Arcane Brilliance: Professions for Cataclysm mages

Christian Belt
C. Belt|01.09.11

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Arcane Brilliance: Professions for Cataclysm mages

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Except last week, when the holidays aggroed us. But rest easy, we managed to sheep the holidays, so now we can all go ahead and nuke down the rest of the year. As long as nobody breaks it early, our sheep shouldn't expire on the holidays for about 12 more months, give or take.

So you're a mage. You have a job, and that job is taking something that was previously intact and converting it into much smaller, bloodier, often frozen chunks of that same thing. You manufacture shattered mobs, and you take pride in your work. But you may also have a side project or two. Maybe you thought to yourself, "Self, perhaps when we aren't making warlocks explode, maybe we should spend our time sewing trousers. Or baking cupcakes. Or making necklaces."

Well, your self is right. You should be using your downtime in between vicious warlock kills to learn a side trade. They offer bonuses in the form of cool gear, extra money, and bonus stats, plus a bit of catharsis to help you decompress form all that murder. But which professions should you choose? That's easy: anything but mining. What's that? You'd like a bit more detail? Oh, fine.


I've been a tailor since the first time I got to that covered bridge outside of Brill and discovered that my zombie wizard could make himself a pair of pants. That's also the moment when I realized I was never going back to Final Fantasy XI. WoW had me hooked from then on, and I have happily sewn countless trousers in the years since, threading them with love and hemming them with virtue. My pants, brethren, are the pants of the gods.

Bonus: Lightweave Embroidery. This provides 580 intellect for 15 seconds. The proc chance is 35% with a 1-minute internal cooldown. That translates into a rough average of 145 passive intellect, if we assume that the proc will occur as often as it possibly can, which of course is absolutely never going to be the case. So for the sake of comparison, just assume the bonus of Lightweave is something less than 145 passive intellect, though probably not too much less.

There's also the supreme convenience of being able to craft your own cloth gear and bags, which simply cannot be overstated. Also, cloth sells for a bundle right now, yo. The other nice bonus of taking tailoring is that it doesn't have a dedicated "feeder" gathering profession, freeing up your second profession slot for another crafting profession or an unrelated gathering profession.

Oh! And cheap leg enchants.


I've always been partial to engineering as a mage profession, mainly because I like the whole mad scientist/wizard concept. Plus, I'm a fan of goggles. Engineering's main benefits, apart from all the goggle-making, come in the form of unique on-use enchants that don't overwrite your other enchant on a piece of gear. Nice, right?

Bonus: Synapse Springs. This glove enchant provides an on-use increase of 480 intellect for 12 seconds, with a 1-minute cooldown. Again, assuming maximum uptime provides us with the equivalent of a passive 96 intellect boost. So reality will undoubtedly provide us with something less than that. Screw you, reality.

The alternative to this enchant is the Z50 Mana Gulper, which, sadly, does not create free mana potions despite my imaginary world in which it totally does. Instead, it provides you an increased effect for those mana potions which you already possess. It shares a cooldown with other mana potions, meaning you're still only allowed one per fight. The increase is about 16%, which is significant. This might be more valuable for longer fights when mana becomes a problem, or for arcane mages, for whom mana returns equate to a DPS increase. For most mages, though, the Synapse Springs are going to be the better option. Were I an engineering mage, I might keep two pairs of similar gloves in my inventory with either enchant, for various situations.

And I would, of course be remiss if I didn't mention some goggles. The current pinnacle of goggle technology for mages are the Lightweight Bio-Optic Killshades, which, aside from having an awesome name, have some pretty nice, customizable stats. These come with a standard meta-gem socket, plus two engineering-only cogwheel slots. Cogwheels provide 208 of any one of several combat ratings, of which the ones mages might want include crit, hit, haste, or mastery. These ratings are competitive with other tier 11 gear, so this crafting this headpiece will get you a nice raid-level epic item, but will fall behind once the next tier of gear opens up.


Enchanting gives you the ability to 'chant your own gear, which is very nice. It also gives you something to do with all of those greens and blues you collect as you level besides sell them. Like tailoring, it requires no gathering profession and so is a good option to pair with your ability to sew magical thread into your trousers and the trousers of others.

Bonus: Enchant Ring - Intellect. This enchanter-only ring enchant gives you access to 80 intellect you wouldn't otherwise be able to get from enchants.

You'll find that this seems to be the average the designers were going for with profession bonuses: 80 of your spec's primary stat. It varies only slightly for most crafting professions, though it's a bit more difficult to quantify the bonuses of tailoring and engineering.

Also, holy crap can you sell 'chanting mats for a buttload. Not that you will be able to afford selling any of them, since every enchant costs approximately a million mats. And good news! Everybody else gets to roll on your mats in every dungeon you run! It's super-fair.


Jewelcrafters get the ability to turn gold into more gold, simply by buying Elementium Ore and prospecting it. At least, that's how it works out for me on my server. Oh, and they can also make jewelry and cut their own gems.

Bonus: Jewelcrafters get access to proprietary gems, of which they can have three. These are better than the gems non-jewelcrafters get access to. The best of these for mages would be Brilliant Chimera's Eyes, which grant 67 intellect each, an increase of 27 intellect over the normal 40 provided by the Brilliant Inferno Ruby. Multiplied by three, that increase comes out to an extra 81 intellect.

