Some clarifications and new information on the talent tree changes have been streaming in over the weekend. Additionally, there has been a ton of speculation on what exactly the new talent trees will look like and a bunch of templates from wow-tools are floating around. It's important to remember that these are not the official talent trees!
The new trees will be released with the next build of the beta client, so rest assured that as soon as they're out you'll have them.
Originally it was difficult to understand based on the wording from the Blizzard posts how exactly the starting abilities would work for the new talent trees. That's been made clear now.
When you lock into a talent tree at level 10 you will be automatically given a special tree-defining ability. Mortal Strike for the Arms Warrior tree, Mutilate for Assassination Rogues, etc. This ability will be automatically given to you as soon as you select your tree, so you don't have to spend talent points on it. This also means that that ability will be off-limits to all other specs of the class. This means if you want the special ability for that tree you'll have to select that tree and invest at least 31 points in it.
This will significantly simplify the process and will effectively end the phenomenon of cross-tree speccing which seems to be a goal of theirs. Specs like the Rogue favorite of 44/2/25 will be gone as will the ability to access powerful talents deep in other trees. Blizzard posters have said that each spec will be balanced around the assumption that they will be going without significant investment in other talent trees.
Preparation and Soul Link were talents that were singled out as something that Blizzard will have to balance the classes without. However, they retracted the statement about Soul Link and said it will be available via cross speccing. It's all so confusing!
Things are obviously in extremely early development on their end as even their experts can't seem to give a straight answer on what exactly we should expect, this just underlines what a sweeping change this talent modification is.
Ghostcrawler had this to say about the new talents:
They aren't all abilities. Most of the trees have say 4 or so active abilities in addition to the one at level 10. This is pretty consistent with live (an 11, 21, 31, 41 and 51 "clicky" ability).
The first couple of tiers have mostly simple talents. This is because you just don't have a lot of abilities at level 10, rotations are simple, stuff tends to die fast, and we don't want to overwhelm new players (including experienced players trying a new class). We also have to provide a lot of sub-spec potential in these trees.
Beyond that, things start to get more interesting and you see the talents that do procs or mechanic changes. There are more 1 point talents now, typically those that give raid buffs.
This is consistent with their statements that they want talents that are fun rather than stat boosters, but fun talents and wild procs are also much more difficult to balance. We will have to see what they come up with when the beta is updated!
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