So, trying to work out what professions to level with your Holy paladin? Here’s a quick rundown of professions that are useful, focusing on endgame play. You’ll note that unlike some classes, healadins have no “obvious” choices – if you’re a clothie, you’re crazy not to take tailoring, for instance, but there’s no similar gimme for pallies. So let’s take a look:
(I’ll be focusing on crafting rewards that require a specific profession. Anything BoE or usable by anyone can be acquired elsewhere: from alts, guildmates or the Auction House.)
Herb Gathering, Mining and Skinning
These are “wasted” on a main. I believe you’re far better off taking two ‘production’ professions on your main, where you’re likely to have access to more BoP recipes and rep gains (for factional recipes). Keep the gathering professions on an alt or buy your mats from the AH. (Caveat: there is one advantage of gathering on a main – an epic mount.)
Alchemy offers two alchemist-only rewards:
- [Mad Alchemist's Potion] is a nice Alchemist-only variant of the [Super Rejuvenation Potion], with cheaper mats and free random buff effects to boot. However, it’s not essential – most healadins are going to be sucking back [Super Mana Potion]s, which offer a greater mana return. All the Mad Alchemist’s Potion really gives you is a discount on mats.
- [Alchemist's Stone] is a nice little trinket that’s worth using for fights where you’re chain-chugging mana pots. (Watch for an upcoming post talking about the Alchemist’s Stone in more depth.) Definitely worth using for some fights, but not all – probably not a reason to take the profession by itself, but a definite attraction. Upgradeable in 2.4 to a trinket with the same potion-boosting effect and +115 heal on it, which is very solid, but no details on the source of the pattern. (Update:according to MMO-Champion, the pattern for the trinket update is at Shattered Sun Exalted.)
Verdict: not a bad profession for supplying your own consumables, but not compelling.
Blacksmithing is not worth it, in my opinion. There are a few Blacksmith-specific items, but not enough to be worth taking the whole profession:
- The Khorium Ward is a decent blue BoE spelldamage plate set for the shockadin crowd; the items themselves don’t require Blacksmithing to equip, but the 3-piece set bonus (+55 Healing) does.
- [Dawnsteel Shoulders] are BoP shoulders; the pattern drops in Black Temple. They’re a spellhaste alternative to Tier 6 shoulders – very tasty, but not really relevant to a healadin until you’re well into endgame content.
- [Sunblessed Breastplate] is a BoP chest; the plans drop in Sunwell Plateau. Same situation as the shoulders – a great item, but you’re really not going to be picking a profession at or before 70 based on one or two items from Black Temple and Sunwell Plateau.
Verdict: it might be worth levelling once you’re already in BT or Sunwell Plateau, but until then, don’t bother.
There’s only one enchanter-only type of enchant: rings.
Verdict: +40 healing is a pretty nice boost from a single profession. Enchanting has tradtionally been the realm of clothies, but it’s actually not a bad healadin choice simply for the ring enchants.
Engineering is full of engineer-specific and crafter-only stuff, and a lot of it is fun and useful; I’m not going to cover all of that here. Looking at healadin-relevant options:
- [Justicebringer 2000 Specs] – better than Tier 5, worse than Tier 6, these are a huge item for a healadin pally pre-Black Temple. They require a reasonable amount of farming, but nothing particularly hard-to-get. Very hard to go past.
- [Justicebringer 3000 Specs] – the upgraded version, coming with patch 2.4. Even better than the previous helm, but the pattern doesn’t drop until Sunwell Plateau, so it’s not really a justification for decision-making. (Though the pattern may be BoE; if so, hello AH!)
Verdict: A very strong single item, plus a whole bunch of useful fun stuff. Definitely a solid choice.
Jewelcrafting has a few choices in the early-70 period, although its advantages drop off later:
- [Kailee's Rose] is a great healing gem, although you can only equip one at a time; it’s superior even to the BoE epic equivalent (Teardrop Crimson Spinel).
- [Talasite Owl] is a good healer trinket for those who want mana regen. (Including the “use” effect, it’s roughly the equivalent of 29 mp5.)
- The upgraded version, [Seaspray Albatross], has more costly mats but is significantly better – with a shorter cooldown, it’s 43 mp5 to the Owl’s 29. (I’ll definitely be making one as soon as I hit Revered with Shattered Sun, from whence cometh the pattern.)
- [Amulet of Flowing Life] is a nice spell haste healing neckpiece, coming in Patch 2.4. The mats are reasonably accessible, but the pattern doesn’t drop until Sunwell Plateau. (However, it may be a BoE pattern; if so, you can AH it regardless of where you’re raiding.)
Verdict: No single big-ticket winner like Engineering or Enchanting, but a lot of moderate-sized advantages that add up.
Leatherworking’s only really of interest if you’re prepared to downgrade to mail or leather armor in a number of key slots. Some paladins do, some don’t. I’ll only look at mail here, since if you’re going lower than mail you may as well roll a druid or priest.
- There’s a lot of nice spell DPS mail that would suit a shockadin nicely; I’m not going to link it all here, but it’s definitely a good option for someone making a serious go of shockadin.
- [Living Earth Shoulders], some very nice healing mail shoulders. The pattern is a BoE drop from trash in Black Temple. However, they’re not significantly better than the plate equivalents from Blacksmithing, so if you’re taking a profession solely for this, you may as well go the Blacksmithing route and not sacrifice survivability for it.
Verdict: not worth it, unless you’re more interested in being a shockadin (which is not particularly viable against bosses thanks to a lack of spell hit and a huge lack of mana return).
I’m not going to advocate this; there are some very good tailor-only healing pieces (such as the Primal Mooncloth set), but the loss of survivability is just too great for my liking. Those who want to do this know the items they’re aiming for anyway.
Enchanting: one significant advantage and the utility value of self-enchanting and disenchanting. Definitely worth considering.
Engineering: one awesome item and a bunch of fun toys. A clear winner.
Jewelcrafting: one good trinket, one decent gem, and general crafting utility value. A viable option.
Alchemy: nice for the trinket, but it’s not compelling.
Blacksmithing: probably not worth it, given that the good BoP healadin items are deep into raiding territory, at which point you have other options.
Leatherworking: No unique advantage compared with Blacksmithing.
Tailoring: it’s cloth. C’mon, roll a priest.
By the numbers, I would say the pure best choices for a healadin would be Engineering plus either Jewelcrafting or Enchanting. Enchanting maintains its value throughout the endgame, while Engineering and Jewelcrafting wax and wane in utility depending on the level of other gear you have access to.
Speaking personally, I have Jewelcrafting and Alchemy – the Alchemy is just a legacy of the pre-TBC era, when my guild was very short on alchemists. I’m unlikely to change things at this late date (although I rather wish I’d made this analysis six months ago), but come Wrath of the Lich King, I’ll be investigating all the professions for their suitability.