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Insider Trader: Woodworking in the expansion?

Insider Trader: Woodworking in the expansion?
Amanda Miller
Amanda Miller|July 25, 2009 6:00 PM

Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

Ideas for a woodworking profession have been bounced around for years, but have previously been dodged by Blizzard. Although they assured us that they have plenty of ideas, they've always been working on too many others.

Woodworking was not to be for Burning Crusade or Wrath of the Lich King, but what about the upcoming expansion? Considering that Goblins and Worgen could become playable, it might be a real possibility.

In late summer 2007, Nethaera posted a list of some of the things that need to be considered before they can even begin to implement a new profession. While it became clear that it wasn't going to work for Wrath, it seems a little more plausible now.

Today's column will be dedicated to presenting the crafting community's Woodworking ideas, discussing their implementation using the (incomplete) criteria set forth by Nethaera, and speculating about its possible presence in the next expansion.
What is Woodworking?
Woodworking would not necessarily be the name of a new profession, but rather, a term used to describe 1+ professions that utilize wood as a raw material. Think of it as a package deal.

In fact, Woodworking would likely need to come as a set of two professions with a third tacked onto the crafting one:
  1. Lumberjack/Logging: This gathering profession would entail finding piles of wood to gather, as well as special trees and shrubbery to chop down.
  2. Woodworking or Carpentry or Carving: This crafting profession would use wood to create all sorts of goods and services. Most likely, it would come with a secondary profession called Milling or Lumber Milling, in the same way that Scribes get Milling and Jewelcrafters get Prospecting.
  3. Lumber Milling: Milling is a process to which many raw materials are subjected. Here, wooden logs would be processed to create pulp for papers, remove the bark, and shaped into planks and boards.
At this point, you should begin to understand just how much work would need to go into the implementation of Woodworking!

After all, we can't just shove these in and expect to keep game balance. Let's take a look at what would really need to happen.

Adding another gathering profession is a bit of a leap. The last two professions added, Jewelcrafting and Inscription, used the existing gathering professions, and a secondary processing profession included with the main craft.

All new gathering nodes would need to be implemented in every province across three expansions and the vanilla world. Levels and rate of skill-ups would need to be determined. Graphics for each tree/shrub type would need to be designed and integrated into current landscapes, and all new icons and tooltips would need to be designed.

Despite the work entailed, I think it would be incredibly fun. The first few levels could entail running around your starting zone picking up branches and dead wood. Then, you could learn to use tools. A handy axe and maybe even a nifty shovel would be ideal.

At first, we could dig up stumps and chop down softer woods, move onto hardwoods, and of course, special types. Sapient Pear Wood anyone? Okay so we can't copy Terry Pratchett, but what about an homage?

Jungle zones could contain exotic woods, winter zones could host coniferous species, and fiery zones could contain dead varieties, stumps, and roots. Outland would provide the perfect opportunity to come up with all kinds of alien and magical types as well.

In terms of adding these nodes, well, the quest, Jack Me Some Lumber, given by a Goblin at the Argent Tournament (phase one), is one example of how the nodes could be worked into existing landscapes.

The actual craft would be complicated, in that it would need to be fun, useful, balanced, and profitable. I intend to discuss balance in the next section, so let's first focus on some of the excellent ideas floating around about just what we might be crafting.
  • Sapient Pear chest! Okay, okay, I know. Sapient Pine suitcase perhaps?
  • Mounts: Canoes and rafts immediately come to mind, but what about a chariot to hook up to your mount? This would be difficult graphically, and might be tricky to get through doorways, and likely would show up long after the profession had been implemented, but we can dream. The boats can be used for travel above swim speed, as well as fishing and idling. As for the fatigue line, well, perhaps after crossing it, the waves would spontaneously overturn your boat, knock you unconscious, to awaken for a brisk corpse run. The recent Turtle mount is a step in the direction of water-based mounts.
  • There has been a hole in crafting for a long time, and Woodworking could fill it. Bows, crossbows, staves, fishing poles, and arrows. Wooden trinkets, totems, librams, sigils, and relics could also be crafted. These are all things to which we have limited access, and that currently, no one can make.
  • Woodworkers could create special statues for in combat, much as Jewelcrafters can, with similar or novel effects.
  • Training Dummies of a special sort have been suggested, although now that they can be found in major cities, I'm not sure if there would be as much of a demand.
  • Socket-crafting. Sockets are all the rage, so why couldn't wooden weapons contain wooden sockets?
  • Special Fishing lures.
  • Novelty items! Toothpicks, dolls, toy soldiers, etc. Non-combat pets! Wooden items that can be passed between players for fun (flying canoes or airships anyone?). How about gift boxes that allow us to include stackable items?
  • Training weapons that grant quicker skill-ups.
  • Leveling options could include wooden pegs, ready-made joints and framework, points from Milling logs into boards, and lock boxes, as well as low-level wooden shields, training weapons, training dummies, and carvings/statues.
  • In Dalaran, or the next new sanctuary, special woods could be turned into tokens that a vendor could accept in exchange for high-end recipes.
  • Snowshoes, skis, snowboards could afford movement boosts while running around Northrend, although they would replace enchants, so they would be attached to your leveling/grinding boots.
  • Other gathering professions can "gather" certain mobs. Many Treant-type mobs can be "herbed" but could also easily be logged. Either Herbalists and Lumberjacks could take turns, just as a group with multiple Herbalists do now, or the mobs that aren't "herbable" could be available to be logged.
  • Since craftspeople can now make specialty bags, Woodworkers could create tool boxes for Carpentry, a chest for Tailoring items, or even a Fishing crate (like a tackle box or cooler). None of these bag types currently exist.
  • Other professions now give special, crafter-only stat bonuses. To compete, Loggers could get a haste boost, or perhaps a temporary damage-absorption shield that would give us another cooldown.
  • Woodworkers could attach little carvings to their trinkets that would deliver static buffs, or occasionally "awaken" to grant a buff. Small discs with magical symbols could be attached to an armor slot.
  • Woodworkers could use some of those materials that other professions make while leveling, such as metal bolts, bolts of cloth, and more.

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