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Are you a talentless n00b? It's really ok to admit it here, among friends -- you wouldn't be the first player in the world to have overlooked (or been completely befuddled by) talent points. Just take a peek at this post about a player who purposely skipped training his talent points, just to see what would happen. If you read through the comments after the post, you'll find plenty of players who missed training their talents along the way, either through not knowing that talent points existed or after becoming paralyzed by the sheer variety of choices.
The talents you choose for your character can completely change the way you play the game. Your "spec" (specialization) is determined by where you've distributed your points among the three talent trees available to your class. So-called "hybrid" classes such as Druids or Paladins take on entirely different roles depending how they are specced: tanking, DPSing or healing. For other classes, spec is more of a flavor tool that determines how your character goes about doing his or her thing.
The basics of speccing your points
- Beginning at level 10, you'll get one talent point to spend each time you level.
- There are more available talents to "buy" than you will receive points to use. Choose carefully!
- The talents and overall spec you will find useful as you level may be completely different than the spec that will serve you best once you've hit level 80 and begin raiding or PvP.
- You can change your mind – at a cost. You can unlearn your talents at your class trainer for a fee that rises each time you unlearn them within a given period.
What spec will you choose?
At some point -- from the very start, if you're the analytical type – you'll want to explore the possibilities of different specs. Wowwiki has a down-and-dirty basic run-down of all the basic specs for each class. Don't be afraid to experiment with both individual talents and entirely different specs.
There are quite a few places to learn more about the strengths and weakness of different builds. We like wowwiki (search on your class) and the stickied threads at the top of your class' forum in Blizzard's class forums. You'll find entire columns on specific builds right here at WoW Insider in your class column (click on Class at the far left on the horizontal menu at the top of the site, or click Class Columns under Categories in the left sidebar).
You can toy with various combinations outside the game, before committing to a combination you might regret later. Try Blizzard's talent calculator or the calculators at wowhead.com (preferred by many).
Toying with your spec can be an enjoyable metagaming project in its own right, or a refreshing way to update and renew a character that's lost some of its appeal. Just don't let it be said that you're an untalented n00b – by choice, anyway.