Thursday, July 15, 2010

31 Point Talent Revamp

Cataclysm is really shaping up to the be Vanilla WoW 2.0. Blizzard might not be marketing it that way, but it sure feels that way. We are going back to the ‘old world’, the leveling game is getting revamped. We even get to tussle with Ragnaros again. Now we add to that Vanilla like 31 point Talent trees.
This is also a shrewd marketing move. The way the new specialization works is very similar to the advanced class system currently in Star Wars: The Old Republic. You start with a base class and then at level 10 pick a specialization that (quoting The Old Republic website) : unlocks armor and weapon proficiencies,as well as other role-defining Abilities. The Sith Warrior's choice to become a Marauder - a fast, damage-dealing class a la Darth Maul - or a Juggernaut, a slower, more strategic archetype with heavy armor like Darth Vader. It sort of sounds like a Fury or Arms Warrior. Because most people will see this system in WoW first they will assume that Star Wars ‘stole it’, and it will help some writers paint Old Republic as merely ‘WoW with Lightsabers.’ (Not that WoW with Lightsabers wouldn’t be wicked cool, right?)
It is my hope that the enforced specialization will really help the Developers balance Paladins. Without Stances, or a limiting resource, it’s been difficult to keep Ret too tanky or Prot too DPSy.
With that said, let’s dive right in and look at the Specialization bonus.
Paladin - Protection
Uses Holy magic to shield himself / herself and defend allies from attackers.

Avenger’s Shield at level 10. That is very cool. I had originally thought it was going to be Holy Shield. We still have Hand of Reckoning as a pull at low levels, though with Avenger’s Shield available at 10 I’m not sure we’ll still need it.
Touched by the Light provides the Spell Power we need to make our threat spells work.
Vengeance is the skill all tanks get where your attack power increases as you take damage.
The new tree is interesting. What’s important to keep in mind as you look at the new trees is they are a work in progress, especially the Paladin tree.
While this is a first pass on all of the talent trees, death knight, druid, paladin, warlock, Arcane mage, and Assassination rogue trees are not as far along as other specializations.(src)
So take the tree with a large grain of salt.
Here are my random thoughts as I look at the tree.
  • Seals of the Pure is now in the Prot tree.
  • I like Improved Exorcism. I really missed the instant Exorcism that we lost to balance Ret PVP.
  • I wonder if we’ll even need Shield of the Templar since all it does is make Avenger’s Shield silence.
  • Improved Crusader Strike is interesting as it will reduce the cooldown to 0 so we can spam it. I can see it running you OOM fast and I’m not sure how it will stack up as a threat move against our other spells.
  • It looks like we are losing Holy Shield and Consecreation from the rotation. I really don’t get what they are doing with Consecration. We have talents to increase its duration to 45 seconds!
  • Ardent Defender is now a skill we have to click, rather than activated automatically. I can’t say I’m a fan of this. It won’t light up until you are under 35%. You might need ninja like reflexes to activate it in time. My other concern is that if it’s on the global cooldown, we could miss the small window while we wait for the GCD to open up.
The way the tree is right now, you’ll have to make some tough choices between threat and survival. I can’t get everything I want and still have 10 points left over to get the goodies in the Ret tree. Since Ret is all about threat, I’m leaning more towards survival talents in Prot. The tree is built with the idea you’ll go 2/2 in Spiritual Attunement, but we’ve seen in all of Wrath that 1/2 is sufficient. I wonder if bosses hitting for a smaller percentage of our health will lead to the need to take 2/2.
Holy Shield is effectively gone. Basically it’s turned into Shield Block from Warriors.
We are going to turn both Holy Shield and Shield Block into short cooldowns. A short cooldown is an ability that you don’t save for an absolute emergency (like Shield Wall) but we also don’t want it to be on such a short cooldown that it feels maintenance-y. It’s a tricky number to get right, but something in the 30 sec to 1 min zone feels about right. Then you might use Holy Shield one GCD instead of SoR or you can choose to save it until the next big boss attack.
The Devs are also changing the Warriors fear (Intimidating Shout) to be single target with a duration like Repentance. They are basically turning it into Repentance. At this rate, why not just merge the two classes (Warriors and Paladins) and be done with it.
I don’t feel real confident commenting on the Warrior trees just yet, but I will say that I had a hard time finding things I wanted to spend points on as a Fury Warrior. Some of the talents look kind of lackluster, or like PVP talents that I didn’t want in a PVE build.
I’m sort of torn on what kind of Warrior I want to be. I had an easier time filling out the Arms tree, but still needed to take a questionable or PVP talent to fill it out. I really like the idea behind the Arms Warrior. It fits me much more than the idea behind the Fury Warrior. But if Fury outdpses Arms, there is little reason to pursue Arms in PVE. Plus two big ole two handed weapons looks really cool. Of course if Single Minded Fury wins out and does more DPS than Titan’s Grip, even that will be only novelty.
If I just went by the idea of a class, I’d be a Paladin for sure. But more so than the lore, or idea behind a class, I want to play the class that feels the most fun. Even if I don’t get a Beta invite, I’ll have the transition patch to try to figure out which class is the most fun for me personally.
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