Playing this game for 4 years makes you forget things. It hides away secret knowledge about the game-play that becomes natural to you. I know this because I have been enlightened.
I didn’t know I was becoming enlightened; there are never any warning signs. Just one day you are throwing whispers back and forth with a new player you crossed in a starting zone, then they ask you “What’s Enchanting?” and then “Where do I get Strange Dust?”, followed by “What is a Runed Copper Rod?”. And you realize with each answer you give, they still don’t know.
My enlightenment took some time, but it was at the cost of Blizzard. The statistic came out awhile ago that some 70% of new accounts never make it past level 10. In an attempt to cut that percentage they developed an in-game tutorial system. It tells you how to move your character, customize your action bars, manipulate your bags and interact with the world. From an experienced player’s point-of-view this is a highly useful tool that does its job efficiently.
To you and me, things come easily. We know how the game works; mechanics of everything are stored for us to make them slightly trivial. New players to the game are stuck in a vast world, at least now they enter it with a lesson in basic movement and interaction. Where Blizzard needs to expand on this thou is a tutorial on professions.
I compare professions to real world hobbies. With most hobbies I’d like to pursue I research the cost, where to get parts and how much time is involved in perfecting it. A new player doesn’t have the resources, or knowledge of outside information hubs to make sense of what a profession actually is. When I got posed the question “What is Enchanting?” I answered back “It’s a profession” not once imagining there could have been more to it than that. That’s the hidden knowledge not being released.
When you first encounter professions you are roughly level 6 and as late as level 10, the game is still new, still fresh. You talk to every NPC assuming the all have intelligible things to say, and then one offers to teach you something for 9 copper. Hoping not to make a mistake and miss something important you take the lesson in Leatherworking, and there you go. Without an explanation or a guide to help you gather materials or any understanding what it will be helpful in accomplishing.
I know there are a selection of NPC’s in Azeroth that make you click through conversations with them to finally get to a quest or something of that nature. Why not do the same thing for professions? Why not make it a quest system to start a profession so you know how to do things moderately before being sent off on your own, liken to the hunter pet quests?
I do enjoy meeting new people in starting zones, and remembering what it was like to not understand the world and what it had to offer. With that said, I also recall the frustrations of wondering if I was doing something wrong, or if I didn’t pick up something it would come back to haunt me.
Professions are a major part of game-play, Blizzard, can you make starting them less foggy?