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Article One - Skill Resources
While this was not the first topic to be discussed in the interview, we did think it was the most interesting. When the interviewer asked Jay about the state of the skill resources, I was expecting him to get shot down and be banned from Gamescom. Shocked was I then, when Jay replied "Oh, I'll talk about where they're at."
Recently, we were made aware of the Wizard losing Instability for a new skill resource. However, we did not know what this new resource was, nor did we know how instability worked. Both questions were resolved within the interview.
Official Blizzard Quote:
We could not get a version of instability we liked, the last version involved a buff and debuff that would hit the wizard whenever she went unstable. It was actually a pretty severe buff, it doubled all the damage on her but it also increased her crit chance. It just didn't affect how people played. They didn't notice it most of the time, when they did notice it they didn't change what they were doing. That's not the point of a resource system, it needs to be managed somewhat to change how you play.
One could argue that this information is redundant now that instability has been
scrapped, however it is still interesting to explore what could have been. I do think it was a good decision to do away with Instability, due to the fact that, as Jay explained, this resource would not have affected gameplay much. Players would have been free to spam skills without fear of being unable to cast, since the penalty for multiple casts did not involve an inability to cast more spells. Instead, players would be rewarded with more damage. Obviously, this would have called for Wizards to get as much Faster Cast Rate as humanly possible, to reach the point of instability quickly. This system would have also been open to exploits. Think about it, would it matter if the spells actually hit a target, or would the Wizard be able to reach the point of instability by casting spells at nothing?
Official Blizzard Quote:
Now, it's called Arcane Power. It's not dissimilar to mana in a lot of ways but it regenerates very quickly, and it doesn't grow over time. She has lots of abilities and passive skills that enhance it.
Now, this description is a bit more vague than instability. Basically all we know for sure from this, is that it's a relatively static resource pool, and it regenerates very quickly.
What it seems Blizzard is trying to achieve here, is to make players choose spells carefully. With a static pool, players will be forced to choose between casting a volley of low cost spells, or save their Arcane Power for one or two powerful spells. With a quick recharge rate, players will most likely be stalled one or two seconds before being able to unleash more spells.
Personally, I think this system will be much more dynamic than Mana in the previous games, since at high levels players often had countless bonuses to their mana pool. Factor in mana leech items, and you rarely had to concern yourself with your mana pool. Should Blizzard choose to only give bonuses to Arcane Power through skills, then we may see an interesting, dynamic system that forces players to think before they cast.
Official Blizzard Quote:
The Monk has spirit, and that's probably the one we're happiest with. His combo moves generate spirit, which can be used for "signature moves" that he does. He can't do them very often, but they're great attacks, some are escapes, some are recovery.
While it is news to us, this mechanic sounds awfully similar to Fury. Like the Barbarian, it sounds like the Monk will have to attack to generate his resource, which can then be used to fuel more powerful moves. However, this description is still quite vague, Blizzard will have undoubtedly foreseen similarities between the two systems, and done their best to distance them from one another. It also sounds as if the development team is revisiting the charge system the Assassin used with several of her Martial Arts skills. The extent of these similarities are yet to be seen, of course.
We also have to wonder what exactly combo-moves entails. Will they function as preparatory moves, with the Monk using any low damage skill before being able to use any one of his "signature moves"? Or will the Monk be forced to use sequences of combo moves to cast a specific signature move? Furthermore, which skills will qualify as signature moves? Powerful moves like 7 Sided Strike are obvious contenders
at the moment, but no doubt Blizzard has all kinds of signature moves planned for the Monk. However it turns out, it sounds as if the Monk is going to have a beat-em'-up feel to him.
Sadly, we still have no word on the skill resource of the fifth class. However, we do know that the Barbarian and Witch Doctor are still using Fury and Mana respectively, so hopefully Blizzard won't be throwing us any curve balls in the months approaching Blizzcon.