Re-Inventing Professions of WoW – Cooking

Spinks, just a little while back, wrote a good article on how crafting effects mmo gameplay and how it might be re-thought.  There are two important points in the article that I would just like to quickly point out.  First, that crafting in mmo’s mostly don’t allow for great customization.  Second, its not rare enough.

Crafting in WoW can be fun, as well as profitable. But it suffers from the above two principles – its not nearly rare enough, and its not set up to allow customization.  A bandage is a bandage, after all.  Right now its as if everyone is expected to have a profession and level it along with their toon, and they do.  Crafting in WoW is no longer about creating awesome armor for you and your comrades to use.  Its about taking the profession to give you a very small edge in endgame, and if it helps your toon as its lvled up, so be it…  But most people now don’t even do that.  They switch professions on a dime and use it only for the endgame benefit (I have to admit, I am one of those people).  The crafting is not part of the character’s identity.  This, however, can also be considered a success on the part of Blizz – characters don’t feel as if they are irrevocably linked to that profession, and they can drop it and fairly easily pick a new one up.

So, I thought I might do a series of posts “re-thinking” the professions, and how they relate to the game, how you could use them in game, and most of all, how you could make it more meaningful to the character playing it.  Ill kick it off with cooking, and continue from there.


Historically, cooking is something that everyone could do to some extent, even if the nobles would hire other people to do it.  If it came down to a matter of survival, the noble could hunt down a rabbit and throw it over a fire.

Cooking also has a distinct and regional flare to it.  Tex-Mex, Asian, French, American, Indian, and South American are all terms you would use to describe food.  Each type (and there are many more than I can possibly list here) has a distinct flavor and method of preparation that separates it from the other type.  And if you look at the names, it is classified by region.  The heart of Mexico City has much different food, than that of the Taiwaneese.

The best chef’s are trained for YEARS and often complete a schooling session, as well as an internship.  It’s not uncommon for a classically trained chef to have worked in the kitchen, starting out as a simply pastry maker, and working up from there.

Apply This to WoW

We obviously don’t have the time to work for years at our skills.  Players, on average, take about a week (many more even less than that) of gameplay to get to lvl 80 and endgame content.  The current model for skillups is actually surprisingly well fit for cooking – The more you cook, the greater the skill, but you cant keep using the same old recipe to skill up, you have to change it up and learn new ones.

I would argue, however, that a certain consideration needs to be given about *where* the meal is cooked.  Over a campfire tends to produce different qualities than in an inn’s oven.  Its not neccesarily worse, but you cant exactly make Eggplant Parmesan over a campfire – its just too erratic of a heat.   So, the best recepies should only be cookable at inn’s where you have full, stocked, kitchens.

As you level, really early in your toon’s life, you will come across quests that you can complete that give you your first recepies.  Kaledori Kebabs anyone?  How about Gooey Spider Legs?  You see, WoW has such a diverse set of cultures that, at least in early game, you get to see a bit of flavor of that culture.  I don’t think this was intentional.  But I would love to see it on a bigger scale.

I would love to see cooking split up into “cultural” divisions.  That is going to take a bit of work on the dev’s part, but it could certainly work.  If you level in darnassus, you are largely going to live on spiders, and bears.  It makes sense that you learn to cook that meat.  And if you are in Stormwind leveling, you would learn how to cook Pigs and Wolves.  This could certainly translate all the way up to endgame – since the primary sources of meat become condensed into fish or mobs that are common to all the races, it would just be a matter of making different recepies.

This would make cooking more interesting and unique.  It would also give you the benefit of having some recepies that others don’t.  Perhaps the Paladins of the Human world like to cook the dragonfin anglefish for their strength inducing properties, but the Night Elves like the Agility that it confers.  Humans learn the Strength recepie, Night Elves the Agility.  This would keep food profitable on the AH, and in a somewhat limited supply, as not everyone would learn every type of recipe.  It would also get rid of this completely absurd “Dalaran Cooking Award” type of daily, where you have to purchase recipes through ribbons – though it would likely stay in place to limit the northern spices as a simple game mechanic.

Finally, because WoW is a completionists dream, and caters to the casual, there needs to be a way that each cook can learn the cooking of the other races.  I like it right now that *some* of each race’s unique recipes are purchasable through vendor.  But if  you truly want to master that “dialect” of cooking,  you need to go quest in that land.  Make a minimum number of quests in each starter zone before that person could learn that specialization of cooking.

As it is now, a cook is a cook is a cook.  There is no uniqueness in one cook to another, outside of a few low level recipes.  I think it would be much more interesting if blizz would spice it up (no pun intended) and split cooking into regional “dialects.”  Wouldn’t it be fun to see “Manta Ray Curry” and “Manta Ray and Chips?”

One Response to “Re-Inventing Professions of WoW – Cooking”
  1. Tutunkommon says:

    Just wanted to drop a note that I like the idea that you had here. I am going to be thinking about it for a while, but in a different context.

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