Posts Tagged ‘talents’

Being Talented

Cataclysm Warrior Talents

Warrior talents. Now with 50% less fluff and 75% less choice.

My first experience with a talent system was back in 2001 when SOE introduced the Alternative Advancement concept with the Shadows of Luclin expansion for Everquest. I never got a chance to experience AAs until later in my EQ career as it was only accessible to high level characters (I was too busy starting feline alts and mooing over the new graphics engine to reach the level cap at the time) but I always got the impression that it was designed more as a way to extend player progression rather than anything else. Over time the AA system evolved, became more intricate, and soon found it’s way into other MMOs in one form or another.

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Arms Or Prot For Leveling?

The Warrior didn’t see much love in patch 3.3 which goes to show that either they are pretty well balanced already or Blizzard was just ignoring them. I reckon the former is probably the most likely as the class does seem to be pretty well rounded out at the moment and doesn’t need a lot of work done to it. In a strange move, however, Blizzard introduced new means to proactively encourage grouping (the new LFG system) but then gave Warriors the ability to learn the previously high level Victory Rush ability at level 6, thus increasing their DPS and encouraging them to follow the Arms talent tree, not the tanking one. Mixed signals or what?

Undead Warrior - Defensive Stance

Undead Warrior - Defensive Stance

Having a leveling 29 Warrior alt, I’m facing a bit of a conundrum now and don’t know how to spec. I’m currently following the Protection tree because I want to be a tank – it’s fantastic in groups and not that bad for soloing, although a tad slow. The big downsides for me though is that it’s currently pretty rubbish at PvP (until I can get Warbringer at 50) and the lack of interactivity makes it quite dull when playing alone – Arms is a lot more fun for soloing.

So what to do? Stick it out with Protection or respec to Arms? I’d hate to give up my ability to be a tank yet it’s certainly not the best talent tree for lower levels. It also seems like Blizzard are actively encouraging people to follow Arms until they get higher up in the game.

I’m definitely going to dual spec at level 40 (assuming I can afford it) and then my problems will be solved and I’ll be able to enjoy the best of both worlds: a full on tanking spec for groups and a nice, fast DPS spec for quest grinding. *sigh* Am I the only one who thinks 1,000g for enabling dual speccing is a tad ridiculous? Hopefully it will go the way of the mounts and drop considerable in price. Personally I think it should be available at level 30 for 100g. Hear me, Blizzard, for I hath spoken! Maketh it so!

P.S. After some deliberation I’ve decided to respec to Arms for the time being. The main reason behind the decision is that as long as my desktop computer is fubared (technical term) I really don’t think I’ll be running many groups on my laptop.


Becoming a Healer with 3.1

So Patch 3.1 finally hit the live servers last Wednesday. Glorious! As any reader would know, I’ve been highly anticipating it for months as it brings a feature I was incredibly looking forward to – dual specs.

I’m playing three characters now – my Warrior, my Priest and a Mage – and I was most excited about dual speccing my Priest as I really wanted to be able to heal in groups without sacrificing my ability to solo. So, after months of hard grinding and saving with my Warrior, on Wednesday I dropped a dime (that’s Sopranos talk for 1,000g) and dual specced to Shadow and Holy. Then I got a group.

It was your usual PUG in Zul’Farrak and I should’ve known it wasn’t going to end well when it took us 45mins to get to the zone and by that time we had lost one of our DPS players leaving just four of us. Still, we were brimming with optimism and went in… only to wipe on the second pull. At which point someone decided to blame my poor healing skills (even though they had let a runner get away and pull a bunch of mobs which then killed me first) and they all disbanded. Ah, another wondering grouping experience in WoW. 1 hour to get a group together, 5 mins to completely disband it. Just why is it so hard to get a decent group?

Anyway, I was pretty disappointed after that experience and spent the next day just soloing as Shadow, wondering if the whole dual spec thing had just been a waste of time. Yesterday, however, I decided to try a battleground as Holy (I love the new feature to join BGs from anywhere) and it was actually a lot of fun. I did a bit of research though and discovered Discipline is a better spec for BGs and so swapped my Holy spec for a Disc one. I haven’t had a chance to play it yet but I’m looking forward to trying it out as it seems more conducive to my play style. Plus it means I can still heal for PVE groups which is what I wanted.

Overall I’m happy with the dual spec system and I’m excited about trying it out more. I’m still contemplating getting the cash together to dual spec my Warrior as Fury/Prot but I’m in no rush for that. As for my Mage… well, I have no idea why I’d dual spec him when Frost covers everything. Shame.


Blizzard fumble, recover, fumble again

Blizzard have now announced that the dual talent specialisation will now be available to level 40 characters. Rejoice! A move that actually makes sense. I never understood why it should be restricted to level 80s only. Surely the whole point of it is to allow flexibility and encourage more diversity. So anyway, great news.

However, this change comes with a string in the tail. Yep, apparently the cost of learning this ability will be 1,000 gold. OK, that’s nothing to most players with high level mains and twinked alts but doesn’t it completely alienate all new players? It’s like Blizzard are trying to create a form of snobbery and elitism as 1,000 is utterly unrealistic for any new player to have gained by level 40. It’s obvious the system is intended for twinks only.

What exactly does Blizzard have against grouping? It seems like every move they do is designed to encourage people into a single, mindless direction of quest grinding all the way up until level 80. They finally offer something that might encourage more people to group together and yet they place some ridiculous cost on it to alienate new players.

Is it just me or does Blizzard really dislike the idea of grouping at low levels?


