World of Warcraft Classic: Everything you need to know about professions

At long last, World of Warcraft subscribers can freely explore a bygone era of the venerable MMO’s 15-year history thanks to the recently released World of Warcraft Classic. The Classic client recreates World of Warcraft (or WoW) as it was during the 2006 ‘Drums of War’ 1.12.1 patch, before any of the game’s expansions had been released. It also reverts all of the game’s core systems back to their 1.12.1 states, including the optional professions and trade skills players can take up.

This guide takes you through everything you need to know about professions in the WoW Classic client. We cover the differences between primary and secondary professions, the best profession synergies, which professions are best for specific playstyles, and, of course, what professions you should pursue if you want to make some extra in-game gold. Existing WoW players may already know about profession fundamentals, but considering how radically different WoW Classic is from standard WoW, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on the basics.

Available WoW Classic Professions

In WoW Classic there are nine primary professions and three secondary professions. The nine primary professions are as follows:

  • Alchemy
  • Blacksmithing
  • Engineering
  • Enchanting
  • Herbalism
  • Mining
  • Leatherworking
  • Skinning
  • Tailoring

Then there are the three secondary professions:

  • Cooking
  • First Aid
  • Fishing

A single WoW Classic character can learn all three secondary professions, but they can only learn a maximum of two primary professions. All professions are also divided into two distinct categories: gathering and production. A gathering profession involves harvesting a resource out in the world while a production profession involves creating something using a recipe and materials.

As we’ll explain later in this guide, certain gathering professions are meant to compliment certain production professions. This is why a player can only have two primary professions per character since they’re ideally meant to pick one gathering profession and one production profession. However, you certainly don’t have to follow that template if you don’t want to, and in some cases it might be advantageous not to. For example, you could pick two separate gathering professions and sell all the raw materials you find on the Auction House, supporting a market of production profession users who’d rather just buy the materials they need than harvest them.

Profession Synergies

Just by reading their names, you can already get a sense about which primary professions compliment others. The leather materials obtained through skinning naturally benefit a leatherworker, while metals and ore gained from mining benefit a blacksmith. Below are all the key synergies for primary professions:

  • Skinning – Leatherworking
  • Mining – Blacksmithing
  • Mining – Engineering
  • Herbalism – Alchemy
  • Tailoring – Enchanting

In addition to the above synergies, fishing and cooking pair well together since you can often cook the fish you catch. Even though they’re technically production professions, cooking and first-aid don’t really require an accompanying gathering profession since they rely heavily on materials obtained from slain enemies. However, there are some minor exceptions to that rule. Herbalists, for example, can occasionally find a rare ingredient called Swiftthisle which cooks can make into Thistle Tea, a prized consumable for Rogues thanks to its energy-restoring properties.

Profession Ranks and Specializations

Improving a profession involves utilizing that profession’s functionality to “skill-up” and raise your profession skill rank. For a gathering profession, that means going out and harvesting raw materials, and for a production profession it means crafting items from recipes. Once you reach specific rank thresholds, you need to visit a profession trainer to graduate to the next profession level (apprentice, journeyman, expert, etc.), unlocking new recipes and skills in the process.

When you reach a specific profession skill rank for certain production professions, you can also select a specialization. In WoW Classic, only three professions have associated specializations, blacksmithing, leatherworking, and engineering. You don’t have to pick a specialization if you don’t want to, but doing so can help you craft more suitable items for your (or your group’s or guild’s) preferred playstyle and activities. The profession specializations and their associated uses are outlined below:

  • Blacksmithing: Armorsmithing (which focuses on specialized armor recipes) or Weaponsmithing (specialized weapon recipes which can later be further specialized into Master Axesmith, Master Swordsmith, or Master Hammersmith)
  • Leatherworking: Dragonscale leatherworking (agility-focused mail armor for Hunters and Enhancement Shamans), Elemental leatherworking (intelligence-focused leather and mail armor for Elemental and Restoration Shamans), or Tribal leatherworking (agility-focused leather armor for Rogues) 
  • Engineering: Gnomish engineering (which focuses more on utility and survivability) or Goblin engineering (which focuses more on explosives and damage-dealing devices)

Unlocking specializations involves completing a lengthy associated quest chain, and pursuing one specialization means locking yourself out of the others, so make sure you choose wisely.

The Best Playstyle-Specific Professions

If professions are something you want to pursue as part of your WoW Classic adventures, it’s important to first consider what you want to use them for. Do you want to be a more self-sufficient solo player? Do you want to support your guild’s raiding efforts? Do you want to make some extra money? Any profession can technically benefit your character in some way (assuming you put in the work to level the profession up), but depending on your chosen class and goals, some professions are better options than others.

If you’re planning on venturing out solo and you want to be as self-sufficient as possible, picking a production profession that matches your class’s armor type is a no-brainer. This means that you’ll want to go with blacksmithing if you’re a Warrior or Paladin, or tailoring if you’re a Warlock or Priest. If you want to bolster your self-sufficiency even more, picking a synergized gathering profession for your second slot also makes sense (so mining for blacksmithing, skinning for leatherworking, etc.). First-aid is also a great profession for Rogues and Warriors since they lack the inherent self-healing abilities many other classes have.

If you’re rolling with an established guild and/or have any interest in endgame raiding, herbalism/alchemy is a good combo to pursue since you’ll be able to craft the stat-boosting potions raiders depend upon. You should also consider picking up cooking since master chefs can create stat-boosting food items.

Lastly, if you want to make some decent money on the Auction House, consider picking up tailoring as one of your primary professions. While any profession can technically make money by selling harvested and crafted goods to niche markets, tailors can make an item that’s always in universal demand: bags. Every WoW Classic player, regardless of their playstyle, will need to upgrade their storage bags at some point, which means crafting and selling bags on the Auction House can be an incredibly lucrative venture if you know how to play the market.

You might also consider pairing your tailoring profession with its natural synergy partner, enchanting. If you’re a cloth-wearing class, you’ll improve your self-sufficiency, and gear enchantments are another investment that players of all stripes are willing to make, though usually not until they reach WoW Classic’s endgame.

No matter your WoW Classic pursuits or goals, professions are worth pursuing if for no other reason than the satisfaction of showing off your skilled craftsmanship (and potentially earning some money as well). Whether you’re hoping to strike it rich or merely survive a little longer in Azeroth’s wild frontier, picking the right professions for your playstyle can confer numerous benefits in both the short and long-term as long as you’re willing to commit to them.