Money sinks are a healthy aspect of any MMO economy, helping to reduce inflation by constantly removing large sums of money from the game. Mounts have traditionally been one of WoW’s main forms of money sink, from the 90 gold standard land mount at level 40 to the 5,000 gold epic flying mounts of Burning Crusade. But with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion looming on the horizon, one can’t help but wonder what the new money sink will be. Players won’t stand for having to spend another 5,000-10,000 gold on regaining the ability to fly at epic speeds again, even if it isn’t allowed until a later level, and there really doesn’t seem to be much need to fly faster than what current epic flying mounts allow. Which seems to point to the need for a new type of money sink. Since it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing player housing any time soon (which would be an great money sink as it’s one that could grow with your character), I’d like to share an idea that Mr. Phae and I have discussed: character Disciplines.
A character Discipline would essentially be a “talent template” system that would allow you to switch between two prespecified talent specs without incurring any cost for doing so. Here’s a basic outline of how this might work:
- Cost: 10,000 gold The cost would be prohibitively high so that it only becomes attainable once you’ve spent some time at level 80, much the same as the epic flying mounts take time to save for. 10,000 gold is twice the cost of epic flight training but is likely to be a more attainable sum after WotLK.
- Swapping Templates You would still need to visit your class trainer to swap templates, preventing players from changing at will. Once starting a raid or instance as one spec, it should be somewhat difficult to change specs midway through. (Of course, with a Druid Trainer in Moonglade, this wouldn’t be much of an obstacle to Druids.) Upon visiting your trainer, you would be prompted with “I would like to learn a new Discipline” (for purchasing your alternate talent template) or “I would like to make changes to one of my Disciplines.”
- Making Changes Once you have a talent template created, making changes to it would incur the same costs as relearning your talents now with the same depreciation over time (5 gold per month to a minimum of 15 gold).
This sort of system would be great for hybrids, allowing us to specialize in two different areas and, assuming we have the gear for both, select either based upon what’s needed that night. Imagine a world where suddenly Fury Warriors could click a button and turn into a tank (if you know many Fury Warriors, you may be going “EEK!” right now). Or a Boomkin could instantly change into a healbot. Or a Feral Druid could swap to Restoration to play her Arena games that week (although I certainly belive that Feral deserves to be Arena-viable in its own right). This would also solve the dirth of tanks and healers issue that tends to crop up in MMOs from time to time. Just imagine not having to make compromises on your spec to try to provide a good balance between two different avenues of play. Or being able to “respec” multiple times a day, depending on what you’re doing next. You could go to SSC for four hours with your guild then immediately switch over to your PvP spec and play in the Arena only to switch back and run a Heroic instance before bed.
Respeccing Shouldn’t be Trivialized
10,000 gold is not trivial. It’s essentially paying for four respecs a week at the maximum cost (50 gold) for one year. Under the current system, at the end of one year, you’d be faced with having to spend another 10,000 gold to continue playing. And while four respecs a week may sound like a lot, hardcore PvPers who also enjoy raiding (or who might if their specs weren’t so restrictive) might often have to respec four or more times depending upon the raid schedule of their guilds and Arena teammates. And if you think about it, there are already some classes that are fortunate enough to have specs that work well in PvE instancing, PvE raiding, PvP Arenas, and PvE solo play. Having the ability to have two talent specs available would make this option available to everyone without forcing them to incur 100-200 gold in respec costs every week.
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