Thursday, January 15, 2015

Too Much Specialization?

One thing I've noticed about Warlords is that the behavior of a spell is now much more dependent on your choice of specialization. Of course your specialization has always affected how skills work, but in the past the differences were mainly small - a skill might do 25% more damage, or have a chance to proc something, but it wouldn't have a completely different effect. This is no longer really the case.

For example, here is the tooltip for Avenging Wrath as Retribution spec:

  • Increases all damage and healing caused by 20% for 20 sec.
Whereas for Holy it reads:

  • Imbues you with wrathful light, increasing healing done by 100% and haste, critical strike chance, and damage by 20% for 20 sec.

Really, these are two different skills which happen to share a name.

I don't think this is really good design. It's inelegant, and makes the game more difficult to learn.

I believe that players expect a given skill to have basically the same function for each spec. It would have been simple for Blizzard to have given the Holy version of Avenging Wrath a different name; the fact that they chose not to is an acknowledgement that the skill is intended to work the same way. But it does not, except in very broad terms.

So the naming scheme guides the player into transferring knowledge from one spec to another, but the game mechanics are such that this is a mistake, or at least not very helpful. I think this is the opposite of how skill names should work. 

For instance, it would be a mistake to let rogues use the skill Backstab while in front of their target. This is because in that case, the flavor (thematic content) and the mechanics of the skill would be opposed to each other. Similarly, giving very different abilities the same name opposes flavor and mechanics, which is inelegant and confusing.

No comments:

Post a Comment