WoW Talent System 2.0 ( Patch 5.0.4 )

Posted Mon, Aug 27, 2012 by Messiah

One of the biggest changes coming to World of Warcraft with the Mists of Pandaria expansion is a completely new talent system.  Sure there have been talent system changes in the past, but for the most part they have been modifications of the original, evolutionary steps if you will.  This new system, for better or worse, is completely new.

Since talent trees go hand in hand with class specializations (or specs as commonly referred to) and with glyphs, all three will be covered here in their own sections.

Specialization Changes in Patch 5.0.4

Part of picking your talents is picking your specialization, and the new talent system is no different.  Each class has several specializations available to it much like it did previously, however they are not directly linked to your talents, so it is not exactly accurate to talent them talent specs anymore, they are more like class specs.  More on that in the talent section below though.

Most classes have three distinctive specs, however the Druid class has gained a fourth.  Druids now have Balance, Feral, Restoration, and Guardian.  The new spec of Guardian is for Druid bear form tanking, which also means that feral has changed to become the Druid cat form DPS spec. 

When you chose a specialization you are granted many abilities that are core to that class and spec. This has pulled a lot of talents that used to be under each specs talent tree and makes them available to you as soon as you pick that spec. 

Specialization Screen
This shows the spells and abilities you gain just by specing into Balance. Each spec has different core abilities.

Talent System Changes in Patch 5.0.4

So what has changed, what makes this a whole new talent system. Well, pretty much everything.  To see how much has changed check out the comparison of the old talent calculator to the new calculator below.

New Talent System
The new talent system screen for Druids
Old Talent System
The old talent system screen for Druids

You should be able to spot some huge differences right away, but lets go through them.

The new talent system grants you a miserly 6 talent points total by the time you have reached level 90.  This is almost nothing when compared to the old system that granted 41 points by the time you got to level 85.  This means far less choice than before.  This will be a huge adjustment to get used to for players.

The new talent system only allows 1 talent point to be spent per talent.  Gone are the days of talents that provide more benefits if you put multiple points in them, such as the talents like Natures Majesty that provided a 2% boost to spell crit per talent point and you were allowed to put 2 points in it.

Going along the same train of thought, gone are pretty much all talents that provide a base percentage boost to something simple like crit or a spells ability.  There are still percentages, don’t get me wrong, there are boosts to movement or boosts to overall effectiveness, or large boosts to specific abilities for specific reasons, but the days of having multiple talents in a talent tree that give a 2% boost to spell X and another talent that grants 5% boost to spell Y are pretty much done.

So you know now that you can’t spend more than one point on a talent, which means that the 6 points total isn’t quite as bad as you may have first thought, however there is more. You are limited in your talent choice, you can no longer decide that you like all three abilities in tier four and decide to skip talents in tier five or six to get them all.   In the old system you could, but no more, in the new talent system you can only spend one talent point per tier, ever.  To be perfectly clear, this means that you will only ever be able to get one ability from each of the 6 tiers, so you have to choose carefully.

One of the biggest changes to the system and maybe just as drastic as the drop in talent points from 41 to 6 is that each and every spec for a class has the exact same talent tree to choose from. Yes, you read that correctly.  It no longer matters if you are Balance, Feral, Restoration, or now the new Guardian Druid spec, you all are limited to selecting 6 of the exact same 18 talents.

Even though there are now only 18 talents per class there are many new talents as well.  This is due to many of the simple “boost X ability Y%” talents being cut, and many spec based talents being granted by choosing a specialization instead of having to pick them as a talent point under that spec.

Lastly, each tier on the talent system generally has some type of theme, most of which are clear and obvious.  There are some tiers in some classes that don’t have much of a theme, but that is the exception not the rule.  A good example one of movement, almost every class has a talent tier that grants some type of movement increase in various ways. Below is a great example of this from the Druid talent system, the first tier offers three very different methods of granting boosts to your movement.  Which you choose depends on your play style and goals, but all give you added movement ability.

Druid movement talents

Glyph Changes in Patch 5.0.4

Glyphs tie in with specializations and talents as well since they affect many of your abilities.  Gone are the 9 glyph slots that used to be available in Cataclysm, now there are only 6.  There are 3 major and 3 minor slots.

Glyph Screen
As you can see the screen looks similar, but is down to 6 spots instead of 9.

Major glyphs are about affecting or changing you abilities.  They make your spells better, faster, or different.  Some have negative side effects as well as positive ones.  In general though major glyphs change abilities with some level of significance. An example of this is the Glyph of Rejuvenation for Druids that allows you to cast Nourish 30% faster whenever you have Rejuvenation active on at least 3 targets. That is a significant increase in speed and if nourish is one of your mainstay heals then it is a huge bonus.

Minor glyphs on the other hand have little effect on how abilities work and are more about cosmetics or minor changes.  A great example of minor glyphs are The Orca and Glyph of the Stag for Druids. The Orca changes your water form to an orca instead of a seal, for those that are bored with the old model. The Stag changes your travel form into that of a stag, plus allows other players to ride you like they would a mount. Both very cool changes, but pretty much cosmetic only.

Somebody may even love it because of them, but for me, talent changes are the worst thing they ever did to Wow. Period. Regarding rest, in Cata some changes, like to hunter, were to best possible, for the first time I have enjoyed to level my hunter not just for sake of having all classes maxed out. To druid changes were most hated in general would say.
But changes to talen tree are big no-no. The single most fun thing in any game is to get some candy after every new level. Not after 15, for some this could mean few months of gameplay at higher levels. Pure mess.

i totally agree. it was always nice to get something special after levelling as a kind of reward. i used to really look forward to each new level and it gave me a little thrill to know i would soon be able to increase X stat/skill with a talent i had been waiting for. this new system seems like Blizzard's most cynical dumbing down scheme yet. i mean jeez, it was bad enough what they did to the talents with Cata but at least you still had some decisions to make. i'm gonna play MoP anyway (i just can't help myself) but i think the game might end up being too unsatisfying for me now.

