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  1. #1

    What Choice Do I Have? A deeper look at the Trait Trees

    The intent here is to take a look at some of the theory behind how one can spend Points in the Trait Tree System.

    This is not a claim on if a certain Trait is good, bad, or indifferent, only my thoughts about what choices the Trees offer and what they mean to defining a character. Even though I'm using an RK Tree as an example the same applies to any Class or Tree

    I'm not looking at Skill variety, that's it's own separate discussion, instead focusing on builds available under the new system.

    It's The Little Things That Matter

    One of the many differences between the old system and the new Trait Tree System is the magnitude of each choice. Where in the old system each choice could make a profound impact on it's own, with Trees choices come in two flavors, Impact or Increment, both are smaller in and of themselves than the old system but there is much more control with Trees.

    Impact Choices grant you something new, a mitigation, a skill, a passive, etc. They have the greatest effect on a character because you either choose to gain something or not to gain it. They are the most identifiable way to see different builds. When it comes to Traits there are two Impact Choices, 0 or 1, Rank bought. Even if the Trait has more Than 1 Rank available it's really only the 1st Rank that counts as an Impact Choice, any Ranks beyond the first are Incremental Choices.

    The exception to this is Gated Traits.

    Trait 1 has 5 Ranks
    Trait 2 can have any number of Ranks, but has a requirement that Trait 1 needs to have 3 Ranks bought to open up Trait 2.

    Trait 1 now has 3 Impact Choices 0, 1, or 3 Ranks. Trait 2 can be an Impact or Incremental Choice depending on what it grants. The 3rd rank is a 0, 1 option to open a new Trait. It can be a lesser Impact Choice if Trait 2 is just an enhancement to Trait 1 or an outright Impact Choice if Trait 2 itself is an Impact Choice (new skill, etc.).

    Increment Choices further enhance an Impact Choice. It increases in someway the amount or function of an Impact Choice. It has to enhance an Impact Choice you've made, this is why I count the first 0, 1 choice of Traits that add Stats or Mitigations as Impact Choices They grant you the choice to increase or not said Stat or Mitigation.

    How Do You Play This Game

    Are you playing on the Landscape mostly, or are you building for a Raid? Group or Solo? Do you prefer the "big numbers" or a more controlling protective style? Do need to do one thing very well, or do you want to do as many different things as possible albeit at a reduced efficiency?

    In general builds can be broken into Straight and Hybrid with several variation upon the 2 themes.

    Straight Builds will generally put most of their Points in their Specialization and any off spec Points will usually be used to bolster the function of that spec. But even in a Straight Build you can choose to fully or mostly max your Specialization Tree, only skipping Traits that are redundant or unneeded, or go for only spending 31 points, less if the Capstone Trait isn't wanted and branching out to the off spec Trees for more utility and chance to bolster your spec.

    Hybrid Builds are far more flexible on Point allocation. They can run the gambit from heavy Points in the Specialization Tree to no Points in said Specialization, with several options in between.

    Those kind of answers can factor into how you spend your Points and how much flexibility the Trees can offer you.

    What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up



    The first choice you need to make is what Specialization will you take. Know if any of the passives, skills, or Set Bonuses interact with your General Skills and how they interact with the various Trait Skills in all 3 Trees.

    That Is How The Trait Do



    You spend Points to buy Ranks in a Trait. Traits can have anywhere from 1 - 5 Ranks to purchase

    Traits grant different types of effects;



    Such as enhance your character via Stats, Damage Buffs, Mitigations, etc.



    Enhance a Skill in different ways.



    Or grant a Skill.
    Last edited by Gedachtnis; Nov 11 2013 at 09:01 PM.

  2. #2


    They can also be gated behind other Traits. In the example above you need to have 1 Rank in the Essence of Flame Trait before you can put any Ranks into this Trait. a Trait can also be "chain gated" meaning you may have to have Ranks in multiple Traits to unlock a Trait.

    How Much Choice Do I Really Have



    This Blue Tree has three Traits, two that go to Rank 5 and one that only has 1 Rank. (Yellow has the same, Red has 3 Traits each with 5 Ranks)

    Sticking with the Blue Traits there are seventy-two ways to spend Points! And people say there are limited options, phewee!

    Well yes and no, there are seventy-two ways to spend the Points and each of those ways are unique to themselves but the majority of them are Incremental Choices. Also because this is T1 many of those combinations aren't possible because we need 5 Points in T1 to unlock the T2 Traits.

