I’d like to see the crafting system in WOW re-designed to be fully committed to the “no production skills needed” nature of its current implementation. I think it’s safe to say that the majority of the WOW players aren’t really interested in having an in-depth crafting system like EQ, SWG, LOTRO or many of the other MMORPGs. WOW is the first game that I played where the production portion of crafting was click-n-go – absolutely no interaction on my part needed to ensure the successful outcome of the product. The crafting system implemented in WOW is all about the components and grinding to get them, along with the rarer recipes.
I enjoyed the crafting in EQ2 where I had to actively participate in the production system, and my careful attention or lack there of, affected the quality of the item produced. I liked it even better once they removed the subcomponent combines which greatly streamlined the process, but still left the meat of the activity. I can’t say this is a fact, but it certainly felt like my gathering took a lot less time in EQ2 than it does in WOW. That of course would make perfect sense because the bulk of my activity was spent in the actual production phase. During my short visits to EQ2, I met many people whose primary role in the game was crafting – no more, no less and they enjoyed doing it.
A player can’t subscribe to WOW and expect to only craft. Not only do you have to farm for the best recipes for each profession, Blizzard also implemented character level requirements for the various tiers of recipes. Therefore unless you level, you won’t be able to get to the more lucrative recipes for your given profession. I can’t imagine anyone deciding that all they wanted to do in WOW was craft since you don’t really “craft” in the first place.
With the exclusion of primary subcomponents, I think they should remove the production aspect of crafting from WOW all together. For all the value add of player interaction, or lack there of, we should have NPCs craft the actual items and turn the player professions into gather or pre-process. For example, a tailor will continue to farm humanoids for cloth and produce specialty bolts and threads, which they then place on the Auction House for sale. Someone who wants Robe of the Void purchases the necessary components and heads off to a major city to have it crafted by a Master Tailor NPC. Every profession as it stands today can easily be fitted into this model.
What I’m proposing isn’t some far-fetched idea either. Pirates of the Burning Sea isn’t going to have players running around crafting items and neither will Conan. And given that the production part of it in WOW is negligible anyway, I say off with its head.
Most players argue that crafting in its current state is a time and gold-sink except for perhaps Alchemy. The other professions make little or no money until when and “if” they acquire the rare recipes which are found by grinding instances or faction. To me it’s very obvious that crafting has little to do with production, and succeeds or fails soley based on your luck or effort at grinding – be it for components or the recipes. If they still feel the need to have some aspect that would distinguish the effort someone has put into “crafting” then have rare collection items or components instead of the production recipes.
There would be some global player benefits from a shift toward this model. First off, every player would have the ability to get any item they so desired crafted, if they had the materials. They wouldn’t be bound to finding the player that has the ability to craft that item. The cost of crafted goods would center exclusively around the components, and not the arbitrary production fees of players. Since grinding for the mats is mostly what we crafters do, let’s just focus on that part and be done with the “white noise” aspects. We can still have Bind on Pick-up (BOP) items from the vendors for epic crafted goods, but instead of only a tailor being able to wear the Robe of the Void, anyone who wears cloth can have it made to wear. Instead of Engineers sucking wind to keep up with that profession for the engineer-only gadgets, everyone can have engineering items made for their use. Personally, I don’t see the value in making a player tie themselves to a profession just for the BOP items.
Remove that false incentive of BOPS and instead let people do the kind of gathering they most prefer. Do we still need two professions in this scenario? I’m not so sure. They could diversify the components farmed enough that you’d only want to do one or let people still have two. And while they’re at it, Cooking and Fishing need to be turned into primary professions as well. Hell, do away with secondary professions all together.
Another benefit from this scenario would be the stability of item cost. I guess people could jack-up the cost of the harvested items but not sure they could do that for long, when anyone would be capable of taking up that profession and providing the mats. Instead of having to nerf professions to keep the costs of consumables reasonable for raiding, AFTER players have sacrificed time and gold to attaining max levels, the cost of production would have been controlled by the game. I’m all for player controlled economy but that’s just a myth in WOW. When Blizzard thinks the cost of something is out of line they intervene anyway – change the nature of the item’s use, alter drop rates, change production cool-downs, etc. I’d rather have them doing this on the end that wouldn’t affect the player crafting side of things. Some of the changes to certain professions recently were drastic enough that it could have swayed someone’s choice in selecting that profession. But it’s much too late to not choose it when you’re level 365 and Blizzard swoops in for the kill.
We all know that the gathering professions are the money-makers – it’s a clear cut fact in WOW. Let’s eliminate the grind on one side of the equation then. We’ll keep grinding for materials and rare items, but let the NPCs handle the production and they’ll have access to everything. They could of course take it a step further and have player, guild, city, race, class or faction quests that have the players unlock the rare recipes on NPCs. All sorts of fun activities could be implemented for those types of endeavors. And no, I don’t mean the War Effort grind-fest they did for the Gates of AQ to be opened. That was some horrid BS.
I’m sure there are lots of creative things that can be done to make having harvest-only professions work. I just don’t see the point of the production aspect. It’s just an artificial boundary and cock-block to items. The system as it stands now is so predicated on grinding, that we might as well do away with the queue-able click-n-go production pieces. It would also remove the, “please do something for [insert profession here],” forum posts. All players would have equal access to all crafted items, without being put into a choke-hold to choose a profession based on a couple of BOPs. More importantly, all professions would be viable revenue streams without the pre-requisite gold-sinks. Doesn’t that sound like more fun?