Ghostcrawler (and a few other Blizzfolk) made the fansite rounds this week, chatting about a huge range of issues related to how much of the new majiggers introduced with Mists have been working out so far.
I wanted to call particular attention to these chunks of two separate interviews in which GC talked about how the new talent system has worked out, why no major changes have happened yet, and what guidelines he and the class-design people are following as they ponder whether (and what) to do about problem areas. (What follows is my transcription of the audio, so any typos/mistakes are my burden to bear.)
And yes, he mentions rogues. A little bit. (So does one of the interviewers, who gets THREE (3!) Rogue Points for doing so. That gives him three more Rogue Points than anyone has ever had in history. )
First there’s this, which is from the 12/4 episode of Legendary on Gamebreaker.tv (posted 12/4). The quoted bit starts at 23:40.
Gary Gannon: “How’s the new talent system working out?”
Greg Street (Ghostcrawler): “I’d say, overall, it’s working out pretty well. We actually have a meeting today — later on — where we’re gonna start analyzing for 5.2: OK, what are the talents that just nobody takes, or what are the talents that everyone takes, and are they taking it because the other ones suck, or are they taking it because they’re often in a situation where its useful, or because its easier, or whatever. … There are definitely some tiers that look great, and all three talents are getting used, and there’s kind of theorycrafting debates on the best one, and players swap in and out of them all the time. Then there are some that, like: Every player has X. I think that isn’t really delivering on what we promised the feature would be, and we kind of owe it to players to take a look at those and try to un-cookie-cutter them where possible.”
Josh Allen: “I know a couple of the complaints that come to mind, like: There’s two non-lethal rogue poisons that you can take in separate tiers of the rogue talent system. So it’s like, if you take one of those, then you can’t really use the other one anyway. But then turning around and looking at my paladin, for example, there’s like the end tier — especially in PvE, the final tier — you’re kind of swapping between at least two of them. Do you feel like it’s at least OK if it’s at least two of them that you’re swapping between? Or is it something that you really want all three of them to be viable options for everybody?”
Greg Street: “Our rule of thumb is particularly, like: Within, say, PvP, there should be two viable options. Or for a Holy paladin, there should be two viable options. If we can deliver on three, that’s awesome. But it kinda sucks if you look at: 100% or 99% of protection paladins pick this talent — you know, they pick Light’s Hammer instead of Execution Sentence — then we don’t think that’s really fair to players, and we owe it to them to try to make the others more competitive. …
“We’re even OK with a talent that isn’t used commonly, but sometimes you really want it because it’s awesome in certain situations. Even that feels OK. And that’s much harder to measure: You can’t just look at stats to be like, well, nobody has this talent when they logged off. Maybe they took the talent for an hour and then swapped out of it again. That’s still a better situation than: The talent that is literally a dead talent and nobody in their right mind would ever take it.”
Next we’ve got this, which is from episode #322 of the All Things Azeroth podcast (posted 12/5). The quoted bit starts around 56:10.
Medros: “Which classes do you feel could still use some adjustments in the new talent system?”
Greg Street (Ghostcrawler): “I have a meeting this very day where we’re starting to go through all of the talent feedback. For 5.1, we really didn’t want to mess with talents much. But we feel like now’s the time to look at the talents, for the 5.2 patch, of: What are players taking too frequently, and why are they taking it? Is it because it’s overpowered? Is it because the other options are too situational?
“It’s not gonna be a gigantic shakeup; it’s gonna be a lot of number tweaking, of: ‘Oh, well, this ability is fine, it’s just undertuned. So by changing cooldowns, durations, things like that, we’ll get players to use it again.’ Others may be too situational, and we’re gonna take a big look at that. …
“I think there’s some rogue talents, definitely, that no-one is taking at all, that we need to take a hard look at. I’m trying to think of another one that we’ve talked about so much — that’s one of the ones we were talking about today, that’s why it’s fresh on my mind.
“I’d say, overall, the system has worked out well, and there’s a fair amount of diversity for classes overall. We just have a couple of rows here and there where almost everyone is taking the same choice, and PvP and PvE may be a little different. We want to encourage a little more diversity there.”
There’s not a whole lot to read into here; none of what GC says is a surprise, and he doesn’t provide specifics on particular rogue tiers he and his team are planning to look into (though it’s pretty reasonable to think that at least the level-90 tier is likely to experience some changes, due to his earlier tweet on the subject and the overwhelming popularity of Anticipation so far in the expansion compared to Versatility’s dead-fish impression).
So, people who already feel like Blizz hasn’t done enough to address rogue issues won’t take any new hope away from these interviews, and will continue to feel angry and frustrated, giving them plenty of reason to keep making stereotypically furious posts in the WoW forums. Meanwhile, those who feel like things are mostly fine and don’t need any huge changes will likely be pleased. So it’s a win for all of us any way you slice it, really.