The Future of Profession System in World of Warcraft
Professions, in other words, training, gathering materials, finding and learning recipes, fishing, cooking, crafting items, buying and selling them, all play a major role in my World of Warcraft adventures.
Hello fellow adventurers,
As the scaling world -a feature that was first introduced in Legion and that I can never like in an RPG, as in my opinion it is contradictory to the very foundation of role playing and developing a character- continues to be enhanced in Battle for Azeroth, also with the addition of stat squish which made mobslaying quite a tedium, I find myself focusing more on side activities, instead of leveling, questing and exploring the uncharted continents of Azeroth.
One such side activity for me, as I spend a lot of time on it enjoyingly, is professions. Though I enjoy professions in World of Warcraft a lot, I think with some conceptual changes, it can be much more enjoyable for me, and maybe for other fellow adventurers.
I like gathering; it makes exploration and travel more enjoyable for me. When I see that shiny mineral node at the top of a hill, or smell that colorful herb blooming next to a tree, or notice that the mob I just slew is skinnable, my eyes shine with joy. I sometimes spend hours fishing, hoping to catch something no one else has ever caught before -that's probably not possible, but you would never know :)
I sometimes spend the night alone in the wild, enjoying the delicious food I cooked at my campfire, after trying a mix of many recipes I have collected from master chefs around Azeroth. I sometimes travel huge distances untiringly, seeking rare artifacts, digging the ancient ruins of Elves, Dwarves and Trolls across Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor.
I like collecting materials of all kinds. From mineral ores to precious gems, from cloth patches to leather scraps, from enchanting materials to engineering parts. If it is stackable, it sure is collectable.
I like crafting, pretty much everything. I like making my own armor, I like spending days and nights within the dark depths of Blackrock Mountain to craft epic weapons. I like weaving beautiful dresses, brewing potions, inscribing glyphs, tinkering new inventions. I also like selling what I crafted, and buying what others crafted.
As you can tell, professions are highly important for me. But, there is something more important for me than professions in World of Warcraft: To adventure with Eom, my main character, my reflection in Azeroth. To breath in Azeroth as Eom, to see the world from the eyes of Eom, to interact with others, players or NPC, as Eom.
For me, playing World of Warcraft means to log in and explore Azeroth with Eom. To do whatever the unexpected adventures bring to me, with Eom. I do have other characters, created for the sole purpose of professions, unlocking appearances and storage, and when I log in with any of them, I do know that it is only a temporary necessity and I look forward to the moment I will log in with Eom again. Yes, I do have the freedom to play only as Eom for as long as I want and never touch another character, but an issue arises when I feel like experiencing all the professions, as I really want to.
With the current profession system, I can do some of the things I mentioned above, with Eom; but not all of them. I can mine mineral nodes for example, but I can't collect herbs or skin animals. I can craft metal armor and weapons, but I can't craft cloth and leather gear. I can fish and cook, but I can't create my own potions, inscriptions or toys. I can recover lost archaeological artifacts, but I can't enchant my items or prepare gems to insert into them.
Sometimes, I approach a rare herb on the ground, pass by it with a sad impression on my face, wishing I was able to pick it up. I log off and log in with another character of mine who can pick it up, come to that place only to see the herb is no longer there. Sometimes, I slay a dragon after a long fight but can't skin its scale, so I leave it to rot, wasting an amazing gift of nature. Sometimes, I mine a rare mineral thinking it sure must have a precious gem within, but I quickly remember I can't prospect it, so I send it to another character of mine, log in with that character, prospect it, send it back to Eom. I do want the gem, but I just don't want to have to log in with another character of mine just to extract the gem from the ore. Sometimes, someone asks in the trade chat "Looking for someone with Tailoring who can craft ...", I log off, log in with my other character who has Tailoring, craft and deliver the item, and then log back with Eom.
With every new expansion, each profession expands, increasing about 75-150 skill points to level, dozens of new recipes to learn, items to craft, lots of new materials to gather. This is fantastic. I believe anyone who truly enjoys professions loves that. I love that. However, what you learn, what you unlock, what you make available with one character -with your main character mostly- is not unlocked, is not available to your other characters. Imagine you no longer want to play with your main (or other) character or you want to delete him/her for any reason and start with a new one. Maybe the race or class you were accustomed to playing for years had a major overhaul, steering you away from that character. Imagine your character had mastered in some professions, spent so much time, effort and wealth on leveling up that professions and collecting all those recipes. All will be lost, you won't be able to use them on your new character.
Such examples can go on and on, and I keep wondering: Why can't I do all of these just with Eom, even though I can do them all under one account? Why a disruption in my adventure with my main character? Why do I have to create another character that I have no intention to ever play, only for experiencing a profession that I cannot with my main? Why do I need to log off and log in countless times during my crafting sessions across multiple professions?
The current solution to this issue -it's an issue from my perspective-, which is to play with other characters with those professions, is definitely not an ideal solution for me, for reasons I explained above. To start a character, or multiple of them, just so I can satisfy my other profession needs is nothing but doing something I don't really want to, because it is the only way to achieve something I really want to. I do want to play only with Eom, but I have to play with other characters too, for the sake of a complete, more fulfilling professions experience.
This made me think of a profession system, that I believe would be welcomed not only by those who prefer to play only with their main characters and still want to experience all professions, but also by those who want their hard-mastered professions to be available across their characters, and who hate to lose their hard-earned recipes and skill points when they decide to change their professions or main characters one day for any reason.
So, my humble suggestions regarding the changes I would like to see in professions in World of Warcraft are as follows:
1. Make all professions account-wide.
I mean all professions, gathering and crafting alike: Archaeology, Cooking, Fishing, Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Enchanting, Engineering, Inscription, Jewelcrafting, Leatherworking, Mining, Tailoring. Any new profession that might be added in the future, make it account-wide too.
