The problem of finding crafters

“There’s only one person on this realm who can make ((awesome crafted item X)) and they’re never on!”

Have you ever heard anyone say that? Or maybe even said it yourself? I know when I was searching out possible crafters to make Pillars of Might for my warrior, it felt like an uphill struggle. I didn’t think it would be that hard, they’re best in slot for (plate wearing) tanks, and the recipe is available to anyone with appropriate raid rep (revered – ashen dawn) who wants to pay a primordial saronite for it. Surely, I thought, the top raid guilds on our server will have a blacksmith who knows it and will be happy to make it for me if I offer a generous tip.

I asked around a couple of people I knew in high end guilds, since I knew they’d probably be able to check who in their raid group knew which recipes. I asked on trade chat. I didn’t have much luck. In the end, I shrugged and bought it myself (actually, went halves on the cost with another tank in my guild who wanted them also).

I haven’t bothered to make any for sale because the materials cost is high, higher than I’m willing to risk if they don’t sell. So the only way anyone on AD would know I could make them is if they ask someone in my raid group, or if I spam on trade chat (which I don’t because I don’t really feel like hanging around Dalaran for hours).

This is a general problem in search of a solution. On a larger realm with more hardcore crafters, someone probably would take the risk of putting up expensive raid crafted items on the auction house. On a smaller one, it’s very likely that what you want will not be immediately available. Even though there might be plenty of crafters around who could theoretically make it.

In a game like EVE or EQ2 which encourages people to focus on crafting as a full time occupation, it’s more likely that crafters will make the effort to hang out in the trade chat equivalent or advertise for buyers. In those games, finding a crafter is part of the gameplay. But in WoW (or MMOs like it) where crafting is a side-buffet to the main event, many crafters just can’t be bothered. They aren’t motivated to trade. But would do it if the customers came to them with orders.

How could finding a crafter be easier?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Allow people to commission goods via the auction house (i.e. buy as well as sell orders).
  • Store fronts for crafters.
  • Search for crafters via the armoury, maybe even search by realm/faction/item. And allow crafters to opt out of the search too if they aren’t interested.
  • Search for online crafters via an in game UI.
  • Don’t have player crafters at all, let players simply exchange materials for finished goods at an NPC.
  • Leave things as they are now, they encourage players to socialise.

17 thoughts on “The problem of finding crafters

  1. I know this problem from LOTRO. It was often rather difficult to find a crafter that could craft a certain item and did not have a cooldown for one of the required components and was online and all that.

    The other problem was that they usually gave you a follow-up quest to get them all materials. This always reminded me of a Pizza Service that told me to bring them the ingredients for the Pizza.

    I like the gathering aspect of crafting, putting stuff together or smelting ore is just watching a bar. This is why I like mining in most MMOs: I like to find precious ore, shiny gems and other things. I wish the nodes would be more random, the map mods took away the thrill of searching for ore nodes.

    I prefer the penultimate model with NPC crafters, the Guild Wars model. It also had its certain thrill – getting an Obsidian Armor did not only demand a lot of rare materials that could only be gotten in elite areas, you also had to venture into the Fissure of Woe to free the Temple of War, only then the Eternal Forgemaster there would craft you the armor for tons of rare materials and gold.
    A very similar system also exists in Dragon Age for the excentric crafter Wade and his assitant Herren.

    I know some people like to craft themselves. Why not combine both systems. Have NPC crafters and human crafters that can produce the same goods a bit cheaper, depending on their level of proficiency and specialization.

    An auction system that allows players to put up orders for certain goods would also be nice.

  2. WoW could definitely benefit from implementing some of EVE Online’s awesome auction system. Just a simple thing like buy orders would change the entire game a lot.

    • If you look at that thread, you’ll see that no one has really bothered to update it since Ulduar. That’s the problem with this type of list, where a live search would help. And (probably the reason is) the realm boards just are not widely used.

      Because I craft myself, I happen to know that the coliseum recipes were all very common drops in 25 man raids. So I can tell immediately that list has not been updated in awhile. A newer player or a non-crafter might just think they were super-rare.

  3. I remember playing SWG where half the challenge of getting an item crafted was finding a crafter to do it. But you knew they’d be there, somewhere.