Now, having said all that, it bears mentioning that a patch or two down the road, when epic gem recipes are introduced, the gap between these jewelcrafter-only gems and those that anybody has access to will likely get much smaller. When this happens to my jewelcrafter, I suppose I'll have to wipe tears with my massive stacks of money.

Jewelcrafters also have access to a few very nice unique trinkets, of which I'll list only one:

Figurine - Jeweled Serpent


This is traditionally a terrible profession for mages, simply because 99% of everything you can craft with blacksmithing can't be equipped by mages. We can't wear mail or plate, we can't equip most of the weapons or any of the shields this profession creates. There is that one caster dagger, I guess. Still, this expansion has left all three of you blacksmithing mages out there in a slightly better position than was previously the case. So when you have you next Blacksmithing Mages Anonymous meeting, you can all have a group hug and talk about how your long struggles have paid off or whatever.

Bonus: Blacksmiths can put two additional gem sockets on their gear: one on their bracers, and one on their gloves. This equates to an additional 80 intellect, or whatever other stat you want to justify using those two sockets for.


Another profession that really doesn't mesh well with mage gear limitations, leatherworking isn't typically a very popular choice for mages. Still, the bonus this time around is pretty nice.

Bonus: Draconic Embossment - Intellect. This replaces any other bracers enchant you might have been using but is a vastly superior alternative to anything else out there. It grants 130 intellect. The other two options give you either 65 crit or 65 haste. Since straight intellect, especially in such an obscene amount, is far better than any other combat rating, you can't lose. It's difficult to compare 135 intellect versus 65 crit or haste to the 80ish intellect provided by most of the other crafting professions, but rest assured that it is better.


Reason #1 to like alchemy? Transmutes. Reason #2? Not having to buy your own flasks.

Bonus: Your flasks are way better than other people's flasks, granting -- you guessed it -- 80 intellect more for your Flasks of the Draconic Mind than ordinary schmucks. Now, the downside to this bonus is that it isn't anywhere near as consistent as the largely passive bonuses provided by the other crafting professions. You're only getting tht extra 80 intellect in raids, when you're using a flask. Still, you can also make the argument that you really don't need that extra 80 intellect outside of flask-worthy content anyway. You can make that argument, but my alchemist alt still thinks it's kind of stupid.

Also: Lifebound Alchemist Stone. This unique trinket isn't the best trinket out there for mages, but the 213 mastery is nice, the blue socket is also nice, and the 40% increase in value for your mana potions is awesome.

One last thing: Vial of the Sands. Yep.


The gold rush for scribes that ushered in this expansion is coming to a close, but the ability to write your own glyphs will always be pretty cool. And who doesn't like taking money from stupid people? My scribe alt sells Mysterious Fortune Cards for 100 gold a pop whenever I decide it's time to tax people who can't do math, and it's always a good time. I like to imagine a good 75% of those cards are being bought by warlocks, who are then getting together down at the Hot Topic, putting on their Twilight T-shirts, and flipping each card over in turn, seeing that they're only worth 10 silver, realizing that they just paid 100 gold for each one, having a good cry, then heading back over to the auction house to give me more of their money.

Bonus: Draconic Embossment - Intellect. This takes the place of any other shoulder enchant. The alternative is the Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone, meaning it's a bonus of -- say it with me -- 80 intellect. Also, and this can't be overvalued, you save yourself a whole lot of reputation grinding with Therazane. Any time spent not having to kill worms in that frigging cave is of immeasurable worth.

Plus, you can make yourself some very nice off-hand frill items. So there's that.

Gathering professions
  • Herbalism Lifeblood - On-use 480 haste for 20 seconds with a 2-minute cooldown. This averages out to about 80 haste rating.
  • Skinning Master of Anatomy - Passive 80 crit rating.
  • Mining Toughness - Passive 120 stamina.
If you're min-maxing with your professions, another crafting profession is always going to be a better choice than any of these gathering professions. But if you're willing to funnel the time and money it takes to fund a second crafting profession instead of selecting the appropriate gathering profession for the items you're crafting, you're a crazier man than I. The only exception to this would be mining, simply because that bonus isn't worthwhile to any mage ever. If you happen to be an engineer, I would totally advise you to take a second crafting profession and get ore from the auction house or a mining alt, rather than saddle your poor mage with another hunk of stamina he doesn't need.

The various crafting professions are now more easily comparable than ever before, which opens up the professional arena to mages in a way it's never been in previous expansions. Sure, tailoring/enchanting is still a good combo for mages, but it's easier than ever to justify alternative choices these days. Want an engineer/scribe? Go for it. Feel like your mage would like to tan some leather then settle down with a nice flask of magical awesomesauce while it dries? I don't have a problem with your lifestyle, mister leatherworker/alchemist. Just promise that some day we'll be able to skin warlocks. I don't even need a recipe that actually calls for warlock hide as an ingredient. I'd skin them just to skin them.

Every week, Arcane Brilliance teleports you inside the wonderful world of mages and then hurls a Fireball in your face. Check out our recent Cataclysm 101 guide for new mages or our mage Thanksgiving spectacular. Until next week, keep the mage-train a-rollin'.
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