TL;DR: they are useless :)
Not even one expansion before has been that hard on professions. Yes, even then-blamed Draenor, with all the work orders and all.
We are three months into expansion. My alts have all the range of professions, including Goblin and Gnome Engineering fork. And you know what? Most of them are not over their 730 skill level yet.
- The horse amount of mats – kept from Draenor. I fail to understand why you need 50 or 100 rolls of cloth to craft a pair of pants. Yes, it’s not actually 100 now, but the mats income is way too short.
- Recipe/scheme levels – you are supposed to learn and begin to be more effective, not wasting extra mats. Iron logic as it may seem, the reality smashes the idea into smithereens.
- Finally, profession quests.
Let’s see how it plays out.
I can’t say anything bad about it really. Skinning, Herbalism and Mining are quite good. Of course there is no free mine or herb garden, but I still consider these sites as a Draenor failure, even if they were available only for herbalists/miners.
The recipe levels are just fine here. By all means, even if you haven’t done any questing and don’t have a specific mat skills, you will raise your skill level, you get at least some mats when working on nodes or wildlife corpses. You may reach 800 just gathering.
Naturally the questing helps: once you get 2 and 3 stars, you begin to gather more mats, and there’s a possibility to grab some rare ones. You are more skilled, so where a beginner would squash most of the herbs, you would delicately pick all of them. It works here.
The wrong thing with questing for gathering professions is its random nature. You may or may not get a quest from your node, so it’s just a lottery. That’s not how it must work.
Solution: while everything is fine with gathering nowadays, we need a guaranteed quest item drop upon reaching a certain level. Say, at 725 skill level all herbs, skins and nodes would give you the quest for the first level. At 750 – the second. At 775 – or 800, doesn’t really matter – the last one.
Make the quest item drop chances increase as you gain your skill level. At some point of skill level, the quest item drop rate must be 100%.
That’s just so easy and would solve all the problems.
…is the worst.
The same very idea of recipe/schemes levels just doesn’t work- at all. You see, you are supposed to waste less mats as you gain your skill. That’s iron logic, but in practice…
When you are leveling, you are rapidly growing in your item levels. If you smash through a single leveling zone – which takes 3-4 playing hours at best, you will make your ilvl grow by 30.
Now, what’s the point of 715-730 gear when you outgrow it in several hours? And what’s the point of buying it?
I confess I put some use in crafted items. When I crafted my first modest items, they were sent to my alts, and they actually walked in them… for a pair of hours until they got a superior quest gear. I wouldn’t even bother, but items were crafted as a skill-raising process.
In no bad dreams I would imagine someone actually buying crafted gear of that ilvl below 800.
And here’s your pins under nails: these first items would cost you some enormous amount of mats. Because you’re a ‘crafting loser’ yet. To improve your schemes, you need to play at top level: recipes of higher level come from world quests and reputations.
So, by the time you are able to craft the gear cheap, you have no use for it. At all.
Profession quests are actually very good. But it’s… because I like extra lore. They are really fun and engaging, they make you feel your profession, how it works and all.
Yet there are some impediments: why on earth would you hide some of them in mythic dungeons? My tailor got a quest to the new Karazhan. You know what it is? A bag scheme. A bag scheme when I have the same capacity bag from Draenor. What would be your choice? Dungeon quests are general impediment as it is. My Enchanting progress was stalled for a month no less, because I couldn’t make myself pay an extra visit to the Halls of Valor.
I’m in a sort of a stalemate now: finally I have enough mats for low level recipes, but I don’t need to craft them, neither for use nor for raising my skill.
Complaining without offering an alternative is whining, so I need to offer some solutions. Here we go:
First, low ilvl schemes and recipes should cost almost no mats to craft. They shouldn’t probably even have star-levels. Their purpose is aiding you to level, so you should get this access and mats barely stepping into the first leveling zone. It maybe a lesson in Dalaran where they learn you to craft basic items and give you a basic stack of current mats. So you’ll be available to make your skill level to 710 right on spot.
Second, you are out to leveling world. There you can grab these profession quests and complete them alongside leveling. While doing so, you raise your skill level to at least 750 – again, schemes should cost little mats and have no star-levels. While leveling, you gather mats, and you craft the items up to 785 ilvl – competing with questing gear.
Third level – endgame. Now you’re ready for the challenges: dungeons, world quests, raids, reputations. Here come your star-recipes which are meant to raise your skill level from 750 to 800. These items are supposed to be crafted, because at 110 people want to get equipped for dungeons and raids quick. Crafted gear finally becomes handy.
Don’t even get me started on cooking.
A Crazy Idea
…which is inspired by MMORPG called Blade & Soul.
I was quite surprised to learn that everything you wear in this blade& fist martial arts game doesn’t give you any stats. At all. You gain power via improving your weapon. Which makes a lot of sense. Cloth pants are cloth pants, and how could some Ragnaros or Lich King fail to pierce them?
Your outfits are purely cosmetic. But you earn and hunt for your costumes hard.
So, here’s a thought for WoW: what if gear crafting professions were concentrated on APPEARANCES rather than ilvl?
Tailors, Leatherworkers and Blacksmiths: what you craft is a set of transmog gear. Totally amazing to wear. But with no stats. If you want stats, you get them in raids and dungeons.
Imagine you craft some spiky cool Blood Brawler Set for warriors, or elegant and rich Ultimate Conjurer Set for mages. This will take one slot and sell as a whole, when you use it, all items would be added to corresponding transmogrification panels. And it would be relevant throughout every expansion. Something worth learning to craft and actually crafting, for yourself and for others.
If you’re in doubt whether it’s gonna bring profit, look at all the same Blade & Soul. Costumes are a THING there. These outfits are chased after as hell. So it all depends on armor artists.
In other words, could craft be concentrated on life-improvement and cosmetic items rather than gear? Toys, utility buffs, transmog, mounts, bags. I just think it is one of the ways out of the current pit.
What do you think? Could we drift in this direction?