Most Solo Supportive/Friendly Vocation/Profession?
I mainly just go solo nowadays for various reasons so I doubt I'll ever enter a raid or dungeon instance. With that in mind what upgrade/gearing I'll get will probably just be quest rewards, reputation based gear and/or crafted items.
I ran as an Explorer when I first started playing years ago as I was told that was it was good for beginners in terms of making money and as a minstrel I'll be able to gear myself up. However 66 levels later I'm finding myself not needing to sell ore as a stable income as I use Skirmishes to serve that purpose and in terms of gear the tailor profession hasn't been that overall useful for me.
The tailoring not being overall useful is my own fault of not keeping up with each expansion in terms of recipes, rep, etc, etc.
Given my current situation I am debating if I outta stay with Explorer and eventually max out tailoring so it'll be useful or switch to a different profession/vocation such as cooking. With my limited understanding toward the endgame of crafting, if/when I finally craft that awesome piece of gear for my minstrel I'm afraid tailoring use might end there. With cooking I figured even if I'm just soloing the buff from cooking will always be useful. Again I'm only taking a guess at this.
If my goal is to find a profession/vocation that will still have high usage at the endgame level when not taking into account raids/dungeons should I stick with tailoring/Explorer or switch to another vocation?
Comments and suggestions are appreciated,
"You must gather your party before venturing forth" -Baldur's Gate
Re: Most Solo Supportive/Friendly Vocation/Profession?
Tailoring is indeed nice if you play solo, because the guild patterns can provide you with gear that is far better than quest rewards. The same applies to Jeweller, they can make some very nice stuff via guild patterns.
However, if money isn't really an issue, you could argue that it would be wiser to simply buy the gear once you reach level cap, and pick a profession that is more useful to your gameplay. In your shoes I would probably do just that, since money is fairly easy to come by in this game. You earn quite a bit by just levelling and looting everything / selling off what you don't need.
For gameplay use, there are really only two professions worth mentioning: cook and scholar. Cooking for buff/resist/regen foods and Scholar for potions, scrolls and some other class specific items.
Since you are an Explorer now, switching to Tinker would let you keep your Prospecting, and you would gain Jeweller and Cook. You could level both of those up and pick the guild that is most useful to you. The cooking guild is about convenience, you can make 25 crit-crafted regen foods per week using a guild recipe, but that's about it. Nothing stops you from making the same food the oldfashioned way, though it takes a bit more work (and materials). The Jeweller's Guild will provide you with several teal jewellery pieces that are really nice, so I would pick that guild most likely.
The one downside to your tinkering would be that you would have no Farmer, so getting materials for your cooking would be an issue. However, Farming is not level-gated in any way so you could technically make a level 1 hobbit and move him/her to Hobbiton and level Farming all the way to Westfold Mastery. I strongly recommend doing just that!
You could also go with Yeoman instead of Tinker, that would give you Cooking, Farming and Tailoring. So you could keep your Tailor and be able to produce foods with one character. Nothing wrong with that, but you would give up the option to find your own "Cracked Rhi Helvarch Sigils" (required component for all lev 75 guild products), you would give up Prospecting which can always be useful for some extra money, and you would have to buy endgame jewellery if you want it. Perfectly viable, but I would go with Tinker + one extra little hobbit. If you think ahead, make your farming hobbit a Historian and pick a class that might be interesting to you in the future.. So there you have a potential Scholar if you decide to level him/her up later on..
Your other option would be to switch to Historian. That would give you Scholar, Weaponsmith and Farming. Weaponsmith is pretty useless and very hard to level up without Prospecting so I would ignore that one. You can basically level your Scholar to the top by only using Farming (getting dye components and making dyes) so that's pretty self-sufficient. Quite a grind though. Even with gathering scholar materials throughout the world, drops from humanoids and so on, levelling a scholar without resorting to the AH is quite some work.
Weighing the two options, I would go with Tinker + bonus hobbit farmer. Buying end-game jewellery is expensive, buying foods tend to get quite expensive. On the other hand, scrolls, potions and scholar stuff tends to be cheap because everybody and their grandmother has a Scholar or three.
Phew, sorry for rambling a bit. I hope that helps a bit!
Re: Most Solo Supportive/Friendly Vocation/Profession?
So, if I read your post correctly, you're in your mid 60's?
If so, then you should be ready to be heading to RoI area, if you aren't there already.
Past 45, crafted weapons lose their appeal when Legendarys come into play.
Past mid 50's, crafted armor loses its appeal when the quests drops become superior.
Likewise, around RoI, crafted jewellery loses its appeal when quest drops become superior.
After all that happens (which is where you appear to be), crafting items really loses its worth, unless you're either making items for low level alts, or want to be able to make your own Legendary items/relics.
As for Alts, considering that 2/3 of the classes in LotRO use either Medium or Light armor, I'd be hesitant to drop Explorer and your progress as a Tailor.
As for Legendary items, you're a Minstrel, your weapon is either made by a Woodworker or a Weaponsmith and your Class item is made by a Scholar. While a Tailor makes Class items for Burglars and RuneKeepers. With the new Tier 7 crafted relics, any profession can barter for one that gives +20 to any stat.