I leveled up my mage from 55 to 58 this weekend, mostly in Un'Goro and the Western Plaguelands. Being level 58 has some major consequences, many of them to do with The Burning Crusade. First of all I'm still wearing auction house bought green items with the "of the frozen wrath" appellation, but now they are of the quality that drops in Outlands, which is a considerable step up. I gained over a hundred points in frost spell damage, and am now at +536 when fully buffed. Not bad considering that my highest ranking frostbolt according to his spell description is supposed to do just under 500 points of damage, but with my gear it does just over 1,000 points, over 2,000 on a crit. Mobs of my level have around 3,000 to 4,000 health, so I can kill nearly everything in two to four frostbolts, before the mob even reaches me. I soloed Araj the Summoner in Andorhal for a quest, and he is a level 61 elite. Okay, that was the best case scenario, because I can use frost ward against his spells, and him being a spellcaster he doesn't have huge amounts of health. But I was pretty impressed with myself anyway. :)
The other important consequence of being level 58 is that I can now go through the portal to Outlands. I went to Thrallmar to check out the enchanting trainer, wondering whether due to my blood elf +10 racial bonus to enchanting I could already learn some new things, even if I thought that I would only be able to raise the cap at level 60. But to my surprise it turned out that the level cap to raise your professions past 300 is only 50, not 60. So I raised all my caps for enchanting, tailoring, cooking, and first aid.
That in turn lead to a big crafting session. I had lots of Netherweave cloth on my bank alt, which my mage now used to skill up tailoring to over 340, at which point I was able to my first 18-slot bags for himself. Then I disenchanted the items I tailored to skill up, and used the materials plus what I already had stored to level up enchanting to 340 as well, the level where I could do my own superior wizard oils. I stopped tailoring and enchanting there, because I would have needed to buy too much stuff to continue, and that would have been rather expensive. I also leveled up first aid to a similar level using stored runecloth, but the heavy runecloth bandages are really more than enough for my low health mage.
Skilling up cooking for my mage went hand in hand with skilling up fishing for my warrior. His fishing is up to 355, and the mage used the caught fish to get up to 349 in cooking. I need to catch some more mudfish or bluefish to get to 350, and then catch high level fish from the elevated lakes to level up my mages cooking to 375. I shouldn't have cooked all those high level fish last weekend with my warrior, but I was restocking the guild bank with food and selling the surplus.
My mage is probably strong enough to quest in Hellfire Peninsula, but I don't really want to. I'll go to Silithus first, making xp while grinding reputation for some recipes there. And maybe Winterspring if I'm not level 60 after Silithus. Hellfire Peninsula is the new Stranglethorn Vale, the bottleneck where all the players of a certain level range hang out, and I already did it too often. I'd rather explore the old world a bit more, and only enter Outlands again at level 60, minimizing my time in Hellfire Peninsula and moving on to the other zones as fast as possible.