Concentration & Professions Feedback

After fiddling around with professions on the Alpha for a few weeks, I thought I’d give my thoughts on their current state. I mainly do crafting orders, so most of this feedback will be geared towards those, though I’ll note when I am talking about crafting things to sell on the AH, or when something may affect those as well. I had been waiting for some indication that professions were free of obvious placeholder items/values, and all the systems were implemented before posting this, but start of Beta seems as good a time as any.

The first point of feedback is more of a question: Are the current difficulty numbers for crests, missives, and embellishments final?

  • As tuned, they would allow aspect crafts to be guaranteed without concentration, which I think would be a terrible decision. While it would give lower commission prices for customers, it would greatly hurt the long term retention of crafters if they end up getting basically no tip for an aspect crest item guarantee 4 weeks after the expansion launches. This would also heavily punish crafters who are late to the party, or only pick it up in later seasons, as the return on their investment would be much lower.

  • If this is your plan, I think it would be best to confirm this sooner, rather than later, but most of my feedback here will be with the assumption that these get tuned to be somewhat similar to what they are on live, where an embellished aspect craft will end up being ~25-30 points away from guarantee.

Second: Concentration is currently tuned much too generously, specifically for gear crafting.

  • I think the concentration system overall is very clever, and solves most of the problems that mettle/insights had, especially on the customer side. However, I think the same mistake is being made with concentration that was made with crafting orders, where demand was drastically overestimated. On the alpha, concentration is recharging at a rate of 1 per 300-320 seconds, so 270-288 per day. Assuming about 30% ingenuity proc, and 20 concentration per aspect craft, it comes out to around 19-20 aspect equivalent guarantees per day. This is way too generous, and way more than is necessary. If crafters aren’t able to sell out their concentration for the day, then there’s no point in ever charging for it. If concentration is primarily meant to be a way to limit the number of max rank consumables available to keep their prices reasonably profitable for AH players, then that’s good, but as tuned it will absolutely kill gear crafting after a few weeks.

  • Using some data I gathered, at the start of season 3 (a high watermark of demand for embellished crafting orders outside of DF launch) demand on Sargeras for the big 4 gear professions (JC/BS/LW/Tailor) was around 400 aspect items a day through people looking for orders in trade chat. That means that only 10 dedicated crafter characters would be needed to entirely supply a large server during the absolute peak of demand, and that number would be even lower for smaller servers, and as demand peters out. Given that a lot of crafters have alts they do professions on as well, or are straight up dual boxing, that lowers the number even more. This is just too few necessary crafters to be able to spread orders out evenly and have it be worthwhile for them.

  • If concentration is supposed to be an anti-monopoly measure, to stop one crafter from gaining control over the entire market, and give other crafters a chance to compete and sell their services, it won’t be effective if it goes live with the current values, as a few players would still be able to fulfill most or all of a server’s demand. If concentration is supposed to just be a way for crafters who are behind to still be able to sell their services in the market, and it isn’t meant to be a constraint on max crafters, then what ways do you envision crafters being able to obtain value from the time and effort spent on their professions if they are just going to be at the mercy of whatever pittance the customer decides to offer.

  • Admittedly, nerfing it could have a negative impact on consumables, and I don’t think very many people want 10k per flask, so making sure it evens out would be important if any changes were made. Perhaps increasing the concentration cost for just gear crafts would be sufficient, as that wouldn’t affect the people who just want to sell items on the AH and not deal with customers. I think it would be much better to have it start off too restrictive, and then loosen it later if necessary, rather than have a repeat of what happened with public orders.

