Monday, November 24, 2008

The Relationship Between Class and Talent Tree

Recently, I've found myself wondering more and more about how the relationship between classes and talent trees functions in World of Warcraft. For the longest time, I always defined the difference between the two as pretty basic: the class establishes the basic framework of a character and the talent trees allow that character to specialize within that framework.

An example of what I mean is the relationship between the three Hunter talent trees and the Hunter class. When you think about it, each tree focuses on improving one or more of the primary themes of the class. Beast Mastery focuses on the Hunter's pet, one of the most endearing aspects of the Hunter class, as I'm sure Mania of Mania's Arcania can tell you. Marksmanship focuses on ranged weapons and their damage potential. Finally, Survival focuses on "the hunt", or aspects such as tracking, trapping, and, well...surviving.

However, this is not what I see with the Holy Paladin. The Paladin Holy tree allows a character to specialize outside the framework of the class. As I mentioned previously, in my What is a Paladin? and Is the Holy Paladin Really a Paladin? posts, I feel that melee combat is one of the aspects that really works to define the Paladin class as a whole. Yet the Paladin Holy tree does not work toward this end. The result of this is that the Holy Paladin is pushed away from melee combat, and as a result, away from what it truly means to be a Paladin.

In other words, I see the current Paladin Holy tree in a similar light as the pre-patch 1.7 Hunter Survival tree. You know, the one that was crowned by Lacerate? The issue with that tree wasn't simply that Lacerate was a remarkably horrible talent (although it was unbelievably bad), but that the entire tree at the time centered around a ranged combat class specializing in melee combat. Sound somewhat familiar?

1 comment:

  1. I think this argument may be taken to its literal extent to be applied to a number of characters.

    First off the holy tree does not decrease your combat abilities from the standard, ret and prot just improve them so lets take this as a base asumption of this argument.

    Take the druid, he heals, shapeships into animals/fights as an animal, and he casts spells. Lets liken these to the ideas of link to the divine, healing and fighting that you took as the paladin concept.

    speccing resto makes me a healer, and I'm not oftenw anted in kitty or bear form up the front with the tanks if I'm not specced for it. I don't feel this limits my shapeshifting abilities though and therefore moves me away from being a druid.

    same reverse, if I'm feral the healers don't want me hanging around them healing as I skills are better used elsewhere.

    And if I'm casting spells as a moonkin I'm not really wanted anywhere but btween the tank and healer dropping stars on peoples heads, I'm not healing or fighting as a cat or a bear.

    None of the specs however stop me or weaken me from the other roles though, just means I am not empowered for them. If I'm a resto druid I'm a healer, but I'm not anything less as a druid.

    I can understand that your not fighting in a group situation, but neither am I. Neither of us is anything less than what we are however.

    Thats just my take on it. I don't think I could heal others while in melee anyway...