The recent release of the beta class talent builds from blizz has the wow community all in a tizzy. Some people are claiming it’s ruined the talent trees while some see it as a step in the right direction. Still being a newbie, I would say like many divisive issues, it’s a little of both. I don’t think the new system will by any means ruin everything and I don’t see it as the end all solution to the perplexities of choosing talents either.
Here is the info on the class and mastery system update. The summary from worldofwarcraft.com is this, “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 first tree. The character is awarded an active ability, and one or more passive bonuses unique to the tree they’ve chosen. As they level they’ll receive a talent point around every other level, and skills available from their trainer (ideally) when a talent point isn’t given. They’ll have a 31-point tree to work down, each talent being more integral and exciting than they would have been in the past. Once they spend their 31’st point in the final talent (possible at level 70) the other trees un-darken and become available to spend points in from then on. As they 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.
Here (courtesy of MMO Champion) is the new warlock talent tree and new passive/active abilities (courtesy of wow.com) available at level 10. I noticed most of the 5 point talents are now 3 points with the same end results in damage, buff, etc. that they have now. I would guess that players will progress at a similar pace to what they do now since they will get a talent point every other level. One fairly significant difference is that you will have to hit level 70 to learn the bottom talent for each tree (Haunt, Metamorphosis, Chaos Bolt). Currently a player can spec to get these at level 60. The offset to this is the fact that at level 10, when players choose what tree they want to follow, they will immediately gain some talents that are currently further down in the trees. For instance, under the current system, afflocks have to wait until level 50 to be able to learn Unstable Affliction and under the new system players will learn the spell at level 10. Not sure if I would say that this is a better thing, just different.
The upsides of the new system, as I see it, are an increased enjoyment of your chosen spec, earlier, and a much simpler, easier-to-choose system. The downsides are the delay in getting higher level abilities and also much less flexibility. Not to QQ, but I really don’t like how the new method will force me into talents that I won’t need. For instance, for affliction, at one point in the selection of talents, I will be forced to choose either Curse of Exhaustion or Improved Fear when both of these talents are pretty much pvp talents. Then, on the next tier, unless I chose both of said pvp talents, I will have to pick at least one point in Improved Howl of Terror, another pvp talent. I do a bit of pvp; however, I would prefer to choose whether to have a spec be the best dps spec for me, or the best pvp spec for me. Less choices is what I’m saying. The other side to this is that even though you are “forced” into certain talents, they are close to being free when compared to the old system. In the current system, if you fill a certain tree, you pretty much spend all your points. If you fill a certain tree in the new system, you will still have a good deal of flex points to get things from the other trees, actually, slightly less points than the current system. So in a way, for a slightly less amount of flex points, you get more abilities, even if you don’t see yourself using them. Depends a bit on how you spec.
Being familiar with both Apple computers and Windows computers I would equate the move with the talent system to being more consistent with Apple, for better or worse. Fewer choices and less flexibility, but a fairly streamlined, easy to understand system. I guess when it’s all said and done, it’s still only beta, lol. Comments are welcome!