Every time I start a new character in WoW… or in most online games… I tell myself I am just going to pick up harvesting skills and sell stuff on the auction house and not get mired in the grind and pointlessness of trying to level up yet another trade skill.
And I mostly ignore my own advice. I think I have at least one character for each trade skill in retail WoW and I have only one character over 40 in WoW Classic that hasn’t given up on just harvesting and picked up a trade skill. (And that one character has more gold on him than any three of my other characters combined… go figure!)
I was thinking about this and wondering was there some point in the game when trade skills… any of them… were so good that I was left with such a favorable impression that I felt I should go all in on any of them again? What drives me to do this?
This is especially true for my main, a paladin who has chosen engineering as his profession, which is a repeat of what I did back in 2006, so I must have known somewhere in the back of my head that the grind in vanilla WoW was bad and hardly worth the effort. You get a couple of interesting things. I was able to make ammo for my hunter that was slightly better than vendor ammo, and you get some thrown explosives which, for a paladin lacking in ranged attacks was a bit of a boon, but most of what you see on the list of recipes sounds more useful than it generally ends up being.
Granted, engineering does seem to find its niche by the time we hit Northrend, becoming more about special perks for the engineer rather than general items… though there is special ammo because they hadn’t taken ammo from hunters quite yet. And then there is the engineer’s only auction house bot in Dalaran. That is nice.
However, while I like the parachute and the wormhole generator… make the parachute first… and some of the other gear and enhancements, it is still a resource grind and as you end up making stuff you’ll mostly vendor to get to that thing you’ll make exactly one of and hold onto until you eventually get a better drop in an instance.
And Wrath is about the peak for engineering in my mind. Making the chopper and a couple other items were about the best moments in the profession for me. It maintained some of its perks over time, but the grind never quite felt as worth it to me.
Then there is Warlords of Draenor which, depending on your perspective, either destroyed crafting or brought crafting to everybody… though I might argue it did both.
I have bitched about WoD and garrisons not being housing in any sense of the word that most people gabbed on to when Tom Chilton said that is what garrisons were going to be. We projected our wishes on that statement and were, once again, disappointed.
The flip side though is that garrisons are the reason I have an alt in every crafting profession… and an outfitted garrison to support each and every one of them. And I still go into a garrison now and then because they are still relevant to some aspects of crafting. My tailor has cranked out so many 30 slot bags that even my lowest level alt has storage space my WoW Classic characters can only dream of.
Warlords of Draenor feels almost like the second coming of crafting for me. I had let most of my crafting… save engineering on my main and the secondary skills of cooking, first aid, and fishing, which I always try to keep up… between Wrath and WoD.
But after WoD, after that my crafting focus was often involved hitting Darkmoon Faire once a month to get those 5 points of crafting skill. Part of that was Blizz dialing it back after feeling they had gone in too deep with WoD, which made crafting after that feel even more grindy. But they were also conservative on what they gave people after that too. My tailor sold 30 slot bags on the market all through Legion because they were still in demand.
Then there was the breaking of crafting from one continuous skill range into different expansion groups, and then the great level squish, where you could play to the current expansion through just one old expansion like Wrath, but couldn’t do trade skills that way.
Here we are, past the 18 year mark since the launch of WoW, and I am wondering where the peak of crafting really was for the game. I am sure that is a pretty subjective call, and certainly some professions have had it better than others.
For example, inscription started off very strong out of the gate in Wrath, and then was made completely irrelevant down the road. But if you ran with alchemy and you kept up with it, you have likely been in demand through most of the history of the game, so your peak probably coincides with when you played the most.
I am torn between Wrath and how things went there and WoD where crafting was everywhere, even if that led to the downfall of most professions.
Where was the peak of trade skills for you in WoW?