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Posts with tag talent-trees

Warlords of Draenor: Understanding Draenor Perks

What's the point of a Draenor Perk? It's a question that seems to be fairly common among players, ever since the bonuses were mentioned in the patch notes for patch 6.0. As players level from 90 to 100, each level will bring with it a perk. Each class and spec has nine perks, and by the time you hit level 100, you'll have them all. However, the order that you receive these perks is completely random. You can't choose the perk, the perk chooses you.

Wowhead dug up the full list of Draenor Perks for each spec and class, and the perks themselves seem to be pretty much the same -- bonus damage or a boost to specific player abilities. In many cases, it's just a flat percent damage boost. This seems all well and good, but players seem to be confused about the point of the perk system, since it looks a lot like something that was deliberately culled from the game a few years ago.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

WoW Archivist: Talents have come full circle

Circle of Healing
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

The Warlords of Draenor patch 6.0 notes have revealed the latest changes to WoW's ever-evolving talent system. Talents have remained a core system in WoW since its earliest days, the primary method that allows players to make their characters distinct.

In the beta for WoW and throughout vanilla, talent trees were a bit of a mess, as Archivist covered. Today, we'll examine how those early trees came to be expanded, refined, and then scrapped for a very different system. We'll also look at how Warlords is bringing back the earliest version of talent trees in a brand new way.

The golden age of hybrids

Talent possibilities exploded during The Burning Crusade. Ten more levels granted players ten more points to assign. Players could now combine abilities in ways that vanilla's trees had never allowed, opening up exciting new gameplay paths.

Players didn't choose a specialization like they do today. Instead, they assigned points to three different "trees." Each tree represented a spec, but each also had talents that helped the other two specs as well. So players could pick and choose just how far down they wanted to go in a given tree, and thus how much to commit their character to one spec. "Hybrid" builds were not ideal from a min/max perspective, but they were popular. And TBC was the golden age of such builds.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Arcane Brilliance: Talent Show

draenei mage
Every other week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week we're holding our breath to see what news will be revealed at Blizzcon!

If I could have absolutely anything from Blizzcon this year specifically pertaining to mages, it'd be this: I'd like to know what the future of our tier 6 talents is going to be. It's already been acknowledged that they'd like to make changes to these talents. The devs know that the talents are an ongoing concern and really a major thorn in our side.

It became clear to me just how I felt about the tier 6 talents as I was leveling my troll mage to 90 a few months ago. I went to do a dungeon as a fire mage and I evocated, and imagine my surprise when -- it triggered a long cooldown. I got some mana back. Nothing else happened. My invocation buff tracker remained at nothing. I happily did the rest of the dungeon without ever using evocate at all unless I needed mana. Then I realized that it was more fun to be level 88 than it was to be level 90.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Spec and Talent design likely to remain unchanged in 6.0

Spec and Talent design likely to remain unchanged in 60
You can't blame anyone for wondering, really, given that with Cataclysm and Mists, the talent system has changed substantially. But, Blizzard Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street has tweeted, indicating that the system is unlikely to change:
It's definitely not set in stone, and there may be other peripheral changes, but I for one am pretty happy with the talent system. I have mentioned before that I would have loved for there to be more handed out every level, but that is mitigated by just how fast you go through the early levels, so it's hard to argue that that's a big deal.

The removal of the "boring" talents has gone pretty well, but the cookie cutter builds do rather remain. What that requires, though, is further work to make the talents themselves work for everyone, especially hybrids. The prevalence of cookie cutter builds doesn't mean the talent system needs another rework. Frankly, a lot has changed in Mists, both for the better and for the worse -- it's been an expansion of experimentation. I, for one, would really appreciate some consistency. What about you?

Filed under: News items

Patch 5.3 and more with Ghostcrawler

Patch 53 and more with Ghostcrawler
In case you hadn't heard the news, patch 5.3 is set to hit live servers tomorrow. While 5.3 doesn't include a new raid, there are a host of different new activities, including four new scenarios, heroic scenarios, a ton of pet battle changes, and of course the advancement of Mists of Pandaria's storyline as the heat ramps up between Alliance, Horde, and an outlier faction of Horde rebels. It's back to the Barrens again -- and this time, Crossroads isn't the area of contention.

But on top of all of the new content comes a ton of different class and content changes as well. We sat down to chat with Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street about patch 5.3's changes, as well as some upcoming changes for patch 5.4, response to subscription losses, Vengeance changes, that big unannounced feature we've all been dying to hear more about, and much more.

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Filed under: Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

No talent overhaul likely

Mage talents
If you're interested in WoW design and discussion, but don't yet follow twitter, you might want to reconsider. A lot of the developers are regularly active there. For example, yesterday our own Adam Holisky had a nice little chat with Ghostcrawler, Bashiok, and some other folks about WoW's talent design, and wondering if there was another big overhaul being considered for the next major expansion. The answer, bluntly, is no. Blizzard seems content with the current system.

