You know, the more I think about my last post, the more interesting life becomes. I love the dance this game often takes us on, and the consequences of Blacksmithing going the way of Cookery are... well, pretty significant. Let's put our 'Future Possibilities' Hats on and work out what might transpire should the datamining be pointing to a quantum shift in Primary Professions.
1. No more need for 1-600 Levelling Guides.
Yup, all those Guides are suddenly redundant. Pretty annoying if you're selling them as well, I expect :p
2. No more need for any Old World Materials.
This one's quite big, especially if you are one of those people who makes their money from farming older content. No need to farm anything any more, except the basic raw material at the top level. This would also have a significant effect on herbs, mining and skinning at lower levels.
3. No more money when levelling an Alt from selling your excess gathers.
Yeah, this one is also fairly major. Grabbing a gathering profession for when you level is suddenly completely pointless, unless you're using the materials yourself. No more selling excess on the AH for a quick profit. In fact, pretty much no need to sell your excess to anyone but a vendor.
4. Choice of Which Old Patterns you Learn.
This one I'd need to check, but I am assuming that should you take an alt with no skill and learn 1-500 this way, you'd end up with the patterns you WOULD have learnt simply by buying them from a trainer (with relevant cash/mats)
There are probably more fundamental changes that I'm not seeing, but it appears that the biggest single hit in changing professions to this model will be to the Gold Farmers (and by that I mean those people who make money on the AH selling patterns, raw materials and specialist materials to complete the normal grinds.) Of course there would still be markets for the old stuff, but vastly reduced, and the emphasis would shift to any current expansion (as it would be logical to assume that every time we moved forward the model would simply shift up to the next available raw material in the new zone/s.)
This idea however makes perfect sense if you've NOT been playing since Vanilla, want to take advantage of a certain profession in a pre-designated patch window, and don't have the time to hunt down Massive Mojo or Hula Dolls when all you really need is to max the skill in an evening. No more need to visit all the other zones or track down which vendor has which pattern. Simplicity itself.
The question then becomes: do you really want a game where it is this simple to change professions? I'm betting for a lot of people the answer will be YES, and as a result I wonder if this datamining is a taste of the immediate future or whether we'd have to wait for a new Expansion for this plan to become a reality...