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Posts with tag patch-3.0.2-talent-guide

3 Raid healing Priest specs at a glance

Now that the patch has been out for several days, players are slowly getting accustomed to various specs and talents. They're trialing them now in raid situations to get a future handle for them when they hit raiding at 80. How well did they hold up?

Here's a brief summary of the 3 raid specs I suggested:

14/47/0 (Traditional with CoH): Here's the spec many Holy Priests are used to. Key talents include Meditation, Improved Power Word Fortitude, Surge of Light, Circle of Healing, Serendipity, and Improved Holy Concentration (up to 2 ranks). The emphasis is on trying to maximize your mana return as much as possible.

4/57/0 (Guardian Spirit): Only 4 points invested into Discipline for this spec. You're nabbing all the upper tier ones including Guardian Spirit. Even though the cheat death effect isn't as useful right now, raiding with this spec will serve as good practice for those that do want to master it. At level 80, the 10 additional talent points can be used to snag Meditation and Inner Focus. Right now, the one thing going against this spec is the mana regeneration. I get a nice healthy 800+ mana regen out of combat. But if I'm in combat I only get about 125 mp5. So experiment with this spec if your raid DPS is insanely overwhelming. The race is between the damage your raid dishes out and the mana resources your healers have.

56/5/0 (Penance): Key talents include Focused Power, Rapture, Divine Aegis, Pain Suppression, Grace, Borrowed Time, and Penance. A reader brought up a great point in comments last week. There's no realistic reason to grab Reflective Shield. That was a mistake on my end and has been taken into consideration. As a result, I've adjusted the Disc tree spec accordingly. I get to jump into Black Temple again tonight and I'm going to switch to this and give it a shot.

Note that none of the specs above have any points invested in Silent Resolve. Especially with the latest patch and the way threat is, there is no reason to grab any right now. The tanks I play with generate an insane amount of threat. However, please keep in mind that these are suggested specs. Your actual mileage may vary. If you're encountering threat problems, then by all means feel free to pick up Silent Resolve.

For the Shadow Priests, take a look at Alex's Shadow Priest talent build.

Filed under: Priest, Talents

Patch 3.0.2 primer for Retribution Paladins


Let's face it. Retribution blows.

Blows things up, that is. Out of all the trees -- and I mean all including the other classes -- no tree got more love than Retribution in the Echoes of Doom patch. For many of us, it's been a long time coming. No other class spec has been the butt of more jokes and the target of such derision as Retribution. Not anymore. Not in Patch 3.0.2 and the days leading up to Wrath of the Lich King. Retribution deals so much pain that we've sent the rest of player base running to Ghostcrawler crying for a nerf. And we're getting nerfed. To the ground.

Don't panic. The changes are really, mostly aimed at PvP Paladins -- okay, that's me -- but will largely leave Paladin PvE damage output the same. That's excellent news. Because I've grown accustomed to the idea that quite a lot of you guys prefer PvE to PvP, we'll take a look at a PvE Retribution build that will make you the darling of your Heroic runs and more than welcome in raids. Let's bring on the pain after the jump.

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

[EDITED] Patch 3.0.2 primer for Protection Paladins


It's a sweet time to be a Tankadin. I know that AoE tanking is no longer the exclusive domain of Paladins, but that's cool. With the changes to the way tanking works now, tanks generally generate threat by dishing out more damage... and boy does a Protection Paladin deal damage. Because Protection is the tanking tree, a PvE-oriented endeavor, I'm going to put away my PvP-fanatic hat aside and focus on a build that is optimal for tanking. Don't worry, even in this spec Paladins are still formidable. That's just the way it works in the new world.

We see a big change right away on the first tier with Blessing of Kings made accessible to all. It's not quite the baseline spell we've been asking for, but it's close. Some players can choose to pick up a scaled down version for less than five points, but since this is standard raid fare, we're throwing in 5 points here including Improved Blessing of Kings. We're also going to pick up Divine Strength on this tier, which was moved from the Holy tree. It's important to note that pretty much everything we use scales off attack power now, too, so more Strength means more pain. And more pain means more threat. Strength also contributes to block value, so we'll be looking to get Strength in our gear, too.

