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Filed under: Build Shop

Encrypted Text: Assassination in Wrath

Every Wednesday, Encrypted Text explores issues affecting Rogues and those who group with them. This week Jason Harper, the new Rogue feature blogger, discusses the Wrath Assassination expansion tree.

The Assassination tree, home to the deep dagger Rogue, is a major part of Rogue specifications for both PvP and PvE play styles. While the Combat tree is focused on increasing white damage overall, and Subtlety about survivability and burst, Assassination is all about the liberal application of consistent damage through a repertoire spells and damage application modifiers (a la poison). Burning Crusade talents and spells like Cold Blood, Lethality and (Improved Poisons assisted) Envenom are amazing non-positional damage sources, with Mutilate being the positional coup de grâce to a fight.

All that said, it should be noted that while Assassination Rogues do benefit from three times the combo-point generation potential, white damage is reduced in comparison to other builds, most mobs in end-game are poison immune (and in situations where you need to change targets, you have to build back up your poison stack on them) and Find Weakness does not apply to white damage.

Knowing all this, what's new that might make wayward-but-dagger-longing Rogues want to go deep into the tree?

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Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Buffs, Build Shop, (Rogue) Encrypted Text, Wrath of the Lich King, WoW, Casually, Battlegrounds

Build Shop: Hunter 41/20/0 Leveling Spec


Periodically WoW Insider presents Build Shop, which takes a look into one of the many talent specs available to players. This week, Matthew Porter examines a beast master Hunter talent specialization built around leveling.

Welcome readers to this week's Build Shop. I know you haven't seen this feature since the middle of last June, and that's because most viable talent specs have been covered for each class. Not a lot of additions or enhancements have been added since then but that will surely change when Wraith of the Lich King arrives. So this week I thought I would try a "theme" talent spec, one designed for a particular task, leveling a Hunter. Many people agree that the Hunter is one of the easier classes to level, but for fellow WoW Insider blogger Matthew Rossi and others, it's taking longer than expected. Let's see if this beast mastery spec can give him a boost!

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Leveling, Classes, Talents, Build Shop

Build Shop: Warrior 31/27/3 for Season 4


Every Tuesday, Chris Jahosky contributes Build Shop, which takes a look into one of the many talent specs available to players. This week, Michael Gray guest writes to talk about the perennial Warrior build for the upcoming Season 4.

If you're like me, you're looking forward to June 24th with almost breathless anticipation. New season, new ratings, new competition. And like hundreds (thousands?) of others, we have a Warrior sitting patiently at the stables, prepping for the gates to open. He sits there, foaming at the mouth, smiling nervously at his partner Druid or Priest, with Mortal Strike almost literally visible in his pixellated eyes.

Build Shop has discussed Warrior hybrid builds previously, but that 28/33 build was focused on actual hybrid play - a mix of PvP and PvE. The classic Arena-based "Mortal Strike Hybrid" starts off with at least 31 points sitting in the Arms tree -- you can't have a "Mortal Strike Hybrid" without Mortal Strike. Mortal Strike is a foundation of the Arena build. While there's leeway earlier in the Arms and Fury trees for this build, the deeper in the trees you get, the more certain talents become "mandatory."

After the break, let's talk about the talents and whirligigs that make the Mortal Strike Hybrid so popular and powerful in the Arena.

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Filed under: Warrior, Talents, Build Shop, Arena

Build Shop: Shaman 18/43/0


Today on Build Shop, we're going to take a look at a Shaman build that's a little different from the usual since we've already covered the basic cookie-cutter specs of Elemental, Enhancement, and Mike Schramm's personal variant of Restoration. The Enhancement spec that we'll tinker with will try to focus on the built-in synergy between some Elemental and Enhancement talents, as opposed to the more familiar complement of Restoration talents. This Enhancement build is focused on dealing damage, with less focus on the raid or party utility that Restoration talents provide. You can take a quick look at the build here.

Shock and awe

For optimum DPS, an Enhancement Shaman's spell cycle should be punctuated by shocks, which are instant cast damage-dealing spells that don't interfere with a Shaman's swing timer. The biggest problem with utilizing shocks as part of an offensive spell cycle is the prohibitive mana cost, which can make a dent on an Enhancement Shaman's relatively low mana pool. To alleviate this , we take 5/5 Convection from the first tier of the Elemental tree, which reduces the cost of Lightning and Shock spells by 10%.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Build Shop

Build Shop: Warlock 24/37/0


Every Tuesday, Chris Jahosky contributes Build Shop, which takes a look into one of the many talent specs available to players.

