Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Two mods that all hybrids need to know about

Hybrid classes have the best of all worlds, do they not? They typically can DPS, tank, and/or heal in one spec, to one extent or another. I myself have been playing hybrid classes predominantly for years because I like being able to directly heal myself. But I’ve also found I really like to heal as a primary ability in raids and instances as well. Back in BC I was the main tank in my guild from Karazhan up through TK, then switched to Resto on my Druid and healed through Black Temple. At the time we didn’t have secondary specs, so you were either a DPS, tank, or healer. Fast forward to WotLK and we now have dual specs. No longer does a poor Druid or Paladin have to decide that they want to be X or Y. Now, they can literally be X on one fight and Y on another by simply switching to your alternate spec. Yet, hybrid classes typically have three different specs available to them. Shaman can be Elemental, Enhancement, and Resto. Druids can be Balance, Feral (Cat and Bear feral specs are distinct specs in the same tree), and Resto. Paladins can be Holy, Retribution, and Prot. It’s easy to switch between two defined specs, but what happens if you want more flexibility than that? What happens if you want to be able to tap that third tree in your talents? Not so easy, as it would typically mean a lengthy process of heading to your trainer and unlearning your talents, applying a new talent build, then spending time putting all your new buttons on your bars.

However, there are two mods out there that will make this process light years easier for you, and which I highly recommend any hybrid player use immediately. The first is called Talented. Talented replaces the default talent tree window and allows you to create and save defined talent specs. Not only for the class you happen to be playing at the time, but for any class. Once you set up a talent spec and save it, it’s available for use literally at a moments notice. From that point forward, in order to use a talent spec you do not currently have set, you only need to visit your trainer to unlearn the talent spec you currently have. Then you open Talented, drill down to your saved talent spec, and apply it. With no other mods it would still mean you’d need to set up all your buttons manually for your new spec.

With Active Bar Saver you only need to define your bars once, then save it. From that point forward any time you want to respect, you simply need to run a simple command and voila, your bars are set up for you. If you want to change button positions, you simply need to run another simple command to save the new button positions. Whats more, Active Bar Saver will work with the default UI, or other custom bar mods up to 121 buttons.

Using Talented and Active Bar Saver, the only thing you need to do manually after respeccing is to manually re-glyph. A typical total respec using these two mods takes about 2-3 minutes from beginning to end and involves you hearthing back to Dalaran (probably) then walking through a city portal and heading to your training; unlearning your current spec you want to replace; then using talented to apply a pre-saved talent spec; running Active Bar Saver to restore your pre-saved buttons; then manually re-glyphing. If you were going to do this in the middle of a raid, you’d most likely have a lock standing by to summon you back in.

Even if this wasn’t something you would do in a raid, you can still see the benefits here. Take myself as an example. I’m in the process of changing my main from my Death Knight to my Paladin and I’ve been getting as much experience in all three talent trees as possible. During the week I typically walk around as Retribution as my primary spec, and Holy as my secondary spec. It’s no problem to swap between the two specs as needed, but on the weekends I’ve been working my way through older instances for the achievements, and for that I replace my Holy spec with Prot. And as soon as I’m done with those I’ll be looking to get some tanking experience in WotLK instances. Completely respeccing one of my two normal specs to Prot is something I do at least twice every weekend, if not more in order to do whatever the guild needs me to do. Without the two mods it would simply be too much of a tedious process to have to set up my bars that many times, let alone do it every weekend. And these two mods are the keys to other hybrid players being able to tap into perhaps here-to-fore untapped character potential.

Much of the fun of hybrid classes is their vast array of abilities. Now you don’t have to limit yourself to only two of those in order to avoid the tedium.