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World of Warcraft – Part 24 – Making Professions Better

So, the latest expansion to World of Warcraft, Warlords of Draenor has been met with a lot of positive buzz, and it certainly seems to deserve it.  It does a lot of ambitious new things like the Garrisons, new play styles of Quest Hubs, a generally more cinematic experience, etc.  It also does a good job of simplifying the experience, a lot of this has to do with the level 90 boost and incentivizing people to “get back into the game”.

Personally, probably the best aspect is the professions.

I really enjoy leveling professions, I’m not super sure why honestly since there tends to be little actual benefit to any of my characters, but I still do it and enjoy it.  The problem is, leveling professions tends to rub against the whole idea of quickly leveling alts or even enjoying the flow of the plot.  I’ve been stick on my Hunter with both Skinning and Leveling stuck around 100 for ages.  I have a couple of options, I can wander around farming materials, and farming skinning low level monsters, or I can go and quest and do new content.  New content generally wins.  I can skip the farming and buy off the AH but the cost of materials on the AH tends to be ridiculous and often they aren’t even available.  Sure, needing some special elemental thingy that you would have been farming off some monster during a nightly Raid or Dungeon back when Burning Crusade was new worked great when doing those raids was a thing, it’s a little inconvenient these days when you’re probably going to have to solo things because no one is running that old content.

Not to mention that after all this investment in time or gold, you probably will just end up with a pile of Gloves or Shoulders no one wants that you’re going to vendor off for 2-3 gold total.  Just so you can go up maybe 10 skill points.  It feels like a complete waste of everything.  Even at high levels it can feel useless.  My Warrior is a Tailor, which is (was they removed the procs) good for the bonus stats I can add to my cape, but my Warrior uses Plate Gear, so all the Cloth armor I craft is useless to me.  Sure, I can try to sell it for a couple thousand gold on the Auction House, but the buyers for anything but the top gear are few and it tends to take weeks of cool down time to even craft one piece of gear.

It’s slow and tedious and boring.  Warlords does wonders to help this while not completely eliminating the process.  The biggest thing is the addition of several catch up mechanisms.  Like for Leather Working, There are War Drums which drop from some mobs and there are recipes for gear I can make right off the bat that give 5-10 skill points.  Some of the gear is actually useful in it’s comparable level too, which also helps incentivize actually crafting it.  If it’s not gear, it’s crafting material that can still be used later once the profession skill reaches a sufficient level to craft new gear.

It’s not just the crafting professions either.  Despite my low Skinning level, i can skin anything in Draenor.  I’m already in the 450 range.  I don’t have to head back to some low level mobs area and make a special effort to farm out the specific monsters I need to skin at my profession level, I can just do my normal questing and skin as I go, as it should be.

A lot of the secondary mats are also available from your garrison.  You don’t have to go find or buy that handful of cloth or herbs you need for that one recipe, you can generate a small amount of materials from other professions via your garrison.  You can mine ores and gather herbs from the mine and herb garden even if you don’t have those professions.  It’s fantastic and really has helped make professions feel doable and useful again.

I want to close off here with one last note on the best remaining improvement I can see.  As you level a profession, you reach “milestone” points.  I’m not sure the exact levels when these occur but you previously had to learn a new level from a trainer to level up farther.  It would be great if dropping a profession for a different one would let you keep any skill up to the highest skill level you’ve learned.  I understand not letting you perform that profession while it’s not “active” and I can appreciate having to relearn some things, but dropping a profession and having it revert to zero seems really lame.  Like suddenly my Warrior would completely forget how to sew if she went Engineering or Blacksmithing. 

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