For those who just want to cut to the chase, I'll sum it up here:
- You NEED a dual gatherer
- Mathematically, you make more gold and farm more ore+herbs combined than you would with a single gatherer
- A dual gatherer will provide you with MUCH more XP if you're still leveling
- The gold you earn farming in just 1 DAY of farming with your dual gatherer during a "launch" will more than quadruple the gold it would cost you to re-learn a dropped profession.
Farming Herbs and Ore is not the highest gold per hour (GPH). It's also mundane, tedious (requires your full attention, unlike prospecting, milling, smelting, etc, where you can look away while you're doing it). But the point of this article is not to talk you into gathering at all...it's to convince you that if you don't have a DUAL gatherer, you ARE missing out on a ton of gold!
Blizzard made two game changes that were "game changers" in terms of dual gathering...
1) Back in Patch 3.x, Blizzard changed the profession system allowing you to earn experience/XP while gathering Ore or Herbs. This was HUGE!
2) Back in Patch 3.x, Blizzard allowed the minimap "FInd Herbs" and "Find Minerals" options to be used SIMULTANEOUSLY! Prior to this change, there were numerous addons and macros that people would use to quickly switch back and forth between the two.
So, while it was always possible to have a Miner and Herbalist on one toon, it was not a big deal. But after the above two changes, dual gathering came with two nice advantages.
Many players jumped on the chance to have a dual gatherer to save time, earn XP, and earn more gold. I, along with many others, dropped a maxed-out profession to accommodate this dual-gatherer system. This took time, and GOLD because I had to re-level the dropped profession on a different toon. Some may say this was a waste of time and gold...and not worth it. I say - WRONG!
At the launch of Cataclysm, I set a goal to get Realm First! for either Mining or Herbalism. Didn't care which one, but it would be one of them. I followed Kaliope's Realm First guide for Ore (my main focus), and figured if I got Herbalism also, it would be icing on the cake. What happened next is interesting....
I missed Realm First - Mining by ONE MINUTE. A stupid minute. And I missed Herbalism by several minutes.
But I also realized something else....after talking with the guy who did get Realm First Mining, I was something like ONE MILLION experience AHEAD of him. (Some would argue it should be about the same, right? WRONG!).
A dual gatherer earns more XP/hour than a single gatherer.
I also started thinking about the quantity of gathered materials, and it reinforced the great decision I made having a dual gatherer. I had more overall materials that the single gatherers, and not by a little - by a LOT!
In fact, let's say I had less Ore than the Realm First miner....statistically, I likely did. SO if he had 100 stacks of Ore, and I only had 90 stacks, he won, right? WRONG! Because he also had ZERO stacks of Herbs. I had 90 stacks of Herbs!
A dual gatherer gathers more combined ore + herbs than a single gatherer. 1+1=3!
In other words, with a dual gatherer, 1+1=3! Here is how. Using a SINGLE gatherer as an example...let's say in one hour, you can farm 100 ore. Then you switch to your Herbalist, and in one hour you farm 100 Herbs. That is 200 items in 2 hours = 100/hour. That is your gather rate.
In the SAME TWO HOURS...the dual-gatherer would have farmed 380 items....190 Ore, and 190 Herbs. So 190/hour. (YES, I am estimating the 90% increase to illustrate my example. The exact figure could be more or less, but it's close to 90% based on my own experience during the launch of Cataclysm).
Less Downtime & Less Competition...
Downtime. A single gatherer has down time. In between nodes, you are flying to the next node, competing against other gatherers, and waiting for a spawned node to appear. With a dual-gatherer there is far less downtime. In between all the ore, you are picking up all the herbs. So in the same 5 node area that a single gatherer would pick up 5 nodes of ore, the dual-gatherer will pick up 4 of those nodes, but also 4 herbs as well (we'll assume that you will lose 1 each of those nodes to a competing farmer).
Competition. In highly competitive areas, the yield for a single gatherer would be much less than 100%. IF there are 5 miners fighting over 10 spawns, you each get 2, on average. But if you are the a dual-gatherer, while you're waiting for the ore to respawn, you can pickup 4-5 of those herbs.
A dual gatherer has less downtime between gathers. A dual gatherer's "farms per hour" is ALMOST double a single gatherer.
So all of this is true all of the time. BUT - it's time to crank up our GPH.
For the first month (give or take) of an expansion launch, NO profession earns more gold than Mining, Herbalism, and MAYBE Skinning (but it's a distant third place). Also, gathering earns more gold during a launch than at any other time. Even those goblins who are 99% against ANY gathering (you know who you are!) will agree - gathering earns a lot of gold during a launch, period. Probably more than any other profession, at least for the first month. It is also well established that the gathering professions are gold MAKERS during a launch while almost all other professions COST gold.
In other words, during launch, leveling a gathering profession will EARN gold (and XP)...where as leveling any other non-gathering profession will COST you gold.
So armed with your dual-gatherer, you are ready to bring in tons of gold simply from farming during a launch.
During an expansion launch, gathering is probably the best consistent gold earner in the game.
What about complimentary professions, such as Mining/JC, Mining/Blacksmithing, Herbalism/Inscription, Herbalism/Alchemy??
It is true those professions "go together" well...BUT...you only need the combination in your ACCOUNT, not on the same character. In other words, if you have a Miner/Herbalist on toon-1, and a JC/Scribe on toon-2, ytou are fine....and.....as stated previously, you will earn MORE gold than the guy who thinks his "Miner/JC" and "Herbalist/Scribe" is just as good as yours. It's not, you will win that battle hands down.
