I’ve been playing my Horde warrior this weekend, Medewza the Undead, bless her rotting jaws. She’s only level 46, but the reason I wanted to level her a bit, and will make her my casual project, is because I sorely want a Jewelcrafter on Horde. Have you seen the prices? Sigh… My Horde characters are my ultra casual ones. I like to play them to see the other side of the story, from a lore point of view, but they’ve never been as rich or as well-geared as my Alliance characters. My Scribe on Horde is still researching Northrend glyphs, so you get the picture… We have a Hordeside sister guild and, like me, a few of our Alliance guildies have characters in there they just enjoy for a bit of fun, nothing serious. There are never enough of us on to run a dungeon, never mind anything else. And we are hampered by the lack of top level professions. We even have a guild Message of the Day about 16 slot bags being available or not… ahem! There is no point in me joining a really active guild on Horde, and it’s the same for my friends, because we don’t play Horde enough to be meaningful members of a guild. We have our little guild – nearly level 10, phew! – and that’s adequate for us.

Therefore, I was rather astonished to read a blue post recently on MMO Champion concerning professions. Someone had asked why certain crafting materials were soulbound, and said that it would be useful for them to be account bound, in that many players have a team of alts attending to all the professions to service their main characters. (It has to be said, too, those alts also service other guild members in our Alliance guild.) The Blizzard response was that players are supposed to trade with other players in respect of goods provided by professions. WoW is an MMO, which inevitably means interacting with other players, and it wasn’t part of the original game plan that players should create their own army of alts to service their mains with crafted items. Therefore, items like Spirits of Harmony will remain soulbound so that players have to work for them. You are effectively required to play your alts a lot, questing and dailies, as well as develop your farms, to get those precious Spirits. Even though your main might be overflowing with them.

The reason for my astonishment over this was that it made me wonder exactly how many Blizzard people actually play the game to understand the reality of the situation. Let’s just look at our guild’s Horde characters as an example. None of them have tons of gold. We cannot afford the AH prices for enchantments, gems, glyphs, gear. Our only recourse is to make those items ourselves. Imagine how it is for a player new to the game. OK, they might get into a good guild that will help them out with things like enchantments, gear enhancements, glyphs and gems, but some items will always be out of reach. If you only have 1000 or so gold to your name, how does an item costing multiple 1000s even come near what you can afford? Some people, like with our characters on Horde, can’t be part of an active guild because they don’t play regularly enough to be a meaningful member. Are people to be penalised because they can’t invest tons of time?

For us, our Horde characters are just an aside, and it’s a simple convenience for us to level alts for professions, but for some, who are so new to the game they don’t even yet know of these huge expenses looming on the horizon, it’s probably essential.

Another thing that was intimated in the blue post about this subject was along the lines of ‘Stop complaining. If we wanted to, we could make it that every battlenet account could only have two professions across all characters, so think yourself lucky.’ That was the essence of it.

Hmm, I dunno, but I really don’t think it’s a gamebreaker if people can use alts to level professions and for that to be made a bit more forgiving for them. Seems daft to me I have a load of Spirits on some of my purely gathering alts, while those who really need them can’t access them. OK, I can cash those Spirits in for useful things like Golden Lotus, but when someone in my Horde guild could do with an item crafted, it’d be really handy if I could, well, just make it for them.

I was thinking about this, and it seems to me sometimes players have to be punished, and not expect the game to be too convenient. ‘Eat your greens and you can have some dessert!’ Am I alone in thinking this?