When we first announced our design goals for class talent trees back at BlizzCon 2009, one of our major stated focuses was to remove some of the boring and “mandatory” passive talents. We mentioned that we wanted talent choices to feel more flavorful and fun, yet more meaningful at the same time. Recently, we had our fansites release information on work-in-progress talent tree previews for druids, priests, shaman, and rogues. From those previews and via alpha test feedback, a primary response we heard was that these trees didn’t really seem to incorporate the original design goals discussed at BlizzCon. This response echoes something we have been feeling internally for some time: that the talent tree system has not aged well ever since we increased the level cap beyond level 60. In an upcoming beta build, we will unveil bold overhauls of all 30 talent trees.
When players reach level 10, they are presented with basic information on the three specializations within their class and are asked to choose one. Then they spend their talent point. The other trees darken and are unavailable until 31 points are spent in the first tree. The character is awarded an active ability, and one or more passive bonuses unique to the tree they've chosen. As they level they'll receive a talent point around every other level, and skills available from their trainer (ideally) when a talent point isn't given. They'll have a 31-point tree to work down, each talent being more integral and exciting than they would have been in the past. Once they spend their 31'st point in the final talent (possible at level 70) the other trees un-darken and become available to spend points in from then on. As they move into the level 78+ areas in Cataclysm they'll begin seeing items with a new stat, Mastery. Once they learn the Mastery skill from their class trainer they'll receive bonuses from the stat based on the tree they've specialized in.
We understand these are fairly significant changes and still have a lot of details to solidify. We feel, however, they are more in-line with our original class design goals for Cataclysm and are confident they will make for a better gameplay experience. Your constructive feedback is welcomed and appreciated.
Source: WoW homepage