Professions - Time for a Redesign

Professions
Professions

Let me start by saying this IS NOT a post about how one profession is better for raiding than another, or to criticize what each profession produces. This post is regarding overall profession design, and how I feel this is one area which has largely remained stagnant while all other aspects of the game have developed.

In order to qualify my opinions on the matter, my familiarity with professions is relevant:
- Have 11 toons level 85+, all of which have 2 professions on par or greater than their level range.
- I level my professions as I level my toons, which seems to be in line with the game design as I interpret it.
- I firmly believe in being self sufficient by having all professions maxed out between my toons, and achieved “Master of All” less than a month after MoP launched.
- Between my toons I have 15 professions maxxed out: 2x Alch, 2x Skinning, 2x LW, 2x Mining, 1x the rest.

I care about professions and feel they are an integral part of leveling as well as end game. Unfortunately instead of having character synergy, professions have turned into a min/maxing meta game taking synergy to the account level. My experiences with even casual raiders is that they must have 2 non-gathering professions or they feel they are short changing their raid team. It would be interesting to see the data on the top 100k raid progressed characters (10%+ of the player base?) and see what percent have a gathering profession.

So much like the talent trees, glyphs, etc, it is time for an overhaul. We have essentially 3 Gathering professions, and 8 Crafting professions. The usefulness of each gathering profession is heavily skewed:
Mining – 3 – Blacksmithing (BS), Jewelcrafting (JC), Engineering (ENG)
Herbalism – 2 – Alchemy (AL), Inscription (IN)
Skinning – 1 – Leatherworking (LW)
Tailoring (TA) – 0 – Kill mobs that drop cloth and hope for the best!
Enchanting (ENC) – 0 – Do stuff that has a chance to generate lots of greens (questing/LFG) and DE the crap out of it.

On to the redesign!

1. Skinning and “cloth gathering” would be amalgamated into “Scavenging”. Cloth and Leather would be merged into one gathered resource, let’s call it “Scavenged Materials” for easy association. Much like cloth-> cloth bolts and leather scraps->leather, Scavenged Material -> Material. At this point the player may convert the "Material" into Cloth Bolts, Heavy Leather, and to also support Enchanting, “Material” could also be DE’d into Enchanting mats giving Enchanters a way to actually gather mats in a more equivalent way.

2. This change would be part of a bigger change, involving each character Selecting one of 3 Gathering professions (Mining, Herbalism, Scavenging). Upon selection of a Gathering Profession, the character would then have the choice to pick 2 of the 3 associated “Crafting” professions. “But Mining/Scavenging have 3 options each while Herbalism only has 2” you ask? I’ll leave this in the hands of game development, as I am sure there is a new profession on the horizon. With this system you can easily move Enchanting over to Herbalism if the “new” profession makes more logical sense associated with Scavenging.

The Professions Tree would look a bit like this:
Mining – Jewelcrafting/Blacksmithing/Engineering (Pick 2)
Scavenging – Leatherworking/Tailoring/Enchanting (pick 2)
Herbalism – Alchemy/Inscription/New Profession X (pick 2)

If the next profession is something along the lines of "Mail-working", you could just as easily shift Enchanting under Herbalism, with a similar Enchanting mat gathering option. Heck, if you can Mill Herbs for Ink, Pulverizing them for Dust/Essences isn't much of a stretch.

Benefits:
- For balancing min/max purposes it would be much like today, where the “Crafter only” items would still be relatively even across the board
- You can choose to do away with “Gathering” bonuses, or provide something simple like: Mining +1% Mastery / Scavenging +1% Crit / Herbalism +1% Haste
- New players would have a much easier time grasping a profession “tree” then the relative mess that exists today
- Each character would develop a gathering profession that relates to their crafting professions, creating a more logical character synergy
- Veteran players would feel less pressure to level their “double gathering” alt in order to support their crafting toons
- Opens up design options: Each Profession "tree" could have a “Nomi” type companion, or other creative developments of that nature
- I would venture that tweaking gathering ratios would be easier for the development team if each all Crafting profession had a more traditional gathering "anchor"

I don't think you need to re-invent the wheel, but some structure and gathering/crafting synergy would really make a lot of sense both logically and practically.
Making the wheel prettier doesn't stop it from being square.

Crafting does need a redesign, badly, but this isn't changing anything that's actually broken with the professions. If anything, the profession perks should be done away with rather than balanced around in such a destructive way.

What I mean is that while this would pretty it up a bit, it would also limit the options for a character. Why can't I be a Blacksmith and Engineer? Maybe I was a craftsman and never cared much for menial labor. Maybe I'm an herbalist and a miner because I liked exploring and gathering, but never had much time to sit around in a city waiting for a shipment of nails. Going from fluff to crunch, maybe I don't want to do any Gathering, or any Crafting. Why should I have to take one of both?

