Crazy idea for upgradable crafted items: Make them only able to be upgraded, by completing quests in the tier. Let's say, given example, you have:
Binds when picked up
1743 - 2597 Damage Speed 3.60
(602.7 damage per second)
Equip: Increases your haste rating by 208.
Equip: Increases your critical strike rating by 188.
Requires Level 85
This isn't quite up to raid-level epics for tier 11, but numbers here are arbitrary. Point is, it is something crafted to fit the weapon slot until you get a better drop. I know many people who are still clawing at Magmaw for his mace, or archaeology for their sword.
Not BiS, still worth getting while running heroics. Helps people get into raids, gives the profession a perk. Now, what about upgrading?
To upgrade to the, say, "Sulfuron Executioner," you require additional materials (as would be expected) but some of them must be looted from Firelands bosses
. What does this mean? Well, a few things.
First, only people raiding Firelands will be able to attain the upgrade. This ensures the crafted weapon will not be overshadowing tier-11 weapons, as you'd have to be killing Firelands bosses, which may have a potential to drop a better weapon anyway.
Second, it can tie into a questline about upgrading the weapon. Maybe you can have a questline to make it in the first place? This gives some immersion and uniqueness people enjoy.
Lastly, the item-level (and thus, stats) of the weapon can be less than Firelands drops (and in fact, would have to be, to guarantee no BiS possibilities) but still above the tier-11 level of weapons (making it worth upgrading to, even if you have a tier-11 drop).
By restricting the possibility of crafting to the level of endgame that players are currently involved in, you can control the power of the profession to ensure it doesn't surpass the available gear from bosses.
If you find this suitable, it could be pushed further into other professions. Scribes and BoP relics, Jewelcrafters and neck pieces or a ring. Alchemists and their trinket-stones. Tailors and cloaks! Engineers and their goggles! Leatherworkers and... help me out here, Leatherworkers. (Having a hard time thinking of something to cover all armor classes.) But you get the idea! A little thing that helps players starting off, that can be upgraded at each tier with BoP items found only in that tier
, even if it's just a drop off of trash!
It may be too late to implement these BoP crafted items for Cataclysm, but maybe it's not. I know plenty of raiders would go for them due to poor drops, because of the upgrade potential, even if it comes in during 4.2.3. But, maybe it's an idea for yet the next expansion. I know you guys are always looking a step ahead. ;)