Re-Imagining the Professions: How do we gather?

Gathering professions are simply the most boring professions in game – fishing included.  Its a hide and seek type of game, where you have to run aorund and figure out where the herbs/ore/fish are, then right-click, and you are done.  How boring is that?   But even more than that – you cant pick a single flower in northrend if you do not have the skill to do it (Winter Hyacinths being the exception).  Mining is the same – aparently if you see something shiny sticking out of the ground, you cant take a shovel or pick to dig it up.

So how do we make Mining/Flower Picking (because I absolutely refuse to call it “herbing”)/Fishing more fun?

Well, WoW could go the way of the “mini-games” and each different gather would have to be played out.  Then, based on the score you get, you get a pro-rated amount of flowers/ore/fish.  In fact, that is the way that blizz plans to take fishing – they announced it at blizzcon, in no certain terms.

HOWEVER, you have to think about what this is going to do to the professions.  Right now, you get between 1-5 items per gather.  If a mini game lasts 30-40 seconds, this is going to dramatically change the number of items that get gathered in a day…  Maybe that is a good thing.  Gosh, I really hated having to smelt two ores into one bar.  I always thought to myself, “Good lord, why don’t you just spawn half the nodes?”  The answer is JC of course.  They need the raw ore to prospect into gems.,

So, if they went the way of mini-games, they have to walk a fine line.  Make it too quick, and it will become trivial, but make it too long, and they would have to “up” the amount of items that get dropped.   But then, you have to worry about those that have mastered the games, because they will take the most away.

My solution – Don’t change the way that gathering is done.  Change WHO gathers.  Let’s face it – your professions should define you as a character.   there were famed blacksmiths/swordsmiths/armorsmiths back in the day, and who didnt know about the mad alchemist around the corner?  But was there ever a person who got extremely famous from picking flowers?  Mining?  Fishing?  Nat Pagle is about the only person who I know who is famous for that.

Let’s give everyone gathering.

That, of course, will flood the market with mats.   How do we balance this?   Well, up the costs of anything that you craft.  If everyone is gathering flowers, and everyone is gathering ore, then I can see a much larger trade industry popping up – a frost lotus for 20 ore anyone?

And while you are at it, lets make one ore smelt into one bar..  thats annoying as hell.

One Response to “Re-Imagining the Professions: How do we gather?”
  1. Tutunkommon says:

    Um… I couldn’t disagree more. There are a couple reasons. First, game economy. There would simply be no market for materials at all. You may get a token amount from the lazy who just don’t want to go out there, but 20 ore for a frost lotus wouldn’t be the rate. More like 10 copper for anything. Think linen cloth.

    second, game balance. I have had to think about this more than I ever wanted to lately. Professions are meant to be a time sink. They also need to create some sort of value equivalent to the time spent performing the action. If you open all gathering professions up to everyone, there is no value gained from the activity. You would need a much higher number of spawn points, since now you are competing with everyone rather than just the other miners, or whatever, driving the value down even further. Plus, deciding which gathering professions to train in allows players to differentiate a bit more. The world famous weaponsmith who crafted the flaming-black-sword-of-eternal-doom probably didn’t spend his down time picking flowers to sell at the AH.

    Finally, it would be completely unrealistic. In your opening paragraph you imply that anyone should be able to pick a flower, because I can walk outside right now and pick a flower or take a shovel and dig up something shiny. Let’s finish that analogy, though. If I walk outside into my backyard right now, and go down into the trees a ways, there are dozens of different plants around me. With absolutely no training whatsoever, I can pick any of them. However, which ones would kill me if I ate them? Which can be ground up and used as an anti-septic? Which can I eat if I need to survive? How about the tree bark? I know the base ingredient of aspirin (salicylic acid) comes from a tree bark, but heck if I know which one it is.

    Same thing with mining: I can see something shiny, and grab a shovel, but can I hit it with the pick in the right way to separate it from the rocks without destroying it? Can I tell if it is a valuable piece of ore / gem or if someone melted some glass and threw it into the rocks?

    Fishing… erm, well…. Nothing’s perfect. I can catch fish drunk.

    The gathering professions, although annoying sometime when your level 58 alt is trying to Herb in Nagrand and constantly getting herb ninja-ed by someone on their epic flyer, is still one of the parts of the game that I think works quite well. Progression from pickable herbs could maybe speed up a bit at the lowest levels, or more intermediate herbs added. Nonetheless, I think the fact that it is progress-able, time consuming in a way that gives a value to the resulting materials, and limited in the number of professions that you can train makes it a very functional system.

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