With Cataclysm coming out soon, information is trickling down to us and we are more than welcome to grab it and dissect the inner workings of every single new, old, improved, or removed mechanism.
While there certainly is a lot to talk about, I would like to mention the new talent trees. As it stands, World of Warcraft’s talent tree is comprised of 71 points that we’re free to use as we see it. Cataclysm will change that and give us only 31.
Furthermore, once a player decides to invest their points in a specific talent tree, they will pretty much be stuck with this for a little while.
People seem to be up in about those two issues, and I, for one, can’t figure out why. They are both sides of the same coin. It’s obvious that what Blizzard is trying to accomplish is making the game easier to understand for new players.
Forcing a player to basically choose only one path is a way of making sure that they will understand the role of said path. At a very low level, they will acquire their path’s token ability and will be much more able to understand its mechanic and its role in the grand scheme of things.
As for 31 points instead of 71, to me, it makes sense. Blizzard is trying to trim the fat off the talent trees. For example, they are removing a talent that decreases damage taken by 2% in which you can sign 5 points for a total of 10%. This talent is very good and most people get it. But once Cataclysm hits, this will be a 1 point talent that gives you 10%.
Many people are complaining that trimming the trees down will only “dumb the game down and make everyone play a cookie-cutter spec”, but I don’t see it this way. Everyone already is playing a cookie-cutter spec. Take any Arms warrior, Holy paly, Sub rogue, etc. of any top-rated raiding guild and you will find striking similarities in their respective spec. A “cookie-cutter” spec is only a spec that everyone has. One reason is that it works. You will never see some exotic spec that only one person has that is better than the rest. No, everyone has it, because it works. Some small details may vary and show personal preferences, but in the end, it’s all very similar.
By slimming the talent trees down, Blizzard seems to aim at removing those small preferences and helping people learn their class. I, for one, approve.