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Ghostcrawler on Cataclysm's talent tree philosophy, abilities, and Ragnaros


Ghostcrawler posted a bit this evening on the philosophical direction Blizzard is taking in Cataclysm in three important areas:
  • Talent trees
  • New spells and abilities
  • Recycled raid content
The discussion originated from a mild QQ post about what the poster felt were the flaws in Cataclysm, and Ghostcrawler took that opportunity to clarify a few things that the community has been talking about since the initial announcement at BlizzCon 2009. Chief amongst those is that they are specifically designing talent trees now with an intention for there to be 5 to 10 talent points that can be spent where the player wants -- and that talent guides like you find in's class columns will only go so far in the selection of the idea talent tree; the rest of the talent selection will be left up to the individual user.

Of course, this information isn't exactly new per se, but it's interesting to hear some of the refinements of it all as Cataclysm's development progresses.

Ghostcrawler's full statement after the break.

The talent tree comment Ghostcrawler is referring to:

No new talent points. But wait didn't GC say they were going to go back and redo the trees? That is a misconception. All that means is that they are going to tweak stats and abilities to match cataclysm's new stats and maybe new ones for underperforming PvP specs like subtly and moonkins. I know it's not always good to add new abilities on top of a already fragile PvP system. However for me new abilities was something to look forward too. You could be really excited about it. Also it put a creative side to blizzard, wondering how much further the team could think ahead of us.
Ghostcrawler's entire statement is as follows:
I was going to bump this to the General forum, but I think the talent tree comment is worth addressing in the role forums, since it applies to class design.

1) We are changing talent trees, in some cases substantially. The major focus is pruning out boring but valuable talents that passively increase say damage or healing.

2) A secondary focus is to fix the clunky areas (e.g. warlocks having two conflicting range increasing talents). We're not going to remove old favorites or radically change the focus of the trees. You will definitely have to rethink your builds however.

3) Because you earn passive bonuses just for spending points in the tree, those fun, niche or utility talents won't seem as expensive as they do today. We want to create a lot more choices where you are choosing utility vs. utility. We want to see far more "cookie cutter" build guides that say "Spend the last 5-10 points where you want."

4) In some cases, trees will flat out get new abilities. These are in addition to the new level 81+ abilities.

5) You will get 5 additional talent points for the new levels.

6) We are not deepening the trees. This actually unlocks some interesting opportunities. For the first time, you can reach a 51 point talent and a 21 point talent in another tree.

I'll also add that for Lich King we just brought Naxxramas back and adjusted the bosses for 10 and 25 raid sizes. The Cataclysm raids are new content with new maps and new bosses. We're just trying to hit the nostalgia button with mentioning old foes like Ragnaros. Ragnaros may be back, but he's not in Molten Core.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In's Guide to Cataclysm you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From Goblins and Worgens to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

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