Having played a paladin for the majority of my WoW career, first aid has never been anything more than a novelty to me, a way to accumulate a few extra achievement points by wasting some cloth that could probably be put to better use making bags or craftable gear. It has been years since I have used a bandage with the express purpose of actually healing myself from a grievous injury, as opposed to either attempting to clear out some bag space or trying to point out just how useless the things are. After archaeology's introduction, the newfound relevance of fishing thanks to good ol' Nat Pagle and the Anglers, and cooking's dramatic makeover, I think it's about time Blizzard breathed some life back into first aid.
In order to figure out how the blues can go about resurrecting this flat-lined secondary profession, let's examine how they have done the same with the others.
Archaeology Admittedly, archaeology is the newest secondary profession and likely in no danger of fading into irrelevance anytime soon, but it's still worth seeing what keeps players digging. Aside from some tidbits of lore and humor the major draw of archaeology is the acquisition of artifacts, whether they be vanity items, pets, or actual gear. Attaining these items is a bit of a grind, and actually discovering the patterns for them is entirely random, so you are almost guaranteed to spend a significant amount of time in search of the artifact of your dreams.
Fishing Much like its real-life counterpart, fishing is just a tad dull. What can really offset the tedium, however, is that each cast, each pool is a chance at something new. Reputation gains with Nat Pagle, for instance, are solely reliant on snagging rare fish from just about anywhere in Pandaria, keeping those rep junkies and achievement hunters out on the shores.
In addition, the competitive nature of the Stranglethorn fishing tournament provides a way to have a lot of fun through the medium of fishing.
At its core, though, fishing remains relevant because it, in tandem with cooking, provides a means of empowering your character through high-level food to boost your stats. So while it is possible that Blizzard may tone down the interdependence between cooking and fishing in subsequent expansions, I wouldn't bet on it.
Cooking After the mists parted and the pandaren were introduced to the Alliance and Horde, the furry gourmands had a thing or two to teach Azeroth's top chefs -- six things, to be quite precise.
Unlocking the ability to serve up the tastiest dishes this side of the Serpent's Spine involves cooking some easy entrees until you raise your skill enough to tackle the hard stuff. Of course, the mats needed to master the pandaren ways of cooking can theoretically be obtained without ever leaving the comfort of your capital of choice, but for those of us without bottomless pocketbooks this journey requires the completion of daily quests and a little elbow grease on your farm, Sunsong Ranch. Heck, even getting the farm into working order is an ordeal in itself, requiring even more dailies and even more elbow grease.
But again, cooking is likely to be pertinent to raiding and other max level activities like challenge modes, and even heroic scenarios and possibly proving grounds, for a long time because of the stat benefit it affords. "Dropping a feast" has been a familiar raiding ritual for quite some time, at least as long as I've been playing the game (which is roughly five years or so), and I don't expect that to change anytime soon.
How can these lessons be applied to first aid, then? If there's one thing common to all of the other secondary professions, something that can explain their appeal, it is efficacy. Archaeology, cooking, and fishing all grant some beneficial or interesting effect to some subset of players, whether they be completionists, pet battlers, raiders, altoholics, or PvPers.
Using a bandage, or whatever other invention Blizzard comes up with to revive this comatose waste of cloth, has to provide more benefit than the small amount of healing it does now. Of course, balancing the effect of a sizable heal from a commonly available bandage in the context of highly competitive environments is important, and likely not an easy task, but holding the profession back because of its impact on one theater of play is unfair.
How do you think they could change first aid to make it worthwhile? Should they add more recipes and vary their applications? Should they introduce daily quests to incentivize leveling it up? Should they go as far as adding a new faction that revolves around the profession (an Azerothian Red Cross, perhaps)? Or should they do something entirely different?
Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.