    There are three options regarding Ranks many players will likely choose, 0-1-5, no - yes/min - max, on Traits 1 and 3, and two options, 0-1, no - yes, on Trait 2.which gives cuts us down to eighteen ways to spend points but we still have that pesky 5 Rank requirement so that cuts our options to six, maybe...

    There are 3 Impact Choices;

    Trait 1 = no or yes (0 or 1)
    Trait 2 = no or yes (0 or 1)
    Trait 3 = no or yes (0 or 1)

    While at first glance it looks like you have six options; there are really only five. Because of the 5 Rank requirement to open T2, Traits 1 and 3 only have three options between them not four (no - yes, yes - no, yes - yes), you have to put Points into at least one of them..

    We've now boiled this down to five unique build starts.

    0-1-1 (Skill and Stat)
    1-1-0 (Mitigation and Skill)
    1-1-1 (Mitigation, Skill and Stat)
    0-0-1 (Stat focus)
    1-0-0 (Mitigation focus)

    That's a lot less than the seventy-two we started with but definitely more than just one way.

    We still need to gain Ranks to open up further Tiers so we end up with

    0-1-4
    4-1-0
    2-1-2
    0-0-5
    5-0-0

    Obviously we can put more Points but those are the basic starts we have available.



    We've now opened up T2 Traits in the Blue Tree. I suggest leaving the Traits at this point and looking at T2, as you can always add points into T1 later and taking your time through the Tree the first time may save you some gold.

    We once again have one Trait with 1 Rank and two Traits with 5 Ranks, but what does that do to our choices now that we're in T2?

    Because we're no longer in T1, and the way we only spent enough Points to open this Tier gives us some options we didn't have in T1;

    We have four Impact Choices since, in our example, we put no Points into Trait 1/T1. Three in T2 and one in T1.

    Trait 1/Tier 1 = no or yes (0 or 1)
    Trait 1/Tier 2 = no or yes (0 or 1)
    Trait 2/Tier 2 = no or yes (0 or 1)
    Trait 3/Tier 2 = no or yes (0 or 1)

    Again we lose an option because of Trait 1/Tier2 only having 1 Rank. So if we choose 1, yes, for Trait 1/T2 then we have to choose 1, yes in at least one of the other Traits.

    We have thirteen ways to further define our build;

    T1-T2-T2-T2

    1 - 0 - 0 - 0 (Mitigation)
    1 - 1 - 0 - 0 (Mitigation, Skill)
    1 - 1 - 1 - 0 (Mitigation, Skill, Utility)
    1 - 1 - 1 - 1 (Mitigation, Skill, Utility, Better Skill Effect)
    1 - 0 - 1 - 0 (Mitigation, Utility)
    1 - 0 - 1 - 1 (Mitigation, Utility, Better Skill Effect)
    1 - 0 - 0 - 1 (Mitigation, Better Skill Effect)
    0 - 1 - 1 - 0 (Skill, Utility)
    0 - 1 - 1 - 1 (Skill Utility, Better Skill Effect)
    0 - 1 - 0 - 1 (Skill, Better Skill Effect)
    0 - 0 - 1 - 0 (Utility)
    0 - 0 - 1 - 1 (Utility Better Skill Effect)
    0 - 0 - 0 - 1 (Better Skill Effect)

    I leave it to you to see the variety of Incremental Choices available.

    There is one other factor to consider;



    See those little dotted arrows, that means that Trait 1/T2 is a Gate for Trait 1/T3. You'll want to take into consideration both the T2 Gating Trait and it's T3 counterpart. Some times the Gating Trait will only have 1 rank other times more. Also the Gated Trait can have various requirements for how many Ranks you need in the Gaiting Trait to open it.

    For example a Gating Trait might have 5 Ranks available but the Gated Trait might only require 3 Ranks to open up.

    This choice is much simpler because we only have 1 Rank in the Gating Trait.

    Now to look at T3



    We've decided to go 1-0-4 in T2.

