Let's get the big one out of the way first.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you know a few Mages who are also tailors. Tailoring is...ahem...tailor-made for us clothies (thank you, thank you, I'll be here all night). From the moment your Mage is conceived to level 70 and beyond, Tailoring can provide him or her with gear that is frequently better than almost anything else out there for the level. It's a no-brainer choice for many Mages. We wear cloth armor, hence, we learn to sew pants and shirts. It's really too bad we can't sew some Kevlar into those shirts, but oh well.
There are a lot of benefits to learning tailoring. If you level this profession at a similar pace to your experience level, you will always be able to outfit yourself in some very nice gear. You will avoid having to buy bags, since your character will be able to make their own. Perhaps best of all, Tailoring isn't associated with any gathering profession, so that second slot is open to learn a second crafting profession, or perhaps a money-making gathering profession.
Here are some of the highlights as you make that steady march toward the end-game recipes:
White Linen Robe
Your first green piece of armor, and it gives you intellect! Woot. Woot, I say.
A nice all-around piece of blue footwear, and though the mats can be hard to find on your own, they can frequently be had in the AH on the cheap.
Robe of Power
On of the best cloth chest-pieces out there at the level, and it looks snazzy. The mats are steep, but the robe is worth it.
Really, everything with "Dreamweave" in front of it is Mage-worthy, and if you know an Herbalist, the mats are fairly easy to come by. The stats on these items are just too good to miss out on. For instance...
...this! Again, Dreamweave=good.
Wisdom of the Timbermaw
Yes I know that nobody grinds this faction anymore, but I still love this recipe, and it'll last you well into Hellfire Peninsula should you choose to undertake the reputation grind required. I can't recommend you do so, and the mats are costly, but if you do, you've got a nice belt to wear for maybe 6 levels. Wow, I hate all of the ways old-world content has been trivialized. Would it kill Blizzard to add some stats to some of the level 50-56 gear? Would it? Maybe give us a reason to stay in Silithus past 57? Maybe we'd see PUGs for Stratholme again? Maybe?
Sorry. Tangent. Anyway...
The cheapest, easiest way to outfit all your characters with 16 slot bags.
Imbued Netherweave Pants
This set is great pre-70, and comparatively simple to make.
Once you ding 70, Tailoring can help you gear up for that first raid, and give you access to some very nice bind-on-pickup epic-quality sets. Here are the reasons to stay a tailor at end-game:
Frozen Shadoweave Robe
This set is absolutely perfect for a Frost Mage, and the set bonus is excellent for PvP while saving up for the Gladiator's stuff. You'll find worse stuff in the first raids you go into, and though the Primals can be expensive, you can always farm them yourself. Specialize in Shadoweave Tailoring if you are a Frost Mage, and you won't regret it.
The stats may seem low on this, but it's hard to find anything else out there that rivals the pure spell damage this set offers for Fire/Arcane Mages. The set bonus scales with your intellect, and it looks pretty. Go farm those Primal Fires now, or go do a bunch of dailies and buy them.
You need to be exalted with the Scryers to make these, but they are the absolute best DPS caster pants enchant available. That's not really saying much, but still.
Primal Mooncloth Bag
The reason those poor spiders in Terokkar die the second they spawn. If you can't make these, you have to buy them. You don't want to have to buy them.
The recipe for this is a new drop since patch 2.4 that only drops off the mobs in Sunwell Plateau. This robe and the gloves that share its name-sake are phenomenal pieces. They are costly and time-consuming to make, but are only surpassed by a few very high-end raid drops in quality.
Probably the single most consistently useful profession for a Mage. Though this may be the most logical choice, but is by no means the only option for a Mage. Other, less orthodox professions have unique perks, too...
...and this isn't one of them. Unless your alts already have all of the other professions covered, there simply isn't much of a reason for a Mage to take up Blacksmithing.
Aside from the occasional dagger or 1-hand sword that sort of caters to caster needs, nothing here appeals to a Mage as they level. I suppose if you really didn't want to have to ask a Rogue to unlock a lockbox for you, you could make skeleton keys, but that's really way too costly in materials to be worth it. There are a few decent recipes out there, I suppose, but not enough to really warrant choosing this profession for a Mage.
Searing Golden Blade
And that's about it, aside from a few old end-game recipes you wouldn't be able to get a raid together for and would want to make even if you could get them to drop because the first boar you kill after stepping through the Dark Portal could drop a better green.
Things don't get much better here, either. Again, the occasional sword or dagger rears its head, but there's nothing here that makes the profession worth it. For example:
Eternium Runed Blade
If you really want this, you'd be better off spamming the trade channel or searching the AH for it.
Do I even need to say it? Pass.
