We like gathering professions and think it's more fun to explore and level up when you have gathering. Not sure we're ready to pull the handle on everyone getting a gathering prof, but it is something we discuss. We have a different solution that hopefully isnt too clever for its own good that we are currently exploring.
If you haven't already, you should really go and read the Live Q&A Transcript that Blizzard gave (a handy copy of which is available on MMO Champion this morning) There's a ton of great stuff there (especially concerning lore developments) yet (rather sadly) Professions got a measly one question devoted to them. If you're an engineer I'd not hold your breath for a Skyclaw either (reading between the lines I'd bet the Devs can't get the claws to work on grabbing so many differing body shapes), but I digress.
The above statement is, as it stands, quite a change in stance. If I read it right, it intimates that Blizzard have considered making gathering professions 'as standard' for every toon. Whether this then means that you'd be able to take another two professions ON TOP of the gathering one is a question only the Devs could answer, but it would make a great deal of sense. Having mining coupled with Engineering AND Jewelcrafting for instance would make a toon with considerable punch. Being able to have both Alchemy and Inscription with Herbalism would be awesome. Being able to keep Skinning and being given the chance to pick up Enchanting with my Leatherworking frankly would be as good as it gets for me, making P pretty much a one Dwarf grinding machine. Needless to say, the fact a) this is mentioned publicly and b) we now know there is a possible alternative on the table gives us some serious food for thought.
What could Blizzard possibly be exploring therefore as an 'alternative' to giving everyone the chance to gather 'as standard'?
We already have, at L90, a farm for your characters to use and harvest items from Pandaria. is it therefore too much of a stretch to imagine that we might have an influx of merchants at Halfhill at some time in the future, from Azeroth, Outland and Northrend, who have heard about the amazing growing properties of the soil and want to sell you seeds from all previous expansions? You'll have the opportunity to grow any herb, or ore, or skin you like depending on the seeds you plant. Suddenly farms will become your own mini gathering empire, and you'll be able grow raw materials to order... However, that's only going to work for existing 90's, which is no good for anyone wanting to start a toon from scratch. If we're not going to get a default gathering profession from the off, how can you help people gather what they need for two disparate crafting strands?
What if there were some entrepreneurial Pandarians who'd come to the capitols looking for a way to start businesses, and they'd lugged a ton of their soil with them? Consider the concept of the Crafting Allotment (or Community Garden if you're not a UK resident): a spot, phased only to you outside one of the Capitols. Here you can come as you level from 1-60 and grow things from everywhere across Azeroth. Once you hit 60 you'll need to find a Garden in Outland (Netherstorm I'd reckon for the extra magical energies), and at 70 you'll go to Northrend (and go to the Basin where the weather defies the northern snows.) Here you would learn two passive abilities: Growing in Outland and Still Growing in Northrend. By the time you come back to Azeroth at 80 the Pandarians will have imported a new bunch of seeds from those zones for you to plant, and you've become experienced enough to grow any seed you've discovered from 1-80 in said allotment. Then you're off to finely hone your growing skills on a new continent at 85, whereby you say goodbye to the Community Garden and get access to all the seeds you need in one spot in Halfhill.
Is that too clever for it's own good, I wonder, or could that be considered as a stroke of genius...? Needless to say, if we got this as the alternative to gathering, I can guarantee there will be some people who'll never play endgame again, there'll just be too busy on their farm! However, it would solve the problem of gathering in one easily accessible swoop. It couldn't be that simple, could it?