As I did with factions previously, I figured I’d take a look at profession bonuses come Cataclysm. I’ll evaluate each profession in two categories: raiding utility and personal utility (which includes time-savers, money-savers/makers, or just-for-fun items).
Note that in regards to utility, I’ll only be looking at the exclusive bonuses to each profession. For example, being a Blacksmith lets you make Eternal Belt Buckles for an additional belt socket…but you could just buy one off the AH, so that’s not really important to me (It may be for you, however.) As the secondary professions are non-exclusive, I won’t be considering those.
Finally, realize that profession bonuses are probably only worth about 1% DPS (each). If you’re a casual player and don’t want to mess with professions, or you like your professions and you don’t want to min-max them for raiding, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
- Low-quality Flask of Enhancement (for farm content, replicates other professions’ always-on bonuses), provides +80 agi
- Mixology (for raid content), provides +80 agi when used with Flask of the Winds, or +80 stam when used with Flask of Steelskin (currently bugged, should be +120 stam…if it stays at +80, this will be a suboptimal bear profression)
- Lifebound Alchemist Stone – exclusive trinket
- Cauldron of Battle/Big Cauldron of Battle; provides flasks for an entire raid with the guild perk Happy Hour
- Double duration on flasks (Mixology)
- Potion/Elixir/Transmute Mastery (15-20% chance to proc a free potion/elixir/epic gem when creating them; procs can chain)
- Gem/Element Transmute CD’s
- Turn into a rideable dragon
Alchemy is a very good profession. The Mixology benefits scale off the flask used, so it works well when sharing gear between cat and bear sets. The double flask duration and epic gem transmutes are huge money-savers/makers. The alchemist stone is pretty poor for everything but bears and possibly trees, but it’s pretty decent for an entry-level trinket (and it’s good for PvP too). Finally, a DRUID as a RIDABLE DRAGON IS FREAKING AWESOME. It fits with the shapeshifting motif of the class, and is just, well, cool (much more appropriate than a silly rocket). Bonus: You can offer to fly friends/guildies/unsuspecting strangers somewhere, and instead fly way up high, make impossible demands, than dismount/shift to Swift Flight Form and follow them down. :)
BS used to be a desirable profession because the extra sockets allowed flexibility with choosing what stat to increase. With most of the profession’s giving primary stat bonuses, though, the flexibility’s not as helpful.
- Ring enchant (+40 agi or +60 stam x2, for +80 agi or +120 stam for cats or bears)
- Disenchant unwanted items for group/raid
- Disenchant unwanted items for self
Meh. Enchanting (rather, disenchanting) is a pretty decent money-maker; all the quest reward gear you find can be disenchanted and sold on the AH for 2-3x times their vendor value, and it’s great when soloing old content, but that’s about it.
- Epic helm, with customizable sockets
- Tazik Shocker or Hyperspeed Accelerators, which stacks with other glove enchants
- High Powered Bolt Gun, for free GCD’s (don’t know if it shifts you out of form)
- Grounded Plasma Shield, which stacks with other belt enchants (failure AoE taunts, which could be bad)
- Teleport to Gadgetzan
- Many pets and mounts
- Many fun items
- Electrostatic Condenser
- Portable mailbox/repair/merchant
Engineering is more of a fun/utility profession than a standard raiding one. I’m sure someone will do the math on the other stuff, but right now, there’s no good lvl 85 melee DPS increase (no lvl 85 version of the Accelerators). Unless they come out with more glove tinkers or reduce the failure rate, I can’t recommend Engineering as a raiding profession.
- Swiftsteel Inscription (+80 agi over Exalted Therazane shoulder enchant)
- Scrolls of Recall (double hearthstone, basically)
Not much here for ferals. Inscription has one great epic BoP trinket, but it’s a caster item. Druids make great Herbalists, though, and Inscription goes well with Herbalism. (Yes, I’m reaching.)
- Ability to use 3 Delicate Chimera’s Eyes (+27 agi over standard Delicate Inferno Rubies, so +81 agi in total)
- BoP rare trinket (Figurine – Demon Panther)
- Fire Prism
- Daily JC quest
JC is nice. It’s a fair choice for a profession, with a good trinket and some fun utility as well. Fire Prisms look to be better money-maker then they were in LK, but that remains to be seen, and the daily JC quest will probably be worth a good bit of gold if you’re willing to forgo getting patterns for a bit. (I wish all the crafting professions had something like this, actually.)
- Draconic Embossment (+130 agility enchant, replaces +65 crit enchant)
- Drums of Speed (+15% movement speed buff for entire raid…still works!)
- Cheap personal leg armors
Currently, Leatherworking is, by a large margin, the best raiding profession for ferals. Currently, crit is worth slightly less than 1/3rd the value of agility, which makes that 65 crit bonus equal to ~20 agility. That means the bonus from LW is +110 agi, vs. +80 from the others. I foresee this being changed; either a better bracer enchant will be introduced, or the LW embossment will be reduced to +80 agi and made able to stack with a bracer enchant. Don’t forget about the Drums of Speed; they still work, and will be helpful for Cataclysm’s raids.
- Swordguard Embroidery (+1000 AP proc, 15s, 45s ICD (I think))
- Cloth cooldowns
I’m not completely sure how to gauge the usefulness of the proc. If the uptime is around 25%, it’s worth around 75 agility, so it’s pretty well balanced, itemization-wise. It should stack well with other procs, too, but timing it can be challenging. If the uptime is higher, then it could blow other stuff out of the water. Of course, with big procs comes big threat.
Gathering Professions (Personal Utility is obvious here, good money-makers)
- Herbalism: Lifeblood (480 haste for 20s/2m = 80 static haste = 23 static agi)
- Skinning: Master of Anatomy (80 crit = 23 agi)
- Mining: Toughness (120 stam = 0 dps value, indeterminate survivability value)
None of the gathering professions are great for DPS, but that’s kind of the point.
Overall Ranking (Raiding):
- Leatherworking (+110 agi) — BiS profession for feral tanks and DPS
- Alchemy/Blacksmithing/Enchanting/Inscription/Jewelcrafting/Tailoring (+80 agi) — All pretty equal, tailoring still semi-TBD
- Engineering (TBD) — They made a new caster tinker, so I imagine they’ll make a new melee tinker…pretty bad until then
- Herbalism/Skinning (~23 agi) — If you must. Skinning provides mats to power LW, and Druids are great Herbalists in flight form.
- Mining (0 agi) — great for tanks; 0 DPS value, until you survive a raid AOE with 100HP. :)
I think my recommendations would be LW, and one of Alchemy/JC/Tailoring (which I see as superior money-makers for the average raider). I’ve been Alch/LW since early LK, and I plan to stay that way. I’m sure I’ve missed stuff from some of the other professions…let me know in the comments!