First, a quick update on my Rags to Riches project. Due to the chaos of the holidays and being snowed in at my girlfriend's place for the past three days, I haven't really had much time for blogging or WoW (hence being MIA for nearly the past week). I'll also be quite busy for New Year's, so my little R2R project is going to be put on hold until some time next week. But I will leave you all with a few random tips I discovered. The Vendor and Resell searches for Auctioneer are a lot more awesome than I gave them credit for in the past. With the low threshold of 5s profit for Vendor, I managed to turn ~20s into ~3g reasonably quickly. Putting a low cap for Resell, limiting it to bids, and sorting by lowest bid managed to get me some good mats for absurdly cheap. For whatever reason, people will post with a buyout of multiple gold, but a bid of only a few copper. Keep an eye out for those. And lastly, milling low level herbs and selling the pigments managed to bring in a few gold for very little time and effort. I hope to flesh out these concepts and give a more comprehensive overview on how my R2R is going once I have a little more time to spend on it.
Now for the real post. As far as I'm concerned, gathering professions are a waste of time once you've established a solid base of gold and have a steady income. Farming takes a lot of time and can be quite boring. I can buy ten stacks of Obsidium Ore in a matter of seconds, but it would probably take me a few hours to farm all that. If you're trying to make the most gold in the least amount of time, gathering professions really aren't worth it.
There is, however, one gathering profession that I have a soft spot for, and that profession is mining. Why mining? Because of smelting. My Shaman used to be Mining/JC, my Paladin had Herbalism/Alchemy. I eventually dropped Mining for Engineering because I never farmed and I liked the enchants Eng had for raiding. Lets just say it didn't take me long to regret that decision. As happy as I was to have all the fun toys of Engineering, I quickly started to miss being able to smelt ore for profit. Back during Wrath, the most obvious way to make money smelting was through Saronite Bars. Quite often, people would post Saronite Ore at prices where you could smelt and sell the bars for profit. But there was another excellent way to profit from smelting, and that was through transmuting. I would smelt saronite ore into bars, and then transmute them into Titanium Bars and sell them for significant profit (this might still be viable, by the way).
Smelting for profit is still an excellent way to generate some extra gold. On my server, two Elementium Ore cost about 5g less than one Elementium Bar, and Pyrite Ore and Obsidium Ore are up there too. Hardened Elementium Bars are another thing to look into. It costs one stack of Elementium Ore and four Volatile Earths to make, so if the Hardened Bars are selling for more than that, go for it. The other great thing about the bars are how quick and easy it is to make them. Smelting is very very fast and you can AFK smelt a ton of ore. You could probably buy, smelt, and post 5-10 stacks of bars in under five minutes and make a decent amount of gold doing so.
So if you haven't been doing so already, dust off that miner, take a look at the prices of ores and bars (even those of previous expansions), and spend a few minutes smelting for profit.
P.S. I was a bit harsh on gathering professions today, but I plan to make up for that in some future posts I have planned. I'd like to make a post about gathering while leveling, and discuss both sides of the opportunity cost of farming your own mats.