|OH SO NOW WE GET TO IT|
It appears I'm annoying Ghostcrawler. Should I be concerned?
People are very good at adaptation. Give them a system that's rigid and inflexible, and more often than not their ingenuity will find a way to alter it to suit their needs. Similarly, if you give people items that improve their particular situation, and impose no restriction on their use, people will find a way to utilise them all. Hence the Professions Mules were born, because as it stands these alts act as a vital method of not simply improving every character you play, but help use extra resources to make money, which is in itself another part of the game. Without knowing what's going on inside Mr Crawler's head I'd guess his annoyance at alts is directed at the people with X assigned just to Transmutes and Y for prospecting, and I can understand that, but the fact remains that unless professions are limited, there's nothing that can be done. Because so much of what Professions have become are wrapped up in and revolve around gold making, I think Blizzard would be quite reticent to make major change, unless it was something blindingly brilliant... or utterly brutal.
It would depend in the main on looking at numbers, and ascertaining exactly how many people are 'exploiting' the system in this way. Any changes that might cause sub cancellation would also be an issue, because many people who are playing the professions 'game' like this are running multiple accounts to do so, and that's sub money that means Mr Crawler and his associates remain in gainful employment. So if the aim on the table here is to find a way to reduce the number of actual characters playing the making game, the logical next step isn't to look to the old sub base as something to be appeased, but the new sub base to be attracted. If that were the case, then there's going to have to be a pretty substantive make-over of the entire system. Fortunately I've already done one of those. The key then is making professions significance less about end game use and more about cosmetic, about reducing the reliance on patches and gems and threads and additions to key stats... and that means diverting man hours away from producing new content to amend the systems.
I'm pretty certain we'd established that was never going to happen.
|See, this is what happens when you make one Profession TOO GOOD.|
What we can (mostly) all agree on is that professions are pretty much limping along, suffering from various ailments, all of which together aren't an easy solve. We've had our strongest indication yet that bagspace is going to get it's much needed do-over: however, this isn't changing anything, this is removing stuff from bags and putting it somewhere else. That's a really important point to grasp: yes, you get more bag space, but bags themselves don't change, because as has been pointed out in various places, bags fall under the auspices of resource management. Professions similarly are resource management, and any changes that would happen there would be significant and far-reaching. Ideally, as the noodle cart now shows, you need to stop making things MORE complicated, and start making them LESS, and I have to say I think that means reducing material contents. In fact, I think that's going to mean that a complete retool of every recipe is the only way that we can return to a system that not only makes sense, but is easily graspable by not simply the returning player, but the existing one.
However, as long as you insist on a limit to the number of professions per character, the alt problem never goes away.
If we assume we're looking for a quick solution, a 'bolt on attachment' and not a full retool, there are a lot of options, which we can easily address for the TL;DR crowd:
- Gathering allows you to gather everything, but it costs gold to switch from one profession to another
- Professions are Account Wide, but everything that provides a stat boost becomes BoA.
- All Professions materials are grossly simplified, thus removing value for most old items and disparging 'hoarding'
- Remove strict levelling paths completely and replace with Nat Pagle style +50 to skills books
A little bit of me dies inside every time I think about this future, but when it becomes clear that developers really don't want to go back and change things and are only interested in looking forward, you accept the real possibility that getting anything altered might be simply asking too much. We're almost a month before the expected announcement of a new Expansion: if these guys don't have an idea on the table now, what are the realistic chances of making such a major change happen in what is a ridiculously short time scale on current form?
I've said my piece on this, and I'll continue to advocate the base up change I think this side of the game needs, but I think the practicalities and actual game structure just may not support such a change. Ghostcrawler may have to put up with my alts as a result...