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Filed under: Build Shop

Build Shop: Shaman 40/0/21

Late again, dear readers, and without a good explanation this time. To compensate, I'll look at a build from the class everyone's been clamoring for: Shaman. Now Shaman is, without question, the class I know the least about in the game. I did some research before writing this, but it's still going to be a bit shaky, so you'll just have to excuse that. It'll also probably be shorter than your average Build Shop, simply because I won't be able to segue into extended discussions of individual talents or skills as often.

I didn't get very many Shaman builds, despite the class's vociferousness in the comments. To be specific, I got three: two elemental, one enhancement. I know enhancement is undergoing some shakeups right now, what with the dual-Windfury nerf and all, so I'm going to avoid that and just do an elemental build. Without further ado, I give you: 40/0/21. Shaggyg on Destromath thinks this build, taking points in both Ele and Resto, should "increase crits and improve casting performance" once his up-and-coming shaman hits endgame. (Aside: props on the <My Little Pwnies> guild name; I've seen it on a few realms now and it always makes me chuckle.)

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Filed under: Shaman, Features, Talents, Build Shop

Build Shop: Paladin 21/31/0

Hello, talent-loving faithful! Ready for some more build dissection? This evening we turn to a hybrid class that's getting a bit of a nerf for one of its roles in the upcoming patch, but some buffs to its other major role. Yep, it's time to poke and prod Paladin talents. The Holy talent Illumination, as I'm sure all Paladins reading this know, is receiving probably the single biggest nerf anything is getting in patch 2.1 (aside from Alchemy). On the other hand, the Protection tree is getting a few buffs, including a new Improved Holy Shield talent, elimination of the deadzone on Captain America's Avenger's Shield, and a buff to Ardent Defender.

The arithmetically astute among you may note that the build above, 21/31/0, is incomplete. It only has 52 points in it, out of the 61 points available at level 70. This is because the submitter of this build, Mithral of Kael'Thas, isn't quite sure how exactly he wants to finish it off. The reason I picked this build is because, like Mithral, I "actually like the idea of a Hybrid class." His goal is to somehow make a Pally build that is decent at both of the class's primary roles, healing and tanking. This, he says, could also take advantage of Pally itemization, since "most Pally gear comes with +Spell damage AND +healing in one piece." I have my doubts about this point -- I definitely maintain very separate healing and DPS gear on my Priest. Just because it says "damage and healing" doesn't mean it's going to hold a candle to a dedicated healing piece.

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Filed under: Paladin, Features, Talents, Build Shop

Build Shop: Warlock 0/40/21

I apologize for this week's Build Shop being a day late; I've been driving all around North Carolina and internet access has been spotty. This week we look at the master of fire and shadow, the Warlock. I've got a lock at approximately level 55, so I'd rate my knowledge of the class "medium." This one should be a bit less noobish than last week's Warrior write-up, at any rate.

This build comes courtesy of Rixnor, of Serious Business on Duskwood (H), who "thought [he] would show you a Raiding Demonology build that doesn't get much love." He's tried 0/21/40 and 41/X/X, and likes 0/40/21 better for raiding. He says he "felt gimp" in 0/21/40 due to having to have a pet out all the time, a lot of the Destruction talents not doing much for him (he likes shadow), and aggro limitations. As he rightly points out, pretty much any good caster is putting out as much dps as he can without pulling aggro off the tank, which means anything that reduces threat increases available DPS. One thing I don't know is how much Soulshatter changes this balance, but still, reduced threat is nice.

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Filed under: Warlock, Features, Talents, Build Shop

Build Shop: Warrior 17/41/3

Since Build Shop debuted, I've probably gotten more Fury Warrior builds than any other specific tree. So let's look at one. Thirx, of Eldre'Thalas, wearies of his current "hohum MS/ot build," and tossed me this gem, along with a MS/Flurry build that I won't be posting, since I only have space for one build, and I like Fury better. This build is for PvE damage, according to the author's description. Let's see what we can find.