You only need complimentary professions within the same ACCOUNT, not on the same TOON. With the advent of auto-mailing addons, such as TSM, sending gathered materials to crafting toons takes ALMOST "zero" time.
But I already have split gatherers...should I really drop my profession and re-level it?
YES, if you want to profit from all the gold earning benefits of having a dual gatherer, and YES if you crafting professions are not dependent on designs or recipes you have to earn or buy. Or, if you don't have too many, then yes.
But NO...if you have designs, recipes, patterns, that are difficult to obtain. In other words, if you already have all Epic gem cuts on a JC, or all the rare patterns for Blacksmithing, it does NOT make sense to drop that profession because it would simply take too long or even be impossible to get those things back. There is no way I am doing MONTHS of JC dailies again to re-learn all the epic cuts I've already learned.
If you have valuable designs, patterns, recipes, or other "time" investment in an existing profession, it would be better to level a NEW toon as a dual gatherer instead of dropping an existing profession.
1) TAUREN DRUID. No question that a Tauren Druid is the best gatherer in the game. Combining the power of a +15 Herbalism racial trait, 0.5 second cast time (almost instant), and Druid Flight form, the Tauren Druid is unmatched when it comes to Herbalism.
2) Druid. The non-Tauren Druid is still second best by a long shot. The flight-form Herbalism ability is incredible (no dismounting). And, when mining ores, your flight-form is an instant-cast, so the time it takes to start flying again is faster than anyone else. The flight form and speed to farm Herbs is unquestionably the best advantage you can have. Add to that a Level 25 Guild's flight speed increase, and your effective speed increase while farming is 451%.
2) Paladin/ DK's. Paladin's or DK's are just about tied with the Druid if (a) using Crusader Aura's / On A Pale Horse speed boost to add 20%, which helps bring them close to the flight form advantage of Druids, and, (b) you have a mount, which allows for gathering Herbs without dismounting. It's still slower on Ores because of the cast time (now 1.5s). But another benefit is that wearing Plate means you will likely survive when attacked by a Mob, and Hammer of Justice which will stun a Mob for 6 seconds (gather cast is less!). So while Druids don't need to leave flight form to gather Herbs, Pally's and DK's can pass them during flight, effectively stun a mob long enough to gather, and survive when the stun wears off. From a flight speed perspective, my Pally flies at 491%, my Druid flies at 451%. Some will argue that Paladin's or DK's are equal to the classes below with pets, but, based on likely more hours of herb/ore gathering than most other folks, I can tell you that SPEED to a Herb/Ore node is more important than Mob fighting. I might encounter a Mob that needs fighting 1 in 10 gathers. But my speed advantage helps me with EVERY gather.
3) Hunter. Hunters and DK's are probably next. Both are slower than Paladins with Crusader Aura, and no flight-form / instant-flight like Druids. But both have the advantage of pets and small speed boosts (10%). Both the Hunters and DK can get a 10% speed boost. So they will fly slightly faster than a Druid, but the difference is very small. The pet advantage is very good in gathering areas heavy with mobs (like trying to gather in Twilight Highlands at level 80-83)! Many "chinese gold farmers" have used Hunters for the pet. DK's provide a fast "leveling" time, so they are a good choice not necessarily from the improved gathering, but based on how long it takes to level one to max level. Both are great choices!
The above classes work BEST....however....
4) Mages / Locks / Rogues? Although I have not farmed with any of these classes, their CC ability (sheep, Blind, etc) comes in handy when fighting mobs. So it stands to reason theses COULD be useful if you already have dual gathering on one of these classes. But these classes also have some big negatives in that their "staple" abilities require leaving the area (Blink, Vanish), which stalls the gathering process even more, their armor is the weakest in the game, and their speed buffs are non-existent. Mob deterrence is secondary to flight speed and gather speed, so I put more weight on flight speed. Also, the flight form of the Druid allows a Druid to fly away WHILE gathering if it is attacked, whereas other classes cannot re-Mount (they are in combat!) if attacked.
If you can choose which toon to use as your dual gatherer, choose a Druid (a Tauren Druid if you are willing to go Horde!). If you don't have one or want to level one, a Paladin, DK, or Pet-using class would be the next best choice.
Tricks & Tips
1) You need = +5 to Gathering BOTH Minerals and Herbs. This is a MUST HAVE at two points in the gathering process: While leveling your gathering professions, and during the launch of an expansion. Get to the higher-level nodes faster than anyone else. And if you're attempting to get a Realm First! achievement, you pretty much can't do it without this.
2) Auto-Loot. AUTO_LOOT! If you don't have Auto-Loot turned on, you're missing out on a huge time advantage. In non-competitive settings (Sunday afternoon, killing time gathering), this will simply help avoid the hassle of clicking to loot. BUT - during competitive times (expansion launches, busy mob-heavy area), SPEED RULES. The faster you loot, the faster you can get out of there and fly to the next node. Auto-Loot can be found in the "Interface | Controls" menu inside the game.
3) Big Bags! If you plan to have long gathering sessions, you need excellent bags: or , and or . My farmer has one of each - leaving 16 slots from my Backpack to store other stuff, including green quality gems picked up from mining ore.
1) Gatherer is my choice, but Gathermate and some others also work. Bottom line is you need an addon to remember where previous nodes were found, and also to collect node locations from friends, guildies, etc.
2) Routes. Excellent addon that allows you to create custom gather routes. I don't make routes for everything, just specific places.