My main is a miner (and engineer) and has been working at it since the expansion began. My fresh-and-simple Evoker is an herbalist, chosen for her racial, and is intended to feed my other alt who is an inscriptionist and alchemist.
There are goods and bads with the gathering professions. I’d say that my biggest gripe is that it loads up my reagent tab. Each type of ore (or herb) has three levels or stars that reflect its quality. The good part is that it is fun to do.
The difference is huge between my miner and herbalist. My miner has a lot of knowledge points applied to the different talent trees and also has high-end support gear like a fancy pick that is enchanted with finesse. My miner loads up on ore in a brief time and the ore is usually high-end top-grade stuff.
My herbalist is still coming along with green support gear and filling out the talent system as best I can. Because of my Mining experience I know how to behave. I can land and pick herbs now amongst the mobs and fly away because I have Deftness or speed.
The support gear matters. A lot! I am saving my mettle to be able to put in work orders for better herbalism gear. I already have the fancy sickle and, it may be an illusion, but I can “feel” that I am doing better at the job.
Finding Knowledge points comes from gathering in a random way. The Dirt and the Scout Packs also can give some. I wish that I could filter it all. The Tuskaar Tackleboxes are treasures too and so they have the same icon as the Dirt and Packs, but I don’t want fish. Same with the ores and flowers, I’d love a filter for coloring maybe so I can choose what to pick or mine — know that I am speeding along on my dragon and trying to mouse-over on my mini-map.
It is fun to do, gathering. There are blacksmithing items that can boost your finesse for two hours (applied to your profession tool) and phials to jack up your perception, for example. I’ve done those things because they do help. But: I typically only gather for about twenty minutes at a time.
I don’t understand it all, the systems are still new to me. My intention is to over-play so that I have tons of materials and can make whatever I want, whenever I want. There are no Public Work Orders for my stuff in Engineering, Inscription or Alchemy. None. It has been a few weeks since I saw a Public Work Order — so, Blizzard, your system doesn’t work. It is a flat-out fail. Maybe on a High-Pop realm but not on my realm (which is two realms merged).
Pairing Inscription and Alchemy on one character has proven tough. It takes Artisan’s Mettle to do the Experimentation on potions and phials, so I have not been able to upgrade my profession equipment. I will stop the gameplay for a few months until I have the profession gear, which is not fun. Still, my main does raid and gets Howling Runes and Elemental Chaos phials from my own guy and I’m not buying them, that works very well!
Fishing is gathering too. I have all the cooking recipes except one. I have plenty of feasts for raiding and could make many more. That is done and done! Yay.
I’d say that they’ve designed the Gathering professions very well. It takes time and gameplay to get better and that is designed to happen over time. I like that, it is encouraging me to do it more but not go crazy on it.