Friday, May 03, 2013

Lessons in Love

No. Just NO.

There is a standing edict for anything Blizzard send to the PTR, one that has been in place for some time. Just because you can datamine something doesn't mean it's going to happen. This is in place for many (very obvious) reasons: sometimes a great idea in Blizzard HQ doesn't look so fabulous once it's out in the Real World (TM) The reasons for this can be manyfold: maybe the tech doesn't work (e.g., The Skyclaw engineering mount you are unlikely to ever see in your Professions window) or maybe Blizzard decide the time is not yet right for the item to appear. Occasionally, an idea is just so awesome it has the potential to break the game. Yes, Tri-Specs was that idea, but I hate to break this to Ghostcrawler, the damage was already done before this nugget sneaked onto the PTR.

In other news, comments like the one above are going to do you no favours at all.

Some of us NEVER considered our friends as fulfilling simply one role, going back before the days of Dual Specs. I believe Blizzard itself coined the phrase 'bring the player, not the class.' That meant you knew someone who could play a number of roles simultaneously, and they'd be happy to pay the money to swap specs and retalent if it meant you'd get the progression you needed. Giving us Dual Specs meant those people were further rewarded and didn't need to keep dropping loads of money every time this situation came to pass. I can understand the sentiment behind this first tweet, but this isn't to do with the player. They want to be able to choose what they are and change that at any given point. They won't be angry their spec isn't as inflexible as Ghostcrawler has now decided it needs to be. The question has to be: why suddenly is choice a bad word?


I sense the first genuine developer regret of Pandaria might be emerging, and (sadly) it looks like it might be linked to the Talent revamp that most people seems to acknowledge has made life easier for most. BY FAR one of the best things about the Talent system is the ability to do EXACTLY what Ghostcrawler says we shouldn't be doing, changing on a whim. Using P as an example (as I do in these situations) the ability to swap between Wyvern Sting and Silencing Shot is, frankly, a million kinds of awesome. This makes my HUNTER (no, I don't need to label myself with the BM tag) far more useful in a number of situations, and the cost of change is a book that the lovely Yak mount you made for me to buy sells as standard. Again, the reality of this statement is not hard to grasp: making encounters a challenge is always going to be a problem when the people you're working for have the ability to change spec at the drop of a tome. For every choice, there are consequences.

Hmm. I think you may be regretting a lot of this conversation.

The basic thrust of these exchanges is inevitable: you're not going to see Tri-Specs any time soon, because too much choice is in its own way as dangerous as not enough. Of course, there will be those people who maintain everyone looks and plays the same regardless, because... well, just because that's always the way this argument has run. Class Balance is the Holy Grail, this we all know. The day everyone is happy will likely co-incide with a cosmic event of such significance that the World will conveniently forget it even happened to begin with, and Blizzard will still lose. In the end, accepting you're going to piss off someone is a chance the Developers will just have to take.

What is more likely to happen, and this will have significance in areas away from such major issues, is that what dataminers can unearth will decrease over time. We will be less likely to unearth nuggets of awesome possibility with each new PTR push, and Blizzard may become reticent in trying new things with the current speed of patches in production. Now, more than any point in the past, the ability to 'muck it up' before a Patch goes live could mean that certain things we might once have seen experimented with may never get to see the light of day at all. Such is the cost of having to know everything, before it actually happens.

More concerningly, especially in light of these comments, is the very real possibility that Blizzard might regard the current system as too flexible and go back to the drawing board AGAIN for the next expansion. Could we be forced to completely relearn another new Talent System from the ground up...?


Andy said...

> "She is just a druid who can fill any role..."

... so kind of the whole point of "bring the player, not the class"?

> "...just like any druid."

... except those other druids are not this theoretical friend, so why would you bring them instead?

And if the intent of letting us change spec wasn't "I can swap to anything at a moment's notice", then what was it, and why is it so cheap and easy anyway?

ZuBiE said...

I have my druid setup so that I can switch from respec (and change all keybinds) in around 2 minutes.

I also have gear sets for resto (main spec), boomkin (raid ranged dps), kitty (normal everyday spec + pvp set), Bear (for heroics - love the extra bag).

The only thing I have to manually change are glyphs.

The main pain is having to do this at a trainer - if I could get access to a trainer anywhere I'd be happy with only 2 specs!

dobablo said...

"I believe Blizzard itself coined the phrase 'bring the player, not the class.' That meant... "
Oh dear. No good ever came from a post that tried to beat up Blizzard with those words. :(

Tri-spec would be a horrible, horrible feature that would create the expectation that all hybrids are geared, able and willing to fill all roles. I am glad we are not seeing it in the near future. Flexibility becomes bad when it is too accessible because it becomes mandatory even for those that want to be specialised. Because of flexibility, raid boss 4 demands that the druid OT must heal and the frost mage must fight as frost spec because flexibility says that they can, regardless of desire. Gamers always take the path of optimal efficiency and where classes can be changed on the fly, efficiency will force players to flex into a role they might not want to fill. I'm glad that GC is shooting tri-spec down because it shows that he is protecting the rights of hybrid classes to play as pure.

Another related reply ( adds more context. Tri-spec (and quad-spec...) is already in the came through talent switches are cheap and simple. Blizzard are looking at saveable talents/specs/toolbars make talent switches even more painless. This option is a million times better than tri-spec. The hybrid that can and wants to do everything is able to do so, while there is no expectation on the specialised hybrid to do the same.

dobablo said...

Sorry, got set off by a rant because of your comment:
"In other news, comments like the one above are going to do you no favours at all.

Some of us NEVER considered our friends as fulfilling simply one role"

I have some friends that would be very upset at the suggestion that they should fill more than one role. Therefore GC's tweet carries a great deal of favour with both them and myself.

Corrupted said...

I'm not sure GC handled the whole conversation right..what's done it done though...

My main has been a priest since early BC. it is the one class that has two healing specs and one DPS. In both Wrath and Cat I always raided holy/disc and would change depending on the encounter and raid makeup. I had always thought of myself as a healing priest - not just holy or disc. I never had to worry about maintaining a DPS spec.

With Mist that changed with the amount of dailys early on (and every patch adding more). It's really the only reason I wanted a tri-spec.

The Godmother said...

@Dobbers: In shock news, no-one is forcing your friends to use dual or tri specs. However, not having them means people who would like to are forced to be simply one part of what could be a greater whole.

Choice is about just that, giving people a CHOICE. If they chose not to take it that doesn't mean other people should be restricted with the same set of rules. People need to be given the opportunity to play their own game. hence the 'Bring the player, not the class' comment.

That, in an ideal world, means giving everyone as much choice as possible and not assuming as a result that the whole world will go to ruin.

I know some people who are only prepared to fulfil one role. Although this is perfectly acceptable, it does make life a lot harder if everyone else does exactly the same thing... ^^

Andrew Sutherland said...

Tri-spec removes choice. It is not an enabler. The big lesson from this expansion is that there is no such thing as optional when optimal efficiency rears its ugly head. Putting tri-spec as a baseline ability creates the expectation. A far better to keep it as available but behind a low effort gate (such a quick trip to town to respec). Without that barrier the question "can you do x?" Quickly becomes "why can't you do x?"

The Godmother said...

Tri-spec removes choice for you, but not for me.

You win.