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Wowhead Economy Weekly Wrap-Up 200 - What Players Want from Professions in the Future
31/10/2021 a las 13:00
WoW Economy Weekly Wrap-Up
Hello! Welcome to the 200th edition of the WoW Economy Weekly Wrap-up!
My name is
and I am a content creator focusing on making gold using Professions and
. I have a number of guides over on
and I also stream my adventures on
Welcome to 200!
This 200th edition marks a special point as it was at precisely 100 blog posts since the esteemed
passed the economy reporting baton over to me. A lot has gone on these almost 2 years since that first post and I am very proud to be part of such a warm and welcoming community of gold makers. We are all here to learn and share whatever level we are at and it is an honour to be writing this blog for you all. Thankyou for your time and support!
Professions - A Discussion
This week, we will focus on one of the core aspects of gold making ... Professions!
I started the discussion as to
what I loved and disliked about professions
over on the woweconomy subreddit earlier this week...
Greetings fellow gold makers!
I read a tweet by
"While we are always looking for well-rounded applicants this requisition will be to primarily support development of professions in WoW. We have some ambitious plans and need people who can focus their time and effort in this space. It is likely we will hire more than one person.
We've got a high level plan but many details need to be finalized and realized, and there is a good deal of implementation across a wide swath of the game that this position will be expected to take on. It is a great opportunity to learn how many parts of WoW function."
"Blizzard Entertainment is looking for a game designer for the World of Warcraft team whose primary role will be to support professions. A candidate for this job should be excited about creating the path for a player to craft an exceptional item, planning an ecosystem that promotes economic activity between players, and integrating professions throughout the experience of a World of Warcraft expansion.
What you will do…
Integrate professions as an organic part of the world, from placing resource nodes to creating flavorful names that enhance and reinforce the game’s story.
Create intriguing recipes and crafted items that are a piece of a balanced endgame ecosystem.
Develop ideas on how to position professions to encourage positive player interaction."
This got me thinking about professions, what I love, what I hate and how they could be improved. I wanted to share them with you all and open the floor for more suggestions and ideas..
Why have professions in the first place?
As stated above, professions are there to encourage positive player interaction. You have those that like to go out and gather raw materials, they then sell those to professional crafters who take the raw materials and turn them into something of value to other players. These can be useful, cosmetic, or simply fun. It's an exchange of time and/or skill for money. Each gets something out of the interaction and all benefit.
It's a carefully balanced ecosystem and over the course of expansions, has been overall successful I think (otherwise I wouldn't have invested the last 4 years soley focusing on this aspect of the game). There are times when it seems less enjoyable (scrapper anyone?), and times where the investment of skill matches desirable items and profits are good (Legion Enchanting was a good one)
What's worked well?
This can be entirely subjective and down to personal preference. My favourites so far have been Tailoring shirts and Enchanting Tools of the Trade.
Shirts are great because they are purely for cosmetic reasons. Many players like to look good and a shirt is a great way to express yourself with a carefully chosen cour scheme and style. They are pretty cheap to make, but some patterns are difficult to get hold of being rare drops or limited to out of the way locations. The Rich Purple Silk Shirt was a great example of simply having a purple border to the icon and it being a rare drop made it highly desirable. Shame they changed the border colour though. Maybe we need some more epic or legendary shirts?
Enchanting Tools of the Trade in the form of Iwens Enchanting Rod was a fantastic example of discrete, but achievable quest lines resulting in a more efficient way of getting raw materials. There's a barrier to entry from the quest with smaller, achievable goals along the way to stay motivated. The reward at the end is a consistent improvement to the whole profession and worthwhile making the whole experience very satisfying.
I liked the tools of the trade idea as a whole, it's a shame some rewards were either useless or relied on randomness (Silasss!)
Consumables and frequently updated item enchants always make good "bread & butter" professions. High turnover and useful to players.
Barriers to Entry
Ultimately, there has to be a balance between barrier to entry and reward to other players and it's hard to get right.
You can see when the barrier to entry is too easy and and any player can power through to max skill in a profession and all items leading there become worthless. There has to be some difficulty to either max skill or rarer recipes.
Having to make too many of the same thing along the way also causes an imbalance as players looking to skill up will flood the market with "useless" items in order to rush towards the really good ones. Look no further than the Shadowlands Legendaries for an example of this. I personally hate how these turned out. The barrier to entry was simply mountains of gold and there was too much waste along the way. It was disheartening. The demand was not high enough and everyone ended up chasing (and cancel scanning) the same few items.
When the barrier to entry is a super rare drop, then that can also be frustrating yet enticing. Look at the High Society Top Hat, a unique looking item but very hard to get hold of the recipe. Similar with the Felsteel Longblade and others like this. I'm not necessarily against these, but I prefer a system where you can make small, steady progress towards an end goal.
