Ghostcrawler responded earlier today to a couple inquiries about the changes incoming to player stats and talents in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm:
Q u o t e:
Will we keep simple talents that staticly reduce cooldown or cast times?
Will talents that staticly increase walk/run speed by 15% count as interesting?
Will talents that staticly increase or decrease the length of time a dot or hot ticks for count as interesting?
Yes, all of those are "interesting." Sure reducing cooldown or cast time is just a dps (or healing) increase, but it does so in a way that requires more on the part of the player than just passively boosting dps (or healing). It changes your rotation depending on whether you have that talent or not. It makes your dps tree play differently from your healing tree.
Everyone can come up with the example of "I think X talent is really fun, but I only have 2 free points in my build, so I can't get it." We'd like to see that 2 be a much larger number, like 10 or more.
Another way to think about it is that every talent in say the Elemental tree also says "...and increases your spell damage." That's the bonus you get just for investing in the tree.
Talents are one of the few choices with regard to customizing their character that players really get. Gear is often subject to random elements or even whether you have access to the content or not. Everyone gets the same spells as they level. We can't get away from cookie-cutter builds completely, but we can have more of the type that say "and spend your last several points wherever you want."
This is more along the lines of what we have already seen regarding Cataclysm talents. Speccing deeper into a tree will yield passive bonuses that are beneficial to that spec. For example: speccing into any talent in a healing tree would give healing bonuses, tanking trees would give defensive bonuses, etc.
What is yet to be seen is how Blizzard will reconcile this system with pure DPS classes. How would you balance a Hunter, Rogue, or Mage all three of whom have three DPS oriented trees? I suspect that they may explicitly devote one tree for each pure class to PvP style talents, similar to how Frost Mages are currently balanced. They have little PvE viability, but are incredibly powerful in PvP and Arenas.
This is certainly a charming idea, because, as GC says, there are always a few talents that sound like alot of fun to pick up, but the points never seem to be available.
Q u o t e:
Spirit is the lamest stat of them all and yet you are going to force that on all the healers. So I guess what your goal here is is to improve the quality of life for everyone else, while healers still get second rate gear and stats. Neat.
I don't know how you guys can't see that MP5 is superior to spirit. MP5 doesn't need talents to function, and it works at maximum capacity 100% of the time. Spirit needs talents to function at all and you have to stop casting for too long to even see any increased regen.
I was about to write what I often do about healer mana management, which is that without mana being a consideration, healing is boring because you can just use your most powerful spell non-stop. Then I read your second paragraph, and it seems like you sort of agree with that. Imagine then that both MP5 and Spirit are going away and being replaced by a new stat called "Regen." Then imagine that a few weeks down the road, we decided that "Spirit" was a sexier name than "Regen."
This is a smart move that will alleviate alot of the grief associated with caster itemization. Some casters love MP5 but hate Spirit, others get Spell Power coefficients from Spirit and prefer it to MP5. This tends to create a situation where almost noone is happy with the items that end up in raid drop tables. Particularly on widely shared items like Cloaks, Rings, and Necklaces.
This is consistent with their removal of other 'conflict' stats that are highly useful for some classes but next to worthless for others, like Armor Penetration.
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