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Posts with tag Specialization

GuildOx debuts specialization tracking for PvP and PvE

GuildOx debuts specialization tracking for PvP and PvE
Are you ever curious as to which specs are the most popular for raiding or PvP? Well, GuildOx has you covered. Both for PvE and PvP in fact. There's a lot of interesting things to pull out of this data. For starters, just looking at the PvP data, where are the rogues? Seeing rogues so low in PvP (an area they've dominated as recently as Cataclysm) is kind of a shocker. Frost mages, shadow priests, arms warriors, beast mastery hunters and frost DK's are the most dominant non-healing specs in PvP right now.

Over on the PvE side of the fence, (drawn from the top 5% of raiding characters) we see that Blood DK's and Guardian Druids are the most popular raid tanks, but that all tank classes are fairly close together save for brewmaster monks. I don't know why but clearly they're not taking off as tanks yet, perhaps due to entrenchment. Most raids tend towards established tanks, after all. For DPS classes, fire mages and shadow priests are the most popular, followed by beast mastery hunters and affliction warlocks. This is interesting when contrasted with the actual state of DPS classes in normal and heroic raiding atm. Rogues are interestingly split between assassination and combat, keeping them from challenging any of these classes. As for healing, restoration shamans and druids and holy paladins seem to be on top, but discipline priests look strong as well, with mistweaver monks trailing behind.

You can head over to GuildOx and dig around for yourself.


Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

The Heart of the Wild controversy: Should players be allowed to change specs in combat?

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In a recent Mists of Pandaria beta build, the tooltip for one of the currently inaccessible druid talents, Heart of the Wild, was significantly rewritten and updated. The full tooltip is long, but the key assumption is that every six minutes, a druid of any spec can click a button and automatically be able change to another combat role for 45 seconds, with little drop-off in effectiveness. Restoration druids can start dealing damage, DPSers of either persuasion can throw around some heals or tank an add, and guardian tanks can even spread around a few HoTs without having to leave Bear Form and turn into paste. That's the theory, anyway.

As you can imagine, this idea generated some heated debate in the druid blogger community. The noted Lissanna of Restokin called it "(likely) the the least used talent out of any talent tree in the history of the game" Murmurs also agreed, saying "HotW has a pure functionality problem. It can never truly fulfill the position that it is attempting to grasp."

In opposition, Tangedyn, the co-creator of the Mew feral druid simulator and frequent contributor to The Inconspicuous Bear, wrote "... there's no reason to deny druids that want the versatility the capability to perform to their best of their abilities."

So who's right? Well, let's take a closer look at both sides of the argument, since this debate brings up several important issues to any WoW raider.

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Filed under: Druid, Mists of Pandaria

WoW Rookie: The basics of dual spec

New around here? WoW Rookie has your back! Get all our collected tips, tricks and tactics for new players in the WoW Rookie Guide.

World of Warcraft is a game of specialists; even (and especially) the so-called hybrid classes end up playing in specific, focused roles in group and end-game content. The higher you level and the more talents you learn, the more specialized your character becomes. Your "spec" (specialization), determined by where you've distributed your points among the three talent trees available to your class, begins to define and inform your gameplay as you group with others more and more often.

At some point, you'll want to experiment with another set of talents -- that's time for a respec. (Look for talent recommendations in our leveling guides and our Class 101 series.) Soon enough, you'll be wishing you could switch between one set of talents and another -- and you can, with dual specialization.

Before we dig into the basics, we should note one of the more exciting changes for leveling players coming up in Cataclysm. The expansion will lower both the required level and cost of dual spec, giving players more flexibility for group and individual play than ever before.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

Cataclysm Beta: Mage talents and specializations

Let me begin by telling you I had an Arcane Brilliance column about halfway done last week before a family health emergency intervened, preventing me from finishing it. The column was going to be all about predicting what the new revamped talent trees were going to be like. Now that Cataclysm beta build 12479 has dropped upon us like manna in the desert, the entirety of that now-ancient text is so outdated as to be worthless. Let me assure you that it was witty, and brilliant, and possibly mankind's greatest written work -- art of such singular value that small children would have been taught of it from textbooks with my picture upon their covers. But, alas, now it is gone, relegated forever to a remote corner of my hard drive, never to be seen by human eyes. The literary world mourns.

