Doom, the reason only a few people seem to want to compromise is because a lot of people (including yourself) aren't looking at this from a game mechanics viewpoint, they're looking at it from the viewpoint of how someone elses preferred playstyle affects them personally. That has absolutely nothing to do with it. There's already been a respec or no respect thread (I think that one got locked, btw, much like this one probably will be).
Just how does the knowledge that people are out there respeccing affect you, the player, personally? Just how does it take away from your accomplishment? If anything, someone taking the easy way to glory would make your accomplishment all the more impressive. If you climb mount everest and I take the super secret sherpa industries express elevator to the top, guess what? Sure, i've been to the top but I took the easy way. There's really no glory in that. You made the dangerous climb, risked life and limb etc etc. Same deal with the game.
We had a similar conversation back in my everquest days when Depths of Darkhallow came out. Depths introduced a new system:Monster missions. These allowed players to take missions, but playing as a high end monster instead of a player character. For example, a player might assume the role of 'Lord Nagafen' and repel a raid of NPCs who have come to slay the dragon lord for his rare treasures.
The problem with them was that they offered far too much reward at first for the amount of effort involved. The reason I say its similar to what were talking about here is because players, instead of focusing on how to best fix the issue in a way that would make everyone happy without totally nerfing the missions or making them not worth the effort and not as much fun, focused entirely on the fact that some people chose to take advantage of the quick leveling these missions brought vs those who chose not to take the fast and easy way.
It became a long, drawn out fight, lots of people were angry and said things, people left the game, the forums became intolerable, etc. And I could understand why people playing an mmo would feel upset. Taking the fast route in an mmo means less time spent learning your class, critical knowledge when it comes to playing in such a group based setting.
Torchlight is a bit different, tho. While the game 'does' take some skill to play (I would hate to imply the devs plan on making the game too easy, or that they aren't skilled at making a game that seems easy at first but actually has a complex and deep system once you get to know it) but there isn't as much of a learning curve when it comes to Torchlight. Everquest got pretty damn complicated pretty damn fast and it's a wonder I was able to handle half of the situations my character ended up in. This kind of game is a lot friendlier a game to get into. You really don't need to worry so much that someone who took that elevator is going to leave you in a slump.
This is also where playing with players you know to be good players comes in, as well.
So here's where the compomise part of my massive continuation of the off topic portion of this particular thread comes in. Please not that all of this is purely my own opinion, feel free to ignore it. I think most folks in favor of respeccing or at least tolerant of it seem to agree that it should be costly. I agree. Changing your character should be something you really take time to dwell on. If you feel you made a mistake then of course, you won't need to but once you have amassed a great amount of gear, you're going to want to be carefull you don't make the wrong choice and end up losing out on all that gear.
So here's my suggestion. (Forgive me if i'm sniping ideas from anyone) When you respec, you
1)lose all experience gained for that level. This will ensure that players half way or more towards the next level are encouraged to hold off on respeccing until they hit the next level.
2)Respec hits every 20 levels and gets exponentially more expensive. Cost is your level times your level, plus 1k at 20, your level times your level plus 10k at 40, your level times your level plus 100k at 60, your level times your level plus 500k at 80 and your level plus your level times 1,000,000 at 100. Ok, I know that's really not quite exponential but I fail at math. This is the most reasonable I thing I could come up with.
3)If the fame system is still in use, same as #1
I think respeccing should give players a way to alter their character should they decide they've spent points unwisely after learning a class more thouroughly or having decided that the prefer a different build due to realizing they prefer a particular playstyle. This is the benefit that makes it worth the cost, I feel.
Ok, tl;dr, kangaroos rock.
“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”
― Lao Tzu