World of Warcraft is going back to the drawing board for Mists of Pandaria on one of its most key mechanics: The talent system. This new system eliminates the traditional three threes per class standby in favor of a new mechanic where players select talents at different level benchmarks in order to customize their character.
A standby that has been part of character development since the game’s birth, talents were always intended to allow for personalization but more often than not ended up turned into players scanning the Internet for the same optimal, cookie-cutter build. Blizzard aims to address this with a new system that removes all core, must-have abilities from various talent trees and simply gives them to players of the chosen specialization at specific levels.
Character customization comes into play every 15 levels, at which time players will pick one of three talents. These talents are all centered around a common theme, meaning that you’re essentially choosing between three options that fulfill a similar role. However, a player may only ever have one of these three options, which leads to some difficult, heart-wrenching options.
For instance, a level 30 paladin will have the option to choose between three talents that increase his crowd control capability – he can choose between low-cooldown stun, a seal that passively snares targets on hit, or the good-old paladin standby Repentance. Some choices are even more difficult: Level 90 rogues have to choose between Killing Spree, Shadowdance, and Vendetta.
It’s important to note that these talents are no longer spec-specific; all members of a specific class have access to the same choices. Your spec will still determine a number of signature abilities, but the new talent systems opens up some interesting options that might not have been available under the old system.
Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street said at the Classes and Talents panel at BlizzCon that the ultimate goal is to make talents feel like a personal decision rather than looking up a cookie-cutter decision. The plan is to allow players to easily switch out of these talent decisions in the field, which means that players can retune their decisions for specific encounters.
All told, the new talent system is looking to be a very ambitious revamp of a system familiar to all WoW players. You can check out the changes for yourself soon – Blizzard plans to release a talent calculator for the new system sometime soon.
For a full list of the talents, check out this rad post over at MMO-Champion! Keep in mind, these are NOT the final talents!