Dev Chat on Professions

Yesterday a new post came out from Blizzard on Professions in their "Ask a Dev" series. I found the information interesting but not earth-shattering. Some of the items they mention are things we've been talking about for a good while now. Unfortunately they give no timelines, so this doesn't help any of us make plans. I would say the biggest nugget that might influence you now is the understanding that some profession-related items will become easier to acquire "soon". If you are benefiting from the scarcity of those things, you should cash in as much as you can before the change occurs.

I think the biggest news from yesterday is the confirmation that Chaos Orbs will go BOE at some point. For those of you profiting off these items, enjoy the ride while you can :) Personally I look forward to these being transferable so I can make nice items for my alts without having to gear them all up for heroics. My engineer will be able to make her epic helm eventually, yay! I think this methodology is a good compromise between exclusivity and easy availability. As the expansion progresses, our crafted epics will become less desirable anyway. There's no harm in easing the path to them once the front line raiders move on from this tier of content.

Another big announcement is that Books of Glyph Mastery will no longer provide exclusive recipes at some point. While many of us were speculating that their functionality would have to change, I didn't anticipate that they would go in this direction. I thought at least some of these recipes would move to the trainers. I think this solution is rather elegant though. Adding these recipes to the research table means that new Scribes will have to invest some time to learn all the recipes. The books will be completely optional while providing a way for some to shorten the recipe collection process.

I'm going to lump all of the various comments on Archaeology under the umbrella of "Archaeology still needs work". That's the gist of what I get from the Dev remarks on it. It looks like one of the ways they plan to boost it is with daily quests. I'm not sure I'd go that direction with it unless they are bringing something new to the table via daily questing. We already have a large number of daily quests in the game with just three professions. If Archaeology quests don't provide some tangible benefit beyond free skill points, I predict they will lose their luster very quickly. If they follow through on the hint to let players gain extra fragments via daily quests - that would provide solid, long term value to us "diggers".

On the subject of daily quests - I would have to guess that the biggest road block to expanding this idea is the sheer number of quests that would have to be managed. Already I've lost interest in the Fishing and Cooking quests. The Jewelcrafting quests are only getting done because I don't have to leave town (mostly) and I want the tokens. I'm not sure it's a good idea to expand these to the point where you spend an hour every day doing crafting dailies. Even the Crafting Diva wouldn't stick with that!

Quest consolidation might be a good thing here. Design a robust set of daily quests with one type of token that's used for a variety of recipe types. Not only do you reduce the amount of design work- you'd increase the perceived variety to the players (30 quests on rotation instead of six JC, six Fishing, etc). AND you'd be giving crafters those elusive "interesting choices" by requiring them to choose how to spend their tokens across multiple professions. I've brought this idea up before and I still think it's a workable alternative to daily profession recipe glut.

As for dead ideas, it looks like we can add upgradable items to the list. This experiment from Burning Crusade clearly got a thumbs-down from the Devs. And if we read between the lines here we can extrapolate a pecking order for profession gear. They don't want crafted gear to have BiS items because it forces raiders into crafting. While I agree with them that I don't want obligatory raiders in my sandpit, it's a shame that crafters can't have anything nice because of raider "gotta have it" mentality. Surely there's something cool that crafters can get for themselves? I don't have an answer to this question, I'm just dreaming aloud =)

Wands are probably another pipe dream although I'm not sure why. From the response it looks like there's a tricky issue here that they chose not to bring up. Most likely in an effort to avoid insane QQ over whatever it is. I'm drawing a blank as to what the problem might be, maybe someone else has a thought?

They also touched on the old-world tradeskill progression in terms of difficulty. I think we should expect to see more unusual ingredients being removed from recipes and possibly more recipes moving to trainers. This process has actually been going on since late Wrath and is likely to continue from the looks of their response.

And finally, it appears that they're still tossing around the mini-game idea. Mini-games are starting to feel like the new dance studio. It never happened with Fishing and now it's being theoretically expanded to Archaeology. It might be better to avoid bringing up mini-games at all unless they actually get a green light. At least that's my view. I'd rather not hear about features that are still at pie-in-the-sky stage. It's fine to acknowledge that certain professions need work and that there are solutions on the table to address the "boring" factor. But teasing us with ideas that never come to fruition after months of hearing about them is rather torturous. Sorta like that Path of Titans thing that caused so much drama....

