This is a topic that is usually the fuel for one of my long winded rants. I will attempt to keep it organized and not go off on many tangents. I have a separate rant for Auction House, even though they are interrelated I will keep the threads as isolated as I can.
The Past, Day 1 -> The Burning Crusade
Looking back there were several really nice items that could be crafted in this era. They were all very long and arduous to obtain usually requiring materials out of the raiding instances. I did not have any level cap characters at this time let alone max skill professions. Leveling skills through 1-300 which covers this time is still painful and a waste of resources. The only thing you get for skilling through this hell is several professions is access to the next level of crafting.
The Burning Crusade -> Wrath of the Lich King
It was during the Burning Crusade that I got my first character to 70 or level cap. The character was my Mage and the guild that I was in did not raid. We were a leveling guild and most had more than one alt and we had fun. We ran 5 man dungeons as we could as people leveled and essentially those that climbed to the top went and helped power people through older dungeons. During this time my Mage was a Miner/JCer, origionally a Miner/Engineer. I had gone with a Firefly theme for my naming convention and my mage ended up modeled after Kaylee Frye the ships engineer.
However after getting to 70 and having no where to go I started to get burn out while endlessly leveling alts. This is when I went to Vanguard for about a month because they were promoting a crafting progression system. It sounded appealing so I checked it out. Turns out Vanguard has found a new way to bring meaning to the word Grind when it concerns their crafting system. A theme I will expand upon in the Auction House post is that in Vanguard as in almost every MMO you are screwed if you attempt to make money through crafting. The only viable and sustainable way to amass generic in-game resources (gold, isk what ever the currency is called) is through gathering and selling everything. EVE-Online this is not as true but to really get good and able to make any money manufacturing takes months if not a years worth of experience in a separate path other than gathering.
So after coming back to from my brief rest in Vanguard, I gave into all of the advise I had received from other players in my guild and Lissanna. I dropped engineering and picked up Tailoring. I then spend the next 1-1.5 months grinding to get to the top of Tailoring and to gather enough resources to make the Spellfire 3 piece set. This was as good as the first tier of raiding gear and took many times longer to obtain.
Currently I have a 450 JCer, Enchanter, Black Smith, Alchemist (LoL Transmute Spec) and nearly an Engineer who is at 449. I have not bothered to make the last few Gnomish Army knives I would need to push it to 450. I have a few others that are in the 400-435ish range of Leather-working and Tailoring. This is not counting the gathering professions as my Hunter was 450 in skinning after doing the Nexus quests.
There are several things wrong with profession in this expansion. Some of the issues come from people over using some of the benefits that were introduced in the Burning Crusade and Blizzard made those profession a new form of torture to skill up. This is one reason I hate with the heat of over 9000 Suns the top end raiding guilds that have to have every possible min/max bonus so they can possibly get a boss kill before another guild rather than doing the instance another week or 2 for better gear all around.
Now part of me really likes the fact that blizzard nerfed all raid buffs to hell so that one would not need to farm for hours just to get enough consumables for the next week of raiding. On the other hand it completely and utterly destroyed any chance players could make a reasonable profit from selling crafted items. I was a bad raider and did not raid with all of the best enchants and buffs when I raided Kara, TK and SSC. I only did it if we wiped and it looked like we only needed a little more overall. But the first time or 3 attempting a boss the buffs are a waste. My opinion was if you need all of those buffs to complete the content then you should not be attempting the content. Come back in a week or 2 and try again after some gear upgrades. Now the only consumables usable in raids are a flask and food. Well that is good for the Flask/Elixer Spec Alchemist and Cooks but is a mighty extended middle finger to all of the other professions. One time gear enchants and modifications do not occur often enough to make a sustainable economy.
With the length of the set up here I am going to break this into multiple posts.