I am so sorry to see that Blizzard had to dumb World of Warcraft down so much that it killed the game for me and a lot of friends. The talent tree gave me choices and more freedom, streamlining it and perhaps building it better with more direct control where points go might have been better than making it into the most basic of choices for the inept. I feel it would have been more feasible to take the time to truly rework it, but all in all, Blizzard just had to dumb it down completely.

Simple example of the first impression of 5.0.4 patch - Going into a Dungeon the night before with my Death Knight and being able to kill a 49 elite with my “Howling Frost” with one shot was a good thing, but then going into the same Dungeon with the 5.0.4 patch coming online and no more one shot kills on same 49 elites, there’s something wrong there. PVP oriented game is where this has all gone, why then go into Raids or Dungeons with a PVP game?

Next let me touch a bit on the whole “Pokemon” pet battles that are designed for the children at mind and children to get younger players to start playing. Again, PVP pet battles, no pet Dungeon to say, just pet PVP arena. Yes get over it; it is “Pokemon” plain and simple. All of you, who are all wining about those of us calling it that, get a clue “Pokemon” is exactly what it is. You just want to hide your head in a hole and pretend it’s not; you want to think it’s a Blizzard original idea.

I won’t lie, I pretty much did PVP the past year, but only having the major focus now on PVP is an issue all in its own; Looks like the days of raiding and dungeon crawling has gone away. The two classes of players is what brought a lot of people to the game, now to focus only on one major aspect of the game of PVP will drive some players away.

Right off the bat the Action House is totally glitching when it comes to sort, really, why is there such a major glitch, maybe Blizzard became clueless in trying to rush this patch out to compete with the same day release of Guild Wars 2, good job there. Again, quit hiding your head in a hole and thinking that Blizzard had planned releasing this patch on this date all along.

I hear ya on the "Poke'Mon " thing. Another foray into a useless, time wasting aspect which has nothing to do with the core game. I too noticed a pretty serious reduction in damage capability in both PvP & PvE (with the exception of my Priest). The dumbing down, cookie cutter design does seem to be designed to draw in a younger generation of player only one problem here .....HEY BLIZZARD Moms and Dads have to foot the bill and in these monitarily belt tightening times GOOD LUCK! Im gonna use 1/2 the money I spent on WoW to subscribe to Netflix that way I can chose to be entertained in a manner of my own choosing not another mans vision of whats best.

Finally, all the talk about World of Warcraft killers such as Rift and Star Wars: the Old Republic was hype and the real reason World of Warcraft survives is because of 8 years of updates and solid content to keep players interested. Time placed in the game and the hardcore players will always return because it is comfortable knowing the game so well. Change and trying something new as a so called “Noob” is hard for many, so their interests will always come back to what they are comfortable with and where they have the powerful characters they spent time creating. It’s hard to start from scratch when you have everything in World of Warcraft.

What I see as the World of Warcraft killer is World of Warcraft itself. By Blizzard doing such a large change in game play, adding more than just good solid expansions like Cataclysm was, Blizzard itself is the one that is going to be the World of Warcraft killer. Is Blizzard seeing the run of World of Warcraft coming to an end and helping it on its way in order to pave the way to “Titan”? Take a good hard look at the whole picture and maybe figure out for yourself.

I myself have more than a few “Toons” on more than one server and a great percentage of them are at the top level, but I have no problem breaking away and playing other games. I myself do the 2 months on and 2 months off thing. When a game card expires, I take a break and see what’s going on outside of the World of Warcraft gaming era. Guild Wars 2, Torchlight 2, and others peak my interest. Maybe with Mist of Pandora I am finally going to take a long break and just listen to what friends have to say about it in time.

All I can say about the new 5.0.4 patch and all the major changes is that I'm very, very unhappy. I have 3 85's and have 9 characters. 1 of my 85's is a Ret Pally. He had a heal spell, and that saves his live many, many times. Now.... I have no heal spell (very small heal). This is very frustrating. But the character is still playable. I also have a 47 Rogue. With the new changes, I can hardly win a fight now. They have made so many changes to a Rogue that I am going to have to re-learn how to play my character again. I do agree with the other comments, that they have dumbed down how WoW plays and it is not as interesting as it once one. I quit WoW for over a year and missed it. Came back just over 1 month ago and loved it again. After the 5.0.4 patch I really dislike how everything is so cut and dried with no decisions left. Seems they have made this game for 5 to 8 year old kids now. Very sad. Giving each character you have all the flying mounts from all of your characters takes out the fun of getting a specific mount for each of your toons. When this months payment runs out, I'm gone for ever. Thank you Blizzard for killing a game that I really loved to play year after year. You have not thought this through very carefully Blizzard. I was wondering if you hired the marketing person that almost ran Coke into the ground by removing it from the market and replacing it with New Coke. Sure seems that way.

Cancelled my account due to Greg Streets misguided concepts of dumbing down the game. IMO he should just abolish the talent tree altogether and give the paying players what he thinks they need. Guess thats what happens when you hire a Marine Biologist as your lead designer. Mr. Streets previous foray in the gaming industry working on Ages of Empires, a game which really went nowhere, dosent qualify him to continue to work for Blizzard. Ever since Mr. Street was brought on board his forte each and every expansion has been to revamp the talent tree. Im done giving my money to a company that dosent take seriously the paying players input but instead pushes one mans concept of whats best.sheesh. Thats why we have more than one flavor of ice cream.

WoW, just WoW. Glad I quit after cata.

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