Classes and Professions

In most games, a player's class for combat purposes and their profession for crafting purposes are completely separate and have no bearing on each other.

What if they did?

Most professions are suited to one class or another because of the inherent bonuses they provide or sometimes merely because they provide the ability to craft things that are more useful to them. In WoW, blacksmithing is more useful to Warriors and Paladins because it crafts plate armor they can use (and gives a health bonus useful to tanks when paired with Mining). Tailoring is more useful to Mages, Warlocks, and Priests because it crafts cloth armor, and Enchanting is better suited because of the synergies with Tailoring's cheap disenchantables (as well as being more suited flavorwise, being a magical art).

What if these professions not only gave players the ability to craft and modify items, but also gave bonuses and extra abilities to specific classes? What if players who leveled a tradeskill up enough could gain access to unique classes?

This is just an idea I've been considering. Enchanting is a magical school, and thus would be useful to Mages. Or at the very least being a Mage would allow enchanting to be leveled more easily. At higher levels the Mage could become an Enchanter, allowing them to cast helpful and harmful status spells on friends and enemies.

These wouldn't be straight bonuses in the traditional sense in that they must be taken for min/maxing purposes, but they would be bonuses which change the dynamics of the class that takes them. And Enchanter would be just as powerful as a Mage, they just have a slightly different toolset and a different amount of utility.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 7/22/2010 01:35:00 PM | 0 comments

41 points

Seems the new Cataclysm Beta build is up. This means the new 31 point talent trees, in their earliest forms, are now up! Let's take a look at.......the.....

What is this?

This is terrible!

I thought Blizzard said they wanted us to make interesting choices with our talents?

With these trees, there's no choice at all. They simply cut out all the talents from the old tree that no one ever took. For example, let's look at the Ret Paladin tree. I've already gone through and filled out the points for a PvE DPS build.

There are only two talents I didn't take in the Ret tree. Improved Judgment wasn't a compelling talent since Ret Paladins are normally GCD locked as it is. There is never a time where you aren't pushing a button. This would be the only talent I would consider an "interesting choice". Is it a DPS upgrade to reduce the CD on Judgment by 2 seconds? If so, which talent do you not take (Probably Pursuit of Justice)? The other talent I didn't take: Eye for an Eye. They've changed it so that instead of being reflective damage, it auto casts Judgment on the enemy. However, in a PvE situation you shouldn't be taking damage ideally. Maybe they changed it so that even AoE attacks will trigger it. I don't know.

The other two trees only had two talents even worth consideration, and what a coincidence that I had exactly enough points to put in them.

This is not exactly what I would call "Simple but deep", as Blizzard described how they want the trees to work. I would call it "Brainless and shallow." Unless there are going to be massive changes in the raiding scene in Cataclysm which require DPS players to take non damage talents to be successful, I'm not seeing any benefit to this scheme.

This is the way I had envisioned the talent tree design:

You've got the three trees. Each tree has four columns of talents. Each of these talents takes 5 points. You have enough talent points to get to the bottom of the tree and have 10 points left over. There are now many extra talents in your tree which are untaken. Some of them are PvE viable. Some are PvP viable. Do you put your remaining 10 points in one of these untaken talents, or do you put them in another tree? Which talents do you put them in?

What I mean is this: Blizzard has stated that the current trees have become bloated beyond being tenable. It's all good and well to remove talents that no one ever takes under any circumstances (Looking at you, Turn the Tables). However, I think it would be best if you replaced those with talents that people actually want to take. This way, people actually have to make a choice as to what they want to put their points into. The choices should both be equally valid as well.

As a closer to this post, I realize this is all Beta and subject to change. Many people have been quick to point this out on the official boards when people state their dislike of these new trees. These people seem to be completely forgetting that these statements of dislike are the feedback that Blizzard will use to gauge whether or not they should look things over again. They are beta trees. But without feedback, Blizzard will make them release trees.

Don't Nobody Want That.

