Here's an idea I just got after learning that mining and herbalism would give XP in Cataclysm: why not implement mining, herbalism and skinning daily quests? Some tradeskills have dailies so why wouldn't gathering skills?
A big advantage of gathering dailies would be that they could take effect from level 1. I'm guessing the main reason why professions don't generally have dailies from low levels is that they are much harder (and more inconsistent) to level. Not so with gathering professions. If you pick up one or two of them from the beginning you can easily level them while you are leveling your character.
As an example of how this might work, consider the following. The quest giver asks the player for, say, 10 copper bars. In exchange, the player gets 1-2 gold, some nice XP and perhaps a bag with some random stuff in it, with the possibility of containing green or blue items. Something like the random dungeon bag of goodies.
I believe that mining/herbalism/skinning dailies would be advantageous for any player:
- players would be encouraged to pick gathering skills from the get-go.
- people would also be encouraged to level their gathering skills more and keep them up to date. I still see level 80s with Mining 100 or some such.
- related to the above it might encourage people to explore more in order to find nodes.
- it would give people extra XP and gold and even some nice items to help them level up.
I would make these dailies scale with skill level, meaning that at the beginning you'd be required to supply copper bars, later tin bars, later iron bars and so on. I would also add quest givers in each major city and perhaps even in the bigger quest hubs.
Here's to hoping that Blizzard will implement something like this, although I'm not holding my breath.