The profession quests in Legion I think are a good example as is the Crafters Mark III with Death's Advance rep. It felt like you were making progress and had small rewards along the way.
What Hasn't Worked?
Nomi & Silas! Relying on RNG too much is frustrating and demoralising. I don't mind so much the rare drops. But those two in particular made Legion Cooking and BfA Alchemy a lot less fun.
The scrapper! Endless processing items 9 at a time to get a BoP reagent was a bad idea. It perhaps could've been alleviated if the Expulsom was tradable, but as it was it was a painful experience. I must admit to a certain perverse satisfaction in calculating the most efficient pricing of the scrapped items, so it's not a total loss!
Pandarian and WoD Dalies. I found these annoying due to the enforced time gated nature of them. There was nothing you could do but click a button once a day to learn a new random recipe. The Chef's Hat daily quests for Epicurean Awards was a better system I think.
What to look forward to in the future?
I'd like to see profession items have more value to other players. Not just in cosmetic differences, but also in usefulness. Perhaps unique effects like Legion Legendaries? I actually think the Relic of the Past system was a really good idea, but lost out on the ilevel restrictions, so they weren't that useful to players.
More professions like Carpentry would be a fantastic addition (perhaps with player housing), but also let's not neglect existing professions like Engineering & Archaeology. Please make more engineering items usable by non-engineers! I don't need to know how to build a car in order to drive it..
The interplay between professions looked promising in Shadowlands Beta, it's a shame many of them were stripped out. I'd rather buy an expensive widget from an engineer (or make it myself) than buy an expensive Orboreal Shard from a vendor.
I'd like to see more quests like the Tools of the Trade with real consistent rewards at the end.
What do you think? What's the best and worst aspect of professions for you? What would you like to see next?
This was just a starting point, sharing my thoughts and inviting others to share theirs. The gold making community did not disappoint! There are many, well-thought out responses and I encourage you to
read them in depth in the original thread.
I will include some snippets of the responses here ...
My biggest hope for professions and for whatever happens with this position, is that it can make players' profession choice feel as important as their class choice. I look forward to a day where someone introduces themselves as a Night Elf Blacksmith. There's a lot that would have to happen for that, because for the choice to matter, the profession needs to have an impact on everyone's preferred method of playing the game, whether that's questing, raiding, collecting, or goldmaking (or PVP, I guess y'all count too). The most important things to tackle to achieve this, in my opinion, are integrating professions into the world, integrating them into the story, and providing proper motivation - i.e. balancing the economy and adding core feedback loops which are in line with the reasons why people picked their professions.
I have reached a point where I believe professions should not impact gameplay in any way that can be competitive. (M+, raiding, PVP.) It's a balancing nightmare for which there is no solution: If things are a) impactful and b) different from one another there will always be a "right" answer (see: covenants) and so instead of having a fun choice to flesh out your character you have a prescribed profession combo and can't deviate from it if you wish to remain competitive.
Right now things are alright since there's only one mandatory profession: Engineering. It's not great, but it's alright. But I remember back when every profession had a throughput benefit and the right choice was JC/BS. If you wanted to compete, that's what you had. This then also led to feeling obligated to switch professions as the meta shifted, meaning you couldn't even feel your profession was a part of your character's flavor.
Additionally, if a way to pay a sub with gold disappeared myself and many others (not only gold-makers but the thousands or more who do mission tables just to get enough for a token each month) would quit. It needn't be a way for players to buy gold, it could jsut be a vendor you buy a token from to destroy gold in the economy, but there must always be a way to play without paying real money, IMO.
I am not a fan of the fluff quests. But what I *hate* is doing it for the 15th time on an alt. A lot of games, especially after a visit to the cash shop, allow you to have more than two professions and to freely and especially not $25, move between realms and factions. So if you want an A&H on say 7 realms (friends want you to play with them and then they flame out in 3 months) that is 14 profs. Quests that were silly the first time are loathsome well before the 14th iteration. SL did the best job yet with the skip-the-questline mechanics.
Are 2 profs/toon, toon stuck on realm/faction without ca$h$hop carved in stone? IMO, this causes a lot of alts that I have no desire to play but just level to have two profession slots. It feels like there should be a better way.
Professions have lost their gearing purpose for many player’s main characters. There needs to be a lot thought given to finding their niche in the game. This does not have to be limited to one niche, of course. However, there does seem to be an opening when looking at solo adventures (which seems to be a reoccurring praise from Legion professions). Similarly, professions could be a fantastic tool for utilizing currencies for upgrading, altering, and personalizing gear. Lastly, there seems to be a massive grey area when it comes to balancing player progression and player catch-up mechanics. Here, opinions will differ greatly (like most grey areas), but I believe there is a way to maintain some level of accessibility while provide prestige of being a master of your craft.
I liked how the Professions were introduced in player quests in Legion. I liked the secondary markets that Draenor upgrade Essences and Legion Obliterum created that players could participate in without having professions. I like collecting recipes even if they're not particularly useful, like an alchemist in a shop with hundreds of books but will always know how to find the thing the customer needs.
