World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

Tom Chilton concluded with a demonstration of the new Jewelcrafting profession that showed off how gems can be fit into socketed items. Jewelcrafters can make rings, necklaces and gems that all give special bonuses to different attributes. Rings and necklaces work as expected, but gems need to be socketed into special weapons and armor. In addition, these sockets come in different flavors that correspond to the colors of the various gems that can be crammed into them. This is designed to promote some variety in gems and gives extra bonuses for following the color rules - Blizzard doesn't want to directly prohibit you from loading up on gems that grant critical strike or health point bonuses (and the like), but they don't want to fully sanction it either.

Taking this concept even further, meta-gems are gems that require a very specific type of slot (currently only one in a piece of head armor) and grant bonuses based on the accumulation of other gems - so, some meta-gems grant +4 to stamina if you have more than four blue gems while others grant +4 to strength for every different colored gem. It sounds terribly complicated, and it is... but, after all, it's an entirely new profession that should take up to 60 levels to master (although socketed items will only be available to characters over level 60).

Lead Designer Tom Chilton left us breathless by the end of his whole spiel. So many changes are on the way for the world that over six million fans have come to call an alternate digital home, but many of these changes seem to be for the better. Of course, only actual play can tell the truth of the tale, and upon being asked when players could expect to see beta invites, Chilton replied coyly, "very soon... very, very soon."