A. Trade skills are the crafts of World of Warcraft. You take items you have found off of enemies, bought from vendors, or gathered in the wild, and turn them into something that is hopefully more useful. Many times you can sell these items; sometimes you'll use them immediately.
A. You can start getting trade skills at level 5. If you need to find a trainer, ask a guard (they'll put a flag on your mini-map if you ask under "Professions"). There are tiers for skills, posted by Zemosalt on the battle.net forums:
|Trade Skill Tier
|Skill and Character Level Required
|Skill level 50 & Character level 10
|Skill level 125 & Character level 20
|Skill level 200 & Character level 35
|Skill level 275 & Character level 50 (Excluding Character level 45 for Fishing and 35 for Cooking)
|Grand Master: 376-450
|Skill level 350 & Character level 65
|Illustrious Grand Master: 451-525
|Skill level 425 & Character level 75
These apply to the primary production skills: Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, Tailoring, Engineering, Alchemy, Jewelcrafting, Inscription and Enchanting.
There are also three primary gathering skills: Herbalism, Mining, and Skinning. With mining and herbalism, you will get a "track resource" button. Clicking this will show resources nearby on your mini-map as yellow dots. If the dot is grayed out, the resource is under the ground. With patch 4.01, players now have the ability to track more than one thing at a time. So if you wish to track ore nodes and herb nodes together, you may do so.
It is important to note that gathering professions have different character level requirements than the production skills:
|Trade Skill Tier
|Skill and Character Level Required
|Skill level 50 & No Character requirement
|Skill level 125 & Character level 10
|Skill level 200 & Character level 25
|Skill level 275 & Character level 40
|Grand Master: 376-450
|Skill level 350 & Character level 55
|Illustrious Grand Master: 451-525
|Skill level 425 & Character level 75
Only accounts that are Burning Crusade expansion-enabled can learn Jewelcrafting. Non-expansion accounts may use items made by Jewelcrafting, though. Similarly, you must have Wrath of the Lich King to learn Inscription, although anyone can use glyphs or other crafted items from Inscription. You must also have Cataclysm to learn Archaeology.
You can ONLY have 2 of these 10 primary trade skills. You can drop one to make room for another, but if you take it back up later, you will have lost all of your recipes and all of your skill levels.
In addition, there are four secondary trade skills: fishing, cooking, first aid, and archaeology. You can have all four of these in addition to your primary trade skills.
Finally, there are some professions that will require you to be level 84 and to have reached the first part of phasing for Twilight Highlands to move on to max out. These professions are Enchanting, Tailoring, Leatherworking and Blacksmithing.
A. Not anymore. Profession trainers in both Orgrimmar and Stormwind can now train players from skill level 1 up to 525.
A. Push "P" to open your spellbook. Under the Professions tab, if you have the skill (say, tailoring), click the tailoring button. You'll see a list of recipes that you have learned and can make. If you have the materials for the item, next to its name you will see a number: this is the maximum amount of the item you can create with the materials you currently have on hand.
You will never fail to craft something in World of Warcraft.
A. The color system is how likely you are to get a skill-up when you gather/craft something. Orange means always (100%), yellow means usually (50-100%), green means rarely (0-50%), and grey means never (0%). Red means you need to raise your skill to gather/craft the item (A message will display on-screen that will say how high your skill needs to be).
A. The best way is to take two gathering professions (mining, skinning and/or herbalism) and sell the items you get in the auction house to crafters. Some people learn enchanting, then disenchant items they no longer want (as well as soulbound items from quests), and sell the dust, essence and shards to enchanters. Shards sell for a lot more than dusts and essences.
This holds true for the first forty levels or so, usually up until you get your 100% speed mount. With your 100% mount, your money-making abilities increase ten-fold. You can move faster, gather more per hour, and increase your profits (and this is just with gathering). However, even later in the game, the easiest way to get money is to get some rare recipes and make items no one else can. Charge a base line and have people bring you materials; it's free for you and good for them!
Another good way to make money is to play the AH; buy low and sell high. I won't go into this day trading technique; this is stuff for people with a lot of time and good market skills ^_^ Keep in mind a lot of people are upset by morals here: when you overstep the line and buyout everything to resell it at a higher price, it tends to become a pain. If you can do it, hey, it's all good! But odds are that a lot of people will scoff at your price and make you eat the deposit fees. A better idea: look for underpriced items and sell them at the current price. This is easy and effective. Another idea is to make a bank alt with a normal name, and do all your AHing on that character. Keep in mind that if your account gets hacked, gold and items cannot be restored to a character under level 10.
For more advanced help with making money off the AH, please read Dadanox's thread on "Making the AH your daily."
