1. Another version of the Mechano-Hog
If there was one thing that helped define engineering in Wrath of the Lich King, it was the Horde and Alliance Mechano-hog. There was no other mount (except maybe the star pony) that carried so much raw style, badassery and general awesomeness as the choppers. The hogs were expensive, so there's still not billions of the mounts cruising around Dalaran. But even though they were expensive, the materials weren't so rare and outlandish that they couldn't be obtained with a moderate amount of grinding.
2. The professions daily quests
Even though the enforced gating mechanic of the daily quests were frustrating for many people, the availability of crafting-related content on a daily basis was a hallmark of Wrath of the Lich King. There were daily quests for jewelcrafting, fishing and cooking, keeping us all eager to press Create All. Hopefully in Cataclysm, these daily quests will be expanded out to all of the other professions. I'm sure it'd be at least a little pain in the butt, but it's been awesome to have crafter-focused content.
3. Wintergrasp revenants
On the off chance you avoid Wintergrasp like a cat avoids water, you should know that there are these mobs cruising around the zone called revenants. You can only see them if your faction currently controls Wintergrasp. What makes them such a big deal? These revenants drop more elemental pieces than normal elementals, making them a wonderful source of crafting materials.
There are two things about the revenants that appeal to me. First, there's a cut-and-dried clear location to go for farming materials. While I know it's a lot of fun to have the lowdown on that super-secret, hidden location that you swear is absolutely the best place to farm, I prefer a good, commonly known, solid entity.
The second thing that appeals to me is that it gave us a reason to go to Wintergrasp. It made PvP valuable and meaningful. I know no one queued up for Wintergrasp thinkiing, "Oh boy, revenants!" Still, it was a nice little bonus that made the experience a little more interesting.
4. Random distribution of disenchanted materials
When Blizzard introduced the new roll-for-materials functions on disenchanting, it was like the shot heard around Azeroth. How to treat disenchants would no longer be a point of contention among PUGs or even guilds. Instead, the answer was clear: we roll on them.
That's pretty awesome, but I do hope they expand this functionality to mining, skinning and herbalism. I feel like the logic demanding this functionality would equally apply across all the other professions. The crafter couldn't access the mob without the help of the group, but the group couldn't get the materials without the crafter. There's a lot of back and forth, and I'd like to see all of the professions treated the same way.
5. Frozo selling crafting materials
Frozo didn't show up until very late in Wrath of the Lich King. Despite his tardy arrival, however, Frozo would have been welcomed with cheers and adulation months earlier. Frozen Orbs were building up in Dalaran bank tabs like Apple fans getting line for an iPad. Giving crafters a chance to swap orbs for helpful materials is something we should be able to do from the very first day of Cataclysm, especially since it'll provide us even more reason to shotgun the dungeon finder.
6. Meaningful stat bonuses for professions
One of the nice things about pursuing professions in Wrath of the Lich King is that everyone got a bonus. In Ye Olde Ancient Days, pursuing professions was mostly something you did in the interest of completism. Or, maybe, as a hobby. In Wrath, though, every profession got their own bonus. (Okay, not the secondary skills.) While blacksmithing and jewelcrafting had the most customizable bonuses, every profession had their own piece of the pie.
7. Crafting materials intrinsically tied to the story
There was a very subtle, very cool direct link between crafting materials and the fundamental story of Wrath of the Lich King. Once working the nodes in Northrend, it wasn't very long at all before miners starting hauling out of the ground the mysterious metal known as saronite.
While it's easy to overlook, Blizzard gave crafters who work with saronite an incredibly awesome opportunity to immerse themselves in the story. It'd be awesome to see that again in Cataclysm, maybe with some kind of metal created by Deathwing. The experience kept professions rooted in the storyline and kept us involved in the genre. I'm hoping to have that again.
What about you? What are you hoping gets carried over into Cataclysm?
Each week, Insider Trader takes you behind the scenes of the bustling subculture of professional craftsmen, examining the profitable, the tragically lacking and the methods behind the madness.