I raid and main tank a lot on my warrior, and I find myself in the position of trying to pick the optimal professions.
My goals are to pick professions that will be useful for a long period of time (switching is both time-consuming and expensive), and bring something to my raid role (tanking) that I cannot substitute by having an alt or guild mate do for me. I.e. BoP or profession-only items.
Based on these goals, here is my take on the various relevant professions and my thoughts/critique. I'd be interested in your opinions and perhaps adding anything to the list which I may have missed.
The Bulwark of Ancient Kings chest craftable seems quite good. It appears to have standard epic armor for it's ilvl, good stamina allocation, and the second and third upgrades have an LGG-proc use ability which is quite nice.
On the negative side, a lot of the item budget is wasted on marginal tanking stats. The +STR would be better itemized as +AGI, the +crit could be allocated to def or block or dodge/parry to significantly improve the chest for tanking.
Compare the craftable to an ilvl 100 drop from nightbane (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=28597) which has almost ideal tanking stat allocation. This is clearly superior to the comparable ilvl crafted, and in my opinion a fair bit better than the second upgrade (20 ilvl higher).
Probably the biggest advantage of the Bulwark of Kings chest is its early availability. Undoubtedly it'll be replaced fairly easily with better budget allocation item drops. Consider that the Destroyer Chestguard (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=30113) is quite superior to crafted version at the same ilvl, but the crafted only requires a bunch of heroic runs to make (10) whereas we have yet to see what drops the destroyer chest token.
The BoP sword craftable is quite a respectable tank weapon. Decent allocation of stats to sta/agi/hit. Good dps and speed for heroic strike.
Compare to the King's Defender (chess event, Karazhan http://www.wowhead.com/?item=28749). The King's defender seems to be better itemized for mitigation tanking and quite a good all-around tank weapon.
Summary: the craftable is good, but there are easily available alternatives which are quite comparable. Raiding 25man dungeons will likely obsolete the crafted sword as a primary tanking weapon pretty quickly.
+4 stats to ring.
It looks like this will never become obsolete - there is no upgrade/drop which applies to rings yet.
So, in conclusion it seems that the the best picks seem to be - Armorsmithing for a chest that will likely be replaced in a few months or Swordsmithing for a tanking weapon that will likely be replaced even faster. The profession with the apparent longest term benefit seems to be Enchanting. Two ring enchants for +8 stats which will likely go on every single ring upgrade till blizzard sees fit to use the ring enchant slot for non-self enchanting.
Finally, some combination of alchemy/herbalism. Yes, this is doable by an alt, but I don't think many folk will deny the significant benefit herbing or alchemy bring to a raider's income. These would be picked based on server population - high pop servers alchemy is slightly better than herbalism I think.
Herbalism/alchemy is I believe the better profession for a tank, who possibly cannot farm gold itself fast enough. Not very much into alchemy, but herbalism alone is required unless your guild / ebay funds your costs and consumables. Craftables, especially as a tanking warrior; dont play such a big role in raiding environment. So far, they have mostly been used as an excuse to hoard dkp for higher quality gear, and looks like it remains the same.
The chestplate is, no doubt, a pvp item with high armor added. Sword; heck I took kings defender today, as someone outside the raid; nobody in that raid needed it so I just had to accept 2 summons, loot the chest, and take the portal out. Actually, for one of those 95 dps 1h weapons at highest level; we will possibly have to farm instances that drop 100 dps 1h weapons; that looked like a wasted investment too.
45 stamina on a single trinket slot looks extremely high at first glance. 1k hp from trinkets, that would be ridiculously powerful before burning crusade, it would give more than our very vitality talent. But it also indicates that the marginal value of stamina diminishes fast as the gear improves.
As a protection tank, I believe mining is an excellent profession for farming, as farming by other means pales in comparison for our class/spec. I intend to use the bulwark of kings for a long while as well. So that puts me at armorsmithing and mining.
I used to be engineering and enchanting... and perhaps engineering will provide some nice tanking trinkets or advantages again (resists)... but who knows.
I see myself dropping blacksmithing one day, even though it cost almost 2k to raise to cap... but not before mining. I don't see 8 to all stats as being "worth it" on enchanting.
As a bear tank, I'm currently running with herbalism/leatherworking (gogo Heavy Clefthoof set). It's pretty nice set and the herbalism is great for making money, as prices tend to be absolutely insane for stuff.
I've been a hardcore engineer from the get go and while I don't find myself throwing bombs in raids, the combination of a Thunderfury and a Force Reactive Disk is great for some quick AE aggro. I haven't found a shield that quite matches the ability of Force Reactive to start damaging mobs that haven't even hit on me yet in the expansion. It + shouts + damage trinkets were great for some AE pulls back in the day.
15 Str/Agi/Sta are useful for all tanks, and 15 Int/Spi has some benefit for pally tanks. The 40% health/mana pot bonus sounds useful for those emergencies where'd you need to drink such a pot in the first place.
Alchemy is also a decent money maker (transmutes give you gold every day, or with some more effort, can obtain some of the rare recipes and sell those).
Good write up! I've been enchanting/engineering, so I was happy to see how useful it could be in BC.
I know you're mostly interested in numbers, but I think the value of the crafted weapons exists beyond numbers. Once you become emotionally attached to a weapon, it's hard to say goodbye even if an upgrade comes along. With the new blacksmithing weapons, you no longer have to say goodbye, *you* reforge it into something better, but it's still the weapon with which you first slew nightbane. When you look back at all you guild first kills, you'll see yourself holding version 1, version 2, and version 3 of the weapon as you progressed in the game.
I'm crossing my fingers that the engineering profession review involves item level 100, 120, and 140 crafted BoP shields for both tanks and shaman/pally. I can dream. :)
I can't see alchemy being ideal, the only item useful towards tanking would be the trinket and honestly, i would imagine most MT's are chugging armor pots 24/7 and using more useful trinkets like the dodge trinket + lgg.
As a paladin, I've been extremely disappointed with the "variety" of armor available to an Armorsmith. Oathkeeper's Helm is decent now at least, but not worth the mats when T4 is so close. The Bulwark of Kings is entirely unimpressive to me, as a gain of perhaps 45 sta 346 armor vs 46 defense 19 dodge from the Aldor chest I got the moment I hit 70. If it was an upgrade in every category I might consider it, but I have the scrounge up the money to enchant/socket my gear as it is.