Odds and Ends: Just a couple of minor things, or things I’m curious about

  1. Cross faction trade chat: is this ever going to be a possibility? I would love to play a Horde race, but am stuck on Alliance as I cannot get customers on my Alliance dominated server otherwise. I’m not sure if the whisper system still being wonky cross faction would impede this or if that’s a problem that’s reasonable/worthwhile to solve.
  2. Is knowledge progression going to be hard capped per week, or are there any plans to have something similar to dragon shards? I completely understand wanting to lock down the knowledge progression so that it can be better paced, and not letting people race ahead like they did at the start of DF, but they did serve as a nice bit of catchup for returning or late players.
  3. One of the dev notes said alchemy was basically done, but potions still only has 2 nodes, is this planning on being increased?
  4. Are profession racials being looked at? Some professions (LW and tailoring) are left out, and the other bonuses are faction locked. Ideally there’d be some semi-permanent or very long (like a month long tied to the darkmoon faire or something) cooldown way to “Focus” in a profession and get the +5 skill, but I think at the very least giving enchanting, alchemy and inscription racials to the alliance, and blacksmithing/JC/engi racials to the horde would be an acceptable solution as well.
  5. What’s the plan with artisan’s acuity? Currently it is only used for profession equipment. Is it just going to become a dead currency once those are crafted? There seem to be a few minor spenders, like the everburning forge and condensing food, but those don’t seem substantial enough to not have it just be effectively useless for most players. I don’t think it should do anything like recharge concentration, but maybe at least having a material trader or something would be good.

Good changes I noticed and wanted to highlight:

  1. Blacksmithing tree with the forge looks really cool, super excited for it.
  2. I’m also glad you standardized the 30/30/20 knowledge on the tailoring crafts, having the numbers be different for each wing of the tree was probably very confusing for people.
  3. I’m also a fan of how you added some agency to the JC gem nodes, and made it very explicit what the gems give in the talent description, rather than players having to search for them in the unlearned recipes, if they even know that exists.
  4. Thank you for making all the gems BOE again. Epic gems were a nightmare to craft this expac since they can’t be recrafted. While this probably would have been alleviated somewhat with concentration, they probably would have remained the craft with the most discrepancy between customer expectations and reality. I’m somewhat concerned about the bloodstone reagent for pvp gems being BOP, but hopefully it shouldn’t be much of an issue since the epic gems don’t appear to have ranks associated with them.
  5. There doesn’t seem to be any altar of decay equivalent requirements for any gear crafts as far as I could find. Maybe I missed the text somewhere, or it’s intended and hasn’t been added in, but I think a lot of people will be glad to see it gone.
5 Likes

Thank you for the feedback, Hambrick. While we don’t have answers to all of your questions, we can offer some clarity.

We just completed a tuning pass on all reagent difficulty and crafting difficulties and these changes will show up in the next Beta build. While still subject to change, these are real values that are representative of our intent and we would appreciate feedback on them once they are in your hands.

The design philosophy for crafting difficulty in The War Within is that a well-honed crafter who is fully specialized, equipped with the best crafting tools, and using Quality 3 reagents can guarantee maximum quality on every craft, with a few targeted exceptions on certain non-equipment crafts. Concentration is intended to offset shortcomings in any of these variables.

However, one major change coinciding with this approach is a significant increase to the difficulty curve of acquiring higher quality reagents. In Dragonflight, there was a skill threshold where you graduated out of Q1 reagents from gathering completely, defaulting to Quality 2 with the occasional Q3. Now, you will continue to gain Q1 even when fully optimized, but your progress in your profession shifts those chances gradually in favor of Q3 as expected. Additionally, intermediate crafted reagents (ingots, bolts, etc) will also have much higher crafting difficulties relative to Dragonflight.

The reagent contribution toward a recipe’s final crafting difficulty has increased relative to Dragonflight. Reagents are now 40% of a recipe’s difficulty up from 25%, so the impact of lower quality reagents will be greater.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that the recipe reagent costs have not yet been tuned. While some recipes are more final than others, you can expect significant changes to the costs of recipes across the board in a couple weeks which will better represent our intent.

Concentration’s tuning pass is still a couple weeks away, but we agree. Additionally, Ingenuity’s refund is being adjusted to a percentage rather than a complete refund. This change affords us the opportunity to provide modifiers to the amount of concentration returned in the form of specialization bonuses or finishing reagents, while ensuring that concentration remains a finite, marketable resource. This is behavior is not yet present in Beta and the tooltip does not reflect this intent.

Concentration can also be tuned separately per profession so consumable based professions will lean toward generous tuning due to their bulk crafting nature.

Profession Knowledge (and Artisan’s Acuity) acquisition are tied closely to NPC Crafting Orders, which are not yet ready for testing. Progression is indeed capped per week, however there is catch-up built into the system that turns on pretty early. We anticipate there to be some slight variance in total knowledge points across any sampling of players at any given time, but an invested crafter should be able to catch-up within a couple points as long as they have made an effort to diversify their recipe list and routinely engage with NPC Crafting Orders.

We’re excited to share more details about this feature in the near future.

