Thursday, September 22, 2011


I saw an interesting post at Keen and Graev's about respecs. I somewhat agree with the idea that making it easy to switch roles at the touch of a button seems...unseemly somehow.

But then I had another thought. Suppose you had a game without talent trees or specializations. So all you had to do was swap armor to go from tank to DPS.  Isn't this the same thing from the outside?  You press one button (your armor swap key) and you switch roles, just like an easy respec.

Yet why does switching armor seem so much more acceptable than switching specs? The end result is the same. Should we make it hard to switch armor, so that you can't switch roles easily?


  1. If you remove the idea of specs/talents why not go further and remove the difference in gear/stats as well.

    Make the difference in the role you are required to perform purely based upon the choice of what abilities you use. Tanks use tank abilities, and use Dps abilities, etc.

    I think of it as a Fighter standing in a battlefield; he can choose to fight a range of people, yell and scream (tank). Or choose to kill efficiently, quickly, and quietly (dps). It somewhat breaks the idea of the holy trinity, but compliments the more real aspects of how fights would work.

    I can't imagine how a cloth wearer would survive more than 2 battles though.

  2. I'd encourage you to look up some of the information being put out by Anet about GW2. While things in beta always are changing this seems to be something that will become a core feature of the game. It's not the armor that changes though, but the weapons. So imagine that a mage needs to have a staff if he wants to AoE, but his single target spells (or a majority of them) require MH+OH, so that even as DPS he is switching weapons during the phases of an encounter, or that with a second's notice your DPS warrior could start tanking by simply changing to a sword+board combo, or better yet your pally could tank, heal and dps simply by switching weapons (yes I realize the issues that could cause in pvp and in WoW because the game is not set up for that). Yes in WoW people did do similar weapon switching stratagies, but that never changes that abilities that the character can use, just gives out a potentially more useful stat for a specific ability (and I don't think a single class does that anymore).

    I'm not sure that GW2 will provide what everyone is looking for in an endgame (it currently seems that it won't have much of one), but that doesn't mean that Anet isn't trying to innovate, which is appreciated.

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  4. I don't understand your point.
    People who feel respeccing is too easy would probably be put off by the idea of a game where such fundamental things as your typical role and "feel" of the class are defined by donning a different set of armor.

    But, isn't that a quite theoretical question? I cannot think of any game that implemented such fundamental changes by just switching armor (that might be due to my limited knowledge, of course), except for maybe things like Final Fantasy X-2's garment grid.

  5. "I somewhat agree with the idea that making it easy to switch roles at the touch of a button seems...unseemly somehow."

    Really? In a game where you can fit a hundred dragon-sized mounts into your backpack. Except not even your backpack, you just have them invisibly following you the whole time.

    A game where magical energies have disrupted the peace in the universe again and again. But there are also guns, and lasers, and robots oh and spaceships. In a fantasy MMO.

    A game where you kill a boss and he bandages up next week to threaten the world again?

    Shall I go on?

  6. It is unseemly because it removes the last vestiges of RPG from the game.

    If you can freely respec to optimize per encounter, what need is there for specialization at all? Get rid of all 3 trees and just have a class where all previous talents are baked in. Now you dont have to worry about being non optimal in PVE encounters or game play such as PVP because you can do it all.

    However, the game loses a lot of flavor and then starts becoming awfully Mario like. I like having to have made the choice between survival or marks on my hunter. I got Explosive Shot in a trade for Aimed Shot or stronger pets.

    If you can have infinite instant re- customization, then why customize at all?

  7. Your assertion is a bit of a stretch. You ask people to assume such a game exists and then instantly leap to the conclusion that it's somehow acceptable as a result, without any basis for this (or that it even has a total armour swap key).

    I only know of one MMO where this sort of system is in effect (FF14), and it has other things that make swapping like that at will fairly... undesirable. Such as buying stats each level, and different stats benefiting different classes. Also, it being kind of a terrible game.

    I won't say that I have an exhaustive knowledge of MMOs, though. There may be others that do it better.

  8. I think there is a big difference between armour sets and different talent specialisations, at least the way it works in WoW. Building and enchanting/gemming multiple sets of gear takes some effort, and it makes sense from an immersion point of view that you can put on different types of armour. Changing your talent spec on the other hand is virtually free, and even in a world full of magic it's hard to swallow that you can repeatedly erase your memory and then instantly implant your brain with different knowledge instead. Such a system seems more suitable for a Matrix-like scenario.