When you learn a profession, it will be learned account-wide and you will be able to use it with any character you have, that meets level or other requirements. For example, when you learn Cooking, get to 300 skill points and learn the related recipes, any character you have created or you will create on that account will also have Cooking at 300 skill points with the recipes learned. Another example, when you reach 800 skill points in Blacksmithing and learn all available recipes with your Warrior; your Death Knight or your Paladin (or any other character) will also have learned Blacksmithing with all those recipes, hence they will be able to craft plate armor or weapons as they wish. As a result, if you decide to continue your adventures as a Death Knight when the next expansion hits, or for any other reason, but also want to continue to have Blacksmithing as a profession, you will not need to start from scratch, level up all those skill points and collect the recipes once again.
Actually, this is no different than learning mounts, pets, toys, heirlooms and appearances once, and they become available to all characters on that account (with certain limitations of course). This will not be against what is currently possible. Any person can learn any and all professions on one single account, but the person needs to create multiple characters to be able to do so. Any person can learn any and all professions on one single character, but the character needs to unlearn old professions to learn new ones. In that sense, nothing will change by making the professions account-wide, other than removing the obstacles I referred to above.
2. Modify the current professions UI, to house for all professions.
Since all professions will be unlocked account-wide and available to all characters on that account as explained above, the professions UI will need to be changed accordingly. Any character on that account will have access to this same professions UI, will see all learned professions and recipes, and will be able to craft any item available. Of course, keep faction, race, class, level and any other requirements for certain professions, recipes and items where applicable. For example if there is a Rogue-only Alchemy recipe, it should stay available to only Rogue.
This could be one single UI window with multiple tabs or sub-windows, or better yet, it could be a place such as the Draenor garrison -available publicly though- with multiple buildings/tables/tools, where you can visit at any major city to access it for crafting purposes. Kind of like a crafting square, where one will find the necessary tools and platforms for all profession needs. Though, you should continue to be able to view (not craft for certain professions) all your professions and recipes any time and anywhere.
3. Make "Bind on Pickup" recipes and materials as "Bind to Account".
Except the legendary crafting materials, and if there are any that must be excluded for certain reasons, make all recipes and crafting reagents which are "Bind on Pickup" as "Bind to Account". Which will be inline with the above suggestions. When any character of yours finds such a recipe and learns it, it will be learned by your account, in other words, by all your characters. When any character of yours finds such a crafting reagent, it will be usable by all your characters, but not tradeable to other players as they are bound to your account.
This is for recipes and materials; not for crafted items. Keep "Bind on Pickup" crafted items as is. Keep the level, profession, class, etc. requirements for certain crafted items such as Flying Carpet (Tailoring 300), but once an account reaches Tailoring 300 with any of the characters, unlock it for all characters on that account.
4. Bring back old profession tools or add new ones.
As someone who was not around during the Classic era (or TBC, or Wrath, or Cata ...), I sometimes sadly notice that some profession items were removed from the game. Items, that I think had added depth to Professions. Just to give an example, Bloodvine, a herb that was gathered in old Zul'Gurub instance, and Blood Scythe, which was used for gathering that herb. Many such items, mostly removed for the sake of convenience, or to save inventory space or removed with removed content.
I say bring back such profession items, add more of them even. Items and tools that will be required to gather rare materials, to craft certain items, which will give depth to professions. But of course do not make them inventory items. Create tabs in Professions UI for each profession where all the tools for that profession will be unlocked and become available once you find them in game (either as a quest reward, as a mob drop, as an achievement reward, as a craft etc.). Similar to how the appearances are unlocked as you find them, or spells are unlocked as you level up. Remove any profession items that are currently required to be present in the inventory and put them into this profession tools tabs. Let them have level requirements etc. so a character can only use them at the appropriate levels.
This will save some inventory space, but more importantly, this will add more RPG elements to professions, giving the player a set of tools to collect in various ways, to be used in gathering and crafting.
5. Enlarge the Reagents section in the bank and make it account-wide.
The ideal way to enlarge the Reagents section would be to create one tab for each profession materials group (Cloth, Elemental, Enchanting, Food, Herbs, Jewelcrafting, Leather, Metal & Stone, Parts, Other). The tabs will not be empty storage cells like it is now, they will have the icons of all the materials in that group.
So, on Metal & Stone tab, you will see metal & stone materials such as Copper Ore, Copper Bar, Tin Ore, Rough Stone, ... sorted by their item level or grouped by expansion, add a scrollbar if necessary. It will display the current and maximum numbers for each material. Ex: If you have 80 Copper Ore, and if the maximum allowed for each material is 500, it will say 80/500 on Copper Ore icon, etc. If you have no Dark Iron Bar, it will say 0/500 and its icon will be gray.
6. Bring back old recipes.
As far as I know, they have already started to bring back some of the old recipes, which were removed from the game previously, via the Black Market Auction House and via new expansions -e.g. Legion-, but I will be happier as a collector if eventually they bring back all the recipes that are no longer available in the game in any way, especially the removed "Bind on Pickup" recipes, such as Pattern: Bloodvine Leggings.
To summarize, my desire is to be able to perform any and all professions that I want with any character I play -mostly with Eom-, as a collective effort/progress on my account, without needing to log in/log off with another character every time I want to perform a different profession. I do hope that such an account-wide profession system will be implemented eventually. That will definitely make me a happier Azerothian. In other words, it would be a dream coming to be true for me in terms of professions, just like how the appearances collection system was implemented in Legion.
How do you feel about the current profession system in World of Warcraft? In what ways do you think it can be improved? What do you think about an account-wide profession system as I described above?
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