What is Mastery? I found myself asking this, after I loaded up Patch 4.0.1 of the World of Warcraft, and hit my trusty character screen to examine the damage wrought by Activision-Blizzard developers in anticipation of the Cataclysm. I noticed something obviously new and unseen previous to patch 4.0.1. A new skill called Mastery has been added. This skill quite simply takes one of your best skills, and makes it even better. For a complete list, see below. This gives us all a brainless stat. Something that we can sink points into, when no other points make sense. But what exactly does Mastery do? That all depends on what spec you are. To look at the new Mastery system, we need to take a look at the new Talent Tree first. Mastery directly affects one of your primary spec skills. For example, for Balance Druids, Mastery increases the effect of their Eclipse proc. Since Eclipse is such an integral part of a Moonkin’s DPS, Mastery can greatly increase the overall DPS output of your friendly neighborhood Chicken Based DPS’er. You can see the full list of Mastery bonuses sorted below by class and Spec or view the page for Mastery at WoWiki.com.
When players reach level 10, they are presented with basic information on the three specializations within their class and are asked to choose one. Then they spend their talent point. The other trees darken and are unavailable until 31 points are spent in the chosen tree. The character is awarded an active ability, and one or more passive bonuses unique to the tree they’ve chosen. As they gain levels, they’ll alternate between receiving a talent point and gaining new skills. They’ll have a 31-point tree to work down, with each talent being more integral and exciting than they have been in the past. Once they spend their 31′st point in the final talent (at level 70), the other trees open up and become available to allocate points into from then on. As characters move into the level 78+ areas in Cataclysm, they’ll begin seeing items with a new stat, Mastery. Once they learn the Mastery skill from their class trainer they’ll receive bonuses from the stat based on the tree they’ve specialized in… As you spend points in a given talent tree, you’ll receive three different passive bonuses specific to that tree. The first bonus will increase your damage, healing, or survivability, depending on the intended role of the tree. The second bonus will be related to a stat commonly found on gear desirable to you, such as Haste or Crit. The third bonus will be the most interesting, as it will provide an effect completely unique to that tree — meaning there will be 30 different bonuses of this nature in the game.
You must commit to a Talent Tree, and cannot spend talent points in another tree until you reach 31 points in your primary tree. At level 80 this only leaves you 5 points to spend on a secondary talent tree after spending 31 points in our primary tree. That means that at level 85 you will only have 10 points to spend in your secondary tree. This change means that players can not longer max out one of their specs, and then get the third tier of rewards from a secondary spec. These changes bring unwanted shifts in the dynamics of most specs by removing critical skills acquired in a secondary spec line that used to be available prior to the 4.0.1 patch. This in essence is a Nerf on everyone to compensate for the increase in difficulty that we can expect when the Cataclysm hits on December 7th. Well, what can we expect? Did we want to go sailing off into the wild blue yonder without having some kind of a nerf to counteract level 80 End-game gear?
But wait, as usual there is some good to come out of this change. With the latest patch, Activision-Blizzard has enabled a new option called Reforging. Just talk to an Arcane Reforger which can found near the Enchanting Trainer in any city to start the process. Players with gear with dead stats can now Reforge items to replace stats that are capped, or useless to our spec, and reallocate those points into something useful. There are some stipulations to the reforging process. You can only forge certain stats, and you can not stack a stat on an item that already exists on the item. Also, you cannot reforge a stat that already exists on the gear, no stacking! There is a small fee for reforging your goods based off of the Item Level. The price should be around 15-20 gold per transaction, so everyone should be able to afford to pick the stats they want for their character.
Stats that can be Reforged:
* Critical Strike
* Hit Rating
Stats that may not be reforged:
* Attack Power
The reforging process is pretty straight forward, and easy to use. Just open up a dialogue box with the reforger, and drop the item you want to reforge into the slot. The pull-down menus will automatically populate with the stats that can be reforged on that specific piece of gear. Pick the stat you want to get rid of from the left pull-down menu, then pick the stat you want to gain from the right pull-down menu. Once you have confirmed that this is what you want to do, click the Reforge button, and you can walk away with a customized piece of gear that better suits your character. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, or want to reforge again. Just put open up the Reforging Window again, and drop any piece of Reforged gear into the slot to Restore it back to its original state, or re-reforge it (say that 10 times fast!).
