The purpose of this post is to draw attention to a few issues, and propose a change which should significantly improve some of them. I am partly inspired by a post by @thefabricant
but while I agree with the problem identified there, I disagree with the proposed solution and would like to offer an alternate suggestion. Specifically, I want to approach this in a way that solves (or at least reduces) more issues at the same time.
Issue #1 Worthless crafting
Crafting is next to pointless right now, as there are only a handful of items worth making. There is hardly any gear that is considered viable at level 80, and crafters are just reduced to making a few potions, jewels and armor kits - none of which are really profitable.
There have been periods when crafting was useful, even highly profitable and people could make millions of AD per week by crafting pants or +1 weapons, but going from one extreme to another is just disruptive. We need long-term stability - crafting should be at a point where it is permanently useful, but not so excessive that it is the most profitable activity in the game.
Now, I worry that we might see an attempt to make crafting relevant again, just by adding a new tier of masterwork items, which would become “BiS” temporarily. While this might seem like a solution, it probably means that a few months later we will be back to the current situation, where new armours or weapons from future expansions make the crafted items worthless. I would consider this approach misguided.
The issue basically arises because crafted items are in a sense competing with dropped items, which results in them alternating between being “BiS” and being worthless. This is a very frustrating circle that needs to be broken.
Issue #2 Unwanted items
Whenever new content is added, we get several pieces of head, arm, body and feet armor - in most cases with quite varied equip bonuses. Some of those bonuses are clearly meant for certain roles (tank, dps or heal), or specific situations (long “boss” fights against a single target, “trash” cleaning, solo play or whatever. The problem is that the gear also comes with certain stats (points in Accuracy, Defense etc), but frequently the combination just does not match up… That is, a player may like a piece of equipment for the stats, but consider the bonus worthless, or like the bonus, but the stats are not appropriate for the build/role/class.
The result is that most of the pieces of armor that are being added are considered “worthless” ... out of an entire set, players may think maybe one or two pieces are worth using and all the effort that went into making the rest of the items is basically wasted.
With limited resources, it really makes little sense to waste effort on making items that nobody will ever want.
Issue #3 Empty zones
The addition of “Legacy”campaigns has increased the traffic in some of the earlier zones. Also, there are some low-level zones that high-level players will go to, sometimes because of weekly quests or campaign currencies for their guild - however, there are other zones which feel empty and unused. It would be really nice if there was something that made those zones worth playing.
Issue #4 Lack of AD sinks
The game could use a few more AD sinks. We currently have around a 40-day backlog for AD->Zen trades, and while there are other reasons for that as well, having a few more things to take AD out of circulation would make the economy healthier. Considering that the 10% AH fee is one of the most effective sinks, having more items that players could trade would help a bit in that respect, as well as providing more ways for some players to earn AD.
The basic proposal is simple:Eliminate all equip bonuses from "high-rank" armor pieces. Instead, give them a “slot” for a craftable bonus. The resources needed for those bonuses would drop from various, existing zones.
Basically, this is an extension of the current system where armor pieces come with a fixed equip bonus but can have an “armor kit” applied to them. I am essentially proposing a similar system for bonuses: Example:
Craftable “Leader’s Might” kit. Can be applied to any item that goes in the Arms slot. When applied, the item will gain the Leader’s Might bonus, giving the wearer 250 Power for each member in his party.
Now, I focused on crafting bonuses for stand-alone armor pieces - it would in theory be possible to extend this to cover set bonuses and weapon bonuses, but that is inherently much more complicated for various reasons.
So, how would this proposal help with the 4 issues I listed at the beginning?Crafting
would not be competing with dropped armours any more. There would be constant demand for the crafted “bonus kits”, with a spike every time new armor pieces are added and people want to apply bonuses to their new gear. Crafting would not be used for making lvl 80 armors at all - except maybe for transformation purposes. Moreover, crafting would not need to be overhauled every now and then to stay relevant … maybe just a handful of new bonuses and the materials needed to craft them could be added with every module.Unwanted gear
would be less common. New gear could have different combinations of stats, with new looks added as needed, but with no fixed equip bonuses, it should be less common that some pieces of gear are considered entirely unwanted.Empty zones
should see a bit more traffic, if people have to go to them for specific crafting drops for the recipes.AD sinks
would appear with trades of the resources and the crafted kits….no new AD added to the system, just trades between players, with the AH taking its 10% cut.
The bottom line is basically that something like this could really help with some of the current problems, and at the same time make the game more fun. I do not know if the developers have any interest in redesigning the crafting system in any way, but I am more than willing to contribute my time and feedback towards any changes that might be considered.