Professions are one of the most important parts of the game. I have at times regreted the professions I chose for Graylo over a year ago at level 5, and other times I have been very happy with my choice. Any class can be played competently with any combination of professions. None of the professions are required for anyone. However, picking the right professions can really complement your play style and can give you an edge that other players will not have. With that in mind I want to look at what are the best professions for a raiding moonkin.
As with most of my posts, I am looking at this only from a raiding min/max perspective. I really have no clue as to which profession will make you the most money. I also don't care about all of the BoE items or services a profession produces. You can easily have an alt or a guildie make them for you. What I do care about are the items and services that this profession can give me that I can't get without having the profession on my main.
Just to clarify, I am not suggesting that all moonkin go out and drop one or both of their current professions and level up new ones. You will notice that I still have Herbilism on Graylo even though it provides me very few benifits that I can't get another way. The fact of the matter is I don't want to buy herbs to supply my alchemy. If I had an alt with Herbalism I would drop it, but I don't so I keep it for now. These are just some things to think about if you are trying to get the most out of your moonkin or any toon you have.
Gathering Professions: Herbalism, Skinning, Mining
There are only two reasons to pick up these professions; 1. Make Gold, 2. Supply a crafting profession. There is really no reason to have these professons on your main if you can get an alt to do them for you or if you don't mind buying the mats off the AH. They do provide one or two profession only benifits but they are not earth shattering and don't really need to be discussed.
Alchemy has come a long way recently, but there are only two reasons to consider it as a raiding profession for a moonkin. The first is the [Mad Alchemist Potion]. It is very cheap, but returns less mana then the Super Mana Potion, and the random buffs won't apply in most raid situations. The best reason to consider Alchemy for one of your professions are the Upgraded Alchemist's Stones. The [Sorcerer's Alchemist Stone] is one of the best damage trinkets in the game and is the best mana regen trinket in the game if you pot on cooldown. This trinket alone has halted all thoughts of me dropping Alchemy on Graylo. It is a little expensive to make, but it will serve you well from Kara to the Sunwell.
Engineering got some love in patch 2.1 with the addition of the craftable BoP goggles. I don't have an engineer but I did consider switching after 2.1 came out because the goggles are awesome. To make things even better blizzard made the goggles upgradeable in patch 2.4. The pattern needed to do so drops in the Sunwell but they are BoE. The new 2.4 goggles are better than almost every other head in the game, combine that with the fact that ever raid leader likes to have an engineer in raid for repair bots, taking up engineering isn't a bad choice.
Jewelcrafting offers a couple of BoP advantages for your main. The first are BoP unique equip gems like [Don Julio's Heart] and [Blood of Amber]. The upgrades here aren't huge but they are transferable when you upgrade your gear. Jewelcrafting also offers several BoP Trinkets and necks. The best of which is [Pendant of Sunfire]. This pattern is also a BoE sunwell trash drop so expect it to be expensive.
Tailoring is an amazing profession for cloth wearers. Some of the crafted gear available from the trainers is equivalent to T5. For moonkin, it is a very nice profession, but not quite as amazing. The reason you may want to pick up Tailoring is for the craftable gear. The [Spellstrike Set] is BoE, but you have to be a tailor to get the set bonus. the [Spellfire Set] is nice also but it does very little for your nature spells. There are also some very nice BoP pattern drops in T5 and T6 content, however you will out grow a lot of these pieces if you advance to higher level raiding.
Enchanting is a very expensive profession to level but is a favorite among high end raiders for one reason, ring enchants. For a moonkin this means an extra 24 spell damage that is not available otherwise. Plus, it doesn't matter how many times you upgrade your rings because you can always enchant the new one. This is a favored profession of many high-end raiding casters spicifically because of the ring enchants.
This is another profession that has improved dramatically since TBC came out. The [Windhawk Set] is the most obvious reason to consider taking up Leatherworking. This set has received several buffs since the expantion and is finally to a place that I consider it worth while. If you have checked out my gear guide you already know that I consider this to be the best pre-kara gear available. You will eventually replace most of these pieces with badge gear, but this will allow you to focus your badges on other slots. The second reason you should consider Leatherworking is the Drums. For a spec that at times has difficulty asserting its raid viability, these are a god send. With them you are able to expand your parties DPS. These are so good that Nihilum has actually had many of its members (including Mages and Warlocks) switch to Leatherworking so that they can have a rolling 80 haste buff. If I was rolling a new raiding moonkin today, this would be one of my professions without a doubt.