Still, I was able to salvage one small fragment of it. It is but one of a batch of haiku I wrote about Improved Polymorph. I will reprint it here, because whatever else this monumental beta build has altered, my passion for this new talent remains.

improved polymorph
flaming warlock sheep corpses
snuffleupagus

On second thought, perhaps it's best that no more of that sees the light of day.

Anyway, let's move on the rest of the awesomeness.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

The Art of War(craft): What the new talent overhaul means for PvP

Zach Yonzon believes in social media and thinks that Real ID is the new battleground.

Oh man. We knew Cataclysm was going to change everything, but I don't think any of us really expected that Blizzard meant everything everything! Yesterday's bombshell of an announcement regarding the talents and masteries threw everyone for a loop. When talent trees from the alpha started appearing in Wowhead and MMO Champion, some of us wondered why most of the unexciting, passive talents were still there despite the developers' mentioning that they'd be removed in Cataclysm. Granted, the game was too early in its development to have concrete trees, but I don't think any of us thought they'd be pared down the way they would be. Let's review some of what Blizzard said.

Zarhym
Talent trees will have around 20 unique talents instead of today's (roughly) 30 talents, and aesthetically will look a bit more like the original World of Warcraft talent trees. The 31-point talents will generally be the same as the 51-point talents we already had planned for Cataclysm. A lot of the boring or extremely specialized talents have been removed, but we don't want to remove anything that's going to affect spell/ability rotations. We want to keep overall damage, healing, and survivability roughly the same while providing a lot of the passive bonuses for free based on your specialization choice.

While leveling, you will get 1 talent point about every 2 levels (41 points total at level 85). Our goal is to alternate between gaining a new class spell or ability and gaining a talent point with each level. As another significant change, you will not be able to put points into a different talent tree until you have dedicated 31 talent points to your primary specialization. While leveling, this will be possible at 70. Picking a talent specialization should feel important. To that end, we want to make sure new players understand the significance of reaching the bottom of their specialization tree before gaining the option of spending points in the other trees. We intend to make sure dual-specialization and re-talenting function exactly as they do today so players do not feel locked into their specialization choice.

That's a whopper. There go the passive talents we were all wondering about. Instead, talents in the talent trees will all be cool and special, making every choice meaningful. That also means having fewer points to spend. At first look, it seems like something has been taken away from our characters -- fewer talent points feels less powerful. But when you realize that each talent point actually gives you something awesome, like a new spell or a cool effect, that changes things drastically. This also impacts PvP in a big, big way.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Cataclysm

Blood Sport: Beginner's guide to arena, part II

Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women? Blood Sport investigates the entirety of all-things arena for gladiators and challengers alike. C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in WoW.com's arena column.

Listening Music: The cutest kid you've ever seen covering Jason Mraz. Blood Sport normally features the musical works of professionals. For this little guy, we have to make an exception. My favorite part is right before the first verse. I love the intense scrunched face and little head nod. I dare you to find anything even half as cute. That video of a tickled kitten has nothing on this.

Last Week: part one of our beginner's arena guide. First, we fielded a possible complaint about catering to casuals. After that, we talked a little bit about some of the best ways to gear up: finding an arena team, doing battlegrounds, and running Vault of Archavon. Check it out if you have the time.

This week, we'll talk about some frequently asked questions players have when considering jumping into the arena. Read on for part two of our arena guide for beginners after the break!

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, How-tos, PvP, Features, Classes, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena

Player reactions to dual specs

Just in case you haven't been following what people have been saying about the dual spec system lately, Slashhug has a terrific post up covering all of the concerns and thoughts about the new system and how it will affect groups and raids. It's long, but he covers all of the bases, from how hybrids with two specs will affect which players get chosen for groups, to loot and how that will work (the same -- main specs first, offspecs if needed), and even soloing and why dual specs will be a blessing for classes who are normally built more for group play.

