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Posts with tag builds

Your Perfect Swing

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I... I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." - Robert Frost

Who knew that Robert Frost played World of Warcraft. He didn't? Well, he should have. I think he would have played a survival hunter (maybe even a melee hunter) who did tailoring and goblin engineering. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, I am going to take this time to vent (or rant, if you prefer) in as polite a manner as I can about something that really bugs me. It gets under my skin. It sometimes upsets me to the point that it affects the quality of my performance in-game. Before you continue reading this article, maybe you should go to the fridge and get yourself some comfort food, perhaps some of that meat loaf from a couple of nights ago and a nice glass of milk. There you go. All comfy? Ready for the jaw-dropping news that is going to change your perception of World of Warcraft?

There is no magic formula.

I see people looking for this magic formula in chat channels all the time. "What is the best profession for a..." or "What is the best spec for a..." or "What is the best weapon for a..." are all ways that sentences in these conversations start. Folks, you're missing the most crucial part of the equation: the human variable.

You should play what feels good for you. I think one of the biggest reasons some guilds are so frustrated in end-game content is because all their characters are photocopies of each other, or builds that they picked up off the forums. Do you think maybe that Blizzard reads these forums too? They know with mathematical precision what the most popular builds are. So do you think when they were designing the instances and raids for The Burning Crusade that they took this data into consideration? They would be foolish not to.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Instances, Raiding

Build Shop: Warlock ??/41+/??

This will be a somewhat unusual (and self-serving) Build Shop. You see, I have a Warlock alt, rolled one day when I was bored at level 60 with my priest, trying to get my Devout gloves. The warlock has always been either Affliction or Demonic Sacrifice-based, but I'd like to try out the Felguard for leveling purposes (currently, I'm at level 55). The question is, what Felguard spec should I use?

From my research in the official forums and a few other places, and from playing around with the talent calculator, here's the best I've been able to come up with: 15/46/0 or 5/46/10. Fairly similar, as you can see. However, I'm somewhat uncomfortable with both builds; essentially, few of the points that aren't in Demonology really satisfy me.

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Filed under: Warlock, Features, Leveling, Talents, Build Shop

Build Shop: Priest 23/38/0

Consider this the beginning of Season 2 of Build Shop. I've given each class a turn (for real this time), and now I'm going to kick things off with another build of my own, this one on my main. Priest is the first class I got to 60, and the first class I got to 70. Although I leveled to 55 or so as Shadow, healing is really what I love on my priest, and I've been various kinds of Holy since then.

My current build isn't really original; in fact, it's probably the most common PvE healing build for priests right now: 23/38/0. Take Discipline down to Improved Divine Spirit, and Holy down to 3/5 Empowered Healing (skipping Lightwell and Circle of Healing, in my version). The main alternative builds would probably be 21/40/0 or 20/41/0, and there may not be a clear-cut "best" build out of the three.

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Filed under: Priest, Features, Raiding, Talents, Build Shop

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: If you build it...

Every week Matthew Rossi brings to life The Care and Feeding of Warriors, a column meant to help our friends and even sometimes our enemies, the women and men who don't know which end of a prayerbook is which, couldn't backstab you if you turned around and wore a target on your spine, and who think Arcane Brilliance really should make them glow in the dark.

Last week, we talked about builds. This week, we'll look at a few first hand. I do think, in general, that many warriors are feeling the pinch between speccing for as much tanking viability as possible and having talents and abilities that allow them to grind and solo/quest in a timely fashion. I definitely think there's an entire column to be had in discussing this factor, but for now I'll just say that I am attempting in selecting these specs to err on the side of overall viability. I may have skipped a few obvious talents for ones that I thought helped provide more general ability, and I especially welcome commentary and suggestions.

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Filed under: Warrior, Tips, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors

Ret pallies to be improved

Retribution paladins are in strong contention for most ridiculed build in WoW as today. Personally, I'm sure they don't deserve all the scorn that's thrown at them, but it's probably true that Ret is not as strong as many other trees. Well, Blizzard seems to have (finally) noticed this, and they're taking a look at it:

Hello again, I just wanted to let you know that the developers have taken part of your suggestions, and are looking into improving the retribution paladin spec. You can probably expect something along the line of more sustained DPS in a raid and more raid utility, but we are not ready to reveal any details. This is still work in progress, so please be patient :)

Good news, eh? Or as one forum responder put it: "
Hell, it's about time." So if Ret gets more sustained raid DPS and more raid utility, will you be happy with it? What would you change in the tree?

