Greetings fellow gold makers!
I read a tweet by nite_moogle
"While we are always looking for well-rounded applicants this requisition will be to primarily support development of professions in WoW. We have some ambitious plans and need people who can focus their time and effort in this space. It is likely we will hire more than one person.
We've got a high level plan but many details need to be finalized and realized, and there is a good deal of implementation across a wide swath of the game that this position will be expected to take on. It is a great opportunity to learn how many parts of WoW function."https://careers.blizzard.com/global/en/job/R009720/Associate-Game-Designer-Rewards-Professions-World-of-Warcraft
"Blizzard Entertainment is looking for a game designer for the World of Warcraft team whose primary role will be to support professions. A candidate for this job should be excited about creating the path for a player to craft an exceptional item, planning an ecosystem that promotes economic activity between players, and integrating professions throughout the experience of a World of Warcraft expansion.
What you will do…
- Integrate professions as an organic part of the world, from placing resource nodes to creating flavorful names that enhance and reinforce the game’s story.
- Create intriguing recipes and crafted items that are a piece of a balanced endgame ecosystem.
- Develop ideas on how to position professions to encourage positive player interaction."
This got me thinking about professions, what I love, what I hate and how they could be improved. I wanted to share them with you all and open the floor for more suggestions and ideas..Why have professions in the first place?
As stated above, professions are there to encourage positive player interaction. You have those that like to go out and gather raw materials, they then sell those to professional crafters who take the raw materials and turn them into something of value to other players. These can be useful, cosmetic, or simply fun. It's an exchange of time and/or skill for money. Each gets something out of the interaction and all benefit.
It's a carefully balanced ecosystem and over the course of expansions, has been overall successful I think (otherwise I wouldn't have invested the last 4 years soley focusing on this aspect of the game). There are times when it seems less enjoyable (scrapper anyone?), and times where the investment of skill matches desirable items and profits are good (Legion Enchanting was a good one)What's worked well?
This can be entirely subjective and down to personal preference. My favourites so far have been Tailoring shirts and Enchanting Tools of the Trade.
Shirts are great because they are purely for cosmetic reasons. Many players like to look good and a shirt is a great way to express yourself with a carefully chosen cour scheme and style. They are pretty cheap to make, but some patterns are difficult to get hold of being rare drops or limited to out of the way locations. The Rich Purple Silk Shirt was a great example of simply having a purple border to the icon and it being a rare drop made it highly desirable. Shame they changed the border colour though. Maybe we need some more epic or legendary shirts?
Enchanting Tools of the Trade in the form of Iwens Enchanting Rod was a fantastic example of discrete, but achievable quest lines resulting in a more efficient way of getting raw materials. There's a barrier to entry from the quest with smaller, achievable goals along the way to stay motivated. The reward at the end is a consistent improvement to the whole profession and worthwhile making the whole experience very satisfying.
I liked the tools of the trade idea as a whole, it's a shame some rewards were either useless or relied on randomness (Silasss!)
Consumables and frequently updated item enchants always make good "bread & butter" professions. High turnover and useful to players.Barriers to Entry
Ultimately, there has to be a balance between barrier to entry and reward to other players and it's hard to get right.
You can see when the barrier to entry is too easy and and any player can power through to max skill in a profession and all items leading there become worthless. There has to be some difficulty to either max skill or rarer recipes.
Having to make too many of the same thing along the way also causes an imbalance as players looking to skill up will flood the market with "useless" items in order to rush towards the really good ones. Look no further than the Shadowlands Legendaries for an example of this. I personally hate how these turned out. The barrier to entry was simply mountains of gold and there was too much waste along the way. It was disheartening. The demand was not high enough and everyone ended up chasing (and cancel scanning) the same few items.
When the barrier to entry is a super rare drop, then that can also be frustrating yet enticing. Look at the High Society Top Hat, a unique looking item but very hard to get hold of the recipe. Similar with the Felsteel Longblade and others like this. I'm not necessarily against these, but I prefer a system where you can make small, steady progress towards an end goal.
The profession quests in Legion I think are a good example as is the Crafters Mark III with Death's Advance rep. It felt like you were making progress and had small rewards along the way.What Hasn't Worked?
Nomi & Silas! Relying on RNG too much is frustrating and demoralising. I don't mind so much the rare drops. But those two in particular made Legion Cooking and BfA Alchemy a lot less fun.
The scrapper! Endless processing items 9 at a time to get a BoP reagent was a bad idea. It perhaps could've been alleviated if the Expulsom was tradable, but as it was it was a painful experience. I must admit to a certain perverse satisfaction in calculating the most efficient pricing of the scrapped items, so it's not a total loss!
Pandarian and WoD Dalies. I found these annoying due to the enforced time gated nature of them. There was nothing you could do but click a button once a day to learn a new random recipe. The Chef's Hat daily quests for Epicurean Awards was a better system I think.What to look forward to in the future?
I'd like to see profession items have more value to other players. Not just in cosmetic differences, but also in usefulness. Perhaps unique effects like Legion Legendaries? I actually think the Relic of the Past system was a really good idea, but lost out on the ilevel restrictions, so they weren't that useful to players.
More professions like Carpentry would be a fantastic addition (perhaps with player housing), but also let's not neglect existing professions like Engineering & Archaeology. Please make more engineering items usable by non-engineers! I don't need to know how to build a car in order to drive it..
The interplay between professions looked promising in Shadowlands Beta, it's a shame many of them were stripped out. I'd rather buy an expensive widget from an engineer (or make it myself) than buy an expensive Orboreal Shard from a vendor.
I'd like to see more quests like the Tools of the Trade with real consistent rewards at the end.
What do you think? What's the best and worst aspect of professions for you? What would you like to see next?