There's not a lot of new complaints or answers in here -- lots of it has already been discussed on the forums and in our own posts. But Slashhug does a great job of wrapping it all up into one big tasty dual spec sandwich, so you can catch up on all the thinking about dual specs so far. The bottom line, in terms of player reaction, is that dual specs will allow you to do more with your class than you can with just one spec. If you want to heal, you can still heal, or if you're built for tanking, you can still do that. But in groups where things don't quite fit (you've got a few tanks and your DPS is a little low, or your Priest could use a little extra help healing for this boss fight), dual specs will let you make the necessary tweaks right then and there, and excel that much more.
Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Classes, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Dual spec available at level 40, reagent requirement removed

Dual spec is one of patch 3.1's headline features: for the price of 1,000 gold, you can unlock the ability to keep a second spec for your character, which you can switch to for free. It was stated a while back by Ghostcrawler that dual spec would only be available to level 80 characters, which was upsetting to many (including myself). It's a feature that has the potential to be amazingly useful for those who like to do dungeons while leveling - why remove that possibility?

I am happy to report, therefore, that Zarhym has just reported that dual spec will be available to characters of level 40 or higher. This is an excellent compromise between not wanting to confuse newbies, and giving players the flexibility to heal dungeons (for instance) as they level while not being gimped in solo play. The real game might begin at 80, but it's important not to neglect 1 through 79.

Furthermore, the announced reagent requirement has been removed - no longer will players need to be in a city or find an inscriber to create a portable lexicon of power for them. Now that's a dual spec feature I can love, even at a 1,000 g cost. Update: Zarhym has clarified the processs a little bit. "You literally just click a button," it's a five-second cast, it swaps your glyphs and action bar along with your spec, and there's no cooldown. You can't use it in combat or in BGs/arenas.


Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.

Filed under: News items, Leveling, Talents

WoW Rookie: Do you have talent(s)?


New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.

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.

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Filed under: How-tos, Features, WoW Rookie

Insider Trader: Armorsmiths vs. weaponsmiths

I received a question over the tip line from an armorsmith this morning who is considering switching to weaponsmith because he is dissatisfied with his profession.

Player regrets surrounding a chosen specialization, or even profession, are common and happen to almost everyone at one time or another.

JDT writes that he is "extremely disappointed" with armorsmithing and what he is able to make, and that one of his reasons for possibly switching to weaponsmithing is that he theorizes it would be helpful to be able to pass down weapons to his alts that cannot wear plate.

Unfortunately JDT, anything that you craft as either a weaponsmith or an armorsmith is not only bind on pick-up, but it also requires you to have that specialization in order to wield/wear it.

That being said, there are blacksmithing plans for weapons and armor floating around that are bind on equip and can be passed along, but those can be made by any blacksmith regardless of specialization.

This week I will begin comparing the various armorsmith and weaponsmith pieces to the first non-crafted upgrades in order to illustrate the value of each item and help each class and spec come to an informed decision when it comes time to choose blacksmithing specialties.

Next week I'll finish out the comparison, as there is more than I can fit into this week's edition!

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Filed under: Paladin, Warrior, Blacksmithing, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Guides, Classes, Insider Trader (Professions)

Forum post of the day: Heals and heels

Decent healing is often a key factor in determining victory and defeat in a battle ground. Resto and Holy specced characters have quite the job set out for them. Druids, Paladins, Priests, and Shamans regularly face a healing quandary. Is it better to spend time and man healing another player or continuing to do as much damage as possible. Zanhart of Medivh believes that any character than can heal in the battlegrounds, should heal. He finds it particularly insulting when a player heals him or herself while comrades die around them.