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

Elemental Shaman talent builds for Patch 3.0.2

So you logged in on Tuesday and all your talent points were gone. (Let's hope you noticed this fact before you went out to attack someone or something.) If you're looking at the new Elemental tree and wondering what talents to pick, here's a little help for you from someone who's been speccing and respeccing almost pure Elemental on the beta servers for several months now. (That would be me.)

The first thing you should do is go read what our resident shaman expert, Matt Rossi, says about the overall changes to our class in Echoes of Doom, just to make sure you still want to stay Elemental (Part 1 and Part 2). For my part, I leveled to 70 as Elemental and saw no reason to switch as I worked my way up the new Wrath talent tree. Since we've already been over the new spells, the point of this post is to simply recommend a build for you. So let's get a-buildin'!

Tier 1
Both the PvE and the PvP specs start the same way. Take all 10 talents on the first row of the Elemental tree (Convection and Concussion) and put 5 points in Improved Healing Wave on the Resto tree. This is probably no different than your spec before Echoes of Doom.

Tier 2
PvE and PvP are the same here too. Max out both Call of Flame and Elemental Warding, which will improve both your DPS and your ability to survive. (That's right, elemental shamans are all about FIRE now.) Raiding shamans, on this tier you should also put 3 points into Ancestral Healing so that when you off-heal, your targets can reap this potential armor-increasing benefit.

Tier 3
On the third level, both PvE and PvP should take Elemental Focus and all 5 points in Elemental Fury, which are both talents you probably had before the patch. PvE can take all 5 points in Reverberation, but PvP should save 3 of these points for later.

Tier 4
Both play styles should max out the points in this tier for Eye of the Storm (familiar talent) and the new Improved Fire Nova Totem. Now some of you will say that PvE shouldn't be using Fire Nova totem and I'll partially agree with you. No, you shouldn't be using it in raids or instances. However, you can use it carefully in PvE and questing (which I've done) and it can be extremely useful because of its slowing effect if you get mobbed.

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Filed under: Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Guides, Talents

Shifting Perspectives: Moonkin in 3.02 and beyond

Every Tuesday, or possibly Thursday when the writer realizes that nobody writing about moonkin DPS on the internet agrees with each other, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week Allison Robert, having Hibernated John Patricelli and run away as fast as her laser-chicken legs will carry her, examines the new moonkin talents and glyphs in 3.02 and Wrath.

I do apologize about the wait here, folks. There's been a lot of contradictory information from both the beta and an array of Druid bloggers on how moonkin are shaping up for Wrath. While a lot of this is just the normal ebb and flow of changes in the alpha and beta, most of it is fueled by a few new talents and the set of glyphs that will become available. All of these have the potential to seriously impact your gameplay and rotation choices, so Balance DPS is going to be (at least, from current appearances) a lot twitchier and more proc-dependent than its counterpart in the feral tree. In addition, you'll probably have to make a few hard choices that will be affected by what your raid's going to need from you (although there is a truly amazing talent deep in the balance tree that, no matter what else you pick, is going to be a significant raid DPS contribution). As Balance is the only spec that I haven't gotten to raid on, I didn't want to go live with this until trying to figure out which pieces of information were accurate and which ones weren't. Bear in mind that Blizzard is still tinkering with Balance as I write this.

For the guide to feral in 3.02, head here; for the guide to resto in 3.02, head here. You'll probably want to be familiar with the resto changes, as balance has traditionally depended on a few key talents in that tree, some of which have changed. Otherwise, read on for a comprehensive look at balance's new talents, updated skills, and glyphs!

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Expansions, Raiding, Guides, Classes, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Patch 3.0.2 primer for Holy Paladins


This was supposed to go up before the servers did, but as you probably already know, Patch 3.0.2 wasn't quite what we all expected. Now that servers are starting to go back up online, I can better write up this handy guide for the brave new world. Let's try to get as much of this right as possible. If you were as excited as I am -- and you should be -- you probably logged on as soon as your Realm went up, picked out all those cool talents you've been drooling over these past months, and went off reveling in your newfound power.

