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[US] Concentration & Professions Feedback

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[US] 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

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.
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.
One of the dev notes said alchemy was basically done, but potions still only has 2 nodes, is this planning on being increased?
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.
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:

Blacksmithing tree with the forge looks really cool, super excited for it.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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Kaivax
Community Manager

#2 – June 6, 2024, 11:37 p.m.
Blizzard Post

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

Hambrick:

Are the current difficulty numbers for crests, missives, and embellishments final?

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.

Hambrick:

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

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.

Hambrick:

Is knowledge progression going to be hard capped per week, or are there any plans to have something similar to dragon shards?

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.

Hambrick:

One of the dev notes said alchemy was basically done, but potions still only has 2 nodes, is this planning on being increased?

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.

Hambrick:

What’s the plan with artisan’s acuity?

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.

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