Help
Regional FlagCataclysm Class & Mastery Systems UpdateSource
avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#0 - 2010/07/07 04:58:31 PM
Update 7.16.10

Cataclysm Class Design Q&A: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=26137024331&sid=1

--

Update 7.14.10

Preview our ideas for the look and feel of the Talent pane here: http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/underdev/4p0/classandmastery.xml

--

When we first announced our design goals for class talent trees back at BlizzCon 2009, one of our major stated focuses was to remove some of the boring and "mandatory" passive talents. We mentioned that we wanted talent choices to feel more flavorful and fun, yet more meaningful at the same time. Recently, we had our fansites release information on work-in-progress talent tree previews for druids, priests, shaman, and rogues. From those previews and via alpha test feedback, a primary response we heard was that these trees didn’t incorporate the original design goals discussed at BlizzCon. This response echoes something we have been feeling internally for some time, namely that the talent tree system has not aged well since we first increased the level cap beyond level 60. In an upcoming beta build, we will unveil bold overhauls of all 30 talent trees.

Talent Tree Vision

One of the basic tenets of Blizzard game design is that of “concentrated coolness.” We’d rather have a simpler design with a lot of depth, than a complicated but shallow design. The goal for Cataclysm remains to remove a lot of the passive (or lame) talents, but we don’t think that’s possible with the current tree size. To resolve this, we're reducing each tree to 31-point talents. With this reduction in tree size we need to make sure they're being purchased along a similar leveling curve, and therefore will also be reducing the number of total talent points and the speed at which they're awarded during the leveling process.

As a result, we can keep the unique talents in each tree, particularly those which provide new spells, abilities or mechanics. We’ll still have room for extra flavorful talents and room for player customization, but we can trim a great deal of fat from each tree. The idea isn’t to give players fewer choices, but to make those choices feel more meaningful. Your rotations won’t change and you won’t lose any cool talents. What will change are all of the filler talents you had to pick up to get to the next fun talent, as well as most talents that required 5 of your hard-earned points.

We are also taking a hard look at many of the mandatory PvP talents, such as spell pushback or mechanic duration reductions. While there will always be PvP vs. PvE builds, we’d like for the difference to be less extreme, so that players don’t feel like they necessarily need to spend their second talent specialization on a PvP build.

The Rise of Specialization

We want to focus the talent trees towards your chosen style of gameplay right away. That first point you spend in a tree should be very meaningful. If you choose Enhancement, we want you to feel like an Enhancement shaman right away, not thirty talent points later. When talent trees are unlocked at level 10, you will be asked to choose your specialization (e.g. whether you want to be an Arms, Fury or Protection warrior) before spending that first point. Making this choice comes with certain benefits, including whatever passive bonuses you need to be effective in that role, and a signature ability that used to be buried deeper in the talent trees. These abilities and bonuses are only available by specializing in a specific tree. Each tree awards its own unique active ability and passives when chosen. The passive bonuses range from flat percentage increases, like a 20% increase to Fire damage for Fire mages or spell range increases for casters, to more interesting passives such as the passive rage regeneration of the former Anger Management talent for Arms warriors, Dual-Wield Specialization for Fury warriors and Combat rogues, or the ability to dual-wield itself for Enhancement shaman.

The initial talent tree selection unlocks active abilities that are core to the chosen role. Our goal is to choose abilities that let the specializations come into their own much earlier than was possible when a specialization-defining talent had to be buried deep enough that other talent trees couldn’t access them. For example, having Lava Lash and Dual-Wield right away lets an Enhancement shaman feel like an Enhancement shaman. Other role-defining examples of abilities players can now get for free at level 10 include Mortal Strike, Bloodthirst, Shield Slam, Mutilate, Shadow Step, Thunderstorm, Earth Shield, Water Elemental, and Penance.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#1 - 2010/07/07 04:59:07 PM
Getting Down to the Grit

Talent trees will have around 20 unique talents instead of today's (roughly) 30 talents, and aesthetically will look a bit more like the original World of Warcraft talent trees. The 31-point talents will generally be the same as the 51-point talents we already had planned for Cataclysm. A lot of the boring or extremely specialized talents have been removed, but we don't want to remove anything that’s going to affect spell/ability rotations. We want to keep overall damage, healing, and survivability roughly the same while providing a lot of the passive bonuses for free based on your specialization choice.

