In a recent post I suggested that Rogues make a good class for a person new to World of Warcraft. Now I’d like to consider which professions to choose that will maximize the fun.
There was a time when the question of which profession goes well with the Rogue would be simple: leatherworking, because it provided much needed gear upgrades while leveling. Times have changed, however, and the various armor crafting professions haven’t kept up with the rest of the game, at least not while leveling. Quest rewards have been revamped throughout the game, and it is now quite easy to have a reasonably well-equipped character from quest rewards alone. In fact, I think it’s almost more fun to equip a character purely from quest rewards than it is to equip a character from crafted pieces. To make matters worse (or better, depending on how you look at it), the Looking For Group tool makes it even easier to equip a character with decent gear. Before the LFG, it could be quite challenging to run dungeons enough times to get meaningful gear upgrades. If you had a group of friends, or a guild, that you could depend on to run dungeons with on a regular basis, then you probably had decent gear. But if you tended to run solo a lot, as I do, then dungeons were something you’d only run very occasionally, and definitely not enough to depend on for gear. When the LFG was introduced, all that changed. It suddenly became possible to run dungeons even for loners like me, and that put all the previously out-of-reach blue dungeon gear at everybody’s fingertips. The LFG is great, but it does make the various gear crafting professions, like leatherworking, even less relevant to the leveling processes.
There is actually another reason to avoid leatherworking as a leveling profession: crafting plateaus. A “crafting plateau” is a range of levels in a crafting profession for which the material costs to make items that allow a level up are so high that you end up having to grind for materials (or buy the materials on the Auction House) just to get past the plateau. I know for leatherworking there is a plateau right before hitting 250. The problem, basically, is that we now level our characters so quickly that we end up leveling out of the areas containing the mobs that drop the kind of leather we need in order to craft leather gear. And the leather requirement for the gear is higher than it should be. If this were end game gear, then I could understand the material costs for one piece of gear being high or hard to find. But for low-level gear that’s needed just to level, I don’t really get the point. I think Blizzard needs to seriously overhaul the various gear crafting professions and re-tune their material costs and leveling requirements for the lower levels. Maybe they can make the gear itself more relevant at the same time.
The crafting plateau problem is actually even worse as you approach the various level caps for old expansions. In Burning Crusade, for example, the level cap for professions was 375, but levels become hard to come by at much lower levels. Blizzard has made adjustments such that the lowest level items in the next expansion, Wrath in this case, starts before the end of the highest level items in the previous expansion. For example, the first craftable LW item in Wrath is Borean Armor Kit, which can be crafted at 350. So once you hit 350, you can start crafting armor kits to get to the next item level, which is 370 (Arctic Boots and others). But getting even to 350 turns out to be fairly painful and requires a fair amount of either grinding mobs for leathers, or expensive AH purchases, to accomplish. What makes the whole process even worse is that none of the gear that you’ll craft to level leatherworking to 350 is even anything you want. It’s all completely overshadowed by even the lowest level Wrath gear (crafted or not).
Which is just a very long way of saying, don’t take leatherworking for your new Rogue. It won’t be fun. If you want to be a leatherworker at end game, then wait until you’ve leveled to the level cap and then level leatherworking.
If not leatherworking, then what, you might asked. If this is a new character on a new server, without any gold, then the usual strategy is to level two gathering professions and sell everything you gather on the AH. Which gathering professions are best may depend a bit on the server, but in general, I think all the gathering professions work to make money. I’m partial to mining (as it feeds into blacksmithing and jewelcrafting), but herbs should also do quite well (herbs are also needed by two professions: alchemy and inscriptions). Skinning isn’t bad either, and if you are planning to become a leatherworker at some point in your career, you might want one of your gathering professions to be skinning, just so you can have a head start.
Gathering professions can be a great way to make money, but they aren’t necessarily fun. If it’s fun you are looking for, then I’d suggest taking a look at engineering. Engineering is probably my favorite profession. It has it all, really. Everything from craftable vanity pets, such as squirrels and rabbits, to useful items such as Parachute Cloak and Deepdive Helmet. But even more valuable than pets and parachutes, in my opinion at least, are the various teleportation devices. There’s a teleport to Gadgetzan (or Everlook for Goblin engineerings), a teleport to Toshley’s Station (or Area 52 for Goblin engineers), and a wormhole generator to various locations in Northrend. I use these teleportation devices frequently. They save all kinds of time getting from one place to another.
I should probably warn you upfront that the one thing you probably won’t do with engineering is make any money. To be honest, I’ve not really investigated engineering for money-making potential, so there might be a couple of interesting items that other players tend to like to buy. Back when Hunters used ammo, engineers could make some money crafting ammo and putting it on the AH. And there are scopes and guns that can still be sold to Hunters. In general, though, I doubt you are going to make much with engineering. The reason to level engineering isn’t for the money, it’s for the fun of it.
If you do choose engineering as one of your professions, then you’ll probably want to compliment it with mining. Occasionally you’ll need materials from one of the other gathering professions, but the vast majority of the materials used by engineers comes from mining.