Personally I thought the farm thing worked out fairly well. Folks who put a lot of time into their farm got a lot out of it. Players who didn't work on them obviously weren't able to reap the rewards. I don't know about you guys but I still farm almost every day with 3-4 of my toons. I'm not getting a ton of mats from my farm, but I get enough to supply my daily cooldowns and such. I think that's a fair use of the farming mechanic, I'm not getting rich or anything.
I suspect a lot of players have abandoned their farms, I don't see nearly as many players in the Halfhill area as I used to. But that's not exactly shocking since I don't really see as many players in other populous areas either. What I think really happened is that a good percentage of the casual gathering we used to do dropped off in MoP. It's likely that the Devs want us to be out in the world instead of quietly tending our farms. In that sense, the experiment that is Sunsong Ranch may have failed in their eyes. It's a shame because I'm sure a lot of work went into creating farms and I enjoy having a little section of the world that's just for me.
Another thing I noticed that may be weighing against Farms is that newer recipes seem to be moving away from Spirit of Harmony usage. The recipes in 5.0.1 required a lower number of SoH than the 5.0 crafted epics and the 5.2 epics used none at all. From what I've seen so far on the 5.4 PTR there are yet again no recipes with SoH. Instead we are relying on daily cooldowns to provide a gating mechanism. They're also introducing a new type of "Spirit", that will likely be a raid drop item.
I would guess from this that the Devs didn't like how the Spirit of Harmony use played out. In all likelihood we stockpiled them too much and by the time 5.2 dropped they were no longer meaningful as a gate. Thus we got the raid dropped components instead. At least with 5.4 it looks like we'll rely purely on our daily cooldown to provide mats for epic gear. While I have no problem with gating to protect the markets, I don't particularly enjoy the supply of crucial components being controlled by raiders.
I'm definitely glad to see in the upcoming 5.4 recipes that raid components are not required to make epic gear. I don't know about you, but I haven't made even one 522 epic despite having all the recipes for a good while now. I just don't want to pay the outrageous prices that raiders expect for Haunting Spirits. In 5.4 the raiders will be able to use their spirits to boost their own production speed without bottlenecking the rest of us from making anything at all, which I think is a much nicer way to handle crafted epics.
From this side of the fence I suppose I can see where Sunsong Ranch didn't provide the value needed to keep it on the table for future expansions. If we assume the Dev consensus is that Spirits of Harmony were a failed gating tool AND that players using their farm for crafting materials was too anti-community, then the only real value from farms are for Cooking materials. Since Cooking is a secondary profession, it may not merit the dev time needed to keep farms in sync with it.
To my mind this is a shame because I enjoy noodling on Sunsong Ranch and I don't think I'm the only one. In lieu of player housing, it's a good personal area for players where we can putter around and do our own thing. But no one will visit them any more if they only tie into Pandaria content. If nothing else I'd really like to see them add an option for us to easily visit after the rest of the world moves on. Maybe a new type of portal shard that takes us to Sunsong Ranch to say hi to Shaggy, our yak, and Luna the Cat. And while we're at it, can we give the poor dog a name? Just sayin.
Feel free to leave a Comment if you want to join the conversation about the demise of Farming <sniff>