While leveling, you will get 1 talent point about every 2 levels (41 points total at level 85). Our goal is to alternate between gaining a new class spell or ability and gaining a talent point with each level. As another significant change, you will not be able to put points into a different talent tree until you have dedicated 31 talent points to your primary specialization. While leveling, this will be possible at 70. Picking a talent specialization should feel important. To that end, we want to make sure new players understand the significance of reaching the bottom of their specialization tree before gaining the option of spending points in the other trees. We intend to make sure dual-specialization and re-talenting function exactly as they do today so players do not feel locked into their specialization choice.

A True Mastery

The original passive Mastery bonuses players were to receive according to how they spent points in each tree are being replaced by the automatic passive bonuses earned when a tree specialization is chosen. These passives are flat percentages and we no longer intend for them to scale with the number of talent points spent. The Mastery bonus that was unique to each tree will now be derived from the Mastery stat, found on high-level items, and Mastery will be a passive skill learned from class trainers around level 75. In most cases, the Mastery stats will be the same as the tree-unique bonuses we announced earlier this year. These stats can be improved by stacking Mastery Rating found on high-level items.

To Recap

When players reach level 10, they are presented with basic information on the three specializations within their class and are asked to choose one. Then they spend their talent point. The other trees darken and are unavailable until 31 points are spent in the chosen tree. The character is awarded an active ability, and one or more passive bonuses unique to the tree they've chosen. As they gain levels, they'll alternate between receiving a talent point and gaining new skills. They'll have a 31-point tree to work down, with each talent being more integral and exciting than they have been in the past. Once they spend their 31'st point in the final talent (at level 70), the other trees open up and become available to allocate points into from then on. As characters move into the level 78+ areas in Cataclysm, they'll begin seeing items with a new stat, Mastery. Once they learn the Mastery skill from their class trainer they'll receive bonuses from the stat based on the tree they've specialized in.

We understand that these are significant changes and we still have details to solidify. We feel, however, that these changes better fulfill our original class design goals for Cataclysm, and we're confident that they will make for a better gameplay experience. Your constructive feedback is welcomed and appreciated.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#465 - 2010/07/07 07:14:22 PM
Q u o t e:
Zarhym do you folks have an idea about when some of the talent trees will be available for perusal with these changes included? I would hope it would be soon, because even seeing you announce something like that means that its probably nearing the ability to open it up for a first pass.

Any insight is much appreciated.

-Z

Our designers are working through the UI layout and many of the talents right now, figuring out what specialization-defining abilities should be given at level 10, what and where specific talents should be placed, as well as how to balance gaining new talents versus gaining new spells/abilities while leveling. We want to make sure each level still feels very rewarding, even though you're not getting a talent point every time.

I suspect there's a relatively good chance players might see this new system show up within the next couple of patches to the Cataclysm beta realms. We'll definitely be seeking feedback and focused testing at that point to determine how things are playing out with the new system. You might expect to see a lot of tweaking and revisions throughout beta as needed to accomplish the goals we've laid out here.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#619 - 2010/07/07 08:50:32 PM
Q u o t e:
Zarhym

You said that until you put 31 points in a talent tree, the other talent trees will be blacked out and unavailable. What about those of us that would like to use Hybrid spec's? Will hybrid spec'ing even be possible in Cata with these changes?

Once you have 31 points dedicated to your specialization, you'll have 10 points to place wherever you want. Keep in mind, since we're trying to do away with as many 5-point talents as possible, an extra 10 points could yield pretty interesting choices in the other trees.

When it comes to true hybrid specializations though like the Soul Link/Siphon Life warlock build of The Burning Crusade, we feel that such a choice was possible and effective because of talent bloat. It's not really something we intended for. As we're taking each tree back to the drawing board, the goal is to ensure that your specialization doesn't fundamentally feel different than it does now, but we also want to make you want to spend 31 points in your primary tree.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#632 - 2010/07/07 08:57:35 PM
Q u o t e:
Anyone who know's rogues regardless of class should know that any Assassination Rogue has Mutilate, and any Subtlety Rogue has Shadow Step.

