Sunday, July 05, 2015

Garrisons, Part II: Professions

For the most part, the WoD professions design worked pretty well. Having a separate building for each profession, generating a limiting reagent through work orders, and allowing limited access to a profession you don't have, all worked reasonably well.

The major flaw with professions and the garrison were the mine and herb garden. Granting free access to these resources for everyone led to a lot of busywork. The mine and garden are the leading cause of the "chore" feeling of garrisons. This design also devalued the gathering professions.

By default, it would have been better if the mine and garden only provided extra automatic garrison resource generation, with higher values as you increased the building level. That would make it worthwhile for everyone to improve those plots, but otherwise they could be ignored.

Then add two new small profession buildings. A smelter and a nursery, or similar. Creating these buildings allows you to mine ore from the mine or get herbs from the garden, respectively. Then with the level 3 building, you could get Savage Blood or Felblight from mining and herbing. (You'd probably have to rename Savage Blood, though.)

Essentially, these buildings would make mining and herbalism the same as the other professions. If you were interested in those professions, you could choose the building. If you just wanted extra resources, it would cost you a small building space. But not everyone would be interested, and not everyone would feel pressured to collect their "free" resources.

The current design is deeply unfair to gatherers. They spent one of their two profession slots on the gathering profession, deliberately eschewing another crafting profession. It was really unfair of Blizzard to give that benefit to everyone else at no cost.

This would probably decrease the supply of herbs and ore, and material costs would have to be rebalanced across the professions.

Other than the mine and farm, Savage Blood is the only real issue with professions. Where ore and herbs are too plentiful, Savage Blood is too rare, and pushes crafters towards the Barn. Felblight is a better design, being spread to all the gathering professions.


  1. I thought the way WoD handled professions generally was the worst out of any expansion I ever played. Between Savage Blood, the 3-item limit, every profession being on a generic daily cooldown, Jewelcrafting getting gutted in a way Enchanting was not, and the removal of raid bonuses, I don't see much of a reason to have crafting professions at all anymore. In my alt Garrisons, the majority of whom were Engineers, I didn't even bother building many Profession buildings at all. Perhaps that was the goal of the design, to de-emphasize professions both for alts and mains. If so, they certainly succeeded. And in the process killed all enjoyment I had with that part of the game.

    1. "I don't see much of a reason to have crafting professions at all anymore."

      How in the world do you figure that? People were able to get Heroic Highmaul equivalent gear without even stepping foot in Heroic, Normal, or LFR Highmaul. Yeah, it was "only" three slot being able to pick perfect stats for 18.75-20% of your pieces was insane.

      In the current patch/tier, you can get three 715 items which are only 5 ilvls below the first *mythic* bosses. Again, for the slots YOU want and with the stats YOU prefer. Without any raiding or skill or whatever involved.

      Are you suggesting that people be able to craft the equivalent of full Heroic gear (technically better because you can choose stats) easily or something? They were time gating it because crafting *was* so insanely powerful this expansion. If you remember things like, say, ALL of MoP you could get *two* items crafted which were equivalent to normal (current heroic) raid items...and required raid mats...and you couldn't choose the slots or stats on the items.

      And because of that power crafting has been a major money maker during the expansion because people were constantly buying the gear because it *was* so good.

    2. I'm with Balkoth here. In the past, professions veered from being required to being useless. I think WoD has struck a nice balance. The 3-piece limit allows crafters to make good gear without obsoleting dungeon gear or forcing Bind-on-Pickup (remember TBC?). I'm a JC, and I made rings and a neckpiece for both my sets, and they are pretty much my best pieces. In my opinion, that is ideal for a crafter.

      Yes, gems were reduced in value (though socketed gear is still the best), but jewellery increased in value, so I think it balances out.

      To me, crafting now occupies the place it should occupy. It's useful, but still optional, and the crafter can sell her wares to other players.