Good for you. Even though Patch 3.0.2 had a few hiccups, most of the important class changes made it through. I had to delete a lot of my macros and change a few. For one thing, Judgement and a Seal can no longer be cast within the same macro. This is because Seals aren't consumed by Judgements anymore, so they now share the same GCD. If you have macros for your Blessings of Freedom, Protection, and Sacrifice, you should edit them to cast Hands instead of Blessings. Lots of little things. I'll probably talk about that in The Light and How to Swing It. For now, we'll take a look at the talent trees and how we'll settle into the 3.0.2 world.

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

Encrypted Text: Trunks of the Trees, Subtlety

Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. This week, we finish a discussion of 51 point talents. We'll be covering Shadow Dance, the final talent in Subtlety.

With the nefarious Patch Tuesday behind us, we now have available to us a plethora of new talents. Other classes received their 51 point talent trees as well, and balance is but a faint whisper of what it once was. I killed a Warrior earlier tonight in a full stunlock, and I saw a Retribution Paladin throw a Holy Light for over 7,000.

What sets Rogues apart is the true uniqueness of the new abilities. They are very different from anything we have ever seen before, and this can cause confusion and makes them harder to evaluate in terms of usefulness. I have been able to test Shadow Dance first hand, find my full report after the cut.

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Filed under: Rogue, Patches, Tips, Talents, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Shadows of Doom: 3.0.2 for Shadow Priests

Shadow has always been the "off-spec" for priests, from Classic, where it was questionable whether Shadow was viable for anything but leveling and PvP, to BC, where Shadow provides superb utility but limited DPS. Now I'm not saying Shadow will suddenly become the spec of choice for raiding priests, but the game is changing significantly in patch 3.0.2 and Wrath of the Lich King. Our coveted mana return is getting nerfed and spread around to Survival hunters and Retribution paladins, as well as us. But to compensate, our DPS is (supposedly) being brought up to par with the best of them.

A lot of this is coming in the form of a new and improved Mind Flay. Previously the "filler" spell that you cast during your rotation when you couldn't cast anything else, its spellpower coefficient is now being bumped up greatly, and perhaps more importantly, it can now crit! No longer must you shun crit rating to be a decent shadow priest.

Of course, there are also some dramatic talent tree changes - almost every talent is modified in some way. Let's start from the top and work our way down.

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Filed under: Priest, Patches

Patch 3.02 for Restoration Druids, part 1

The single biggest change for most restoration Druids with patch 3.02 will be the disappearance of at least four commonly-used PvE and PvP specs:
  • 8/11/42 (the traditional resto PvP spec)
  • 11/11/39 (Resto PvP with Insect Swarm)
  • 13/11/37 (Resto PvP with Insect Swarm and Nature's Reach)
  • 11/0/50 (PvE Tree of Life with Insect Swarm).
The first three are kaputski because Feral Charge is now a 21-point talent in the feral tree, and the last three are bye-bye because Insect Swarm is now a 21-point talent in the balance tree. If you still want talents from the balance tree especially, you'll have a ton of stuff to play with (frankly I ran out of space here to discuss the new restokin specs but we'll cover it as soon as we can), but for the moment we're only going to concern ourselves with stuff squarely in the Restoration tree. Shifting Perspectives later today will have a full run-down on moonkin in patch 3.02 and Wrath. Otherwise, there's still a ton of new stuff for tree Druids in this patch, including a resurrected Tier 3 set bonus, a vastly-improved Tree of Life form, an out-of-combat rez, and an insane +haste buff to two of your most-used spells. If you also want a look at what early 5-man healing in the beta is like as a resto Druid, head here.

Read on for a comprehensive look at the new healing and mana regeneration mechanics, Restoration abilities, talents, and glyphs!

