Saturday, July 26, 2008

Inscription, v1.0

I've been a bit busy for the last two days, but I did manage to find out via the beta forums where the Inscription Tools vendor lived, and thus I was able to get a look at Inscription. Here's how the profession looks right now:

Bad news first, no glyphs :(
All characters have a "glyphs" window at the bottom of their spellbooks, but none of these exist in game as of yet. As an aside, one wonders how many recipes are going to be in this profession by the time all is said and done; at 6-7 glyph slots each (inscribers get a bonus slot), you're talking a minimum of seventy glyph recipes just to give each class enough to fill all their slots. This is an issue that Jewelcrafting faces as well; there are so many gem cuts that you're relatively unlikely to have all the ones you want for yourself, much less for your alts.

Looking at Apprentice Recipes
Apprentice-level Inscription recipes (minus any glyphs) are currently in the game. One branch of the profession appears to be about converting a specific herb (in this case silverleaf or peacebloom) into a specific ink, and then uses that ink on paper (from a vendor) to make low end buff scrolls (currently Int, Spi, and Sta). After doing this 20 times, you get to learn milling, which lets you destroy five herbs of the same type (i.e. you can mill a stack of 20 four times, a stack of 7 once, and you can't mill anything if you have 2 peacebloom and 3 silverleaf). Milling yields 2-3 Pomaces, and 0-2 edible mushrooms (the lowest end kind).

I didn't know that word either, says it's "any crushed or ground, pulpy substance" (originally specific to apples and apple cider). The interesting thing here is that the pomaces appear to be determined by the herbalism level of the herbs in question. At 1 Inscription, Silverleaf, Peacebloom, Earthroot, and Mageroyal were all Millable (while other herbs listed millable in red). These are the herbs you can pick with 50 or fewer herbalism. All of these herbs yield Alabaster Pomace. Raise your Inscription skill levels more and you can unlock another band of herbs (Briarthorn, Bruiseweed, and Kingsblood amongst others), which were generally pickable with 2nd tier herbalism. All of these yield "dusky pomace". At 125 Inscription, I'm able to mill slightly higher herbs yet, coughing up "emerald pomace". (Each level also ups the quality of the mushrooms you get, if any). The first two pomaces each have their own ink, and I'm sure the third will also when it's possible to get Inscription up that far.

This mechanic is interesting because you have relatively less control over what you herb compared to what you mine. You might make a circuit of a zone like Arathi and come out with six different flavors of herb. Well, this is not a problem with pomaces, because you can crush them all up to make whatever it was you wanted to make, as long as you got 5 of a given herb.

Interesting new mechanics
So what do you get with your pomace-made inks? Rounding out the apprentice level, you obtain:
- Scroll of Recall, which sends you back to your hearth point on a 15 minute cooldown, supposedly shared with the Shaman Astral Recall spell. (This goodie requires inscription, so no mailing it to your non-inscriber alts.)
- Tarot Cards produce a random card from the Darkmoon Rogue deck. There are five of these cards, which seem to be equally rare. Using one when you have all five in your inventory completes a Darkmoon Rogue deck, which can supposedly be turned into an NPC at the Darkmoon Faire (or certain taverns, though I have yet to encounter one) for a random level 10 green item and some exp.
- Bleached Parchment, which allows Enchanters to cast armor enchants on the paper, creating a scroll that anyone can use to enchant their own soulbound gear without the need to find an enchanter who knows a given spell. (At the 100ish level, inscribers learn to make Treated Vellum, which does the same trick for Weapon enchants.)

One thing I find striking about these goodies is that they're available to a level 5 character. They can harvest their own peacebloom/silverleaf and crank out Bleached Parchment to ship to your enchanter main. It will be interesting to see whether Blizzard leaves things this way. If they do, parchments, and thus any and all enchants used to raise enchanting skill (weapon enchants tend to be too pricey to use for skillpoints) will flood the AH. If you're not a Shaman and have literally zero interest in ever leveling any profession, the Scroll of Recall alone potentially justifies the use of a profession slot. (If you've got mining or enchanting occupying one of your slots, you can buy some peacebloom to make scrolls with you others.)

An Intriguing Start
Obviously, the profession isn't done yet. All of the currently learnable recipes in the game are green by 125 skill. One expects the 75->150 bracket to include rank 2 buff scrolls, and a different tarot deck good for higher level green rewards. And, of course, the missing Glyphs are presumably going to fill out the skillup ranks so that you don't find yourself cranking out 20-30 of each of the goodies I mentioned (which is literally all the recipes in the beta). I wasn't expecting much of this profession, but so far I'm pleasantly surprised.

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