Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Expansions of All Sorts

I decided to write about two very different kinds of expansions, one relates to the social aspect of WoW, the other to the more technical, theorycrafting side.

Talent Tree Expansion
I hope that all know about or have seen the new, revamped talent trees (31-point). There are many opinions on them, myself I am reconsidering some previous positions and have had other reinforced. But I was wondering, what about instead of dramatically reducing the number of talents available, we increased them by...a lot.

Let's stick with the Wrath style trees and add 20 talents points to them. 10 for levels 1-10 and 10 for 81-85 (two talents awarded each level). What would be the ramifications of adding 20 talent points to your pool?

For one you could really start to reach down into a secondary talent tree and maybe pick up 1 or two formerly especially unique abilities that before you didn't have a chance to get. A good example would be a Priest that could cast Penance and Circle of Healing. Overpowered? Who freakin' cares!!! Then we'd all be over powered and therefore nobody would be.

Admittedly the difficult part would be when trying to create tricky hybrid builds, like Feral Druid. What real benefit would they gain from 20 extra talents? Would they delve deeper into Restoration tree only to be gimped by the lack of Resto gear as a part of their normal Feral set? What about an Enhancement shaman that went deep into Elemental? Would that build benefit from more Intellect/Spell Power and therefore cause debates on gear drops?

I think the winners of the debate would be PvPers, potentially being able to pick up a lot more pvp talents than they can currently. Some are saying that the current 31-point trees gimp PvPers, and that maybe the cutback on these trees was too severe, taking away too many important and useful PvP abilities. But if you go the other way, expanding access to even more PvP abilities, then that means that those players will have more tools at their disposal, more choices to make in a very short amount of time.

I'm all for specialization and getting some iconic abilities at level 10, it will really spice up the leveling experience. But since we're gaining more levels and therefore more power, let's really make it more complicated and significantly EXPAND the talent trees. Dual-spec would still be around, you wouldn't be able to fill out two complete talent trees. But if they really want healers to DPS, then give them more talent points to spend in the DPS trees to further enhance their healing capabilities.

I know it probably won't happen, but I can dream, can't I? What good or bad do you think would come of a significant expansion of the talent trees, as opposed to the reduction that has recently occured?

Guild Expansion...The Good and the Bad

Have you ever been in a relatively small guild? I mean 20-30 people, 10-15 of which are on most of the time. The individual personalities that make up a guild each have their own point of view as to the best kind of guild as far as numbers and requirements for entry. For example, I view massive guild expansion as a bad thing, I think huge guilds take away from any intimacy that could have otherwise been present. Smaller, not tiny, but smaller guild I think have a greater chance at providing positive social experiences. It's easier to really get to know people, not just their avatar but their person. The larger the guild the less time and opportunity there is to get to know other people, unless you particularly single somebody out.

Maybe I'm just feeling remorseful about my own guild's recent expansion, which has been significant in the past 3 months, adding well over 70 new recruits. It's made raiding easier, sure. I no longer, however, have the chance to talk to my older guild-mates like we used to. There's far more idle banter (not that I'm against it, but in small and clever doses only). Any significant conversations are no longer, there's just too many ears and fingers scrambling for attention.

Ah well, that's the growing pains of a growing guild, I suppose. There's still the core group of a year ago, but it's not the same anymore. Then again, maybe it is just probably is.

In summary...Talent Expansion Good (imo)...Guild Expansion (massive expansion) Bad. That's my story and I'm sticking to it...for now.


Mycroft said...

Personally, I tend to like options and choices so I am attracted to a design philosophy that allows character personalization and flexibility rather than rigid "cookie cutter" clones, less class-based and more talent/skill-based characters. More talent points would be my preference.

Altho, no doubt Blizzard has observed some players making poor choices and so they feel some need further assistance in easing into established roles, by giving them fewer choices. And, I've seen how hard it has been for Blizz to balance the classes, especially with a million possible talent builds ... perhaps it is more PvP and Arena influence on talent choice reductions, as well?

Gronthe said...

@ Mycroft: Yes, I noticed too that Blizzard is "helping us to NOT make stupid talent choices" by cutting the fat in the talent trees. Talent expansion is just an idea that I pulled from my...

It has been difficult to balance the classes indeed, but looking at these new trees it does seem that there were a lot of PvP talents taken out. I don't think we need as much help as Blizz seems to think we do, and the current iteration has some work to do before they can be considered "optimal". It'll be interesting to see how it changes in the beta.

Tesh said...

I'm almost never in favor of design that CUTS options. I'm not happy with the "stay in your tree NOOB!" sort of design ethos they have going at present.

I'm not sure that more talent points is the best solution to talent bloat, but I sure like it a lot better than what we're seeing at the moment.

I'm not sure what to tell you on the guild thing. My guilds are typically a "guild of one", at least where it's possible. Almost all of my Puzzle Pirates guilds (crews) are just me and my alts.

Gronthe said...

@ Tesh: Admittedly talent expansion was just a sudden, spur of the moment idea. I'm not sure bloating the talent trees is best either. Forcing us to choose 98% of all talents in one tree isn't really a great option either, however.

Over the past 24 hours I had some other ideas about talents. I expect to reveal my utterly horrible idea on the public soon. As I have no beta invite, all you fine folk will need to listen to my stupid ideas. Stay tuned!

Tesh said...


Yay for game design theorycrafting! It's way more interesting to me than studying what Blizzard does and trying to min/max it. ;)