Ah, warlocks. Before the Burning Crusade, there was no class I hated more. Of course, my opinion of the class did a 180 once I got my own Warlock to 70. This build (and variants of it) is often called SL/SL, because it picks up both Siphon Life and Soul Link (talents in the Affliction and Demonology trees, respectively). Unlike most other Warlock builds that focus on damage output, this build is meant to help you outlast your opponents by mitigating some of the damage you take, while using Siphon Life and Drain Life to get your health back. Warlocks with this build can be annoyingly difficult to kill, and is still a popular spec in 2v2 Arena.

The downside (and there's almost always a downside, folks) is that you won't top any DPS charts when it comes to PvE -- it's just the nature of the build. If you think you can live with that, I strongly encourage you to try this build out for yourself. I'm a big fan. And if you're looking for even more info on it, Zach covered this build in-depth last week.

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Filed under: Warlock, Build Shop

Build Shop: Paladin 5/8/41 + 7


Every Tuesday, Chris Jahosky contributes Build Shop, which takes a look into one of the many talent specs available to players.

Welcome back to the wonderful world of Build Shop! I've got a lot to say this week, since this is a spec that is near and dear to my heart (even though my Paladin is Protection spec these days) -- Retribution. I've tried to strip it down to the essentials (or what I think is the essentials) so that you can shift points around depending on what you want to do with it.

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Filed under: Paladin, Build Shop

Build Shop: Shaman 0/45/16


Every Tuesday, Chris Jahosky contributes Build Shop, which takes a look into one of the many talent specs available to players.

It's been a long while since there was a Shaman build featured on Build Shop, and I think it's time that changed. I'm looking at an Enhancement build this week that's built for raid damage yet provides a good amount of utility and group buffs. As expected, the majority of the points go into the Enhancement tree, but instead of putting the remaining points into Elemental to buff personal DPS, this build places them in Restoration in order to provide stronger utility for the raid and additional hit chance for you.

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Filed under: Shaman, Build Shop

Build Shop: Warrior 17/44


Every Tuesday (and sometimes Wednesday, when dealing with broken computers), Chris Jahosky contributes Build Shop, which takes a look into one of the many talent specs available to players.

I'm sure some of you noticed that Build Shop went on an unscheduled vacation -- this was unfortunately due to the death of my old computer. My new computer is all set up and ready to go (and plays WoW better than ever), and so I'm now officially back on the scene. There was a lot of talk in the comments from last time about the RiP (Rogue in Plate) build, so this week I'm taking a look at it for those who are interested.

RiPper builds (like 17/44, the one I'm examining) are so named because their DPS potential is quite close to rogues (hence, Rogue in Plate). It's a sustained damage build, similar to a combat spec Rogue, but because of their ability to wear plate (and a shield) have more survivability and off-tank potential. They're quite capable of inflicting incredible damage, and can be especially nasty when paired with a Shaman's Windfury totem.

The Fury tree is utilized extensively for this build -- points are mostly put into Arms in order to grab Impale, which increases critical damage, but it also picks up a few nice talents for tanking and utility.

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Filed under: Warrior, Build Shop

Build Shop: Warrior 28/33/0


Every Tuesday, Chris Jahosky contributes Build Shop, which takes a look into one of the many talent specs available to players.

This week's build comes to you courtesy of reader James (who put this together anticipating the changes to the Fury tree coming in 2.4), so today I'm going to dissect his build. Fury heavy builds are quite strong and very popular for PvE encounters through the end game (the most famous perhaps being a variant of 17/44, sometimes called a RiP (Rogue in Plate), which is desirable for the high damage output).

However, this kind of hybrid build has started to see more use in other areas. While not as effective as a RiP build in PvE, these hybrid builds often pick up a weapon specialization from the Arms tree in addition to some utility talents, making them more adaptable in PvP and solo play. James' build is 28/33, and seems to be based off of the standard Fury/Weapon Spec build of 26/35. They have a good bit of variation, though -- James' focus seems to be on PvP, with talents like Iron Will and Improved Intercept, whereas the standard build focuses on damage output.

After the break, I'm diving into my thoughts on the build, but make sure to share your experience and suggestions with James in the comments!

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Filed under: Warrior, Build Shop

Build Shop: Mage 17/0/44


Every Tuesday, Chris Jahosky contributes Build Shop, which takes a look into one of the many talent specs available to players.

Today's build has been sent in by a number of people now, so this week I'm taking a look at one of the more popular Arena Frost Mage builds -- 17/0/44. There are a number of variations of deep Frost builds, but this one goes far enough in the Arcane tree to grab the very useful and powerful Improved Counterspell. The Frost tree has been synonymous with survivability for a long time, so it's no wonder that it is so often seen in the Arena. As with other builds of this nature, it picks up talents that increase your damage output as well as those that boost your ability to stay alive. Frost allows you to kite your opponents, or hit them with reliable burst damage utilizing Shatter.

As usual, there is some wiggle room with the talent spread, so you may want to shift points around depending on your personal taste, or even the Arena bracket you spend most of your time in.

