Why do we have flat boosts in talent tree?

#1 - Feb. 9, 2017, 9:29 a.m.
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I will be using examples from mage skill tree but I am sure there are few other classes having this problem.

In my opinion talents from the tree should provide interesting choices. I don't really see how Rune of power, Incanter's flow, Erosion, Lonely Winter, Bone chilling and Arctic Gale are supposed to be fun or interesting.

In most cases you just pick these talents to improve a different talent: for example you always pick Rune of power together with Overpowered.

Why not just buff spells or talents that are used with flat damage talents, remove those talents and replace them with actual spells or effects that are fun to play with?
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#4 - Feb. 9, 2017, 11:45 p.m.
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I'd actually argue that the Mirror Image/Rune of Power/Incanter's Flow row fits in line pretty well with how talent rows (at least those focused on throughput) should work. You've got:
  • One option that's tough to use but highly effective when used well (Rune of OPower)
  • One that's pretty straightforward but still allows for a little bit of optimization (Incanter's Flow)
  • And one that's very simple and reliable, even if it doesn't always have the same maximum potential as the other options (Mirror Image).

Not all rows are designed that way - sometimes it's a choice between single target and AoE, sometimes it's a choice between different types of movement, and sometimes we mix several types of options together to try to create tough choices - but in general, we like that sort of interaction.

One thing we haven't always gotten across clearly is that we don't expect all types of players to enjoy all types of talents. If you're a top-tier Mage running Mythic Nighthold, and can use Rune of Power effectively (finding opportune moments to drop it and saving procs, cooldowns, etc for those moments), it's okay if you're using it on every encounter.

We try to make sure there's at least some variation in the tree somewhere (e.g. maybe you prefer Arcane Orb instead of Overpowered on a fight like Skorpyron), but it's okay if you settle on a set of talents you feel are the "best." Chances are high that they're not the best for everyone, and that's the sort of character customization that systems like the talent tree can do well.
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#8 - Feb. 10, 2017, 1:36 a.m.
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09/02/2017 23:52Posted by Hal

I agree with variation and I think mostly it works fairly well, however....

What about where a talent is still mandatory, and you won't ever see anyone Raiding using anything else*

Isn't that a case of a design flaw, and something that you'd think would of been corrected by now by adjusting the other two talents

(I say adjust, rather than just nerf the current best one, so its useless, and the others become good by comparison)

I'll throw an easy example out there, Marksman Hunter, Lone Wolf...

I wouldn't necessarily call it a design flaw. There's a few talents that we don't expect people to take in PvE, but are very popular in PvP (Mistwalk comes to mind, although it might be TOO strong in PvP at the moment). There's some talents that a top-tier Mythic raider might find mandatory, but a more average player might be better served taking something easier to use. Rune of Power is a good example there, I think.

That said, when nearly everyone (in all aspects of gameplay, not just raiding) is taking a talent, then yeah, there's probably something wrong there. Occasionally it's that one talent is too good, and occasionally it's that the others are too weak. Those are -- usually -- the places we look at when making talent changes.

Lone Wolf is kind of a unique snowflake. Early on in Legion development, we actually removed pets from Marksmanship Hunters entirely. We got a lot of feedback from players excited to have the "pet-free" playstyle, but there were some who still wanted to be able to play Marksmanship with a pet. There were also some secondary concerns about the leveling process; at lower levels, a Hunter without a pet is just at too much of a disadvantage.

We still wanted Marksmanship's "default" playstyle at 110 to be petless, so we brought Lone Wolf back in as a talent, and tuned it to be slightly above average in its row. Players who really wanted to play Marksmanship with a pet could opt into it, but most would lean toward the pet-free playstyle, without feeling like they were "nerfing" themselves for it.