As anyone reading this has no doubt heard, ArenaNet made changes to the skill system in GW2 recently. Instead of being able to purchase any skill in the list as long as you had the skill points to spend, we will now have to purchase skills in a certain tier before moving on to the next. Interestingly this is also how the ability wheel works in the Secret World.
This was a commonly asked question during yesterday’s AMA Reddit with the ArenaNet team, as some are concerned they are removing player choice. I recently purchased the original Guild Wars trilogy so I could work on some of the Hall of Monuments points and I have a new perspective now.
In Guild Wars you need to buy your abilities from a vendor with skill points. Especially after you pick your secondary profession, you are presented with a lot of choices right away. It could certainly be just one of my personal quirks, but I was already feeling pretty overwhelmed. I had a new character in a new game that I was trying to get a handle on, and now I had to figure out which abilities looked like they would be the most useful to not only spend my precious points on but also equip on my hotbar. You have to make the same choices for your NPC "heroes" as well.
I don’t mind my choices being more limited earlier on in the game. Let me just play the class for a while until I feel confident, and let me switch up my build later on for various different purposes. At least with a tiered system I wouldn’t feel like I wasted my points if I found I didn’t really like an ability, because I had to buy it anyway to get to something better. My true hope is that all the abilities will be something useful, but I can’t say that any MMO I’ve played has accomplished that feat. Some abilities will always seem weak in comparison to others.