Player Mihaly Ducz replied that three choices every fifteen levels feels kind of thin, but I have to admit that I kind of agree with Bashiok's response on that one: there are already plenty of spells and abilities in the game; I am perfectly content to have fewer of them, or at least more passive options so I don't have to agonize over how to redo my bars again. How about you? Are you content with the current talent system? What might you like to see changed or modified in the future?

Filed under: Blizzard, Mists of Pandaria

Mists' talent system revamp: Hit or miss?

Now that it's been a while a look at Mists' talent system
We've had the new talent system now for eight months, and it's had time to settle in, so it seems that it's an appropriate time to see whether it has been a success in its objectives, to assess the pros and cons of the new system.

In case you forgot, Wrath of the Lich King featured 71 talent points, which were distributed over three trees, resulting in some entertaining builds, and no requirement to place the last talent in the tree. The Burning Crusade was similar, but with 10 fewer points, and slightly smaller trees as a result. By the time Cataclysm rolled around, adding an additional five levels, there was concern about this system being bloated, daunting, and unnecessarily complex. So, with Cataclysm came a simplification: 31-point talent trees. At the time, Zarhym explained the change as follows:

Zarhym
We'd rather have a simpler design with a lot of depth, than a complicated but shallow design. The goal for Cataclysm remains to remove a lot of the passive (or lame) talents, but we don't think that's possible with the current tree size. To resolve this, we're reducing each tree to 31-point talents.

Cata also added a requirement that you get to the end talent of your main tree before moving onto the next, effectively removing the hybrid builds that had occasionally surfaced. But that change clearly wasn't enough, as most readers of WoW Insider will recall, there was a further revamp at the start of Mists, moving to the current system. It was a far more drastic change, too, with the disappearance of the talent trees we'd grown used to seeing. But was it a change for the better?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

WoW Archivist: Strange choices behind WoW's earliest talent trees

Vanilla druid talent trees
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

It's strange to think that players who first start playing in Mists might have no idea what the old talent trees looked like. To them, the new talent system is simply the status quo and the image above conjures no memories. The status quo has never lasted very long for talents in WoW. Through the years, talents have changed possibly more than any other aspect of the game. It's a good thing, too, because the earliest talent trees needed a lot of work. Let's take a look back!

The first beta talents

It's not easy to find solid information about the first iteration of talent trees from early beta. From what I can gather, WoW's original talents were more like spell ranks (which have also since been removed). You could invest talent points into particular spells to give them more damage/healing, longer range, etc. These talents were also tied to stats. By investing talent points, you gained stats relevant to your class.

These talents were generally considered workable but lackluster. They were removed from the beta in patch 0.6. Blizzard promised to "make them even cooler than before," and players speculated heavily about what the new trees might look like.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

What to expect from patch 5.0.4

What to expect from patch 504 ANY
Patch 5.0.4 will be here on Tuesday, Aug. 28. As with other pre-expansion patches, 5.0.4 will include some important changes that will reflect gameplay in Mists of Pandaria. To be perfectly clear, while this is a pre-patch for Mists, it is not Mists itself and shouldn't be confused with the game we'll all be nabbing on Sept. 25.

While there are some features from the beta that we'll see go live with this patch, others will not be released until the new expansion goes live in September. This is a confusing time for some players, because they're not quite sure what to expect when it comes to the pre-expansion patch. Will new features be rolled out? Will we see new instances or profession changes or playable pandaren?

To avoid confusion, here's a short primer on what you will and will not see in patch 5.0.4.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Raid Rx: Checking out level 90 talents

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.

That new Mists of Pandaria talent calculator is out. Had a chance to look through it? You might've been alarmed at the fact that several key spells appear to be missing from the list of skills and such. Not to worry, though, since Bashiok clarified that it was still under development. Anything missing is (hopefully) unintentional. A few classes are given previews of new skills trainable past level 85. The classes that don't have their stuff created yet are presumably still being worked on.

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

Mists of Pandaria: The myth of the talent tree choice

Blizzard played up the Cataclysm expansion as a groundbreaking expansion that would change everything, but the truth is that the Shattering was nothing compared to what is happening to class talent trees in the new Mists of Pandaria expansion. Those giant talent trees we visited every two levels are gone, replaced with six separate choices spread across the course of 90 levels.

To be fair, there are a lot of terrific ideas in what Blizzard is planning to do with our talent trees. Removed are the choices that everyone should make. And yes, Blizzard did say that in Cataclysm, but this time, the designers mean it. What shadow priest doesn't take Vampiric Touch? What balance druid doesn't invest that crucial talent point to take Moonkin Form?

But ultimately, if the goal here is to make things easier on the players, to make this a choice that players don't need to extensively research, Blizzard totally missed the mark.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, BlizzCon, Mists of Pandaria

Spiritual Guidance: Building your shadow priest alt, point by point

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. The Shattering is now, and Fox Van Allen demands you take sides! Do you stand with Team Fox in rejecting gnome shadow priest alts for now and all eternity, or do you, like, have a stupid little tea party with gnomes, sparkles, and fairies vomiting rainbows all over the damn place?