There is really no point for a moonkin to be a blacksmith. There are a couple of BoE epic caster weapons that they can cast, but you can always buy them or farm the mats for someone else.
Choosing professions for your raiding moonkin really comes down to three questions in my opinion.
1. Am I looking to maximize my moonkin's raiding performance? If the answer is no, then there is really no point in going on. Pick the two professions that best fulfill your goals. For example, Mining and Jewelcrafting are not necessarily the best professions for a warlock, but I have them on mine because I want to be able to prospect my own gems.
2. How far do I expect to raid before the expansion? Do I expect to replace my craftable gear? Tailoring is a very nice profession, but most of the craftable items will be replaces if you raid the highest level of content. In which case transferable buffs like the ring enchants and drums become much more desireable. This is what the high end raiding guilds do. However, it will cost you a lot of gold unless you have alts to support your mains professions.
Attendance has been lagging a little bit. I can't tell if people can't show up at our raid time or if they assume we will be a little late and show up a little late. Our raid time is 7:30 but we can't seem to get a full raid until about 8:00 for some reason. On top of that we lost our main tank on tuesday. At first I thought it was an April Fools Joke, but it wasn't. He had grown bored with the game and didn't enjoy it anymore. I understand his reasoning and which him the best of luck. From a guild stand point we are ok. He was our most consistant tank but he always had to leave around 10 pm, and we usually had a tank or two that we had to ask to sit. It sucks, to lose such a good tank but I don't think it will hold us back.
Tuesday night we downed Hydross and Lurker. It doesn't sound bad but it kind of sucks. With both fights we had several wipes that shouldn't have happened. Plus we got started late and didn't have a lot of healers online. Wednesday I wasn't in raid, but they downed VR and Solarion. Thursday we planned on doing Al'ar. The fire mages respeced frost and everything. Unfortunately we only had 3 tanks show up on time. While it is doable with only 3 tanks its not really the way you want to try a boss for the first time. So we headed over to SSC hoping to clear it to Vashj. Leo when very bad. We had a number of wipes for a number of reasons. Some of it was people not being focused and doing stupid stuff like not waiting for tanks to pick up the boss. Other times it was inopportune DCs of main healers and the Warlock tank. We did eventually get him down with about 30 mins left in the raid time. So we desided to try and get FLK down quickly. That ended up going very well despite it being the first attempt for several key people in the raid. We got him down and salvaged the night.
Graylo - When I am not raiding I am doing Dailies for the SSO. My server started phase three yesterday and I hit revered with the SSO. I also got over 210 badges total on him so that I can by the 2.3 head and chest and the 2.4 ring as soon as the SSO badge loot becomes available. I know that I can already get the 2.3 stuff but I would lose a lot of hit if I switch it out now. The ring makes up for most of that so I am waiting. Hopefully I will be able to get a lot of the dailies done this week so that I can hit Exalted over the weekend and get my trinket.
Graypal - It was a pretty big weekend for Graypal. I ran kara with him on Friday night. Between him and graypal I got 32 badges from kara that night. He got a couple of good pieces of gear, they are [Talisman of Nightbane] and [Soul-Collar of the Incarnate]. I almost got the [Nathrezim Mindblade] but was barely out rolled for it. He is also up to 24 badges. I can't deside if I want to get the wand once I get another badge or if I want to save up for the spell damage trinket. I also did all of the SSO dailies with him which I find to be a real pain. For obvious reason Graypal doesn't survive near as well as Graylo in the feeding frenze that is the SSO dailies. Having to tag things so quickly with SW Death as caused be to pull more mobs than expected multiple times. I don't have a good reason to get him to exalted yet other than the Neck, but I do want to get him to Honored so that I can get the rep mace. The other goal I have for him right now is to farm up 15 primal fires so that I can get the [Belt of Blasting]. The guild is getting enough Nether Vortexs now for alts. I have 2 primal fires that I can spare but thirteen more could take a little while.
Grayfel - I had planned to do more with Grayfel this weekend but I ended up spending most of it on my 70's. I was able to level him to 36 and free up a bit of rested XP. Hopefully I will work on him more this weekend, but I've said that before haven't I.