Mages aren’t alone in this whole “talent bloat” issue, either.
Pretty much every class has this issue with some talents being completely mandatory.
Druids were brought up last post, specifically the talent Omen of Clarity. For those of you unfamiliar with the talent, OoC is basically Arcane Concentration, except it costs 1 talent point rather than 5.
Yeah, it’s an awesome talent. Yeah, pretty much every druid on the planet includes it in their spec.
So Blizzard decided to make the early resto tree a little less useless to the feral and boomkin druids heading down there for a single talent.
Furor, for instance. Right in the first tier. A feral druid can pick this up, essentially guaranteeing a feral tank at least 10 rage when a fight starts. A moonkin can invest here, too, boosting the value of their intellect by 10% for doing so.
And if that wasn’t enough, patch 3.1 is letting Imp. Mark of the Wild improve all of the druids stats by 1% per rank.
In the second tier, feral druids can pick up Naturalist, which gives their physical damage a hearty 10% boost. All druids can pick up a talent that reduces the mana cost of shapeshifting.
Then, finally, the druid can get OoC, and if they took Natural Shapeshifter, they can also pick up Master Shapeshifter, giving a sizable buff to any druid.
Generally, not earth shatteringly awesome, but useful. These talents don’t need to be good or excellent, merely not useless.
Ideally, every single tree in the game would be like the restoration druid tree. The early tree is not only useful to itself, but also to both of the other trees.
Ideally, if you were a moonkin druid, having invested all but 18 points into Balance, you would face the extremely tough decision to spend those points in the feral tree or resto tree.
Both of them would have attractive talents, and you’d be hard pressed to find a mathematical difference between them, so you’d end up picking whichever one you felt would give you the biggest advantage for the challenges you personally face.
Of course it doesn’t work like that. At least, it currently doesn’t.
Shaman are the same. Everyone wants a piece of the early enhancement tree, nobody wants the resto tree.
Death Knights far and wide invest points in the early unholy and blood trees, but nobody likes frost.
Retribution is an attractive tree for any Paladin, offering universal crit and parry rating for those not in the face smashing business. Even the prot tree has something to offer any Paladin now. Basically everyone hates Holy.
Discipline offers talents that are useful to any priest, and every priest puts points in that tree. Nobody loves shadow.
Warriors of all shapes and sizes adore the early arms and fury trees. Prot has been hit in the head a few too many times, and nobody likes someone with a speech impediment.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. And this is supposed to be mage QQ, damnit!
Every class has it’s mandatory “have this or you suck” talents. A Holy priest without meditation, for instance, will typically be laughed out of a raid.
This type of situation shouldn’t exist. Or at least, I think it shouldn’t exist.
We know Blizzard likes the idea of 51/20/0 style builds. We know Blizzard is generally fine with those mandatory talents.
We also know that Blizzard is willing to adapt talent trees to better accomodate these mandatory talents.
They made the early resto tree for druids a very attractive place for any druid, besides just the appeal of Omen of Clarity.
It really isn’t a stretch to see the early arcane tree the same way.
The only difference is, of course, the amount of utterly worthless points that need to be spent in the early arcane tree to get them.
I don’t have an issue with TTW being hidden behind 15 points in the arcane tree. I have an issue with many of those points being spent because they need to spent, not because they’re useful.
Any DPS hunter will have Mortal Shots. It’s a huge boost to their DPS, therefore they’d be an idiot not to get it. But they don’t have to spend 5 points on useless junk to get it. They can invest in crit and/or hit, both of which also assist in their DPS.
The early arcane tree is full of totally useless crap. An arcane mage can use those talents to great effect, but anyone else is essentially throwing away talent points in an effort to be viable in raiding content.
Torment the Wea is, basically, perfectly fine in it’s current position. It’s everything else around it that isn’t a good position.
As I said last post, the way to get rid of bloat is to… well, get rid of bloat. If making TTW easier to get isn’t going to work, then get the talents required to get there into a place where they aren’t considered bloat anymore.
You can see some of my suggestions from a post I wrote on basically this exact same issue over a month ago.
Add Frostbolt to Spell Impact – Spell Impact already benefits basically everything else, this change would only buff frost mages, who, I might add, are in dire need of buffs.
The rest don’t apply to the early arcane tree.
What else can we do to reduce early arcane tree bloat, and make it more attractive?
Arcane Focus applies to all hit, not just arcane spell hit.
This solves two problems very neatly. First, the talent is now attractive to any mage, regardless of spec. Two, it neatly solves the issue of Fireball specced mages having to gear for obscene amounts of hit rating.
Arcane Stability also applies to Evocation.
Turns an already very strong arcane talent into a superb one, and it isn’t a total waste for non-arcane mages either. Evocation is a fragile spell, protecting it is extremely important.
The second tier is fine.
The third tier needs that change to Spell Impact I mentioned, Focus Magic is fine, and Student of the Mind really needs to be taken out back and shot. Repeatedly. In the face. With angry bears.
Honestly, get rid of that talent entirely and replace it with something more useful.
There are Spirit -> Spellpower talents and mechanics already in the game, this spot seems like a good place to put it.
Or Intellect -> Crit rating. Or haste rating. The arcane tree already has int -> spellpower, why not throw something else in there the frost or fire enthusiasts can take advantage of?
If Blizzard really, really, really wants to have spirit be an attractive stat, this would be an awesome time and place to do it.
- Mages have to take Torment the Weak
- A substantial amount of the arcane tree is useless to non-arcane mages; they have to spend points there anyway
- Blizzard wants to Spirit to be an attractive stat
- Frost mages need a buff
I’m spent, I’ve beat this poor horse until it’s grandchildren died.
It’s just… it seems so obvious to me, you know? And yet month after month, nothing changes.