You like professions, I can tell as much from your ideas, so you should know they can mean more to the character than 4 gem slots. There needs to be a redesign to make them more worthwhile and engaging at all skill levels, not more restrictive.
Your redesign is based around using professions for their perks and keeping the ability to gather your own mats, removing the need to make a decision about what is best for your character. The changes described are too restrictive and was a long winded way of asking for more profession slots per character.
Some of us use professions for their ability to make gold, and rarely gather mats in the outside world. These ideas would reinforce the fallacy that gathering your own mats makes them free.
No, stupid idea.

I use professions to make gold, I kinda want the choice to make stuff where it goes. Completely messes up that and ruins any choice in gold making.
Thank you for the feedback! While I understand removing the ability to "double gather" may not be popular (heck my DK is Herb/Mining), I feel forced to double gather for efficiency.

02/12/2013 02:13 PMPosted by Calhoun
Making the wheel prettier doesn't stop it from being square.

I don't think anything is broken, I just feel that it can be better balanced out. Again, this is only my opinion, and I appreciate you sharing yours :)

02/12/2013 02:13 PMPosted by Calhoun
If anything, the profession perks should be done away with rather than balanced around in such a destructive way.

I did suggest removing Gathering perks as an option, and agree with you that removing them makes the most sense in that model.

02/12/2013 02:13 PMPosted by Calhoun
Why can't I be a Blacksmith and Engineer?

You can, you just get to Mine for yourself if you so choose, instead of feeling forced to level an Alt Miner or subjected to AH values.

02/12/2013 02:55 PMPosted by Abbottoir
These ideas would reinforce the fallacy that gathering your own mats makes them free.

Could you explain this a bit more? Time is money, so whether you choose to farm the mats or buy them that choice still exists.

02/12/2013 02:55 PMPosted by Abbottoir
removing the need to make a decision about what is best for your character.

I think the same argument could be made that people min/max and feel forced to NOT take a gathering profession on their main, especially if they intend to raid.

02/12/2013 03:38 PMPosted by Bloodyen
I use professions to make gold, I kinda want the choice to make stuff where it goes. Completely messes up that and ruins any choice in gold making.

Is this because of the removal of the "double-gathering" option? If not, could you explain what you mean?

Thanks all for the replies! Nice to at least get some discussion going.
I am a blacksmith/tailor which doesnt exactly fit into the model you describe so I would still need a gathering alt for one or the other, your suggestion seems to be based on the idea that a character should be self sufficient which I think was the opposite of what Blizzard has stated before with some emphasis on the interconnectivity of players in order to do things.

Like yourself I have all professions maxed across a number of characters including maxed professions on most of my level 85s but that is a choice I have made, it feels meaningful to make the choices currently (sometimes being frustrated etc is what is needed - if everything is easy it often loses meaning I wanted to drop a miner but hated the idea of not having a maxed one).

The balance of current crafting professions is such that at a min max level there are often right answers but they arent always the same answer for everyone which is in my mind a success but more importantly the benefit of absolute min/max in this scenario isn't so large as to matter overly.

Specifically on the notion of keeping a benefit for the gathering professions this exacerbates a min/max scenario and removes any choice - a warrior not taking the crit one or an arc mage taking the crit one would be clearly wrong choices.
Shtanky:
This change would be part of a bigger change, involving each character Selecting one of 3 Gathering professions (Mining, Herbalism, Scavenging). Upon selection of a Gathering Profession, the character would then have the choice to pick 2 of the 3 associated “Crafting” professions....

Each character would develop a gathering profession that relates to their crafting professions, creating a more logical character synergy.

This is the part I have a real problem with. I don't want to have to choose between engineering and inscription.
I think all that really needs changing for quality of life in professions is how they're leveled. I can speak for early Jewelcrafting in that there are spikes where leveling it is relative murder, and for most leveling players now—and especially for the capped ones who just need to level the profession—the low blue items snaked into the mix as they go are just resource traps that'll be forgotten faster than the time it took to pile in the resources for them.

Inscription worked around this since it came later in profession philosophy: it granted multiple skill dings for items that cost more resources, and the benefit was proportional to how much more it required, making it more appealing to save for one while still caring about leveling the profession in a reasonable way, if the stats it granted suited the maker. I really wish that would be carried into the low ends of other professions more, because it felt great in terms of flow.

Better yet, I would love to see profession quests come back, but in a much more interesting way, using them as a frequent progression path for the skill. Unlocked as you skill up, they would have you do profession-related tasks and reward you with significant jumps in skill and/or hauls of relevant resources, and maybe even crafting recipes that would make progression at that phase faster with more efficient costs (if they really want to go the extra mile, some of these quests could be little minigames like the timed punches in Valley of the Four Winds, where you perform the actual motions that would go into the profession, like turning a mass of metal into a badass weapon over numerous steps, or adjusting the energies needed to perfect an arcane enchantment). Right now, Professions feel very distant from the fast-paced nature of leveling anything else, which doesn't really fit anymore. I can feel their age sometimes, especially with aforementioned Jewelcrafting strains.
Atamynn:
Right now, Professions feel very distant from the fast-paced nature of leveling anything else, which doesn't really fit anymore.

