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9-03-2009 @ 3:58PM
Blizz could certainly eliminate the cookie cutter spec. As long as there are more talent points than there are "pure" buffs, then the allocation of those talent points to less quantifiable talents, like improved speed or cc, highly situational talents, etc, is not subject to min-maxing, once all the pure buffs are taken. Also, by reducing the number and impact of "pure" buff talents, the difference between the ideal spec and a wacky one is less, because the contribution of talents to a character's overall dps, healing, threat, whatever, is a lesser percentage. This is exactly what they are planning, according to reports from BlizzCon.With this approach, there would still be a cookie-cutter baseline spec, (although Blizz could undermine that by offering mathematically equivalent but non-stacking alternatives - i.e. if you take X you can't take Y), but additional selections could then be made to "customize" the character in non-min-maxing fashion. Also, there could be more synergistic talents, such that similar results can be achieved through different combinations of talents. Especially relevant for hybrid classes, I think. These would complicate min-maxing further, creating the possibility of multiple, different specs which are not meaningfully distinct from a min-max perspective.And this all assumes that "cookie-cutter" specs truly exist today. Much of the analysis on EJ and elsewhere is done based on target dummies, which, as many on EJ freely admit, do not represent the nature of boss encounters, nor value all aspects of a character's skills (and PVP adds even more intangibles). A theoretical 100 dps improvement doesn't do a player any good if he can't shake an add and ends up dead, or can't respond to a rogue's burst. And players themselves are different - a twitch gamer with fast reflexes might be more effective at employing a positional talent, or one requiring tight coordination with other effects, while a more cerebral player might be more effective managing cool-downs for maximum effect. Good talent tree design should present those sorts of trade-offs.
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