Thursday, April 3, 2014

Gold-Making News from the Warlords of Draenor Alpha

Hey there, everyone. I realize I've been pretty scarce lately. Diablo 3 managed to suck me back in with Reaper of Souls, and I've also been playing some Infamous: Second Son on the side. I don't think I've actually logged in to WoW since at least the Reaper of Souls launch, and I need to do so soon, to keep from losing my stock, if nothing else.

Still, we got the first big WoW news in a while today, and I wanted to make a quick post about it before bed. Warlords of Draenor has officially entered the alpha phase of testing. While this testing is obviously very limited, Blizzard chose to share with us a wealth of information today in the form of patch notes, which you can read here.

Unfortunately, while we know there are likely plenty of changes coming to professions, there isn't much that's been shared with us at this point. Given Blizzard's history, this is hardly surprising. Profession changes are usually one of the last things tested. In fact, we've even seen changes in the past that didn't make it onto beta or PTR at all, but were in a patch at release.

Still, what we do know is interesting, if brief. The first thing that immediately caught my attention is the removal of any sort of combat-based perks for professions. In the past, things like Jewelcrafter-only gems or a Blacksmith's extra sockets meant that any raider who wanted to be considered anywhere close to "hardcore" had two maxed professions, and usually crafting professions at that.

The removal of these bonuses may mean that we see fewer people, particularly among raiders, bothering with leveling their professions at all. A reduction in the amount of people who are competition, or who are at least partially self-sufficient instead of being buyers, seems likely to be a positive change overall, for those of us still willing to put in the work.

Secondly, Blizzard apparently felt that certain major glyphs were too expensive for leveling characters, while presumably also being essential parts of the class and/or spec. To that end, certain major glyphs will be learned automatically at levels 25, 50, and 75. The list of those glyphs can be found here.

It's hard to say what effect these changes will have on the glyph market. On the one hand, it flat out reduces the number of glyphs available to sell. On the other hand, these certainly aren't always going to be the exact glyphs someone wants, and it may be that getting these certain glyphs automatically will cause a new player, or someone leveling an alt, to start thinking about glyphs earlier than they might otherwise.

One thing's for sure, though. You don't want to be caught with a large stock of those glyphs when patch 6.0 launches. Now, assuming the patch launches about a month before the expansion, we've still got a good 5 months at even the most hopeful estimates, so you certainly shouldn't go out and have a fire sale right away. If you're someone that's making a stack or more of every glyph, though, you may want to consider gradually cutting back on your restock quantity for those particular glyphs.

Lastly, we'll be seeing a slight change to the way Herbalism and Mining work. You can read the official notes here, but the long and short of it seems to indicate the catch-up systems implemented in Pandaria for those professions were successful. Currently, no matter what your Herbalism and Mining skill, as long as you have those professions, you can gather in Pandaria. Below 525, you'll see a reduced output, generally in the form of "fragments" of the ore or herb in question. In 6.0, Blizzard will be adapting this mechanism to work for Mining and Herbalism all over the world. Any herb or ore in the game will be able to be gathered at any skill level, with a reduced output if your skill level is less than what would have previously been required.

It's a good system, in my opinion. With the increased speed of leveling, trying to keep pace on a profession as you leveled was a daunting task, and often a waste of time. The Pandaria changes were good, but often meant that if one wanted gathering professions, the best thing to do was just ignore them until Pandaria. This probably wasn't what Blizzard wanted, and may have reduced the already unpredictable supply of old world ore and herbs. Ideally, this change will help keep those supplies from dwindling too much.

Hopefully, there will be much more in profession news to come, as we progress through alpha and into beta. I'm particularly interested to see how they interact with Garrisons (another feature with very little news, as it isn't yet being tested). For now, though, all we can do (again) is wait.