Last week, Blizzard Community Manager Nethaera took to the official forums to announce a very specific change to crafting professions in the upcoming Mists of Pandaria expansion to World of Warcraft. Throughout WOW’s history, players have been able to make or augment their own gear and weapons or simply make money by selling gathered materials in a fashion that is common in all types of role-playing games.
WOW PROFESSIONS 101
From the many tiers in the original version of the game, to those added with each prior expansion, the leveling process within each profession has required WOW crafters to seek out materials beyond their primary concern (cloth, leather, ore) to make higher quality items. These harder-to-find pieces were first called ‘elementals’ and invoked water, fire, earth & air. High-end crafting in “vanilla” WOW required ‘essences’, adding life & undeath to the other elements. In turn, The Burning Crusade expansion added ‘primals’ and introduced Primal Might, a super material that required one of each primal and an appropriately leveled alchemist. Wrath of the Lich King brought with it ‘eternals’; the more recent Cataclysm expansion featured ‘volatiles’. Have I lost or confused you yet? One way or another, Tailoring, Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, even Enchanting professions have all found themselves at the mercy of these additional item requirements. Clearly, a change was in order. But like they say, be careful what you wish for…
ONE ELEMENTAL TO RULE THEM ALL
Nethaera’s post introduces the Spirit of Harmony, an elemental that supersedes the need for any other elemental for Mists of Pandaria crafters. No more earth, wind & fire. For each profession, one elemental to rule them all. But before I get too carried away, I should mention that these Spirits are bind on pickup (BOP, to the natives). Previously, elementals have been Bind on Equip (BOE), making them shareable with other players and alternate characters, as well as tradeable on the Auction House. What’s the big deal, you ask? Since the primary professions are limited to two per character, some players, myself included, have leveled additional characters for the primary purpose of gaining access to additional crafting professions. However, due to the tradeable nature of most crafting materials, it has heretofore not been necessary for the crafting ‘toons’ to be at level cap or even within ten levels of the maximum to reach the current crafting ceiling. To use a specific example, my level 75 mage is five levels short of being able to set foot in a Cataclysm-era zone, yet has the highest possible level attainable in both Tailoring and Enchanting for that expansion. In order for this character to progress as a crafter, he will also have to gain actual levels in the game to have access to Spirits of Harmony. For players like me who enjoy crafting as much as any other part of the game and have several characters in this predicament, a concept that’s been positioned as a quality of life improvement looks like a negative change from this perspective.
To be fair, Nethaera does state that there is potential for the Spirits of Harmony to become Bind on Account (BOA) over time, perhaps in a subsequent patch, as other related items have in previous expansions. This would at least allow players to share them amongst their characters. That’s a fair compromise to BOE, but it should be implemented right away. Otherwise, I do find the overall usefulness and simplicity of the Spirits of Harmony to be an interesting change and if the accessibility is fixed in the near future, all will surely be forgiven, if not forgotten. Until then, WOW crafting junkies will have an even more difficult decision to make when it comes to deciding which of their characters to play first when Mists of Pandaria launches next month and, perhaps, some alts to get leveled up in the meantime!What do you think of this change? Is it a much-needed streamlining to WOW professions? Does it create some undue stress or change your mind about which character you want to level in Mists of Pandaria? Leave a comment below, I look forward to your thoughts on the matter!
- Thomas (aka @sirthomasx)