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BlizzCon 2009 Insider Trader: Cataclysmic professions part two

Amanda Miller

A week has passed since BlizzCon 2009 and we're still digging up more news, getting clarification from the blues, and analyzing all of the panels. Last week, Insider Trader discussed some of the major professions-related features coming up in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the next expansion pack.

Pass through the break to learn all about:
  • Profession racial abilities and how they will be changing.
  • The new direction for Alchemy.
  • A totally revamped Fishing system!
  • Archaeology details and speculation about the leveling process.
  • The evolution of Inscription.
Then, continue on to part three of this discussion to learn more about:
  • Reforging and (not) repairing our own gear.
  • Woodworking.
  • Profession specializations and the new direction for differentiation.

Profession Racial Abilities
Many players have been ogling the racial abilities that have been announced for the new Goblin and Worgen races. Perhaps the most common comment is that they are "overpowered."

Blizzard has specifically said several times that in fact, everyone's racials will be updated to compete. They just haven't announced the specifics.

With this in mind, the +15 Skinning Worgen racial (Flayer) and the +15 Alchemy Goblin racial (Better Living With Chemistry) should serve as a marker for how the other professions racials will likely be improved.

While some abilities, such as Engineering Specialization (Gnomes), and Cultivation (Druids) are already on par at +15 skill points, Arcane Affinity raises a Bloof Elf's Enchanting by only 10 skill points, while Gemcutting only increases a Draenei's Jewelcrafting by 5 skill points!

I wonder if Blizzard will decide to give every race a profession racial ability?

Cataclysm: Alchemy
At the BlizzCon 2009 Class Panel #2, someone in the audience commented that Alchemy isn't currently very fun. In response, an outline for the direction of the profession was given, although no specific examples were announced.

  • A lot more "fun" potions.
  • Think silly and wacky. Zany even!
  • Potions of convenience.
  • "Do more" with transmutations. This could mean good news for those who chose this as your specialty!
It seems as though they don't want to go back to having a wide variety of flasks. The Wrath model has worked well, and with stats set to be simplified in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, it makes sense to simply make improved versions of the main four that we use now.

In other words, your utility is where they want it. Most new developments will have more creative purposes!

Cataclysm: Fishing and the Animal Crossing Model
Last week, I mentioned that there had been hints that there are big changes upcoming for Fishing. It occurs to me that anyone who plays World of Warcraft and enjoys activities such as Fishing and other leisurely pass-times, might also be interested in games like Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon.

Well, this must have occurred to Blizzard too, because they've reportedly been looking at other games that incorporate (or are completely devoted to) fishing. Their pick? Animal Crossing.

If you're not familiar with the game, the fishing mechanics are quite different. In both games, different fish can be caught at different areas, and at different times of the day, but in Animal Crossing, fishing is more active.

Rather than casting either into a pool of fish or "anywhere" in the water, you can actually see shadows of the fish swimming around in the water. You need to cast your line so as to attract that particular fish's attention. Some may be swimming by, in which case, you might want to aim to be in their path. Others may change direction and swim around, making it a little more difficult. Aiming itself is something you learn to do by practicing.

While they're pretty early in the development process, this is the model that they want to follow. We'll be able to see the different fish and interact with them in an attempt to catch them. I can't wait to see how they build and expand on the concept!

Leveling Archaeology
One of the biggest changes I'm excited about is the introduction of Archaeology, a new secondary profession. We don't have most of the details yet, but we do know that we'll be visiting ruins all over the world and examining them. We will make notes and gather Artifacts that can be handed in as part of the Paths of the Titans.

Deciphering the ruins may even make use of a mini-game mechanic, which is something that WoW hasn't done before, despite it being popular in other games and across genres. Even first person shooters often have points at which you are trying to unlock a safe or hack into a computer, using mini-games and puzzles to do so.

This may even lead to quests that take you elsewhere and force you to face a challenge of some sort, although all of this is subject to change, as it is still under heavy development. We also know that the rewards will be big. Vanity items, money, titles, and who knows? Maybe a pony! But how will we handle leveling it?

This profession will be available to everyone, as it is secondary rather than primary, which potentially leads to overcrowded areas, excessive ganking, and lack of "spawns" or "nodes." Fortunately, there are several tools that Blizzard has at their disposal that could help us avoid trouble:
  • Phasing. Either the ruins could be misted over, phasing you as you approach, or individual characters would see their own "nodes" rather than everyone competing for the same ones.
  • We could end up reading hieroglyphics and engaging in other activities that don't force us to pick up a specific object.
  • Artifacts could appear in your bags after successfully completing your mini-game.
  • "Nodes" might not despawn, but allow for infinite "harvesting."
  • There could be a set number of nodes in the area that will always be present at a minimum. Thus, when a certain threshold is breached, more would automatically spawn, rather than being on a timer.
So far, it seems as though there will be no materials or reagents we can gather and stockpile ahead of time. In fact, it is possible that Archaeology will have little or no impact on the Auction House market at all!

Cataclysm: Inscription
While I am sure Blizzard has some interesting things in store for every profession, there isn't much to know about Inscription yet. In response to a question at the BlizzCon 2009 Class Discussion Panel 2, they did point out that they are happy with a lot about the profession.

Specifically, they won't be making it easier for you to acquire new glyph recipes. The amount of time invested to learn them is a unique feature of the profession and they don't have plans to change that.

The profession does lack unique drops, and the Books of Glyph Mastery didn't cut it. Blizzard goes on to say that there could be something done with some of the other items that Scribes can make. Epic trinket recipe drops, anyone?

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