WoW’s new talent system is awesome and only the community can destroy it

World of Warcraft is revamping its entire talent system – but is it any good? Our WoW demon Cortyn tested the system closely.

WoW: Dragonflight beta has been out for a while now, and more and more players are racing on the Dragon Islands. The 10.0 PTR prepatch is also available, so everyone can learn about the new talent system to make their own decisions.

But is the new talent system really that good? Or are all of these irrelevant options that sound like “more”?

I’ve been trying different classes over the past few days and weeks, but I’ve mostly focused on druids and demon hunters. I want to tell you if the new talent system is good, and what are the advantages and disadvantages.

Lots of game modes that work in theory

I will say it directly: in my experiments, I have not paid any attention to whether the selection of talent is the most optimal in all respects and is competitive with other disciplines. Instead, I let my imagination run wild and experimented a little with shadow priests and demon hunters – sometimes with good results, sometimes with poor results.

Especially with Shadow Priest, there were several ways to customize my character according to my desires and to allow for completely different play styles.

There are two talent trees – one for class (priest, left) and one for specialization (shadow, right).

The first option is very simple: I tried to recreate the current Shadow Priest as it was played in Shadowlands and Battle for Azeroth. It was surprisingly easy to do, and it even comes with some extra effects, like some jelly madness.

With the second way to play, I just tried to take with me everything that somehow looked like the “old gods”. She picked up Y’Shaarj’s Idol, Yogg-Saron’s Idol, and Idol of C’Thun. The short version of that is that I summon shadow objects of some sort almost all the time. Not only shadow spirit, but also many tentacles that apply effects to enemies and even “something from behind” is fighting for me. It made me feel like I was worshiping ancient gods, constantly summoning creatures from the void.

For me for the third time, I tried to revive an old style of gameplay that we haven’t seen since the days of the Burning Crusade and the Wrath of the King of the Lich – Mind Spike. This is a fairly fast die with strong damage, but it eliminates all short points on the target. Unfortunately, the gameplay doesn’t work as well as it used to be and you have to play as a shadow priest with the DOTs. On the other hand, a mental stimulus can be improved so that it does not often consume DOTs.

These were just three variations that made sense, at least at first glance, and offered completely different play styles. Although there was some overlap, it felt very different depending on whether you were summoning shadow beings from the void or just trying to maximize the damage the DOTs do.

These three variables were just variations of the Shadow Talent Tree – I hadn’t even touched the General Priest Tree yet. Because there are many different options here too. So even as a Shadow Priest I can learn a lot of healing abilities or even a Holy Nova. With this you are not a full therapist, despite all the love, but you can at least help out for a while when the actual therapist is overwhelmed or waiting for recovery.

WoW Legion Shadowpriest
Shadow Priests have many options in Dragonflight.

Unreasonable connections cause (slight) frustration

The downside is that an abundance of talent sometimes means that you have to choose things you don’t really care about. Often these skills build on each other and then make sense – but sometimes they aren’t.

As a Priest, why should I first learn the Mind-Body skill to increase my running speed when using Power Word: Shield if I want to get Shackle Undead? After all, this is a very important control effect that I do not want to miss under any circumstances. But the only way to get it is through association with “body and mind” – something that has absolutely nothing to do with linking the living dead.

Such strange connections don’t happen often, but they are common enough to be criticized.

I totally understand that Cleanse Disease requires me to learn Dispel Magic first – it has a clear connection, and both have to do with removing effects.

But this is just a small point of criticism, which may have been born from the need to somehow build the largest talent tree. Perhaps there must be some connection that makes no sense at first glance.

There is also criticism that class trees sometimes contain absolute “must have” talents that a shadow priest needs, for example. The fact that there is a talent in my Talent Tree that dramatically reduces My Mind Blast’s cooldown is unnecessarily limiting, and I think that would have suited the Shadow Tree better.

The doubts that remain: What does society do about them?

My first look at the talent system was very positive. It gives each discipline a great deal of freedom, so two characters from the same discipline can play completely differently. However, at the same time, you have so many talent points that you can choose enough from the whole tree so that you don’t feel like you can’t combine the most interesting effects.

I would probably spend a lot of time in the system doing some of my own configuration just to see how much fun it could be.

The only thing that really worries me at the moment is some community wanting to emulate the best 0.1% of players and take the fun out of it. Unfortunately, my big fear that eventually there will be one or two perfect talent distributions per class is already becoming apparent. Which is a shame because the new talent system allows for a lot of great hybrid specs.

It is up to the community to decide whether the system will remain in place.

But over the course of about 20 years, the idea of ​​’simulating’ everything in the game and getting the best performance down to the last decimal place has become more and more prevalent – regardless of whether the player is able to play in this way that is optimal to be able to

My big fear is that while the new talent system offers a lot of theoretical diversity and allows for a wealth of different play styles for each category, in practice, only one or at most two will be accepted as the current “definition”.

If society does not learn to accept the potential diversity of the talent system as such, there will be no need to change the talent system. Of course, it is very beneficial to play with a tolerant group that does not see every percentage point as necessary and also leaves the freedom to simply try new things – regardless of whether they are “dead”, but simply because they are fun.

If that works, the “new and old” talent system is a huge step in the right direction. Otherwise it’s just unnecessary complication.

All the information about Dragonflight – the story, new systems, beta, and more – can be found here.

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