Some agreed with him that anyone who can heal should, but most people dissented. There were several themes to the responses:

  • Paying a subscription fee allows any player the right to play however they like.
  • DPSers in substandard gear are a waste of heals and mana.
  • Non-healing specs often have such poor healing abilities that the battleground is better off with them continuing to dps.
  • Some people just don't find healing to be fun.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Forums, Battlegrounds, Forum Post of the Day

Shifting Perspectives: That special versatility

It's often been said that druids are the three-in-one class: we can mimic warriors, priests, rogues (and even mages), but can't fulfill their respective roles as well as they themselves can. While in recent times druids have been able to gear up and perform as well as their parent classes in many respects, we are far from "warriors with stealth" or "rogues that can heal" or "priests that can off-tank in a pinch."

Our problem as druids is that we cannot but neglect the full breadth of our abilities when we must specialize in only one aspect of our class. Of course, any class works best in situations where most or all their abilities might be needed to succeed, sometimes even in the course of a single fight -- it's just that for druids these abilities include tanking, damage, and healing all together.

If you're playing with an experienced group, each player is likely specialized to one of these three roles, and his or her whole purpose is to minimize the chance that backup tanks, healers, and damage-dealers will be needed. That leaves druids trying to compete with warriors, rogues and priests (and mages), trying to do just as well at the same task, but with fewer abilities to call upon in the fight. Locked into these smaller roles, we must gear up and spend our talents in such a way that even if we were to shift out of our main role into another when the need arose, we wouldn't be able to do very well at it at all.

This brings me to the adventure at hand: Today we will go on an journey of the imagination together, exploring the potential future of druids, considering how this problem of specialization versus versatility might be approached. Indeed, as I gaze into my crystal-ball-shaped paper-weight, I see two possible futures: one, called "The Path of the Pandering Pedant," seeks nit-picky perfection in a class designed for breadth and scope, while the other, "the Way of the Multitudinous Master" brings the full manifest of all our abilities into harmonious use with one another.

Read more →

Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Alchemy: How to specialize? [Answered!]


Dear readers,

The time for decisions has arrived! I, an alchemist, have surpassed both level 68 and a skill of 325, and Alchemist Gribble here has informed me that I am eligible to become a Super Special Master of Alchemical Stuff! But the problem is, I have to choose which alchemical stuff to super-specially master.

Now before the Dark Portal opened, I was very happily buying Thorium Bars and Arcane Crystals, and transmuting them into Arcanite Bars for a tidy profit once a day. But now that we have all these newfangled Outland concoctions, I'm a bit confuzzled as to what I should tell Master Gribble. I'm sure some of you have vast depths of experience with which you can advise me and other burgeoning alchemists as to the best choices we could make with our alchemy specializations, whether for profit or just for helping our friends. Focus on transmutations for extra profity goodness? Elixirs for raiding? Potions for making friends?

Please leave us some wisdom in the comments below. If someone has an especially useful suggestion, I shall update this spot in order to feature it for everyone to see!

Answer: Most of our commenters have found that each specialization has its own advantages, and it really depends on what you would personally use most. People who use potions or elixirs most (or make them for their friends) find their respective specializations invaluable. Since I'm a druid, though, I still can't use potions in any of my forms, and my small guild doesn't habitually use lots of elixirs anyway. So it seems that for me the way to go is transmutation after all -- with one caveat: on some servers, primal might, which is the most readily available transmutation, sells for less than the materials needed to transmute it, due to an overflow of other alchemist with similar dreams of uncountable wealth. Getting revered with the Sporeggar will allow you to transmute Primal Earth to Water, though, and that is apparently more reliably profitable.

Filed under: Alchemy, Tips, Odds and ends

The red-headed step-children of crafting

Today I made my first two pieces of Shadowcloth. It's quite an accomplishment for my level 62 warlock, with the somewhat dangerous trek out to the Altar of Shadows. As I was feeling the roaring winds of the air elementals snap at my behind as I rode, I began to wonder if I shouldn't have chosen one of the other two paths instead.

It's a lot of work to jog on out to the Altar, and you take your life into your hands every time you do. Somehow the three disciplines seem somewhat uneven. Had I chosen Mooncloth tailoring, my travel time would include a small jaunt out to the Cenarian Refuge and a dip in the Moonwell.

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Filed under: Alchemy, Tailoring, Analysis / Opinion

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