    3. Some random rambling

      First to defend Azuriel here... Why not just buy the items you want? The main reason for crafting in WoD is to make or save money. And if he has mainly engineers i understand why he doesnt have the prof building. Was the first one I changed as well.

      Gems are nice, but the quantity required was indeed gutted, making the market for them easily oversaturated.

      One problem with everything being BoE as well is that whenever you craft a nice BoE you could use, you allways also have an item you COULD just sell for money. Making crafting an item not that different from just buying one. (I know this has been the norm for a while).

      I actually like the 3-piece limit though, it IS a decent way to allow some choice in which pieces you need filled. Allowing your crafting to fill in for whichever slot you want. However this is also a bad thing to some extend, as long as the pieces are BoE it means that the AH will have 3 pieces for anyone who wishes to get the last pieces they need. This makes any specific slot feel less impactful. Earlier you might know that the only way to get a good pair of boots was to do boss X and be lucky, which was inconvenient, and maybe at times frustrating, but it might have made the bootslot something special. If each slot has a limited amount of places where you can get a good piece for it, getting one piece feels more tangible. If on the other hand what you really need is to fill all but 3 of your slots, where any specific slot allways has a fallback option, then whether you get a new belt/chest/headgear to replace your crafted one (lets say you currently use those 3) allowing you to craft (or buy) some boots, or just get some boots to drop, is in essence the same. Sure getting a pair of boots is better as you dont have to spend the gold/mats to craft em. But thats just money... (And i know it might be a lot of money, but its an option). In Effect this means that you care less about the specific nature of the drop, which is bad. You want to be invested in each piece of gear. Its the same reason they in 6.2 have gone back to allowing onky itemization again... Or sort of at least. To make certain gearpieces feel more impactful.

      I'm sorry for using your comments for my random ramblings, thanks again for an awesome blog :-)

    4. "Why not just buy the items you want? The main reason for crafting in WoD is to make or save money."

      How is that different from WotLK/Cata/MoP? The lack of the "profession stat bonuses" that every crafting profession had? But down below you said

      "I did dislike the introduction of specific stat-bonuses to specific profs though, that was introduced back in.... Was it wotlk??"


      Now, if you mean Engineering *specifically* doesn't offer a bunch of exclusive unique toys anymore...welcome to the rest of the professions! That's how the rest of us have been for a long time.

    5. You are absolutely right. it isnt much different than the last many expansions :-) its still bad in my oppinion. I much preferred the existence of at least some BoP stuff or only usable by prof x etc. Tbh I cannot recall how long back we need to go to find that, but i liked it. Thats not to say there cant be ANY BoE stuff.

      In WoD there is no specific reason to have any one crafting prof, as you can just buy whatever you want from the other profs (there might still be some examples, im not 100% sure here). So you pick your prof from what makes the most money, if you are into min/maxing that is.

      To sum up some of the ramblings from the last post. I like it when there is certain profession only "perks" (bop items etc), i didnt like it when the nature of the perks was something that could never be replaced (like the profbonuses from the last expansions where at any point in the expansion the bonus was on top of the ordinarily obtainable ones, extra gem sockets, + crit from skinning, etc. And to be fair I didnt HATE it either).

      I think engineering as it used to be was a good template for profs, where you had access to certain objects that was unique to your profession. But its true, it was an outlier in this regard. And there is issues with this as well, as Rohan mentions it might end up making certain profs feel mandatory, if the specific bonus from that offers something "better".

    6. I may very well be contradicting myself at points, not exactly checking the validity of my arguments, nor whether my viewpoint is strictly coherent. Just sort of rambling about what i remember liking and what I don't :-)

    7. Well, who are you buying the items from? Other crafters. So crafting still has a purpose.

      The thing is that a lot of crafters want to be able to make items and sell them to other people. Blizzard finally succeeded in making professions work for those people.

      Maybe it comes at the expense of people who want to craft for themselves, because the other crafters are more efficient. But that's a design choice, and possibly the correct one.

