30 Minute obsessions is a podcast—perhaps soon one day to return—but meanwhile enjoy these miscellaneous thoughts in the blog!

Forest Reaction

In the dev watercooler post "Seeing the Forest for the Talent Trees," Ghostcrawler had a few interesting things to say about the new talent tree scheme in Mists.

Let's get to 'em, eh?

In the case of the old trees, choosing the talent you want from among the talents that don’t interest you isn’t an interesting decision -- it's a multiple choice test, and an easy one at that.

'Multiple choice test' is an exellent analogy, and I agree. 

Look, we tried the talent tree model for seven years. We think it’s fundamentally flawed and unfixable.

Whoa! Quite the statement, I must say. And...I'm inclined to agree. Is it causing more problems than it's solving? Not really, but it has so many problems that, yes, something radically different should be tried, if possible.

Finally, the reality is that for many players, WoW has become a game focused on max level. Back in the day, leveling a fleet of alts was really compelling gameplay, but for many of the old-timers, there just isn’t a ton of interest in making a second mage or whatever. 

This is true. I would like very much to spend all my time in my main. Achievements, pets, and other rewards is one factor keeping me from playing my other characters. (I like having a wide variety of pets to choose from—if only I could have the same selection for all my characters...)

The players in question fully admit that they don't experiment to find the best build. 

I abhor "better-than-n00bs" malarky. But this sentence is salient because while I would love to experiment with a different build, I just know that I'd be criticized for having too-low DPS, or some such.

As long as there are cookie cutter builds, there will be a lack of individuality—it doesn't matter how many or few talents there are to choose from. The, perhaps insurmountable, problem for Blizzard to solve is to develop a system that rewards leveling and acquiring personal power that doesn't boil down to numbers on a spreadsheet and "choices" everyone has to make to be invited to a raid.

It's a tough nut to crack.

But knowing how to Google "4.3 Shadow spec" doesn't automatically make you a better player.

Heh. Word.

We are also taking some steps with Mists to encourage more crossover between PvP and PvE as the game once had, so even if you don’t care for PvP now, maybe we can get you interested in the future.

As I sit here, I have no idea what that could possibly be. As I've noted before, I have a strenuous dislike for PvP. What would get me to PvP? Well, it's not in-game rewards. I just adore the coloring of the mount reward from Long Strange Journey but that achievement requires (what for me is) quite a bit of PvPing. And, I adore mounts. I'm not a super-fan of the drake model, but that color plus mount equals instant love.

If neither love nor mount will persuade me, what's left? I really don't know.

When players use their full toolbox of abilities intelligently, they tend to feel good about their character and the game. But it is our responsibility to engineer more of those situations into the world.

Yes. This.

What we have concluded is that many players want to choose their spec based on flavor (“I want to be the mage who uses Frost magic”)

It's like he's talking about me!

In Mists, we want players to have even more flexibility about which character they want to play. Asking a player to swap from damage to tanking for a couple of fights is acceptable to us.

I'm all for it. Either make single-role classes the best at the one thing they do—or allow them to do more things.

I'm fine with having the option, like in Rift, of having one class fill multiple roles. I could tank as a mage by conjuring magical armor around myself, say. Or healing by simply casting healing spells instead of damaging ones (or the same spell that either heals a friend or damages an enemy—that would be pretty neat, eh?).

I'm a mage not because of the DPS role, I'm a mage because I like wizards, books, spells, magic, all that kind of thing. Its role is neither here nor there—as far as my flavor for playing it is concerned. If I could choose to encase myself in thick layers of ice so as to tank, so much the better!

Arcane is about mana management and clearing Arcane Blast stacks.

Um, no, it's not. Demonstrably not. In none of the fights in the Firelands last night did I hardly have to give a consideration to running out of mana.

Is that what he means by mana management? As a major aspect of the spec? I, uh, hope not...


The Tier Problem