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I am playing a new Death Knight with intent to tank for my guild at max level. As part of this, I decided to take up Blacksmithing.

At around 200, the Blacksmithing trainer started asking me about Weapon/Armor specialties. I remember these specialties actually mattered back in Vanilla WoW, but do they do anything after level 80? Should I bother investigating?

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They actually will let you tank? My guild told me to forget about it when I asked... Said that DKs do not make good tanks. The future tank role is as of yet unfilled. –  Aeo Jan 17 '11 at 19:13
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@Aeo I forgot to mention that we're an entirely casual Friends & Family only guild. So no jerkfaces who wouldn't let me tank. I think you need a new guild. –  Mag Roader Jan 17 '11 at 19:22
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@aeo DKs are among the strongest tank classes in the game right now. They have a few distinct weaknesses that make them unsuitable for certain roles, but also several unique strengths that make them very sought after. In short: your guildmates are idiots, or have only been exposed to bad players who happen to have rolled DKs. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Jan 17 '11 at 19:26

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The answer here is that it depends on the profession. Leatherworking specialties, for instance, are 100% completely useless. Engineering specializations, by contrast, have a significant impact on the cost of levelling from 425 to 435, provide access to some of the coolest and most sought after vanity items in the game, and in Cataclysm, determine which of 2 new BoE pets you can make and often sell for absurd profits. Alchemy specializations meanwhile, result in an average of 20% more yield from all specialized recipes - hugely relevant, and really the only way to turn Alchemy into a substantial moneymaker.

As for Blacksmithing specifically? There are no new patterns linked to specialization in Cataclysm. Unless you're interested in some of the old vanilla or BC era BS items for vanity purposes, you can safely ignore specialization. I seem to recall a few mid 70's blue items linked to specs as well, introduced in Wrath, but they are not efficient skillups.

Tl;DR: They're irrelevant for all except Alchemy and Engineering, where they provide significant moneymaking opportunities.

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Additionally, the tailoring specialties were completely removed in Cataclysm. –  user3389 Jan 17 '11 at 20:19
    
Good riddance, I say! The era of Stormherald, aka, "Stunherald" was not a fun one. –  Raven Dreamer Jan 17 '11 at 20:30
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Alchemy specialization is still very useful, as it allows additional production for the same mats. –  Resorath Jan 17 '11 at 20:38
    
I do kinda wish LW specialties did something... –  Nick T Jan 17 '11 at 20:49

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