Korva wrote:The only way I can see respecs being bad is if the game was designed around them. If for example boss A is immune to fire and ice, boss B is immune to lightning and physical, boss C needs fast-hitting and thus almost certainly low-damage skills to kill and boss D laughs off all but the biggest hits, and everyone is (or worse: only some classes are) routinely forced to tree-hop and spec-hop to have any real hope of progressing, that would be really, really crappy and put me off the game in no time. But I cannot see Runic making that mistake.
I think we can safely assume that the game will not be designed around respecs. Here's the thing, though: If I am given the option of respeccing without cheating (i.e. it is part of the vanilla game) then I will not be able to resist using it. I will dump points into skills that I KNOW I am not going to want later on. Then I will respec when I get access to top-tier skills, to make my character as powerful and optimized as possible. I'm not saying that would suck, but, I would be depriving myself of the challenge of not using respecs. I would not get the satisfaction of making it through tough parts of the game with a sub-optimal build, of planning my choices and making tough decisions. And because the game is not designed around respecs, that way of playing would make it too easy. So for someone like me who is not able to ignore the option if it is right in front of his face, it actually does degrade the game experience. If that's not the case for you, then that's good for you.
Korva wrote:It would also help to have the full info for every skill level available on-demand, in-game. The more transparent the mechanics are, the better -- and no, forums and youtube aren't a replacement for having information in-game. Otherwise the vaunted decision-making is pretty much a shot in the dark or a matter of copying whatever other players have discovered. In fact, to me respeccing would make my own choices feel more meaningful because I can freely experiment and come up with something that suits me without fear of gimping myself n levels in the future. No game is perfectly balanced, much less right at release, and realizing that a skill you thought was fun early on isn't actually all that is always annoying. Then there's the potential of patches changing skills more or less significantly. Without on-demand respecs, any patch that touches skills should reset a characters' skill points so the player isn't "punished" for something beyond their control.
You make some very good points here that everyone should be able to agree with. However, I think it falls short of supporting full respeccing. What it shows is that we need to have better information about skills before we commit to them. What I favor is being able to undo the most recent skill point allocations. This would allow us to try before we buy, so to speak. I'm not sure what can be done about patches that change skills, though.
@Arlian: It will be interesting to see whether the skills in TL2 really are balanced, as you say. I hope they are, whether we have respeccing or not, because it will increase the number of viable builds. However, isn't there something to be said for top-tier skills being more powerful than lower-tier ones? I don't mean to say that lower-tier skills should become useless, but they serve different function from top-tier skills so the optimal skill point balance between lower and upper is not something you would easily arrive at without respeccing (I know this requires more explanation, but i have to go to work now).