Eric at Elder Games has some thoughts on the changing WoW talent systems. He’s not impressed, and it’s nothing to do with the new streamlined design or any special attachment to talent trees. This is about whether it’s something players wanted, or something the game needed.
having just rewritten the talent system from scratch in the last expansion, and having finally worked out the major kinks over the past year, does it make sense to erase everything yet again in order to try something new yet again? The answer is no. There are better things for the systems designers to be doing.
Blizzard do seem to spend a lot of time designing new talent systems and then refining them with every patch, it’s true. The only motivations I can really see to do it all over again is:
- Players hate the current system and are leaving in droves because of it. (Like Eric, I don’t think this is a cause of people leaving WoW at the moment.)
- They can draw in more players with the simplified system, it’s an investment.
- This will be the last time ever. Promise. It’s refactoring once now and will then be fit for purpose until the end of the game. I’m sure this was the hope last time too.
None of these arguments are based on whether the new system is good or not. I think it is a more streamlined design that focusses on actual options that will make a noticeable difference to someone’s play. But I also think you can get talent fatigue as a player. Every time the talent trees change and you have to go through the process of figuring out your character again, a bit of the link between player and character dies.
And it’s still true that they could have spent that time and effort working on a new system instead.
Their actions speak a lot louder than words: to Ghostcrawler and team,perfecting the existing game is more important than adding new stuff. The trouble is that nothing is ever perfect, so revisions will never end. And in the meantime, there’s no cool new stuff.
My Last Words on the Annual Pass
Check out the comments on yesterday’s post for some good ideas about why the annual pass doesn’t come with a 12 month sub option (so you can just press one button and buy it.) I’m not convinced, but maybe you will be ;)
I do take issue with Tobold claiming that if you get the pass, your effective monthly sub is reduced to $8. That argument only makes sense if you were planning to buy D3 at release from Blizzard directly. Just about any other route would make it cheaper. So yes if you pretend you had been going to spend as much as possible on D3, you can now pretend you have saved all that money.
My other thought is that when players are thinking about leaving WoW, they are likely to drop down to a one month sub for a month or two while they think about it. Signing up for an annual pass means that people won’t be doing that, and probably won’t be thinking about it either.
The tipping point for me personally was when I did actually start unsubscribing during slow months when I wasn’t playing. To do that, I also disassociated with my raid group – they’re nice guys and I wish them all the luck in the world, but I wasn’t actually enjoying it so it wasn’t making sense. See, as soon as the idea “Maybe I will just unsub when I’m not playing” enters your head, you don’t really expect to be paying annual subscriptions any more unless they are coming in at a good discount.
So for me to sign up, it would have needed an annual sub option that came in cheaper than two 6-month subs, along with the other annual pass perks. At that point, I would have seriously considered it and I suspect I’m not alone. By not having that option, they lost out.