Almost Lost in The Storm: Cataclysm Talent Tree Revision
Amidst the firestorm following last week’s Real ID fiasco (which was reversed, as you can read here), a major change coming in Cata was announced: A complete overhaul of the talent trees. Well, the changes can be found here:
Another change is how you go about acquiring and using said talent points. Once a character reaches level 10, they will be given the choice as to what spec they want to play. When they choose a spec, they will gain several new abilities and baked-in powers. Here’s elemental as an example:
Eye of The Storm – Pushback resistance for LB, CL, LvB, and Hex
Thunderstorm (yes, at level 10!)
Elemental Fury – Increases critical strike damage bonus of fire, frost, and nature spells along with searing and magma totem by 100%
The new talent design philosophy looks to be more clear. It was a year or so ago that developers stated they wanted to thin out the talent trees and remove the “boring” talents (such as all those 5-points-for-5%-crit talents so many classes had, which were considered standard for many builds). One noticable absence from the elemental tree is the old Lightning Mastery talent, which reduces the cast time of LB, CL, and LvB by half a second. I’m guessing that it will be part of the specialization system, where say at level 20 or 30 you will get this talent baked in. Or…maybe it is being removed altogether, which wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense, because to compensate for lower base cast times, spell power coefficients would have to go up, which could lead to even bigger, burstier Lava Burst damage which is already a major complaint amongst the pvp community (that elemental’s burst damage is way too high). I suspect my theory that it’ll be baked in at a later level holds true, but I have no concrete evidence to prove it, or to prove otherwise (no beta invite for me, FFFFFUUUUUUUU).
The elemental tree, as it is, looks pretty straightforward, but I can see some points of possible flexibility, but they depend on how mana efficiency will be. I recall that the devs want mana management to be part of the game for healing, but for dps they want you to be able to go balls out at all times. Elemental definitely does not have mana problems (so long as you don’t fail at making sure water shield is up) at this current time, but with factoring in gear/level scaling, I won’t be surprised to find that we aren’t as mana efficient once we hit 85.
Edit: Having looked over all the trees as a whole, there’s still a lot of work to be done and questions to be answered. By all trees, I’m talking about other classes, too. Here’s hoping for the best, heh.
Another edit: Regarding the loss of Lightning Mastery, it appears to be baked into Eye of The Storm, although the tooltip does not reflect this. See this post on EJ; Tufy is playing the beta from what I gathered, so good to see that we won’t be losing out on that free haste, heh.