Although Wrath of the Lich King is still only in alpha testing, what little we do know, though it might change, helps us anticipate the direction Blizzard is taking.
In fact, we can even begin to see what the army of Death Knight Inscribers might take as their second profession, which will undoubtedly have repercussions on the market.
Not only will the amount of competition skyrocket, but opportunities to make a buck selling to lazy Death Knights will abound.
For these and more details, head on through the break. Inscription
Many professions are best suited to being paired with one other profession. Skinning and leatherworking are one example, as the skins, scales and other materials acquired make up a substantial percentage of the necessary leatherworking reagents.
It seems that perhaps the best profession to pair with inscription will be herbalism. Supposedly, inscribers will be able to 'mill' or crush 5 herbs into a paste that will be used in the making of various inks. The inks of course, will be used to create scrolls with temporary buffs, and 'enchant' spells.
It appears as though 5 of one type of herb will make one vial of a similar type of ink, although it would be interesting to see if there will be any ink cocktails made from varying types of herbs, in order to bring out certain effects.
Not only might we see an army of Death Knights storming around come the expansion, we might also see some hefty herbing competition.
As many people try out inscription, we can only hope that some will not take up herbalism, allowing for gatherers to continue to make money from their efforts, even amidst heavy competition for herb spawns and thus reduced harvests.
We have also been assured that there will be balance when it comes to inscribing spells. Rather than one or two types that most people will use, there will be several useful options. One might lengthen an effect, while another might increase the range of a spell, for example.
Although there is little information out about herbalism as it will be in Wrath of the Lich King, the WotLK Wiki has dug up the names of many of the new herbs, as well as the in-game images of them.
While many take up herbalism in order to fuel their alchemy, and soon, their inscription, it is also taken up solely for income. Hopefully, the advent of Wrath will not shift the herbing economy too drastically.
Over time, many may leave their death knights to rot, unplayed, and of course, not everyone will try inscription. In fact, many may take up inscription without herbalism, allowing for some balance to re-establish itself.
There are also images available of a couple of the new types of veins that will be popping up in the expansion, as well as the names of some of the ore. In addition, it seems as though miners may be able to attack by throwing their mining pick.
It is unclear as to whether or not this is a generic attack, or one aimed at potentially thieving miners. It would certainly be pretty entertaining to be able to interrupt someone attempting to take the node you are clearing.
Of course, this could also be abused. While innocently mining, you could find yourself with a nifty hole in the back of the head and 'chink, chink, chink' from another player's pick digging into your goods.
Fishing and cooking
Currently, there is little published information about any changes to either cooking or fishing. The wiki claims that it has found twenty-five new cooking recipes, twelve of which use fish, although it does not list them, presumably because there is no actual information to be found about the recipes.
In the fishing tab, you will note a couple of new, albeit vague, spells. It seems as though, in this land of ice, we will be able to go ice fishing! I wonder if we will be able to cut holes ourselves, or if 'pool spawns' will take the format of cracks or holes existing in the ice.
Hopefully at some point Blizz will make ice huts. Whether through TCG loot, or through crafted items from a leatherworker or perhaps an engineer, I think it would be a fun addition.
It seems we will get but two new types of bandages, using a new type of cloth that will likely be found only in Northrend. Tailors can look forward to using it, and farming it, although there are currently no previews of new tailoring recipes or abilities.
Blacksmithing and enchanting
Check out our analysis of the leaked alpha abilities for blacksmithers and enchanters.
Last week, Insider Trader took an in-depth look at leatherworking as it might be in Wrath of the Lich King. This included new types of drums, as well as a look at upcoming kits.
As it has been confirmed that players will not be allowed to take a third profession slot in Wrath, that does leave some questions open for discussion. As Mike Schramm pointed out, it would not be in Blizzard's best interest to have a swarm of newly minted death knights wandering around Westfall and Durotar searching out peacebloom in order to level their professions.
Still, what sort of effect would it have on the game if an option were opened up at a certain level to reach a skill level of, for example, 300, of a given profession for a certain fee? Would that be fair to the players who leveled it from scratch? Would the market for goods and services below and after that mark be negatively impacted?
If the option were given only to the death knight, and perhaps only for gathering professions, would this change whether or not players perceived the bonus as fair? If players could suddenly pick up a cash-making profession at a certain level, even if only death knights, wouldn't this shift the balance of supply and demand off kilter, not to mention the increased competition in areas like Outland and Northrend?
How do you think Blizzard should handle the potential impact of the addition of inscription on herbalism, as well as the effect death knights will have on professions and the economy as a whole?