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Insider Trader: A year in the making (err, crafting)

Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.


I'm a details girl – and I think that's why I enjoy crafting. I actually enjoy the process of researching where to find recipes, making shopping lists and traveling to collect ingredients. I'm intrigued by the idea of crafting failures and more complex crafting systems seen in some other games, and I definitely believe that player-made products should be a vital part of a vibrant game economy.

That said, sometimes I get so caught up in minutiae that I lose track of the flow of time. (My husband can tell you the month and year any remarkable event took place, while I can't even remember how many years we've been married. /blush) What I can say for sure is that crafting has changed over the past year, morphing from the everyman's tool for making money and filling holes in gear to a means to an end for end-game players to gain access to BoP crafted items. Oh, there's a bustling market out there for certain enchantments and potions, odd and ends, to be sure ... But the face of professions across most servers looks radically different at the dawn of 2008 than it did one year ago.

This week, Insider Trader looks not at a timeline of changes during 2007 -- but rather, a review of trends and notable changes that are turning the tide of where crafting is headed in today's World of Warcraft.

Here, in no particular order at all, are a grab bag of 2007's landmark changes and developing trends for trades and crafts in the World of Warcraft.

Landmark: The Burning Crusade
Players who love to be first with new items were in Wild Hog Shank heaven at the launch of The Burning Crusade, with the addition of a new profession: jewelcrafting. Many of us had been hoarding gems for weeks (or even months) in preparation, but nobody knew how it would pan out. As with any new system, gemcrafting took a while to balance out – and as they did with the early days of enchanting, players took a while to catch on to the impact of socketed gear and how to go about choosing and using gems.

There were plenty of new specializations and items to go around in other professions. Notably, tailors thrilled to the stats of their new tailor-only BoP sets, although some players (raiding priests, anyone?) fumed that the sets were so good that tailoring had become "mandatory" for their class and spec. Alchemists began toiling their way through discoveries, brewing up cauldrons and double-proccing with masteries.

Landmark: Raid consumables farming nerfed
Patch 2.1 changed the face of raid consumables by creating two categories of elixirs, battle (offensive) and guardian (defensive), and limiting players to one of each at any given time. The intention was to limit the time that PvE raiders "had" to spend farming materials for raid progression consumables. The advent of daily quests, of course, made it easier than ever for raiders to earn coin and buy their own pots right off the Auction House, solidifying the market for non-raiding, entrepreneurial gatherers and alchemists.

Trend: Engineering fun levels up
Last year marked the turning of the Eye of Saur – I mean, the Developers to engineering, beginning with 11 new epic goggles in patch 2.1 and continuing to the introduction of the bodacious engineering mount. As of patch 2.3, profit-minded engies even started making money by farming motes with their Zapthrottle Mote Extractors.

Trend: More fish, less filling
Fishing got less tedious in 2007. Fishing timers were reduced from 30 to 20 seconds and no longer ran through the entire duration without a fish biting. Fishers got special items and treats. Fish tracking came onto the scope. New fish and new recipes were put in. Already a laid-back group bent on enjoying themselves, fishers were happy.

Landmark: The old switcherooni
It used to be that once you chose a trade or profession specialization, you were stuck with it – or if you changed anyway, you were never able to pick up certain aspects of your new spec or trade. In 2007, tailoring and alchemy got the option for fee-based specialty respecs. While engineering and blacksmithing respecs remain a little more complex, word on the street is that more improvements are ahead.

Trend: Stoking the cooking fires
Players at all levels and niches of the game began taking notice of one of Warcraft's marginalized secondary professions: cooking. Stat foods became more plentiful, and more players sought out these foods or worked up their cooking so they could make their own. Daily cooking quests added variety and interest.

Trend: Enchanters go undercover
With the advent of the ! mods and a paradigm shift from hawking enchants with mats to performing enchants with customer-provided mats, the number of enchanters in trade channels and city streets dwindled. Finding someone capable of performing the more rare, high-end enchants became more difficult for players not in guilds with enchanters who have many rare formulae.

Trend: The changing face of crafting
Many crafters dropped out of crafting during 2007 and started running daily quests to fill their coffers. For more and more players, professions became something to be powerleveled to max for certain specific BoP items, then dropped for something else more applicable as gear needs, playstyles and activities changed. Those players still active in their professions tend to fall into several categories: players seeking to craft and equip profession-specific BoP items to meet their current gear needs; production farmers and crafters, who rely on meeting specific market niches for their primary game income; guild crafters, who serve the needs of their guild members but don't generally sell to the public; and finally, the general populace, crafting much more casually today than a year ago.

That's my take on the year just past for the tradesfolk of Azeroth and the Outland. There are plenty of things I didn't mention here – please drop us a comment below and discuss what was important to you in 2007 and changed the way you craft.

Insider Trader's Lisa Poisso is a writer, when she's not working her way toward becoming a production herbalist/alchemist with her latest main character.

Filed under: Herbalism, Jewelcrafting, First Aid, Enchanting, Tailoring, Leatherworking, Engineering, Cooking, Blacksmithing, Alchemy, Skinning, Mining, Fishing, Insider Trader (Professions), The Burning Crusade

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