Of all the time sinks in World of Warcraft, there remains one that is not only a way to spend lots of time, but also lots of currency as well. People will debate until the end of WoW which is the best, which is the worst, which is the most boring, which is the most fun… which I will give my thoughts as well. I speak of our friends, professions.
There are a good variety of professions, as well as opinions about them. My main character is currently maxed in all of his professions except for archaeology, having: skinning, leatherworking, cooking, fishing, and first aid. Altogether, I have personally found these skills to not be too bad to skill up with, having decent rewards. Going from a pure min/max perspective, they’re not the best ones, but it comes to the laziness factor in certain things.
Here are my thoughts on professions in these categories: best, worst, most boring, and most fun. For this purpose, I’ll be defining “best” as looking at it from min/max standpoint, “worst” being the least beneficial, with “most boring” and “most fun” being self-explanatory.
Best profession: my thought for this is jewelcrafting. There are a great amount of benefits from this, mainly being the jewelcrafting-specific gems that have the bigger bonuses, as well as the bind-on-pickup trinkets that can be used to supplement them. These, along with the incredible resale value of the products made, make a very attractive profession to get. I find that it’s rough to get the skill up to around 300, but after that it gets much easier (or so I’m told, my highest JC is only around 150).
Worst profession: to me, this one is first aid. In the grand scheme of things, a bandage will do very little to help out in a battle. On my characters that have no way to heal themselves except through food and bandages, I still have found myself to rarely ever use bandages. If I’m in combat, I’m being damaged enough that the channeling will be interrupted easily, and if I’m out of combat I have food to heal me more efficiently. I’m maxed in first aid, but this is mainly for the achievements and nothing else.
Most boring: this is a no-brainer, of course it’s fishing. Though there is a great amount of benefits from cooking the fish you get, it doesn’t stop the skill from being tremendously boring. If it wasn’t for the daily quests, I doubt that I would have it maxed yet. The introduction of getting a skillup when completing the Orgrimmar (or Stormwind) dailies made this profession bearable. I’ve tried to watch movies, TV, read books, many other things while fishing to break up the monotony, but I’ve yet to find something that works.
A close second to fishing, however, is mining. It’s almost a requirement for certain other ones, and if you choose double gathering for your professions you’ll be able to make good amounts of cash. Yet, if you choose it along with one of the other professions that needs the smelted bars (blacksmithing, engineering, jewelcrafting) you have to go out and mine the ore, then wait for your character to smelt it. When you’re smelting hundreds of bars, you might as well go make a sandwich.
Most fun: it seems that many people have this same thought, which is engineering. In all honesty, how can a profession that allows you to create explosive sheep not be fun? One downside to this one is the amount of materials that are required to make certain items can sometimes get quite exorbitant. The rewards, however, are worth it – I remember back in Vanilla, many paladins would pick up engineering for the trinkets so they had something ranged. There are mounts like the flying machines and mechano-hog, the various types of engineers’ goggles, and now the cogwheel sockets for engineer-only stuff… among many other really neat things that can be made. It’s one of the professions that I have never maxed, but is high on my list of wanting to do.
The runner-up for this would be alchemy, out of sheer usefulness. Being able to make your own potions and elixirs is a huge benefit for any sort of use, whether it’s in PvE or PvP. There are the alchemists’ stones which are a great addition for any up-and-coming player, and the fun things like pygmy oil which will shrink you and eventually turn you into a sand gnome. Then there’s the pinnacle of them all, the Vial of the Sands – who doesn’t want to turn into a dragon?
Blizzard has done a great job of giving us a choice for things to waste time in. They created WoW in the first place, why not create something inside it to make it even more of a time waster?