The Godmother recently posted a list of five things she reckons should be included in the next expansion, and it’s a good list. I originally was going to reply in a comment, but it got a bit long so I’m posting my thoughts here instead.
THERE I SAID IT. Just go look at Animal Crossing, New Leaf and tell me that people don’t care about the place they live in. Look at how people dutifully Tilled their way towards Exalted in the Valley. People care about stuff no-one else can see. Just go the whole hog, let people share their homes on Facebook/Twitter and have a contest for the best Decorated Home every month. GO ON YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.
I… really don’t think it would be that hard to implement? I mean it’s basically a tiny raid instance with no enemies, right? Ditto Guild Halls. Of course, the question “how hard can it be?” is the bane of any developer’s existence, so I’ll trust there could well be Implications that I’ve not thought of.
Do it from the ground up in a way that is easy to level and fun, and then change all the old Professions to match this. You can make NPC’s in each Expansion’s Capital to sell the old patterns for a currency that you get as a drop whilst herbing, mining, enchanting, milling and prospecting. Everyone is happy, nobody loses out and you finally get to streamline all the Professions the same way. If you have problems designing this, gimme a shout. I’ll be happy to help.
I think GW2 has the results part right, in that the stuff you can craft is genuinely useful mostly regardless of level, and the top-end things (level 80 Exotic) are basically equal to anything else in the game. This plus the recent change that makes all currencies account-bound means the ‘gearing up alts’ market is pretty lucrative, and makes it actually worth the effort/cost of levelling professions.
Another thing GW2 does right with professions is making it less of a burden to switch: when you unlearn one in order to try a new one, you don’t lose any progress in the old one, so you’re free to switch back if you don’t like the new.
On the other hand, the actual mechanics of crafting in GW2 are really not that much better than in WoW. There’s a couple of quality-of-life improvements (access to stored materials from any crafting station), but it’s still ‘combine these things and click a button to make a new thing’. There’s zero player skill involved and it’s about as exciting as filling in paperwork.
In every Quest Hub there are people who JUST SELL MOGGING GEAR. That’s right, just mogging stuff: make it recolours of existing gear. I’m not expecting new stuff. Just get the old stuff out there so people can mix and match more stuff. How hard would it be?
This is something Zoe and I have discussed quite a bit, too. We ended up deciding that we’d rather see another GW2 feature: armour dyes! Although the big problem there is WoW’s armour models aren’t at all designed for custom recolouring, so I’m not sure what the solution would be – redoing all (!) the models in the game to make them compatible with a dye system would be a huge undertaking. In GW2 dyes can be made by cooks (as well as being random drops or purchasable from the AH or gem store), so a similar thing could work in WoW, although I personally reckon scribes would be a better fit, since they already make inks :D
More Lorewalker Cho-type NPCs
I’m not asking you to change old stuff, just add an NPC from the Explorer’s League/Reliquary in the levelling zones, to give us more lore background to what’s going on around us. They can be linked to Archaeology certainly, and maybe if you have the time you could do the same kind of stories you’ve utilised with Cho in Pandaria.
<3 CHO IS THE BEST. Well Taran Zhu is cool too, but I like Cho more (and the guy who does his voice. I’m aware they may be the same actor :p ). I love the Seat of Knowledge stuff where he tells the stories of what’s happened so far, and how you play the scenarios to experience the story yourself. If we could auto-follow NPCs who walk around, even better – sometimes I just want to look about, take in the scenery and listen to Cho/other NPC (like the bit in Shattrath), without having to constantly move in tiny increments just to keep up.
You proved it worked with the Warlocks. They were ace in Vanilla. Bring them back for everybody, and link them with proving Ground-type ‘learn your class’ quests as you level. Instantly better players, happy because they had a story ALL TO THEMSELVES :D
Well I wasn’t around for þe olde vænilla, and the current class quests you get aren’t terribly exciting (“go on this arduous quest for a reward that you’ll outlevel by the time you finish!”), but the idea of tying them into Proving Grounds is a good one! Blizzard could do a lot more to improve in-game player education, I reckon. The ‘Core Abilities’ thing in the spellbook is an ok start, but many people won’t ever read that, or even know it’s there, and the problem is made worse because it often lists abilities you don’t even have when you pick your talent specialisation.
I wonder if some kind of instanced class- and spec-specific quests would work best? You could start them from one of your class trainers (who basically serve almost no purpose now anyway), and they could accompany you in the instance, giving advice on how your class works. The instance could be different depending on what level you are (maybe one each time you get a talent point?), so by the time you visit a new one, you’d have some new abilities to try out, on which the trainer could advise you of situations where they’re best used.
Proving Grounds could then be a sort of ‘final exam’ – a way to practice everything your spec can do, and really push you to be skilled enough at it so that when you jump into your first raid (be it LFR, Flex, etc.) you’ll at least have some idea about what you’re capable of.