Professions have always been an integral part of the World of Warcraft formula, allowing players to develop gathering and crafting skills in order to make trinkets, equipment, and more. In previous expansions, professions were limited to those who would grind up their skill to max level, but, in Legion, things are taking a turn for the better — no longer will you have to worry about skilling up to enjoy the benefits.
There is now no benefit whatsoever to having a higher level profession skill over another player. At skill level 1 of, say, Blacksmithing, you will still be able to do everything that someone at skill level 800 would be able to do provided you have the patterns and materials available to you. In Legion, the only thing your skill level affects is the previous expansion rewards for your particular profession.
Gathering professions such as Herbalism and Mining are now entirely character specific as well, meaning that if more than one person is trying to gather from the same node as you are you’ll both receive independent rewards. Every gathering node is instanced within Legion to keep players from competing over resources to a frustrating level.
Since they no longer require a higher level to craft specific items, crafting professions are much more friendly this time around too. When you first start the expansion, you’ll receive a quest to meet with your respective profession trainer in Dalaran who will unlock Legion crafting after a simple quest. From there, you’ll proceed through a few quests to unlock a set of starting recipes before you are sent out into the world to learn from the citizens of the Broken Isles.
This time around most of the crafting patterns are learned out in the world through quests and events instead of picked up for a price from your trainer. You’ll find them as you are venturing through dungeons and raids like in the early days of World of Warcraft, although certain quests for patterns will be locked behind your character’s actual level. This means you can either grind your professions as you go and return to Dalaran every few levels for a new one, or, make your way straight to level 110 before working on your crafting professions.
The more you craft or gather a specific type of item, you’ll also be gaining rank for that specific item (as indicated next to the recipe). Ranks range from one to three for most professions, and provide bonuses for each item. For example, if you reach rank three with a specific helmet recipe as a Blacksmith, you’ll find that it requires less resources than it did when you first started. Sometimes these ranks can completely remove a certain crafting component, allowing you to pump out your best recipes with ease.
What’s great about all of the professions is that you can now swap them out without any repercussions to your collected Legion recipes and crafting patterns. When you drop one for another, you’ll be able to purchase a book from your profession trainer which will restore all of your progress with that specific profession.
This is, however, limited to recipes — meaning that your skill will be reset to the lowest level when you swap professions back and forth. So, if you’re a collector of older recipes, you may still want to pick professions carefully.
Honestly, the new changes had me skeptical at first, but I’ve grown to like them during my time with the new expansion. Not only does the removal of recipes being limited behind a skill wall help new players feel less intimidated by the profession system, it also goes a step further by allowing veterans to level up their alternate characters without penalty. Long gone are the days of buying stacks of materials to level up your professions, and in are the days of easy-to-access, meaningful choices you can use throughout your journey.