It is not often that I get unreasonably excited over a Legion Dev Talk but last Thursday it was professions front and center with Senior Game Designer Paul Kubit. There was a lot discussed during the hour (and I have to admit I missed it live and had to catch it on a rerun) but making and creating in Legion are looking very exciting indeed. There are quite a few things on professions in Legion that deserve highlighting from this hour, so without further ado, let’s introduce this expansion’s Spirit of Harmony, the Blood of Sargeras.
Blood for the Blood God
There has been quite a lot of issue with this item being Bind on Pickup from several quarters, most notably those people who play dual crafters or gatherers. Blizzard’s already at pains to emphasize that this is a measure of how much people play and that because this is still beta there may yet be changes. However, there are no plans to change bind quality and that is good news for anyone who wants to maintain a level of value in their crafts. If you don’t have a gatherer, there are means to obtain them, and if you’re dual gathering and concerned they’ll have no value, there is a use for them in the production of Obliterum (see below). There is no current concern from the Devs that anyone will be disadvantaged and in fact, there have been reductions already to recipe requirements.
The main reason for keeping the BoP status is wrapped around the significance of the Blood not simply for crafters, but for everybody, and with no restriction this time on the number of manufactured items a character can wear? This will be great news for anyone like me who runs an extended alt stable. It is also important to note that even if gatherers end up with more Blood of Sargeras, they’ll have less to do with it, so it’s not as if all that extra work will put you at a tactical advantage. However, I would argue that gatherers are always a bonus in the first three months of an expansion, simply because of the amount of money that can be made selling all the new stuff to people who can’t be bothered to do the work to begin with. Crafting in Legion still maintains the potential to make people very rich indeed.
The Holy Grail of Ingredients
This is what most of us will use Professions for most of all come Legion: Obliterum. It upgrades your gear, is generated from recycling pretty much everything in the process, and (presumably) will be sellable on the auction house (unless I’m missing something, as it appears to be bind free currently). However, its obtainment is not a simple process, and there will be a bit of work involved to get you to the position where you can manufacture it, Level 110 notwithstanding. I’m not going to spoil the process for you, but there will need to be some thought as well as your manufacturing skills, but that’s part of the large-scale fantasy of this part of the game. You will feel that this is about you working and making stuff yourself. Your spare items can then be broken down and used as something useful, which should mean nothing now will go to waste.
A little bit of poking around data mining sites reveals however that Obliterum might not be the whole story, that it’s actually part of a two-tiered ‘currency’ that includes Obliterum Ash, which is what happens when you use the specially created forge in Dalaran to ‘break down’ your old items. It is 100 ash to one item, there’s quite a lot of fussing involved but as items appear to ‘disintegrate’ into a reasonable amount per use, I’m not that concerned as yet to how this will all work. However, this is going to require a measure of organization that won’t be unusual for most crafters, but might come as something of a shock to new players. This is a significant step away from how things have normally worked, and it is going to be interesting to see how the lag in Dalaran will be affected with such a potentially high use communal item in its midst.
There was some talk in the Dev Chat about what could be done to help those who drop a manufacturing profession for a crafting one to get back their lost recipes, and it could be that in future the Black Market Auction House might be used to allow this to happen. I for one think this has a lot of potential, but then we’re talking Huge Big McMegaGolds to buy them. In the end, it might just be easier for people to leave the past behind and not worry about this stuff. I collect recipes, and if that means I keep some characters dual crafting and have to manage without Blood? So be it. I do know however that the Fishing Artifact will have the ability to scoop it from the water, and as a result, my Mage, Priest, and Warlock who have two professions apiece and no gathering, will all be at max fishing skill come Legion. I’ll be crafting in Legion, on pretty much every alt I’ve leveled.
Blizzard are being quite obviously vague right now about how one obtains this particular item, and that alone fills me with more joy than I’ve felt about anything for some time. Fishing was how I obtained my first epic ground mount in Vanilla and has been the backbone of my World of Warcraft existence for nearly 11 years. I am currently using it to get all my alt family max First Aid skill for leveling, and the currency coins for Nat Pagle’s mount and pet. Mostly, this bit of the game was made for me, and I will be there, farming it like my life depends on it.
Digging for Victory
Finally, there’s some love for Archaeology, which has never really captured the hearts or minds of people in the way it might have. A lot of that has to do with the quite ridiculous amount of work that’s required to make progress, and even the removal of restrictions in Warlords allowing you to be able to start from Level 1 in Draenor hasn’t done that much to improve the lot of the would-be digger. However, it looks as if you’ll be able to do more in the Broken Isles, and there will even be World Quests devoted to the business of exploring the past. The biggest single development, however, is FINALLY knowing when you’re on top of a solve without the need for an addon to tell you. A spade will appear above your head whilst digging, indicating that you’ve found your reward.
I won’t lie, I have a love/hate relationship with this Profession, and that has a lot to do with the fact that the RNG hates me and there’s a mount I’ve been trying for since Cataclysm. But, personal feelings aside? This is a great set of changes and I’m looking forward to even more digging in the future. As an added bonus, at level 110 your trainer will provide a quest for a rare item every two weeks. This might actually be enough for me to dedicate some time at expansion launch too, especially (one assumes) because there will be XP to be had for dig sites as well. In fact, come to think of that, I should probably be doing the same on my Draenor alts…
I’ve played a fair bit with Professions in Alpha and Beta, and I can honestly say that the amount of effort and thought put into the upgraded systems is considerable, and the results are very, very enjoyable indeed. I have no desire to spoil anyone on what this actually entails because there is indeed a level of ‘fantasy’ in this process that has never existed at any point in this game’s history. That means, that for people like me at least, these are genuinely exciting times ahead. It is clear that Blizzard have grasped the significance that professions play for a core of the player base and have amended their development approach accordingly.
What is not yet clear is how popular crafting in Legion will ultimately prove to be with the larger World of Warcraft audience. Once upon a time at launch, you’d make your characters switch professions for the tactical bonuses. Now, of course, all this has been removed from the game and the only real benefit you’ll gain in the long term from crafting is the gold in your mailbox or the satisfaction of your own crafting pretensions. Except Obliterum has the potential to change everything, especially for those who want to make sure alts are ready to jump into raiding at a moment’s notice. How the markets will react to these changes is, at present, anyone’s guess, but when you remember the gold cap is raised and there’s no restriction to the number of crafted items you can wear? These are exciting times ahead for those of us who miss real meaning in a part of the game that never really fulfilled its true potential, until now.
Oh, and don’t worry if you never crafted anything in your life before now. Legion’s catch up mechanics are simple and the process really feels like you’re learning something of value. Time to pick up some tools and gather some raw materials, and get down to the business of crafting in Legion.Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Column, Legion, MMORPG, Professions, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday