Professions are one of the most lucrative opportunities in wow, and you don’t have to have an army of alts in order to make money using them either. I personally have 6 alts that have maxed professions and I am working on a seventh because I have a lot of free time, but its certainly not required. If you pick the right professions, there is no reason you can’t churn out gold by huge amounts, with just one maxed character, in fact that’s exactly where I started. I’m going to give you a break down of the professions to help you get the most out what you have time for.
Please read this full guide before you decide on which professions to use as it may contain information to change your mind about the one you wish to peruse. Also, please keep in mind that this guide is written specifically for the purposes of profiting, and if you are looking for more information regarding the stat weights and relative usefulness of professions, please only use this guide for supplementary purposes. Also consider what type of character you are leveling, I.E. If you are leveling a character to 90 for the first time, I would suggest against tailoring on a hunter, or blacksmithing on a caster etc. Let’s go alphabetically:
Alchemy is a great profession that focuses around transforming almost any raw material into another raw material, usually with a good profit margin. Alchemy has three main parts, and each one has its own benefit. Alchemy also allows you to choose a specialization that gives you a buff when doing certain recipes within that specialization. You have three specialization to choose from:
Transmute gives you the chance to create an extra one to four of whatever transmutation recipe you use. In Mists, these include: transmuting one gem to another, trillium to living steel, and ghost iron to trillium. Basically if you take ten ghost iron bars and transmute them into one trillium bar; as transmute spec, there is a chance of getting up to five bars from one cast. This can be very profitable. Many people do not use transmutation specialization because most people don’t require transmutation on a regular basis. The biggest benefit this gives is during your living steel cool down or transmuting ghost iron to trillium for the living steel cool down. most alchemists tend to make more potions or flasks regularly and thus do not opt for this specialization
Potion specialization does the same as the other specializations (allowing a chance to create 1 to 4 extra potions from the same materials.). Potion specialists receive their bonus when creating any one of the non flask/elixir potions available to alchemists. This specialization can be very good for an alchemist with an active server. The potions alchemists can make usually have very good margins for profit without this specialization, so with it, the margins can easily exceed 200% returns. Also, a lot of the potions alchemists make for mists are used by almost every class in the game to receive an extra boost while doing raid encounters.
Elixir specialization is again, the same as the other two, but for flasks and elixirs. Elixir specialization is usually the least used specialization considering the mats cost relative to the finished product usually doesn’t have very good margins as the other two do. In addition, since the release of guild cauldrons, we have seen a significant decline in the use of flasks since a lot of the raiding guild using flasks and requiring them, now use battle cauldrons. If you are on a raiding server with a large consumption of flasks and similar elixirs, this specialization may be worth looking into, but a a general rule, i would suggest going with one of the others.
Blacksmithing is a favorite amongst plate wearers. This profession has a few really good money makers once it is maxed. Blacksmithing can make 2 different sets of pvp gear that is ilvl 450 putting it only 8 ilvl’s behind the honor gear. Many players buy these pieces in order to make the BG grind a little more bearable. This creates great opportunities for profit considering with only a few ghost iron bars, you could command very good margins. Another great thing blacksmiths make good profit with is tank plate. With most of the tank classes in the game wearing plate gear, blacksmiths can easily capitalize on this with their ability to make an entire plate set for new tanks, including the shield! And finally, something everyone needs the smiths for: Belt buckle. The belt buckle is by far a great profit since most players in wow need at least one for their belts, and many needing several.
Enchanting, the utilitarian, everyone needs something, go-to profession. Enchanting is a profession that allows you to enchant gear with extra stats. As you can imagine, enchanting has something for everyone, and because of that, is highly desirable. Enchanting makes money through a few ways. Enchanting can disenchant green/blue/epic Items into materials used for enchanting other items. Generally this will turn a profit because the materials are very general and sought after, where as specific items only cater to select groups. Enchanting also make gold by taking materials, either your own, or someone else’s and enchanting vellums or gear for a tip or profit. This profession have huge trade chat marketability as well as good opportunities to make profits buying materials and placing enchanted vellums up for sale. Due to its integral role in the Shuffling of ores, Enchanting is a must have for any would-be millionaire.
Engineering is one of the only professions i consider to be not worth the investment. Engineering has great toys and perks, but for really goo gold methods, it is lacking. Generally its only real money maker is the blingtron 4000 and the potential for selling guns which are almost always in high demand.
Gathering Professions: Mining, Herbalism, Skinning
All of the gathering professions fall into the same category, I highly recommend you level a profession depending on your other primary profession. I.E. Skinning and leatherworking, mining and engineering, jewelcrafting, or blacksmithing, and herbalism with alchemy or inscription. As for my servers, the order of profitability generally goes mining > herbalism > skinning. Skinning being a little different, as it requires you to kill mobs of specific type. They are all relatively the same, and are recommended differently depending on the accompanying profession.
There are only two professions that i would consider “a license to print money” as Euripides from The call to auction podcast Puts it. Inscription makes money in so many ways its literally a factory that just stamps gold coin onto paper for some very high profit margins. Glyphs are big business and inks can be made for insanely low overhead. Glyphs are very subjective markets so i cannot provide you any hard data, but with a little research you can easily find good margins on your server. Another amazing way that inscription can make money is through darkmoon cards which I go into more depth in my post about making thousands from the darkmoon fair.
Jewelcrafting, the other profession that I tag as a license to print gold. Instead of printing gold on paper, jewelcrafting prints money on precious stones. Jewelcrafting is amazing for money making, and I always suggest having at least one in your arsenal. Jewelers make gold through cutting gems and shuffling ores. The JC shuffle is the big money maker for JC’s, basically you prospect ores for gems, which in and of itself is generally profitable, then you make jewelry and disenchant it. This effectively increases the profits at every step. If that’s too much work for you, a JC can buy gems on the auction house, cut them into specifically desirable cuts, re-list them and profit. It really is just that simple, and it requires almost no work.
Leatherworking comes in as my least favorite artisan profession. Leatherworking presents many of the same opportunities as the other artisans professions, but it does not generally have the profitability or utility that the others offer. The leg enchants are used by most classes in wow which is nice, and they have great margins, putting them as very profitable as are the other item upgrades offered through other means. Leatherworking has no cool down to up its GPH like tailoring, and doesn’t appeal to everyone like blacksmithing, but it still has strong merits in the other aspects.
Tailoring is one of the easiest professions to make money. I highly recommend it for getting started. Its a wonderful profession with many potential revenues. You can make good money on turning cloth into items that disenchant into enchanting materials that are worth huge markups. You can make gold from offering rare and or hard to get transmog items, and end game gear. You also have huge margins for profit from performing your daily imperial silk cool down and turning it into a 28 slot bag, or making the spell thread every day. Always consider leveling a tailor fast due to its nice Returns and ease of leveling.