Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Talent Design

So I've been spending my morning flipping around between my work, writing a BQL guide, and browsing My Internet™. While doing that third one, I landed across something that made my brain shout, STOP THE PRESSES!

So do you remember about...oh...a month ago when Blizz allowed some fansites to release previews of the talent trees for a few of the classes (Druids included) and much debate about builds started flooding the blogosphere? Do you remember that? Hmm?

Yeah, can forget it all. It's moot point now.


This is why.

I'm not going to repost the whole blue post here because it's a long one. But you should go read it. Right now.

Let me give you some of the highlights:
  • Talent trees are getting significantly trimmed. Whereas current talent trees have roughly 30 talents and require 51 points to get to the final defining talent of the tree, the new trees will have about 20 talents and will only require 31 points to get to the bottom.

  • The talents getting trimmed from the trees are of the passive buff variety. Talents that provide unique skills, abilities, or mechanics are the ones that will be sticking around.

  • To compensate for this extreme decrease in talents, we will now receive a talent point roughly every other level. It will be set up in such a way that as we level we alternate between getting to spend a talent point and hitting our trainers.

  • When you hit level 10 and pick your first talent, you are restricted to that tree until you have spent 31 points in it. (Roughly level 70.) This means that if your first talent point goes into the Feral tree, you can't spend points in the Resto or Balance trees until you've put a significant investment into the Feral tree.

  • Mastery bonuses will no longer scale with the amount of points in a tree.

  • Two of the three will be granted immediately upon selection of the primary tree. One will be in the form of an active ability and the other will be a more passive buff.

  • The third Mastery skill will be learned from your trainer at level 75 and will scale up based on the Mastery stat that will be found on gear. Gear with Mastery as a stat will start dropping around the same time.
Crazy, huh?

Personally, I'm excited about this change and I can't wait to see it implemented.

One of the biggest issues I've had recently, both with the current game and the projected Cata trees, is that I felt too many talent points were being spent just trying to get down to that next talent you actually wanted. Yeah, it was nice making this ability do more damage or that one cost less rage/energy/mana. It's certainly a help. But by and large it just feels...meh. Not exciting. What I really want is Feral Charge or Shamanistic Rage or Shadow Form. Those are the fun things that really change how you play your class. But I have to find places (even if they happen to be useful ones) to put a whole ton of talent points before I get there.

This isn't going to reduce the amount of time it takes to get to those talents, but it's going to make spending the points to get down to them feel less tedious. When the points I spend immediately impact how I play my class rather than how quickly I can mow through enemies or how long I can go without stopping to drink then it keeps the game more fresh and interesting.

Edit: And for those who have been wondering if they'd have enough time to get this done without it adversely affecting the (thus far unannounced and merely speculated upon) Cata release date? GC had this to say:
We want to unveil the entire enchilada in the next beta build or so. Everyone here worked really hard to get the whole package to a relatively playable and polished state. In essence we're not announcing a future plan -- we're telling you how the game works today. It's all done.

It's hard to offer timelines for when we will do a new beta push, but we're talking days or a few weeks, not months. All of the passives will be visible then.
So there you go. We'll actually be seeing these soon™.


  1. It does look really interesting. I really do need to get into beta :)

  2. I cannot even begin to describe how sexy this is.

  3. Its a great change!
    Will be interesting to see how they manage to keep bear and kitty builds separate without the bloat. Should make hybrid kitty / bear specs interesting though and they may come closer to the optimal specs than the current hybrid builds.

    Its also going to effect how many talents we can pick in the resto tree due to a lack of (total) talent points.

    Sure looks fun though and if you read ThinkTank (yes hes back posting) his review of the kitty and bear builds with the current (rather than the very new) system dont bode too well. Hopefully the new trees will fix that!