To Start: Yes some adjustments would have to be made for this to work, I understand that. I think that this could be a simple way to add more diversity between classes and give both PvE and PvP some interesting yet simple benefits while keeping the current talent system unaffected.
I'm Not saying to change the Talent system, this is merely an extension
Synergy Tree: This tree is Universal between all classes and races and would function in a similar fashion to the old school talent tree without any gating. It would give a very basic way to differentiate your character using Resistances(including physical).
What it does: The Synergy tree would allow you to gain specific resistances(including physical) based on the statistical value of your primary stat without any deductions to that stat. Your decision would have to be made carefully as you would have to weigh which form of damage you view as the most threatening to you because you can either have 1(maybe 2) strong resistances or be a jack of all resistances.
How this could affect things: In PvE we would get back resistances without that god awful gear grind and if you could save synergy specs and switch through them in similar fashion as Talents and Specs it wouldn't be any more of a bother.
In PvP players have more of an ability to self balance a game. If players know that a class is OP or in general incredibly potent against them they could Synergize towards defending against that at the cost of course of making other classes more potent..
Originally Posted by Slowpoke is a Gamer
So it's essentially a big talent tree that doesn't change based on what you play?
So it's the ultimate cookie cutter?
It wouldn't be big, one Synergy for every resistance(including physical) with 5 ranks and you get 10 points to distribute. Very simple
Some Homogenization is fine so long as it makes sense, in WoW it took quite a few years before classes other then rogues learned how to run.
I'm afraid I don't see much of a point if you just switch between resistances based on the fight. Why? Because then Blizzard would need to create bosses that exercise those resistances and it's a further way to define good vs bad players: those that actually set up their resistances and those that don't. I'm not saying that there shouldn't be something useful for customization but I don't feel resistances is the right direction to go.
In PvP though, that could be interesting mechanic - maybe an in-combat cooldown to try to switch between different resistance types depending on what you're having to fight. It can mean surviving against one enemy but falling to another.
If it is to complicated/unnecessary for PvE then it could be PvP exclusive(not sure the community would be happy about that). I think PvP would gain the greatest benefit from a system like this because it gives the player the ability to strengthen his weaknesses in situations where they would otherwise stand no chance(such as an obscure Arena composition vs Fotm.) If you can synergize to counter fotm you can at least feel competitive. I feel like this should be a decision you make before a match began otherwise it would be pointless the fotm would just synergize against you and the net would be 0.
I think Battleground would have to follow the same set of rules but a trial run into active synergizing could be interesting, having a resistance system as you suggest but I think In-combat would have to have a good cooldown system, maybe something like you can change your resistance in combat a single time but the cooldown to switch doesn't start until you exit combat. This would introduce more consequence at least but also add significantly more button clutter.
I think introducing my original idea where your Synergies would be static until changed give the game more of that Rock Paper Scissors style prior to a fight beginning where if you are Scissors you can try and synergize to Break Rock at the potential cost of Paper breaking you.