As per the carpenters motto Measure Twice, Cut Once, World of Warcraft players should learn to double and triple check their characters. You should do this to avoid embarrassingly low DPS, heals, health or any of the other key stats and abilities for your toon. Many players have gotten into a bad habit of setting up their character once and then never think to recheck it.
Many things can happen that justify rechecking your character periodically. Simple things like missing a talent point that you thought you allocated or forgetting to glyph your off spec or forgetting to gem or enchant new gear. All of these things are simple to forget and can add up to a huge loss of DPS or survivability on a tank or DPS for a healer. Since each of these items can have huge effects and are typically caused by different things let's look at each individually. In each section we will look at potential causes, effects and then later how to deal with them.
Talent builds are probably your most important factor to your character. The simplest mistake is also probably the most critical. I can not count the number of times that someone has been caught using the wrong spec in a raid since dual specs were introduced. Please make sure you check your spec before you start your raid or instance. Actually check it any time you log on, as jumping into PVP in your PVE spec can be equally as disastrous, especially to your arena teams rating.
Next up make sure you re-evaluate your talent build often. Many players will think to do this after a major patch that affects their class, but few other times. While looking at your talents is key after any patch, there are many things out there that can also affect your optimal talent build.
Some of these are not necessarily obvious to all players, but they do need to be looked at often. A very simple thing for example that could affect your talent build is your gears Hit Rating. If you spec into +Hit to reach hit cap, but then find and win a ton of +Hit gear it may be worth going back and respecing your talents and removing the points from the +Hit talents to more DPS generating talents. Hunters are a prime example of this as when they hit 80 they are generally very low on hit, but after a few raid runs generally have more +hit than they know what to do with, yet many never go back and remove their talented +Hit and are therefore wasting 3 talent points.
In addition to the base stats on gear potentially altering your optimum build things like the tier bonuses on sets of raid gear or even new glyphs becoming available can also affect it. Many sets of raid gear provide dramatic four piece bonuses, while some do not require or justify a respec, some can grant potentially huge increases in effectiveness with a proper talent build. The same can apply to glyphs which can dramatically improve an abilities usefulness beyond the norm. When this happens any other boost to that ability, such as through talents, becomes even more important to have.
Lastly, builds even change based on content. If the current raid content is all bosses (such as ToGC) then one type of build may work best. If current content contains a lot of AoE requirements, trash, or special mechanics then another build may work better.
In addition to talents, gear is a major area where mistakes happen and can cost you big time. Probably the most common mistake is for players to get a new piece of gear, get excited that it is an upgrade and rush to equip it. Only later on is it pointed out to them, or they spot it themselves if they are lucky, that they are no longer hit capped, defense capped, or missing some other key component. Always take your time when you are equipping a new piece of gear and ensure that your characters key requirements are still met.
The second most common mistake is to be in the wrong gear entirely. Many times players will jump into a group and come directly from some other activity, such as PvP or doing something in their off-spec, or even worse forgetting to equip your weapon after a busy day of fishing! They join the new group and only realize later, or have it pointed out to them that they are in the wrong gear. Make sure you double check each and every time you join a group and make sure your gear matches your role.
Next up in importance is to double check your gemming and enchants whenever you upgrade a single piece of gear. Many times for example, you will have gemmed or enchanted for +Hit on several pieces, you then get an upgrade that gives you +40 Hit and the piece it replaces had no Hit. Remember that you now need to go back and replace all those +Hit gems and enchants so that you drop yourself back down to the Hit cap and instead invest points in other important stats. While this example is for +Hit, the same applies for defense for tanks, haste for casters (the soft haste cap), expertise, and others. Remember any points over the cap in a stat are wasted and you are losing other potential upgrades.
Double check that replacing a tier piece is really an upgrade. If you have the 4 piece bonus from tier 9, is upgrading your chest armor to a higher level item and losing the 4 piece tier 9 bonus worth it?
Sites that help you
TenTonHammer class guides Right here at TenTonHammer.com we have guides for every single class. They point out the best stats to focus on for each class and build, as well as pointing out the caps for those stats, builds, and more. Better yet, they are updated after all major patches.
Elitist jerks The Jerks are the guys that over analyze everything, which is not a bad thing at all! If there is a 0.1 DPS differential from one build to another, they will know about it and point it out. This is the site to go to if you are already operating at 95% but really want to find that missing 5%. Dont bother going there until you have everything you can possibly think to do corrected though, they are the self proclaimed jerks for a reason. They will chew up a newb question, rip into you, leave you crying, and then leave smiling about it. Man, I love these guys.
Character Analysis Sites There are several sites out there that analyze your character and provide feedback on gear, stats, and sometimes even builds. Two of the most used I can not support though as they list gold for sale, which leaves an old faithful and quite solid be.imba.hu. These sites analyze your character based on spec, and points out missed or poor enchants and gems. They also show all your stats on a nice clear display and point out where you should be raiding for gear upgrades.
Common Build Sites - If there are simple questions about builds and you just want to verify a build and ensure it is valid, there are many common build sites. Probably the most used one is http://www.wowpopular.com/Talents/. Just remember these are based off of what it sees in the armory, and while what is used most often should be the best, it isnt always. Remember a certain automaker that had a really good safety record so everyone started buying them? Lots of people are second guessing that choice now, right? There are also many class specific sites out there such as http://roguebuilds.com/.
We All Make Mistakes
In the end, it comes down to a pretty simple thing. We are all human and therefore we all make mistakes once in a while. Making a mistake is in itself not a bad thing, as we can take it as an opportunity to learn from it. Thats essentially what all these situations and warnings are about, learning from past players' mistakes, and learning to double check.
Even your mighty raid leaders are once in a while caught off guard and wonder why their health is low as a tank, DPS is low as a rogue, or any number of things going wrong. Knowing that we are all fallible, we should all remember the simple and true carpenters motto that started out this article and apply it to WoW, double check everything, and do it often.
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