Cataclysm: Erste Infos zum Skilltree Mastery System

Nachdem es letzte Woche die ersten Infos zu den bevorstehenden Stats-Veränderungen in Cataclysm gab, ist diese Woche das neue Mastery-System dran. Bereits auf der BlizzCon wurde gesagt, dass es mit Cataclysm keine neuen Talente geben wird, die noch tiefer in die jeweiligen Skillbäume führen werden. Somit bleibt das 51er Talent also das Tiefste, was man auch in Cataclysm im Talentbaum erreichen kann.

Da allerdings mit den 5 neuen Leveln auch 5 weitere Skillpunkte hinzukommen, wird es zum ersten Mal möglich sein, sowohl das 51er Ulti, als auch das 21er Talent aus einem anderen Talentbaum mitzunehmen. Allerdings ist es äußerst schwierig jetzt schon Prognosen abzugeben, welche Skillung später interessant sein wird, da Blizzard die Talentbäume noch gehörig überarbeiten will.

Dazu sollen alle Talentbäume „entschlackt“ werden und Talente die derzeit als „Mandatory“ angesehen werden, also quasi die Must Haves wie etwa +Hit und +Heal usw., sollen passiv in die Talentbäume integriert werden und mit jedem Skillpunkt, den man in den Talentbaum investiert, verstärkt werden. Dieses System bekommt den schönen Namen Mastery-System oder Meisterschafts-System.

Dadurch will Blizzard erreichen, das man die Skills mitnehmen kann, die Spaß machen, und nicht zwingend zur Steigerung der eigenen Effizienz benötigt werden, da diese ja dann automatisch via Mastery System mitgesteigert werden. Dabei gibt es 3 passive Faktoren, die pro investierten Talentpunkt im Mastery-System beeinflusst werden:

1. +Heal / Schaden / HP ; natürlich abhängig von der Rolle, für die dieser Talentbaum gedacht ist. Sprich ein Def-Krieger wird HP bekommen, ein Healer eben eine prozentuale Healerhöhung.
2. Der zweite Effekt beeinflusst den Stat, der am wichtigsten für die jeweilige Rolle ist. Also bei einem Heiler z.B. die Manareg.
3. Der dritte Faktor im Mastery-System beeinflusst auf einzigartige Art und Weise Fähigkeiten des entsprechenden Skilltrees. So bekommt der Disc-Priester besseren Absorb für die Schilde, der Holy einen Hot für den Flashheal. Diese Fähigkeiten können nochmals über entsprechendes Mastery-Rating, was später auf Level 80-85 Gear zu finden sein wird, gepusht werden. Und zwar nur noch über diesen Weg. Derzeit kann man als Disc-Priester die Absorb-Höhe der Schilde über diverse Talente im Disc-Tree verstärken. In Cataclysm wird dies nur noch über das Mastery-System und das Mastery Rating funktionieren.

Ob es dabei eine Obergrenze geben wird, also ob z.B. 51 Talentpunkte das Maximum sein werden, oder aber, ob es ohne Limit Verbesserungen im Mastery System geben wird, ist noch unbekannt. Ebenso wäre es vorstellbar, dass nur jener Talentbaum vom Mastery-System profitiert, in dem der Spieler die meisten Punkte investiert hat. Hier müssen wir aber noch auf weitere Aussagen zum Mastery System warten.

Insgesamt bin ich recht gespannt auf das neue System, da man dadurch etwas flexibler skillen kann. Derzeit gibt es nur eine handvoll Skillungen die sinnvoll sind (spezielle Encounter-Skillungen einmal außen vor gelassen), weil man die vorhandenen Punkte rund um die Must-Have Talente verteilen muss. Vor allem, wenn ich als Holy nicht mehr in den Disc-Tree für Meditaion muss, ist das schon ein richtig guter Schritt, der viele neue Skill-Optionen offenbart.

Die kompletten News zum Thema Mastery-System findet ihr hier, Screenshots zu den neuen Talentbäumen inkl. Mastery-System gibt es auch hier.

