Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Resetting ROM Talent Points

Runes of Magic got a new patch today that included a significant skill/spell balancing pass.  (Inexplicably, the US official forum post only offers the patch notes in the form of a text attachment; the EU forum mods somehow managed to paste the text into a post like normal people.)  The initial reaction has been ugly, as practically all spells that previously cost a fixed amount of mana now also cost a percentage of your mana pool (less of an issue for my Druid/Rogue, whose nukes are powered by energy rather than mana), but this is as good an occasion as any to talk about the game's talent point system.

Unlike talents in WoW, TP in ROM are a sort of currency used to pay for upgrades to skills.  You get 10% of any exp you earn as TP, with an extra bundle each time you level up.  The cost to train each upgrade goes up with each level, so you can afford to max a few key skills, keep a larger number within a rank or two, or keep just about everything within half a dozen levels of the top.  Each of your two classes has a separate TP pool and you're free to pursue different strategies with each of them.

Given the full refund, I took the opportunity to divert TP from less used spells - my Druid now maxes three key DPS spells and spends the rest of the TP on keeping some heals up to par, while the Rogue has a more complicated rotation that includes half a dozen attacks and a variety of useful passive bonuses.  Apparently you can continue to gain TP after hitting the level cap, offering a form of alternate advancement and eventually getting all the upgrades to all the skills.  Though there are cash store items to gain more TP and/or reset your current choices (it is a free to play game after all), none of the choices are really irreversible since you can eventually gain more.

Overall, though I can see the potential for grind, it is also an interesting system.  The other thing that I like about it is that it avoids some of the advance study that goes into planning out a spec in other games, because you can upgrade your spells as you use them.  You might, as I did, end up with a few points sunk in spells that you don't end up using, or without the points to fully upgade a new ability at the level you receive it.  In the long run, though, it's much less of a learning curve than we see with alternate advancement systems in other games, where you need prebuilt builds from the forums or extended reseach before you start to make sure you don't make ineffective choices.


Indy said...

Yes, the system is interesting. There does seem to be a flaw in their implementation, however (or just a truly mean-spirited streak on their part) -- the last time they refunded talent points, they didn't refund ALL of them. Bonus talent points just went away. A friend of mine was quite incensed about it, after that patch she didn't have enough TP to buy all the skills she had before it.

They may or may not have done the same thing this time... if you didn't add up the points you had beforehand, would you notice? Although I don't think you'd spent any cash on the items to increase your TP.

Robert said...

EVERY time you come out with a blog post where you use the acronym ROM to talk about "Runes of Magic" I at first think you mean the type of MUD, ROM ( I get all excited thinking we're gonna talk about some interesting nostalgia of MUD's, or modern day MUD's.

But no, your just using it to talk about yet another asian F2P WOW-like clone MMO that I haven't given more than a cursory glance because I'm sure it requires a bunch of grinding that they will happily reduce for you if you just purchase XYZ from the item store.

Drilski said...

Hey, Rob, psst:

1) Cry more much?
2) The grind apparently only gets really bad later on. So at least they use cunning marketing tactics before they make you spend your soul.

Indy said...

While the grind isn't bad until later on, they do also do some cute tricks like stick in the occasional elite mob without any indication that it IS, in fact, elite. Oh, and none of the mobs display actual health numbers... just a % of their max. (It was only after attacking and seeing that the attack did half the usual damage amount, and only 5% of it's health instead of 50%, that I realized that it must be elite).

Said trick works for them because you get an XP/TP debt from dying; unless you pay money for an item to remove or prevent it. I'll just say that I was unamused...

Hunter said...

I laughed when you mentioned patch notes. When I was playing the american forums couldn't be relied on. They'd either be late, wouldn't post the notes at all, or would leave out significant changes that appeared in the european notes.

If we complained about it, our posts got deleted.