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Expansions, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King

Patch 3.02 for Restoration Druids, part 2: New abilities and talents


New abilities:
  • Revive. Yes. It is, indeed, an out of combat resurrection for Druids. There, there. Don't weep. You can go ahead and let that idiot DPSer you pugged for your 5-man run die pulling aggro over and over again. No longer will you have to struggle to keep this person up while they inadvertently tank half the instance just because you're sick of having to wait 5 minutes for them to run back. Let them die. You can rez them. Or not. Not everyone knows we have this yet. Shhhh.
New talents:
  • Master Shapeshifter. Worth it? Possibly, but if you want or have to skip it, it's not game-breaking. As people have pointed out on Eliah's 3.02 changes for ferals comment thread, you get less out of Master Shapeshifter per point than it presently appears, because the talent requires an investment of 3 points in Natural Shapeshifter, which is far from being a necessary PvE talent (and even less so now that you're not required to shift out of Tree of Life in order to decurse or move at normal speed). So it's essentially a 4% boost to your healing for 5 points, not 2. With that said, it's not terribly difficult to accommodate this talent even in a build at 70, if for no other reason than having to pick up 5 talents in the second tier of the resto tree. Naturalist is still designed for ferals, you'll probably pick up 3/3 Subtlety, leaving you to have to invest at least 2 points in Natural Shapeshifter, so...yeah. This may come down to the usual early resto-tree game of "Which Useless Talent Is Less Useless?"
  • Living Seed. I've toyed with this a lot in the beta and it has its uses, but it has one major weakess; Druids, who are still very much reliant on HoT's and Spirit-based gear, are very unlikely to have the amount of crit needed to make this a truly useful general talent. Nourish (which you'll get at 80), Swiftmend, and Healing Touch are all reliant on a resto Druid's abysmal crit rate, so you are most likely to get the Living Seed effect while using a talented Regrowth, which should subsequently have a 55-65% crit rate (more, obviously, if you have a crit buff from elsewhere in the raid). Essentially, you HAVE to be using Regrowth regularly in order to make Living Seed worth taking. My opinion? This talent is going to depend an awful lot on what your healing assignments are in raids, or if you do primarily 5-man healing. If you raid-heal most of the time, Living Seed is probably a waste; Regrowth is a lot better and more mana efficient than it used to be but it is far from being your most efficient spell for mopping up raid damage. Moreover, Living Seed will be wasted on any raid member who's not getting hit. If you tank-heal most of the time, Living Seed might be worth it; it's essentially a free heal, and 30% of a critical-strike Regrowth will probably be somewhere in the region of 1,500 to 2,000 with decent gear (you will also want Glyph of Regrowth for this kind of healing; see below). I would also say the same about 5-man healing as you can't rely on another healer in the group to assist on either tank or group damage.
  • Replenish. Interestingly, this is a version of the 2-piece bonus on the old Druid Tier 3, Dreamwalker. I don't know whether this stacks with the Replenishment buff discussed above for mana users, but you're almost certainly going to be running Rejuvenation on your tanks.
  • Improved Tree of Life. The armor bonus is...um. I really don't know what to think. Tree of Life is essentially worthless in most forms of PvP due to Warlocks' Banish, so I'm not sure if that was really intended to be a PvP buff or included just because they couldn't figure out what else to put there. Even assuming you're not facing a Warlock, being in Tree of Life means no Cyclone or Entangling Roots, so frankly this talent still doesn't make that much sense for PvP. If you have enough Spirit on your gear to make the bonus to spellpower worth it, you might want this for PvE purposes, but I would not be surprised if they wind up overhauling the talent.
  • GIft of the Earthmother. This...is...huge. This is why you want to be so far down the Resto tree. It is essentially 20% haste on two spells (Lifebloom and Rejuvenation) that you'll be using a lot, although at the very expensive price of 5 full talents. You'll have half the raid Hotted-up before the Priest next to you has even put down his soda. With that said, this talent has been changed a LOT and used to include a version of Replenish, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Blizz continue to tinker with it. There's also problems down the line for resto Druids if +haste continues to be itemized on spellpower gear clearly meant for healers. The global cooldown can never be reduced to less than 1 second, which means that most of the +haste you'll get on gear past a certain point is going to be completely wasted on two of our most-used spells. This is not a problem from Blizzard's perspective if they're serious about getting us to use as many healing spells in our arsenal as possible, but it's food for thought. Oh, and this talent works very, very well in conjunction with Glyph of Lifebloom, by the way. More on this in a moment.
  • Wild Growth. This is another talent on the beta that's been buffed, nerfed, buffed, nerfed, buffed, nerfed, and buffed again. Blizzard has previously said they intended it to function in much the same way that the Priest's Circle of Healing does, and I'm not one to turn down an AoE HoT. You'll definitely find it situationally useful no matter where you are, as it's also programmed to be a "smart" HoT, i.e. if there are more than 5 people in range who've taken damage, it will automatically heal the people who need it most.

