31 Point Talent Trees, First Impressions

Alright, lots and lots of beta news is streaming in.  31 point talent trees are in place.  I have had a chance to review the paladin ones, but as GC has announced, they are the ones that are the least stable right now.  I will comment on what came out a bit later, but for now, I just want to play with the idea of the 31 point trees.

As many of you know, one of the major goals of cataclysm was to prune out all of the “adds 2% to crit” and similar talents.  They want each talent point to mean something.  When you click it, you get a noticeable increase in power.  First off, let me say, I LOVE this idea.  I found the ret tree incredibly boring to peruse, the holy priest tree had more fun in it.  And it was only going to get worse with time.

So they released the new talent trees and I was excited to dive in and see what was there.  Instead of choosing the obvious, the paladin trees, I went for the trees of my other two big toons, my blood dk tank, and my holy priest.  And…  I am incredibly dissapointed.  Let me explain.

It is common knowledge that leveling specs are often much different than endgame specs.  So whenever I have a toon ding 80, I head right for the trainer, and re-talent.  I did it 6 (?) times for my dk, testing out this and that, eventually settling on blood tanking.  I only had to do it twice for my priest.  And never once for fire (well, I did, but back before dual specs when I ran dps/heals for the guild).

That being said, when you take a trip down the ret tree, there are very obvious talents that you should take.  It is quite easy, in fact, to spec ret.  By far the easiest of all the toons I have played (lolret?).  Taking the trip down talent lane, I ended up with extra talent points that I could spend where I wanted.  I had a couple of options – either go down the prot tree for divine sacrifice, or spec into vindication in the ret tree for a (slight) damage reduction on the tank.

In holy it was different.  I had to pick and choose my talents a little more carefully.  I had one of two directions that I could go – either raid heals (LOVE that), or Tank Heals (I’m not a freaking pally people!), or some bizzare combo of them both (this is where I am at currently).  There was not enough talent points to do both as well as if I went one direction.

But the tree that I had the MOST fun with was the blood tanking tree.  I picked up all of the manditory talents and was just filtering in all of the last few points.  These last few could go into fun stuff, or places to change up how I tanked.  In the end, those last few talents were the major decision of the whole process.  I could Pick up DRW for added threat, or slightly increased disease duration – improved blood presence for the additional healing, or a few dps talents for the additional threat.

See the common thread here?  CHOICE.  This is what I imagined when GC said that he wanted to make more cookie-cutter specs with +5 or 6 at the end to “play” with.

But looking at the trees, as they are currently implemented, it is not that way.  You have to use every talent point to pick up everything you need, including that one token talent at the top of another tree (rets will still have to pick up a talent in the holy tree).  It is cookie cutter, but there is no decision.

I’ll leave it here for now, Monday for the ret tree review.  There are some interesting things going on, even if they aren’t permanent.  I want to leave you with one thought though.  GC says that he thinks 71/0/0 talent builds are a failure.  He wants us to branch out.  But I have to ask myself if making a token talent in another tree, that no one in their right mind who specs into that tree would take, is that really much different than 71/0/0?  Because almost all trees right now are 31+5, but the choice as to where to put that 5 is very limited, because you cant go any further than the top tier.

4 Responses to “31 Point Talent Trees, First Impressions”
  1. Elyndynne says:

    mandatory :)…and I think further should be farther…maybe I’m wrong 🙂

  2. zelmaru says:

    I think it’s a hard balancing act. Blizz wants people to get “iconic” skills early or they will feel powerless until very high levels. On the other hand, if you get access to really cool stuff early in the tree, there has to be a mechanism in place so that you only get that cool stuff if you’re invested in that tree and not just dabbling.

    For example, under the beta talent builds before this one, power word: barrier was like a 20, 30 point talent? Something like that. Because they wanted disc priests to FEEL like disc priests early on. However, that would allow, at level 85, a full-on holy priest to get PW:barrier, or even a SHADOW priest to get it, without really giving up anything in their main trees.

  3. Gronthe says:

    It’s called the pendulum effect. For as much as I enjoy the loss of +1%, +2%, +3% damage, I think Blizz has swung the pendulum too far the other way. Perhaps they just need to shift a bit more the other way to find a better solution. I played around with many talent trees too and found that I usually filled out about 33 or 34 talents in the main tree, and 7 or 8 in a secondary.

    This actually meant losing abilities that I now enjoy in wrath on some characters. Certainly losing power doesn’t exactly coincide with gaining 5 more levels. I think that there needs to be a few changes: 1) add back in a few more talents and 2) award about 7-10 more talent points. I don’t want to regress, I want to progress. Also, and this is where I know they can’t be done, there are no or very, very few talents associated with the new abilities that we’ll be getting from 81-85. This just further makes it necessary to swing the pendulum back a bit and add more talents and more talent point to allocate.

    Plus, with the frequency the talent points will be awarded, many classes will be getting other iconic spells and talents 10+ levels LATER than current. That is just bad design that needs to be fixed.

    I think their on the right path, but there’s A LOT of work to do still.


  4. Ten'nen says:

    I think my biggest worry with the new talent system is that it doesn’t address one very significant challenge facing specialization: cookie cutter specs. Maybe I just happen to play with a lot of people who agree with me, but after a while they’re just boring, yet switching it up is difficult because it can drastically hurt your hps/tps/dps.

    Part of the problem I think, as Gronthe says, will be attended to by allowing for more talent points. Then you’ll REALLY be able to see a lot of mixes of talents and playing styles. I do look forward to seeing where they go from here, though.

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