Suggestion To Improve Priest Classs

My Priest is almost level 43 and now that I’ve got Shadowform I’m finding soloing is a lot, lot faster and easier. I barely have any downtime, DPS has improved greatly and my survivability is far higher. It’s almost night and day compared to my early experiences with the Priest. Levels 10-30 were painfully slow and tedious – I can’t understand why the class gets easier to play as it levels up. Surely it should be the other way round!

My suggestion to improve the Priest class is to make Shadowform accessible earlier… perhaps even more it to first rank of the Shadow talents. It makes no sense forcing players wait for it. Life as a low level Priest is just far too hard. I can understand wanting to give each class something to look forward to but Shadowform is so important to a Priest, and makes such a vast difference to the playability of the class, I think they should get access to it sooner. It’s not like they really have any other choices when it comes to soloing.

If I’m honest, although I doubt this would ever happen, what I’d really like to see would be Shadowform become a stance ability, similar to one of the Warrior’s stances. It would be obtainable at level 10 from a quest and wouldn’t require any talent points to access it. Priest ’stances’ could then be expanded to include a Holy stance (which gives bonuses to healing but prevents the player from casting damage spells) and another Holy DPS stance which, unlike Shadowform, allows the Priest to cast healing spells (but with reduced potency) and also increases the damage of Holy damage spells like Smite and Holy Fire. This would give Priests a mixed stance, allowing them to both heal and increase their DPS, an alternative to people who don’t want to follow the Shadow talent tree. This stance would essentially allow Priests to be true healers but still have better DPS to solo with.

At the moment Priests are a pretty sad class. They are painfully slow to level up until level 40+ and have very limited flexibility or variety. When was the last time you saw a level 25 Holy spec Priest for instance? Doesn’t happen, everyone’s Shadow. Shame. And the sad part is that it’s still bloody tough at the low levels. C’mon Blizzard, Priest stances FTW!


Blizzard Dropped The Ball

Here is a excerpt from an interview with a Ghostcrawler (WoW games designer) about the fourthcoming dual spec system on the World of Warcraft Europe site.

Nethaera: Who will be able to use it?
Ghostcrawler: Players who have reached the maximum level will be able to set up dual specs.

Nethaera: Why do players need to be max level in order to do this?
Ghostcrawler: We didn’t want to burden lower-level players with extra complexity as they’re working to level up and learn their class. But if the feature proves popular we might consider expanding it.

What?!? So only level 80 characters will be able to dual spec? Because it’s ‘too complex’ for low level players? What? Sorry? Huh? Isn’t the entire point of the dual spec system to introduces flexibility and free up some of the restrictions currently in place with the talent system, namely that everyone solos and it’s impossible to find a group. So basically my Priest is still going to be stuck as Shadow spec all the way until level 80 thus either making my chances of grouping extremely small or completely destroying my ability to solo if I want to heal. And then at level 80 I can choose between two specs… when actually I have absolutely no need to. All of this because the mechanic is deemed too ‘complex’ for low level players. How is it any more complex than any other mechanic currently in the game?!

Blizzard have completely dropped the ball on this and I’m bitterly disappointed. What could have been an amazing feature to really stimulate flexibility and group play throughout all levels of the game has just become another silly add-on for level 80s to play with. Looks like WoW is going to be stuck as a quest grind, solo-fest for a long time to come… and people complain that no one knows how to play their class!


WoW Dual Talent Specs

I’ve spoken about it before because it’s something I’m very excited about – the WoW dual talent system should be getting introduced soon. This thread on the official forum discusses how it will work.

The current talent system in World of Warcraft is one of it’s greatest assets and also one of it’s biggest flaws. The problem at the moment is that every one specs their class for DPS in order to level up quicker. While it’s nice to have this flexibility and avoid the problem of healers and tanks being able to solo (or being very very slow at it) it introduces a whole other set of drawbacks – no one groups! Aside from the fact that WoW doesn’t offer a lot of incentives to group at lower levels, it’s actually very difficult to find the correctly talented classes. For instance, every Warrior is either Fury or Arms spec’d and every Priest is Shadow. I don’t blame people for doing it – heck, I’m doing it! - because they simply don’t want to gimp themselves for solo play, currently the quickest and most effective way to level up.

This is why I’m so excited about a dual talent system. The idea of letting my Warrior have a DPS spec for soloing and a full Protection spec for group tanking is very liberating. Same goes for my Priest – I can play as Shadow for soloing but then easily switch to Holy for when I want to group. I think this is really going to free up the way people play and create a lot more flexibility in the game. Hopefully it will mean getting groups together for lower level content will also become a lot easier.

Although I quite like the idea of single-mindedly speccing your character in WoW, I actually think the Everquest 2 system is a lot better. In EQ2, every class does what they are meant to do and AAs (Alternate Advancement – EQ2’s equivalent of Talents) enhance it in different ways. Yes, you can make your Guardian more DPS orientated but ultimately he will always be a tank and will always be able to tank for groups. EQ2 are also revamping their Fighter classes to give them each a proper tanking role. You can read about it here. I think this is something Blizzard should consider with WoW and really define the purpose of each of the classes.

I’m also wondering how the dual talent spec system will effect WoW hybrid classes. I mean, if all Warriors now have a 2nd Protection spec just for tanking, what will it do to the Deathknight, Paladin and Druid? Will they actually be needed in groups? Same goes for the Priest. If every Priest can easily switch to a pure healing spec for grouping and raiding, why would anyone need a healing Shaman or Druid? I don’t know enough about high level WoW to answer that but I’m certainly curious to see what happens.

I think Blizzard needs to address this issue. If Warriors are meant to be the supreme tank, and that talent spec becomes easily accessible, why would anyone need any hybrid class instead? And if they aren’t the best tank in the game, what’s the point of the class?