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The Case of the 100 Gold Talent Switch

Published by Brunold on Do, 02/11/2016 - 17:20 in
Your daily reminder that dark nights are important, Stormwind by night

Currently in the Alpha, there is a price tag to switching talent specialisations. For now, it is set at 100 gold per switch (i. e. in my case for switching from fire to arcane or frost, and not back to fire). As always, people whine and they complain. Where do I stand on that topic?

I firmly believe that the game is going to change. In fact, I hope for change. In so doing I would be ignorant to assume, I could keep everything the game had provided before. Things will vanish and hopefully make place for something new and reviving. Therefore I have to sign for this rule: If you want to play World of Warcraft, paying for an expansion doesn't mean paying for eternal access to all of its content. This expectation, that we could keep any content of an expansion, had been undermined way back in WotLK when L60 Naxxramas had been removed. Since then there had been change and removal a plenty of old content and old systems. Today, even the pricing policy tries to mirror that since as a new player you merely need to buy the basic game and its newest expansion. For better or worse, these days you basically pay for an experience that won't be accessible to anyone anymore two years from now.

On this background, I am going to give feedback now regarding the change itself. If Blizzard want to get gold out of the game, the amount of gold may be okay. Within one month you could easily earn enough gold for changing specs around twothousand times once Legion will be released. Currently, I earn around 500g for fifteen minutes of doing daylies. If you, as a player, are concerned about being able to switch specs in Legion but you want to, then NOW is the time to make your gold.

On the other hand, to new players, 100 gold are quite a price tag. Surely it would discourage them from changing specs obsessively (several people claim to switch specs up to 50 times a day, especially during progress raiding). But changing specs could still be seen as a requirement the new player simply couldn't fulfill. At 100 gold per switch, people will expect you to do just that and to get the gold for it.

It would also hurt players who merely log in for raiding and had no interest in the auction house whatsoever. That again could contribute to a shift away from raiding in WoW. To get gold, you would need to participate in the wider world of Azeroth, unless you were in a more organised guild. In an organised guild, one could have a player whose task would be to make money from random bound-on-equip raid drops (or raid-focused crafting materials). But it certainly wouldn't hurt this game to get less raid-centred.

All in all I think, 100 gold wouldn't be enough to make choosing specs more significant or add to identification with your character. To reach that goal, the game would need to create a desire to stay in a certain spec as well as probably a much higher penalty to changing specs. In my opinion players should feel committed to one spec, so Blizzard should raise the cost (of whatever sort), in terms of gold one or serveral thousands of it would be appropriate. But they should also bring home the spec-identity thing and maybe let the player be able to do things no other class or spec can do. I think, we need an urge to stay in one spec and a statement, that yes, it is okay to play that way instead of unrestricted min/maxing. Currently, a healer who is not willing to off-spec as DD, to do quests alone or to prefer the spec, that's perceived to be stronger, gets treated as less of a person and less worthy of a raiding spot. And I'm not eve talking progress raiding here. Obviously then, there's a lot Blizzard can't do about that. They can't and maybe shouldn't decide how we treat other players. However, I think, they can make staying in one spec looking more appealing and less punishing.