Updated For Mists of Pandaria

Archive for the ‘WoW Popular’ Category

Did Blizzard remove ‘cookie cutter’ builds from the Mists of Pandaria talent trees?

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Blizzard stated late in 2011 their intentions to remove the need for cookie cutter builds in the Mists of Pandaria expansion. Did they succeed?

It’s very early days yet, but on the strength of the choices players have made for their characters in the Mists beta, it seems Cookie Cutter builds will be around for quite a while yet.

At WowPopular, we have been taking a look at the talent trees chosen by players in the beta. After looking at over 1,000 characters, we’ve found that most players choose the same talents in each tier of their class tree. In fact, of all 66 classes and tiers available, there are 48 tiers where one talent choice clearly stood out as the favourite. Putting it another way, in more than two thirds of the time, players unanimously chose one specific talent over the other two available.

We’ve compiled these stats into graphs that can be seen by looking at each class (and specialization within the class) from the Talents page on WowPopular. And we’ll be constantly updating these graphs after Patch 5.0.4 (and Mists) is released.

Here’s a great example. Take a look at the class distribution for Druids:

This is a count of all talents chosen by all druids in the beta, separated into tiers. For example in the first tier the third talent, Wild Change is the most popular. No one has chosen the second talent, Displacer Beast.

In fact, in each of the 6 tiers, a clear favorite can be seen. Almost every druid in the game, regardless of spec will have an almost identical ‘cookie cutter’ talent tree.

Here’s another example; the Paladin class.

5 out of 6 tiers show a clear favorite.

The Warrior class is a little less clear cut.

Here there is no clear winner on tier 3, 4 or 6. This is likely because each of the warrior specs prefers a different talent for these tiers. In tier 4, for example, Arms warriors prefer Dragon Roar (knocking down enemies for 3 seconds); Fury warriors prefer Bladestorm (causing damage to all close enemies); whereas the Protection warrior tanks prefer Shockwave (stunning enemies in front of you).

Some talent distribution trees are more even, like the Monk class:

Our guess is players in beta have been trying out the different abilities of the Monk class. ‘Cookie cutter’ builds won’t start to show until a few weeks after the expansion is released.

So, did Blizzard fail at balancing the Mists of Pandaria talent trees? We say, yes. While there will undoubtedly be subtle differences between the talents chosen by raiding characters compared to PvP players, there are likely to be only one or two talents that are different for each class. We’ll keep you updated as the number of players using the new talents increases.

WowPopular provides information on the most popular talents, glyphs, gear, enchants, gems and reforges for maximum level players in World of Warcraft according to playstyle. The popular talents for Mists of Pandaria are now available. Other items will follow a few weeks after the expansion has been released.

Data available for Mists of Pandaria Expansion

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Today we are proud to announce that we are now showing data for the Mists of Pandaria expansion on Wow Popular.

For the last few weeks, we’ve been scouring the beta finding the most popular talent builds in Mists of Pandaria. The results are now available on Wow Popular.

Glyphs, Gear, Enchants, Gems and Reforges are harder to summarize because of the limited number of high level players on the beta. These stats will appear over the next few weeks as more people reach maximum level and start raiding. Note that because the Monk is a new class, it will take a while for enough monks be at maximum level to show the gear, enchants and gems for this class.

Today, we are also proud to announce a new feature! With only 18 talents available for each class in Mists, we can finally rank the most popular talents in each tier. The popular talent page for each class now shows a graph at the top giving the percentage popularity of each talent against the others in the same tier. Click into your class to see the graph.

Although Blizzard tried to keep the talents ‘fun’ and remove ‘must have’ talents for particular specializations, they didn’t quite manage it. Even on this early data, we can see some clear trends arriving:

Take a look at the distribution of talents for all Mages in the graph above. In the final tier, almost no one has selected Invocation (reducing the cooldown for Evocation to 10 seconds but reducing passive mana regen). Instead most have chosen Rune of Power.

Similarly for Restoration Druids:

Other than the first two tiers, almost all druid healers have chosen the same talent in each tree. Typhoon in Tier 3, Incarnation in Tier 4, Ursol’s Vortex in Tier 5 and Nature’s Vigil in the last tier.

It will be interesting to see if the other classes start to show the same results as more players reach the maximum level. Stay tuned!

A new site design, just in time for patch 4.2

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

We’ve been hard at work redesigning the site from the ground up to give it a new look, and make it easier to find the popular talents, gems, glyphs, enchants, gear and reforges in World of Warcraft.

While the essence of the site (showing what’s popular) stays the same, there are a few important and large changes:

Talent Differences Condensed

Where the site previously showed you the talent names as differences between builds, we now show you the icon.

Above is an example of the new layout. There are three main build types (Build 1, Build 2 and Build 3), and 4 other specs that build off those builds. The icons on the blue and red background indicate the talents that have been removed and added to the main build indicated by the number to the left.

Holding your mouse over each of the icons shows the name of the talent. Where a talent has many ranks (number of talent points you can assign to that talent), you can see how many points were added or removed by looking at the “Rank”. In the above example, I’m hovering my mouse over the Piercing Chill icon. The icon is beside the minus sign so it’s a talent that was removed from Build 3. The tooltip says “Rank 2″ which indicates 2 points of this talent were removed from Build 3 to arrive at this popular spec.

Click on the icon to show the talent itself, or click on the number to the left to show the full talent tree for this spec.