    Trait1/T3 has 3 Ranks and Trait 2/T3 has 5 Ranks. While we have the same premise as Tier 2, 4 Traits one of which has less than 3 Ranks, we also have 2 Traits that we can Increment up to hit our next 5 Ranks in order to open Tier 4. This gives us back our lost option giving us fourteen options;

    T1-T2-T3-T3

    1 - 0 - 0 - 0 (Mitigation)
    1 - 1 - 0 - 0 (Mitigation, Utility)
    1 - 1 - 1 - 0 (Mitigation, Utility, Better Skill Effect)
    1 - 1 - 1 - 1 (Mitigation,Utility, Better Skill Effect, Better Skill Effect)
    1 - 0 - 1 - 0 (Mitigation, Better Skill Effect)
    1 - 0 - 1 - 1 (Mitigation, Better Skill Effect, Better Skill Effect)
    1 - 0 - 0 - 1 (Mitigation, Better Skill Effect)
    0 - 1 - 0 - 0 (Utility)
    0 - 1 - 1 - 0 (Utility, Better Skill Effect)
    0 - 1 - 1 - 1 (Utility, Better Skill Effect, Better Skill Effect)
    0 - 1 - 0 - 1 (Utility, Better Skill Effect)
    0 - 0 - 1 - 0 (Better Skill Effect)
    0 - 0 - 1 - 1 (Better Skill Effect, Better Skill Effect)
    0 - 0 - 0 - 1 (Better Skill Effect)

    Then you have all the Incremental Choices.
    Last edited by Gedachtnis; Nov 11 2013 at 09:09 PM.

  3. #3


    We decided to go 3 - 0 in Tier 3 and took 2 Incremental Choices to get the Ranks needed to open Tier 4.

    The idea of looking back at past Traits and counting them again as a Choice might be seen as a false choice by some. I don't see it that way. Each new Tier allows you to reevaluate past no's against the new choices. Choosing no on a Trait on first look does not always mean that it's a bad Trait, only that it was the less desirable of the available choices at that time.

    How have all these little choices made a character distinct? By looking at this build we can safely say this RK is valuing Healing Skills and Enhancing them highly, shows little interest in Utility Skills, and values Stats over Mitigation. A guess would be that they know their Tanks, knows Support Classes will be available and likely isn't much of an in-between DPSer.

    What choices would you make?

    Before closing this up I want to take a quick look at a Hybrid option. I won't go into extreme detail but just give an overview of another option.

    Let's say we find our selves in the position of not really needing to be a full blown healer but needing more than the 3 General Healing Skills we have.



    We Specialized in Blue but only went down 2 Tiers, splashed a little red and went as deep Yellow as Points allowed. Keep in mind also that there are 10 more Points to be earned in HD which will allow us more options.

    Why do this considering the Point cost of out of spec Traiting?

    We are giving up a lot of bells and whistles that go along with Specializing in Yellow and not really getting all of the best stuff in Blue, so what do we get?

    By Specializing in Blue we get 2 more heals, Rune-Sign of Winter and Writ of Health at no point cost and every Healing Skills has a chance to proc a -10% incoming damage buff to it's target. We also get the Specialization Bonuses down to Tier 6 which gives us Rousing Words, +20% Healing, +20% on Frost Damage, WoH tiers down, an enhancement to Epic of the Ages and more as well as picking up Mending Verse and it's enhancement, a basic rune-stone, and some Tac Mastery via Will.

    Enough to be a main Raid healer, likely not, but able to heal smaller group content, hold things together while the main healer gets a rez, provide enough heals for content that doesn't need another full blown healer, or having the ability to survive harder solo content yes.

    Are we going to blow the top off the DPS charts, not a chance. But we did pick up Ceasless Argument, a second rune-stone (damaging), and Epic Conclusion, as well as incresed Tac Damage, increased Crit, and the Thunderous Words buff.

    You could obviously make other choices on Point spending or flip it around to buff DPS but grab more healing skills.

    The bottom line is there are plenty of options depending on play style, need, and how you value a given Trait.

    Long boring read but I hope that this helps someone. I'm not the smartest man on Earth so errors may be present.
    Last edited by Gedachtnis; Nov 11 2013 at 09:12 PM.

  4. #4
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    Very helpful. Thank you.

  5. #5
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    Great job, Ged.

  6. #6
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    Interesting. I kinda guess I will need to see it. However, I am surprised Turbine did not think it important to make an official version of something like "Why we did this", instead of making the players speculate.

    Thanks for your effort.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Gedachtnis View Post
    How Do You Play This Game

    Are you playing on the Landscape mostly, or are you building for a Raid? Group or Solo? Do you prefer the "big numbers" or a more controlling protective style? Do need to do one thing very well, or do you want to do as many different things as possible albeit at a reduced efficiency?
    Where can i find the guides for those?

  8. #8


    I worry that what you just heard was "where can i find the guides for big battles". What I said was "where can i find the guides for raids".

  9. #9
    No I understood your attempt to troll perfectly well.

