Feedback: Legion Talent Design Concerns

General
TL;DR - Talents should be about choice and variety.
Single Target (ST) vs AoE vs Mobility = Bad design. Fake choice. Encounter picks the Talent for you.
ST vs ST vs ST = Good design. Real choice. Your playstyle picks the Talent.


The overall philosophy behind Blizzard's design where it comes to Talents in Legion seems to be mostly spot on, from the creativity in individual Talents, to the reinforcing of spec flavor, to focusing on Talents as the primary tools to provide rotational complexity.

However, there is one thing that I believe Blizzard is doing extremely wrong across the board, and that is the concept of CHOICE at any given Talent Row.

Warlock's Lv90 Talents represent - in my opinion - the worst Talent Row design Live:
  • Archimonde's Darkness (ST)
  • Kiljaeden's Cunning (Mobility)
  • Mannoroth's Fury (AoE)


Is each of the Talents fun? Sure.
Is each of the Talents useful? Yes.
Does the Row provide a real choice? No. Encounter picks the Talent for you.

[Talents should represent Variety]
Talents should be there to help you customize the character to YOUR taste, offering real choices that affect HOW you play your character, NOT whether your character is competitive.

The options presented in Warlocks' level 90 Row merely force everyone to always use the exact same Talent configuration based on encounter (PvE) or team composition (PvP), and thus don't offer any variety or choice, instead simply catering to gimmicks.

[1 Role per Talent Row]
Talent Rows should always give you 3 Talents that fulfil the same Role - in most cases a specific role like self-Healing, but in some cases it can be a wider role like Survivability, which may include Healing, CC-break, Mobility and CC.
Single Target vs AoE, however, affects your performance on any given encounter so dramatically that it should never be presented as a choice - because it isn't one.

[Well designed Talent Rows in WoD]
Warrior Lv45 and Warlock's Lv100 - rotation improvement Talent Rows.
Warlock Lv45 - survival Talent Row.
Are they perfectly balanced? No.
Do they present real choices? Yes.

[Not impossible to Balance]
Some players seem to assume that it is impossible to make Talents balanced and argue that there will always be a best choice.
There will always be a "theoretical" best option for the top 1% players.
However, Blizzard has successfully managed to keep 2-3 Talents close to each other in effectiveness in multiple occasions since the new Talent system was implemented.
This means 99% of the players will be able to pick what they like and not feel like an idiot because of it.
And sometimes, a few players may outperform others through their exceptional use of that one Talent that is NOT considered very good in Simcraft because it's hard to manage in real combat.

[Conclusion]
I'm very concerned with this because many Talent Rows on various Specs are looking EXACTLY like Warlock's Level 90 WoD Talents.

Like some said below, if it goes Live the way it is now, we will see all players cloning each other at any given time and swapping builds on the fly.
Trash pack = talent setup A.
ST boss = talent setup B.
AoE boss = talent setup A or C
Rinse and repeat...
You are right. However, ponder a little on one thing: as long as any talent row represents a performance increase, there is absolutely no way in hell they can make 3 talents with various effects to be identical in end result. There will always be minute differences, and if they are, then there is no real choice there, there is just an optimal pick and two non-optimal ones.
Not liking the row that included death from above and marked for death for every single spec, talk about crap.
Anabelle, for the top competitive players, there will always be an optimal pick, even if it's by 0.1%.

However, as long as Talents fulfill the same Role, there is potential to bring numbers closer to a balanced state in the long term, such that players don't feel gimped for picking their favorite Talent.

Furthermore, some Talents are better in Simcraft but impractical in live encounters, so if Talents are close enough, you can see situations such as Jim being exceptional at using a Talent that is widely considered too hard to make full use of in the heat of combat.

But with Talents like Warlock Level 90 Row, there is no hope whatsoever - nothing can ever be done.
I'm sure there may be a few encounters where the Warlock Level 90 Row actually provides 3 real choices, and a few more where there are 2 real choices, but most have 1 clear answer.