    Alot of people seem very focused on the fighting and the levelling and the raiding but not so much on the crafting these days. Alittle bewildering, seeing as I craft in EVERY game I play but then – more money for us crafters eh? ;D

  4. There is another problem with crafting in WoW. People don’t tip and do not accept appropriate fees. Therefore I do not care about any request in /trade because most of the time it’s not worth my time, even if I have nothing to do.

    “Looking for JC for [some cut I know], will tip”

    I’m not going to answer this request, I’m not interested in your 5g tip.

    “Looking for JC for [some cut I know], 50g”

    I might consider relogging to my alt and cut you your gem.

    A JC receipt costs something from 400g-600g (4-6 Dragons Eyes which I could have sold for 100g each). For 5g tip I would have to cut 120 gems to break even.

    Tipping 5g for a cut, which is 30% of a single daily quest reward, is like tipping 1 cent in a restaurant. Just an insult.

  5. The root of the problem is that no one is really motivated to make effort to trade. Everyone who is not stupid have enough gold, so why bother?

  6. I suppose it depends on how busy your realm forums are. We have a few dudes that keep progression and rare crafting threads updated each and every day on my server.

  7. I don’t really see this as a problem. I think it’s more we’re used to how easy it was to find people that could craft stuff all expansion and now that there’s a pattern that’s a bit on the rare side… we don’t like it.

    I remember TBC it was far more difficult to get a pattern than the Pillars. Some of the TK and SSC patterns were so rare that you had like 2 or 3 people on the whole server that could make it for a long time.

    There’s no way that the Pillars situation is even close to that bad. I mean sure it sucks if you have to buy it, but just the fact that you can tells me that there’s already a solution to the problem. When you consider how much we charged to make old belt patterns in TBC (considering inflation), I bet that even if you handed a Blacksmith a saronite for the pattern, you’re still doing better than folks back in TBC price wise.

    • Well, there’s an easy solution for me since I’m a blacksmith, yes. But I think the problem is that there’s a definite market for some of these goods and crafters have no motivation to advertise or go out of their way at all to make themselves available. It would be better if people wanting crafted goods could find crafters more easily.

      In TBC, it just felt easier to find the crafter because any raider would probably know who they were.

      • Well to clarify my point, it’s cheaper today to find a random Blacksmith you don’t know and hand them the Primordial Saronite to make the Pillars of Might than it was to get me to make a Red Belt of Battle for you back in TBC.

  8. Like Kring says, the problem is that crafting is not a profitable business. There is so much cash rolling around in these games that crafting has no measurable value. Crafters need materials to level up, and they’ve got plenty of money to buy them, so the market goes sky high. Then they turn around and make items for themselves and their friends, mostly for free or for “mats”, and that sets expectations:

    When people make requests in the trade channel, their thought process is typically, “I could just get practically for free from a friend of mine, but I want it NOW so I’ll ask in trade and offer a tip for their trouble.” Crafters think, “I have to go through the hassle of finding this person and assembling materials so that they can hand me the amount of money they got running dungeons for a few minutes. I spent thousands of gold and hundreds of hours leveling up this skill. Screw ’em.”

    Even if there were buy orders on the auction house, for most of the game the prices would be driven down by folks skilling up, and unless every crafting material was cheaply available from NPC vendors, material costs will always outpace finished goods because the demand will always be higher.

    Look at the only profitability exception in WoW: Inscription. All its materials are cheap and omnipresent, so vendors can afford to go wholesale. Every other profession is a hobby, not a business.

  9. I like the idea of ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ orders via the AH, as some sort of classified ad system (with 3, 7, 14 and maybe 30 day classified ads, cost based on length and size of ad). I also like the idea of having crafters opt-in (rather than opt-out) to a searchable database, whether armory or in-game.

  10. Don’t take it personally but i got only 2 conclusions:

    1) You are lazy
    2) You get upset too fast

    If you cannot find crafter then go Armory and find biggest/most progressive guild on your server. Then find all the people with prof. you need. Takes 5-6 min max to find them all. And then occasionally look in “who” or add them all to friends.

  11. The official forum has per-server subforums. There’s a ‘who can craft what?’ sticky on ours. The only time I ever had trouble with this (Blade Ward enchant, in 3.1), I looked up the only horde-side crafter who had listed themself with it on there, friended them, and whispered them when they were sitting in Org. Wasn’t too painful – and the fact that they’d listed themself on the forum meant I knew they were open to randoms whispering them.

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