A. Open your spellbook and click the Professions tab. Underneath the name of each profession with be a red circle with a line through it. Clicking this circle will unlearn your profession. Be warned, this will completely remove any knowledge you have of that skill, and if you wish to relearn it in the future, you will have to start from the very beginning.
A. This is up for debate and/or personal preference. My personal preference is a tauren druid, especially if said farmer is going to be an herbalist. Taurens have an awesome racial ability called Cultivation, which allows them to pick herbs (possibly mine ore nodes as well, not sure on this) in half a second. Every other race takes 2 seconds. In addition, Druids get flight form, and have the ability to gather in flight form, saving an extra 1.5 seconds for getting back on a mount after picking a flower or mining. This is particularly helpful if there's a mob next to said flower or ore. You can swoop down, get your node and fly back up without the mob being able to stop you.
A lot of people prefer either Paladins or Death Knights for farming because of their speed bonus for mounts. Paladins can use Crusader Aura while farming, which increases their mount speed by 20%. Death Knights must choose 2 points in the frost talent On a Pale Horse to get the same mount speed bonus. A DK could also use Unholy Presence to increase run speed if there are two nodes close to each other.
If farming includes running older dungeons quickly and selling the cloth and drops, either of these classes will do great.
A VERY comprehensive link to the different factions. Clicking on the link for any faction will take you to that faction's page, which lists the different rewards you can purchase from said faction, including what patterns you can get and how to get reputation levels for the factions. WoWPedia
A. There is no one way to level up a profession. However, there are lots of guides out there that outline the most effective and quickest way to level up different professions. I really like WoW-Professions
Overview: Alchemy is the process of gathering herbs and creating potions, elixirs and flasks from them. These items give you temporary stat increases or added effects. These effects generally last an hour before another potion is needed, or they fade upon dying. Other potions can restore HPs, mana, or remove debuffs. To make these items you need to buy Crystal vials, which you can purchase from any Alchemy Supplies Vendor or Trade Vendor.
While only alchemists make potions, anyone can use them (unlike engineering). Potions can tip the balance in your favor in PvE and PvP; however, people in duels often consider them to be unfair. Cry babies. Specify the rules first before a duel; using your profession to help you win is NOT cheating in my book.
Healing/mana potions can be found off some enemies. Stat potions are only created by alchemists or come as quest rewards. From what I've seen thus far in Cata, however, current healing and mana potions no longer drop from mobs. You must get an alchemist to make them for you.
Alchemists gain the passive ability Mixology. For Cataclysm Flasks, you will gain an extra 80 of whatever stat the flask gives you. Flask of Draconic Mind for example, will give you 380 Intellect instead of the typical 300. There are also some very nice trinkets that only alchemists can make and equip.
A. A transmutation is an alchemist's special ability (well, besides making potions, obviously). At level 225 you can create a soulbound item called a Philosopher's Stone that is required for transmutes.
And you also get your first Transmutes (from the Gadgetzan Alchemy vendor): Transmute Iron to Gold and Transmute Mithril to Truesilver. You basically make the "normal" items into their rare spawns.
However, these particular transmutes are relatively worthless. At level 275, you can learn Transmute Arcanite. Arcanite is needed for a lot of engineering and blacksmithing items, so there is some demand for it from people leveling these professions. And only alchemists can make it! As you progress to the Outlands, you'll find transmutes for various diamonds (Jewelcrafters will need these) and Primals (useful in all the crafting trade skills). Keep in mind though that these transmute are two expansions outdated and are really only useful for people who are leveling their tradeskills or making items for alts.
Things to note: to transmute you need the necessary materials, which are usually just the metals, essences, or elements. Transmutes will often trigger a cooldown, which resets at midnight server time, on your Philosopher's Stone which means you will have to wait before you can do another. These cooldowns are character specific: having multiple Philosopher's Stones will NOT allow you to transmute more often. Many of the older transmutes, as well as Cata blue quality colored gems (not the meta Shadowspirit Diamond) do not trigger this cooldown.
A. Flasks are the uber end-game potions. They require a significant amount of items to create. Flask effects last two hours for alchemists, and one hour for everyone else. Their effects persist through death, which makes them appealing for running instances or raids and to PvPers. Keep in mind that you can only have one Flask effect at a time, and that they count as both a Guardian and Battle Elixir, so you cannot use a Flask and one of these items as well.
Master Alchemists (skill capped at 525) can discover a new recipe randomly while creating a known potion, elixir, flask, or transmute. You can only discover a recipe by making recipes you learned in the Outlands or later. However, you can discover a recipe no matter your location.
