Friday, April 25, 2008

How Not to Spec

Every time I look at someone's spec and see 0/0/61 (or 0/61/0 or 61/0/0) I cringe. I'm just afraid that by putting the whole kit and kaboodle into a tree, you're really gimping yourself elsewhere. As I started the research for this topic, I found out that not all classes have the same number of talent points to work with. In fact, let's look at a picture.

This graph shows the total number of choices for the 61 skill points available to you (at level 70). It's pretty easy to see that rogues far outweigh other classes with a startling 208 possible talent point allocations. Coming in last place on the total number of choices are druids and warlocks with just over 180 points each.

I'd like to tell you how many possible rogue specs there are but the mathematics deals with absolutely HUGE numbers and the non-equal distribution of the trees makes this non-trivial. Let's just say there are a lot.

Something else that I didn't know is that for some class-tree combinations, it is not possible to have all 61 points into one tree. Let's look at another graph that shows the number of talents (per tree) for the various classes.

It's pretty clear that the following class-tree combinations can never spend all 61 points in that tree because there are fewer than 61 total points in the tree:

  • Balance Druids
  • Beastmastery Hunters
  • Affliction Warlocks
  • Feral Druids
The rest of you however CAN spend all points in one tree, but why would you? I can think of very few examples of when skills in low tiers of other trees would not affect your performance as your chosen spec.

I don't believe there are any true "winners" in the low tiers of either the balance or feral tree for retoration druids. So, if you're a 0/0/61 restoration druid, you can ignore this article. For the rest of you, look at the numbers, look at the trees. Take a good hard look at the tier 1 and 2 talents outside your chosen spec. Is there something in those tiers that could take the place of one of the less effective talents in your chosen tree?

Of my five 70s, I've spent 61 points in one tree on exactly none of them. My priest is discipline/holy, my hunter is beastmaster/marksman, my warlock is affliction/demonology, my rogue is subtlety/combat. Even my tank warrior doesn't have all points in protection. There are skills in the first two tiers of the other trees that are just too good.

With respec costs low (considering the cash flow available at 70) it might not hurt to try out a slightly different spec. I know I've spent plenty of gold on moving one or two (or five) points around until I found the exact spec I wanted. Take a look and see if you can't get some slightly better performance as well.


You wake it, you tank it. said...

I'm the same way. I see 61 points in a tree and I cringe. However, there -are- classes that can do it and should do it! Resto Shamans should have all or nearly all points in Resto. Deep Frost Mages are another. There are just too many viable and worthwhile skills in frost. It changes a little when you get to high end raiding. Some Resto shamans go into elemental to get some nature resist, etc.

K said...

Interesting article. I never looked at it that way, comparing one class to another.

Most of my classes are hybrid in one way or another.

K said...

PS: update your blogroll, the link for BBB is outdated. :)