Thursday, 8 July 2010

All killer and no filler

As Supernanny says, "Positive attention and praise are the most effective rewards for good behaviour, but sometimes it's important to give your child boundries and let them know that certain behaviour is unacceptable."

Well the blogosphere has been doing a lot of boundary setting for our favourite child recently over the Real ID outburst, so it's time for a little positive attention and praise.

The changes to the talent system in Cataclysm described by Zarhym are extremely well thought out. In summary the idea is:

  • Talent points are now awarded every other level, alternating with new skills.
  • The top of each talent tree is now at 31 points, with almost all the "filler" removed and replaced with real useful attributes. To quote Ghostcrawler: "Almost without exception, the talents we cut were the ones everyone took or the ones nobody took".
  • Signature talents will be available from the first talent point, so you feel like a proper prot paladin/ affliction warlock / fire mage etc from day one. For example, Ret pallies will get divine storm at level 10!
  • Once you choose a talent tree at level 10, the other trees will be locked out until you have at least 31 points in your main tree. Presumably this is to prevent players taking all the signature talents from each tree to create some super-hybrid. It will also make choices easier for new players, as they won't end up with an unfocussed and ultimately uncompetitive build due to lack of understanding of how the trees are supposed to work.
  • Dual spec will work as before.
This is a great change in many ways. First of all, it will introduce real choice at early on, whereas currently there's bog-all difference between (say) an elemental and a resto shaman at low levels.

What's more, it will help to eliminate "dead levels" (e.g. the odd numbered ones below 60 in the current game), where nothing more interesting than a flash of light and a free heal happens when you reach them. Now there's something substantial to look forward to each time.

Eliminating the mandatory and forbidden talents (assuming that this can withstand the onslaught of the theory-crafters) should also help increase the variety of play-styles in the game.

Well done, Blizzard, good job!

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