WoW Crafting

The production skills have almost no gameplay value. They can produce useful in-game things, and it is something to do as MMO players always need, but there is no fun in it. Recipe + ingredients + click + wait. It is convenient and dull, especially in volume. It encourages alt-tabbing, never a good sign for game design.

I find the gathering skills inappropriately engaging. The world is full of little boxes of candy, just for me! I was tempted to drop Blacksmithing, pick up Skinning or Herbalism, and gather my little heart out. At least you are out there doing something besides watching the little bar fill, and it progresses naturally as you play.

Blacksmithing fell down dramatically when I signed up to be an Armorer. That sends you on a quest chain calling for more than 20 stacks of metal. And I did it, since I got about half way there playing normally. I was also past level 70 by the time I went back to do it, meaning that there was no chance of having any useful crafted gear for most of my playtime, not that there would have been much of value considering quest rewards and the occasional instance visit. I gathered Thorium at the auction house so I could get the stacks of Burning Crusade metal out of my vault, and I did complete that entire tier of Blacksmithing with vaulted materials.

In terms of in-game utility, the skills look to be of interest very early and very late. This seems to be the case in most games: in the beginning, when you have nothing, crafted gear is awesome; at the end, there are a few pieces for which crafted gear is better than anything else available. In between, you spend a lot of time at the point where a few things you can make would be upgrades for a few hours. As with everything, I am told that the WotLK skills are better: they create things that everyone uses. I might have been happier had I not ended up leveling the character that took Blacksmithing; at least Engineering has mechanical squirrels.

Warcraft is not much worse at crafting than its competitors that I have tried, but it is a bad sign when a game makes me, insane trade skill addict, seriously think about chucking it and just selling all my crafting materials. That way, I could make money off all the insane trade skill addicts and have lots of vault space. (As a crafter myself, I always encourage this approach, because it increases the supply of materials while lowering my competition.) This could be a bold new catalyst for me, encouraging me to take that approach across more games. I just need for the games to stop forcing me to choose one type of node to track at a time.

: Zubon

13 thoughts on “WoW Crafting”

  1. For all that WoW did right, tradeskills are still the fly in the ointment. I picked leatherworking for my Druid and hated every minute of it with the burning passion of a thousand fiery suns. If I get crazy enough to go back and visit WoW, tradeskills are not something I’m going to fondly remember.

    Compare this with LotRO, where at a time I had only one character above level 30 I had Supreme Master with Kinship guild standing in every crafting profession possible between all my alts. Not to say I’m 100% happy with how trade skills are handled in LotRO, but they were a lot more fun than WoW’s version.

    Now I must go make some dyes to sell with my Scholar. ;)

  2. I am madly in love with mining ore in WoW or other games. Much more than with crafting of any kind. Must be the “gatherer” part of me in what we are supposed to be originally, hunters and gatherers. :P

    People always recommend this or that crafting skill because of one-two items or specials. But really, once I focused on Mining + Skinning, (with Mining > Herbalism in my book) I never went back. It is not annoying, you do it en passant, you make money all the time. It’s my style.

    P.S.: Brian is right, LOTRO’s crafting is more fun. Still, I am an Explorer there, too. I rarely crafted anything. Mostly fancy cloaks, as Explorers can mine, skin and also craft medium and light armor – but I rarely craft stuff at all.

  3. I like WoW’s crafting system once i put the effort in to max it out, just finding that effort is a little hard.

    What do you think of LoTRO’s system though? I’m currently going through the lonelands (~level 26) on the days I don’t feel like WoW, and I’m really disliking the way I seem to come up short with certain materials – as an (explorer? I forget..) I’m leveling prospecting and forestry fine, but tailoring seems to require an inordinate amount of leather to finish a tier.

    1. Crafting in Middle-earth is not entirely dissimilar to WoW, although a bit more fleshed out. Oddly, improving it has involved cutting down some of the complexity, largely because that complexity made it a disgusting inventory management problem.

      Each of the crafts seems to have its bottleneck tier, and I don’t know if that is caused by leveling speeds, relative scarcity, what you fight at each level, etc. (I mean for the final mastery: just getting through a tier is usually easy.) Tailoring probably has it the easiest, because there are always things you need for deeds that drop hides. Hunt wargs of the appropriate level until you get the deed, and you will probably be about there. For jewelers, it is tier 2 (silver). For making weapons and armor, tier 4.