As you'd expect from a class that (now) stacks intelligence, we shadow priests are a classy sort. To prove this to my oft-skeptical bosses here at WoW Insider, I thought we'd start today's Spiritual Guidance with a little bit of class and culture. As such, I present to you, while sipping on a martini with pinky out-turned, a poem courtesy of our old friend Dark Cleric Duesten:
A Forsaken priest is a curious beast,
her path an unusual course.
Her shadowy rites cannot come from the
Light, so she seeks a more sinister source.
That's about as poetic as I'm willing to allow Spiritual Guidance to get -- we don't want this column turning into Frasier. I did have a reason behind today's poetic opener, though: The quote is just the tiniest sampling of the thousands of new quests that were put into the game last week. Cataclysm is still a week away, but if you're just twiddling your thumbs waiting, you're missing out on some of the best parts of the new expansion. These two weeks between "The Shattering" and the release of Cataclysm are prime alt-leveling time.

Sure, you can't be a goblin priest yet, but you can be a tauren or (ugh) gnome priest now. You can even reroll a race you've already played to enjoy a whole new experience. I spent the last few days leveling a Forsaken shadow priest from scratch, and it's just so much fun (once you get past that bugged first quest). There's much more flavor to be had on this go around -- it's just an incredibly enjoyable experience. I primarily play Alliance, but there's still no denying that there's something bizarrely satisfying about killing an already dead Marshal Redpath and then eating his corpse.

Whether you're taking on the roleplaying challenge of a tauren shadow priest or crawling your way out of Deathknell as an undead seeker of the ... sinister source, you'll need to know where to put all those valuable talent points on your way to level 85.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Raid-ready 4.0.1 shadow priesting in 10 easy steps

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On Wednesdays, your shadow-specced host Fox Van Allen copies Dawn Moore's latest column word for word and pastes it into Auto-Tune. After all those sour, holy-flavored notes are removed, what comes out is better than anything Jason Derulo could ever hope to achieve: priesting, perfected.

If you're a regular reader of Spiritual Guidance -- and I hope you are, because it's your page views that give me my special, magical powers -- then you know how excited I've been for patch 4.0.1. I've been beating it over your head for weeks.

Well, I can't tease you with it anymore, because that fabled new frontier of shadow priesting is finally here. It plays an awful lot like a new season of your favorite sitcom: entirely recognizable as that which you love, but with a few new twists. In patch 4.0.1, you create massive numbers of copies of yourself simply by moving around, your shadowfiend is on a variable timer and Betty White is your new anthropology teacher. (Change is confusing sometimes. Roll with it.)

With the way everything just changed overnight, it's all too easy for a shadow priest to feel in over his head. Worry not, though -- the magnificent (though self-aggrandizing) Fox Van Allen has you covered with a comprehensive, ten-step checklist to get yourself raid re-ready for 4.0.1. New stat values, new gemming guidelines and even new enchanting info -- it's all here, and it's all after the break.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Totem Talk: Enhancement shaman changes for patch 4.0.1

Axes, maces, lightning, Windfury and wolves. It can mean only one thing: enhancement. Rich Maloy lives it and loves it. His main spec is enhance. His off-spec is enhance. He blogs about the life and times of enhance and leads the guild Big Crits (Season 2, Episode 1 now out!) as enhancement shaman Stoneybaby.

I can't wait for the new talent trees to kick in with patch 4.0.1. The game designers truly streamlined talent trees, including Enhancement. They've even gone so far as to make Primal Wisdom, our mana regen talent, into a base ability, and they've taken one point out of Unleashed Rage. This frees up two talent points right away and gave us some very viable specs to use right out of the gate of 4.0.1 for our last hurrah at level 80.

I see two different possibilities for level 80 specs for enhancement: Fire Nova or Improved Shields. First, an Improved Fire Nova spec of 5/31/0. Not only did this talent get moved to the enhancement tree, but it got dropped down deep, out of reach for elemental. The unfortunate part is that come Cataclysm, Fire Nova will require a Magma, Fire Elemental or Flametongue Totem and will not work off our new and improved Searing Totem. To further confound matters, the improved nova is right beside Searing Flames, the Searing Totem special kicker.

The improved novas make a big difference in fights requiring both boss and AoE damage, such as heroic Halion-25. Outside of that fight (or any future fights like it), Improved Fire Nova is a waste; better to put the points in Improved Shields. My main spec at 80 will be 5/31/0. Just moving those points isn't going to push your DPS up significantly, but with the changes to Lightning Shield, making it effectively a 10-minute, non-depletable buff (when glyphed), those two points are well spent there at 80.

Dipping into the elemental tree, after our requisite 31 points in enhancement, three points in Acuity are a must-have, especially as we start to level again. The last two points going into Concussion will pack an extra punch.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

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

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