So there’s been quite a bit of discussion about ArenaNet’s decision to only allow respecs of traits at a trainer for a small fee. One issue I have with the given reason (and Kill Ten Rat’s reasons for agreeing) is that the same reasons would seem to apply when discussing allowing free, any-time changes to major traits and slot skills; why ArenaNet decided differently for those isn’t clear. Also, I’m deeply skeptical of any reason that would support the original Attribute Refunds system in Guild Wars over the system that quickly replaced it.
In a recent interview, John Peters states that the less important parts of the build have more permanence. I’m unsure of why — is it that they consider permanence good from a RP/story perspective, but bad for gameplay, so they only do it to the parts that are relatively unimportant gameplay-wise? Or that relatively unimportant decisions need the extra weight of lasting for longer?
Here’s what I’d like to see — remove the gold cost. Like Hunter, I don’t think gold sinks should inhibit play. While I don’t want a cost every time you respec, I would be fine with an initial cost to unlock options. For example, instead of having a training manual for each of three tiers they could charge skill points to unlock a tier for one particular trait line — then you’d have the same choice of which option to unlock first that you have for skills, even though you’ll get all of them eventually, if you work at it.
As far as when they should be switchable, I’d like it to be something like the original Guild Wars, only in safe areas. I don’t want it to be possible to switch after every mob — as a general design principle, the most effective option should be fun, not avoided because it’s way too much hassle. The same reasoning applies to slot skills and major traits, and I’d like them to be handled the same way. Only at waypoints seems like a reasonable design — only at cities would amount to the same thing, except with extra hassle thrown in. I do think it’s important that you be able to switch before starting every dungeon. Also, since retraining makes no sense story-wise, I’d prefer to see it take place in the UI, without an NPC in the world.