What do you prefer?
A) Blizzard designing talent rows like Warlock Level 90 where there will always be ZERO chance of EVER having a real choice?
B) Blizzard designing talent rows with the same Role where there's a very high chance that at least 2 of them being competitive at all times.
24/12/2015 18:36Posted by Anabelle
However, ponder a little on one thing: as long as any talent row represents a performance increase, there is absolutely no way in hell they can make 3 talents with various effects to be identical in end result.


I'm not expecting them to be perfectly equal, but i like the idea of preference and the rows where you have to choose between a passive, a long cd and a rotation ability are pretty good, that's it's an ideal goal.
Sure there will always be some elitist who feels "forced" to take whatever talent because on sims say it's a 0.8% dps increase, but we should ignore them, they are the minority and they aren't very bright.

The way talents look like in legion i wouldn't be surprised when people start making macros to change talents on the fly, even in dungeons, use talent X while fighting trash, quickly change to Y at boss then back to talent Y.
I don't know but, considering each talent has a specific focus, having each talent in the proper situation all the time kinda defeats the the whole purpose of choice.
@Gannet
Well said.

Examples of well designed Talent Rows in WoD are Warrior's Lv45 and Warlock's Lv100.
They are pure rotational improvement Talent Rows and do their job very well.
Is it 100% balanced? No.
Does it present real choices? Yes.
Blizzard should definitely focus on talent row concepts such as Warlock level 15, 30, 45, 60 , 75 and 100.
Really all of those are good.
But level 90 really sucks as a choice.
Feedback received, we gonna get that fixed. [solved]
I don't doubt they may eventually change it.
At least it's early enough for them to do it before Launch, but they might also change it after Launch in some cases.
If we provide enough constructive feedback it will have bigger chances of reaching the ears of the devs.
At least if it's true that european forums get any attention.
Retribution Talents in Legion are looking exceptionally scary.
Level 15 -> ST AoE AoE
Level 30 -> ST Generator AoE
Level 45 (CC) -> ST ST AoE
Level 60 -> ST Generator AoE
Level 75 -> ST ST AoE

If something like this goes live Retribution are going to be forced to swap talents all the time, rather than being able to pick a playstyle they like.
You really need to check out the Artifact tree as well.

Just two examples from resto shammy :

1. Healing Streams talent nerfed to take out the 15% bonus heal.

Artifact has these

Wavecrash 3 ranks, increase frequency of the heals
Caress of the Tidemother 3 ranks increase heal 5% per ranks and temp buff to max health and dodge

There are others, make healing raind heal more targets per tick for, let healing tide buff those it heals for 25% extra heal next tick, stacking

tthen you can customise with relics to add an extra rank

So there is a reason why some talents are nerfed, why some spells are talents and wy you need to look at the artifact too.

The best oen I have found so far is at WoWhead here :

http://legion.wowhead.com/artifact-calc
Artifact trees are meant to be maxed.
I'm not concerned with those, and the cases I presented (Retribution, for example) do not have any Artifact Tree interactions that fix the issues I'm talking about.

For example, there's a Talent row that focuses on Crusader Strike.
One improves the damage, one gives you 3 charges, and one gives you a stacking attack speed buff and allows your Crusader Strike to cleave.

While each of the Talents may be useful and/or fun, at the end of the day there's no choice in that Row in any competitive environment, because the Encounter will pick the Talent for you.
One could say that the one with 3 charges somewhat competes with the cleave talent because it builds Holy Power faster and thus allows you to use stuff like DIvine Storm more often.
But the one that merely increases Crusader Strike damage never competes in AoE scenarios.

Talents should really focus on 1 type of role per Row.
AoE rows, single target rows, CC rows, etc.

Otherwise every Retribution paladin will just macro the same 2-3 Talent setups and swap them according to the situation.
That doesn't sound like variety or customizability to me.

