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Oct 29

I got an email about this from David, the site owner, a couple of weeks ago, and I haven’t blogged about it yet due to the deluge of 3.0.2-related posts and playtime. Thanks for the headsup, David!

TalentChic is very interesting; it looks at armory data to determine the most popular specific spec choices for each class/spec option, and then it gives you an ordered list of alternative specs, in order of popularity.

For example, apparently 51/5/5 is currently the most popular holy paladin build (a pretty much by-the-numbers Holy build, plus Kings from Prot and Benediction from Ret), with 54/7/0 and 56/5/0 following close behind.

For possibly the first time ever, however, there are more Ret pallies than Holy or Prot pallies – the premier Holy build is beaten by two different Ret builds, and Prot doesn’t make an appearance until #15 on the list. (I bet that will change, though; even apart from the upcoming nerfs, I suspect a lot of those ret pallies are usually healers or tanks, slapping on the DPS gear and owning it up in battlegrounds for some relaxation before Wrath hits.)

The Caveat
Bear in mind that the site tells us:

We don’t just look at any old character though! We have spent the last few months finding the best players in all parts of the game (according to their gear). Since patch 3.0.2 released, we have furiously been scanning the armory to find what talent specs these top players have chosen.

Now, apart from the fact that we don’t know how they determine someone is a ‘top player’ (average ilvl of gear? arena rating? membership of a guild clearing X much content? T5 gear? Sunwell gear?) there’s a factor to bear in mind: endgame play is not necessarily the same as pre-endgame play (and I don’t mean at the level cap vs. levelling, either).

To use an example from holy paladin gameplay: in raids like Karazhan, Holy Paladin play is generally Flash-of-Light spam, with the occasional Holy Light for spikes, and regen generally comes from mp5-based talents and gear. As you move through the tiers of progression, Holy Light becomes more and more essential, and spellcrit (via Illumination) takes over as the main source of mana return. In the real endgame – Sunwell Plateau – spellhaste is essential, and mana efficiency is less of a concern. So, a Sunwell paladin is going to want to maximise spell haste and spellpower from their talents, someone in late Tier 5 content is going to be looking hungrily at all that crit rating in the first few tiers of Retribution, while someone in Karazhan is going to be worrying about mana efficiency. Obviously, that’s a broad generalisation – and it’s not entirely accurate now 3.0.2’s gone live, either – but you can see how a Sunwell healadin wouldn’t go anywhere without Judgements of the Pure, while a paladin in T5-ish content is going to be more excited about Conviction and Sanctified Seals. That said, that doesn’t mean the site is only useful for endgame players – far from it! Just make sure to think about the talents the popular builds don’t take, and whether you need them.

The Bottom Line
This site has a lot of potential to be very useful – both to keep an eye on new developments for your class, and to look for inspiration when you’re changing your build. Frankly, I think it’ll be even more useful for alts – let’s face it, most people who do research their class know their mains pretty well by now, but when your new alt hits 70 (or 80) and you want to start instancing or raiding with them, this is a great way to instantly tap into common consensus about the class.

Just make sure to bear in mind the caveats: look at the builds the site’s suggesting, and make sure you’re not missing out on important talents for the content you’re doing. And, of course, a million people can, in fact, be wrong. ;-)

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