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Posts with tag 31-point

Spiritual Guidance: In defense (or condemnation) of Dispersion

This week your shadow priesting expert, Spiritual Guidance columnist and ace attorney Fox Van Allen, took on his hardest case yet: defending fellow columnist Dawn Moore against charges of murder! The trial was quick -- after presenting the same Rime-Covered Mace to the judge as evidence five consecutive times, Dawn was instantly declared guilty and hauled away. She was last heard muttering something about "the scent of fresh lemons ..."

I have this recurring vision of a grand council of shadow priests. We sit around a gigantic conference table in a dark, shadowy dungeon somewhere. We talk shop and strategy. We share recipes for roast gnome. We discuss our plans to conquer the world.

Then some joker mentions Dispersion, and the whole damn thing falls apart.
"It's a waste of a 31-point talent! We're being screwed!"

"Sit down, jerk, Dispersion is just fine!"
An epic fistfight breaks out. And the haters wind up using Dispersion to soak up the blows. Hypocrites!

Now that we know Dispersion is firmly set as our 31-point talent in Cataclysm, some old wounds are getting reopened. A lot of priests were never truly sold on Dispersion when it was first introduced, and while it's slowly gained acceptance (and more usefulness -- remember when it was garbage in Ulduar?), emotions still run high. A contingent of shadow priests loves the utility of the ability and the lore behind it. A contingent despises it for eating up the slot of some mythical perfect ability that's yet to be designed.

It's the shadow priest equivalent of Roe v. Wade. And we're going to jump right in the middle of it after the break.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Arcane Brilliance: Beta wishlist

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like you to know that yes, that is a screenshot from the Cataclysm beta, and yes that's a lowbie goblin mage. Also, the goblin on the right is Fizz Lighter, the goblin mage trainer. He's eternally flinging Fireballs at the goblin on the left, Evol Fingers, the goblin warlock trainer. The dirty lock is returning fire with an endless string of Shadowbolts. Even in screenshots, it's truly the most epic thing ever. I can't wait to see it live. And to assist Fizz with my own barrage of Fireballs. Stinking warlocks.

It's incredibly difficult for me to write about the beta for two reasons:
  1. I'm not in the beta.
  2. Anything I write about today is very well going to be completely different tomorrow. Or gone entirely.
So you can see my problem. I have been playing with the new 31-point talent trees almost non-stop since they were revealed. Like the crazed wizard I am, I have cobbled together approximately a billion different specs, molding them into vaguely humanoid shape and granting them life, then sending them forth to do my bidding. I call them "talent golems." I do this because I am a nerd.

Unfortunately, the next beta build will, in all likelihood, blow all of my precious creations up completely. This means that writing any sort of in-depth analysis at this point amounts to a bit of a mental merry-go-round. It's fun while it lasts, but you always end up back where you started.

So instead of wasting your time with a long diatribe on things which may or may not ever see the light of the live realms, I choose to waste it in a different way.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Cataclysm

Cataclysm Beta: Priest talent analysis

Well, just when we thought we knew what Blizzard was doing with priests, this week the devs have thrown us a curve ball in the form of a new talent build on the Cataclysm beta. I have but one, ultimate question:

How many talent previews must a priest walk down?

Do you know the answer? Perhaps Fox Van Allen and Dawn Moore of Spiritual Guidance infamy can assist you in the calculations. Remember: don't panic.


Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Breakfast Topic: The illusion of choice

My first reaction to seeing the new, streamlined talent trees was, "We'll all be cookie cutter specs now!" I mulled it over for a bit, hashed it out with some people on Twitter and came to the conclusion that the new streamlined specs are a good thing, in principle. Ask yourself, when was the last time you respecced to move one to two points around? How much are you really losing with the slimmed-down trees?

My shaman, Stoneybaby, hasn't respecced in ... I don't even know when, but I'm sure it's been many months. I have my raiding spec, in which I could move one or two points around -- should I take 2/3 Improved Shields or 3/3 Improved Shields? Ultimately, it makes little difference; I picked my raiding spec and my PvP spec, and I go forth with those until the game requires a change. I don't need a lot of choice because I won't use it.

On the other hand, my druid is a bit different. He's specced balance for AoE farming Chunk o' Mammoth (my wolves need their Spiced Mammoth Treats!) and feral bear for tanking alt raids. For raids, I either tank or I tank -- take your pick. He's mostly useless as DPS in raids because he doesn't have the proper hit, mana regen or focused damage talents; he's built to kill a dozen mobs at once out in the field. I like the choice so I can specialize in AoE farming.

In the case of my shaman, I really don't need that one- or two-point customization, and so lamenting the loss of deep, complex talent trees is just the loss of choice for the sake of choice. For my druid, I really do want and use the complexity of the current specs. Overall though, I think the slimmed-down trees will enrich the game without dumbing it down.

What about you? Do you really want deep choice in spec customization, or are you just lamenting the loss of the illusion of choice?

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In WoW.com's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From goblins and worgens to mastery and guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Cataclysm Beta: New 31-point talent trees, spec bonuses and more

The latest build of the Cataclysm beta has the much-anticipated 31-point talent trees for all classes -- in varying degrees of completion, anyway. The UI elements for selecting your specialization are also in the game, and each tree has a sentence or two that describes the way it plays. Even the bonuses you get at level 10 for selecting your spec are in this build!

We've got talent calculators, spec bonuses, and more after the break, courtesy of MMO-Champion. Bear in mind while reading that this is only the first pass of this talent overhaul and several trees/classes, including death knight, druid, paladin, warlock, arcane mage, and assassination rogue, are nowhere near done.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Scattered Shots: A talent for leveling in Beast Mastery

The Scattered Shots hunter bears his or her teeth and says "RAAAWR!" to the mirror every morning in an uncouth, beastly manner -- thus affirming the beast within, which yearns for a way out to express itself.

Which talents you should get as you level up is a tricky question with many different answers, many of which can turn out just fine or absolutely horrible, depending on how you play. Today I'll be taking you along on a journey through the first 40 levels of talent spending, and explaining why I think certain talent choices are better than others.

One of the most important things to remember about talents is that, in spite of all their mathematical precision, they are open to poetic interpretation. Some talents give clearly superior advantages, while in other cases it's mostly a matter of opinion as to which one fits your play-style best. Sometimes the talents that look best on paper aren't the ones that will really help you the most when the going gets rough. Likewise, some talents are designed more for endgame use at level 70, even though they appear early on in the talent tree, while others are better for leveling up, and you may wish to drop them later on once you finish leveling.

Most of my talent choices today are going to be in the Beast Mastery tree, for instance. Some people may say that they like Marksmanship or Survival best, and certainly that's their right. But from most of the people I've talked to, the general consensus is that Beast Mastery is best for both leveling and early endgame raiding, too. While talking about these talents, I'll list your level and the number of talent points you have at each stage, so that it's easier to keep track of your talent resources.

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Filed under: Hunter, Walkthroughs, Leveling, Guides, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

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