With World of Warcraft Classic launching August 27th, players will need to reorient themselves to the Auction House and in-game economy that is nothing like what we have today, while choosing wisely when it comes to professions.
Choosing to level a profession in Classic requires a bit of strategizing. Gold will be scarce, and the costs of maintaining a profession scaled to your level are crippling. Remember, there are no alts to send gold to, and everyone is starting off at the same place with zero funds to waste. You never want to be in a position where you spent your last copper to level professions and then have nothing left over for skills and spells, not to mention saving 90 gold for your first mount and training at level 40.
With that in mind, one way to make some quick gold while leveling and at max level while questing is to choose dual-gathering professions and selling the materials on the Auction House. Herbalism and Skinning are two professions that are easy to level because herbs appear outside in abundance, and you are often fighting creatures that can be skinned. Cloth for Tailoring will also be in demand and drops primarily from humanoid enemies. Farming routes like these were often kept to plan questing, generally moving in the direction of the route to maximize both leveling efficiency and material drops.
Mining is a special case. While both Blacksmiths and Engineers will want the ore to level their professions, finding nodes takes more deliberate searching, as opposed to the other gathering professions that will come up often while questing.
Mineral nodes most often appear in caves and on rocky mountainsides. If one is only looking for mineral nodes, they can find them along certain routes that can be memorized, but old players of WoW will recall the frustration of seeing other players on their route, because there would be nothing to do in the meanwhile but wait for the node to respawn. For this reason, both Herbalism and Skinning are better choices since they will appear in abundance and with less competition than mining nodes.
These gathering professions are probably the easiest path towards your first mount at level 40, and again at level 60 for the Epic training, but they do not offer much in the way of late game crafting. Once gold is not an issue, if ever that is the case, or once you have leveled a character to 60, crafting professions might be more to your liking.
From a pure profit perspective, Alchemy pairs well with Herbalism because raiders are always needing to stock up on pots for their big pulls. At times, certain potions will sell for great profit, and at other times, selling the Herbs alone works better. The point is that you'll have the option to do either.
Tailoring and Enchanting are another pair of professions that synergize well together, as you can Disenchant all the items you craft and find that will not sell easily on the Auction House, make your own bags, and be known as the Arms Warrior that can make a lovely scarf with a +5 Strength enchantment. Once again though, it is not cheap to level enchanting, so that might be a better move for the late game.
Enchanting has the potential to be a big money maker if a player takes the time to find the rarest of Enchanting recipes. Players need to be constantly repurchasing enchantments for every new piece of gear they collect.
This demand will also come in waves as Blizzard releases each phase of Classic, with new gear to enchant from new raids. Additionally, once PvP is integrated into Classic, players with gold to burn will begin making Twink characters such as level 19 Rogues with dual Cruel Barb swords from The Deadmines, each enchanted with [Enchant Weapon – Crusader], and that is the moment to make a killing on the Auction House, selling the materials for the enchantment, or spamming trade that you have the materials to enchant a weapon.
Meanwhile, Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, and Engineering have typically not been considered the best ways to make gold in Classic WoW, outside of the top tier players working with the rarest of materials from endgame raiding. Engineering, in particular, is a beautiful money pit of despair. You can make the most fun gadgets for yourself, but usually only for yourself, as items are gated behind the requirement to have a certain level of Engineering to use. Thus, selling them on the Auction House is basically useless.
As for the Auction House itself, there is no simple guide. Buy low, sell high, is the most simple, but patronizing way to explain how to make gold there. Some items, like the potions mentioned above, will be in demand before "new" raid content is released. Materials for certain enchants will also be in demand for the same reason.
Otherwise, loot everything that drops from your enemies to sell, and focus on trying to level without the temptation of buying those shiny Blue rares from the Auction House. Your in-game wallet will thank you, and your future self will as well when you reach level 40 and have the funds to purchase that first sweet mount.
Be sure to check out our other handy-dandy guide on what to expect as a new or returning player to Classic.