    8. Im sorry if I came across as suggesting that professions were obsolete, or had no use. Thats borderline absurd, as they very clearly do. As was allready mentioned above craftavle ilvl 700+ gear is definately something. My point was merely that the individual has no reason to have a profession, other than obviously making money.

      If you want profs to be for selling items, well then you are in luck. If you want the choice of them to have some impact on your character then less so.

      Its not even that those who wants to craft for themselves can't, fcause they can. Its just that as long as an item is BoE it has a very clear value. And what you should do (as in optimally) is to craft the item that sells best, and then just buy the item you need. Which has a very different feel to crafting the item you need.

      Whether or not one version is *better* than another, is not up to me to answer, but I definately enjoy one more than the other. I am certain that other people feel differently, but that was why I in my first comment (below) merely mentioned that I disagreed, not that you were wrong in any absolute sense :-)

      It is a homogenization of professions, like we have had homogenization of classes, something i dislike, but which has been a huge part of wow for a long while now.

      As an extra note, I didnt read Azuriel as suggesting that profs were worthless either. Just that he didnt feel the need to have a profession, as they didnt provide anything he couldnt obtain elsewhere (its money, which some people have plenty of).
      He even admits that it may have been the goal all along to deemphasize the individual professions, and that it succeeded in this. He, as I, just dislike this design-choice :-)

    9. "Tbh I cannot recall how long back we need to go to find that, but i liked it."

      Burning Crusade. Where Shadow Priests used the BoP crafted Chest/Shoulders/Boots which were better than max level normal dungeons, better than heroic dungeons, better than tier 4 raid gear, better than tier 5 raid gear, and finally replaced in tier 6 (Black Temple/Hyjal). And all it took was time to make the cloth or some gold to buy the cloth. It was, well, pretty stupid.

      "In WoD there is no specific reason to have any one crafting prof, as you can just buy whatever you want from the other profs (there might still be some examples, im not 100% sure here). So you pick your prof from what makes the most money, if you are into min/maxing that is."

      Again, except for Engineering this has been true for WotLK and beyond with the semi-exception of those minor stat bonuses you mentioned (which were the same anyway for most professions).

      "I like it when there is certain profession only "perks" (bop items etc)"

      What kind of perks would you make for, say, Blacksmithing/Leatherworking/Tailoring in WoD? Could use another expansion if you want, just that WoD is the current one and might be the easiest to use as a frame of reference.

      "It is a homogenization of professions"

      I suppose that's somewhat true, but it seems odd to complain about it now rather than back in WotLK, y'know?

    10. Wall of text inc.

      Its not a new thing :-) Its just that its now that i read the post here and now, not back then. I have complained about homogenization for years, mostly in classes though.

      The perks i mean are things like BoP items. Obviously the shadowpriest tailorer example is one where the item was too powerful, but that doesn't mean the idea is bad. If it is something that is maybe comparable to introlevel raiding (no clue nowadays with 4 difficulties which one would be fair, but im thinking something akin to between normal and heroic maybe?). I also prefer it when the mats for crafting the item is something that is BoP rather than buyable from the AH. I would much prefer it to be connected with some ingame activity other than just a daily CD though.

      So my ideal scenario: Each profession has one or maybe a few BoP craftable items that either provides utility or are pieces of gear that are on the level of or slightly below what is achieveable in the current raidtier (maybe between normal and heroic). Mats for these should be a mix of usual gathering stuff maybe including som rare gathering items giving the gatherers something to sell, and something BoP that is obtainable through small-group play and maybe even solo with rare enough chance.

      I am fully aware that this would mean that there is a chance that 1 profession is better for a given class/spec, but since the benefit is one that can be overruled by a lucky raiddrop it is not one I would consider TOO mandatory.

      I am not saying BoE items should not also be present to some extend, just that they should be of a lower powerlevel.

