Editorial: Bound To My Soul

Soulbinding: it is a plague upon the World of Warcraft community.

For those unfamiliar with this barbaric practice, it is akin to the binding of women’s feet or the brewing of Coors’ Beer. Put simply, when one acquires an item, equips it and otherwise lays claim to the object’s substance, that substance becomes irrevocably bound to that character, never to be separated again, except by drastically usurious transaction.

Blizzard has shown some backtracking on this issue with the introduction of Heirloom items, or items that instead “bind” to the account rather than the player. Heirloom items are items that increase their stats in accordance with the level of the character, and provide other bonuses meant to encourage leveling new characters with experience boosts and better equipment.

On the other hand, during many dungeon runs, otherwise good and valid equipment goes to “waste” (in the form of being turned by a Enchanter into a component for spells) unless it is “bind on equip,” which means player can sell it for even more usurious prices.

Thanks, South Park! Don't sue me.
There is even lore support for the passing of hand-me-down items such as the Ashbringer.

How many times have players been running through old content, only to see a rare item drop, and then watch helplessly as it goes to the Great Disenchanted Heaven in the sky, when they have an alternate character parked back at the bank that could have used it?

The solution is to find some way to remove soulbinding for a price, either in gold or some form of reduction to an item’s stats in order to pass it along to alternate characters. This serves two beneficial purposes: (1) it encourages people to level new characters and get them ready for end-game content and (2) makes lower-level endgame content (e.g., heroics and regular dungeons) more attractive to well-geared players. This ensures that even people not at the bleeding edge of endgame raiding will enjoy the benefits of grouping with players that are more experienced.

Some of the professions are more lucrative than others: Enchanting, for instance, is not seen as an optional thing for your gear. Fishing and Cooking each provide a significant income. Jewelcrafting will generally turn a profit, but it is difficult for non-gathering crafting professions (Engineering, Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, Tailoring) to turn a large profit because the only things they can make at highest levels of raiding are items whose plans drop in the latest raids, with staggering material costs. Allowing these professions to remove soulbinding from items would provide them a needed boost in income.

The best solution to keep this from getting out of hand would then be to have a soulbinding removal take off all enchants, item add-ons, and gems from the items, and to lower its base stat contribution (the amount it adds to Strength, Stamina, Agility, Intellect or Spirit) by 5-10%, and now be a “Bind to Account” item capable of being traded between a player’s characters on a single server and faction. This means that a “hand-me-down” item loses some of the luster it had when new, but would still be an acceptable item to pass to a newly-80 character looking to get into endgame raiding.

0 comments

  1. I actually really like this idea. It would really benefit people who generously bring their alt to a raid because they fill a needed role. Like our mage, he keeps missing out on some trinket he wants, because he keeps having to take his Pally. He cries when I shard the damn trinket, probably.

    Plus I could send my Enchanter all my useless gear from my non-enchanters, and still get the mats. Bwuahah. Yay.

  2. I’m going to bind all of Lane’s articles together and send them to Blizzard.

    So, when he disappears from the site staff to take up a lucrative position as head of Blizzard MMO Development, you’ll all know how it happened.

  3. I lack the single quality Blizzard desires most in developers… sadism.