Way back at the tail end of Wrath of the Lich King
, players were informed that talent trees would be given an overhaul, the final iteration of which we finally received in Mists
. When World of Warcraft
first began, the talent trees were fairly straightforward -- players received points for leveling, and those points could be placed into a talent tree. Some talents were far, far better than others. Most of those talents were usually just flat damage boosts, or boosts to abilities. Because of this, talent trees weren't very engaging, they were simply a matter of looking up what was best for your class and spec, and placing the appropriate points in the appropriate spot on the tree.
And that was very
boring, to be perfectly honest.
With the talent revamp, abilities that were simply flat damage boosts were culled, replaced with choices that were a little more interesting. In Mists
, that final iteration of talent tree re-design removed all boredom from talent trees altogether, instead offering a limited number of really cool abilities and enhancements that players could easily swap around if necessary. In short, it became a lot more engaging, less about "How much will this increase my damage?" and more about "What ability would help me best in this particular situation?" whether that situation be soloing, raiding, or PvP.
But that's not the only issue the talent tree revamp addressed. In vanilla, players received a talent point with every level. In vanilla, this wasn't an issue, but as new expansions were added, along with more levels, more talent points had to be added as well as more talents for the points to be spent on. By the time Wrath
rolled around, players had 71 talent points and more than 80 talents to choose from in each class, the tree itself a lengthy 11 tiers to choose from. That revamp we received wasn't just a matter of culling flat ability boosts, it was a matter of trying to pare down what had boiled over into an overly complex system with little fun to be had.
Because of this, we now only receive new talents every 15 levels. But that meant that we wouldn't get a new tier of talents at all in Warlords
-- we'd have to wait until level 105, somewhere in the following expansion. That wasn't really much fun, so they adjusted it, and we'll be getting our new tier of talent choices at level 100. That's great, right? Well ... kind of yes, kind of no.
Here's the deal: The new system is great. It offers a good variety of choices, not too overwhelming. Some of those choices are difficult to make, but the decision you make is fluid, and can be changed at the drop of a hat if necessary. We no longer have to muddle through where exactly to spend one of umpteen billion points, scroll through trees, alt tab out of the game to check online for the best talent builds for our particular class and specialization. Those choices have been firmly given back to the player, they're entirely up to the player to make, and that's a really great thing.
But the magic ding of leveling has had some of its fun taken away as a result. Sure, the golden flash of light goes off and you hear the obligatory "you did it" noise, but often that's all you get. And that's not particularly satisfying. You should feel good about leveling, about getting one step closer to 100. This is where Draenor Perks come in, and this is exactly why the order in which you receive those perks is completely random. Celestalon pointed this out last week on Twitter:
Perks aren't meant to be something super amazing that you pick and choose. They aren't meant to be an enhancement you desperately need in order to level more quickly. All they are is that tiny little thing we were missing -- something to go with that flash of light and ringing gong. A little tangible reward for plugging along and playing the game. Something that, when you ding, you can look at and go "Hey, I got another level! And a thing! What a nice thing. Good job, me!" and then continue on your merry way.
Sure, Draenor Perks may just be the flat damage bonuses that were culled with that major talent tree overhaul. But they aren't part of the talent tree process anymore, they aren't anything we really have to think about. They might look boring upon first glance, but really, they didn't need to be anything fancy -- we've simply got them so we feel good about seeing that flash of light on our screen again. That's a good enough reason to add them back in, as far as I'm concerned.