The first thing you should know is that engineering is not a money-making craft. The majority of items made by engineers require the Engineering skill to use. This means that your products can only be used by other engineers. Since they can make most of the same things you can, this tends to limit your pool of buyers.
The main reason to pursue Engineering is for the utility of the items you’ll be crafting. There are a lot of useful and fun gadgets you can create that can give you an edge in PVP as well as increase your benefit to a group. Bombs, guns, ammunition – these are only made by Engineers. When you’re in a group, bringing along a set of Jumper Cables can allow you to resurrect another player and potentially prevent a wipe. You can also be the life of the party with your fireworks, snowballs and silly pets. There are lots of reasons to choose Engineering, so long as you understand that you may not make as much money crafting as other folks can.
By far the best option for your second Primary skill is Mining. The vast majority of the materials you need for Engineering recipes are acquired through mining. The only other profession that might be mildy beneficial is Skinning, since a small number of engineering recipes use leather. If you wanted a pure cash generating skill you could go with Herbalism, although it will be of no use to you as an Engineer. None of the other professions are even worth discussing since they have no value to Engineering as a craft, or to you as a money maker.
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Now that you’re ready to be an Engineer, you should find a trainer. Most major cities will have a full selection of trainers, simply ask a guard. There are also trainers located in towns in various newbie zones, but this is not reliable so your best bet is to take care of this in the city. Keep in mind that you should be level 5 before you seek a trainer.
Engineering is a very easy profession to level up. For the most part you could just craft combat items such as bombs and ammunition for yourself and move up the crafting tree with relative ease. Even though you’ll have the ability to make guns and other items, if you choose not to make them it shouldn’t impact the leveling process. As for recipes, buy the ones that you’re interested in for yourself, it’s not necessary to purchase new recipes purely to gain skill. Just keep visiting your trainer regularly and he will give you enough new recipes to keep you progressing nicely.
At about 150 skill you’ll be ready for Expert level crafting. For Alliance players, seek out Lilliam Sparkspindle at the Dwarven District in Stormwind. Horde players should visit Roxxik at Nogg’s Machine Shop, located in the Valley of Honor in Orgrimmar for further training. Once you reach 200 in Engineering your trainer will offer you a quest to specialize in one of two branches: Goblin or Gnomish. The choice is up to you, Gnomish recipes tend to focus more on trinkets and utility objects while Goblin recipes seem to lean more heavily to bombs and combat items. If you decide to learn Gnomish Engineering, you’ll have to train under Oglethorpe Obnoticus in Booty Bay. Those interested in Goblin Engineering must travel to Gadgetzan in Tanaris to study with Buzzek Bracketswing. Each of these trainers will provide your specialty recipes up through 375 skill.
After you’ve selected a specialty in Engineering, you’ll be given a Membership Card. Within 24 hours of receiving it you’ll get a message with a gift in it. Sometimes the gifts are ingredients or bombs, and sometimes new schematics. There are two schematics that can only be acquired this way: Lil Smoky and Pet Bombling. Your membership card expires in 14 days, but you can destroy it before that if you wish to renew your membership early and get another gift. It costs 2 gold to renew, but if you are determined to get one of these rare schematics, this is the only way it can be done.
But you said I wouldn’t be able to make money! Yes I did say that, but there are some items you can craft and sell to other players. I can’t guarantee any kind of solid market, but you should at least be aware of the sort of items that can be used by other players. Non-engineers can use your guns, scopes, ammunition, non-combat pets, EZ-Thro dynamite, aquadynamic fish attractors, fireworks, the Goblin Rocket Fuel recipe (for Alchemists), Inlaid Mithril Cylinder recipe (for Blacksmiths), and Salt Shaker (for Leatherworkers). Bullets or shells in particular can be a good source of income since they are consumable and are generally higher damage than vendor ammunition. Check your Auction House for prices on these items and see if you can make some of them for a reasonable profit. Scopes are another solid money-making item, since players tend to upgrade their weapons pretty regularly.
Other items you can sell are quest-related. There are a handful of quests that require players to bring an object only available from Engineers, so use this to your advantage. This includes the Mithril Casing (Un’Goro), Bronze Tube (Duskwood), 8x Hi-Explosive Bombs (Eastern Plaguelands), Gyrochronatom (Badlands) and Advanced Target Dummies (Desolace). Just be sure you price these items at a level appropriate to the folks that need them.
There is only one quest for Engineers, and that is the specialization quest that we’ve already covered. But there are a few quests you can do that will open access to a new schematic in addition to the regular quest rewards. One of them is the Pearl Diving quest in the Badlands. After you complete this quest simply talk to Rigglefuzz again and he will offer you the schematic for Flash Bombs. This is also true for Zorbin in Feralas, you must do both of his quests and after that he will give you the schematic for Snake Burst Fireworks. The third schematic you can get is from Umi in Winterspring, who gives the Are We There, Yeti? quest. Speak with her after you’ve completed the quest and she will teach you the secret for making your own mechanical yeti.
