How professions are changing in Warlords of Draenor

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How professions are changing in Warlords of Draenor
Like with every expansion before it, Warlords of Draenor will be shaking things up. Professions will get their skill caps increased to 700 and you'll find new recipes (and new epic gear) waiting for you in Draenor. But it's not all business as usual: some major changes in Warlords will be shaking up how professions work and how they fit in with the rest of the game. Blizzard's goal here seems targeted to opening up player choice: you shouldn't be forced into a profession or be penalized for not having or leveling one. This doesn't mean that the advantages of having a profession are going away, but come Warlords some unique bonuses will be gone, people without a profession will have additional access to it, and leveling professions will be more straightforward for players who might not have focused on professions in the past.

Here are the biggest changes:
  • Profession-based bonuses are gone. And, though we may be losing some perks, with the stat squish and resultant rebalancing in Warlords, this is the ideal time for Blizzard to make this switch. The end result is that you won't have to pick a profession for a specific combat bonus... but can have whichever professions you most want.
  • You can gather anything in Draenor, regardless of skill level. We saw this happen with mining and herbalism in Pandaria in patch 5.3, and now it's expanded to cover all gathering professions, making it easier to level up a gathering profession from zero. Players with higher skill levels will gather more materials than players with lower skill levels.
  • In addition to gathering professions being easier to level, crafting professions all have catch-up recipes that will let you level from zero onward using Draenor materials. This will probably make it more expensive if you plan on buying materials (since everyone will be looking for the same new-world materials), but less of a nuisance if you're gathering your own.
  • Garrison buildings will allow you limited access to professions you don't have... or improve your abilities in professions you do have.
Want to know all the details? Read on to see just what's happening for professions in Warlords of Draenor.

Learning and leveling professions in Draenor
The first big difference you'll notice in Warlords is the absence of profession trainers. Instead, to improve your skill level, you'll need to find a random drop scroll that will boost your maximum skill level to 700. Though making these a drop may sound like a grind, the truth is they drop very quickly and you shouldn't have any problem picking them up early in your Warlords experience. You'll only get drops for professions you have, so if you're looking to start a brand new profession, you'll want to learn it first -- but once you have, the scroll will boost you to a maximum skill of 700. (Yes, even if you're starting from skill level 1.)

Once you've learned your profession(s), you'll find a quest to in your starting zone that will point you towards crafting an appropriate garrison building for it. These buildings will help you craft cooldown items -- even more important to Draenor crafting than they were in Pandaria -- and will have a vendor to sell you new, Draenor-level recipes in exchange for a craftable token. Remembering to log on regularly just to do a crafting cooldown can be annoying, though, and Blizzard knows it: so your profession buildings have a work order system which allows you to queue up a number of cooldowns at once. They'll complete one after another and all you need to do is log on to collect them -- and improving your buildings' level and assigning followers to it only adds to your ability to queue up work orders.
Garrisons and professions
Whatever you're looking to do with your professions, garrisons can help through profession-centric buildings. As you construct your garrison, it's important to pick and choose the right buildings to meet your needs, crafting and otherwise. Every crafting profession has its own building, with a few useful extras -- and since you can only have three small buildings, two medium buildings, and two large buildings in your garrison at max level, you'll have to make some choices about which professions you really want.

When you first build your garrison, you'll have access to one small plot -- which will allow you a single profession building. At garrison level 2, you'll be able to build a second profession building, and at level 3 you'll get a third. Though there's no right or wrong answer for which buildings to choose first, the game will certainly strongly suggest that you start off with a building associated with any crafting profession you have -- which will give you access to cooldowns and profession recipes. As your garrison grows, though, you'll be able to pick and choose: do you want buildings for professions you don't have, allowing you limited access to their crafting abilities? And if so, which professions should you choose? These are your options:
  • Alchemy Lab
  • Enchanter's Study
  • Engineering Works
  • Gem Boutique
  • Scribe's Quarters
  • Tailoring Emporium
  • The Forge
  • The Tannery
Beyond profession buildings, there are a couple of profession-friendly options for your small plots, including the storehouse, which allows easy access to your bank, and the salvage yard, which allows you to recover salvage on missions which can be turned into crafting materials. When you unlock your first medium plot at garrison level 2, you'll have several options, but the most useful for professions is likely the trading post, which allows you to trade resources for a variety of crafting materials to help you build your crafting empire.

In addition to crafting buildings, your garrison will have several buildings for gathering professions -- all garrisons have these, and players with or without the associated skills can use them, regardless of professions. Gathering buildings include:
  • Mine, unlocked via quests at level 92
  • Fishing Shack, unlocked via quests at level 94
  • Herb Garden, unlocked via quests at level 96
Each of these buildings allows access to in-garrison gathering and dailies. Does this mean you don't need gathering professions anymore? Not exactly, as gathering professions will still pick up materials much more quickly than these methods. You'll also notice skinning is missing from this list: while you can create a barn to collect skins, unlike these other gathering buildings it takes up a garrison plot and unlike other profession buildings it takes up a medium plot... which can make choosing a barn difficult when weighed against your other options.

Now... onward, to Draenor!
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