Filed under: Paladin, News items

Build Shop: Hunter 5/13/43

Welcome back to Build Shop! A short break was taken due to some technical difficulties, but here I am once again. And although I had previously claimed to have covered every class, it appears that I was mistaken: I missed Hunter! Therefore, as a thank you to the person who brought this to my attention (let's call him Mr. X), I will be reviewing his Hunter build. (To Mr. X: you didn't give me a screen name or anything, and I'm not sure if you want your real name attached to this. Drop me an email if you want me to credit the build to you.)

This build definitely falls into the "strange" category. You've all seen enough raid builds and leveling builds, time for something a bit different. Here's how Mr. X describes the build:

This Hunter idea just caught my attention, the ability to control 5 mobs, freeze trap, wait for cool down (24 seconds), wyvern sting pull, concussive shot another, one gets trapped, drop a trap for another, you pet tanks the last, 1 sleeping, 2 trapped, pop readiness, drop trap for the last, call pet back, wyvern sting the one it was fighting, relax a moment or two, back up, send pet in at first wyvern sting, let loose, then back to the second wyvern sting, trap cooldown should be up, retrap first ice block, fight the second ice block, have pet grab third ice block, mend pet, take out, and retrap the last ice block, step back, send in pet, let loose again. 5 mobs down, 1-2 minutes.

-in a goup this hunter could have some fun too. the ability to free 3 targets, for 26 seconds each, pull a group of 6 in end game instances, rogue and mage in group, 1 sap, one sheep, and 3 ice blocks, then a wyvern sting mid combat should it be needed, and chain trapping one of the 3, the group can take out 1 enemy at a time, even in a group of 6, or without mage and rogue, still stop 5 for a period, life becomes really easy at this point. plus expose weakness on the 1 target everyone is fighting. this could be especially helpful with boss adds, since freezing traps arent specific to a specific target type (i.e. humanoids, beast, undead, etc)

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Filed under: Hunter, Features, Talents, Build Shop

Build Shop: Druid 0/47/14

Last week I asked for Druid builds. How many of the builds I got do you think were Feral? That's right, all of them. Never let it be said I can't take a hint; here's a Feral build for this week. The tree is enjoying a justifiable period of popularity right now, I think. Every druid I regularly group with is Feral, and bear tanks do a great job. Tanks are in demand on my realm, so I haven't seen many druids get a chance to go kitty and shred some face butt, but when I have seen it it's been pretty impressive. And of course, like any other class that can heal, if they carry a healing set they can be pretty solid off-healers.

I got two 0/47/14 builds from two different people. One build included Intensity and Savage Fury, while the other one had Brutal Impact and Natural Shapeshifter. For reasons I'll get into later, I prefer the first variant, by Athaliana of Moonrunner, so that's what I'll look at here. Oh, and to answer your question, bwest0526, there is, as you can see, no set reason why builds have to be 0/41/20 or 31/0/30 or other such patterns like that. However, talent trees are designed such that particularly appealing one-point talents are placed at 11, 21, 31, and 41 points into each tree, so many builds go into trees with the goal of getting one of those talents, and then put the rest of their points in a different tree for some other purpose. The 21, 31, and 41 point talents especially tend to be very good values in many cases.

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Filed under: Druid, Features, Talents, 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

Breakfast Topic: How many times have you changed your talents?

With the new talent trees and the challenges of leveling, I've had to adjust my talents several times. On my warlock, I did a post-2.0 build before the expansion pack that was very heavy demonology, a leveling build that was heavy affliction, then I tried multiple builds for post-70, settling on a hybrid 40/0/21 build similar to my old raiding build.

Fortunately I'd had my old raiding spec for a very very long time, and my cost to switch everything now is up to just 30G. How many times have you unlearned your talents lately? What's your re-spec cost up to?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Talents

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