    I would say that just because you have completed all the current and scaling Raids on T2C multiple times, not everyone has and I suspect that a portion of people will be Raiding not only for the first time but as a alternate way to get Seals, if there is a need for them.

    I find your need to point out the obvious, that there is no new raid cluster this xpac, in a thread dealing specifically with Trait Trees rather telling. But I do appreciate the bump. Thanks
    Last edited by Gedachtnis; Nov 13 2013 at 12:04 AM.

  10. #10
    Sapience or any Blue Name really.

    The Quickbar memory issue has been brought up several times and I haven't seen any official response, perhaps I've missed something.

    This issue requires a 100 MC purchase on each and every character that does not use 1 Quickslot set to achieve basic expected functionality. It doesn't matter if they are F2P, Preimium, or VIP. In order to use the second Quickbar set, to place our general skills in the configuration we want for each spec we must not only purchase a Spec Tab but then leave it unused so that we can "despec" in order to get the memory to hold.

    I don't mind that upgrades happen in the store at all. If I want to save a third spec and need to buy a new tab to do that, fine I have no problem with that. But what is happening now is we are being given a major system that is not working properly with the only fix being a store purchase and I find that simply unacceptable. On top of the store purchase we need to respec twice just in order to load a new spec, I haven't watched to see if that costs in game gold and if so how much.

    The issue doesn't exist for players that keep all their General Skills in the same spot for every spec and stay on the same quickbar set, so I do realize this isn't an issue for everybody, but it is an issue for some.

    I would really like to know if there is a fix or at the very least a workaround that will be in at launch, or if this is actually what is considered basic functionality and no change is expected. With Beta ending any hope of testing the fix or workaround has ended.

  11. #11
    Fantastic overview! I feel much less apprehensive going in to these changes now. Though I'm probably going to burn through lots of gold playing around with my specs.

  12. #12
    Glad you found it helpful!

  13. #13
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    0 - 1 - 1 - 0 (Utility, Better Skill Effect)
    0 - 1 - 1 - 1 (Utility, Better Skill Effect, Better Skill Effect)
    0 - 1 - 0 - 1 (Utility, Better Skill Effect)


    all three are the same ... one option is slightly better, wich makes the other two obsolete ...

    I totally understand why turbine isnt explaining anything about their new systems ^^

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Dying View Post
    0 - 1 - 1 - 0 (Utility, Better Skill Effect)
    0 - 1 - 1 - 1 (Utility, Better Skill Effect, Better Skill Effect)
    0 - 1 - 0 - 1 (Utility, Better Skill Effect)


    all three are the same ... one option is slightly better, wich makes the other two obsolete ...

    I totally understand why turbine isnt explaining anything about their new systems ^^
    As I said at the beginning this isn't an exercise in what choice was better or worse, simply what choices exist. This is esp. true because I used a single trait tree from a single class as an example of what all trees and classes hold.

    The limited three samples aren't the same. There are 3 different Better Skill Effects and they all bolster different skills. What you or I think or know is optimal for us isn't always true for everyone.

  15. #15
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    How many skill tree points are we supposed to have in total and how are they earned? I can't find that information anywhere at the moment. I just want to make sure I've gotten the max amount of points that there is.
    Elendilmir forever!

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by bigred0727 View Post
    How many skill tree points are we supposed to have in total and how are they earned? I can't find that information anywhere at the moment. I just want to make sure I've gotten the max amount of points that there is.
    When I logged in I had 55 at L85. When I leveled to 86 I did not get any more points.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by bigred0727 View Post
    How many skill tree points are we supposed to have in total and how are they earned? I can't find that information anywhere at the moment. I just want to make sure I've gotten the max amount of points that there is.
    Max at lvl 85 is 55 points.

    At lvl 95 max is 65 points.

    You gain 1 at every odd numbered level from lvl 7 onward. There are also points for doing the Class Deeds plus completing some of the HD Deeds award points.


    One other thing, Sapience has posted about the quickbar memory issue. A fix is coming but likely after 12.1

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by TinDragon View Post
    Fixed it for you.
    Sorry, you're wrong.

    There are 65 points available at lvl 95

    5 from leveling
    5 from completing stuff in HD

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gedachtnis View Post
    Sorry, you're wrong.

    There are 65 points available at lvl 95

    5 from leveling
    5 from completing the quest and exploration deeds in the various zones.
    Yeah, I realized they might have added something in one of the last betas, and ended up deleting my post.
    The ones I was in didn't have those.

 

 

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