But thanks for the extra info.
I might have missed that, but fortunately (or unfortunately?) I didn't.
24/12/2015 18:29Posted by Avenjielde
Single Target (ST) vs AoE vs Mobility = Bad design. Fake choice. Encounter picks the Talent for you.


Good design.

24/12/2015 18:29Posted by Avenjielde
ST vs ST vs ST = Good design. Real choice. Your playstyle picks the Talent.


Bad design because you'll pick the best throughout option unless you want to be sub-optimal.
27/12/2015 17:53Posted by Someoneelse
24/12/2015 18:29Posted by Avenjielde
Single Target (ST) vs AoE vs Mobility = Bad design. Fake choice. Encounter picks the Talent for you.


Bad design because you'll pick the best throughout option unless you want to be sub-optimal.


Fixed it for you.

Either that was a poor try at trolling or you really don't even read your own post.

Because if ST vs ST vs ST is bad design because you always pick the best option, then in ST vs AoE vs Mobility what do you pick? Oh, right, the best option.

The difference is that ST vs ST vs ST Blizzard actually has a chance at making Talents somewhat of a choice for 99% of the players, and fairly easily keep at least 2 out of 3 competitive in most scenarios.

With ST vs AoE vs Mobility Blizzard has no chance to make things balanced. Ever.
Fight always picks Talent for you AND everyone uses the same Talents.

You like Talent A? Too bad, this fight demands B.
Yeah, but...maybe it's just me, but I doubt most people switch talents on every fight. You need to count human factor too. Specially lfr, normals, myth dungeons etc.

24/12/2015 18:29Posted by Avenjielde
TL;DR - Talents should be about choice and variety.
Single Target (ST) vs AoE vs Mobility = Bad design. Fake choice. Encounter picks the Talent for you.
ST vs ST vs ST = Good design. Real choice. Your playstyle picks the Talent.


But there is no real choice in ST vs ST vs ST. Everyone will pick best dps according to veins and that's it. Or just calculates himself or see meters. And how in the name of thrall is it any different than upper version, where again, if you don't calculate and program 3 abilities perfectly, which you will never do, you will pick the best one depending on fight.

And I think blizz got it long ago, thats exactly why they are doing what they are doing - you can be mobile, do more damage to mobs or single target. Ofc you can switch them on encounters, if you like (just like ST vs ST vs ST) but it gives you more variety and options than simple ST's.

Also, it is little basic to include all mobile abilities in 1 row. What if you want to be super mobile and want to take several rows of mobilites? Or don't take mobile at all, or want to be the king of aoe's and take several of them? With your system it will be impossible. It will be just here is your 2 ST, 2 MB and 2 AOE. No, I actually think blizzard system is smarter.
27/12/2015 20:29Posted by Tindella
But there is no real choice in ST vs ST vs ST. Everyone will pick best dps according to veins and that's it. Or just calculates himself or see meters. And how in the name of thrall is it any different than upper version, where again, if you don't calculate and program 3 abilities perfectly, which you will never do, you will pick the best one depending on fight.

Why do Talents even exist, then?
Perhaps you'd rather just bake the best Talents into the spec and remove Talents from the game.

Do you honestly believe Blizzard doesn't balance Talent Rows like Lv45 Warrior because they can't be balanced?
Blizzard rarely touches Talents as long as there's 2 viable specs in a class, unless players cry a lot, and sometimes not even then (Shadow Priests say "Hi").

So if we're going to provide constructive feedback, we should do it while an expansion is under development - before it releases.
Specially since Blizzard is working to impress us with Legion
, after the masses constantly crying about how WoD is a monstruous failure.

First off, the biggest problem comes from comparing ST vs AoE.
Having ST vs ST vs Mobile ST can work.
Having AoE vs AoE vs Mobile AoE can also work.
But ideally, Mobility should be compared to CC breaks, and in some cases survivability.

