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.
- 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.