Last week, we gave you an early look at the changes we’re making to the stat system in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, and explained how these changes will ultimately provide players with more interesting gear choices and make stats easier to understand. Today we’d like to go into more detail about a brand-new feature that’s an integral part of this overhaul: the Mastery system, a set of new game mechanics designed to allow players to become better at what makes their chosen talent tree cool or unique. With this system, we want to accomplish three things: give players more freedom in how they allocate talent points, simplify some of the “kitchen sinky” talents that try to do too much at once, and add a new stat to high-level gear that makes you better at your chosen role.

Here’s how the system works: As you spend points in a given talent tree, you’ll receive three different passive bonuses specific to that tree. The first bonus will increase your damage, healing, or survivability, depending on the intended role of the tree. The second bonus will be related to a stat commonly found on gear desirable to you, such as Haste or Crit. The third bonus will be the most interesting, as it will provide an effect completely unique to that tree — meaning there will be 30 different bonuses of this nature in the game. This third bonus is the one that will benefit from the Mastery rating found on high-level (level 80 to 85) gear.

One of our primary goals with Mastery is to give players more flexibility to choose fun or utility-oriented talents rather than make them feel obligated to pick up “mandatory” but uninteresting talents, such as passive damage or healing. (For examples of the kinds of powerful but boring talents we’re talking about, take a look at the talent tier just above the 51-point talent in many of the existing trees.) In a sense, Mastery makes it so every talent in (just for example) a rogue tree essentially has an invisible additional bullet point that says “???and increases your damage by X%.” This way, if you choose a talent like Elusiveness (which reduces your chance to be detected while stealthed) or Fleet Footed (which affects movement), you won’t feel like you’re giving up damage in exchange for utility.

There will still be talents that boost damage, of course, but those talents will also affect the way you play. For example, you can still expect to see talents like Improved Frostbolt, which reduces the cast time of the Frostbolt spell; it increases DPS, but it also affects the mage’s rotation. Piercing Ice, however, is just “6% more damage” and is the kind of talent we’re trying to eliminate by implementing the Mastery system.

As we get closer to Cataclysm’s release, we’ll go into more detail about the changes coming for each class, including individual talent-tree adjustments and how Mastery will affect them. In the meantime, here are a few examples to demonstrate the three kinds of passive bonuses we described above. Please keep in mind that we’re still working on this system, and the handful of examples we’re providing here are, of course, subject to change.

Holy Priest
For each talent point spent in the Holy tree, the priest also gets:

  • Healing – Improves your healing by X%.
  • Meditation – Improves your mana regeneration from Spirit in combat. This would likely replace the existing Meditation talent from the Discipline tree, which many Holy priests consider to be a “must-have.” Regeneration will also probably be determined by whether you are in or out of combat, and not the “five-second rule.
  • Radiance – Adds a heal-over-time effect to direct heals, such as Flash Heal. Mastery on gear would boost this bonus, and no other talent tree would grant it.

Discipline Priest
For each talent point spent in the Discipline tree, the priest also gets:

  • Healing – Improves your healing by X%.
  • Meditation – Improves your mana regeneration from Spirit in combat. This would likely replace the existing Meditation talent.
  • Absorption – Improves the amount of damage absorbed by spells such as Power Word: Shield and Divine Aegis. Mastery on gear would boost this bonus, and no other talent tree would grant it.

A couple other things to note: Currently, we’re not planning to retrofit the Mastery stat onto current level-80 gear when we roll out the stat-system changes prior to Cataclysm’s release. However, Mastery will begin appearing on select quest and dungeon items. You will also gain a small amount of Mastery by wearing gear of your intended armor type (such as plate for paladins). For players with dual specs, when you change between your two chosen specs, the Mastery bonuses and the benefit you receive from the Mastery stat on gear will adjust automatically based on your new spec.

Masteries Cap
It’s possible you will only get the benefit of the tree in which you’ve spent the most points, or will only get the benefit from say 50 points maximum with the bonus chosen from the tree with the most points in it. We’ll have to see when the talent trees are more finalized and we start to figure out build strategies.

Overall, the goal is to spend points as you want, and not feel penalized for spending into another tree or feel like you have to game things by spending more points than you want in your tree. Remember these passive bonuses are designed to give you flexibility, not lock you into anything.