Overall some interesting information and a few nice changes to look forward to, but nothing game changing. What do you guys think?


  1. I strongly feel that if crafters are not going to be making BiS, then crafters should not be required to be raiders. I.e. recipe raid drops and requirements. Blizzard already has a problem, much worse in Cata, as to why people who don't raid should spend $15/month. Don't make it worse; you can always reward the raiders with the "primordial saronite."

    I am not a big fan of minigames; replacing a 5-second boring click on resource with a boring 60 second peggle is not much of an improvement.

    Again, if Blizzard is short on resources, then the cooking dailies in IF don't seem to get a lot of use as long as they can't be run if you have already run SW.

    They did not discuss the two biggest profession teases: mail and milling/prospecting. IIRC, there was a blue post that 50 item mail works fine for mailing to a friend but not as well for getting 800 items back from the AH. Similarly, is the milling involved in making 100 Darkmoon cards or prospecting 300 stacks of ore intended? A dev hinted about looking at something. Which could not be in my lifetime or in 4.2.1, who knows.

  2. I'm with you on the issue of raiding requirements for crafters, I'd prefer to see crossover minimized on that. Most raiders I know are not avid crafters, so it's a weird marriage of dependencies IMO.

    As for the mail and milling problems, I can only assume that we're dealing with an infrastructure that wasn't designed for the bulk processes players are now using. There may be no easy fix available if that's the case. If it does come down to that, they likely would have a hard time getting a green light to do massive overhauls of core systems at this late stage of the game. I'm not sure we know enough at this point to understand why it's not being addressed.

  3. I am all for chaos orbs becoming BOE, I literally just got my first orb tonight and its on a character that needs five more points before I can even use the recipes that need it, well my blacksmith who has all the recipes doesn't have any.

    My biggest complaint with the state of professions is the state of skinning currently. My personal guild bank is over flowing with current level cloth even after doing first aid as its so plentiful, but they have sped up the leveling curve so much now and it seems like taken so many beast type mobs out of zones that everyone I know always complains about having to go back and level skinning which I never had to do before Cata I always seemed to out level the zone long before the quests were done.

    Add to this fact that it takes at the skill 500+ level some 50 kills for just the savage leather and it quickly becomes a profession no one I know wants to work on.

    My friends and I have actually spent the last week flying around the world digging up tiny rocks to glue into chicken feet and empty wine bottles because it was more enjoyable then skinning things.

  4. oops forgot my JC question:

    With everyone stocking up JC tokens, partly due to time and partly due to not many patterns being worth it, I can't help but think Bliz won't allow them to buy the epic recipes. Do we think they want most JCs to have 6 12 maybe two dozen recipes in the first hour? If epic gems don't happen until 4.3 how many JC tokens will be in the game by then? I don't have the courage of my convictions so just building up my stockpile.

    Everyone is speculating on where the epic gems will come from, I am not 100% convinced the patterns are settled. Same old, same old is the most likely but as H L Menken said

    Yeah, especially with 25 daily quest limit: new toons who do 12 TB dailies, 5 Wildhammer, JC, cook, fish and you are near the limit and nearly have a job. Alts with Dalaran rings(or mages) doing the JC, cook, and maybe fish and you're even closer. But then add in the 4.2 firelands grindfest and I do not see much room for too many more dailies.

  5. I bet they'll add a faster crafting service or larger mail box as a Premium service. It seems to be that their business model is moving that way. Offer everyone the basics and then charge the people who want it for the extras.

    I for one think its a great idea, micro-transactions are the way that the gaming industry is heading. Blizzard need to keep up with current trends, if not pioneer them....

    As for raiding patterns, I hate them. I'm not a raider and the majority of patterns I'm missing from Tailoring and Engineering are all BoP ones from raids - going back to vanilla.

  6. For the wands there's a big clue in another dev comment I read. Blizz stated wands have now just become stat sticks and consider it a failure in design if a player is ever using a wand instead of casting spells.

