Dev Watercooler – The Role of Role

100 Night Elf Druid
13980
So what if you removed class specs and every class had access to all of their spells? Then limit how many spells a player can have by requiring them to lock in their spells before they can be used. Essentially in this system a player can customize their class with whatever spells they want but the player can’t have access to every spell or ability – only once they lock in their spells can they be used.

Then there is no need for specs or any reason to hybridize a class – a warlock is a warlock. You choose your spells, your talents, and have fun.

Why the need to preserve the spec? Why the need to exacerbate the action bar?

I’d rather play a game where I choose the spells I want to use.

The multi-spec feature could also be absorbed into this system by allowing players to build their own pre-set skill sets. (It would be nice to have more than two pre-set skills also).
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90 Human Warrior
12140
02/08/2012 07:47 PMPosted by Aesis
Four is the worst. Remember back in bc. Druids were healing spec only for pvp throughout. They were also OP. Nobody was happy there. Boomkins and ferals wanted some pvp action


That's one of the problems with Hybrids.

On a mage, they have one tree and dedicate it to PvP while the other twoare PvE builds. And yet, the mage is ranged DPS in all three. That is all they can do.

Balancing a Druid to be able to be feral, balance, and restoration in both PvE and PvP is horrendous. First, the druid can do so much already. They can do all 4 roles in PvE. They are competitive in all 4 as well. Then, they also want all of those roles to be just as competitive in PvP as well?

Meanwhile the mage is pigeonholed into Frost in PvP and Arcane or Fire in PvE. And even then, again, all 3 are ranged DPS only.

I don't care what people say.... that is a big problem.
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90 Draenei Mage
16945
One area I think you haven't explored is simply changing how easy it is to change spec. I mean you have these new talent trees, and you talk about them being a meaningful choice and how some choices are better in some situations than others. But then you've also said you want these talents to be as easy to change as glyphs - how does that make sense? If I want greater invisibility to wipe dots on one fight, then cauterize to avoid an ability like hour of twilight, then where is the meaningful choice if I get both of those?

Even adjusting the cost isn't something I think would necessarily work as well (although it's better than the current situation). A hard cooldown on changing talents is probably the only way to stop people from minmaxing talents for each fight and ignoring the whole "choice" aspect.
Edited by Kolzi on 2/8/2012 8:02 PM PST
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90 Undead Warlock
11785
#5 I want a tank lock...
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100 Night Elf Druid
13980
By combining all three specs into its constituent class, PvP would be much easier to balance because then the devs would only have to worry about a single class, rather than 3 separate specs per class. They could also prune superfluous skills off the class or they could make certain abilities share cool-downs. Sharing cool-downs would be a cheesy way of balancing certain abilities but it would work effectively.

10 (soon 11) classes would be much easier to balance rather than 34 specs (including the monk).
Edited by Sylver on 2/8/2012 8:10 PM PST
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85 Undead Warrior
5560
Before I Delve into my opinion of the current state of the talent system; i just wanted to commend Ghost-crawler on a FANTASTIC post. KUDOS to you!

Now. As an almost 30 something gamer; I've had the last decade + to be able to play a multitude of both Turn-based RPG's and MMO's. And from what I've seen, and is especially true with wow; is that the more talents, spells, and specs you release unto the masses; and the more variables you add into those (such as mastery, for example), the more inflated things become, and the more impossible it becomes to "put the genie back in the bottle" so to speak.
Hence the current "growing pains" I believe wow is experiencing at this point.

Something that i think the Dev's were absolutely GENIUS in creating was the Aura system for Pally's and even more importantly, the Presence system for DK's; and unfortunately i dont think it gets the credit it deserves.

Something i think that would be worth considering, would be; instead of spec's in the current form it has now; why not have the new system they are looking at now for talents (which i think looks great, btw), And develop/merge the Spec's into the presences (for dk's) or the Aura's (for Pallys), etc. Personally, i think that would negate the need to hard switch all the time between Spec's. And lets face it no-one likes to have to respect EVERY time a new patch is released to even out the game-play.