Ah, now here's an interesting profession. Engineering is useful and fun for every class. There are the fun toys, the pets, the explosives, and the lock-opening charges, but one thing in particular makes this profession a tantalizing one for Mages: goggles. They require Engineering to equip, and they are almost all made of cloth and designed for casters.
You can pretty well keep your leveling Mage's head equipped solely in goggles from as low as level 10 to as high as 70. There is no level requirement for these babies, so as soon as you can make them, you can equip them. Plus they just look sweet. Here's a sampling:
Flying Tiger Goggles
Again, you could technically make a Mage alt, level him or her to 10 so as to be able to learn Journeyman Engineering, run him or her over to the nearest Engineering trainer, power-level him or her up to 100, and give him or her the best piece of head-gear he or she is going to be able to find for about 10 levels. I'm just saying.
Until you upgrade to these, of course.
Or this. I mean, come on! It's a freaking monocle. You know you want this.
See? these things are great.
Rose Colored Goggles
I'm skipping a few of them, but I wanted you to see the progression, that you could feasibly wear only goggles throughout your Mage leveling career.
These can sometimes have really nice enchantments on them. Make a few to level your Engineering and equip the best one. Plus, it's another monocle! Yay for monocles.
Power Amplification Goggles
I mean...wow. Just look at the stats on these and take this into account. You can technically make and equip these as early as level 50. Now the only problem would be getting a-hold of the world drop recipe. Happy AH hunting!
Aside from the stuff that's fun for every class, like a way to teleport to Area 51 or Toshley's Station, and a freaking Flying Machine, level 70 brings access to one of the single best pieces of caster head-gear in the game.
Now that Primal Nethers are available for sale in the AH, you can make yourself one of these beauties before you ever set foot in your first raid. Yes, the mats are expensive, but it's a craftable epic. Not sure how you could expect otherwise.
The schematic for these drops off the Sunwell Plateau trash mobs, and it isn't BoP, so you can hopefully find and afford it in the AH if your guild isn't quite ready to go in there yet. If you can find the recipe, and scrape together the pricey mats, you have the single best spell damage cloth head item in the game.
Absolutely worth it, just for the goggles. When you factor in all the other fun stuff Engineering has to offer, this profession is a very solid caster choice.
Since it has no related gathering profession, Enchanting is a popular choice for Mages who take Tailoring and have that second slot open. It's very nice to have, but very expensive to level. It helps every class, and has several recipes that are very very nice for Mages. Plus you can make your own wands! You can't beat that. Well you can, but you have to admit that it doesn't suck.
Several nice enchants are out there that make your life easier when leveling as a Mage. Here are a few of them:
Lesser Magic Wand
Your first wand, and you can make this before you may find any others. It has higher DPS than several wands with higher level requirements.
Enchant 2H Weapon - Lesser Intellect
There are a lot of intellect enchantments out there, and they get better as you level your enchanting. Intellect is arguably the most important stat to a leveling Mage, so having these chants around is a wonderful thing whenever you upgrade gear.
The various wizard oil variations are just glorious things to have around when you're doing pretty much anything as a Mage. They're usually relatively cheap to make, and are well worth the effort.
Though Enchanting can be incredibly costly to reach 375 with, it pays off. Not with actual money, but it still pays off.
Enchant Weapon - Major Spellpower
Pure spell damage replaces the importance of intellect as a stat as you approach the end-game content, and Enchanting gives a Mage several indispensable methods with which to raise it.
Enchant Gloves - Spell Strike
The single most important raiding stat for Mages to have until they hit the cap of 202, spell hit can be hard to come by. This enchant helps tremendously.
Enchant Ring - Spellpower
Only an enchanter can put this on his own rings, so having the profession gives you a leg-up on those that don't in the min-maxing world of end-game DPS. Getting the required honored reputation with the Keepers of Time is pretty easy, so this is very obtainable.
This is a very good choice for a Mage, whether as a complement to Tailoring or in lieu of a gathering profession. It fulfills caster needs both leveling and at endgame, and its positives outweigh the expense.
Next week we'll look at the best of the rest, including Jewelcrafting, Leathercrafting, and Alchemy, as well as the secondary professions of Cooking, Fishing, and First Aid, to see which if any of them are worthy pickups for a Mage. Finally, we'll examine what we know about the profession coming to us in Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription, and predict how it might apply to our incredible class.
Every week Arcane Brilliance teleports you inside the wonderful world of Mages and then hurls a Fireball in your face. Check out our two-part look at Mage match-ups with other classes in PvP, or our recent look at the new caster gear in patch 2.4. If you're sick and tired of all this Mage-talk, there's a veritable treasure trove of guides and tips related to all of the other aspects of WoW over in the WoW Insider Directory. Until next week, keep the Mage-train a-rollin'.