Each profession was designed to offer advantages exclusive to the players who chose to spec in that profession. This exclusivity comes in form of BoP items, required profession skill level items, etc. How do these advantages cross over into the raid environment, and specifically for a resto druid?
Well, in no particular order …
What you get: nothing
No serious raider, regardless of their class or spec, should have a gathering profession. Alts are for farming. Dailies are for gold. Take two crafting professions.
What you get: ring enchants
Two Enchant Ring: Healing Power (required skill: 370) will net you a solid 40 bonus healing across two rings, which is not a laughable buff in the least. Also consider that Blizzard’s gift to us for leveling our enchanting this high is that the ring enchants don’t cost jack shit in terms of mats. There just isn’t much else to say. 40 healing!
What you get: one kickass trinket
Redeemer’s Alchemist Stone, craftable at 375 skill upon reaching exalted reputation with SSO, is the trinket with the highest passive healing bonus in the entire game as of 2.4. The only other trinket in its league is Memento of Tyrande, which requires that your guild is downing Illidan.
Since our regen was buffed ever-so-generously in 2.4, one of our biggest concerns as resto druids now is output. And when it comes to output, this trinket delivers.
The buff to pot chugging really doesn’t hurt either, and is really useful in those “OH SHIT” moments. (I’ve gotten Spouted and lived.) (Try not to question why I got Spouted in the first place.)
What you get: drums and crafted BoPs
Drums are awesome. The healer-friendly drum, Drums of Restoration restore 600 mana and health every two minutes, which comes out to a minimum of 25 mp5 and 25 hp5 if the drums are used every cooldown. You can also use other drums if your group doesn’t need the regen. For instance, popping a haste or attack power drum can help your tanks build aggro faster if you’re in the tank group.
The three-piece epic leatherworking set is just gross when compared to the Primal Mooncloth set. Yes, you gain some armour and stamina (who cares?) and a small amount of intellect and spirit by sacrificing a lot of healing and mp5. I think any druid worth his or her salt can work out that the intellect and spirit you gain from the Windhawk Armor is not worth 17 mp5. If you are going to spec leatherworking solely for this set … don’t!
For Sunwell Plateau druids, Leather Chestguard of the Sun is a BoP craftable with awesome stats and is very cheap to make for its item level, outshining the T6 chest in terms of output and regeneration (but not considering set bonuses).
What you get: an awesome three-piece set until T5/T6
As mentioned above in the leatherworking section, the Primal Mooncloth set outshines the Windhawk Armor set in terms of healing and regen, which are two of our main priorities when it comes to resto druid itemization. This set will last you well into SSC, and even then, you might not take the resto T5 set bonuses over the Primal Mooncloth bonus if you had to choose one over the other.
What you get: BoP gems and crafted BoPs
Until they make the BoP gems non-unique-equipped, all you gain from these BoP gems is a meager eight bonus healing (26 bonus healing from the epic BoP gem over 18 bonus healing from the rare one).
There are a couple of healer-friendly craftables. Enjoy your Amulet of Flowing Life …… again, if your guild is in Sunwell Plateau. Druids revered with SSO can also craft the regen trinket Figurine – Seaspray Albatross, which gives a minimum of 43 mp5 … but who doesn’t have enough regen in 2.4? Who? It’s better to suck it up and eat your own Innervate to put bonus healing trinkets on (see: alchemy).
What you get: a BoP helm
Wonderheal XT40 Shades can be crafted at just 350 engineering, and have been touted to easily last until the T5 helm (I would personally take T5 over this helm for the stats even though you’d lose a little bit of output).
Also, with the new patterns available in 2.4, engineering headpieces can now be upgraded to Wonderheal XT68 Shades. The schematic for the upgrade drops in Sunwell Plateau and is BoE. Even if your guild isn’t in Sunwell Plateau, you could conceivably pick a schematic up for what I’d expect to be a huge sum.
HA HA HA HA HA HA …
I think that every resto druid should have alchemy. In 2.4, druids really are all about output, and the Redeemer’s Alchemist Stone will last you until the end of TBC. Pair it with Lower City Prayerbook at first for some solid trinket output, or the traditional Bangle of Endless Blessings if your regen just isn’t there yet. Eventually aim to pair it with Memento of Tyrande (237 bonus healing from trinkets alone).
As for a second profession, it really depends.
If you are still raiding mainly T4 content and not often enough to collect badges for full 2.3/2.4 badge gear, then go tailoring. Build the Primal Mooncloth set for yourself, and spend your badges on the other slots. This is most likely your best bet for building a solid healing set for yourself for the short to medium term. Tailoring will afford you three pieces of T5-ish gear, whereas engineering only gives you one piece.
If you are at the point that the gear you are collecting from raids/badges is passing Primal Mooncloth in output or you have some silly aversion to wearing cloth, then take enchanting for the ring enchants. The 40 bonus healing you get on your rings is 40 bonus healing no matter what rings you’re wearing.
Alternatively, if you’re all about even further expanding your raid utility at the cost of personal output, then go leatherworking, craft drums, and abuse ‘em. Just remember that for this to be worthwhile, you have to craft all of the drums and use them circumstantially.
While engineering and jewelcrafting have their pros, I feel that their raid usefulness deteriorates around the T5-level of progression (where the bulk of guilds are, IMO) and requires T6 progression to be even remotely worthwhile, making them sub-optimal raiding professions for T4/T5 resto druids in 2.4. With the other professions, you hone your profession skill and bring the benefits into raids, instead of waiting to bring the benefits of your professions out of raids.
Just my $0.02!