Less skill fiddling more dramatic content
The Developer Diary mentions:
'We also had really just been making lots and lots of skills. Quick bars for each class were chock full of different skills, brimming up to 4-plus quick bars in some cases. Many of those skills were redundant, unexciting and worst of all, not really getting used. Something had to give. Things were just unsustainable.'
Well I don't agree entirely that skills are not really getting used, you never know when you might use a skill and always try out a new one for certain. Some skills work better against different kinds of enemy. The trait trees should allow just as much flexibility, more in fact and present the current skill sets for each class with a more precise selection approach. A visually clearer tree layout should make it easier to see what changes affect alternative skills and so hint at what is going on 'under-the-hood' of your character. More importantly it should be easier for developers to tweak skills and design new ones when needed in a more flexible framework. Icons cluttering the game screen have always been an irritation when the landscapes and battles at times are crying out to be seen and enjoyed by the player, an important part of keeping Tolkein's immersive world rich and entertaining.
The point of the the redesign let's hope will allow designers, artists, animators and programmers to concentrate less on maintaining skills that work well for characters and provide a simpler approach to add new ones, make balancing changes if necessary. More importantly create a skill system that allows the user to customise the skills they have, the way they want, and most importantly free the developers to concentrate on the content, the visuals, the story, more creative animation, the design of better more involving quests and mechanics that make jaw-dropping, dramatic instances that use the skills we already have. More great instances you want to talk about and show off on youtube to your friends can only be a good thing. Less Youtube videos of buttons all over our screens would be a good thing too.