-Bugs- There aren't too many glaring bugs anymore, but you will certainly encounter some. The pathetic thing is that many of the bugs you'll encounter were reported repeatedly during Alpha/Beta and still weren't fixed. Some bugs were discovered after release and players were able to abuse game mechanics without repercussion unless they were one of the more serious offenders. This gave some players a significant advantage over others because they used exploits and at the start of an expansion, that is the time when it's most impactful.
When were professions really good, in your opinion? I remember having fun with them in Cata, but that was because I was playing the gold-making minigame of grinding the ore -> gem -> j/c boe's -> d/e mats cycle, back when gemming/enchanting your gear seemed absolutely necessary and people not in accordance with Mr. Robot were kicked from groups. Oh yeah, and don't forget the primary stat boost for BoP gear that was profession-specific that made gathering professions anathema to a raiding toon.
Use enchanting to craft tomes of illusions. Every expansion has its own mats, and they're all the easiest thing in the world to farm. You run a dungeon with an enchantor, disenchant everything, gather some elementals or gems for pandaria, and craft a tome which can sell for a good amount if you babysit it well. Sold a draenor one for 22k the other day, and Pandaria ones for 7k and 9k. >THIS IS AN EXAMPLE. If the prices aren't interesting on your server, find something else. It's that simple.<
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Those are low prices indeed! In those cases, just look into something else, but there's always gold to be made, as you pointed out :) And there is no shame in being unefficient, not everyone wants to spend their time getting optimized for goldmaking, if you can pay for your month I think it's great already! That's what kept me into it, the fact that I'm paying by playing, I love it
The key to making a lot of money with inscription comes from combining the sale of Contracts with the sale of Glyphs. It’s not uncommon to see some Glyphs swell to 4000% of their normal value during times of increased scarcity. This means less stable income but much more lucrative prospects. Even though this guide assumes you are pairing Herbalism with Inscription to farm your own mats, under certain conditions it may be a better idea to purchase the materials from the auction house.
All are used for some crafts still, and depending on your server you can profit solely by buying mats on the AH, doing your transmute CD, and reposting. Heck many don't even need transmute master to be viable. This can be especially good for those of us who have been playing continuously for years and as a result have alts, many of which that aren't even max level, that we used back then that can still be used.
Remember to NOT disenchant ALL of your quest rewards and drops. There is a new Blood of Sagaras in BfA called "Expulsion" and it is used in all primary tradeskills and it comes from using the Scrap-o-Matic 1000 to break down the piece (explation below). In alchemy you can learn to transmute it (Transmute: Expulsom, which generates 5 Expulsom per day from 10 Akunda's Bite, 10 Winter's Kiss, and 3 Anchor Weed). So some pieces may get more explusion from them that they give dust/shards.
Yes, that is easy, but it's not quick. Further down in my comments to OP I detailed the GIO farm, and reasonable yield expectations. I looked up a few guides/videos before commenting and most of them estimate a yield beween 800-1,000 GIO/hour. That lines up with my past experience with it as well. That'd be, taking the high yield end, 4.2 hours to farm the GIO for one toon's monthly needs.
Cooking might be a fair surprise to some people but the thing is cooking is not a primary profession and usually it’s overlooked. I believe that’s why it’s still a valid method for making gold. The cooking products sell for like 20-30 gold each and people just don’t care about them. If you craft like 2000 cooking products in a day and get minimum 10 gold from each, that means 20k gold every single day.
-Island Expeditions- Island expeditions was one of the new features I was looking forward to but Blizzard no longer makes games that are ready when they are ready but rather makes games ready when the deadline comes. Thus, many of the new features are completely stripped down from what was expected and it's literally just a small scenario you enter with two other players to continue to grind out your Azerite neck piece.
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.
Rank 3 is terrible design, if they we're most open about how they drop etc. I, as a avid LW collector (Yes I have all recipes in-game but IIRC 1 from vanilla, few from TBC that was removed due to stupid design), and I still dont have all rank3 from LW despite plenty of runs through the 5 mans for em...Ill just wait for next exp or w/e and stealth runs.
All of my gold came from everyone buying stuff at a really marked up price for instance BS 2h mace if it proced epic i was making at least 125k per one and i was making batchs of 10 to 15 it was like 25k for blue and 125k+ for epics at the time. And i was buying the ore for like 16g to 40g a pop so huge profit. Im still trying to figure out what im gunna do now to rebuild it will be a slow process now.