As this is Beta, I'm still holding out hope that they will improve things. Adding more "fun" talents would be a start, and by that I mean talents which are obviously gear to not not improve damage of abilities but do other things such as add complexity to rotations, improve run speed, change animations for abilities, and so on. Possibly include more talent points near the end of the leveling experience such as 81-85 or maybe just grant a small bonus like 1 or 2 extra points at 60, 70, 80, 85 or something like that to allow for taking these talents.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 7/14/2010 11:13:00 AM | 0 comments


Been a while. Let's jump right in!

Recently, the Cataclysm talents have been released, critiqued, and slated for complete overhaul, as they felt it was a bad idea to just tack on a few extra talents to the current trees. Their new talent tree model will be 41 points total at 85. 1 point every two levels. When you place your first point, you are locked into placing points only in that tree until you have reached the end 31 point talent, after which you can put your remaining ten points in the other two trees. Each tree gets its own passive and signature abilities to make that tree feel like it is that spec (as it "feels" at 80 now) right off the bat at level 10. Ret Paladins get Divine Storm immediately. Sub Rogues get Shadowstep immediately. I'm not too big a fan of removing choices from the game (the choice to spec 30/31/10 for example), but the choice that's being removed here is one that no one even remotely successful ever makes. So in the "let everyone, including the facerolling 400dps in heroics retards, be successful" model that Blizzard is trying to adapt, this is a good choice.

The true subject of this post is on how something like Talents would work in an open system like the one I've been discussing. Players choose what spells and abilities they learn by questing, learning from instructors, and can even learn them by watching other players or NPCs. Classes are merely an abstraction for the purpose of providing a unified feel for how a character plays, and can be switched freely at any time to suit the situation needed.

In this kind of game, Talents wouldn't exactly work too well. So why have them? Well, I think it's a good idea for every player character to be entirely unique. Even if players go and learn the same spells and abilities, train their spells and classes up to the same levels, or even wearing the same gear, they need some way to differentiate from each other. I feel like talents would be the way to do this. However, under a system with no levels or classes, talents that are attached to the character would need to be the exact opposite of the Blizzard design: Talents which are entirely bland and boring to appeal to as many different classes as possible. Want to crit more often? Put points in the +crit talent. Want to be able to fire free shots when a proc goes up? The talent for that is pretty specific for a certain class and would require major bloat in the tree to add talents for all the possible classes.

So I thought.

Why not have the spells automatically talent themselves?

I'd had an idea that all characters would have a set of "stances". Each stance would represent what a character was trying to do. One stance would be the Accuracy Stance which improves your aim with abilities. One would be the Speed Stance which would reduce casting times, swing speed, etc. One would be the Power Stance which would cause you to hit harder or put more oomph into spells. (All of these are just examples, by the way. There could be other stances such as Range, or Special, or whatever.)

Originally, every ability would have its experience bar, that as players used it would grow and make the abilities more powerful. Instead, each ability would have several balanced stats. Let's say 50 Accuracy, 50 Speed, and 50 Power. When a player gains experience after a battle, they also gain some for whatever stance they were in when they used the ability. As each of the stats goes up, it affects the others. For example, Accuracy improving might reduce speed. Speed improving might reduce power. And so on. At different levels of each stats, the abilities may change. Improving the speed stat on an arrow shot might give it armor penetrating abilities. Improving the Power stat might give it multishot. Improving Accuracy might give it homing capabilities.

The idea is something similar to the original Glyph system WoW originally planned to implement where there would be multiple glyphs for each spell, each of which changed the spell in some way such as Frostbolt having greater range or doing shadow damage in addition or freezing enemies (a system which was nixed, likely for complexity reasons). The only difference is that instead of needing an item to change the spell, you just change it by playing your character.

That spell is now "talented". Your character is now more skilled with that particular spell in a specific way. A gunman who tries to be more accurate with a rifle becomes more a more talented sniper. A monk who tries to be faster becomes more talented at dodging incoming attacks.

The idea needs a LOT of polishing and development, but I think it's a good start.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 7/08/2010 09:59:00 PM | 0 comments