Due to Blizzard's decision to put the remnants of Tactical Mastery in the Protection tree, this particular distribution of talents -- 17 in Arms, 41 in Fury, and 3 in Prot -- is pretty much a given for any deep-Fury build. A point or two may move from Arms to Fury, but in general, Rampage is too good to pass up, TM is still a necessity (even though it's partially trainable), and that just leaves 17 for Arms.

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Filed under: Warrior, Features, Talents, Build Shop

Build Shop: Mage 40/0/21

Hello once again, Build Shop readers. Today I think we will do a Mage build. I've noticed an increasing number of Mages running around with a lot of points in Arcane, and I've been wondering why. So let's see if I can dissect Xykon's build and see what makes it tick. Xykon hails from H-Gorgonnash-US, and had quite a bit to say about his talent choices, which I always appreciate. Mage is one of the classes I've played the least (I think my highest is 20-something), so I'm not going to have as much to say about this as I have in the past. This means I'm relying on you, friendly commenters, for some of the deep analysis.

Xykon's goals with this build: a strong DPS for World PvE and Raiding, with secondary goals of overcoming resistances and survivability. Although the majority of his points are in Arcane, he describes this build as a Frost build and says I primarily only use frost spells, with an occasional instant cast from the other two schools (fireblast and arcane explosion). Broadly speaking, this build goes down Arcane, grabbing all the stuff that would help damage and a little bit of survivability along the way, and goes for all the nice Frost stuff that boosts crits and crit chance and freezing and all that nice stuff.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Talents, Build Shop

Build Shop: Priest 35/5/21

Talents in trouble again? Must be Tuesday! Welcome back to Build Shop, where we look at reader-submitted talent builds. This week's build comes courtesy of Hamacus on Sen'jin, and it's an unconventional sort of Priest DPS build, which is why I picked it -- after last week, I wanted something a bit unusual. Hamacus neglected to inform me as to his goals with the build (shame!) so I made some educated guesses. There's no kill count or arena teams on his Armory page, which means he has less than 1337 honor kills, and he skipped the common PvP talent Martyrdom, so I figured PvE is his focus. On the other hand, he does have full Blackout, so I could be wrong. More on that later. He's a Priest, so it's obviously not a solo build. That leaves group PvE.

35/5/21. Why does that look odd? Oh yes, it's because nobody ever specs between 5 and 31 points in Shadow: people tend to either put 5 in Spirit Tap for leveling/soloing, or at least 31 for Shadowform (SF). SF is such a tree-defining talent that it's often held up as an example for the other trees (as in "please make our other 31-point talents this good"). For the uninitiated, for one point, SF lets you raise your Shadow damage by 15% and decrease your physical damage taken by 15%. So why on earth would anyone want to skip it? In a word, versatility. When in SF, you can't cast any Holy spells, which of course includes all our heals (even Gift of the Naaru, the Draenei racial, in case you were wondering). And by not investing all those points in Shadow, this build is able to grab some general-purpose talents in the other trees.

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Talents, Build Shop

Build Shop: Rogue 13/41/7

Welcome to the Build Shop! This is a new weekly feature where I examine one talent build, and open it up for discussion. Normally, the talent builds will be taken from reader submissions, but since this is the first week, I'll just use one of my own builds, the one my Rogue is working towards right now. So I don't have to use another of my cookie-cutter builds next week, though, please do send submissions to

This is a pretty straightforward (and cookie-cutter) combat fists build. My Rogue is still leveling (67 at the moment), and combat is great for that. I'll probably stay with combat even when I hit 70, since the character is intended mainly to farm gold and mats for my main, and besides combat's quite fun. It's true that the 41 point talent, Surprise Attacks, is less flashy than Mutilate or Shadowstep, but it delivers in the numbers. A 10% increase to my Sinister Strike for one point is huge, seeing as how SS contributes something like 30% of my damage output; that's not even to mention the elimination of finishing move dodges. This means Surprise Attacks gets me more than a 3% increase in DPS for one talent point. My "gold standard" for talents is 1%: if a talent will raise my DPS by 1% per point, or lower my damage taken by 1% per point, I'm quite comfortable taking it. By that standard, then, I'm very pleased with Surprise Attacks.

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Filed under: Rogue, Features, Talents, Build Shop

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