business.

There will be some sort of shuffle for you to participate in, which leads to lots of gems for selling in addition to other revenue streams. Leveling your Jewelcrafter from the Auction House will be expensive in the early days, but the key will be getting to the Jewelcrafting Daily Quest on day one to start collecting tokens. Every day you miss the quest, you'll fall behind for grabbing patterns. If Mists is released in the first (or last) week of the month, you might be able to use the Darkmoon Faire profession quest to skip a particularly troublesome leveling block (like the Hessonite/Nightstone or Shadowspirit Diamond bottlenecks in Cataclysm).

You'll also be able to sell blue rings/necks to characters in the early months of the expansion, with profits dropping as time goes by and the rings become outdated.

Recommendation: Two JCs will serve you well in the opening days, but the benefit will tail off with time as you get all the best patterns. If you've got slots to spare and money to risk, you might give it a try. Most people will want to stick with just one JC.

Another mainstay for this expansion will be enchanting. The same dungeon difficulty change theorized above will result in more enchants being needed more consistently throughout the expansion's life cycle. The first level of enchants will be popular early on because of high crystal prices. I don't expect the difference to be as severe as Cataclysm because Looking For Raid will likely introduce epic gear that could end up getting disenchanted once that gear is replaced in the normal version of the raids. There will still be an extended period of high crystal prices, but it won't last quite as long as Cataclysm's Maelstrom prices did.

The real value of the Enchanting profession, however, will be the ability to disenchant gear. Your own leveling gear (quest rewards/world drops) and gear from leveling your other professions (Tailoring/Leatherworking especially). Even more profitable, however, will be pairing Enchanting with Jewelcrafting to participate in the new shuffle. This will lead to raw materials for leveling Enchanting, plus extra mats to sell to others on the Auction House.

Recommendation: You'll probably only need one enchanter as the existing bottlenecks for enchanting tend to be gold-based in the form of recipe costs, not token-based like Jewelcrafting.

The Launch Rush Professions
These professions are going to be extremely strong out of the gate, then settle into an average to below-average return on your time invested. If you fancy big profits quickly, focus on these for the first 3-4 weeks of the expansion, but don't neglect basic maintenance/leveling for the mainstays above. One significant change from Cataclysm worth noting is farming will generally be slower than the rush at the start of Cataclysm. Players will be restricted to ground mounts until they advance to level 90. This means slower travel between nodes, decreasing overall supply, sending the price/unit higher.

Mining provides the bulk of the raw materials for Jewelcrafting, Blacksmithing and some for Engineering. Jewelcrafters will be your biggest consumers in the early days and weeks of the expansion. Mining retains some value throughout as Blacksmiths need the processed bars for use in their products. Alchemists will need some of the bars as well for their transmutes.

Recommendation: You probably want one farming alt for the early stages of the expansion if you can spare the slot. Pairing it with herbalism could be a strong setup if you plan to sell the materials at the auction house. If you plan to use the ore yourself, then pairing with your Blacksmith or Jewelcrafter would be safe bets.

Herbalism provides the bulk of the raw materials for Inscription and Alchemy. Scribes will be burning through your herbs for Darkmoon cards and glyphs, while alchemists will use them for potions, flasks and gem transmutes.

Recommendation: If you want a farming alt, pair it with mining as mentioned above. If not, consider pairing with Inscription or Alchemy.

Skinning is probably the weakest of the farming professions early on, but seems to fluctuate the least throughout the expansion. Because it only really supplies Leatherworking in large quantities, demand is simply not as high overall as Mining and Herbing. There are a lot more Jewelcrafters, Alchemists and Scribes looking to burn through Ore and Herbs than there are Leatherworkers looking for your leather. Still, there will be strong sales out of the gate, just not as good as the others.

Recommendation: One skinner is enough. It's the weakest of the farming professions overall, so make it your last priority in this category.

The Step-Child: Engineering
Unless there are major improvements made to the Engineering, it will continue to be a niche profession. There are some fun things you can do with it, including lots of convenience/quality of life improvements like mailboxes, repair bots, looterangs and more, but as a pure profit center, it just doesn't cut it.

The major selling points for Engineers has been the motorcycle mounts (though I rarely see them in the cities these days) and some pets. You've also got the perk of epic first-raiding-tier quality goggles. Engineering is the only profession I don't currently have (which I plan to correct on my current crop of alts hitting 85 before Mists), but there was a reason for that. Engineering just hasn't been a priority for me because it's too niche for my gold-making strategy.

Recommendation: One Engineer should be enough for anyone, but don't me afraid to leave this out of your arsenal if you don't have lots of max-level alts.

Next week, we'll look at the remaining professions, what I'm calling the Strong But Declining group.

Read the entire series!
  • Mists of Pandaria Preparation: Alts

  1. I think you underestimate the power of engineering when used for profit. I understand it won't ever compare against jewelcrafting or a dedicated inscriptionist, however I have made thousands upon thousands of gold off of bomblings 500g (20g crafting cost), smoky's 500g (~20g cost), yetis 850g (~30g), mechanical toads 750g (~20g), and the generally top scope of each expansion, plus the newly released gnomish and goblin pets (I have 2 engineers, since I pvp in bgs a lot).

    Engineering is actually in a good place right now. Just set up a couple tsm groups and add another 2k+ a day to your gold making spreadsheet.

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