Or at least, so it seems this past week with several announced features getting the axe in a pre-E3 press event. The Path of Titans, a somewhat nebulous alternate advancement mechanic that would have struggled to strike a balance between useless and mandatory, is gone. The new archaeology profession that was to unlock options for the Path will now be used to provide lore tidbits, similar to Warhammer's Book of Knowledge. Guild talents have been replaced with a more traditional "gain a level, get a perk" system, similar to what Warhammer has. The revamped heroic modes for iconic low level dungeons - the Deadmines and Shadowfang keep - have been punted to patch 4.1.
In some ways, it's refreshing to see Blizzard willing to talk publicly about what they're thinking about. At the time, patch 3.3 was still in the works and the expansion was over a year from launch, so they simply would not have had much to talk about if they hadn't been able to speculate. Players continue to cite features that were never delivered, such as the original vision of Hero Classes and the Dance Studio, and that might have created even more incentive to clam up.
Even so, it also feels a bit odd to see this level of what, in hindsight, appears to have been pure brainstorming speculation at a major media event. The issue with guild talents potentially forcing players to leave their guilds to find someone who was talenting to support their playstyle was an extremely obvious one - it was one of my earliest reactions to the proposed mechanic - and it seems odd for them to be pulling the system over that very valid concern a year later. Did they have some super-secret plan to address this issue that came up short, or did they literally throw it into a Powerpoint because it sounded cool and they figured they'd have a year to work on the details?
(Aside: In an amusing note, World of Raids learned that the new Guild Reputation, used to encourage players to contribute to their guild before gaining access to rewards,
"is not wiped immediately upon leaving or being removed from the guild; this is to prevent losing all your progress in the guild due to someone jokingly kicking you."Ah, the joking /gkick, I guess they are playing the same game we are after all.)
On the plus side, the speculation is now over, and the ramped up info releases seem to point towards the expansion hitting beta in the next month or so. That said, it will be very interesting to see whether this affects the amount of information we get out of future Blizzcon-type events.