    I'm sure they'd love to get rid of wands all together but that wouldn't be easy. I am surprised they didn't have enchanters make some nice wands like scribes got relics to help fill in the gear gaps.

  7. Crafting in WoW has always felt like the bastard child of gameplay. It's very simple and certainly doesn't get priority.

    Personally the best crafting experience I've had in an MMO was in Vanguard.

  8. Hagu: I agree with you that Blizz is unlikely to let us stockpile our way into massive epic gems on Day 1. I fully expect them to put a roadblock somewhere. Since their favorite type of gating mechanism is the cooldown, I wouldn't be surprised to see a CD of some type in the mix. Not that it hurts anything to stockpile tokens and pyrite. Those things have value regardless of what Blizzard does. My best guess on epic gems is that they will likely create a throttle on them, but I'm hedging my bets with some stockpiling just in case :)

    Xeth: You make an excellent point about wand usage. If they're looking to get away from wanding activity, they may feel that crafted wands are a step in the wrong direction. It's certainly possible that they'd prefer to do away with wands completely and give casters relics instead.

  9. I have started stockpiling some pyrite but am more skeptical than most. I expect everything I have now to be worth less in two months. So there is some risk with holding pyrite; not a lot but it is not cost-free.

    Throttled/cooldown on gems is probably expected. The tokens are another matter. But I can't recall a situation where tokens/marks/point conversion was throttled. I can foresee three ways someone with 120 JC tokens when 4.epic patch hits can buy epic gem *patterns*
    1) use all tokens immediately
    2) use them in some gated/throttled manner
    3) use something else to get the patterns

    1 sure seems like a floodgate with almost all patterns produced on day 1
    2 would be the first time they have done something like this
    3 would require extra work

    So the risk is all the JC tokens I could use to sell Chimera's Eye today instead of in a few months when they will be worth less. I.e., my deflationary expectations are such that if I knew existing JC tokens will not buy new patters, I would be selling CE as I go along. I don't see me or the competition using the tokens to buy up more blue-quality patterns we don't already own. If Blizzard we to announce that existing tokens would not be used for epic gem patterns, I would expect a bump of CEs to hit the AH.

    But as @nostalgeek said, with wow professions, anything is possible.

  10. I can think of a few other options that might also be employed:

    1) Epic recipes from trainer with a CD on the cutting recipe (seems unlikely, but possible)
    2) Epic recipes are sold by a reputation vendor (BC era variant) and can't be purchased on Day 1.
    3) Epic recipes are sold using a different token system or our current tokens are somehow retired in the same way JP/VP is being handled.

    It's also possible they will come up with some new system we haven't even thought of. I'm not ruling anything out at this point since we're already seeing some unprecedented developments in crafting with the Cata content.

  11. Hagu - ooh, #2, perhaps a Firelands vendor?
    Still there are so many options that involve not using my tokens although I do think that they will be used. Oh well, we'll know this fall.

    Anyway, in your PTR travels have you seen the new bag recipes? ( 36 slotters: 2 LW for scribe & LW, tailor for JC) Vendors, world drops, or raids with me obviously hoping vendors.

  12. There are other options to limit the epic gem recipes.

    - Epic recipes drop in raids.
    - Epic recipes are sold for JC tokens plus a raid drop "primordial saronite".
    - Epic recipes are sold for JC tokens plus a BOP raid drop "primordial saronite".
    - Epic recipes are quests which require a T13 raid to complete.
    - Epic recipes are sold in the cash shop.

  13. Kring, I sure hope most of your ideas don't get the nod, as I feel the majority of "hard core" crafters supplying the markets are not core raiders and wouldn't have access to the drops if it went the "Primo" system.
    I for one would not be a happy camper as I sure don't want to raid on my main, and then try pug raids with my JC who hasn't even done heroics in cata or LK days.


  14. I think #2 thru #4 are unlikely since they've never been done before. My personal view is that they won't do #1 either. This would severely limit access to epic gems and create a situation similar to the maelstrom crystal problem that they just fixed. So far they've shown no indication that epic gems are the province of only raiders, so I'm still hoping that they will make them available to all crafters in a reasonable manner.