Specifically, jewelcrafters won't get meta gem cuts, enchanters won't get the best bracer and weapon enchants, and other crafters won't get Harmonies that they can use to craft gear. If you have an alt that you don't have time to level and properly play, but still want to get some of these gated recipes, what can you do?
There are no shortcuts past reputation, but Harmonies and meta cuts can be gotten by grinding. If you are going to invest some time into getting these, here are the best places to go:
If you're alliance, you can start the Pearlfin Village quests and stop at the Carpe Diem quest, which provides you with a small army of NPCs that can be used to help you kill the endlessly spawning hozen. You need to tag as many as possible with AOE and keep your character from holding aggro. A few hours here and you'll have tons of Motes of Harmony, as well as a pretty good chance of a JC seeing a few recipes.
If you completed this quest before you knew about this, you can still go back and farm, although you won't have any help from that group of NPCs. There will still be friendly defenders, though, and you can still kill their targets with very little effort. That said, it's not the most efficient options unless you haven't completed the quest.
If you foolishly chose Horde and don't have the Pearlfin option (or completed the quest before reading this), another good place to farm is Zhu's Watch. You don't need any breadcrumb quests, you can run straight to Ken-Ken, quickly do a couple of intro quests starting with What's Eating Zhu's Watch?, and once you get to Zhu's Despair, stop and farm. I heard about this place from a friend, but I suspect they heard about it last month when it was posted to the Consortium farming forum. Serves me right for not reading the farming forums!
Zhu's Despair is a quest that will put you into a special phased area and give you an NPC guardian, and so long as you ignore the big mob in the middle of the town you need to vanquish, you can kill the much smaller Essences of Despair. These may have been nerfed a little in 5.1, but they still drop motes, JC meta cuts, green BoEs, and blue BoEs. And, of course, grey vendor items that add up over time. If you want to increase your yield, invest in a relatively cheap Potion of Luck, and you will more than make back your investment of the Lotus.
There are three spawns here, and any level 85 DPS should be able to kill them at a decent pace. My level 86 paladin can kill them so fast that I have to wait for respawns. I farmed for about 2 hours and got 6 recipes and 21 motes. The drop rate for motes appears to be 5% (according to Wowhead.com). The drop rate for the JC recipes are much harder to calculate, but as far as I can tell, any individual recipe that you don't already have or know has a very low chance of dropping from any kill. In the beginning, you'll get a lot of recipes pretty fast, but once you have a few of them already, they will slow down. Basically, the drop rate hasn't changed, but you're not seeing the ones that you already know. This is corroborated in the wowhead comments I've read.
If you need to take a break, the nice part is that all the Despairs you're grinding are phased, so if you run into the inn, they'll disappear. In order to get back into the phase to resume farming, just talk to Ken-Ken under the inn. Also, be aware that if anyone else is doing the quest (or worse, farming for motes or cuts), they'll be in the same phase as you. I had to keep a wide berth around the quest mob in the middle while someone was killing it. If you accidentally complete the quest, you should be able to drop it and re-acquire it so long as you don't turn it in.
Last but not least, a fairly low time investment in Halfhill can provide a very good return for alts. If you are able to turn a profit on the Ironpaw Shuffle, instead of using your already-max-level main to turn in the repeatable quest, consider getting an alt over there, doing the first quests, and then using that alt to do your turn-ins. It's not a lot of experience per quest, but it's something. A side bonus is that you can use the little 4 plot starter farm to farm veggies, and if you shuffle enough, your "alt" might just ding 90 and start being able to do Tillers dailies, which will lead to you being able to plant Songbell Seeds, eventually, and those mature into Motes. This is no get-rich-quick scheme, but it's better than leaving a profession alt in a city all expansion.
Hard grinding for Motes
Lastly, if you need motes on a level 90 and you can't make the other tips here work, you can consider farming mobs in Vale of Eternal Blossom. The Shao-Tien Soul-Render and Marauder, for example, have an 18% drop rate, rather than the much lower rate other types of mobs have. Just go to the Mote of Harmony "dropped by" tab, and sort by count. You can also farm Stonebark Tricksters, but I'd avoid Slateskin Troublemakers, as they have a very annoying stun. Some of these mobs are also needed for dailies, and all of them help with Black Prince reputation.
Level 90 characters can earn 16 motes a day for farming, so it's hard to justify spending a lot of time grinding, especially when there are so many other ways to spend your time at the level cap. Still, it's an option.
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