Some of my fondest memories of WoW are standing on the bridge in Ironforge in vanilla and selling enchants, getting to know the city regulars and hanging out before heading to a dungeon.
I would love to see more systems and mechanics that bring people together like that, perhaps with a purpose. Group related Profession content I don't think has ever been done, at least not very well or even intentionally. The 'Seed Raid' meta in Legion was an unexpected but a brilliant "use of game mechanics" and an excellent demonstration showing players could work together to work towards some shared Profession-related goal.
Sure I might be fine doing something on my own, it's still worth my time - but it'd be great to get together with a friend or some guild members to create some mutually beneficial bonus to whatever it is that we need, or want, to do.
Some other thoughts -
I mentioned it above, but Blizzard need to embrace their professions in terms of adding cosmetics. They don't even really need new art assets either. Just add in armor or weapon transmog items from trash mobs over the last few expansions, alternate appearances, glyphed spell effects, etc. Put the patterns for a lot of these on rare drops or behind reputations (much better than putting needed flask recipes or gear that's utterly useless by the time you get enough rep to buy it), or behind minor secrets or archaeology.
I'd personally love for throughput bonuses like we used to have for maxed professions because it pushed more players to even pay attention to professions, but I know Blizzard really doesn't want that.
For the love of God Blizzard, please limit yourself to only one annoying to come by, BOP for some irritating reason, tough to stockpile rare material per expansion.
TLDR: We need more substance in Professions they need to be integrated into crucial parts of the gameplay in new expansions but players should also have the freedom to not do the professions if that's not to their liking (A good example of that is Shadowlands Legendaries, but they have so many issues that it's very hard to see the good parts of the system)
Legion did really well at integrating gameplay into the professions by providing quest lines and expertise ranks to items, and I feel while not perfect they were on the right track. You had good reason to explore the professions and increase your skill with them, more than just because you needed the gold. The fact that there is not even a questline to learn the legendary base items is staggering, but this brings me to my next point.
It blows my mind that there is only 1 way to learn a new pattern. There are already many different examples of how you can learn a new one, but why must there be only 1? If you are mega rich, you can buy the pattern for 10k gold. If you are well renowned with a faction, you should be able to buy it from them for a discount, and where did those faction vendors get the pattern from in the first place? Maybe that boss at the end of the dungeon maybe? This opens the professions up to more players, based on their desired playstyle. Rich get richer will always be the case, but shouldn’t be the only option (base legos I am looking at you!)
The professions currently all feel very standalone. There is a lack of synergy between them and this was not always the case. After exploring New World recently, I think I understand this more. That if you are going to be limited in the quantity of professions you can utilise on a single character you ABSOLUTELY should be able to specialise and NEED the assistance of others to be able to do so. My Jewelcrafter needing a Blacksmith to make the Shadowghast Ingots is 1 example, but there needs to be more of this.
Add skill components, add profession questlines, reward the best recipes for skill achievements, keep professions fun and RPG-y with things like tools of the trade, stay away from BoP to encourage trade, and keep craftable items powerful so they stay relevant.
Thankyou all for contributing your thoughts and impressions about professions. It is clear we all care very much about them and how they form a core part of the gold making community.
My personal take on the responses is that there is a lot of love for the Legion system of quests and integration with Ranks and added depth. I like this idea and propose we go one step further and elaborate on what was started with the Tools of the Trade. What if we had Profession Artifacts like the
Let's bring profession mastery to a whole new level! Here are just a few ideas ..
Long, but involved questline and tasks to gain the artifact, perhaps including Archaeology?
Unlock various traits the more you know a profession, something for each expansion skill level?
Extra bonuses for getting to certain percentages of recipe completions.
Cosmetic rewards so you look like your chosen profession like fishing outfits.
Bonuses to gathering raw materials required for your profession, maybe even a rudimentary herbalism/mining/skinning skill
Specialist gatherers get a mount of sorts that help harvest resources.
Access to rare, cosmetic recipes or ones removed from the game.
Special titles for the player to advertise their status along with looks.
The focus here is a set of discrete rewards with a long term goal that keeps players motivated. Perhaps once achieved, the player could pass on the knowledge to alts that are account bound?
What do you think? I'd love to hear people's ideas and thoughts on professions and what we can do to keep them an interesting and motivating part of the game and the economy.
Most of this information was discussed and originally posted on the
subreddit or in the accompanying
. You can also catch me streaming live on
on Sunday from around 7PM GMT UK Time (2pm Eastern Time) for the WoW Economy Weekly Wrap-up live on Wowhead.com, or you can tweet your feedback/thoughts via Twitter at
I hope you found this useful and If you have any suggestions or feedback, please do say so in the comments below..
Until next time, Happy Goldmaking!
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