Saturday, December 07, 2013

The Impossible Dream

Warlords of Draenor Professions
We're actually hoping to do a bunch of work with crafting in Warlords. Nothing I can share any concrete details on yet, but we're talking about it a lot.

It's dangerous to get excited about anything when you have little or no information to go on, but these two sentences above should be enough to grant a fair few people on my regular commenter's list a glimmer of genuine hope. Let's face it, a PROPER revamp has been a long time coming, and by that I don't mean a quick pass to tidy stuff up or to bring everything into some kind of alignment. This is probably the moment to remind Blizzard I've done a fair bit of the work for them and, if truth be told, we will be seeing some of what I suggested coming to fruition via the Garrisons feature. No, it wasn't my idea either. I don't care what changes, just as long as something finally does. If Blizzard are talking about it, it's a step in the right direction, after all.

Again, we're just going to have to be patient.

I think it's fair to say that we won't see anything major on any Warlords front this side of Christmas, then it becomes how soon after the Winter break we're propelled into major changes, and whether a PTR release will happen before a Beta. Having pretty much speculated everything to death in this here Parish I'm not going to attempt to recycle anything in the name of content: you guys pretty much know where I stand on this, but there are some issues we can still consider on the Professions front.

We'll discuss item one in more detail on Monday (along with item three because I suspect those changes will have a significant impact on professions because they have to) but item two is something I've been debating with myself (YES I DO THAT) for a while. I'm coming down pretty much every time on the side that we won't get a carte blanche on anything with the exception of First Aid (which happens with the Scroll of Resurrection) because that would give a distinctly unfair advantage to anyone. I can't see Blizzard caving and allowing that to happen, at least on the back of previous decisions. What is far more likely to happen is that the entire process of levelling will be greatly simplified across the board making the act of levelling far less of a 'grind' than it has been previously. What I sense may be far more likely to happen is the use of a 'step up' to assist with the process, something that will then be available to anyone either starting a character for the first time or an existing player deciding to level an alt.

It's the same, old toooome, but with a different use since you've been goooone...

Blizzard have successfully utilised the Tome idea with Fishing: once you gain Revered reputation with Nat Pagle, for 800g he'll throw you a Nat's Fishing Jourmal: +50 skill is probably just about right for the cost, too. It wouldn't be too hard to link a set of 'tasks' (notice, not calling them Dailies) to each Professions trainer to allow you to gain a measure of reputation with them, after which you could bypass the tedious actual making of stuff (I enjoy it, I'm told other people don't, it's just pressing a button) and simply exchange cash for skill points. It would act as a gold sink to boot, so everybody could win. If Blizzard were smart and made all professions trainers sit under the same 'umbrella' of reputation, it would also allow people considerably more freedom when wanting to switch professions skills. That would affectively mean if you wanted to go from Skinning to Alchemy you'd not have to worry about any level grind at all: assuming you had the right level of rep and the cash, you could just buy yourself books to max the skill in a couple of minutes.

I'd expect convenience to make up a large part of the Quality of Life component of Warlords, based on the criticisms Pandaria's had levelled at it on that score. Giving people a quick way to switch would be a major contributor to that, once they'd done the initial work involved. We'll just have to sit tight a bit longer to see what the Devs have in store...

1 comment:

James Flinders said...

The moment I saw that comment about professions on MMO-C I knew it would inspire you :)

I've been pondering possible changes to professions myself, I'd love to enjoy levelling them, truly I would. But most of my characters start with good intentions, and then I always end up with either half levelled production skills, or a dual gatherer.

my main issue with professions has always been that you basically spend most of your time making useless crap that will get vendored, sold on the AH, or used for disenchanting. This is exactly the sort of grind that irritates me greatly, the endless conveyor belt of frankly useless tat that you are forced to produce just to level your professions.

How much more fun would it be if you didn't have to worry about all that. But hunting for those elusive rare and epic patterns becomes much more of a game than it is now (where it's basically an endless RNG roll) This ties into something I thought would be interesting - removing skill levels - this will require some suspension of disbelief. In my mind, your character's offline time could well be considered as the time they spend practicing their skills, profession, combat or otherwise.

Instead of professions having their own distinct levelling pattern, tie recipes to character level for all green quality items. And have quests or projects to acquire the rare and epic quality patterns. This gives much more interesting options for acquiring these patterns.

that way, jobbing profession users like myself who just use them for a little extra levelling gear here and there can play it casual. But those players who want to learn everything, have a much more fun way of doing so than hoping for a drop, or buying a pattern from the auction house to acquire it. You could work towards them instead of farming bosses and hoping for them to drop.

this will also mean that gathering skills no longer have the annoying disconnect between the level of nodes or creatures in the zone you are playing in, and your profession level. Though again, the ability to gather rare herbs, minerals or skin particular creatures could be accessed via quests or research projects in the same way as manufacturing blues and epics.

just a thought, wondered what you'd think of it :)