This I'm not sure I agree with. Leveling a profession can be done in a matter of hours, but it takes me months to level a new character to the level cap.

This I'm not sure I agree with. Leveling a profession can be done in a matter of hours, but it takes me months to level a new character to the level cap.


Leveling a profession at cap takes a matter of hours, especially if you buy all the materials yourself, but that's playing catch up. Leveling a profession while you're leveling a character is painful nowadays. Between dungeon queues and the overall lower experience required per level, you'd spend a larger percentage of your time hunting materials and crafting stuff nowadays. Since WoW has gone to treating the journey as a means to the destination, it feels slow.
Yeah, Crono pretty much made sense of what I meant with that part. Given how leveling content is paced, profession pacing has been knocked out of sync if a player intends to level profs alongside the character itself.
As a new(er) player, I'm still trying to figure out if crafting is even worth it (outside of Alchemy/Herbalism.) In many other MMOs that I've played, crafting overall has left a sour taste in my mouth, as the trend seems to be that you get better gear from dungeon crawling and questing.

After scouring the available internet sources, it's sad to see that my previous experiences in crafting are doomed to repeat themselves in WoW, as well. Could there be a way to make crafting more useful, other than some stat bonuses I've noticed (i.e. Mining gives a passive Stamina boost?) Such as, make it to where ultimate gears can be obtained through crafting? It wouldn't be, so much, a trade-off in difficulty. Mostly since crafting still takes a decent amount of time to level.
Crafting used to give the best items, back in the days of the Burning Crusade.

Blizzard has long since changed their minds and now (item)crafting is a way to supplement your gear until you get better. It does a good job filling holes until you can replace it.

If you keep your crafting (eg: blacksmithing) leveled up and are willing to spend some gold when needed, you can really help out your leveling process by making sure you're decked out in the best gear you can get for your level. Most quest rewards are downright bad until you start doing some of the Cataclysm quests.
Would you mine summarizing your main issue with professions in a sentence or two? Way to much information is provided and I am not sure why professions need the redesign.

The game essentially revolves around current content, level 85-90, and in that skill range, I think the professions are better then ever so far.
Could there be a way to make crafting more useful, other than some stat bonuses I've noticed (i.e. Mining gives a passive Stamina boost?) Such as, make it to where ultimate gears can be obtained through crafting?
Never.

The problem with that is that all you have to do is grind a whole lot, which is boring so it burns players out and pushes them to quit. Or like in TBC, players feel like they're forced into certain professions so they can craft the best stuff for themselves.

Putting the best equipment behind group content means that you need to go through more of what the game has to offer to get it, and thus you're doing content where top-end equipment is most needed. If you're doing daily quests and pet battles, there's not really any need for you to have a world-murdering epic weapon.
They defiantly need a redesign at the lower levels similar to how they helped catch everyone up with cooking in Pandaria. It takes way too collect crafting materials and way too much of said materials to make things that are often inferior to what a couple of quests reward you with. By the time you start to move into crafting gear that's any good, the quest gear has out-leveled it in usefulness by 10+ levels.

I made created two low level characters with leatherworking on different realms one with other characters to assist with funding, with the other by itself. The first couple of quests gave me gear way superior to what I would have from crafting. Unless you're buying most of your material off the AH (which is often way overpriced because no one likes to farm the stuff cause it's time consuming),

It takes way more time to gather crafting materials as you try to level it up with your character than to queue up for a random dungeon or quest than it does to level up crafting. Like the person above said you literally have to stop leveling your character if you want to level up your profession together, that or reach a high level then come back to make gear that's basically useless and doesn't sell that well on the AH anyway because people get better gear from quests and random dungeon runs with less effort required.

It's just sad that while you're making what's basically vendorable gear, quests are already giving greens, by the time you get to greens, quests/dungeons runs are providing blues.
That wouldn't work for me. I have eng transmute on this toon. I have several miners but don't need everyone to mine or herb. My ench is eng too. 6 mains and 4 of them mine. That is enough mining to go around for me. My herbalists are lower level that i don' play anymore.

In order to qualify my opinions on the matter, my familiarity with professions is relevant.


Sorry, stopped reading there. Unfortunately this is passive-aggressive speak for, "my opinion matters more than anybody else..."
I'm in a similar situation as you.

- I have 11 85+ toons, all with 2 professions maxed (except my hunter, with 1 intentionally left out for a new profession in the future just in case)
- I am a min-maxer who always tries to match professions with the specs I play on that toon.
- I'm also into making gold with my professions. I have 3x enchanting and 9x alchemy (yes nine, with 7x transmute, 1x potion, 1x elixir)

I want my 9 alchemist to make me gold, but with your model, that means I will also have 9 scribes which are useless.

One thing I agree with you is that the gathering professions are skewed with how many crafting professions they feed. Skinning should come with leatherworking instead of being a standalone profession.
02/15/2013 12:02 PMPosted by Tengster
Skinning should come with leatherworking instead of being a standalone profession.

Hell yes. It more closely follows the tailoring model at this point then a gathering / crafting combo.

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