[…] Imagine you spend 55 points in Retribution, so you get the maximum passive talent tree bonuses from that tree. Your remaining points you can spend where you want, in Retribution, Protection or Holy. It does discourage some kind of true hybrid build where you go partway down multiple trees, but we aren’t really trying to support those, and they aren’t very popular today.

The flexibility comes (hopefully) in having more discretionary points that you can spend on talents you like, rather than sacrificing raw damage, healing or tanking to do so.

Mastery/Talent system and new players
It’s designed partially with new players in mind. It will be much harder to have a truly terrible talent spec because you won’t be able to help but be reasonably good at your chosen role.

The mastery stat itself won’t show up until high level, and even when it does, you should have more confidence that it’s a stat you want instead of say trying to figure out the percent of your damage that is physical damage to calculate if armor pen is good for you or not.

I admit that adding passive bonuses at all to talent trees complicates the talent feature slightly. We hope to make up for that by there being less paranoia about picking "the wrong" spec. The wrong spec might only be a slight loss instead of a tragic loss. As a point of comparison, dual-spec complicates talents a little, but overall we think it was good for the game.

Mastery bonus distribution
To answer your question — and this applies to all classes. the first two mastery stats are gained by placing points into a given talent tree (and wearing the gear intended for your class, e.g. leather for druids). This will allow us to remove many of the talents that always felt mandatory, especially at the min-max level, and allow room for customization.

When we begin revealing specific class information, (such as new spells and abilities, and the talent tree revamp) — the posts we’ve made thus far, will make much more sense. I feel, players should look at the stat/system changes, as well as this mastery post as a "piece of a puzzle" — and ask questions, provide feedback, but understand that until more information is released, it’s not possible to see the whole of the picture.

Masteries Q&A
# 1. 28/28/20 spec. Does mastery on gear affect both highest trees or give no benefit at all?
Mastery on gear gives you one bonus. That bonus is the third passive (the unique one) in the tree in which you’ve spent the most points. In the examples we gave, those are Absorption, Radiance and Runic Power generation.

# 2. How are ferals and Dks as tanks working with mastery system in place? Are they to care about it for threat or do they have separate bonuses.
Ferals will have passive bonuses that say Cat: melee damage done, Bear: damage reduction. For death knights we have a different plan in mind that we’re not quite ready to discuss. DKs are undergoing some slight changes so they aren’t so GCD constrained and are less limited by rune cooldowns.

# 3. How are the non-pure classes going to be balanced against those with a full 76 point passive benefit? Balance, enhancement(not so much), shadow, feral, ele, resto, holy and Ret all have this issue.
Assume you only get the passive bonuses for the tree in which you’ve spent the most points, and there is a ceiling per tree (which could be something like 51-55 talent points). If you spend more points than that in a tree you still get the benefits of the talent. If you spend points in another tree, you are benefiting from those talents instead. Unless you try to make say a 40 / 36 / 0 build, you shouldn’t be losing passive bonuses.

If you turn level 10 and spend 1 point in Discipline, you are now a Disc priest. You receive the Disc talent tree passive bonuses and mastery rating on gear benefits your Disc passive bonus (Absorption). If you reach level 85 and have 70 points in Disc and 6 in Holy, you are still a Disc priest and the same rules apply. If you change your build to 51 Disc / 20 Holy / 5 Shadow, you are still a Disc priest.

# 4. Hybrids who use spells not improved by their spec on occasion such as heals or the extra lava burst are feeling that their non-specced spells are going to be extremely weak as compared to now.
They are weak now and the intent is to keep them that way. We aren’t trying to nerf them any more than they are today. If we want to make sure Resto shaman can do big Lava Bursts, we’ll give them a talent or something to make that happen. We don’t want Resto shaman to Lava Burst anywhere on the scale of an Elemental shaman. Again, how they perform today is pretty much the target for where we want to end up.

Marcus Lottermoser
Streamer/YouTuber/Redakteur at Myself
Jahrgang '79, seit Ende der '80er nerdiger Gamer. Absolvierte die Ausbildung zum Editor bei der Computec Media AG (PC Games) in Fürth. Kommunikationsdesigner durch die School of Life, Streamer und YouTuber aus Leidenschaft! Google+