Roundup: Talent Specs, Bad Design… Are They The Same Thing?

I don’t know about you, but I’m well aware that patch 4.0.1 is approaching fast and the results it brings could start a commotion, a bit like a piano in freefall. Talent trees will see huge changes and we’re all holding our breath to find out just how they’re going to play. Come Cataclysm, that is. I suspect how they’re going to play in pre-Cata Wrath can be summarized as ‘badly’.

Given the incoming changes I’m not surprised to see a few opinions pop up on talent trees as a concept, and how well they’re used by players. And what’s to be done about bad design. So let’s take a look at some interesting reads, some hot off the press.

  • Spinks at Welcome To Spinksville has a short musing on cookie cutter specs and if the designers implemented an “auto cookie cutter selection” button, would you use it? She’s also asking whether talent trees are still useful or whether designers should be moving away to something more static. Thought provoking questions, and a quick read.
  • Jason at WoWPhiles is looking at why many people end up using cookie cutter specs, and says that it’s a dual-problem of mandatory talents combined with peer pressure. It’s a good post, and he says what he’d like the end result to be – the only problem is that he doesn’t go into how he’d like it to happen. Perhaps we’ll see a follow up.
  • Nils is looking at the state of WoW now and the blues posts, and saying that the developers are accepting responsibility for some of the game’s failings. The most engaging section? Her ideas of what they can do to set things right: look to the way encounters are set up, and how players interact with them.
  • Keen of Keen and Graev has laid down the line of what game companies should do if they know their game is nitwibbled. And it’s got a note of finality about it. This might be slightly off topic and Keen sticks up for Blizzard regarding other games, but given a few folks are a tad worried about Cataclysm this post struck me as along topical lines

So, have I missed any opinions on talent trees as part of an MMO, and what do you think – are talents so 2009?

You can find…

  • _Welcome to Spinksville’s homepage here_
  • homepage here_
  • _Nils MMO Blog homepage here_
  • _Keen and Graev’s homepage here_