      Of course it doesnt have to be all profs that are like this. Gathering in my mind should be a dualpurpose skill either for fueling your own crafting or for making money by selling the stuff. Much as it was in previous expansions, and arguably has become again now in 6.2 with felblight.
      There could be such professions as Enchanting/Inscription/Jewelcrafting/alchemy that were primarily for making money by selling expendable goods to people (I am aware they dont all serve this purpose atm).

      With a division like that you would have 3 different sorts of professions, which i think might appeal to different types of players. The gear-crafting professions for those who prefer to craft their own gear/gadgets and feel special wearing them. The gathering professions for those who just wants to click items in the world and sell the produce (or for those that dont want to buy those items for crafting). And the "craft expendable stuff and sell it"-professions for those who likes to craft stuff and sell it, likely making absurd amounts of money in the process.

      As it was in 6.0 most professions were a combo of 1 and 3. Strongly leaning towards the 3rd type as everything was BoE. The gathering professions were mostly obsolete, due to the garrison.

      It is not that I think professions were wonderfull up untill WoD and then suddenly crashed and burned. I just think the various profs were made even more similar in both style and feel. Every prof requires daily CD mats to craft anything. Every prof uses these mats to craft items that are powerful and BoE (some of them might be less usefull than others, but in theory at least its all powerful and sellable). Every prof needs the same single "rare" item (savage blood) to make these items, and most profs even need the same amount per craft.
      They are obviously not identical, and certain profs are following a somewhat different formula, but the main structure for almost all profs is the same, and it's very obvious.

      And then there was gathering :-) poor sods.

      TLDR: The problem isn't a new one. There should be more difference between the various professions, allowing for different player types to all get what they enjoy. I myself enjoy BoP craftables :-)

  2. Grr stupid blogspot putting the sign out button where the publish button should be :-(... Had a nice reply written (I thought it was nice at least :-P), but it ate it :-(

    Short version: interesting series you are doing now. Nice to see different peoples takes on what was good and what was bad about garrisons.

    I disaggree with your first sentence,as I think WoDs profs were bad in a lot of regards, many of the pros you mention i see as cons.

    Looking forward to part 3

    1. Sorry to hear about your post getting eaten. :(

      Personally, I think the game is better when professions are somewhat "optional". But it's hard to do that. In the last few expansions, professions were more or less mandatory. I think WoD has managed to make them optional, but still very useful, which is the ideal situation for them, in my opinion.

  3. Yeah, that is actually one thing they did manage to achieve, profs are not mandatory and are still useful. In my ideal world *which* proffesion you chose should be almost completely optional, whereas having at least some profession should be highly desirable (ie mandatory in one sense of the word) but not neccesary (mandatory in the stricter sense). I have never felt that having a specific prof was mandatory in any sense of the word in wow, but I have never been a top notch raider so that last 1% performance have never been that important for me. I did dislike the introduction of specific stat-bonuses to specific profs though, that was introduced back in.... Was it wotlk?? It made it very clear that certain professions were strictly inferior for certain specs. As long as the benefit of a prof was only the access to certain gear (or money to buy BoEs) that could be replaced the bonus didnt feel as final. But when skinning will always give + crit and mining will always give + stam, then you feel stupid for having one over the other if it is not the one that has the stat you need, which is bad.

    I think however that it would be possible to avoid the mandatoryness (if thats a word) of profs without falling into many of the pitfalls WoD profs fell into.

    1 simple thing that rubbed me the wrong way for instance was how anything you craft now needs a lot more ore/herb/whatnot than before. This made each individual ore feel less impactfull than before. And the aquisition of crafting mats felt more like filling a bar, than aquiring specific materials for your product. This is of cause only one minor gripe, and likely one a lot of people disagreed with. But this simple change made crafting a lot less personal for me. It feels more like industrialized crafting with tons of materials being processed and then turned into product at a rate of X per Y days, rather than gathering the materials you need to craft a specific item and then making it.
    I am certain that some people will see that as a cool thing, but for me it lessened the experience.

    The move to daily cooldowns all across the board was also something i really disliked, but thats a whole other story.

    Shandren out