Rant on Respecs
As a protection paladin, my ability to solo quests and take out mobs is severely hindered compared to a retribution-focused build. Yes, my AOE-tanking skills are rivaled only by mages, but this method of attack has its limitations and while great for raw xp or rep grinding, it doesn’t excel in many quest objective scenarios.
Other “raid-spec” classes have it even worse. A resto druid in our guild is rendered useless when tasked with solo questing. I’m sure other healers have it bad too, not to mention the prot warriors. Gear switching can alleviate some of the drudgery but the real issue here is that to succeed in one area of the game (namely raiding/grouping) we have to gimp ourselves in another (solo & pvp).
Blizzard’s current answer to this is the respec system. They allow you to change your character’s talents for a significant amount of gold. Ok fair enough, you don’t want people “abusing” the spec-switch right? Well let’s think about this. What good does it do to require a player to head to a capital city and drop approximately 50g for the chance to “forget” what they’ve specialized in, only to instantly specify a different set of talents and pay to relearn a repertoire of spells that they have most likely known and subsequently forgotten numerous times already? It seems like a lot of work just to shift to another style of play.
It’s really just a money-sink and an annoyance. Ultimately it’s a deterrent to respeccing on a whim. So why do it? The same tanks that are paying outrageous repair bills have an arguably harder time grinding cash to enable them to continue. Our poor healers are required to tag along with others just to finish daily quests.
“Oh, you wanna try out the arena?”
“Too bad, you’re worthless with that talent setup. l2play nub.”
“If you want to experience multiple game-play elements with one character, well there’s a tax.”
My suggestion is this: At the very least, let a character keep all spells that they have already paid once to learn, but make them dormant when they aren’t “talented enough” to use them. Switch back to your regular tanking/healing build and there’s no need to relearn what you already once knew.
There’s always the option of doing away with the respec cost all-together, but I don’t see that happening. Blizzard needs our hard-earned gold to pay all of their NPCs. =P
A third and final option would be to let a character effectively have two specs with the ability to switch between them on the fly (I think EQ2 actually has something like this). The mechanism for switching could be an item or trinket that worked much like a hearthstone with an extended casting time and a significant cooldown. You could have the best of both worlds without the prohibitive recurring cost and annoyance factor. Blizzard could even make said item require a significant time investment to obtain with a chain of quests that require both soloing and grouping and the extensive use of a class’ entire repertoire of skills (think rogue poison quest). Lore-enforcers and RPers could be appeased by making the switch-item a journal or tome of sorts.