Broken professions and other thoughts

OK, so Thanksgiving break is over, and the some of the shiny newness of Warlords has worn off. Time for me to get back to writing and to think about this expansion now that I have some actual ongoing experience with it. Today’s topic is professions.

They are broken.

I reached this conclusion after weighing a lot of factors, so hang with me as I go through them.

First, you should know that I am not someone who gets my game enjoyment mainly from professions — I am not into gathering and crafting so as to sell things and amass huge amounts of gold. In Mists, I pretty well settled on my approach to professions, which was to have at least one of each maxed out, in order to be self-sufficient in providing my alts and some guildies with any crafted items and mats they might need. If I had time on my hands and could identify a good market for a few items I would sell them, but it was not my main thing. By not spending much in the AH combined with making a small profit now and then, I accumulated a nice cushion of gold in Mists. Not capped by any means, but enough that I felt comfortable going into Warlords. So I do kind of enjoy crafting and gathering, but I am  not exactly a profession-centered player.

So now about WoD professions.

1. Gathering as a profession is dead for anything other than increasing your yield in the garrison mine/herb garden/etc. With no flying, there is no benefit to galloping around a zone, fighting your way through annoying mobs including the hundreds of weed clumps you aggro, to take a couple of hours to gather a stack of 200 ore, when there is very little market for it. Take ore as an example — most players needing it for another profession will get all they need from a level 1 mine on their garrison. even if they do not have mining as a profession. With a level 2 and a follower, they will have enough for their needs plus some to sell. Also, since for example jewelcrafters can no longer prospect ore for gems (more about that later), there is very little call for bulk ore. Since miners can no longer smelt ore — for example to get Truesteel Ingots — they do not need huge stacks either.

2.  Crafting has become insanely complex and obscenely time-consuming. Again I will take the example of jewelcrafting, but the same general comments and timelines apply to any crafted gear, whether from leatherworking, tailoring, or blacksmithing. One top level pendant requires a total of: 450 taladite crystals, 10 true iron ore, 10 blackrock ore, 30 sorcerous earth, 40 sorcerous air, and 30 savage blood. Obtaining those mats requires use of cooldowns over the course of weeks, and buying the savage blood with yet other basic mats (at the rate of 50 primal spirits per 1 savage blood, so 1500 primal spirits). It also requires you to use your other daily cooldown to buy the recipes for the pendant plus two upgrade recipes, for a total of 11 Secrets of Draenor.

On my main, a JC and miner, after playing pretty hard every day for 18 days now, and maxing out my Gem Hut and mine work orders nearly every day, I have: 230 taladite crystals, way more ore than I can use, 21 sorcerous earth, 18 sorcerous air, and 238 primal spirits with which to purchase savage blood. Which means, roughly extrapolating, that it will take me 90days to craft a single piece of gear, the savage blood being the limiting factor. (And yes, I know about the Barn, but there are other buildings of greater value right now and besides you only get savage blood form there at level 3.)

8 different types of mats and 90 days to craft a level 665 piece of gear. One piece. Close to a year to craft 3 pieces. (Well, 9 months, but we won’t go to the obvious joke there.) And after all that, it’s a crap shoot as to what secondary stats you get on it!! If you don’t like the stats you can spend another 10 taladite crystals and ore to re-roll for a different random combo of stats, and hope you get lucky, or keep doing this until you get the combo you need. Blizz, seriously, do you have escaped lunatics doing your profession design?

Now, 665 gear will not be awful for the casual player (I think top level Mythic gear is 685), but let’s face it, it’s not terrific. And getting it requires daily play for 9 months or thereabouts. If you are a casual player, that is likely way more time than you have to spend on a game. You are lucky if you get 3-4 hours a week.

3.  You are limited to equipping a total of 3 pieces of crafted gear. Why??? If you want to jump through all Blizz’s stupid hoops and use your alts to craft yourself a more or less full set of gear, why shouldn’t you be able to do it? If you are someone who hates hates hates pugs of any type and are not in a guild that has any realistic expectation of clearing Heroic raids much less Mythic, why should you be so severely penalized? Why should you be required to pug for a full set of decent gear? I get that it should not be handed to you, but 9 months of daily play to gear up a single alt (using all your professions simultaneously) is not “handing it” to anyone. This limitation is absolutely senseless.

4. Professions have lost many of their best perks. We all know about the loss of combat perks. (Again, why? This decision was just pandering to the less than 1% “elite” raiders who whined that it “required” them to have certain professions in order to have a raid spot. Please.) But other things have also been lost. JCs can no longer prospect ore for gems. Miners can no longer smelt any of the Draenor ore for higher quality mats. Daily cooldowns for the most part no longer yield new patterns or recipes — you are stuck with what you can purchase from your garrison profession hut or from the Ashran vendor. Engineers can no longer open the new lockboxes (haven’t checked to see yet if blacksmiths no longer can make keys for them). I suspect there are other examples, but I have not run into them yet.

5.  Any realistic pursuit of professions in Warlords requires a level 3 garrison for every profession. It also requires a daily logging in on every alt with a profession, in order to do the daily cooldown. In spite of Blizz’s pre-xpac hints that garrisons would require very little time to keep up, since we would have followers doing most of the work the fact is that they REQUIRE A HUGE AMOUNT OF TIME. HUGE. And having to log in each day to do a daily cooldown is just annoying and wrong — there should be no reason you cannot set up a week’s worth of cooldowns on a single day. 7 per week is much more reasonable for real world players than one per day. Come on, Blizz, we are not all 19-year old college kids (and even those of us who are, often have serious time commitments with studies, work, family, etc. that make it very challenging to find time to log in every day on multiple alts just to do a profession cooldown).

These are the reasons I think professions are broke. They offer very little reward any more for all the hassle and time required to tend to them. They have become little more than a mini-game, tied up in the bigger mini-game of garrisons. There may be a very few left that make some sense to have — alchemy and enchanting come to mind, although you no longer really need the profession to get the items from these — but they are no longer fun and they are no longer useful in most instances. You need a freaking spreadsheet just to figure out what you can craft and how long it will take. Blizz could fix professions if they got more reasonable with crafting times and made the mats less complex, allowed more than three crafted items to be equipped, made some of the mats account bound, reinstated things like prospecting and smelting, and went to a 7-per-week cooldown instead of a daily. But I doubt if they will do any of this. Someone in Blizz management decided that professions needed to be squashed, that their features in Mists did not fit in with some very narrow view of “correct” play style, and so we have our current state of affairs.

Everyone get their Excel skills updated. Because nothing says fun like columns and rows!

 

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

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