WoW: leveling speed and the talent point revamp

Reading about Stubborn’s super fast leveling of a Pandarian monk alt in World of Warcraft I was suddenly struck with the (doubtless unoriginal) thought that the desired, optional, super fast leveling in the game may well be linked to one of the reasons behind the severe simplification of character customisation in the game.

Since I can do quests in dungeons almost every time, I can easily net a level and often two per dungeon, so if I stop in between a round number (20/30/40 etc), I can often get 2 hours of monk +50% xp per day for a total of 2 hours of +105% experience.  Plus, of course, any rested bonus I’ve accrued.  That’s… nuts.  Just nuts.

Up until the Cataclysm era, character customisation was generally becoming more complex each time the level cap was increased by an expansion. Then in Cataclysm the talent trees for each class were truncated and your character generally received a point every other level after level 10. Then with Pandaria this was further reduced down to the current six rows of talents from which you chose six to be active.

WoWScrnShot_091212_104543

It seems that Blizzard these days wants as many players as possible at the endgame, some would say ‘real’ game of World of Warcraft, raiding (or PVP). Leveling is still perfectly valid, if rather easy, content for those that have no interest in either endgame activity. But there are several options, all stackable, to speed up the process even if you do not buy an instant level 90. I’ve experienced in some other MMOs how perplexing character customisation can be if it is poorly explained (which in most MMOs it is). So if you’re leveling super fast like Stubborn’s monk then at least as the levels zoom by you’ve little choices to rush and a relatively slow pace of learning for new abilities (since there are much fewer nowadays and there are no spell ranks to deal with). The game’s streamlined systems take the ‘stress’ or at least the decision-making out of leveling.

It’s an interesting contrast to my recent first impressions of Star Trek Online, a game which really needs a more in-depth tutorial of how on earth you are supposed to interpret all the many complex and distinct systems. Character customisation, bridge-officer customisation, starship modules and items – it’s all rather confusing and the poorly worded tooltips on some items (especially weapons you receive in the first few levels) faces the new player with a much steeper learning curve.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Gaming. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to WoW: leveling speed and the talent point revamp

  1. Meznir says:

    As much as I don’t like dumbing down, staring at my first loot drop in STO (a rifle) and not being able to work out if it’s better, what it does differently and get my head around all the text on it, made me really confused. There’s a lot to be said for early gear having simple text whilst players get used to the system.

  2. Balkoth says:

    “Up until the Cataclysm era, character customisation was generally becoming more complex each time the level cap was increased by an expansion.”

    And how do you figure that? With very few exceptions, it was “put 10 more points into your main talent tree” and those 10 points rarely ever had actual choices either — often you literally only had 10 new slots to put those points in.

    “Then in Cataclysm the talent trees for each class were truncated and your character generally received a point every other level after level 10.”

    Likewise, in Cataclysm you went from 1/2/3/4/5% bonuses to stuff like 1.6/3.3/5% bonuses — the overall effect didn’t change, you were simply using less points for a bigger bang per point.

    • Telwyn says:

      I’m referring here to the need for players to (in theory) think about what they were going to choose – expert players will know anyway or know where to look but newer players might find the older talent systems confusing.

      With the modern talent system it’s very few choices spaced out a long way between levels so characters can ding away at a super fast speed and you don’t notice or need to make any decisions about your character with anywhere near the same frequency. In a sense the simplification of the talent system removes the need to pause as you level.

      Don’t forget I’m specifically talking about choices and the (potential) speed of leveling here not about which talent system offers more ‘real’ choices or interesting ones – that’s a much older debate that’s well worn I feel.

      • Balkoth says:

        “With the modern talent system it’s very few choices spaced out a long way between levels so characters can ding away at a super fast speed and you don’t notice or need to make any decisions about your character with anywhere near the same frequency.”

        That’s not true at all. Blizzard has flat out stated they realize that nowadays players feel like they don’t get enough choices while leveling and the old system was superior in that respect. If Blizzard thought of a way to give an actual significant choice each level that didn’t wind up being a massive pain to respec at max level they would switch to that in a heartbeat.

        You’re suggesting that Blizzard is trying to dumb down the leveling process to speed it up when all Blizzard was trying to do it make it so choices were actually important and meaningful.

        “What about the hybrids? I always played hybrids, straight out of the gate… Cataclysm changed it so I had to finish one tree before starting another. WoW was a RIP game for me after that change.”

        What “hybrid” did you play successfully in WotLK that was destroyed by these changes? I’m finding myself very doubtful that there were any that made true sense.

    • Jonny 5iVe says:

      “Likewise, in Cataclysm you went from 1/2/3/4/5% bonuses to stuff like 1.6/3.3/5% bonuses — the overall effect didn’t change, you were simply using less points for a bigger bang per point.”

      What about the hybrids? I always played hybrids, straight out of the gate… Cataclysm changed it so I had to finish one tree before starting another. WoW was a RIP game for me after that change.

      • Balkoth says:

        “What about the hybrids? I always played hybrids, straight out of the gate… Cataclysm changed it so I had to finish one tree before starting another. WoW was a RIP game for me after that change.”

        What “hybrid” did you play successfully in WotLK that was destroyed by these changes? I’m finding myself very doubtful that there were any that made true sense.

      • Jonny 5iVe says:

        I had:
        A survival/marksman hunter.
        A blood/frost DK.
        A balance/restro druid.

        As well as a few others. All of which absolutely rocked in PvP, and were more than able to do any PvE content I wanted.

        Hybrids made a lot of sense if you were willing to think outside the box with your tactics. Being unpredictable in PvP usually results in a win.

      • Balkoth says:

        Hunter: http://wotlk.openwow.com/talent#c

        So you gave up either Chimera Shot or Explosive Shot at a minimum, also likely gave up some of the other top tier talents. Kindly show why you wanted be a “hybrid” because otherwise you were just massively inferior.

        Death Knight: http://wotlk.openwow.com/talent#j

        So you wanted to give up Dancing Rune Weapon for…1 guaranteed crit every 30 seconds. Awful tradeoff. Or Howling Blast for…Mark of Blood. Also an awful tradeoff.

        Druid: http://wotlk.openwow.com/talent#0

        So you wanted to give up Starfall for Nature’s Swiftness or Wild Growth for Insect Swarm. Again, terrible tradeoffs.

        Yes, you might have been able to get by with them with the content you were doing. But, by the same token, you could have avoided spending the last 20 talent points and not noticed any difference in your situation.

        The “hybrid” idea was a trap 99% of the time and it also forced Blizzard to put important abilities down near the bottom precisely to stop people from trying “hybrid” builds.

  3. Stubborn says:

    T,
    Thanks for the link love! I agree with your core point about it becoming simpler, but I see what B’s saying, too; though there were a lot of choices, only a very few paths were the “right” choice. Now, on most tiers, there’s at least some actual decision-making present. I still liked, during leveling especially, to play around with different talents, though, and the more truncated versions we see now feel a lot more distant from the leveling process than the 1 for 1 points did of the past, even if in all practicality it’s the same.

    Great post, and thanks again!
    Stubborn

Comments are closed.