Patch 3.0.2 primer for Warlocks part II

Demonology
Let's now take a look at the Demonology tree. Out of all the trees, Demonology has always been about utility. Obviously the most pet-centric spec, Patch 3.0.2 brings interesting synergies with the pet and Warlock that also brings significant gains in DPS. It's also still a great PvP spec, although Warlocks who choose to pursue SL/SL take a hit from the survivability nerfs in Demonology and miss out on some cool 51-point toys.

On the first tier, we already discussed the nerf to Demonic Embrace, which now only grants 10% total Stamina instead of 15%. The Spirit penalty was removed, however, and it actually matters because we actually get spell power gains from Spirit through Fel Armor. Five points here is mandatory. There's also Improved Imp, which we'll skip because we won't be using the Imp much as a Demonologist, anyway.

And then there's Improved Healthstone, which I highly recommend whether you raid or PvP. It's notable that when I tested it in Beta, players are no longer allowed to possess more than one Healthstone, regardless of rank. Because of this change, you might as well have the best one. Your raid or team will thank you for it.

On the second tier we'll find Improved Health Funnel, which was buffed to grant a mitigation mechanic while our pet is under the effect of Health Funnel. I'd normally say take it, but we'll have our hands full with other talents later on. If you use your pet to tank a lot, this talent helps. Otherwise, you can skip it.

On the other hand, you have to put three points in Fel Vitality, which rolls Fel Intellect and Stamina together. This one is a no-brainer. Demonic Brutality is a tougher choice. This is the buffed Improved Voidwalker which also increases the DPS of our Felguard. This is about as close as we'll get to an Improved Felguard for now, so it just might be worth investing in.

Improved Succubus in tier three has been reworked to a more usable form by making Seduction instant cast, which is awesome. It's not like we ever used her for Lash of Pain or Soothing Kiss, anyway. If you really want pure utility, pick this up as it will also situationally be handy in PvP. Despite the improvement, though, I'd much rather spend three points in Demonic Aegis on the same tier for the spell power bonus to Fel Armor.

Two key talents are also on the third tier -- the weaker but more accessible Soul Link and life-saving Fel Domination. Take them. Speaking of key talents, max out all the talents in tier four. Unholy Power opens up three different talents and Master Summoner is necessary to make Fel Domination absolutely worth it.

The good news is that Demonic Sacrifice is now completely optional. If you're a fan of demon-less raiding, which I admittedly am not, then pick this up to go along with a hybrid Destruction spec. Otherwise you can skip this talent and Master Conjuror, both on the fifth tier. It's important to note, however, that Firestones and Spellstones have been reworked to be weapon buffs like Mana Oils. They no longer need to be equipped but instead are a 5-charge consumable item that grants significant bonuses to direct damage spells or DoTs.

Mana Feed on the sixth tier is a good investment, particularly because Felguards eat through their mana extremely fast. Master Demonologist is another vital talent not only for the passive benefits but because it's required for Demonic Empowerment. That's about eight talents spent on this tier, so it's good that we can skip the underwhelming Improved Enslave Demon completely.

Tier seven is a mixed bag. If you're heavy into PvP, you should probably max out Demonic Reslience, specially with the weaker Soul Link. Otherwise, you can skip it and invest in the more DPS-oriented Demonic Knowledge, which should do wonders for you in PvE. Also on this tier is the utility spell Demonic Empowerment, which I've enthused about. I like it. I have it hotkeyed. I hope you like it, too.

