Rant on Respecs

by Jon on January 30th, 2008

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.

  1. Horko permalink

    Amen. Hallelujah.

  2. Chad permalink

    I’m a big supporter of the “two talent specs” idea that’s been going around for some time. Blizzard could still charge us to change those talent setups, but not to switch between the two. Make it an item or a trinket with a huge cooldown (but not outrageous like specialty cloth) is fine. I’m not a huge fan of requiring things like this to be obtained from mandatory group quests though. That kind of defeats the purpose and further punishes those more casual players who rarely even do 5-man groups.

    A more appealing option to me would just be to allow the class trainers to do it. This still makes it require the person go out of their way to make the switch, but its a much more reasonable option, in my opinion. Make the cooldown 24-hours or something along those lines.

    Another problem in this regard I see is that people don’t mind the one-time respec cost, but then they have to pay again to respec back to their original spec. If Blizzard is so intent on charging something for a respec, at the very least add in a “revert” feature, which would revert you back to your previous spec for free. This accomplishes two things: 1) Still apeases Blizzard, who feels the need to charge for a respec and 2) allows easy and trouble-free switch between, for example, PVE and PVP specs, at half the usual total cost. If you wanted to “revert” back to a different spec, you would still be charged.

    Lastly, there’s the option of allowing individual talent points to be moved around (instead of wiped completely) and charging per point moved instead of for an across the board wipe and respec.

    There’s so many ways this respec system can be improved, I’m still unsure why Blizzard is so adamant about not at least trying to apease the players to some degree.

  3. I’m a healadin and my husband is a prot warrior. Together, our repair bills on a progression night will easily be over 100g. He also respec’s every weekend for arenas and PvP. Yes, it gets pretty expensive, but dailies are a huge help.

    My husband’s biggest complaint is that to respec you have to manually pick out each and every talent point allocation. When you go through this twice a week, every week for the foreseeable future, it starts getting rediculous. Why can’t you save spec’s like profiles and then just pick them from a list?

  4. I’d love to see a tome of some sort that allowed me to switch between shadow and holy or shadow and disc. It’s pretty annoying to switch between arms and prot on my warrior, too. I think that a tome with a 5 hour cooldown and a 10 second cast time that is interrupted if you enter combat is a fair and just way to at least let people choose two talent trees… I couldn’t switch to arms for aran then back to prot afterwards, but on an off day I could respec for pvp, then in the evening tank a heroic. I’m almost never willing to drop another 50g just to tank a heroic even if i want to tank it.

  5. You said: “… let a character keep all spells that they have already paid once to learn, but make them dormant …”

    I’d love to see a similar system for tradeskills with respect to recipes. I’m bored with alchemy and I want to try tailoring, but I don’t want to lose all the rare receipes I’ve gathered over the past three years. I shouldn’t be able to use them while I’m not an alchemist, of course, but the thought of needing to find all those world drop recipes again … Ugh!

  6. Ask and you shall receive:
    * Characters will now retain talented spell ranks so when they retalent they do not have to relearn the spells from trainers. (Source)

    from: http://www.mmo-champion.com/index.php?topic=4018.0

  7. @Mifletzet – Nice! Thanks for the heads up. See you in game. =)

  8. Or, another option if you are INSANE (like me), level two characters of the same class. I have a blood elf and troll priest. The blood elf is shadow, the troll is holy. They play like two different classes.

  9. Chris permalink

    I think a good way of doing this would be to convince blizzard to allow us to exchange soulbound items between alts – via a per server account bank. While there is still the pain of levelling two characters 1 to 70, the ability to exchange bound loot means – other than character xp which is easy to make up – you dont loose gear progression on a character when playing a different character.

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