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Death of a Tree?

April 16, 2010

My Google Reader is absolutely inundated with blog posts about this announcement from Blizzard regarding planned changes to the Druid restoration tree (pun 100% intended).  I don’t think anyone failed to notice the changes to the way crit and haste affect our HoTs.  I don’t think anyone’s too upset about the removal of Abolish Poison since we’re trading that spell (which is somewhat redundant once you have Cure Poison, the only difference being that Cure Poison only ticks once, but it’s a near-guarantee to work) for some form of Dispel Magic.  We don’t know yet what Efflorescence will do, other than sprout flowers around our target’s feet.  Nope, what’s got them on a roll is the announcement of Blizz’s intention to take Tree of Life from a shapeshift form to a cooldown ability.

My Initial Reaction

OMGWTFBBQTHEY’RERUININGMAHGAME!!!

*pant*pant*pant*

Seriously, the Tree of Life form is pretty iconic.  DPS zones into an instance with me, they know exactly what role I’m playing just like we all know what the Laser Chicken is going to do.  I took a moment to lament the possible loss of the form that has been identified with druid healers since Burning Crusade.

Now that I think about it…

A few years ago I played a Multi-User Dungeon (text-based RPG) whose GMs were all volunteers.  My character was the equivalent of a hunter, without the combat pet.  In this game, you didn’t gain access to new skill levels by leveling-up; you leveled-up by raising your skill levels.  Imagine if Blizz announced that they were doing away with the XP system, and if you wanted to level-up your warrior to level 40 you had to raise all of your weapon skills to 200, your defenses to 160 and your professions to 120.  Now, imagine you’re a hunter and you’re told you have to raise your skinning to 200, but the only way you gain any skinning skill is by trying to skin that boar with a halberd, it takes eighty attempts to gain one point, and that skill has been that broken for eight years or more.

The last time I saw the online population count for this game was a while back.  It sat around 600 adventurers and falling.

Blizzard makes mistakes.  They’re also pretty good about reversing those mistakes either through hot-fixes or patches to the game.  Losing Tree of Life will be an adjustment.  I have faith in Blizzard that they like our money too much to drive-off any substantial portion of their customer base by allowing a game-ruining mechanic to remain in-game for long.  I also think they were watching very closely when Star Wars Galaxies released NGE.

I will watch and wait.  I’ll render my personal verdict (which means exactly zilch to anyone but myself) when I get to play with the new system.

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