- 2014/07/18 10:53:00 PM
It's an interesting question!
If we stay on a steady course we would be a game with ever increasing complexity. More and more abilities, more systems, and more and more choices, all layered on top of each other--to a point where it would be impossible to realistically develop the game. We have to be constantly mindful not only of what we're implementing that's new, but of allowing systems to grow increasingly complex over time. Expansions are always a good time to take stock of the systems we have, the complexity that exists, and be really critical of ourselves and the choices we've made that got us to where we are. Two of our big design philosophies as a company are "concentrated coolness", and creating compelling gameplay through interesting choices (vs. lots of choices for the sake of having lots of them). These tend to overlap a lot, especially in the case of ability bloat, which we're trying to reign in specifically in Warlords.
To your point about talent trees, they weren't concentrated or cool. There were a bunch of buttons, and most of them were things like 2% increases to stats. They definitely felt more "gamey", like you were smart for figuring out interesting builds, but at the end of the day there was effectively one or two right answers, and figuring out interesting builds for the most part meant you were actually just sub-optimal and didn't know it. Many dozens of insanely smart designers played/worked on/gave feedback on the old talent trees for years and years, and we went through a lot of changes and iterations, and we came to the long-time-coming conclusion that talent trees just don't work for us and the types of systems we present in our games. We keep that learning experience with us.
Anyway, back to the real topic, it's no ones fault but our own that systems become increasingly complex over time, and so it's our job to be mindful of when systems are becoming overly complex and bloated with choices that aren't interesting or fun. It's normal and healthy to stop, take a moment, take a close look at what you're doing, and if those are the right choices. Constantly charging ahead with no self introspection leads to a situation that is less and less manageable, and potentially dangerous or damaging.
Deep and engaging gameplay doesn't need lots of choices to be fun as long as the choices are interesting, and feel rewarding when you make one.