Single player games often have many avenues if approach, if you play the game in a certain way you get an achievement, for example not killing any enemies, not losing any team members or completing on a certainly difficulty. What to play in a different fashion then you just head to the main menu and click New Game and try your hand at a different path, making the polar opposite choices to your last play through and most of the time this will earn a different achievement.
Massive Multi-player Online games are strange as this re-rolling only happens at the players choice and generally not to try something slightly different on the same class. This is where Classes come in as being unique in that they offer a different wedge of the skill pie, but players don’t generally want to roll a new character to make a different skill selection.
Of course the investment of time can’t be compared to your usual single player title in the same manner.
The danger with skill selection is that’s it’s easy to pick a power that doesn’t work well for your build or perhaps in a group that power becomes obsolete. In Single player games your next skill point is just around the corner, yet with MMO games it could be a day or so away.
Enter the Respec.
This is achieved differently depending on the MMO, for some it’s an externally purchasable item using real world money or some cash-shop equivalent, certain games may not even offer the service.
I tend to prefer the respecs that are done in in the game doesn’t tend to break the immersion.
The Elder Scrolls Online lets you undo all skill points that have been spent, which depending on your level and how many skills you have, it costs 100gp for each skill, so 50 skill points will cost you 5000gp.
The City of Heroes\ Villains games achieved this in-game, Terra Volta Re-specification Trial for heroes, or Tree of Thorns Re-specification Trial for villains. These Trails could only be used to earn a respec 3 times. But they were also handed out after power set changes and you earnt them via the Veteran Rewards program. In a much later update you could be bought from the market ingame.
Star Wars The Old Republic allowed you to respec once a week for free, more could cost you credits.
Planetside allowed you to unlearn a skill once every 24 hours, additionally if the skill selected had any dependant skills those were also unlearned and the points freed up. After major skill changes full respecs were given out to player for use at any time.
For reference their are games that I have played that don’t offer a respec, The Secret World, Eve Online, Planetside 2 and Guild Wars stand out as being games that never really needed the functionality or it would undermine the mechanics of the game if implemented.