After messing with the new talent trees for a bit (and with the usual caveat “it’s still beta so this could all change”), I have concluded that things have not changed much overall. Many talents have been rolled in to the class builds or removed, some new ones have been introduced. But we still don’t have enough choices in my opinion. I can safely pick up all of the talents I want and not be worried about those I am missing.
I am pretty sure Blizzard will be unable to truly follow through on building their talent trees to the point where there are “meaningful choices” between talents. Perhaps I have simply been playing the game for too long to have any issues with the choices I have and the decision is not difficult for me, but then we are back to the problem where inexperienced players will fall into the traps of choosing the poorer talents. This is not to say that I have made the correct choices per se, but I feel that these trees have talents that are, to me, obviously mandatory, especially within the primary tree for the spec.
It all starts out so beautifully…I have a choice between a 2-, 3-, or another 3-point talent on the first tier. They all sound okay! So far so good, I have to choose which ones I like best to put points into them! Filling up a 3-pointer and putting 2 into the other 3-pointer, I progress to the next tier. I figure I can fill that last point somewhere along the line. This process continues through the tree, and I can indeed go back and fill that last point because somewhere along the line there is a talent I don’t care for. In fact this happens a couple of times. In the end, I’ve put points into all of the talents I want and filled them, with enough points remaining to pick up some of the nice subspec talents in the other trees.
I feel that a number of other players will come to the same conclusions and repost their thoughts, find a great deal of agreement or at least go through a few tweaks. The result is approximately the same…the number of builds is limited. You might as well be along a set path when, at level 10, you click the button that says “Holy” or “Retribution”…where your spec is based on the spec you choose, instead of the talents therein.
So it comes down to, at least in some cases, having choice in your subspec. This is less true for hybrid classes. Choosing where to put my final 7 or so points as a mage is an interesting one, as they will all probably increase my damage in some way. But not so for my shaman…those last few points, with everything I want from Enhancement, are going into Elemental, to further increase my damage. If what Blizzard has said about personal accountability thus far for surviving through fights (and limits on the mana of healers) is true, then maybe I will toss them into Resto instead…but based on current themes, it’s not going to happen. (As an aside, Blizzard has also stated that they want hybrid classes to be more specialized and focused, so seeing an Enhancement shaman with worthwhile healing ability would seem unlikely.)
Time will tell.