Specialization trees are in their near-final state across all professions. Most of the work that remains involves fixing up some obvious data errors and some minor tuning adjustments. We do not expect any significant changes to tree layout or perk design going forward.

Regarding Alchemy, there was a third Potion node early in development that we simply weren’t happy with, and ultimately cut. We acknowledge that this left the Potion tree feeling light on content, but have no current plans to expand it.

Artisan’s Acuity will be used in greater amounts for Recrafting than in Dragonflight, as well as being used for most crafts intended to improve your profession (such as profession equipment as you mentioned). Additionally, it will be used to purchase most vendor recipes. A repeatable sink for Artisan’s Acuity is a bag that contains a random assortment of reagents and a small chance at rare drop recipes.

A small amount Artisan’s Acuity will continue to come from knowledge acquisition as before, however Thomas Bright will not be offering a weekly sum of Acuity this time. The currency’s main source will be NPC Crafting Orders. A couple large sums will be offered a week, with many smaller offerings of Acuity on a more frequent cadence.

5 Likes

Thank you for the response! I’m somewhat disappointed that concentration won’t have use at max professions with t3 mats, but perhaps with the material ecosystem change for the extra gold from resourcefulness procs, or being able to charge when people use t2 mats will somewhat even it out. Everything else sounds super positive and I’m now even more excited for next week’s build with both profession tuning and the hunter changes!

1 Like

Respectfully, this is mind-boggling to me.

Actively choosing to just cut part of a profession and declare no intentions of fixing it is… a choice… on the bright side - I won’t need as many points to max out Alchemy

3 Likes

Can we please move away from burdening our bags and creating this artificial “difficulty” within crafting.

Having 3 different versions of the same Reagant isn’t fun. It’s an annoyance honestly. And with this new design plan of “Q1 More, and rare Q2/Q3”… It’s just going to expand on that annoyance. Why have Q2/Q3 at all? Why not just have Q1 and come up with some other non-annoyance/bag filling way of artificially “increasing difficulty”?

Edit: I mean heck, you introduced the additional bag slot for reagents simply because you KNEW how much of a bag waste all of these copies of Reagents would be. And you’re expanding upon it. My poor reagant bank is already realing from this current expansion, and now you’re going to expand upon that. Guess It’s a good thing I have a bank alt, going to need to clear out entire tabs of its banking system just for this continuance of “Enjoy 3 different versions of the same reagant.” philosophy.

Edit 2: Can we at least POTENTIALLY get another Tab or something for our reagant bank? Or is your philosophy hinging around players using entire tabs of this new “Warband Bank” just for reagants alone?

Edit 3: If this philosophy is contingent on the “Warband Bank” you really need to reduce its outrageous cooldown of “Every 4 hours” to like every 10 minutes at least. These outrageous CD’s you’ve placed on toys over the years really needs to stop. Why bother having a “toy” if you can only use it every 4 hrs of gameplay? So for a normal player they can use it… ONCE… per gaming session? How nice of you. – Edit 4: And lets not even mention the outrageous cost of upgrading the warband bank to accommodate this stupidity.

9 Likes

Praise lord Ham, crafter of all things good and just

4 Likes

Coming in from a different perspective (and trying not to step on professional crafters’ toes):

I notice 2 things out of the gate:

  1. You are still having the 1-100 leveling and the end game mechanics compete for your time, and I believe that is a serious design flaw in regards to alts. Because alts get less overall gameplay, they get less opportunity to develop their professions.

As someone with 12 alts (plus main), I never expected the alts to dive deep into the end-game nodes, but I absolutely did not expect an expansion-long grind to just hit the “leveling” skill cap (I just finished this last week). Between having no recipes to craft that awarded skill points (many recipes locked behind reputations my alts would not have access to) to nodes that maybe awarded a skill point once every 10 taps - leveling professions just to the basic skill cap is a nightmare in DF.

As mentioned, I don’t expect 12 alts to be masterful in end game professions, but it should not be an unholy grind to get them to 100 while I am leveling them.

All characters should be able to get to max level (1-100) within the span of leveling from 70 to 80, and leave the extra grind to the end-game folks for whom professions is their tentpole.

