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A Thought

September 18, 2013

Dear Reader,

I know we talk here about convenience and the often unforeseen consequences attached, but I had a thought for a convenience feature I’d like to see.

The problem came to me when I realized there was a spirit of harmony vendor.  Yes, I know, it’s a little late to be realizing that.  I’m not sure if I simply never knew or whether it was added during my time away.

I’ve been accidentally stockpiling Spirits on my alchemist shaman because, well, there was nothing to do with them.  I’ve got about 50 now, so when I saw the opportunity to unload a few, I took it and bought a bunch of stuff for my blacksmith to turn into living steel.

And thus the fun began, because I had to

1) buy the ore on my shaman

2) send the ore to my paladin

3) then send the bars of trillium back to my shaman

4) then send the living steel to my paladin

5) then send the belt buckles or whatever else I was making back to the shaman.

So my thought is this: if you take the time to log a toon on the same account in a city with the appropriate crafting nook (anvil, etc), then Blizz could grant access to that toon’s professions, as well, if your current toon is in the same place.

It wouldn’t take much tracking.  The game already knows where you log, so if it’s in a city, that would probably be good enough, and they know what professions you have even offline, as evidenced by the guild professions tab.

So it’s a small thing, yes, but think how many times each of us switch toon to toon for crafting.  It seems like a waste of time and a burden on the login servers.


Stubborn (and convenience-addicted)

9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2013 9:24 am

    Spirit of Harmony vendor was always there.

    And I don’t think Blizzard is interested in easing the alt thing – because it’s not their intention for you to cover all of these professions with your own characters. You’re meant to engage and trade with others to craft stuff.

    If you happen to have your own army of crafting alts, fine, but Blizzard has no interest in making it even MORE convenient for you and discouraging interaction with other people even more.

    • September 18, 2013 9:45 am

      I think that may have been true in the past, but if you consider that virtually all of the convenience features that have been added since vanilla were at the cost of maintaining community, I’m not sure that your base premise – that Blizz wants to encourage interaction – is true.

      LFD and LFR reduce interaction; there’s parallel play going on there, even parallel play to a similar goal, but certainly it’s a very low form of interaction compared to old dungeon run and raid runs.

      Guild finder reduces interaction by turning the old protocols into classifieds.

      Providing an ilevel score reduces interaction.

      Those are just off the top of my head, and I had a rough morning, so I’m sure there’s plenty more. Each of those are wonderful conveniences, especially for casual players, but each also reduces interaction.

      So I’m not sure that Blizz is really that interested in enforcing interaction.

  2. September 18, 2013 2:16 pm

    First of all, why do *you* think Blizzard limited characters to 2 primary professions if not to force dependency on others? Could easily make every profession give a ring enchant or whatever so you only needed one profession to be competitive.

    But beyond that…

    LFD and LFR still require you spending 15+ minutes for the former and 45+ minutes for the latter in a group at the same time and place where the playing skill of others affects your experience. In the days of the “old dungeon runs” there was also a lot of screening because you didn’t want to pick up someone who was bad and/or severely undergeared. Those dungeons could also take hours to do – you were really throwing in with a group for a night.

    All of that is a far cry from “/2 LF Miner to smelt ore” or “LF Alchemist for transmute.” Your interaction is very limited and you don’t care if they have no gems/enchants, keyboard turn, and click all of their abilities. You don’t even care if they’re max level or naked. But it still fosters the idea that your character cannot do everything.

    Guild finder is just stupid – I don’t even know anyone who uses it (though admittedly my experiences are far from the norm, I suppose). On the flip side, what “old protocols” are you even referring to? Spamming your guild blurb in trade? Posting it on the realm forums and hoping people see it (despite something like 5-10% of the playerbase even visiting forums)?

    Ilvl doesn’t reduce interaction – in BC, you would simply pull up armory and inspect the pieces individually. But that also took a lot of knowledge to know whether that epic was from Karazhan or Sunwell (relatively speaking). Ilvl makes it clearer whether the person is geared for MSV normal or SoO heroic without needing to break down the person’s gear piece by piece.

    • September 18, 2013 4:19 pm

      That’s simple, and already covered by my previous response. I think Blizzard limited it to 2 when it was first designed, and under the old design, they wanted to force interaction. Since then, I think their focus has shifted.

      In all of your examples, I’d still argue that there’s less interaction rather than more:

      Playing with others – even with a common goal – does not equate interaction. 16 people playing chess in the same room aren’t interacting with anyone but – potentially – their opponent. Similarly, you can send individuals on an easter egg hunt, and while they’re in the same place working towards the same goal, they may not be interacting. Easier dungeons – which I think we can agree this round of heroics was by far the easiest, as well as LFR, means less forced interaction, and that’s what we’ve seen.

