Professions are important for anyone to have not only for the obvious perk of being able to make some money, but because professions provide various benefits to each class. There are several factors that should be considered when picking your professions:
- What am I going to do with this character? Raiding? PvP? Twinking?
- Do I have another toon that can farm mats for me or do I need to pick a gathering profession to feed my crafting profession?
- Do I need my professions to provide income for me or do I just need the perks?
- What professions do I have on my other toons and which ones do I still need to level?
And most importantly:
- Which professions give the most benefit to my class?
- Jewelcrafting — JC only Chimera’s Eye gems give +81 agi over standard non-JC gems. Can craft trinkets and rings/necks for yourself [good for leveling, not that great at max level]. Great way to make money.
- Leatherworking — 130 Agi to bracers, +80 agi over the best non-LW wrist enchant. Can craft leather/mail gear for yourself, cheaper leg enchants. Leatherworking is consistently one of the best hunter professions and is a good investment to level solely on that alone. Throughout each tier, the “best in slot” raiding professions tend to shift around, but LW is always at the top.
- Engineering — Synapse Springs glove tinker gives +480 agi over 10 seconds every minute [average +80 agi]. Some belt tinkers give tiny DPS boost or increased survivability. Parachute cloak also increases survivability. The biggest benefit of engineering is the increased survivability from the various gadgets which can translate in to increased DPS [because dead hunters do NO dps]. Epic 359 goggles are good for a fresh 85, much better than any helm you can get from a dungeon. Engineering is known as the “fun” profession because it comes with a lot of neat little toys and gadgets like the Loot-a-Rang and cool stuff like Jeeves and MOLL-E that other professions simply do not have. It does work well when paired with mining, unfortunately, and can be expensive to level, but is very much worth it.
- Enchanting — +40 agi to both rings for +80 agi overall. Enchanting mats make a TON of money and people tend to tip fairly well for enchanting services.
- Alchemy — Mixology gives +80 agi with flask. Can craft Alchemist Stone trinkets. Xmute and pot spec are both great ways to make money. Great when paired with Herbalism which is the most beneficial to us of all the gathering professions.
- Inscription — Inscription-only shoulder enchant gives +80 agi over the standard Therazane enchant. Glyphs, Darkmoon Faire cards and scrolls make you a decent amount of money.
- Blacksmithing — Two extra sockets allow for another +80 agi from gems. Outside of these two sockets… not a whole lot of benefit for a hunter. Belt buckles and enchanting rods will make you an okay amount of money, but this profession is best when paired with mining which is terrible for hunters.
- Herbalism — small haste cooldown every 2 minutes that provides minor healing and focus regeneration.
- Skinning — +80 crit, much less desirable than anything that provides agility.
- Tailoring — Tailor-only cloak enchant for 1000 AP proc. Not a stat hunters really go for anymore.
- Mining — Essentially useless for hunters.
As you can see, most of the gathering professions give little to no benefit to our class. When paired with a crafting profession, gathering is acceptable but it’s definitely not an optimal profession to have, especially not for raiding. Some top end guilds do not allow players to have a gathering profession on their main because the crafting professions provide much better perks.
Jewelcrafting/Leatherworking/Engineering/Alchemy are always my top suggestions to anyone trying to pick a profession. These professions all provide the best benefits to hunters, plus have extra benefits beyond JUST the extra agility. If you can afford to do double crafting, then absolutely you should. Two crafting professions will always provide you with the maximum amount of benefit no matter what.
If you can’t afford to go double crafter but still want the best combo possible, I suggest Alchemy/Herbalism or Leatherworking/Skinning. The haste buff Herbalism provides is fairly useful, especially while leveling and the small crit buff from skinning is a semi-decent perk.
If you don’t plan to raid with your hunter or have no interest in min/maxing then you should pick whichever two professions you feel like leveling. That being said, even if you don’t plan on playing your hunter seriously, you should avoid Tailoring and Mining. Those are both truly just worthless, even for a casual hunter.
You should pick up your professions as soon as possible because it’s much cheaper and easier to level a profession as you level a character. Power-leveling something once you’ve hit level cap is a pain and feels like a waste of your time, plus you tend to sink a fair amount of gold into the auction house to avoid having to go out and gather some of the more obnoxious to find mats.