Past the seventh tier we will be foregoing hybridization and should be committing to full Demonology. It's also where all these master and demon synergies start falling into place. Demonic Tactics on tier nine is a flat out DPS boost that should be maxed out. We'll also need it for another cool talent on the next tier. If we plan on sending our pet into the fray -- which we should, really -- Fel Synergy will help keep it alive. The more damage we deal, the more our demons stay up. How cool is that?

Improved Demonic Tactics is on the ninth tier and gives our demons that necessary punch for Demonic Empathy. The DPS boost is moderate at 3%, but is virtually guaranteed to be up for either the Warlock or her pet at all times. It's pretty weak for something so deep in the tree, however, so I recommend skipping it. What we're not skipping, however, is Summon Felguard. No, really.

Improved Demonic Tactics will come in handy for Demonic Pact, which grants a raidwide buff whenever our pet crits. If you're a raider, you'll want this. It won't stack with Shaman totems, though, so it's only good if you have considerable spell power. If you mostly PvP, you can skip it.

Finally, we have Metamorphosis. I wanted to do a Skill Mastery on this talent because it really needs to be discussed. First of all, I honestly don't think it's a finished spell. At its best, it's a 30 second DPS boost every three minutes and a perfect panic button for PvP. It boosts a Demonology Warlock's survivability to the stratosphere because of the 600% armor bonus and snare and stun duration reductions. It's very nearly a Warlock's version of The Beast Within.

Be warned, however, that the associated abilities in demon form are situational and even downright silly. Shadow Cleave gives you a low-damage melee strike... that also hits allies. I mean, if you have 30 seconds in this godly, er, demonic form, why would you waste your GCD on a silly melee strike? Then there's Challenging Howl, an AoE taunt for those Warlocks who've always dreamed of being Tankadins. Of course, the only thing vaguely tank-ish about a Warlock in demon form is the armor, and it's not even that high. Oh, and once 30 seconds are up, you're quite certain to die.

Immolation Aura is great, though. It scales very well with spell damage and is there to teach those big, bad Warriors a lesson for picking on us. It lasts 15 seconds, so if you can't get out of melee range within that span of time, at least you're dealing some hurt. It's pretty much the best demon form ability, although you'll rarely use it while raiding. There's also Demon Charge, which is like a Warrior's Intercept. The trouble is, it works from a minimum of 8 yards, meaning you'll actually have to get close to someone you're already far away from to begin with. [CLARIFICATION: That statement was supposed to mean "you're already 8 yards away, why the hell would I charge to my opponent?"]

I don't know about you, but I was fairly certain that our strategy was to kite things, not to tank things. Pretty much everything about Metamorphosis is counter-intuitive. That said, the ability does have its uses, and can be considered a boost to DPS when raiding. Hopefully it'll still get fixed at some point and, for the love of demons, it should get a female form. Even if you go deep into Demonology, you're completely excused if you skip Metamorphosis.

Zach helps guide you through the changes in 3.0.2, so you can be enthralled in all the demonic love Blizzard's thrown together. Check out other 3.0.2 Talent Guides, too, as well as everything about the so-called Echoes of Doom.

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

Patch 3.0.2 primer for Warlocks part III

Destruction
Long considered the most efficient raiding spec throughout the Burning Crusade, Destruction will get a run for its money with the new and improved Affliction. It also remains to be seen if Blizzard's efforts at steering the spec clear of mindless Shadow Bolt spamming will prove successful. Certainly, there's more emphasis on Fire spells this time around, which we'll see deeper into the tree. If you do spec deep Destruction, do tell me how it goes. Send me a postcard from Naxxramas.

Change is felt right off on the first tier as the popular Bane is moved up here. It's exactly the same, so getting it a tier earlier is a definite buff. Improved Shadow Bolt is unchanged, but I'd hold off on putting points here. Unless you're determined to pursue a Shadow Bolt spam spec, there're a good bunch of talents deeper in the tree to spend your points on.

