Wednesday, August 29, 2012

MoP Talent Trees

Guys, let's be honest. I think Blizz did a fantastic job with the new talent trees – at least ours. They've been trying to eliminate cookie cutter talent trees, and guess what? They've done it. It took them getting rid of most talents that had measurable HPS gains. But they did it. We have choices. When I look at each tier, multiple mechanics come to mind that each talent can counter, and quite frankly, I'm excited.

I was extremely disappointed when I saw an EJ poster already shared his attempt at the "best talent tree." Don't get me wrong: I understand the motivation. It’s been grinded into our minds that serious raiders need the best talents. But now we can change single talents between fights with the use of a single Dust of Disappearance/Tome of the Clear Mind. Many talents are versatile for adjusting to lots of different mechanics, so maybe a single fight will have a "best" talent tree. In general, each talent should have use for multiple bosses per tier. This poster chose Incarnation as the "best" talent in Tier 4. How can you do that? Just thinking about DS, I would certainly choose Soul of the Forest for at least half of the fights (Morchok, Ultraxion, Blackhorn,and Madness). Granted the new MoP raids have less raid stacking, it seems close-minded to assign a “best talent tree” – I would even consider it impossible. We no longer have reason to design a perfect talent tree because there is not a perfect talent tree.

I don't intend to be rude – not at all. I simply find myself flabbergasted that we finally have real choices for our talents, and players are trying to break the talents down into "best" talents. Sure, some might be used more often than others, but does frequency of choice constitute “the best?” I should hope not. There aren't many instances in which I would choose Displacer Beast in Tier 1, but it would certainly be useful for a fight like Zon'ozz when you might need to get away from the group rather quickly (ODS, Maloriak, Ascendant Council, Majordomo are other fights that come to mind). Many players are quickly dismissing Displacer Beast as our worst talent in Tier 1. I agree it will be the least used talent, but it will certainly serve great assistance for some fights. The problem is clear: players must stop thinking big picture when selecting talents.

In the past, we had to consider big picture when choosing our talents. The talents we chose typically needed to last the duration of the night, or at least until a 5-minute break. It’s time to change our mode of thinking. When you try to choose talents, don’t think big picture. You should now approach your talent tree with a specific fight in mind and consider what combination of talents will best allow you to counter that particular encounter. It's imperative that you plan on changing glyphs regularly through the raid night.

Some of these talents are completely new, and we haven't had to put them to use yet. I encourage full creativity. In fact, I'd like to issue a personal challenge. Look at each talent and think of every fight from Cataclysm that has a mechanic for which a given talent would be useful. I bet you can come up with 3-7 different mechanics (maybe even more) that each talent can counter.


  1. As the poster, I feel I should clarify your assumptions.

    The goal of the FAQ was to give someone who is uncertain, uninformed, and/or looking for basic guidance on talents an easy, quick and concise reference. I never indicate that these are the "best" talents, and I encourage people to experiment with the talents if they haven't already. All there in the small section concerning talents.

    I do feel that the recommendation that was offered is a solid starting point and a good basic build for level 85. Like it or not, no matter how much discussion you have regarding each talent, the average poster wants a simple answer to: "how should I spec", not a lot of rhetoric or theorizing on each ability - which is why many guides offer a "start with this spec" option.

    While I certainly apologize that your branches are in a twist over the base suggestion of the talents, I also do not think it is wrong to offer a basic "this will get you through what you need" option. Many advanced players will already be experimenting and come to their own conclusions, either mathematically or via personal preference, on what works best for them.

    1. Hi, Beru thanks for responding!

      From Blizz's perspective, the point of these talents was to think about them, and I think we should not enable people who are used to following a cookie cutter spec. I suppose my biggest concern with your post is the lack of qualification and talent analysis for the benefit of middle-of-the-road raiders. I would consider the middle-of-the-road raiders to be the ones who are currently progressing through Heroic DS. Those are the ones I think have the most potential to be misled by your post.

      For a long time, EJ has been the place with the answers, and players visit the website hoping for such. The way I understand your explanation, your target audience is at the most casual raiders: the ones who just want to get an answer so they can call it done. But the audience of EJ is much broader than that.

      There is one type of player—the one I'm most concerned about—and that is the player who wants to think for himself, but he doesn't know how or he isn't very good at it. Due to EJ's reputation for digging the truth and supporting it with numbers, I worry this player will visit EJ and think (based on this website's normal standard) "yeah, he says I should play around or experiment a little with these other talents, but he really does just know better than me so I should stick to what he recommends." Whether or not this player has the correct approach or not is irrelevant because he does exist, and he is in almost every raiding guild all over the world.

      I agree with your statements that the casual player just wants answers, and I agree the hardcores are already thinking towards the raids ahead of them. The softcore players, however, don't necessarily want to be funneled into one basic spec, and I'm worried the syntax and location of your post will do exactly that.

      I think, for the sake of this type of player, that it is paramount you make clear in your FAQ what you explained to me here. The encouragement you offer on EJ to experiment strikes me to be more of an aside. Your assumption that players either don't care to think or are fully capable without your help I think to be misguided. There are a great deal of players in the middle range who would benefit greatly from either a little more in-depth theorycrafting or from you simply making it more clear that your intention is to provide just a basic, quick and easy, spec that shouldn't really hurt you but also shouldn't be considered the be-all, end-all for every boss you encounter (which I recognize you don't claim, but that's how it may come across to a great deal of readers).