Transcript and audio for Discussion #2 are here: BlizzCast Episode 2: Interviews with Chris Metzen, Geoff Goodman, Andy Chambers and Tom Chilton
I found the following segment particularly interesting:
Bornakk: Doing good. So, we have a couple of questions for you today. The first is, regarding Retribution Paladins, we've made some recent changes to the class that were very nice and they're wondering if we're going to update the Seal or the Judgement of Command with the new model that we were following.
Tom Chilton: Absolutely. What we're trying to do, a big push that we have in the expansion, is to get different specs and different classes to use similar types of gear. What we don't want to have to do is drop different kinds of gear for every single different kind of spec in the game. Unfortunately, that has the side effect of making people feel as though a lot of loot that isn't for them drops. It's great when the item that is for your class, for your spec drops but you've got to figure that there's a whole lot of other classes and specs out there just thinking â€˜another item that's not for me?'
So, what we're trying to do is make sure that the items are shared more among the different classes and specs. So, we're really looking towards moving Retribution Paladins farther towards using the same kind of itemization that warriors use and we've made a couple of changes recently in patch 2.3 that kind of go part of the way there. And really, that was just to shore up some of the immediate problems that we were having with it.
Really, we want to go further with that and make sure that across the board, all the different Seals, Judgements, and all the different paladin abilities in general kind of follow that same scheme. But that's something we'll likely be seeing the full effect of in the expansion.
It's easy to see how they'll do this with Ret Paladins since they have a definite model to work towards (dps warriors, who use the same gear class and also do melee damage), and we've seen the (admittedly somewhat dissatisfactory) efforts to make Enhancement Shaman/Hunter gear.
It seems like many specs will continue to need their own gear, though. Resto/Balance Druids, Holy Pallies, Elemental Shaman... Maybe I'm missing a step though. Other than Ret Pallies/Warriors and Enh Shaman/Hunters, I'm not sure where they can minimize gear needs without massive changes.
Another segment that was very encouraging to me was this one:
Bornakk: Okay, awesome.
Next question. Do you have plans to add a tab that will have one or two pre-set talent builds that you can switch to when you respec?
Tom Chilton: We definitely want to make the respec process more graceful, especially considering how much respeccing people are doing. Right now, when you respec, it unlearns all the spells that you have that are talent-specific. It takes them off your action bars, et cetera, and, then when you spec into a new spec, it doesn't fill those in for you. Something we'd like to do is have the game remember or be able to save settings with different talent specs so that you can more easily switch between them. That goes along with potentially, in the future, doing some things to ease the burden of respeccing back and forth. If you're doing kind of high-end Arenas, high-end raiding, that kind of thing. Because we do want to encourage players to be able to enjoy a variety of different elements of the game. So, we definitely want to make that whole process more graceful in general.
It's nice to see that they recognize this element as something that makes their game significantly less fun. There's no doubt that most players recognize that, but it's always appeared to me that Blizzard didn't entirely share this philosophy... but here's evidence that they do see it as a problem. Nice to know!