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Filed under: Mage, Build Shop

Build Shop: Druid 0/11/50


Hey there Build Shop fans! This week, I'm examining a heavy Restoration build for druids, with a few points from Feral thrown in (you know, for spice). This build comes to us courtesy of reader Arajal of Dunemaul, who had this to say about it: "Overall my build is mainly a healer spec with some utility thrown in. I like to DPS or tank instances sometimes, and my points in both trees help each role. Natural Perfection is pretty handy while tanking."

I disagree somewhat with the usefulness of Natural Perfection for tanking -- if you're a Druid tank with the proper amount of Defense, you shouldn't be getting crit at all. On the other hand, this isn't a full Feral build, and without Survival of the Fittest I'd imagine it'd be pretty tough to put together a leather set with enough Defense to get the job done, so it could be useful for reducing damage after you take the inevitable crit. I'd consider Natural Perfection more of a PvP / utility talent than anything else, but what do you think?

Arajal also has made some choices in the Resto tree that could be considered unconventional, but I'll let you be the judge. Let's take a look under the hood!

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Filed under: Druid, Build Shop

Build Shop: Paladin 40/0/21


This week on Build Shop I've got another Paladin build for you all to digest -- Shockadin (aka 40/0/21)! I like this build because it's all purpose, allowing you to act as the main healer for an instance if necessary, but giving you the freedom to go grind or farm or what have you without needing to respec. It's also got the potential for some great burst damage, if used properly.

This build picks up most of its talents from the Holy tree, but goes into Retribution for some nice support talents, as well as Sanctity Aura, which is what you'll be using if you're in DPS mode.

Alright, let's dig into this build and see what's going on!

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Filed under: Paladin, Build Shop

Build Shop: Hunter 0/45/16


This week on Build Shop I'm checking out a possible Marksman PvP build for the hunters out there. Hunters have been underrepresented in the Arena until recently, but they've been a staple in battlegrounds for a long while, so it's nice to see them finally gaining a foothold. Today's build focuses on increasing stamina, survivability, ranged damage, and picking up a few nifty utility skills. This is definitely more of a PvP build, and as such you'll want gear that maximizes your ranged attack power, resilience, and stamina to support it. Once you're geared up though, this build should serve you quite well.

One thing this build doesn't include that I'm curious to hear your thoughts on is Improved Arcane Shot. It seems like with the new dispelling power of this shot, you'd want to take this talent but I can't find 5 points to spare for it from anywhere. Perhaps that's why I haven't seen too many builds that have it, but I'd like to hear your thoughts. Is it worth it, or is it more situational? Better in some brackets but not in others? These are some of the questions I'm hoping you can help me answer (because honestly, I don't PvP on my Hunter... I PvP with my Warlock). Read on for my dissection of the 0/45/16 build!

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Filed under: Hunter, Build Shop

Build Shop: Paladin 0/46/15


So recently I put together a list of all the Build Shop articles that have ever been written on WoW Insider, and I found out something surprising -- there hasn't been a Build Shop for paladins! Today, I correct that grave injustice by looking at a heavy Protection build. Without question, a Paladin is my favorite type of tank, especially for 5 mans. Who needs crowd control? Just have the Paladin consecrate everything and let the AoE attacks fly. For those of you who haven't experienced that joy yet, I highly suggest you find a good Prot paladin and let him tank your instance.

I covered Paladin tanking techniques in a past article, so I'm just going to jump right into the build. This is one that people are sure to have mixed feelings about, but then again, that usually happens on Build Shop. The most scandalous suggestion I'm making in this build is not picking up Reckoning, but I have a few reasons why -- read on to find out.

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Filed under: Paladin, Build Shop

Build Shop: Rogue 19/42/0


Welcome to another Tuesday edition of Build Shop! This past week I received an email from a Rogue reader in an up and coming guild that's just starting to raid Kara who says he's a non-believer in the "No Ruthlessness, No Murder, No Relentless Strike -- No Raid" policy. He also wanted to know about the viability of a hybrid build (30/0/31), and how it could be improved for casual instances, raids, and the occasional PvP skirmish. Well, that's kind of a tall order, and I plan to address it more fully tomorrow in Encrypted Text.

However, I will deal with part of the question today by talking about why Combat is the superior tree for PvE in many cases. Although there are many different types of Combat builds (Mace + Sword, Daggers, Fist, etc) these days, I'm going to focus on Combat swords (19/42/0). This is a build that doesn't rely on positioning like Combat Daggers or Mutilate, making it great for fights with a lot of movement. This is also a build which can really crank out the damage with the right weapons and gear. I feel that this is one of the finest and most effective DPS builds in the game -- read on to find out why.

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Filed under: Rogue, Build Shop, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

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