I don’t see it happening. This is an MMO and they want some sort of persistence considering everything else gets blown up. A lot of people like the idea of having their character slowly get better at things over the years and having something to show for it. Myself included to some degree.
Persistent skills also give people and guilds the opportunity to do long term planning since this game is going to be about winning multiple campaigns not just one. Hopefully we’re all still playing Crowfall years from now and we’ll see which guilds have created dynasties and which ones get a win here and there.
Tblair has already talked about how the passive system is for progression and stat boost, and that true customization will primarily come elsewhere, so why be so attached to a persistent passive skill tree at that point, why not just make it like an RTS where you are building your stats from fresh every once in a while, or like diablo as I mentioned before.
What you will notice, is it only takes 15.5 hours of passive training to hit level 5. So people would progress through the first 5 levels extremely fast and start filling out the trees very quickly, but to get to level 6, would literally take longer than ALL 5 previous levels before. So that 6 months into the game, many “vets” would be working on progressing the later levels, while a new person can feel it much easier to “catch up” to a decent level very quickly.
Something LIKE this (maybe fine tune a little bit) this would be much preferred to the current system. This system allows much more friendly “starts” to the skill tree, able to feel like you can progress quickly, be “adequate” in several areas very quickly, but in order to truly be a specialist and make ‘The BEST” stuff, it will take a VERY long investment.
The developers have already stated that end goals to some tiers will take up to a year. Now think about this in EVE terms. I tried to play that game after being on the market for 10+ years. Other players are so far ahead of me that I get over paying to sub for a few months just so I can get PVP ready. I play games like this for PVP and if the ramp up to be able to PVP takes that long, I am over it completely.
I don’t think you need to change much in terms of how skill trees are leveled for newcomers nor do you need a reset. All you need to do is over the life of the game, make the overall progression move faster in an attempt to help newer players. So take Black Desert here as a good example. At launch level cap was 50 and it took hardcore players what, a week to hit 50? Or longer? I can’t remember, but it was a decent amount of time. Then level cap was raised to 55 and 1-50 became easier with 50-55 being harder, now it’s 60 and 1-50 you can achieve casually in a few days or hardcore in probably a day or two, with 50-55 taking a bit more work but still being relatively quick, and 55-60 is the super grind.
I think a similar change in the leveling curve of passive skills would make sense for Crowfall. Maybe 6 months or something after launch, they can change the curve and speed up the starter section of the skill trees to get newcomers caught up more easily. The latter sections of the tree will still be a big grind so the older players will always have an advantage, but you want new players to get into the game more quickly so they can feel like they’re able to contribute. It doesn’t take away from the achievements of your older players, nor does it remove any progression.
What about people who want to join their guildies or friends that are already in game? Many new players join any already existing game because someone they know convinced them it was awesome enough to try. I’d say most people fall into that category with post launch games. So they’re going to need to be capable of playing with vets from the start. Just think about that one guildie that is on the fence about Crowfall and you’re having a hard time convincing to play at launch, but maybe a few months down the line after seeing how awesome it is firsthand from you, decides to join. Don’t you want them playing on the same campaign world as the rest of you, kicking the same butts and not insta dying every encounter?