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.