Below is a full list of skills that are affected by the Mastery skill listed by Class and Spec.
- Blood – Each time you heal yourself via Death Strike, you gain 50% of the amount healed as a damage absorption shield. Absorb increased further by mastery rating.
- Frost – Increases all frost damage done by 20%. Damage increased further by mastery rating.
- Unholy – Increases the damage done by your diseases by 20%. Damage increased further by mastery rating.
- Balance – Increases the bonus damage from Eclipse by 12%. Damage increased further by mastery rating.
- Feral – Increases the damage absorbed by your Savage Defense ability by 32% and increases the damage done by your Cat Form bleed abilities by 20%. Absorb and damage increased further by mastery rating.
- Restoration – Increases the potency of your heal over time spells by up to 20% based on the current health level of your target (lower health targets are healed for more). Healing increased further by mastery rating.
- Beast Mastery - Increases the damage done by your pets by 20%. Damage increased further by mastery rating.
- Marksmanship – Grants a 16% chance for your ranged attacks to also instantly fire an additional ranged shot for 80% normal damage. Chance increased further by mastery rating.
- Survival – Increases all elemental damage you deal by 20%. Damage increased further by mastery rating.
- Arcane – Increases all spell damage done by up to 12% based on the amount of mana the Mage has unspent. Damage increased further with mastery rating.
- Fire – Causes your non-periodic fire spells to deal 10% additional damage over 4 sec. Damage increased further by mastery rating.
- Frost – Your Frostbolt spell causes its victim to take a 12% increased damage from all other spells you attack the victim with. Damage increased further with mastery rating.
- Protection – Increases your chance to block melee attacks by 16%. Block chance increased further by mastery rating.
- Retribution – Increases all holy damage done by 20%. Damage increased further by mastery rating.
- Holy – Your healing spells also place an absorb shield on your target for 8% of the amount healed lasting 6 sec. Absorb increased further by mastery rating.
- Shadow – You have a 10% chance for your Shadow Word: Pain and Mind Flay spells to gran you a Shadow Orb each time they deal damage. The Shadow Orb Increases the damage done by your Mind Blast and Mind Spike spells by 20%. Damage increased further by mastery rating.
- Holy – Your direct healing spells heal for an additional 10% over 6 sec. Healing increased further by mastery rating.
- Discipline – Increases the potency of all your damage absorption spells by 20%. Absorption increased further by mastery rating.
- Assassination – Increases the damage done by your poisons by 20%. Damage increased further by mastery rating.
- Combat – Your main hand attacks have a 10% chance to grant you an extra off hand attack. Chance increased further by mastery rating.
- Subtlety – Increases the damage done by all your finishing moves by 20%. Damage increased further by mastery rating.
- Elemental – Grants a 20% chance for Elemental Overload to occur. Elemental Overload causes a Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, or Lava Burst spell you cast to trigger a second, similar spell on the same target at no additional cost that causes 60% of normal damage and no threat. Chance to trigger increased further by mastery rating.
- Enhancement – Increases all elemental damage done by 20%. Damage increased further by mastery rating.
- Restoration – Increases the potency of your direct healing spells by up to 20%, based on the current health level of your target (lower health targets are healed for more). Healing increased further by mastery rating.
- Demonology – Increases the damage done by your demon servants and damage you deal while transformed into a demon by 12%. Damage increased further by mastery rating.
- Destruction – Increases all fire damage you deal by 10%. Damage increased further by mastery rating.
- Affliction – Increases all periodic shadow damage you deal by 13%. Damage increased further by mastery rating.
- Fury – Increases the benefit of abilities that cause you to be enraged or consume an enrage effect by 80%. Enrage abilities improved further by mastery rating.
- Protection – Increases your chance to block by 10% and your chance to critically block by 10%. Chances increased further by mastery rating.
- Arms – Grants a 16% chance for your melee attack to instantly trigger an additional melee attack for 50% normal damage. Chance increased further by mastery rating.