World of Warcraft Dragonflight’s reveal yesterday gave us a deeper look at the future of Warcraft. And a majority of what was shown made me giddy. Whether it be the revival of talent points, a cinematic trailer full of good vibes, or an absolutely adorable new dragon race, Dragonflight has been channeling elements of the golden age of WoW. Especially after Shadowlands raised the bar for ridiculousness in this series, it’s really exciting to come back to high fantasy.
But not everything shown yesterday elicited a similar level of optimism. In particular, Blizzard Entertainment is finding whole new ways to tackle and modernize the profession system. It’s shaping up to be the biggest change we’ve ever seen to professions, and although I like the ideas conceptually, players should be a bit more pessimistic about what it could mean for WoW.
Deeper professions could mean a deeper grind
To cap off the Dragonflight reveal, UI Designer Joanna Gianulis and Principal Game Designer Eric Holmberg-Weidler sat down for a brief period to discuss the changes coming to professions. First, let’s get one of the cool things out of the way: Crafting Orders. These allow a player to put in an order through an auction-house-esque UI for another player to craft them the item they’re looking for.
You can even input reagents only you can get your hands on to help contribute to the crafting process. These can be based on commissions, and should help certain professions feel more involved. If I’m a good leatherworker and want to earn some quick gold making something for someone else without worrying about selling it at the auction house, I can lend my services to another player. The item a player gets crafted for them can also be soulbound, which means they won’t need to make a separate character just to get a cool piece of armor from a different profession. This seems like an awesome change, but we’ll see how it impacts the game’s economy.
However, I’m less optimistic about other significant changes. Items a crafter can make and reagents gatherers can acquire will have a quality level attached to it. For example, if you’re making boots, its item level will shift depending on the quality you can make it at.
References to quality attached to armor pieces sounds cool, but after Shadowlands, I’m a bit worried. Throughout that expansion’s endgame, players had to grind Anima to upgrade the rank of their gear. And when 9.1 launched, they had to grind Research to do the same in Korthia. These were clear ways to push the player into an elongated grind for better armor, especially since the required cost would increase exponentially. I love the idea of working towards crafting better armor, but I hope the methods of doing so aren’t attached to daily quests and grinding an ephemeral currency.
Players will also have stats attached to each profession, which can be changed based on their armor. It’s currently unclear if the player’s level impacts this or if a new leveling system is present.
Professions need something new; investing in Leatherworking during Shadowlands made me feel empty. The awful grind I had to engage with towards endgame to make legendary armor pieces was not remotely worth it. Finding a way to make this system more engaging is welcome, but I have a feeling this could lead to even more of a grind.
When does it end if we’re constantly trying to get our stats up to make better gear? How far does the quality cap go, and what determines our profession stats? Will we be able to use this system of crafting to make ourselves armor that can rival Mythic and Raid drops? I have so many questions, especially after feeling the massive burn from professions before.
At the very least, professions have unique outfits now. When you engage with your gathering or crafting, your character will switch into the equipment that suits those skills. Better yet, players no longer need to worry about carrying around their profession-based gear. Dragonflight will be introducing dedicated slots to save bag space.