Back in August, we learned that the proposed new title for Cataclysm professions was to be "Illustrious". I said at the time time that this was lame and I still stand by that. For one, I feel it's a somewhat obscure term that won't be meaningful to some players. My other issue with it stems from my perception that it just isn't terribly awe-inspiring. The definition for illustrious on Dictionary.com is "famous" or "prominent". I'm not convinced that being illustrious would demonstrate the pinnacle of achievement for a tradesman. Surely if we strive for a title that expresses our skills in a chosen field, we'd want something that conveys our mastery and brilliance.
We dedicated crafters want some form of recognition for our dedication and skill. Fame may not factor into the equation, but acknowledgement of expertise is certainly important. Of course it would be wonderful if the implementation of professions allowed us to hone our skills in a tangible way, but at least we can have mastery levels that let us pretend we do :) Until then we'll just have to be satisfied with our titles. I have plenty of ideas to share and I'm certain you guys have some good ones as well. So let's put our heads together and come up with a title we can be proud to wear.
I've been playing around with some alternate titles that I hope will worm their way into the discussion for Cataclysm. I strongly encourage my readers to vote/comment with your opinion on this. If we don't convince Blizzard that their title stinks, we're going to be stuck with it. I don't care if you hate my titles more or you just want to pimp your own idea - go on record with something. The more buzz we can generate on this, the more likely it will get revisited. So don't click away from this page without contributing to the discussion, even if it's just to say that you love Illustrious. Have an opinion!
So here goes, my first proposed title is Laureate. I know this might seem weird at first, but follow me on this. Arguably the most esteemed award in our culture is the Nobel Prize. Anyone who wins it gains instant respect as a leader in their field. The title doesn't necessarily confer fame onto it's recipients, but it does grant them instant status and prestige in their field of expertise. For me, this seems a much closer match to the reputation a tradesman would be looking to achieve. In addition, Laureate has the advantage of being a known term by most people and thereby conveying the proper meaning.
Other possible titles would be Guru, Sage, Adept or Premier, which also have a certain prestige or respect factor associated with them. You could add a prefix to the existing "Grand Master" designation with Supreme, Eminent, Distinguished, Esteemed, or even Renowned. Or you could go with something like Exalted, but Blizzard might prefer to save that for something a bit more generic than tradeskills.
Here is a list of the various designations that I think would work well as an alternative to Illustrious:
Prodigy (or Prodigious)
Keep in mind that these new terms could be used in combination with the existing title. Vote for the title you like best regardless of how it might be used. Once we see which title most people prefer, it's a simple matter of coming up with the combination that works best with it. The way I see these new terms, they could be used to replace 'Grand' with something more epic sounding like 'Supreme Master'. Or you could add the new term into with the existing title and get something like 'Grand Master Guru' or 'Premier Grand Master'.
On the other hand you could scrap Grand Master entirely and upgrade to something new like Laureate or Adept. This option becomes more appealing for the long term because you'd have room for more expansions to introduce Master Laureate/Grand Master Laureate crafting levels. The problem with this whole naming situation is that it's getting harder and harder to come up with "better" titles for each new tier of crafting skills. I suspect that's how we got "Illustrious" in the first place. Assuming we have to come up with a new, more prestigious title for each expansion, eventually we'll run out of titles that are loftier than the one in use. I'm not necessarily proposing that this should be taken into account for Cataclysm, but it might not be a bad idea to plan ahead if there are other expansions in the queue. This is why I think switching to a new naming scheme should at least be considered, and some of the terms I've proposed will fit well with that plan.
So please take a minute to leave a comment and have your say on this critical issue!