Comparing Retail and Classic professions

Today I will be talking about the differences in professions between BfA and classic. WoW has changed tremendously through the years and it’s incredibly interesting to compare the design philosophies and differences between classic and BfA when it comes to professions. 

Professions in classic

Obviously we need to start with a quick overview of the characteristics of professions in classic and BfA. 

In classic professions are generally very powerful. They offer powerful gear, which includes both BoEs and bind on pick up items that are best in slot even after including raid gear, a huge amount of consumables and tons of utility items. Most professions have utility items or consumables that are useful in end-game content. There is also a literal ton of crafting materials, with most being used by more than one profession. There is also a huge variety of crafted items available. 

There are extremely few bind on pick up materials, and all materials that drop from raids are tradeable with other players. 

Professions in BfA

In BfA you can of course craft gear and consumables just as in classic. Only the bind on pickup pieces you can craft are powerful enough to compete with dungeon or raid gear. BoEs are significantly weaker and are only relevant for completely fresh level 120 characters. These also require materials that only drop from raids that are Bind on Pickup. 

All tradeable gear is divided into one leveling set that is typically less powerful than what you get from quests and one max level set that is typically worse than what you can get from dungeons. 

Materials are fairly streamlined with most materials being used for a single profession. All max level crafted gear requires a BoP material (that can be generated). 

The biggest difference: power level of crafted items

Classic professions are generally significantly more impactful. Engineering grenades, items like Lionheart Helm and utility potions like Free Action potion are extremely powerful. There are some powerful utility consumables in BfA, but since they’re outlawed in organized PvP and world PvP isn’t really anything anyone takes seriously, they are pretty much never used. 

Being able to trade actual best in slot crafted items is something we have not seen in retail WoW in a LONG time. I personally like this a lot as it ties the material markets to actual end-game progression for more materials than just consumables. 

Tradeable dungeon and raid materials

All of the dungeon or raid only materials in WoW classic are tradeable. Righteous Orbs, Fiery Cores, Lava Cores etc. This gives players more gold based incentives to run dungeons or raids. It also of course means that you can gold for gear, or your PvE skill for gold by generating materials. 

In BfA all the dungeon and raid-only materials are all Bind on Pickup. They have been used to gate players out of the crafted gear that rely on these items unless they get them themselves. This has been a design choice since at least Legion. This makes it very inefficient to not farm dungeons for these materials, whereas in Classic you can choose to get your gold in some other manner and then buy them. 

Rare multiprofession materials

Classic features a large number of materials that are mob drops and are used for several different professions. This includes the raid and dungeon drops mentioned earlier as well as the elemental essences and the elementals. 

In BfA all materials are essentially specialized to it’s profession. There is a small amount of overlap where both scribes and alchemists rely on herbs, and both jewelcrafters and blacksmiths rely on ore, but outside of that it is completely separate. All of the materials are very easy to farm en masse and the AH is generally flowing with most of them. They are used in fairly large quantities though, especially for expulsom, so the trade is still very healthy.

Quantity of recipes

Classic has significantly more different recipes than BfA. Of course in BfA we are on the third set of high level crafted armor, but honorable combatant and sinister combatant pieces are essentially the same. 

Of course classic professions cover the full journey from level 1, so a direct comparison is unfair. Recipe acquisition is also very different. In BfA the majority of recipes are obtained from reputation vendors, if they are not trainer bought. Some rank 3s are gated behind drops or world quests, but they are always BoP. 

In classic recipes are obtained from world drops, limited vendor supply, vendors or specific mobs. Most of the recipes are tradeable, and there are tons of recipes you can buy with gold. Some vendors even get camped for their limited supply recipes to be resold for profit. 

Overall thoughts

In BfA professions are much more of a solo player system. You don’t need materials from other professions outside of the on designated gathering profession. Professions are not competitive with gear obtained from raids outside of recipes that require raid drop BoP materials. 

Overall the professions are clearly an optional part of the game that you can avoid engaging with and lose very little. You can relatively easy buy the few necessary tradeable item enhancements and consumables. 

In classic on the other hand professions are more tightly integrated into the end-game. Professions provide relevant recipes for gear, where all or most of the materials are tradeable. 

Profession gear can compete with raid gear and is useful not just for the initial gearing push when hitting 60, but for gearing well into raiding. 

Consumables are quite powerful and useable everywhere. Materials are all treadable, which means you need to interact with other players to get the benefit from them, either by selling them or by crafting something. 

Engineering is so powerful it is considered mandatory in PvP for the extreme power of the consumables and gear. 

Overall classic professions are more important to the game and are actually mandatory to be optimal with most classes wanting profession gear for their best gear sets in phase 2. 

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