Hi there. Welcome to Critical QQ. This is a blog written by streams of QQ pouring down the face of a very sad person who plays WoW.
Prepare for QQ.
There will be a LOT of it in the following days.
First, a couple things Ghostcrawler has stated.
One. A tree is considered “bloated” if, after taking all of it’s mandatory DPS talents, it only has 2-3 points left to spend on random stuff, like utility and so forth.
Two. Any player can sacrifice small amounts of DPS in order to gain some utility. For instance, a frost mage can drop a point in Arctic Winds to pick up Deep Freeze.
These points are important, please remember them. There will be a test.
So then. Let’s take a look at some numbers, just tree by tree for now.
Arcane needs to spend a minimum of 53 talents in it’s home tree to pick up all the important DPS talents.
Fire needs to spend a minimum of 51 talent points, and you can make a very strong argument for 54.
Frost, too, needs to spend a minimum of 53 talent points.
So far, so good.
It’s when you put all three trees together that it all starts getting messy.
Let’s look at Hunters. Talent tree wise, Hunters are in an excellent position. Say you know a Marksman hunter. Now, that hunter has choices for his off tree.
He can go Beastmaster, pick up a talent to give him a haste proc, maybe another talent to boost his DPS by a percent or two. Maybe even go deep enough to boost the AP he gets from Aspect of the Hawk, or even tosses a few points into Unleashed Fury to boost his pets damage.
Or he could forsake a little damage to boost his pet’s survivability.
He could go to the Survival, invest in a talent that can grant him an extra 5% damage, grab some extra crit on Steady Shot and Arcane Shot, or screw the damage and get more range or stamina or even Scatter Shot.
Point is, he has the points to spend on sweet nothings, and he has many options available to decide between raw damage or more utility.
Arcane mages, too, fall into this same category. Grab some extra crit from the fire tree… or not, and spend those points elsewhere. Spend 11 points in the frost tree for extra hit and Icy Veins, or go a little deeper, spend 18 points and get a powerful mana reduction talent.
Or do neither, and spend more points into arcane to pick up some utility via Slow or Magic Absorption.
Basically, you spend around 51-53 points in your home tree, and then you can spend the rest wherever you deem fit without really gimping yourself.
Then along comes a talent like Torment the Weak. Three talent points for a 12% damage boost to your primary nukes. A truly huge DPS boost per talent point for the specs that use it.
Some talents are good. Arcane Concentration is good. Precision is good. Neither of them are mandatory. You wouldn’t be gimped if you didn’t have them. You’d be a little lower than you would’ve been if you had been minmaxing the crap out of your character, but you won’t be performing badly.
Not so with Torment the Weak. This talent is mandatory. A Fireball mage, arcane mage or a frost mage will be absolutely terrible without it.
To put it another way. Say you want to be a frost mage. Go to the trainer, pay a fee, and take a gander at your empty talent trees. Such a pity you only have 53 talent points to spend how you want.
See that number at the bottom? “71 points available”? That number is a lie. It should say 53, because you have to spend 18 points in arcane. You do not have a choice in the matter.
So you spec frost. You sink the 53 points into the frost tree you need for all your DPS talents. You put the 18 points in the arcane tree for TTW. How many points do you have left to spend on utility?
None. You don’t have any. You spent every talent point you had to get the mandatory DPS talents.
Fine, fine. I’ll give you that the first 15 points in the arcane tree don’t matter. You can spend those however you like. All fifteen of those points are, essentially, random utility points.
Except for the fact that they all have to be spent in the arcane tree.
Imagine a buffet. There are three tables overflowing with food. Your host tells you “You can eat anything you see before you. Anything at all. Except you can’t eat anything from the table on the right. Or the table in the middle, for that matter.”
You ask your host “Why? Why can’t I eat from those two tables?”
Your host looks around awkwardly, then takes off his hat, pulls a rabbit out of it and says “IT’S FUZZY!” then buffs warlocks.
A Fireball based spec is in the same situation. That spec also needs to get Torment the Weak. I’m sure a fireballin’ mage would love to get some hit from talents, maybe pick up Icy Veins, but he can’t. Ever. He’s not allowed.
I’ll be blunt. This isn’t good design.
But where else would the points go? Where else would a frost mage spend points besides the arcane tree? I mean, there’s nothing in the fire tree that’s at all appealing to frost mages.
I wonder who’s fault that is…
Within the frost tree itself, everything still works fine. A frost mage can lose a little DPS by lengthening the cooldown of Icy Veins, and pick up a Blizzard with a snare. Or drop a point from Winter’s Chill and nab Ice Barrier.
But he can’t ever, no matter how much he may want to, drop points from the arcane tree. Those 18 points are immovable.
The fix is easy.
What do you do when a talent tree is bloated? Cut down on the number of talent points required, of course. TTW requires the mage to spend 15 talent points to get to it. It isn’t exactly hard to bring that down to 10 or even 5, thus freeing up some more points for the mage to spend elsewhere.
“But… but what if Frostfire mages take it? Then they’ll be-“
What’s wrong with that? Put TTW right at the start of the fire tree. Let everyone have TTW. All arcane, frost, and fireball mages already have it in every conceivable build , it shouldn’t exactly be difficult to balance around it.
I mean, look at Ret Paladins on the PTR. When they take all their mandatory DPS talents, they have 14 points left to spend on whatever the hell they want.
Frost mages? Still zero.
How is that even an echo of an equitable state of affairs?