Let me pose an example to further my idea. I will use the tried and true mage as an example: (keep the DK presence system in mind)

Mage:

Arcane envelopment: (arcane presence)

Increases arcane spell damage by X%
Decreases Fire spell damage by Z%
Decreases Frost spell damage by Z%
Mastery: Increases critical damage by Y% for the amount of mana unspent

Envelopment of flame: (Fire Presence)

Increases Fire spell damage by X%
Decreases Arcane spell Damage by Z%
Decreases Frost Spell Damage by Z%
Mastery: Increases DoT Damage by Y% for each point of mastery

Glacial Envelopment: (Frost Presence)

Increases Frost Spell Damage by X%
Decreases Arcane Spell Damage by Z%
Decreases Fire Spell Damage by Z%
Increases potency of Slow Duration by Y% for each point of mastery

My point is, i dont think you should have to be completely limited to the spells you have access to, JUST because you want to specialize in a specific school of training. But on the other hand, if you decide to specialize in something specific, whatever you didn't choose will, and rightfully should suffer in efficiency. I think that the focus on what spells/talents a certain spec has or doesn't have is garnering WAY too much focus. I think if you switch to more of a open system, like the one posed for MoP, you can have much more of a option for Customization. Not to mention, the Current system of hard switching specs, which costs money, or at the very least, when you switch between the 2 specs you already have, is inefficient. Hence why i think the DK presence system, and Pally Aura system works so well.

I Even thing this type of system could apply to a healer/tank class too such as Druid for example.

Druid:

Channeling of the Moonkin: (Balance/Healing Presence)

Take the form of the Moonkin
Arcane and Nature damage increased by X%
Decrease of Melee Attack power by Z%
Mastery: Increases the critical chance/Healing potency of nature/arcane spells by Y% for each point of mastery


Channeling of the Feral Cat (Feral Presence)

Take the form of the Feral Cat
Increase Melee Attack power by X%
Decrease Nature/Arcane Damage by Z%
Decrease healing potency by Z%
Mastery: Increases Dot Damage by Y% for each point of mastery

Channeling of the Great Bear (Tank Presence)

Take the form of the Great Bear
Increases Rage and threat generation by X%
Decreases healing ability by Z%
Decreases nature/Arcane damage by z%
Mastery: Increases defense by Y% for each point of mastery

**please note** these are only examples. They do in no way convey how i actually think they should be.

In summation: I think that your "Spec" under this type of set-up would be more of a support decision, rather than an end all be all, "your either this spec for this class or you suck!" type situation. Also i think that not only would this open up for a wider opportunity for customization; not to mention, that if you could change that on the fly, rather than hard switching, and resetting all your mana, or spending a crap ton of money to "respec" every time things get patched, i think you will also alleviate some of the issues people are experiencing with setting up raids; since you would theoretically have the class you need, with the potential spec available if needed. The responsibility would once again be put back to the player to be able to perform on the fly rather then blaming the game since the spec wasnt viable at the time.

What does everyone else think?

I do believe that's a good solution. You could adapt to each new situation mid-fight, further rewarding skilled players for their awareness of situation and of the abilities available to them, as opposed to being chained to one spec and being ineffective in areas (such as AoE).
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100 Night Elf Druid
13980
By combining all three specs into its constituent class, PvP would be much easier to balance because then the devs would only have to worry about a single class, rather than 3 separate specs per class. They could also prune superfluous skills off the class or they could make certain abilities share cool-downs. Sharing cool-downs would be a cheesy way of balancing certain abilities but it would work effectively.

10 (soon 11) classes would be much easier to balance rather than 34 specs (including the monk).


People like having different styles of play for the same role. One of the things I dislike about my priest is that all she can do is shadow. Alternatively, I like swapping between arms and fury for pvp and wish fury was more viable, so i could try it out in rated play. Ive been arms all expansion long and it gets boring. Fury is a breath of fresh air.


With my suggestion you could play any style of role you like, even new ones because you're given the entire set of spells for your class - you aren't limited by specs just the spells you choose.

Edit: Want to play a fury warrior that tanks? Go right ahead - because with my suggestion the devs could add abilities that could make this possible.
Edited by Sylver on 2/8/2012 8:16 PM PST
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90 Blood Elf Warlock
6595
I am a casual player. I have 2 85s, and my lock is my main.

