Potions. ‘Lock cookies. Prepotting. These are all small things, but with proven effectiveness in improving raiders’ performance. They’re also all things I’m terrible at. In the end, though, I can sort of excuse these as minor. There’s one thing that’s increasingly weighing on my mind, though, and that’s my toolbox.
For our recent kill of Ta’yak, I was asked to use Light’s Hammer instead of my usual standby of Execution Sentence, mostly to help provide a little healing. Problem is, apart from being cool as all hell to watch, ES is easy to use. Stupidly easy. And it’s effective enough overall that I haven’t even really learned to use LH.
Even without the cool factor of ES, LH has a couple of problems for me. It uses a targetting glyph, my old enemy from Disc’s superbubble. It sits in a set area, while ES handily follows your target. And with ES, your target is your target, no worrying about mobs – cc’d or otherwise – wandering into the area of effect. For a cautious player – which I am – these are all big plus points.
None of this is gamebreaking, though, and LH does have its own benefits – not least of which is the rather nice AoE heal baked in. No, the real issue is inertia. I’ve learned to play using ES, and now ES is part of the talent spec that I use for everything. It is literally a damn big hammer in a world of nails.
It sort of comes back to the ‘minor optimisations’ argument from earlier. What I want is a spec that I pretty much don’t ever touch – which is diametrically opposed to the current talent design paradigm, naturally. The class designers explicitly want talent trees to be living things, and that’s a good thing. In theory, anyway. In practise I end up second-guessing, trying to figure out stuff on the fly in the middle of a raid, screwing up more often than not.
It’s almost like Blizzard wants me to – gasp – know my class. Scary, right?
So yeah. Here’s to trying oddball talents on daily jaunts. Here’s to accidentally pulling the entirety of the underground Mogu mania, and to finding out what Holy Prism actually looks like, since every guide on the planet flatly recommends avoiding it like the plague. Here’s to trying out Selfless Healer, because it’s frankly looking pretty decent for next patch. But most of all, here’s to not having to say to a team that’s doing all they can, “I can’t use this talent – I’m going back to my comfort zone”.
Oddly enough, I did actually iterate through the movement talents in PvP before Mists even released. For months now I’ve been happiest with PoJ, but the cyclones leverage the sprint of SoL. Cue me falling apart pathetically. Ah well.
Something that does occur is that while some talents are situational, most seem more intended for certain playstyles – for instance, Sanctified Wrath vs. Divine Purpose vs. Holy Avenger. Even for those, though, there’s a certain amount of situational flavour to each. Where’s the line? Is a general-purpose build really that much of a limiting factor, given that we’re not on the bleeding edge? And is this whole mess perhaps just not as important as using what you’re comfortable with to the best of your ability? Bruce Lee famously stated “I don’t fear the man who has practised 10000 kicks once; I fear the man who has practised one kick 10000 times”.
Sometimes just whipping out a whacking great hammer for everything from a broken fridge to neurosurgery might be the best plan, depending on just how good you are at swinging it.