Unlike many other professions, there is only one way to gain a bonus to Engineering. Be a Gnome. Ok, that would require a bit of forward thinking, but if you are a Gnome already and are considering Engineering as a career, you’ll gain a +15 bonus to your skill. This means you’ll start out at 16 Engineering instead of 1, and be able to max at 390 instead of 375. The benefit to this bonus is that you’ll be able to learn recipes in advance of your actual level. For example, you might be able to learn a 240 skill schematic when you are only level 20. Also, combat pets scale in their abilities according to your Engineering skill, so a level 50 gnome could theoretically have a level 60+ pet if their Engineering skill was at 390. I’d hate to meet that guy in PvP!
Engineers have it pretty good compared to other professions in Outland. We get several recipes that make for easy skill points through the leveling process. Right off the bat you can make Elemental Blasting Powder, which can easily gain you 10-20 skill points. I’d make this as long as you can since a couple of motes is pretty minimal for ingredients. You also have the option to make Fel Iron Bolts for future projects, so just do what works best for you. Both items are used in other recipes and won’t be wasted.
The first wave of parts should take you most of the way to 320, but if you prefer to switch to a money-maker you can start making Fel Iron Shells at 310. You probably won’t get rich on them but it should help defray your some of your costs if nothing else. The shells turn green at 320 but you could probably milk another 5-10 points if you plan to keep selling them.
At 320 you can switch to Fel Iron Bombs and use those to get to 330, then make a few Adamantite Grenades to get to 335. At 335 you can purchase the recipe for Adamantite Shells and White Smoke Flares from the vendors in Shattrath City. For cheap skill points the flares are the way to go, they will use up your blasting powder and just require a Netherweave Cloth on top of it. If you prefer to go the money-maker route, make the Adamantite Shells. They generally sell for a decent amount, even though the mats are more costly. Either of these recipes should easily see you up to 345 skill. For the last few skill points to 350 you can make Adamantite Scopes, which also sell fairly well.
Once you reach 350 skill you’ll probably want to consider switching to parts again. Any of the 340 recipes ( Felsteel Stabilizer, Hardened Adamantite Tube, Khorium Power Core) will give you good skill points now. Of these three recipes the only strong seller is the Khorium Power Core, since it’s used in a quest for the Netherwing faction, so other players will buy it for that purpose. Another good recipe for this range is the Adamantite Rifle, which can be bought from a vendor in the Lower City area of Shattrath. Again, you won’t necessarily make great money on these, but anything that helps defray your expenses is a good thing. Once the parts go green on you, that would be a good time to start making the rare and epic goodies you’ve been eyeing. The last 15-20 points are very expensive to grind, so the more you can knock out with your own toys, the better. If you find that you do need to grind points, you can purchase the Ornate Khorium Rifle recipe from the Auction House which should be good up to 375. Or if you were lucky enough to get the Stabilized Eternium Scope recipe, that would also continue to give points past 370. The only other viable recipes I see are the specialty helms or the Gyro-balanced Khorium Destroyer, but I can’t imagine these being worthwhile as a skill grinding recipe unless you have tons of Primal Nether to use up.
For You Gnomes out there, getting to 390 will be a bit harder, but not impossible. Considering how easy it is for us to reach 375 without making rare (blue) items like oher engineers, skilling up to 390 is probably going to put you in the same boat. You can pretty much follow the same advice given above… save rare/epic items for after 375. I personally haven’t continued crafting beyond 375 so I can’t say how hard it is to reach 390. But I did buy the Rifle recipe, so we’ll see how that goes. Good Luck fellow gnomes!
Since specialties can no longer be used for profit and are self-only items, Blizzard has recognized that some folks were not in a specialty that provided personal benefit and eased the process for changing to a new one. Unfortunately for Engineers, Blizzard did not see fit to include us in this process. I tried to re-spec on the test server (2.3) and was unable to do so via any known process. Neither of the specialty trainers (Gnomish or Goblin) would offer me an option to unlearn my specialty. Nor would the regular Engineering trainers allow me to change specialties. I also tried clicking the Soothsaying for Dummies book in Steamwheedle Port, but it did nothing for me. My research on the message forums is that these methods do not work for Engineering and the only way to re-spec is the old way. Drop the profession and relevel from scratch. I have put in a bug report on the Test Server in the hopes that Blizzard is working to correct this. Hopefully I’ll be able to post an update soon.