The question I ask is "what does a pure dps, with 3 dps specs, bring to the group?" if the philosophy now is that everyone does close dps, then what's our niche?

Why not try this - the dps classes (mages, warlocks, hunters and rogues) need to have less utility than the other classes, but their dps needs to be better. That way, you balance the 4 around eah other. Then, you spread the utility out to the others. Essential things, but make them meaningful, not just a static buff. Have some mechanic that allows it to be engaging.

And I'm not talking a huge gap in dps. Perhaps 10% less, on average. And you can still have fantastic players that can out dps a pure (or the pure can be bad).

Anyways, good read, per usual. Maybe a change is on the way. Maybe not. I just wish a design would present itself and be a really good fit. Not a perfect fit, but one that didn't exclude anyone.
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100 Undead Rogue
10695
Me personally, I can never out dps anyone in current raids or heroics.. because I like to play as a support unit, or as you call it 'utility'. I may be suffering some harsh words from others about my not super high dps, but I tell them why theirs is high- cause of me.
I guess this goes under model 3... I would love a new support class, that would be cool imo.
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90 Human Warrior
12140

What if I roll a mage and like to play as fire. I like to pvp and I want to burn people up. Why do I have to go frost to pvp? All specs should be able to perform at the most basic level. The basic level im talking about are pvp and pve. All should be able to do dps long term and burst.

In my opinion players should roll a class because thats what they want to be, not because thats what the game tells them to do. Under 4 the game tells me i cannot pvp as fire, I must be frost.


Even if they made all 3 specs viable in PvP, which I don't see happening, a mage is still a ranged DPS no matter what.

A shaman or a druid or a paladin are so much more versatile playing any role and every one of their specs are viable in both PvP and PvE already.

This move from Vanilla to BC to make every spec of Hybrids just as good as everyone else, especially when they jump into a DPS role, is my biggest issue. They want to be the kings of everything. Believe it or not, I liked it in Vanilla when priests only healed and warriors only tanked. You picked that class knowing that would be your role. Other classes did more utilitarian things. I loved playing my paladin because I could heal in a pinch, and my buffs made groups so much better. I could save someone's life who pulled agro. I could stun and fear undead. I could prevent a wipe. I could be any of the three specs, usually a hybrid of two, and be that 5th man who brought interesting things to the group. I found it to be very fun. I picked my paladin knowing that is how I'd play.

It's too late to go back to that now. Everyone is too engrained in the idea that a boomkin should post the same numbers as mages in any of their three specs. The only way to fix that is to further homogenize the game by giving pure DPS classes a hybrid makeover.

And that, my good friend, is tragic.
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90 Troll Priest
15070
This concept of bring the player not the class (which is really the catalyst for the spec environment we have now) is something that I always found a little contradictory.

If you really do believe in that concept in it's pure state, it means that a group of 10 priests should be indistinguishable to a group that consists of every class. However that isn't the case, there are still penatlies or negatives for over stacking (for example being melee heavy is an issue that comes up consistently) so what we really have is bring the player not the class except.... <list of exceptions>.

I bought into the entire bring the player not the class philosophy because I thought it sounded like a good philisophical direction. However I don't think it's actually worked all that well in practice. To point out a couple of examples in the current environment, 10% spellpower is a rare but more powerful version of 6% spellpower and DI is signifcant damage buff to specific classes. This has created a bit of a niche need (10 man raids in particular) for Demo Warlocks and the 10man comps that don't have one feel a bit nerfed.

With the fact that so many of us play a variety of alts and that each toon has 3 viable specs, just how extreme do we need to be in bring the player not the class? Further to that, do we catagorise a Demo Warlock as a different 'class' to a Destruction Warlock? Or are they so similar that it doesn't matter (both do ranged DPS). What about a protection Paladin vs a Holy Paladin?

Should we really have the philosophy, bring the player not the class/spec combination?

What I'm really getting at is we don't truly have bring the player not the class, we have something that was better than before but I don't think we should hide from the fact there are limitions. You can bring the player not the class to a point. If we accept this is what we have then the idea is to be able to spread around the roles and buffs in a raid to an acceptable sub set of all possible combintations. Ie there are 30 class/spec combinations (34 in MoP) and 10 spots in a 10man raid. That means there are 10^34 possible combinations of raids and I think that a decent percentage of those should be viable but in the current format (which is supposed to be bring the player friendly) is very low.

