Friday, December 17, 2010

Why can't all gathering be like fishing?

Whether or not you've got your alt equipped in BoA gear and either way you decide to level it, we can all agree on one thing. Leveling has become alot easier than it was a couple of years ago. And by easier I both mean the fact that Blizzard have made quests more logical, added more flight paths and graveyards and everything else that might save you some time, and the fact that you get way more exp for killing mobs and turning in quests, while also needing less exp to gain a level. I'm not just talking about what most of us have been doing the last week, leveling 80 to 85, but the leveling experience in total as of 4.0. Overall I welcome these changes, since eventhough I enjoy leveling chars it's actually the acquiring of new skills that I enjoy the most. And the faster I acquire them the more fun, generally!

But leveling really fast has taken its toll. I wrote a post a while ago on how mid level craftings are taking a blow by the fact that people just blast by the areas where they're supposed to gather materials. This has made prices sky rocket, since most people don't bother to try to skill their professions while leveling, but finish them off at endgame instead by buying what they need from the auction house instead. Crafting professions is only the effect of the issue of course. The problem lies in the fact that we outlevel the zones in which we have to skill our gathering professions way too fast. 80-85 is nothing compared to lowbie leveling. I managed to keep my herbalism up to date my level without much trouble when going from 80 to 85. Cases are quite different 1-80 however.

I remember a couple of years ago, when leveling still was comparatively slow. Back then you never had to worry about outleveling your gathering profession since you'd most likely get all the skills you needed just from doing quests in the area. This is no longer the case. Even when going out of my way to gather a node, I often find myself outlevel the areas I have to get my skills in. I actually have to make special gathering runs just to skill my gathering profession before entering the next zone if I want to keep up. And the problem is you need quite many skills per zone before you can move on to the next. After a while you just can't be bothered anylonger since this will have to go on all the way up to endgame. All I want to do is level my char, I didn't sign up to have to go on continous farm runs!

Blizzard have tried to solve this my making gathering nodes award exp. This way going on gathering runs as a lowbie isn't as penalizing as it as before. But it's still a major downtime in our quest to get to level 80. Add to that that you can't really do anything else. No instances and no quests, since that will only take you further away from your skill level without actually adding to your skill. This makes the prospect of having to pour thousands of gold into a profession to power level it at endgame sound less and less like a bad idea. At least it will save me hours of running around in lowbie areas doing nothing but gathering professions.

And this is boring with herbalism,
just imagine how horrible it is with mining. Skinning is actually still a gathering profession that is fairly easy to skill since very many quest mobs are skinnable.

There are several way to solve this problem;

  • Make leveling go slower - A bad idea. Most people already dislike leveling their characters, and the further away the final level is, the less inclined they will be to reroll a character. Even I, altoholic deluxe wouldn't like this solution at all.
  • Make nodes more prevalent - The reason skinning is so easy to skill is because skinning targets are everywhere while questing. Herbs are a little more scarce and veins still more scarce. One half-decent solution would be to make herbalism and mining of mobs award skill points, for example. As it is now there are plenty of mobs that are herbable (less are minable), but for some reason they don't award skill points. I suppose Blizzard might've thought that would make skilling too easy, since you can just farm a mob for skills, on the other hand this is exactly how skinning works so I can't see the problem.
  • Make all gathering professions work like fishing - It is interesting to note that the best solution, according to me, is one that Blizzard is already using to make another gathering profession less of a hassle to skill - fishing. Before the changes, fishing worked just like any gathering profession, which meant that you couldn't fish in areas out of your skill level. But since fishing ultimately was the slowest gathering profession, and also not a core-profession but a secondary one, Blizzard decided it could use a revamp. Now anyone with the fishing skill can fish anywhere (which also is more logical of course), you just won't get much fish if you're fishing somewhere out of your skill level. Instead you will get a bunch of grays, and skills won't come with each throw in either, but maybe with every 15th throw in. 
I can't see why not all gathering professions could work this way? Honestly, is there any reason I as a herbalist couldn't be able to pick a herb out of my skill level? Logically no. I might ruin it in the process, but I should still be able to do the attempt. Same thing with skinning and mining of course. Right now it resembles the issue with some classes not being able to wield staves. So what... they don't know how to hold a staff? o.O The best solution would be if all gathering professions could gather all nodes, but the further from your skill level they are, the less likely you are to actually get a worthwhile item and a skill. Just as with fishing. So say for example that I have 100 mining skill and attempt to mine a thorium vein, I might have a 10% chance to actually get some thorium ore and a skill. 90% of the time I'd get some gray, low value vendor crap. Eventhough I'd still probably fall behind in my profession, moving on to the next area before getting to the proper skill level at least wouldn't put my profession to a dead stop, as it is now. Everytime I move on to a new area I have to make a decision between dropping my profession until endgame, or stay behind to skill it up. This solution would change that, and maybe we'd see more mid level materials on the market as a bonus.


  1. Interesting idea. I leveled my fishing up in the Dalaran fountain and got a ton of grey garbage during the process. Now if they could put in a green-house or one of those farms around(?), where I could run through and practice?!

    Hmm, considering the market for these herbs, why aren't there more herb farms?

  2. @Elk
    Haha, that's a great idea! Give everyone their own little mine/garden/cattle ranch to gather mats, so we don't have to fight about it. Maybe that's a little too much Harvest Moon... Actually this is somewhat how alchemy works in Warhammer Online, you get to cultivate your own plants. Interesting.