The first thing you need to know about changing your profession specialty is how to drop your current spec, a spot where a surprising number of players run into a brick wall. Don't get your netherweave in a twist – it's just a technical difficulty, easily remedied. If you speak with the appropriate NPC to unlearn your specialty and select that option only to find that nothing happens, it's almost certainly an add-on conflict. Open the World of Warcraft folder on your computer and find your interface folder. Rename the whole folder with a temporary name, which disables all your add-ons. Then hop back into game and try the dialogue again; you should be back in business. (Don't forget to go back and rename your interface folder to its original name when you're done.)
Changing your profession specializations hasn't always been possible. Originally, players who chose profession specializations were bound to them for life. Even dropping the profession, retaking it and relevelling from scratch wasn't enough to reset the specialization. But then Blizzard added the drop-and-relevel option for engineers, leatherworkers and eventually also blacksmiths. With The Burning Crusade came the idea of fee-based respecs, where you could pay to reset just that portion of your profession. At the same time, tailors and alchemists were also given specialization options, but strangely, they were not given a respec option. It wasn't until patch 2.1.0 in late May that tailors and alchemists could obtain fee-based specialty respecs.
A little respec
Ok, so you're ready for a little respec. First up: unlearn your current specialization. For blacksmithing, leatherworking, tailoring and alchemy, do this by speaking to a profession trainer and paying him to remove your current spec. Engineers must drop engineering completely in order to effect a change.
The following is a general outline of what's need to respec in each profession. For every last nitty-gritty detail, visit Bindar's excellent respecialization thread.
Engineering Unlearn your specialization by dropping the engineering profession. Relearn the profession at a trainer, re-purchase all the schematics you can (quest rewards of course will be unavailable a second time) and re-level. At skill 200, specialize (with the same or a new specialization) at Steamwheedle Port in Tanaris. Here's where it gets tricky: You will not receive a membership card when you learn a new specialization. While it's possible to learn schematics without a membership card, you cannot renew your card (since you don't have one), so you cannot ever obtain schematics that require membership card renewals to get (such as Schematic: Pet Bombling).
Blacksmithing Unlearning a blacksmithing spec is also a little funky. It's a two-step process. As Bindar explains, for example, to change from axesmith to armorsmith, speak with the axesmith trainer to unlearn axesmithing and then to the weaponsmith trainer to unlearn weaponsmithing. At that point, you're free to pick up armorsmithing in the normal manner. The fee to unlearn smithing specs varies according to character level and spec type. To learn a new smithing spec, speak to the appropriate trainer. You don't have to do the usual quest unless you want the reward and haven't already completed the quest before.
Leatherworking Leatherworkers share the same fee-based system as blacksmiths. To learn another leatherworking spec, you'll need to go to Steamwheedle Port in Tanaris.
Tailoring To unlearn a tailoring specialization, speak to your current specialized trainer and pay the 150 gold fee. To learn another tailoring specialization, speak to the new spec trainer and pay the 20 gold fee.
Alchemy To unlearn an alchemy specialization, speak to your current specialized trainer and pay the 150 gold fee. To learn another alchemy specialization, speak to the new spec trainer and ask to be taught their branch of knowledge.
What have I got to lose?
Some professions stand more to lose when dropping a specialization than others. Alchemy is fairly safe: After you have unlearned an alchemy specialization, you will no longer be able to create multiple items from that school of specialty. You will not lose any formulae or any alchemy skill points.
However, if you respec in engineering, blacksmithing, leatherworking and tailoring, you stand to lose quite a bit. You will lose any recipes linked to the specialty that you drop. While you can re-learn trainer-taught recipes if you reacquire the specialty again later, quest reward recipes are gone forever.
You will lose the ability to equip any items that you might have crafted from those now-lost patterns. If you have those items equipped at the moment you unlearn the required specialization, their durability will drop to zero, and the next time that you zone or reload your character, the items will automatically become unequipped in your bags (or bank or mail, space permitting). If you re-learn the original specialization later, you will be able to re-equip and fully use those items again. You can still equip and use items that require a profession specialization in order to gain set bonuses, but you won't get the set bonus itself.
Engineers will lose all engineering skill points when they unlearn their specialization. (Blacksmiths, leatherworkers and tailors will not lose skill points when unlearning a specialization.) It's been reported that a fee-based method to unlearn engineering specs will be added at some point in the future.
Lisa Poisso is a writer and editor, when she's not contemplating dumping her primal mooncloth gear for something a little more glamorous.