      I agree that guild finder is stupid, so we’re mostly in agreement there, and while in the past there were certainly different tiers of guilds (as there are now), at least you had to participate repeatedly in spamming to get recruits. I know of plenty of halfway decent raiding guilds (well, this was Cata, so it’s out of date) that used guild finder, so it’s not limited to bottom-of-the-barrel. Those guilds now have less to do to recruit than the used to need to do, a great convenience, but less interaction.

      And yes, ilevel does reduce interaction, though not by much. Checking out someone on armory IS more interaction than being told a number. Good players, of course, might check anyway, but it’s not required.

      I think perhaps the core of our disagreement has to do with how we define interactivity. Being in someone else’s company isn’t interaction; it’s parallelism. Interaction requires evaluation, communication, and coordination, all of which are slowly vanishing from the game. I find it very hard to believe that you’ll disagree with that basic premise. My point is that reducing it further with this change is in line with other changes Blizz has made in reducing interaction. Not that it’s a “good” decision, but that it’s a convenient one that will only reduce interaction a small amount, which you seem to agree with your line ” Your interaction is very limited…” So if, from my point of view, they’re already reducing it in all the meaningful ways, then they might as well scrub this one, too.

      Thanks for the comment!

    • September 19, 2013 2:43 pm

      “In all of your examples, I’d still argue that there’s less interaction rather than more:”

      To some degree. My point, though, was that there is still far more interaction involved in them (especially over a period of time) than in getting someone to craft an item.

      “Interaction requires evaluation, communication, and coordination, all of which are slowly vanishing from the game. I find it very hard to believe that you’ll disagree with that basic premise.”

      That’s simply not true. Their scope is being redefined. For example, raids in Vanilla (or at least MC) required very little of those three concepts compared to even normal raiding now. If they were level 60 and had a pulse, they could pretty much go to MC. There were no damage meters or world of logs (or even WoW Web Stats) for evaluations, many guilds didn’t use voice communication, and very little coordination was needed. Similarly, there were no arenas for ratings, rated battlegrounds, or challenge mode dungeons where those three concepts are extremely important.

      And there has never been a time in WoW’s history where those three have been more important in heroic raiding.

      In other words, the part of the game meant to be easier and more appealing to casual players (meaning people who might only play a few hours each week, total) is requiring less evaluation/communication/coordination but the part of the game meant to be challenging is requiring more than ever (high end PvP and PvE).

      And while I agree with you on your group of chess players, there’s very different from even LFR. In LFR you absolutely are interacting with everyone else and the result depends on the group. You could play perfectly and still wipe because others messed up. In your chess example, you aren’t going to lose a game because someone in another game made a bad move.

  3. Cain permalink
    September 18, 2013 3:26 pm

    There was a tweet a while back that made me think they might consider it where ghostcrawler asked what would be the problem with having more professions on a toon or something along those lines. I personally would remove the having to be in the same city requirement as well. Make it so once you’ve leveled a profession on any character you can access that profession from any of your characters. Even better would be to make it work cross servers too. When I transferred my JC to a new server I had to level a new JC so I would still have it covered. That goes the same with a lot of things that I think should just be set for your whole account though. Like heirlooms. I have almost every heirloom, but they are stuck on one server. They said, with the whole account wide achievements thing, they want you to only worry about playing not which toon you are on, so I hope they go further with that idea.

    • September 19, 2013 3:32 pm

      I have every piece of BoA and have been waiting for what seems like forever for Bind on Account to literally mean “account” and not “realm”.

  4. September 18, 2013 8:07 pm

    Cain mentioned it above, but there have been murmurs from the dev team about a big profession change coming. I think they are very aware that people swapping toons just to access their professions has been the rule rather than the exception for some time now, which is definitely not the goal they had in mind for professions.

    It’s one of those things that I’m annoyed that the game rewards me for doing because I really don’t like doing it. I’ve often gone out of my way to purchase items I can craft myself from the AH instead of switching toons, because popping mighty heroes in and out of existence just to perform menial tasks shatters any sense of immersion for me.

    The best design in my opinion is to restrict professions to a small number (say, two) per account, rather than character. But that’s never going to happen. It’s just another one of those things that they can’t redesign after a decade without severely pissing off half the playerbase.

    • September 19, 2013 6:43 pm

      I wouldn’t mind having to rely on the rest of the player base if I knew that they wouldn’t run like hell with the opportunity and charge ridiculous amounts for doing so. That’s really only a concern at the start of any expansion or content patch and eventually evens itself out, but if I get a new weapon in a raid and I want to pop Jade Spirit on it, I know I can use all of the Sha crystals I’ve been collecting, hop over to my Enchanter and I’m done. I guess after almost 9 years of playing I’d rather rely on myself. I just don’t enjoy swapping around to accomplish something I’d be able to do with a simple menu system that collectively brings up all of my available professions. All it’s doing is saving me time.

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