Cataclysm swapped places with Bane but was buffed in a sense because it now just costs 3 points for a 3% cost reduction but now grants crucial +Hit. We'll need it as we level up and re-gear in Northrend. Three points here is mandatory. In more point-saving generosity, Aftermath was reduced to a 2-point talent for the same effect. Does it make the talent any better? No, it still sucks. But now it sucks for three points less.

On tier two we also see Molten Core, a new talent introduced to mix things up a little for Destruction. Molten Core encourages the use of DoTs, which are likely to proc it more than Shadow Bolts. This is great talent for Destruction Warlocks looking to specialize in Fire spells, as well as low enough in the tree for other specs such as Demonology, to pick up. If we want to diversify our play style, we should put three points here.

If you're only branching out to Destruction from another tree, you might be faced with the decision of choosing between tier three's Shadowburn and a 51-point talent. I'll say it right off that you should skip Shadowburn. On the other hand, if you're moving deeper into Destruction, pick it up because you'll be sure to find a use for it. Five points in the more accessible Ruin is mandatory, as well. We can skip Demonic Power, which is essentially Improved Lash of Pain and Improved Firebolt rolled together. [EDIT: Sephirah correctly reminds me that Demonic Power ups DPS directly because we're going to have our Imp attack, anyway. So, score some points for Demonic Power!]

The unchanged Destructive Reach on tier four is mandatory while the other talents are completely optional. If we're looking to PvP as Destruction -- why not? -- we should pick up Intensity not just for the pushback protection but because it's a prerequisite for a stun effect. We'll save points by skipping Improved Searing Pain. No, really. We're going to skip it.

Devastation was moved to tier five, swapping places with Ruin. Now it's one talent point for a 5% crit, which is one of the best single point investments we can make in any tree. We'll also want to get Improved Immolate because aside from the fact that it's been buffed from 25% to 30% for two talent points less, we'll need it to get something really cool deeper in the tree. Besides, Blizzard really wants us to use Immolate. Pyroclasm is entirely optional, even for PvP considering the only spell we'll really use that can proc it is Conflagrate.

We want Emberstorm. It's that simple. 10% more damage from Fire spells and a faster Incinerate is sweet. Also on tier six is the reworked Nether Protection, which now procs off any spell. It no longer grants immunity, but a damage reduction from any school. In some ways it's a buff since it can protect against Frost or Holy, for example, but it also no longer confers immunities to Silence or other Shadow spells (which probably wasn't intended to begin with). Unless we want more mitigation in PvP, we can skip that.

Tier seven is where it begins to get a bit tight. We want Conflagrate, since it's an excellent one point investment. If we're raiding, we can actually skip Soul Leech since we really should be healed, anyway. If we solo or PvP, it's a great talent to have. It also opens up opportunities for our pet on the next tier. Backlash is another PvP talent for those time when Rogues or Warriors are being mean to us, but because there's a 3% crit bonus, I'd say we pick it up.

Up next is Shadow and Flame in tier eight, which we'll max out because it scales Shadow Bolt insanely and tempt us to just spam the thing. Fortunately it also affects Chaos Bolt and Incinerate, so we may steer clear of the evil path of mindless Shadow Bolt spam. Since we skipped Soul Leech, we're obviously locked out from Improved Soul Leech. But feel free to pick it up for pet loving if you have points to spare.

On tier nine, I'm skipping Shadowfury only because we've been moving away from PvP-centric talents in this post. I know, I know, some of you insist that Shadowfury is awesome for PvE, so you can very well spend that talent point there. It's just one point, anyway. What I'm really interested in is Backdraft. Didn't I say Improved Immolate would lead to something cool? Well this is it. It's a mini-Bloodlust or Heroism for three spells. Because Destruction is all about cast times, 30% haste is gold.

Then we get Empowered Imp on the same tier. Check out that icon. That's one badass Imp. If little Rupjub crits, I crit. Well, almost. I get 20% more crit on my next spell, which is pretty darned good. The idea is to get the Imp into the action by spending talents to make it hit hard enough. He'll crit eventually. Here's where we can revisit Improved Soul Leech to keep the little guy topped up. See, I told you to hold off on getting Improved Shadow Bolt.

