Monday, March 26, 2007
Gimping your group talents in World of Warcraft
I played in a couple of groups this weekend, and ended up getting a wide range of qualities from perfect group to absolutely horrible group. And for once the problem was less with people leaving early or anything, but really two groups in the same dungeon against the same group of mobs faring very much differently. And in the bad groups the problem was usually a player with a "solo-friendly" talent build that sucked in group play. The dps warrior trying to tank, or some healing class without healing spec. The only ones where it was hard to notice a difference between good and bad was the damage dealing classes, because they don't get any opportunity to gimp themselves for groups.
I leveled up a priest to 70, being holy/discipline spec all the time. That made me a less effective soloer than a shadow priest, but whenever I joined a group, I was able to perform my class role, that of a healer, very well. I'm currently leveling up my warrior with a protection build, which is exactly the same thing, slower soloing, but much better performance in a group. One day I'd like to level up my blood elf mage a bit more, but he doesn't have that problem. His talent trees are different, dealing different types of damage, and having some variation in crowd control and mana management. But whatever branch he goes for, he will be a good damage dealer in a group. Unless he is specialized in a damage form against which the mobs in the dungeon he is in are resistant (fire mage in MC), he will be able to perform his class role. A bad mage might have a bad timing of his spells, but at least you won't find one telling you "Damage dealing? I'm not spec'd for that!".
And I wonder why the talent trees for other classes can't be the same. A warrior should have three different protection branches in his talent tree. Maybe one that works more on damage reduction, another that works on him having tons of health (like the current druids in bear form), and a third that specializes in aggro management. Priests should lose the shadow branch and get another sort of healing branch instead. The hybrid classes can have more variety, but for example a paladin should have the choice between tank and healing, and don't have a silly dps talent branch.
The reason why pickup groups so often go bad is that you get a dps warrior, a dps paladin, a dps priest, etc. together, and then wonder why this isn't working as a group. If people like to deal lots of damage, they should play a damage dealing class, and not take a class with a totally different role and gimp it. But because damage dealing is good in solo PvE, and essential in PvP, Blizzard gives every class the opportunity to gimp themselves for group play, and so many people take them up on that offer that it makes group play a lot less pleasant than it should be.