- What does it do? Allows you to create a variety of potions, elixirs, and flasks, as well as transmuting certain items into other items. Most of an alchemist's skills involve providing buffs for anyone using their brews: potions provide an immediate benefit (like restoring your health), elixirs provide buffs for an extended period of time, and flasks provide buffs that last through death.
- Do I need any gear? Crafting potions will require herbs and different types of vials.
- Do I get any extras? Alchemists have access to the passive ability Mixology, which doubles the duration and increases the effect of flasks and elixirs they use. High level alchemists have access to a number of useful trinkets and, if they also study Archaeology, can learn to transform into a Sandstone Drake.
- Why take alchemy? It's definitely useful to be able to make your own potions: you'll find you're never lacking for them. And paired with herbalism to gather herbs, you'll be entirely self-sufficient. However, you might also take alchemy purely out of interest in high-level trinkets or the Sandstone Drake.
- What does it do? Blacksmiths turn metals into weapons as well as mail and plate armor. Blacksmiths can add sockets to their own bracers and gloves as well as craft an Eternal Belt Buckle which adds a socket slot to any belt. Blacksmithing is best paired with mining.
- Do I need any gear? You need to be near a forge to craft things and your crafting recipes can require a variety of materials beyond stone and ore.
- Do I get any extras? Beyond what they can craft, blacksmiths can add sockets to their own -- and only their own -- bracers and gloves.
- Why take blacksmithing? If you're a plate-wearing class, blacksmithing can help you create your own armor as you advance through the game -- including some decent gear that will give you a good start towards raiding. But if you don't wear plate armor, the benefits are few.
- What does it do? Allows you to imbue armor and weapons with magical properties that increase their stats or provide other bonuses. Enchanters can also disenchant items, which turns them into magical components which can be used to create other items. Enchanting doesn't need any particular gathering profession, but many pair it with tailoring and disenchant the goods they craft.
- Do I need any gear? You'll need a Runed Copper Rod -- which you can craft yourself -- to enchant items and then you'll need various supplies for various enchants.
- Do I get any extras? In addition to the benefit of always having your own gear enchanted -- trust us, it will happen as you're training -- enchanters can enchant their own rings.
- Why take enchanting? Enchanting can be a frustrating profession to level, as you have to destroy magical items to gather materials to train. However, at high levels both enchanting and disenchanting can be very much in demand, as players look for enchanters to enchant their own gear or disenchant their unneeded items. Additionally, disenchanted items can be very valuable on the auction house for making cash.
- What does it do? Engineering is hands-down the most entertaining profession in the game. It's not always useful, but it's always fun. Engineers can craft a variety of oddball devices that range from the Loot-A-Rang to the Mechano-Hog. Since nearly all of an engineer's gadgets require engineering to use, if any of these things sound like fun, you'll have to level up the profession. Engineering pairs best with mining.
- Do I need any gear? The Arclight Spanner, which engineers can craft, is an oft-needed tool. Higher level engineers may wish to upgrade to the Gnomish Army Knife. In addition, different crafts will require different materials.
- Do I get any extras? Only the very nifty items they can craft, which includes some nice epic-quality gear like engineering goggles.
- Why take engineering? If you prefer fun over practical, engineering is the profession for you. If you prefer practical over fun... it probably isn't. However, any player may find some engineering gadgets that they just can't live without.
- What does it do? Allows you to craft leather and mail armor out of animal skins. It pairs nicely with skinning.
- Do I need any gear? You'll need thread and leather to make most of your wares, but different crafting recipes will have different material requirements.
- Do I get any extras? In addition to the gear you craft, which can be very handy for a leather or mail wearer leveling up, leatherworkers can improve their bracers with fur lining and improve their leg armor with armor kits, both of which provide very nice buffs.
- Why take leatherworking? If you wear leather or mail armor, then leatherworking will be a useful way to create your own gear as you level up. Some of the gear will give you a good start on doing dungeons and raids at higher levels.
- What does it do? Creates cloth armor as well as bags, magic carpets, and other cloth items.
- Do I need any gear? Only cloth, thread, and any other materials needed for individual crafting recipes.
- Do I get any extras? In addition to crafted gear -- some of which is very nice -- tailors can embroider their own cloaks with handy buffs as well as create spellthreads for their own use.
- Why take tailoring? If you're a cloth-wearer, this is a very decent profession to help gear yourself up as you advance. And since it requires no particular companion profession, you could take it with a gathering profession to make some extra cash.
Jewelcrafting (Burning Crusade required)
- What does it do? Jewelcrafters cut gems into jewels that can be socketed into gear. Additionally, they can create rings, necklaces, trinkets, and even a few weapons. Jewelcrafting pairs best with mining.
- Do I need any gear? You'll need a Jeweler's Kit, sold by trade supply and general goods vendors, as well as gems and other materials to craft with.
- Do I get any extras? Jewlcrafters can create trinkets only they can use as well as cut special gems for themselves. High level jewelcrafters with the patience to gather a long list of materials can also craft the Jeweled Onyx Panther and other mounts.
- Why take jewelcrafting? Cut gems are useful to socket your own gear but can also be worth selling to others or giving to friends or guildmates. Additionally, the trinkets and gems can be a nice buff.
Inscription (Wrath of the Lich King required)
- What does it do? Scribes turn herbs into inks which are used to craft scrolls, glyphs, Darkmoon cards, and epic items like Inscribed Red Fan. Inscription is best paired with herbalism.
- Do I need any gear? You'll need a Virtuoso Inking Set as well as different types of parchment to make different items.
- Do I get any extras? In addition to the items they craft, scribes can create inscriptions which are used to enchant their own shoulder armor.
- Why take inscription? Making glyphs for yourself, your friends, and your guildmates can be a very handy skill to have -- and profitable, too, if you take the time to hunt down popular recipes.
Hopefully we've given you a good starting point: happy crafting!
Just because you're a newbie doesn't mean you can't bring your A-game to World of Warcraft! Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from the seven things every newbie ought to know to how to get started as a healer or as a tank.