If you find spamming direct damage spells a little mind numbing, you can invest some points into Fire and Brimstone. Didn't I tell you that Blizzard wants us to use Immolate? Well, here you go. Immolate will hit hard with this talent. The cool -- or uncool, depending on how you look at it -- is having to watch Immolate's duration hit the 5 second mark before throwing out a Conflagrate. Yes, I know this screws our timing up, but someone's bound to make an AddOn to tell us when to cast Conflagrate. Right? Anyone? Bueller?

And then there's Chaos Bolt. It's a 51-point spell on a 12 second timer. Sure, it pierces through absorption effects and all that stuff... but 12 seconds? I mean, I can't kill a Pally with it anymore and I can only cast it every 12 seconds. Well, we're getting it anyway. We've gotten this deep, right? Besides, it deals whopper damage and it's great for teaching those Shadow Cloaked Rogues a lesson. It's a pretty decent one point investment and can do wonders once we figure out how to work it into our newly confusing and complex (but fun!) rotations.

Well, that's the last of our Warlock talents primer for 3.0.2. I hope that helped you decide which direction you want to take your Warlock when the realms go up. I'm leaning towards a hybrid myself, but Haunt is so deliciously sexy...

Zach helps guide you through the changes in 3.0.2, so you can be enthralled in all the demonic love Blizzard's thrown together. Check out other 3.0.2 Talent Guides, too, as well as everything about the so-called Echoes of Doom.

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

[EDITED] Patch 3.0.2 primer for Warlocks

First things first. Things will be changing this Tuesday for all of us. One sobering fact that we must all face is that from that day forward, we're going to be just a little bit squishier. Demonology, in particular, has taken some hits in survivability with the rework to Demonic Embrace (Stamina increase reduced to 10% from 15%, but Spirit penalty removed) and Soul Link (15% damage transfer, down from 20%). General homogenization of cloth items also means that we will no longer be getting more Stamina than other squishies in gear past Level 70.

Stamina stacking from gear is about as good as it gets at Level 70, so enjoy it while it lasts. On a good note, Soul Link has been moved up to an 11-point talent, giving us some very interesting choices to make when considering going deep into Affliction or Destruction. In fact, out of all the 11-point talents, Soul Link is the only one that should give us any pause for thought. Considering that for about a month, we can only allocate up to 10 points in another tree if we choose to get a 51-point talent. Anyway, Patch 3.0.2. What's in store for Warlocks? An overview of the talent trees after the jump.

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

3.0.2 for Feral Druids


In a few hours, when the servers come back up, patch 3.0.2 is going to hit, and WoW will change drastically. Every tree is get revamped to a greater or lesser extent, and extended up to 51-point talents. The Feral tree changes, in my opinion, fall somewhere in the middle in terms of how radical of a shake-up they are.

The big change, philosophy-wise, is that we're going to be able to be main tanks or top-tier DPS, on par with the best warriors or rogues. The catch is that we won't be able to do it with the same spec; we can spec to be DPS or tank, and do as well as anyone at those rolls. We can still try to spec somewhere in the middle, but then we'll get back to our old "master of none" status. In my opinion, this is good news, especially considering we'll be getting dual-spec capabilities in 3.1 (the first post-Wrath content patch).

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Filed under: Druid, Patches

Preparing your Mage for patch 3.0.2, part 2



So...tomorrow's the big day, huh? When you log in tonight, be sure to open up your talent interface. Take a long look at your talents. Give them all a nice, long, figurative kiss goodbye. Do this because the next time you see your talents, you won't recognize them at all.

Since we have 8 billion things to talk about and substantially less than 8 billion words with which to talk about them, we'd better get started.

Patch 3.0.2--the pre-expansion patch that we're almost certainly getting tomorrow--changes a crapload of things. We went over the more general Mage-related changes in Arcane Brilliance on Saturday, so if you haven't seen that yet, take a look and then come on back.

Today, we'll look at the vast, sweeping modifications our talent trees have undergone. Trust me when I say a lot has changed. Did I mention the changes were sizable? Well they are. Come back after the jump for a massive review of new and remodeled Mage toys.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Guides, Classes, Talents, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

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