  1. Regarding Alchemy - I was able to get to a point where I have locked myself out of skill-ups. When you pick Alchemical Mastery and Thaumaturgy, you are left with almost no recipe that awards points outside of alchemists stones and flask cauldrons. Transmutations are locked behind a CD, as is meticulous experimentation. You don’t need dozens of alchemist stones (though the rare quality is BoE, so I assume the gameplay here is to sell them?) and cauldrons are pretty expensive to make and are war bound. And looking at the unlearned recipes, everything on that list awards no skill ups or maybe the occasional skill up. Leaving me capped at 77 points, unless the design intent is to have me flood the AH with alchemist stones for the remaining 27 points.

This leveling choke point has always been a major flaw in Blizzard’s professions design, with players left scrambling to find any recipe to eke out a skill point. This has never been fun gameplay, especially now given we have to compete with the secondary system. And if the situation I see is due to picking Thaumaturgy and Mastery, a) this shouldn’t happen anyway and b) we still can’t refund Knowledge if we find out we “chose poorly.”

So I still see the primary issues with crafting in general that there was in DF: too easy to hit a leveling choke point, and no way to adjust your choices if you realize the tree you went down wasn’t giving you what you were looking for.

As for Potions? I would add as a second node: gives you the ability to craft concoctions and tinctures, - and have concoctions be literally some of the NPC provided potions we have come across over the years - like Noggenfogger Elixir, especially for those of us who did the quest (up hill, both ways, in the sand!). Noggenfogger Elixir, Transmorphic Tincture, Inky Dark potions, etc.

3 Likes

I think this is a good thing. I believe the aim was to spread the ability to sell stuff around and people who could easily level up alt armies tended to dominate the auction house.

And I am someone who has all professions maxed out in terms of skills and talent trees and many duplicates also maxed out.

It should be a lot easier in War Within with the NPC orders I suspect though to get them to 100 since the most obvious way of leveling in dragonflight was using work orders which were few and far between on some servers.

1 Like

Excellent feedback with with a detailed and informative dev response. Awesome to see on these forums.

Very happy to hear there will be a knowledge catch-up of sorts, the npc work orders sound like great addition.

3 Likes

The knowledge catch up appears very similar to what they had this expansion, i.e. you still have to play your alts.

I’ve gone for weeks without getting a single dragonshard on a character I play regularly, if that’s what you are talking about. Tying it into NPC work orders will hopefully be a more reliable/regular method as the dev response seemed to suggest.

no I am not talking about dragonshards although those are a catchup for people who didn’t start the character from the beginning. I am talking about all the new recipes they added throughout the expansion and the new zone drops and rep items they introduced.

Oh I was refering to

Maybe I’m interpreting it wrong but that sounds to me like an actual catch-up system where people who are behind will get opportunities to catch up that aren’t available to those who aren’t behind (but also not maxed out).

I still read that like you have to play the character regularly. A lot of people started playing an alt 6 months into the expansion and wanted to be the same as someone who was playing throughout. I don’t think this is that kind of system.

At least I hope not. I think someone who has been playing constantly should be ahead of someone who just played a character for a week.

I guess I’m not sure what you’re getting at here. Personally I assume that its a given you will actually have to play the character to catch up. Are you saying thats a bad thing? Are you thinking that I’m saying its a bad thing?

They said that someone catching up should be able to get within a few points of someone who has who has been playing constantly from the start if they work at it. You are throwing the “just played for a week” part in there yourself to exaggerate something, but again I’m not sure what.

I assume it means that someone who has 60 knowledge points will have opportunities to gain more points per week than someone who has 150 knowledge points. Anything beyond that I have no idea.

so what do you think this means?

It could mean a lot of things. It could mean there will be additional weekly quests for people who are behind on points to complete npc work orders which you’ll need a variety of recipes to complete. Who knows?

Again, I have no idea what you are even trying to argue about here. They literally said there will be a catch-up mechanic. That’s it.

there was a built in catch up mechanic this expansion too

Catch-up mechanics are only available to people who are behind. The things you mentioned are available to everyone. You are looking at it from a later in the expansion perspective where some people are maxed out. Yes, those new things added in later patches help new characters gain knowledge faster. But its not a catch-up mechanic.

Catch-up mechanics specifically give something at a faster rate to people who are behind others, even if those others aren’t maxed out either and only ahead.

They specifically said it would be available early on, so not talking about later patches having more recipes or items in new patch zones.

An alt army in multiple accounts wins again, even more so in The War Within than in Dragonflight.

2 Likes