Second, sure, there's a bunch of players that just copy Talents off the internet guides.
But that happens because there's a best pick.
And there's a best pick because we have lots of "Warlock Lv90" Talent rows in the game.
The majority of the ST vs ST vs ST rows in the game have always had at least 2 competitive talents.

Third, if ST vs Mobility vs AoE Talents are used, something very important (and bad) happens:
The class (or spec) is balanced around the expectation that you will always be using the "gimmick" Talent for the encounter, and thus always suck at something.
The Talents become a "duty" instead of a "tool" or "feature".

TL;DR - The top players will always try to push that 1% extra performance output, regardless of how Talents are designed.
However, single role rows give Blizzard the chance to make fairly balanced choices.
Multiple role rows do not.
The best purpose Talents can ever have is let you customize your playstyle within the spec.
[Conclusion]
I'm very concerned with this because many Talent Rows on various Specs are looking EXACTLY like Warlock's Level 90 WoD Talents.


I absolutely agree with you.
personally, warrior is all about, AoE talants vs ST, and i have to say Warriors in WoD have the best talant system in game currently, (IMO)

Sure its no reeeeeeeeeeeeeeal choice, but i feel there never was, because sure elitists do otherwise, but their is a way to avoid them, but their will always be some nerd in your guild saying "hey man, why you chose X? when Y is so much better, man your dps SUCKS!!) -sorry i laughed there, i totally did the Wow Crendor Voice.... haha, anyways...

point is, i dont like how it is now, i prefer old school talents, where i can go down a talent tree for Beast master , pick beastal wrath and go a bit down the MM tree and get aim shot ( you know what i am on about)

that was real talent choice, but i love this post +1 from me! we do have time to make legion better, so lets give Blizzard the help they need by being good community!
Anjulie, all you're really doing is setting your expectations really low.
However, Blizzard can balance talents if they want to - but only if it's ST vs ST vs ST.

Lv90 Warlock-style Talents can never be balanced.
27/12/2015 22:02Posted by Avenjielde
Why do Talents even exist, then?
Perhaps you'd rather just bake the best Talents into the spec and remove Talents from the game.

Talents exist so you can customize your gameplay in the way you like best.
No. Why?

27/12/2015 22:02Posted by Avenjielde
Second, sure, there's a bunch of players that just copy Talents off the internet guides.
But that happens because there's a best pick.
And there's a best pick because we have lots of "Warlock Lv90" Talent rows in the game.
The majority of the ST vs ST vs ST rows in the game have always had at least 2 competitive talents.

No there is the best pick not because warlock's talents, but because in any given situation you can calculate the optimal way, like what talents to pick on specific encounter. It's math. You will never be able to create 3 perfectly balanced abilities that show the same result in all situations, it's very easy concept to understand, let's get over it. There always will be 1 best pick.

27/12/2015 22:02Posted by Avenjielde

TL;DR - The top players will always try to push that 1% extra performance output, regardless of how Talents are designed.
However, single role rows give Blizzard the chance to make fairly balanced choices.
Multiple role rows do not.


Ok and here were are. Why you care so much about balance, it's not even pvp. When in wow there was something far away resembling perfect balance? Competitions could be nice in pve, but it's really more teamplay type of game where everyone should contribute. You do get that most people play classes because they like playing it, not because of balance or they are OP (there are people like this too, but it's minority, and they usually pvp). And giving these players more choices and customization is a good thing for me, even if it will affect balance slightly. That way not everyone will be average joe. Those who will want min maxing always will be there. People will still copy builds and will stay "average and balanced". Other people will still don't care and pick talents how they like. You will still choose them depending on fight if you like it much.

27/12/2015 22:02Posted by Avenjielde

The best purpose Talents can ever have is let you customize your playstyle within the spec.

Yes, exactly. That's the whole point. And your system only makes customization and choices less varied and more average. But it brings more of your "balance" you like so much. So there is really a matter of choice between the two. Maybe we need to take a middle way.

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