I don't think that made professions all that useful. And it was a huge burden to the fun of getting new gear. I like that if I get a new piece of gear in a raid I can generally equip it right away. Couldn't do that when half the gear you get need enchants/gems/whatever. Why not just bring back re-forging then? Though I did like upgrading gear when that was a thing.
There is a new discovery system for crafting these armors. First you have to craft the base ilvl 355 armor (normal raid ilvl) which requires 110-120 profession skill (depends on which profession). After you craft this armor, you will discover a new recipe, which is ilvl 370 (heroic raid ilvl), and after you craft one from the ilvl 370 armor, you will discover a new recipe for an ilvl 385 armor (mythic raid ilvl).
"There will be some story-driven quest content, world quests, with a bit of catch-up gear, telling the story of the Horde incursion into the night elven lands, that will lead up to the actual burning of Teldrassil," he said. "We want to be sure we’re actually telling that story in the game. That’s going to be our pre-launch event that unfolds over the course of a week and a half or so. That will be available to everyone who’s playing World of Warcraft, regardless of whether you own BfA or not.
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Don't have data from beta and didn't read much into this, so i just speculate based on what i've seen, that there are different champion equipment craftable, each with different bonus. So my guess is that people will use these equipments pretty much similarly as they use glyphs (from a market analogy): equip their champions once and be done with it.
Meanwhile, in Zandalar, the Horde seeks to earn the trust of King Rastakhan so they can use his legendary Golden Fleet against the Alliance. To this end, they assist Rastakhan and his court in dealing with local threats in Zuldazar, fight maniacal Blood Trolls in Nazmir, and face off with serpentine Old God cultists in Vol'dun. Throughout their journey, the Horde gradually learns about an eldricth being known as G'huun, an artificial Old God accidentally created by the Titans and the patron deity of the Blood Trolls. The Blood Trolls and the Faithless Sethekk seek to free G'huun from his prison of Uldir so they can use him to rule Azeroth, and to this end they resurrect G'huun's champion, the C'thrax Mythrax, to destroy Uldir's seal. Rastakhan's own chief adviser, the prophet Zul, is revealed to be the Blood Trolls' secret leader and launches an armed revolt against Rastakhan. With the Horde champions' help, Rastakhan is able to defeat Zul and his forces, but not before Mythrax destroys Uldir's seal.
The illusions, meh. Last time I checked both TSM and the LGM spreadsheet both showed only a couple hundred gold return/unit, if they showed a profit at all (most didn't). They're slow movers as it stands, and there is already substantial competition over that market on my server anyway. So it's not worth the trouble of babysitting/cancelling/relisting for such a nominal return.
Patience and extra gold are rather important for the mounts so it might not be best for you right now. As for the operation (Wrath and Pandaria mounts right now), you need a miner (ore is cheaper than bars), transmutation master alchemists (living steel and some time eternals for daily cooldown, titanium and riddle of steel), and potentially multiple engineers (for more Sky Golems, plus at least one gnomish and one goblin if you want to do both rockets). The best way to source Pandaria mats cheaply is to buy up Spirit of Harmony when it's cheap and check often for mats cheaper than the conversion rate (1 Spirit buys 20 ghost iron ore, 5 trillium ore, 20 Kyparite, and more). Same with Eternals (for crafting titansteel)...you have to regularly check and grab them up whenever they're cheap (frozen orbs can be exchanged for eternals in old Dalaran too so watch for some cheap orbs as well). I also sell Golden Lotus on the side since it goes for more than the Spirit cost. (Edit: Also should point out that at the end of the expansion everyone is bored with nothing better to do so the profits on the mounts have dipped to as low as 5k.)
I think what you're actually talking about when you say "niche" is the barrier to entry for new players. It sounds like you're worried that new players can pick up crafting professions and compete easier than before. Again, I'd say that the alpha build info in the OP looks pretty much the same as the current expansion. The true barrier to entry isn't the ability to level the profession quickly, it's actually recipe ranks. Some really good examples of this in the current expansion are rank 3 bracers, rank 3 flasks, and rank 3 felwort. It takes a certain level of investment to get those ranks, and the goblin activities related to those crafts simply aren't profitable/competitive without rank 3.
If you're a new player and buying gold (for some startup money) isn't an option, there's nothing wrong with gathering (especially if you're getting BfA...it'll be good gold initially if you farm BfA mats and sell high). You can make pretty good money just flipping stuff...and because Legion items are super risky now, it's a good time to get spirits of harmony (just buy what you can and sell it in in bigger stacks at higher costs or turn it into ore/bars or lotus to sell when that is profitable). I'd avoid putting all of your gold there though. Sometimes a bot or just someone returning to the game will dump 10+ stacks of 200 spirits cheap and tanks the markets for a bit. Flipping (if you get good at it) will make you more gold in than long run than farming but if you don't have much gold either is a step forward from here. They key to making gold is having the flexibility to lock up most of your gold in items and wait patiently to sell them at a good price but you gotta start small (or cheat like me...when I came back in December I just spent $100 on tokens and haven't spent money on anything other than the Collector's edition since. It's a lot easier to make gold if you already have some.
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That's where i'm at now. I got into it late. I had 40k to start. Sold fish up to about 100k total starting capital. Started making and selling decks when they were going for 80-200k on my server. Morons have repeatedly undercut decks by 30-60k at a time even after the market has been reset (not by me) multiple times. Now the decks are 25-80k... I did manage to make 3.5m gross in the last 2 weeks. Now the individual cards are selling for MUCH less than the decks so I may stop crafting myself and just start buying the individuals... idk where to go from there though. Do you think the decks will hold any value moving forward? I'm kind of hoping for something similar to obliterum in legion to increase the ilvl and keep them relevant.