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Discussion > WoWNov 14, 2022 8:00 am CT

How closely do you follow guides for your favorite spec in World of Warcraft?

Patch 10.0 is still relatively new in World of Warcraft, and it included the usual class changes combined with an all new talent system — meaning that many players are relearning how to play their characters. For some classes and specs, things haven’t changed all that much, but for others, new talents and new talent combinations have dramatically altered the playing environment.

Whether or not your favorite class or spec has changed a lot, many of us use these opportunities — the pre-patch of an upcoming expansion, when we already have all of the class changes, but none of the new content — to adjust their characters. Perhaps you already know how to play your Fury Warrior or your Restoration Shaman, but it’s always nice to get a refresh. Pro players are theorycrafting, using simulators, and trying out new strategies all the time, and what was once considered optimal might have drastically changed with a new major patch.

But some players also enjoy playing for fun. They don’t really care what the pros dictate in their guides: It’s their character to play and enjoy. If they have a choice between picking a fun talent they particularly like or a boring one that makes their rotation feel duller, more bloated, more annoying, but increases their overall DPS by 1%, what do they do? Some will say “I obviously prioritize having fun,” while others will say “I obviously prioritize min/maxing my performance,” and the truth is that there’s no “right” or “wrong” answer. It all comes down to preference.

When reading a guide, players will often find that the optimal talent choices, carefully developed by players in world first guilds and the like, are incredibly difficult to play. From the point of view of WoW itself, this is good game design, in my opinion: Having the choice between complex options that are hard to play with, but reward you with a little extra bit of efficiency, or more passive ones that make you less likely to screw up, and more able to pay attention to the encounters themselves, at a small cost in performance, can be a good thing.

Personally, I like to read guides and find out the optimal way to play, but I also use discretion instead of following them to the letter. Certain specs can get extremely complex when you add all the extra buttons and procs and conditional abilities, to the point where trying to follow them thoroughly simply isn’t going to work for the vast majority of us. Unless you’re in a top guild trying cutting-edge content that requires you to squeeze out every last drop of DPS, or healing, or mitigation, going all the way is probably not necessary — and depending on the circumstances, it might not be fun either.

What kind of player are you? Do you follow guides closely, and try to emulate the pro players, picking all the optimal talents and adhering to that play style — even in the cases when you don’t find it very enjoyable? Or do you prioritize your own choice to pick whichever talents you find fun, whichever abilities you think are cool, over your performance? Do you trust game balance for those different talent options to be close enough that it doesn’t matter much in the end? Or is there a happy medium between those two extremes that you find yourself in?

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