Thursday, 5 June 2014

Unchained Melody

World of Warcraft is a market leader in MMO's, it achieved this status by Blizzard borrowing the best bits from rivals, adding an existing story and giving the whole thing a lot of polish to make sure it worked well.

WoW is now often copied by other MMO's so much so that, when discussing LotRO with a work colleague (A game that I have never played) it became obvious that we shared a common language and that WoW and LotRO shared common mechanics. One of the biggest failings of WoW is thought to be crafting, which lacks any kind of interest besides carrying huge quantities of raw materials and then pressing a button, wait five seconds and then the finished good jumps into your bag. Nearly ever new game is described as having a better more interesting crafting game than WoW.

Cooldowns were introduced to slowdown the manufacturing process so that the Auction House would not be flooded with end game gear, gems, enchants, glyphs and potions. The following is a list of materials that have been used as a bottleneck:
  1. Motes/Primals
  2. Crystalized/Eternals
  3. Nether Vortex
  4. Void Crystal
  5. Frozen Orb
  6. Runed Orb
  7. Crusader Orb
  8. Primordial Saronite
  9. Volatiles
  10. Chaos Orb
  11. Living Ember
  12. Essence of Destruction
  13. Motes/Spirit of Harmony
  14. Blood Spirit
This list is far from exhaustive and it is not a surprise that we have seen changes in design from one expansion to another, but there is differences in how difficult the different professions are. Jewelcrafting as been a popular money maker due to most the sought after products being very simple to create. Tailors during WotLK were required to make cloth in the correct location and only one at a time, a practice that was re-introduced for the Silk Fields. This is an interesting idea but in practice it is a horrible design with daily trips needed to make 1/12th of a Tailoring bag..

Many of the crafting materials were only available from Raids, which meant that the materials were scarce and very expensive, with components costing more than the end product.

Mists of Pandaria introduced two new concepts. The first was the soulbound Mote of Harmony which converted into the Spirit of Harmony and secondly the endgame daily cooldown. The cooldown system became obsolete in a matter of months, and whilst I applaud the efforts to make two pieces of raid gear available to all classes and specs, it was not current for long enough to be worth the effort.

Since the introduction of Motes during the Burning Crusade, every expansion has used some variation of this design. They have always been sought after and everybody has spent sometime farming these items from elementals, herbs and mining nodes. They have always been big sellers on the Auction House for those willing to put in the effort (setup a gold farming bot). Motes of Harmony was the solution to the problem (if there was a problem), by making them Soulbound. I and many others have always been against this game design, and my personal preference is Bind on Account (Bind to account).

The current system creates far too much wastage in the game, with gathering characters amassing huge quantities of a worthless item and other characters being starved of them. I personally have gathered hundreds of Spirits and Thousands of Motes, which are stockpiled for the day that I can sent them to my Tailor so that I can make lots of Royal Satchels from Song of Harmony which uses:

5x Bolt of Windwool Cloth and 3x Spirit of Harmony

Any further usage for Spirit of Harmony was squeezed out with the introduction of the Raid crafting items like Blood Spirits around patch 5.2.

A post appearing in WoW Insider, suggests that Spirit of Harmony will become unbound with the introduction of the next expansion. This could and should have happened 9 months ago not in 6 months time. It just seems like Blizzard really do not understand the crafting side of the game. An influx of cheap cloth and Royal Satchels selling for half their current inflated price will make a lot of people happy as they gear towards the next expansion. Heaven knows we could use some cheering up.


  1. I am stock piling my spirits to speed up bag making. That was the first thing that popped into my mind. I still have so many characters that can use upgraded bags. I am surprised it took them so long to make them unbound. Heck, I do not know why they were bound to begin with.

    1. So why are we waiting until the next expansion?

  2. "I and many others have always been against this game design, and my personal preference is Bind on Account (Bind to account)."

    Let's imagine that situation and pretend we're in Cataclysm meaning you want Chaos Orbs. What's the optimal playstyle? You and four friends get your best geared characters and blaze through heroics, splitting the Orbs and then mailing the orbs to your crafting alts, which might still be level 80 and/or be like 330 ilvl or something. You feed your alts with your main -- which is precisely what Blizzard does NOT want.

    Blizzard wants you actually PLAY your characters -- if you want your warrior to a blacksmith who can craft good items, then he needs to collect the materials himself. Not sit unused in Stormwind while your main gathers the stuff more easily due to better gear.

    This goes doubly for things like Spirits of Harmony where using well geared mains to farm the motes for alts is even more efficient -- and the opposite of what Blizzard wants to happen. So it's not so much that Blizzard is trying to make your motes useless on a character, it's that they don't want to set up a situation where there's an incentive to deliberately farm those materials for an alt. Keep in mind that you can buy crafting mats with spirits of harmony -- at a minimum you could buy 2 Golden Lotus per Spirit last I checked, which is easily 50-60g on most servers. In comparison, if we assume an Imperial Silk is worth 250g, then the 5 bolts cost about 30g and each spirit is worth 73g.

    Which isn't very far off from the Golden Lotus, is it?