Herbalism MusingsSeptember 13th, 2011 at 16:43
The more I think about it, the more Herbalism doesn’t make much sense as a profession. Haven’t we progressed past the hunter-gatherer phase of civilization? If these herbs are so valuable, why aren’t we growing them on farms? No NPC has ever once mentioned that these herbs cannot be cultivated, and indeed that would go against the obvious evidence in various herbalism shops where you see little window box planters filled with herbs and mushrooms.
If I ever make an MMO, the herb-based profession is going to be a combination of herb-gathering and farming. You can go out into the world and gather plants, collecting seeds/cuttings or maybe even just digging the plant up entirely (requiring some kind of hand trowel or something to correspond to the miner’s pick and the skinner’s knife) and once you have the plant, you can grow it on your farm. These plants would be pretty rare, and there would probably be some that don’t exist in the wild that you have to buy from the herbalism supplier.
You could probably grow some fruits and vegetables for specialized cooking recipes as well. It always bugged me that there are so few beverage recipes to make tea out of herbs, and that herbalism doesn’t gather edible things in addition to alchemical herbs. As it is, most of the people of Azeroth are carnivores. I’m not even sure what they make their bread out of, since I can’t say I’ve ever seen a wheat/corn/etc. field anywhere in the game. Farms only grow pumpkins.
Actually, that would be a great thing to do with Player Housing. You can upgrade your house to have an herb garden, and occasionally harvest herbs. I wouldn’t want to do anything like make the herbs die if you don’t water them (because the fact that I’m forced to log in at very specific times is one of the things I dislike most about Facebook games), maybe you just get more of them if you tend to your garden more. Probably make some kind of weekly limit of how many herb nodes you can gather from the garden, so that you can still get the optimal amount without being forced to log in every 4 hours or something.
And while we’re at it, you could do something similar with skinning, having a little pen of animals that you could get special high-quality hides from. Perhaps capture young versions of them in the wild and then breed them on your farm. I haven’t really thought about it much yet, but it could function much like the animal side of Harvest Moon, where you can get eggs and milk from the appropriate animals (used in special cooking recipes), but here you’d also be able to slaughter them for meat/leather/feathers/etc if you prefer.
Mining, now… I never liked how the mining nodes just pop up on the surface like mushrooms all the time. It makes no sense. I think I’d want to put in a whole minigame for mining, something akin to Gem Miner on my android tablet. You can go down into this side-scrolling mine, but you can only see so many squares away, so you’re often not sure where the ore and gems are located. You can break the rocks to look around, but it costs you stamina.
That game lends itself really well to the MMO-style economy, too, since you can do things like have blacksmiths craft better mining picks that will use less stamina when mining, or engineers can make more powerful lanterns to allow you to see farther (and possibly consumables like mining explosives and those radar detecter things). The skinning and gardening professions can do the same, having upgradeable tools like in Harvest Moon.
Of course, in such a game, I’d probably have a sort of talent tree system for professions — everyone can learn the basics of all professions, but you can only become a master of a few of them. That way, every player could make SOME use of a mine and a farm on their personal property — you could even have some synergy between them, like growing mushrooms or raising albino cave lizards inside your mine. You could get fertilizer from your animals to use in your herb garden.
And I haven’t even STARTED talking about crafting professions.
Speaking of professions, whatever happened to those changes I heard were coming in Cataclysm way back when?
Whatever happened to that fishing revamp that would make fishing more interactive, where you could actually see the fish in the water and try to aim for them when you cast? I was looking forward to that, hoping it’d be kinda like the fishing minigame in Breath of Fire 3, but now that I’m playing Cataclysm, the fishing system is just as yawn-worthy as always. Cast the line, wait for it to bob, right-click, repeat. I can (and will) do this while watching Futurama in a foregrounded video window.
And whatever happened to those changes to crafting professions to make them more interesting? How most recipes would proc like the Northrend jewelcrafting cuts do, to give random stats and have a chance to make an awesome blue? I was looking forward to that, too, but I’ve leveled both jewelcrafting and tailoring and have yet to see anything that’s different from every other time I’ve leveled it. Pretty disappointing. I guess I’ll just have to add these features to the “someday” things that Blizz told us we’d get, like the dance studio.