I did a bunch of reading last night to figure out what exactly is going on with all the professions in the coming expansion. If I want to level stuff on my alts do I need to also level up their character level or do they just need to get close enough like in the past?
Turns out the answer to that question is very simple. It looks like pretty much every profession is learned in exactly the same way: by killing monsters in a WoD zone. They have a chance to drop an item for any profession (primary or secondary) that you've already learned and that item will start a short quest chain for that profession. Complete the quest chain to unlock the ability to level that profession up to 700. The items all have a minimum level requirement of 90, so before any character can raise a profession up above 600 they need to hit the current level cap.
What's interesting is the quest chains give you some other stuff above and beyond just unlocking the ability to get up to 700. It gives you some stuff towards your garrison which I haven't really delve into yet and it gives you some initial recipes to use in leveling the profession. All of these recipes are worth skillups starting from level 1 and use stuff from the WoD zones. Gathering professions let you gather stuff in WoD zones even at level 1. It's unclear if archaeology will actually let you skip ahead or not but everything else looks to be guaranteed able to level from 1 to 700 just off stuff you get in the expansion zones.
You won't need to go running to a trainer to raise your profession cap every 75 levels like I had to do when I just leveled my mining back up. Even if you started at level 1, you get the ability to go all the way to 700 just from that one quest. They did also make it so you get a benefit from leveling your professions up though. You get a daily cooldown ability that makes 4 copies of an item at level 1 or 10 copies of it at level 700. You use these items to make all the good stuff, so making more of them is obviously better. But if you don't want to run around lower level zones to gather materials and level up the old fashioned way you can get in there at level 1 and catch back up pretty easily. And it's way better to get 4 of those items at level 1 than to get nothing at all until you get up to 600 or 700!
From the sounds of it you do may well need to go unlock the professions first before the quest items will drop, so if you're starting out or are switching things up you probably want to go at least learn the profession at level 1 now before the expansion hits. Leveling it up now will almost certainly take longer and be more expensive than waiting, but if you don't have anything more productive to do before the expansion hits it could be a thing to do.
It also seems like if I want to have more professions going I'll need to level more characters up to 90. With only a week to go I feel like that's not going to happen, though maybe I'll go fool around on my druid and see what happens...