Why is this the case, because the roles that can be filled by a class are small sets. Your melee DPS are a small set, your ranged DPS are a small set, your healers are a small set. This is why I like (and sadly it would appear this won't happen) giving different roles to all the classes. Ie Locks have a ranged, melee and tank role. What this does is increase the small set of roles to large sets and the viablilty of differing raid comps would increase.

It also means that the actual class diversity (not class/spec combination) would increase. A Lock has the opportunity to fill 3 roles. So if your ranged DPS is at the level where you don't want to add more you can still fit that lock in to a different role instead of having to grab one of the small set of classes that can do that role.

Based on this, you can share buffs on a class basis instead of a class/spec basis which is something that's always been frustrating. Want to play as a destro lock but need 10% sp, bad luck you're now demo. Create an environment that diversifies class, for raid makeup but offer choice through role.

So your best groups are those that use 1 of each class but each class can perform a differing role. So your specialisation defines what you like to do in game, be it ranged dps, melee dps, tank or healing. Further I'd prefer healing formalise a specialisation to tank/group healing. Give players 11 classes to choose from but 5 roles to perform and that way you can get away from the horrible homginisation that has crept into the game over the years. Granted it crept in for balance and keeping bring the player not the class methodology, but it's also been quite a detraction from what made each class feel cool and unique.

To that end I think it's sad that the option of specs defining roles is effectively not on the agenda. It's this sort of bold change I think WoW could use, if you don't take risks you just risk falling back into the pack and we know games like SWTOR are providing some real competition.
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100 Night Elf Druid
13980
By giving the player a pool of abilities they can build and customize their character however they like. By limiting how many abilities a player can have, the developers can continously add skills for players to test out new builds with.

Players can create their own style / spec for any role - I almost can't believe this wasn't on the initial discussion board.
Edited by Sylver on 2/8/2012 8:19 PM PST
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100 Night Elf Druid
16515
You know GC, I'd really like to see your entire blog on Model 5. Not that I'd want to see that change- I believe it would cheapen the novelty of being a druid.

That said, I like Model 1. In regard to something like Model 3; I don't play any alts in raids or PvP, I like playing Balance. I don't like Feral anything but I've been known to tank on occasion- and I absolutely refuse to heal. I wouldn't want to see a game model that forces me to go Feral (cat) DPS just because it may do more damage on a fight because I don't enjoy melee; and then go to Balance sometimes just because the group needs a typhoon. With all due respect to previous posters, not everyone pugs or pulls from a huge pool of skilled guildmates- I don't want to be told I need to tank or heal or do melee DPS with my fairly casual raid group- because I can. How many gear sets are we supposed to carry around? I think Model 3 brings an environment where we will be expected to be able to perform in each role, AND have all necessary gear.

I think Model 4 exists in the game somewhat now, or maybe I just suck at PvP (Balance is still pretty turret-y). I believe that if I were to go Resto I would be much more competitive in PvP than Balance against any match-up.

Anyway, nice writeup.
Edited by Thistleforce on 2/8/2012 8:26 PM PST
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90 Human Warrior
15670
By combining all three specs into its constituent class, PvP would be much easier to balance because then the devs would only have to worry about a single class, rather than 3 separate specs per class. They could also prune superfluous skills off the class or they could make certain abilities share cool-downs. Sharing cool-downs would be a cheesy way of balancing certain abilities but it would work effectively.

10 (soon 11) classes would be much easier to balance rather than 34 specs (including the monk).


People like having different styles of play for the same role. One of the things I dislike about my priest is that all she can do is shadow. Alternatively, I like swapping between arms and fury for pvp and wish fury was more viable, so i could try it out in rated play. Ive been arms all expansion long and it gets boring. Fury is a breath of fresh air.


I feel you, Aesis. I would be a lot more interested in a priest if they had a strong DPS spec that relied on Holy magic over Shadow...I don't get much into the "evil" classes. As for Arms/Fury...I was Arms for ages but ever since Titans Grip I've been Fury and haven't looked back. I don't think I could ever to back to it...using a single 2h weapon again would just feel depressing. Half a warrior! /cry

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