      1. Tailoring (and its obnoxious cousin metalworking) are tough in LotRO for a few reasons. One main issue is that combat is required to get your materials, whereas you can collect most other materials without doing combat. I mentioned before that I took my level ~25 Loremaster to Misty Mountains to collect wood for my woodworker. It was exciting to dodge between the purple con enemies that would wipe the floor with me in a few swings. But, I was able to get the Black Ash I needed to work up Woodworking in the master tier.

        Compare this with Tailoring, where I would have had to kill those beasts to get the leather I needed. Only beasts drop leather, too. This is one of the things I hated so much about leatherworking in WoW, that you had to go kill things to gather your materials.

        Tailoring also has more recipes than other professions (light and medium armor, 6 pieces, 2-3 racial variations per tier), requires multiple components in addition to vendor-bought components, and seems to have very little reasoning for the stats a given piece of armor gives (although that’s not unique to Tailoring). In all, it can be really tedious to try to work up Tailoring.

  4. One game that does a great job of the gathering mini-game (or maybe my ancestors were gatherers and it is genetically imprinted in my DNA), is Runes of Magic. It was damn near compulsive. There were so many nodes of everything, and there was no restrictions a to how many or what professions you could dabble into. And instead of splitting ‘Mining’ and ‘Blacksmithing’, you could raise skill with either activity.

    But when it came to crafting… it was the same old story. Hit create, and watch a bar fill. For hours. And hours. And hours.

  5. I’ve never been a crafter, always largely a gatherer. In WoW this translated to Mining and Herbalism/Skinning depending on my mood and what my spousal unit needed for her characters. I mostly played as her supplier/investor.

    I can’t get into crafting seriously because of the voice in my head always telling me that I’m wasting my time/effort/energy in making items that will become obsolete either by easily finding something similar or better, or simply by item inflation when (x) expansion hits. Crafting always felt to me like the Dilbertesque sweet smell of unnecessary work.

    I did however have a stint as a Jeweller in my LOTRO main back when I was playing. Can’t say I enjoyed it 100% (not even 75% probably) but I stuck with it for some reason. That reason most likely being that I could be more or less self-sufficient as a miner/jeweler, didn’t have to put my progress much in the hands of other, probably despicable humans, and it didn’t seem as cumbersome (materials-wise) as other professions.

  6. I like the crafting in LoTRO for sveral reasons:

    1. The stuff you can make is good. Better than anything that’s likely to drop from a quest unless you run a lot of group only content.

    2. The recipes are well organized. If you want to level from 5 to 60 using only one handed axes, new crafted ones come along often enough that you need never use any other weapon. Entire new sets of armor come along fairly frequently.

    3. If you are anal, you can crit items and end up with superior products. Not just items that require rare ingredients, any recipe.

    It’s not perfect. There are some level ranges where a melee character will have a tough time coming up with decent jewelry upgrades. Scholar can be a foaming bitch to level. Farming is about the most insanely boring crafting profession I’ve encountered in any game. I also think the recent revamp of crafted armor actually hurt the crafting a lot more than it helped, by making it more complex than it really needed to be and by raising the level requirements on a lot of the better items. And finally, the guild recipes are a bit too powerful for the relative ease with which you can obtain them.

    All those caveats in place, I’d say LoTRO has one of my favorite overall crafting systems among MMOs. Of the games I’ve seriously played, I’d say only EQ II had a better system to may tastes.

  7. Back when I played, Blacksmithing was the one profession that just didn’t make any sense. Four Blacksmiths could theoretically supply all blacksmithing required for the whole server. (Or, more feasibly, for the whole guild). If any of your friends is a Blacksmith, you don’t need to be one yourself.

    I guess most of the professions now have bind-on-pickup crafts, so none of them are entirely worthless. But I still feel like gathering professions are the only ones that make much sense economically.

    1. Contrarily, the fellow in the office next to me repeatedly recommended dropping Mining in favor of Jewelcrafting, if I wanted to have the best possible Paladin. Blacksmiths get more gem slots, BoP it seems, and Jewelcrafters get the best gems to put in them.

  8. There are even priests who do the blacksmithing / jewelcrafting combo for the same reason. It is the only synergystic combo for bonuses.

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