Updated Fri, Aug 26, 2011 by Xerin
Each class in World of Warcraft has access to three distinct Talent Trees. Here players will have the chance (starting at level 10) to place talent points that are earned as they level into various class-specific abilities known as talents. At one time picking talents could be difficult and daunting task, but thanks to a few changes in Patch 4.0.1, picking talents has become less of a headache.
Each talent tree will provide the player with distinct play experience and you should choose the one that appeals to you the most, even if it is a little off the beaten path. Once a player has decided on a talent tree and placed their first point in it they must place all future points into that talent tree until they have placed 31 talent points. After this number has been reached, the player may place their points into any talent tree they wish.
For Mages these talent trees are; Arcane, Fire, and Frost. Learn more about these talent trees and the must-have talents in each below:
Blizzard describes the Arcane Mage:
“Manipulates arcane energies, playing with the very fabric of time and space.”
Warlocks who choose the Arcane tree will find their Arcane talents boosted, as well as many of the other spells from the other trees, making this talent tree unique. Also found in this tree are many utility spells that will help the mage in heated battle situations and while participating in player versus player events.
Once the Arcane tree has been opened the spell Arcane Barrage will become available to the Mage. Talents that are must haves within this tree include: Arcane Concentration, Netherwind Presence, Torment the Weak, Arcane Power, Improved Mana Gem, Arcane Potency, Missile Barrage, Presence of Mind, Arcane Flows, and Improved Arcane Missiles. If you are going the PvE route, be sure to skip over purely PvP talents such as Counterspell.
There are not many talents in the other trees the Arcane mage should be concerned with but you may want to pick up Piercing Ice, Master of Elements, and Burning Soul as they can be greatly beneficial.
Blizzard describes the Fire Mage:
“Ignites enemies with balls of fire and the breath of dragons.”
Mages who choose the Fire tree will become powerhouses with their Fire spells boosted beyond their wildest dreams. Providing massive amounts of burst damage this tree is great for Mages who want to do damage in a hurry. This tree also is filled with talents that will keep the Mage alive in a pinch.
Once you choose the Fire tree the spell Pyroblast will be unlocked. This spell is a slow casting heavy hitter. Talents that are must haves inside this tree are but not limited to: Burning Soul, Fire Power, Hot Streak, Firestarter, Critical Mass, and Cauterize. Skip over talents such as Molten Shields that may be tempting, but are pretty useless.
Options from other trees include Netherwind Presence from the Arcane tree and Piercing Ice from the Frost tree.
Blizzard describes the Frost Mage:
“Freezes enemies in their tracks and shatters them with Frost magic.”
Mages that choose the Frost tree will see all their Frost spells boosted. From this tree they will also gain a ton of powerful snares that will hinder an enemies progress. It can be argued that some of the DPS from this tree is sacrificed for those snares, however, when those snares save the Mages’ life they will be thankful either way.
Once the Frost tree has been selected the Summon Water Elemental spell becomes available. This companion should be kept active at all times for increased DPS. When speccing into this tree you will find that you want to dump most of your talent points into it. Skip over talents such as Permafrost and Shattered Barrier that may seem useful but won’t be in the long run.
Possible talents to take from other trees include: Netherwind Presence from the Arcane tree and Master of Elements, Burning Soul, and Ignite from the Fire tree.
Remember, the above listings are only suggestions based on tried and true methods, how you ultimately choose to spec is entirely up to you. Check out Blizzard's Talent Calculator to experiment with your talent points.