So here’s the thing about these new Masterwork Professions: I don’t get it.
Professions have many issues currently, but the two most glaring probably are:
- Professions are non-viable for personal progression until max level because you easily outlevel them. What you are able to craft at any point during leveling does not match the state of your character.
- Even at max level, most professions are unprofitable and some are actually simply useless.
The first issue remains untouched and I’m gonna admit I don’t have an easy solution for it as well. Leveling is so fast, at least until 60, that it’s probably impossible to design professions to keep up without making them too easy to level as well. I do think however that while working on professions something should have been done to raise their viability early on. How cool would it be to start crafting before logging off and then begin your next session with a piece of gear (or boost, buff, quality-of-life enhancement) that’s useful or an upgrade?
The Masterwork Professions do indeed target the second bullet though, which is a needed change because the crafting system is less relevant than ever. The advertised endgame for Professions however is more like an additional endgame for guilds because of the way the design has been attached to Strongholds. And that’s bad for many reasons. It’s not so much about the whole ‘Dude what about solo players?’. Players that socialize are more likely to stay in the game, so it’s justified that guilds come with designed advantages.
It’s more that professions in my eyes should be a standalone system to make it a true separate path to choose, invest in and have fun with. Yes, the recipes of item level 140 shouldn’t be too easy to get, but it’s not necessary to tie the whole system to Stronghold structures either. Guilds already have access to exclusive Dragonflight and Lionsmane gear anyway, so Masterwork Professions don’t give players more choices, they simply add onto existing ones. This is especially irritating since a way to make more ADs has been a top demand of the community and now that new ways of becoming a retailer are introduced, it doesn’t affect all parts of the playerbase equally. And what about those that just love to craft and can’t participate because of the requirements? Why don’t you unlock Masterwork for everyone, but make certain recipes exclusive to Stronghold owners? These are some irritating design decisions to say the least.
Apart from that there’s an expandability issue. Professions admittedly have always been kind of one hit wonders. Every addition of state-of-the-art gear came with extra grind. First it were completely new professions, then added levels and now Masterwork. So it’s pretty safe to say that you do the whole thing once for item level 140 recipes. Future additions are highly unlikely. Therefore it might have been better to design Professions to give stuff that does not outdate as easy, like Fashion sets or Transmutes. This also would have added a certain style factor.
To pick up a question that Asterdahl raised in his original blog post: Where do the new recipes fill in? They neither make professions more appealing while leveling nor do they strengthen professions as a standalone and separate path players can choose. For me that’s a missed opportunity for a lacking system, because there’s a decent chance that this will be the only change to professions for a longer time.