Existing primary professions follow a pretty specific formula:
Gather Resources –> Refine Resources –> Craft Items –> Get Skill Points –> Unlock New Recipes (repeat)
Obviously, gathering professions (herbalism, mining, skinning) don’t actually get to the crafting part (herbalism doesn’t even really refine the herbs at all) but the formula stays roughly the same. Professions added after launch (Jewelcrafting and Inscription) both added their own refinement step (Prospecting Ore and Milling Herbs), such that they more closely hit all the steps in the formula.
To me, this creates a circumstance where the professions are an afterthought at best, or a hassle at worst, to the leveling character. Crafted gear doesn’t contribute to player power in a meaningful way before hitting the endgame, while consumables (item enhancements, potions/elixirs/flasks) are useful as long as you’ve got the materials to produce them, but if the correlation between profession level and character level gets disrupted, you’re stuck backtracking to try and keep things consistent.
Moreover, it presents a situation where if you want to keep your profession level in line with your character level, your two profession slots are pretty much filled once you make a choice; the gear-producing professions need their corresponding gathering profession in order to be effective. There are exceptions to this: Enchanting has it’s gathering mechanism built in, while Tailoring is predicated on getting cloth from certain kinds of mobs.
So here’s the remix:
- All production professions are able to gather their own materials. Blacksmiths and Engineers can mine nodes, Leatherworkers can skin dead mobs, Alchemists and Scribes can gather herbs.
- All gathering professions collect more resources per node than production professions do. Additionally, all of them have the ability to refine raw materials into more esoteric materials that can’t be normally gathered (e.g. Miners smelt Steel). The balance is that those esoteric materials won’t be necessary if all you want to do is level up the production professions to max.
- To combat the issue of profession level/character level getting out of sync, there’s no skill requirement to mine/herb a node (and if you can kill a mob, you can skin it). If you’ve got higher skill, you draw more resources out of the node (with an upper limit) but stand a greater chance of getting rare materials (e.g. gems from mining nodes, on-use items from herb nodes, Bloated Stomachs from skinning).
- Want to convert some of your top-level raw materials down to something your leveling alt can use? Know how the Ink Trader NPCs work? You can do the same thing with ore, cloth, leather, herbs, and dust.
This is part one of a number of changes I’d make to the Professions system. So it’s really more of a remix album. ^_^