8 July 2010

Forget Forumgate, we haz talent newz

Yesterday, Blizzard was left bloody and mauled over its plans for using real names on the forums and the disaster was about to go nuclear. But today… who cares? We have a COMPLETE TALANT OVERHAUL to coo over. Coincidental timing? Unlikely. This is a very smart move by Blizzard to take back control of the agenda. Very smart. They might have been planning to share this in a few weeks, with some of the details fleshed out. Never write off a PR machine, they are the cockroaches of the corporate world.

This blogger is no Glamour-reading, celebrity-whoring pushover. I do not forget so easily. Real ID is a total screw up and I’ll be back to crow and gloat just as soon as it comes back to explode in Blizzard’s face. And it will.

But I am forced to reluctantly admit that the aforementioned COMPLETE TALENT OVERHAUL is far too compelling to ignore. It is no less than a single brilliant solution to all the problems the talent system has ever encountered. Or nearly.

You remember recently when we were shown the new priest trees for Cataclysm? Despite all of their ambitions for removing passive talents and making talent trees more dynamic, little had changed. Recognising this, Blizzard has come back with a fresh approach.

The number of points available to spend will be halved, relieving Blizzard of the need to pad out trees with volumes of passive bonuses. And classes will be locked into a single specialisation up to level 70, leaving Blizzard free to position talents in a more logical order, free of the worry that players of other talent specialisations will be able to nab the juicy ones for themselves. Some of the class-defining core talents will be given not through talents but as rewards for choosing the relevant specialisation, excluding them completely from the reaches of everyone else. Potentially, we’ll be able to get our mitts on these spells and abilities at more convenient times, and raiders will be less at the mercy of PVP-balancing compromises. Win-win.

The dull business of boosting a character’s power in their chose role, by increasing damage, crit, defences and the like, will be intrinsically linked to a character’s chosen specialisation.

The mastery bonuses we have read about will also change as a result of this overhaul but I expect shadow priests will retain their shadowy orbs in one form or another.

You will be unable to spec into secondary trees before spending 31 talent points in one tree, but I don’t think this will be much of a hardship for most. I only ever recall going into a support tree early on once, as a demonology warlock for suppression, and we know they are reworking hit talents anyway.

I know it must be quite un-nerving to see me in a positive, optimistic mood, but these changes really do feel instinctively… right — and I haven’t been able to say that about much for a long time. What do you think?

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