Re-spec Options Need to be in Every Western RPG

GameFront is hosting an editorial that argues that re-spec should be a standard for Western RPGs, using Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Two Worlds II and Star Wars: The Old Republic as examples. Here's a snip:
As far as I'm concerned, any Western RPG that revolves around player freedom and the acquisition of personal power should have a re-spec option as standard. Even my favorite WRPG, Skyrim, forces you to stick with the choices you made, despite being an open world game where players are encouraged to be who they want to be. The trouble is, most human beings are prone to change their minds or make decisions they later don't agree with. Maybe I was excited to be a summoner at one point, but begun to thirst for something more hands-on and in-your-face. Perhaps my bloodthirsty barbarian has grown tired of melee combat and wishes to pick enemies off with arrows from the shadows. In games that can last upwards of eighty hours, having a change of heart deep into an RPG is something that can severely impact one's enjoyment.


When I've mentioned my demand for more re-spec options in the past, some gamers tell me that they don't agree. They claim that it would remove the idea of there being consequences for our actions, and that it's a good thing to encourage careful investment and planning. There is certainly an argument to be had for consequences but only in games built around the concept of actions and reactions in the first place. Sure, in a game like BioShock, where the entire aim is to make players think about consequences, there's merit in keeping player choice static. Similarly, when it comes to story-based choices, such as saving Little Sisters, fighting for the Empire in Skyrim, or deciding whether or not to murder an important Jedi, I can see the need for decisions that stick. That's fine and dandy.

However, in games that are about limitless potential, unfettered choice, and making players become the hero they've always wanted to be, then a re-spec option for personal stats is an absolute must. Since power fantasy is such a huge part of every Western RPG, then it is imperative that every Western RPG includes the option. Sure, it doesn't have to be free an expenditure of gold or experience sacrifice can add an element of extra consideration when it comes to rebuilding a character but it should be there, included as an option somehow. Otherwise, you set your (go anywhere, do anything, be anyone) RPG up to be a potential honey trap luring players into situations where they regret wasting hours and hours of progress on a character that sucks. I still remember how Oblivion could let you actively fuck your character up to the point where the game was miserable, and you wouldn't even know about it until at least twelve hours of play. That's not cool in the least.