There is a furor in the D3 forums over their new skill UI. I talked about this earlier this week but it bears a little more attention because their committment to the new UI seems to have extended to the website here. Instead of having all the abilities divided up into ~3 sensible categories on one page you now have 6 categories that make little sense which are on 6 different pages. The in game UI matches the website UI quite well now but unfortunately the biggest way in which they match is that they suck big time.
Normally there are endless cries of 'you are wrecking the game by dumbing it down for noobs' on the forums over virtually any change. Normally I laugh at these cries because they apply this complaint to absolutely anything even if it is actually increasing the depth of play or merely increasing convenience. In this case they are spot on though. This new UI and new skill system is obviously intended for casual players to force them to have only a few choices when building characters. They have 6 buttons and the 6 categories of skills are each pigeonholed into one particular button. The categories don't work though because with only 20 skills and the requirement of having a decent range of choice for each button the categories end up containing 3-4 skills that have nothing to do with one another. The skills in a given category lack and shared mechanics or themes and are obviously just shoehorned in together. Blizzard is clearly sacrificing lore, ease of play and overall game quality to try to save casual players a few moments of deliberation and it is a really bad decision.
When I saw the new UI I was sure it was just a temporary thing designed to be a framework while they built a proper UI but porting it to the website makes me much less sure of it. Even as a new player I imagine I would be frustrated by the current system where I can't easily see what abilities I have available or what they do while making a choice - making it harder to find information is *not* the way to simplify the game for casual players. As long as the skills are balanced and people can beat Normal difficulty with any combination of skills that isn't pants on head stupid then this is not an issue. People who get to Nightmare and have put a ton of time into the game will take a couple minutes to mouse over their skills, try a few things out as they level and get a good sense of how they want to play. The current beta is easy enough that my 5 year old can easily play and survive despite having absolutely no idea what she is doing at all - there is no worry that casual players will be unable to progress because they chose the wrong skills.
Blizzard, fix this mess. I am all for accessibility but we both know that you can go too far to make things accessible like the new levelling in WOW or the new skill UI in D3. Don't make the game bad in a desperate rush to make it simple. You can do simple and good at the same time.