Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Establishing Goals

News flash: I had a really, really, long post going, and then it vanished. See, I didn't have the foresight to periodically save my Notepad, especially while writing it on a frequently unstable laptop that wasn't plugged in. Usually it warns me the battery is about to run dry, but its day came to screw me over... sort of. I guess I screwed myself over. I'll get back to that topic later.

But, before I write anything more about talent philosiphy, I might as well take it back to square one. Eventually I'll be getting into the what, but I'd best start with the why. Why ever would Blizzard be rethinking the way they change the way they think about talent design?Let's look at some of their primary goals with Wrath and beyond in terms of talent trees. A lot of these points work together in some way. Blizzard wants to...

1. Try and make talent specs less cookie-cutter, and thus
2. Make talents more about customization and less about
3. Necessity. So they want to cut down on the amount of talents popularly deemed "necessary."
4. Make more talents that are "active" rather than "passive."
5. Make all trees viable in PVE and PVP.

I'll talk about these one by one, with blue posts that discuss the same topic. Provided I can find them...


I think in many ways, all emerging talent tree design changes go back to the first point. Blizzard really wants players to do interesting things with talent specs. Is that going to stop min/maxing? No. And min/maxing isn't really a bad thing by any means.

Blue poster Koraa on "talent bloat:"

"Bloat: Bloat is another word for "I can't have everything I want!". We want every class to feel their tree is "bloated" to a degree. We want classes to have to make choices and sacrifices over good talents, because that is ultimately what makes talents interesting. If it weren't that way, we would just make it a linear progression without any choices. That said, if you feel the flow of the talents makes you spend points in something that doesn't necessarily benefit you what that build is for (i.e. spending too many "PvE" talents for a PvP build), then that can be addressed." (source)


In wanting to make talent trees more about customization, the devs feel they need to cut down on the number of "necessary" talents. In a PVE setting, you'd call a necessary talent generally one that boosts whatever it is you do: damage, tank, or heal. Every tree has these talents; a lot of them come in 10%s. It's those chunky five-point talents that everyone needs for their build.

On the Paladin boards, Ghostcrawler has set up dedicated threads for all three of the Paladin trees, asking for feedback on all talents in that tree. Which talents do people feel are necessary? Which talents do people skip every time in any scenario?

A tanking tree obviously helps you tank better; we all know that. What Blizzard doesn't want is a tree full of different talents that all basically amount to "mo' mitigation." More healing. More damage. Whatever. All them passive talents that just give you number-ey benefits, if such a term exsists. They want more interesting, more "active" abilities in trees that make whatever it is your doing, indeed, more interesting.

Emphasis could be placed on PVE, where in many cases you're pressing a lot of the same buttons.

From the first part of the Prot tree feedback thread:

"We are about ready to do our next major pass on the Paladin trees.

We think Prot does have too many mandatory talents, and too many talents that offer passive mitigation without other interesting mechanics or even dps. This thread is a great opportunity to discuss the tree and offer your feedback.

For purposes of this thread, the kinds of feedback that are useful:
-- Which talents are fun vs. which ones aren't
-- Areas in the tree that tie up too many talent points vs. areas that feel barren
-- Talents that feel mandatory vs. talents that feel fun but optional vs. talents you'd never get"

For a later post, I'm going to get into active vs. passive talents, and what the difference is in PVE and PVP. Like, in PVE you can guess pretty easy what "essential" talents might be, but is it as quantifiable in the PVP environment?


There's a few problems with my writing "style." One is I tend to start paragraphs with words like "also" a lot. Also, I tend to not know how to organise my thoughts when writing a post. And as I just did, I tend to not know how to conclude a post, and just end it abruptly. So... bye.

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