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Posts with tag talent-guide

Raid Rx: Shamanism heading into Mists of Pandaria

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Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poohbah of World of Matticus and a founder of Plus Heal, a discussion community for healers of all experience levels and interests Catch his weekly podcast on healing, raiding and leading, the Matticast.

After covering monks, priests, paladins, and druids, there is one class left to review: shaman. How are they going to fare entering Mists of Pandaria?

Totems ... gone!

Just kidding!

They're not really gone. They've switched to more of a utility focus now. Looking at the entire list of totems available, not a single one provides any type of stat increase. Totems that provided passive buffs like Flametongue Totem, Mana Spring Totem, and Stoneskin Totem have been removed. Healing Stream took a nerf cannon to the face, now only affecting a player now instead of whole groups.

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Filed under: Shaman, Raid Rx (Raid Healing), Mists of Pandaria

Spiritual Guidance: The shadow priest's guide to World of Warcraft patch 4.0.1

Welcome to Wednesday's shadow priest edition of Spiritual Guidance, hosted by Fox Van Allen. We bloggers are all about search engine optimization. As such, there are going to be some changes around here: Shadowfiends will be referred to as "Lady Gaga meat dresses," and Dawn Moore will be henceforth referred to as "NY Jets reporter Inez Sainz." Fox Van Allen will, of course, remain Fox Van Allen -- he's as optimized as he's ever going to get.

I spent hours riding a seahorse in Vashj'ir last night. I love a good video game cliché, and there's no video game cliché quite like the underwater level. The environment is beautiful and immersive, but those beautiful aqua blues and sea greens couldn't distract me from a fundamental truth about the new expansion that I was constantly experiencing: Shadow priesting is a lot more fun in Cataclysm. Period. There are more options. More abilities. And yes, even more DPS.

For those of you who want to get the ball rolling on these new abilities in Cataclysm, there's good news: Patch 4.0.1 is currently available for testing on the public test realm. It's not the full release of the game, but the new patch will cover almost all the changes that are going to be made to our spec for the new expansion. And better yet, the patch's appearance on the PTR signals that all these changes to the shadow priesting way of life are just around the corner. (And not, like, how we keep saying Cataclysm is around the corner, despite its being months away. I mean legit around the corner. For reals, no take-backs.)

The way you play the game, whether it's soloing mobs or raiding Icecrown, is about to change significantly. Are you ready? Follow me after the break, where I'll explain what patch 4.0.1 is, what it is not and what to do once it hits.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Cataclysm

Pimp My Profile: Dyskograf, Mutilate rogue


Welcome to Pimp My Profile, the column in which the WoW.com staff turns zeroes into heroes. Don't think you're performing where you should be? Not sure how your class/spec is supposed to be gearing up? E-mail us with your Armory link, and you might be next to receive our help!

I am using the only viable (at the moment) Mutilate-Envenom spamming build. I throw HfB every time it goes off, pooling my energy a little, just to make sure I'll get two Mutilates in one Envenom buff. And yes, SnD is there all fight long. The problem is, the highest one i've ever got from it was 4k DPS only. As I find these numbers very poor - I make a place for your tweakin advices!

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Dyskograf
Dyskograf, it's your lucky day, because WoW.com is going to Pimp Your Profile! While I won't be able to put a mount on your mount so you can ride while you ride, I will be able to give you some character planning tips that will have you moving towards the top of the DPS charts in no time flat!

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Filed under: Rogue, Pimp My Profile

Pimp My Profile: Elasmind, balance druid


Welcome to Pimp My Profile, the column in which the WoW.com staff turns zeroes into heroes. Don't think you're performing where you should be? Not sure how your class/spec is supposed to be gearing up? E-mail us with your Armory link, and you might be next to receive our help!
Please pimp my druid. I can put out decent DPS in 5 mans if the conditions are right but I want to do more. I'm unsure about some of my talent choices and hope you can put me on the right track to ICC.

- Elasmind
Like a genie in a bottle, your wish is my command. With minimal tweaks, we can certainly get your toon ready to raid in style. When I say style, I mean style, you'll be the talk of Fountain Square. Get your whisper blocking add-on ready, because after we turn you from a moonkin to a doomkin, every balance druid in Dalaran is going to want to know your secret.

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Filed under: Pimp My Profile

Pimp My Profile: Marksmanship hunter Fizzlebow

Welcome to Pimp My Profile, the column in which the WoW.com staff turns zeroes into heroes. Don't think you're performing where you should be? Not sure how your class/spec is supposed to be gearing up? E-mail us with your Armory link, and you might be next to receive our help!
I would like to submit my character for the re-release of Pimp My Profile. I have a hunter named Fizzlebow, he's profiled for both Marksman and Beast Mastery, though I mostly play Marksman because I have more shots to choose from. I play 3-5 times a week, usually after work. I try to get in Heroic dungeon on the nights I do play, hopefully I can get two done a night. I usually group with my wife, another married couple, and one of their friends. I would be interested in any advice that I can receive towards my character to improve DPS. Depending on the heroic, I usually get somewhere between 1800 - 2300 DPS, and it feels like I should be getting more than that. Thanks for any info you and WoW.com can give, keep up the good work!

- Fizzlebow
Thank you for writing to Pimp My Profile Fizzlebow! You appear to be both deeply insightful as well as uncommonly good looking -- which is especially remarkable in your case since you don't have the rugged dwarven good looks to boost you. Marksman is indeed an excellent build to use in heroics, and I do believe if we roll up our sleeves we can jump your heroic DPS up considerably. We'd like to see you consistently doing over 3,000 DPS in any given heroic.

Best of all with higher DPS your runs will be faster than ever and I daresay your wife will be looking at you with new eyes and suggesting ways to spend that extra time!

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Filed under: Hunter, Pimp My Profile

[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

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

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

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