Archaeology: The Evolution of Inscription
The first details of Cataclysm's new secondary profession, Archaeology, were revealed at BlizzCon. Many Archaeology techniques sound a lot like Inscription: Archaeology allows ancient glyphs to be filled. And you may recall that "deciphering" was an Inscription skill that briefly appeared during beta testing. Why is Archaeology a new secondary profession, and not a continuation of Inscription?
Importance of Glyphs
Why can scribes not make anything very unique? Blizzard responded (Jon LeCraft, I assume):
"We don't ever really want to make a glyph very difficult to get, because they're so core to gameplay. People think they can't play if they can't get a glyph."
If you cannot find a Jewelcrafter that can cut a particular rare gem, you can find a more common cut. If you can't buy that Titansteel Destroyer at auction, there are alternative weapons. You loose some "stats". You loose some advantage over your enemies. But that is not crippling.
In contrast, if you cannot get a specific glyph, there are no similar alternatives. This can be crippling. For example, a special mage (warlock) without Glyph of Shadowflame cannot use Shadowflame to slow approaching enemies. In some PvP situations, that glyph has become fundamental to survival. There is not an alternative, common "Lesser Glyph of Shadowflame", that gives a 60% speed reduction. The choice is either 0% or the full 70%.
The Path of the Titans, and the new Ancient Glyph, may be similarly "core to gameplay": Everyone will want to try and gain those new benefits.
Demand for Glyphs
Inscription's glyphs are rarely changed: Dual-specs mean that noticeable fresh demand for new glyphs tends to only occur when there have been major class changes. This is frustrating for Scribes, many of whom found the Inscription profession very rewarding at the outset, but now find far fewer people are asking for their services.
I expect the same pattern with the Path of the Titans: At the start, many people will want to improve or change their paths. But once they have completed that, they will not continually make further changes. At least, not until the next major patch changes the benefits of different paths, or adds new paths.
Evolution of Professions
The Path of the Titans is far more personal than most professions: It's all about you. It's a way to change you. The benefits are personal.
Over the last few years, personal professional benefits have become far more important.
How many people trained Jewelcrafting because prismatic Jewelcrafter-only gems gave more options than other profession personal benefits? And then dropped it when patch 3.2 removed the prismatic status from Jewelcrafter-only gems? Or, in the Burning Crusade, trained Leatherworking simply to maintain drum-rotations during raid boss fights?
Years ago, when Ragnaros was still feared, the main personal benefit of a profession was the ability to craft enough Fire Resist gear to get your guild through the fight.
New crafters probably don't realise how much professions have already changed.
Archaeology evolves from Inscription. Archaeology's features might have been part of the Inscription profession. But they are not. Instead Archaeology is a new secondary profession:
- The Path of the Titans is too important to everyone.
- Improvements are too much of a "once only" purchase to keep a primary profession busy.
- Even more than other professions, Archaeology's benefits are personal.