When you discover a recipe, you'll get the same animation that occurs when you level or gain a reputation with a faction. You'll also see a note in your main chat log about what exactly you discovered. At that point, you should see the recipe in your Alchemy spellbook.
Discoveries in Cataclysm seem to be rather pointless currently. I have learned Northrend and Outland recipes since maxing out Alchemy, but nothing worth making. Perhaps Blizzard will add new discovery based recipes in a future patch? Flasks in Cata and Northrend can be learned by the trainer, you do not have to discover them as you did for the flasks in Burning Crusade.
A. (Provided by Morthandeus)
"Master of Potions is straight-forward, basically anything like Major Protection Potion or Super Mana Potion you have a chance to get up to 5 from a single set of materials. You can expect, over time, to get maybe 15-20 percent extra yield from your materials. To become a master you must hand in 5 Super Healing Potions, 5 Super Mana Potions and 5 Major Dreamless Sleep Potions as well as get a quest drop from High Botanist Freywinn in the Botanica wing of Tempest Keep. You don't get any unique recipes.
"Master of Transmutes works exactly the same way but is limited by the shared cooldown. You might get extrememly lucky and get 5 Primal Might or 5 Skyfire Diamonds from a single set of materials, but you're only going to be doing one transmute every 24 hours unlike potions where you are only limited by the availability of herbs and cost of vials. To become a Master you hand in 4 Primal Might to the NPC (Zarevhi), unlike Master of Potions this does not require a flying mount to visit Tempest Keep and is therefore more attractive to alts. Assuming a 20% yield increase you would need to do 20 days of transmuting Primal Might to break even, after that it's all profit. You don't get any unique transmutes.
"Master of Elixirs is interesting. The obvious application is for all the various DPS boosters such as Onslaught Elixir, stat-boosters like Elixir of Mastery and the various Defense elixirs, in total there's about 30 different Elixirs in the game. What is less obvious is that Flasks also count as Elixirs. This is very significant as Flasks are high-value items made using relatively rare materials (Black Lotus or Fel Lotus) but unlike high-value transmutes there is no cooldown. Also, the new Flasks in TBC are all discovered - you can't just farm a mob for a drop. This means that if you're the only person (or at least one of a small number) with a Flask recipe and you're a Master of Elixirs then you may get a large number of raid guilds coming to you for flask-making and being willing to pay well for the service. The quest involves doing the Black Morass instance (in the Caverns of Time) and getting 10 Essences of Infinity from Rift Lords and Rift Keepers. Hand them in with 5 Elixirs of Major Defense, 5 Elixirs of Mastery and 5 Elixirs of Major Agility to Lorokeem in Shattrath's Lower City to become a Master. There's no unique elixirs for masters.
"It's well worth consulting with other guild members so you don't end up with 5 transmute masters and nobody doing elixirs and potions. Transmute mastery is 'stackable' in a guild or crafting circle due to the cooldown, whereas for Elixirs and Potions you really only need one each if those people can make the key recipes that you need. Any character who has been lucky enough to discover a Flask recipe should seriously consider Elixirs as their mastery, especially if nobody else on server can make it.
"Right now from polling my own guild and various friends it seems a lot of people (especially alts) seem to be going for Transmute mastery with an expectation of being able to sell a Transmute every day for a small amount of gold and keep any extra output from mastery procs for themselves. Taking a very simple numbers example, selling Primal Might transmute every 24 hours for 5 gold you would expect to earn 100 gold in fees and 4 extra Primal Might that can be sold for lets say 150g each on the AH. That's 700g minus fees over 20 days, or 35g / day. By comparison, a Master of Potions or Elixirs with a recipe that has a 1g profit margin could buy or gather mats for 30 potions, get a 20% yield increase for 36 potions produced and sell those for equivalent daily profit (36g/day) but with the potential for far more if you can get enough materials and there's enough demand. The work or cash investment up front drops off sharply if you have people coming to you for potions/elixirs and you keep the extras."
In Patch 2.1, players can return to the quest giver for their mastery, and "forget" it for 100 Gold. Then you have the option to pick up the quest for another mastery.
A. With Cata being relatively new, this is still up in the air. Currently the main money maker is Transmute: Living Elements. While this may seem random, you can easily determine which volatile you want to make and go to its specific Cata zone for the transmute.
Hyjal: Fire Vashj'ir: Water Deepholm: Earth Uldum: Air
Also note that Transmutation masters will occasionally gain extra volatiles with this transmutation.
Last I checked on my server, the other transmutes are not very cost effective. You will either make very little money on these transmutes or you will lose money. The same is true for flasks, elixirs and potions currently. Cost of mats are vastly higher than what you can sell the items for. However, I am basing this on my server. Do your research and determine for yourself which items will sell well and for a profit.