I realize "StarCraft 2" has been stealing all of the headlines lately, but you'd do well to recall that Blizzard has another game in development. A little title called "Diablo 3." Ah yes, starting to ring a few bells, is it?
We haven't heard much new information about "Diablo 3" for some time, but Blizzard decided to open their giant, war-forged doors a crack to inform the world about a new feature for the franchise: The caravan. Basically the caravan is your own personal band of merry men and woman. The group follows you around the world of Sanctuary, setting up camp at specific spots to act as a sort of temporary township.
So what, they just replace the towns in "Diablo 2"? Actually, there's a lot more going on with the caravan than you think. Each member of the caravan has their own story, quests and even experience levels. Blizzard showed off the blacksmith in the latest demo. As you'd imagine, the blacksmith is able to fix your weapons, but he can also craft weapons if you have the necessary recipe and ingredients. Putting the blacksmith to work will improve his abilities and unlock new recipe options.
Where does one get recipes and ingredients, then? Ah, that's where things get even more interesting. "Diablo" fans are very familiar with the constant need to sell excess inventory. Your inventory fills up and suddenly you need to make a quick trip back to town to sell stuff in order to make room for more loot. You could just drop it on the ground and forgo the cash, but who's going to do that?
"Diablo 3" introduces a solution to lessen those excess loot runs. Players are given an artifact which allows unnecessary items to be broken down into their base components (two iron shards from a sword, for example). These components can then be brought to the blacksmith and used in the creation of new weapons. Higher quality weapons and gear will obviously break down into rarer ingredients, adding value to that legendary bow and arrow you simply can't use.
As for recipes, these can be purchased, but the rarest recipes will actually be dropped by certain monsters. Once found, you can hand a recipe over to your blacksmith and he'll be able to make the new loot, provided you have the ingredients.
Blacksmiths will level up as you give them more work, adding to their abilities. One such ability is socketing. Yep, you'll be able to socket just about any item in the game, including ultra-rare legendary items.
If this is starting to sound a lot like "World of WarCraft," that's because it is a heck of a lot like "World of WarCraft." Hey, millions of monthly customers can't be wrong, right?