Now after hearing this nifty little thing, a level 10 gets the benefits of Mutilate and Shadow Step if they pick one of the two specializations.

Now here's something that comes to mind when you read this; "Will this mean i can have both Mutilate and Shadow Step?"

No. The unique ability you're given at level 10 for choosing a specialization can never be obtained by someone of a different specialization. The idea is that you get something which feels specialization-defining right away and will play a core role in your rotation all the way to the end game.

The special ability will unlock for you when you make your choice. As with the current system, you will lose the ability if you re-talent or switch to a different specialization via dual specialization.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#647 - 2010/07/07 09:11:10 PM
Q u o t e:
I doubt anyone will read and/or care about my post, but i'll let it loose.

I've been playing World of Warcraft since release, day one. I've played many roles, in many ways, at many different times. I've been a hardcore raider, pvp'er, casual player, casual raider, etc. I've met many people whom I've kept playing with for these past five (or more) years. I quit because I get bored, but I admit now when I take a break that it's all it is, a break. This is because it's been proven time and time again that Blizzard is going to release more content and continue to find ways to improve their game. I am not currently playing (half-decade friends are also taking a break atm), but there's no doubt i'll be playing yet again in Cata.

It makes me glad there's still quality out here in the gaming universe. Very few games these days can match that finished feel that most Blizzard releases come with. (and by finished, most people know that it's only the beginning)

More specifically on topic for Cata ...

I am smiling over your talent tree decisions, specifically the "feel like an X spec right away" theory. If it's made to work (and it would seem like a lot of work, but I guess much of original WoW is being redone anyways), it sounds like it'll be great and provide extreme amounts of replay.

Thanks again,
Random Loyal Customer

I enjoyed reading your post. :)

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#675 - 2010/07/07 09:32:01 PM
Q u o t e:
Zarhym, how will death knights work? Will they be given talents through quest like they currently are, or when they log in they will have a appropriate amount of talent points available to them?

We're still in the process of working out how to incorporate these changes into the death knight introductory experience.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#867 - 2010/07/07 11:49:30 PM
Q u o t e:
So, to start putting points into a different tree you have to completely max out your main specialization? Like, every talent has to be maxed? If that's how it's going to work I'll most likely be disappointed with Cataclysm. That would mean every rogue with a main spec in combat would have the same exact talents. Hopefully I read it wrong and this isn't how it's going to work.

No. The bottom talent in your tree is a 31-point talent. Just as there are more than 51 points to be spent in any individual tree today, there will be more than 31 points to spend in Cataclysm talent trees. So you could have a build with more than 31 points in your primary specialization tree.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#885 - 2010/07/08 12:03:52 AM
Q u o t e:
It honestly sounds to me like you guys are falling behind scedual and are trying to cut a HUGE corner by doing this. It must be nice to be able to cut corners at your job rather than just tell your boss it's going to take a bit longer because you are doing a better job. We can all wait a couple more months for cata just stop being NOOBS!!!!!

It's called the iteration process. This includes coming up with concepts, molding them into a workable state, testing them, then looking back at everything to see if we've achieved our original goals. If we have, what could we do to make things better? If we did not achieve said goals, how best can we, or should we take a hard look at whether or not those goals were for the best?

We laid out a lot of overarching goals at BlizzCon and only expanded on them so much at the time, as they were mostly concepts back then. Once we start developing these things and ironing out the details of each system, we realize areas where we may be straying from our ideals.

We came to this conclusion pretty quickly with the initial iterations of the class talents and Mastery systems. These changes are being made purely with that in mind. There's no effort to cut corners or make deadlines not actually etched in stone anyway. The effort is in realizing our goals and making sure things are done right.

The iteration process.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#2797 - 2010/07/15 02:30:42 AM
Preview our ideas for the look and feel of the Talent pane here: http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/underdev/4p0/classandmastery.xml

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#2802 - 2010/07/15 02:48:35 AM
Q u o t e:


2000 posts later and all we get is a blue giving us the same preview with pics on the main site. We want some real feedback...

http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=25969020177&pageNo=2&sid=1#27

http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=25968570519&sid=1