In a bid to get my paladin ready for some form of Battleground PVP I decided to drop my mining for engineering (for utility's sake). I could've dropped my blacksmithing but I remember how much effort it was to getting it to where it is now (360) and just couldn't get myself to drop the skill despite it being almost completely worthless (lets hope WotLK shows blacksmithing some love).
So to get myself set up I spent most of the day mining various resources I would need to get engineering levelled. Turns out I can really recommend the various hives in silithus for a spot of thorium mining (moreso than round-tripping ungoro crater anyway). At level 67 the bugs hardly aggro anymore so it's rather smooth sailing.
Having gathered and stashed all the needed ores in my bank I ran to the nearest trainer, ditched my mining and started the engineering levelling grind...
Which lasted right up until I figured out that it would've been smart to smelt all the ore before dropping mining that is. *Sigh* /kickself
Being stuck with all the resources I needed and no way to process them I figured I'd equip my lowly lvl 26 rogue with some mining powers and check how far I could get these days on smelting alone.
Apparantly in one of the last patches they fudged with the smelting aspect of mining and I am quite happy to say that despite me having to buy an ungodly amount of iron ore (due to not having mined it) I was able to boost my rogue's mining right into the mithril range (175+) by smelting alone.
There's too large a gap between mithril and thorium so I don't expect to be able to smelt my way through that but with a little luck and lots of mithril I should be able to break 200 which only puts me 50 points away from being able to smelt thorium... again.
That's significant because it means you could break 200 in mining simply by working the AH for raw materials and thus skipping loads of travelling whilst training mining.
You could argue that buying it all from the AH is prohibitively expensive but up till thorium that is simply not the case. With my lvl 70 sugarlock easily able to grind out 100+ gold in an evening the only real cost translates right back into time.
So I am quietly hopeful I'll be able to sneak my way back up to thorium without too much work. After that I'll be stuck simply because my rogue is too low in level to be able to do anything with fel iron.
Looks like I'll have to call on one of the few wayward 'friends' I have on the server to see if I can effectuate some smelting services... that or I'll camp the AH and buy felsteel bars and sell off fel iron ore.
On the bright side of things my rogue will probably have no problems hitting 300 mining before outland. I am sure that's worth something.
There's a lesson in there somewhere.