Better locations of filters

We’ve also changed the location of the Enchants, Gear, Gem and Glyph filters. Filters allow you to ‘drill down’ into specific segments of an Enchant, Gear item, Gem or Glyph list so you can find the information you need quicker. For example, if you were looking for a new epic blue gem to fit your Fire-spec Mage. From the Fire Mage Gems list, change the Gem Quality dropdown filter to “Epic” and click on the Blue gem color link. This will present a list of all popular blue epic gems for Fire Mages.

More to come

We’re working on other ways to ‘slice and dice’ our data. Stay tuned for more changes!

Patch 4.2

Finally, as Patch 4.2 was released today, we are busily scanning the Warcraft armory and will have full T12 gear popularity stats soon.

WoW Popular Now Has full Gear, Gem, Enchant, Glyph and Reforge stats for Cataclysm

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

WoW Popular has now been updated to include all the popular talent builds, glyphs, gems, enchants and gear from Cataclysm!

We’ve spent the last few weeks scouring the Blizzard armory for level 85 characters and have recorded the stats for each character we have found.

And we’ve scanned quite a few! We have scanned the gear, enchants, gems and reforges for over 600,000 characters, and the talent builds for 200,000 of the most progressed characters. Our total character database (including lower level characters) is over 2 milllion!

We have so far recorded over 5 million items of gear, 1.3 million gems and a staggering 13 million talent points to create all the wowpopular tables.

And here’s an interesting stat. 52% of all characters scanned have a shirt equipped and 89% have a tabard.


Added Talents From 4.0.1 PTR – And We Need Your Help!

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

With patch 4.0.1 anticipated to be released within days, we’ve updated the site to include the redesigned talents and talent builds available on the Public Test Realms.

While this has allowed us to present talent builds in readiness for the new patch, we realise that with only a few thousand characters on the PTR, we have a much smaller sample space than we usually have.

So we need your help!

You’ll see two new icons in the talents section of the site. A like () and dislike () icon. If you like the build displayed, please click on to indicate that you like this build. Similarly, if you don’t like it click on . This will register your positive or negative vote against the build and you will help others choose the best build for them.

If you don’t see a talent spec that you use, feel free to send it to us using the link at the top of the list. Note that new builds may take a while to show on the site.

If you have any comments or suggestions, we’d love to hear them.

- The WowPopular Team

About Us

Monday, June 1st, 2009

WoWPopular tracks the most popular Talent Builds, Glyphs, Gear, Enchants and Gems used by players in World of Warcraft.

This site started in October 2008 as TalentChic.com with the release of the Lich King talent builds in patch 3.0. With the large revamping of talent builds, I wanted to know the most popular talent builds for the Warcraft classes I play. Rather than search the Internet for information on these classes, I decided to create a site that found the most popular talent points from the best characters on the Warcraft Armory and rank them according to popularity. TalentChic was born!

A few months later, Blizzard released Patch 3.1 and with it came Dual Specs and information on a character’s glyphs in the armory. I quickly set to scanning these too and GlyphChic.com was born.

As the scanner already needed to scan a player’s gear to find their play style (Raider, PvPer or casual Quest or Crafted gear holder), I found I had created a large database of the most popular gear, enchants and gems players used.

So I merged TalentChic and GlyphChic into a new site called WoWPopular.com and added new data for Enchants, Gear and Gems. I plan this site to be a one-stop-shop for not only players who don’t have the time to fully research what talents, enchants, glyphs, gems or gear to work on next – but also for players with lots of alts who, like me, just want to know how to improve their alt without reading lots of theorycrafting.

I hope you get as much use from this data as I do!

Oh – I’m an active Warcraft Player myself. If you are on the US-Ravencrest realm, send me a whisper on my main raiding char – Trail.

David Peterson
Creator, WoWPopular

How We Find The Most Popular Talent Builds

Monday, June 1st, 2009

To find the most popular talent builds, the system scans both the US and EU WoW armory sites to find the talent points, glyphs, gear, enchants, and gems chosen by characters. It then sorts those according class, spec and playstyle and collates the results.

We don’t just look at any old character though! We record just the best players in all parts of the game (according to their gear).

Doesn’t this just show what the masses have chosen, and not what’s best?

Actually, no. Because there are a limited number of choices, the collective mind of all players usually migrates to the best, most accessible option for players. What’s ‘best’ (top tier raid gear, or top arena gear) is not attainable for most players so it is usually shown a little futher down the list. The same goes for enchants and gems. Enchant Weapon – Exceptional Spellpower is the most popular spell power enchant for a weapon, but it is not the best.

The best is Enchant Weapon – Mighty Spellpower. This comes second on the list even though it gives an extra 13 spell power. Why is it not the most popular? Because the mats are relatively expensive compared to it’s cheaper cousin and most people cannot justify the expense for a small gain.

Zardoz from Armory Data Mine explains the reasoning wonderfully in his post about median vs average.


While we’re looking at gear, we also record each character’s playstyle (where most of their gear has come from) because most items (in particular gear, and the talent spec) can change between PvE and PvP. You can use this as a filter to find the most appropriate build for you.


How To Use This Site

Monday, June 1st, 2009

It’s easy to use this site!

  1. Click on your class on the left sidebar
  2. A list of the most popular talent builds, glyphs, gear, enchants and gems for your class is shown.
  3. Click on one of the headings to see more information on a section you are interested in.

You can customize your search to show only a specific spec by clicking on the spec on the left of the page. You can also customize to your playstyle; see below.


As well as scanning talents from the armory, the system also checks the character’s gear and chooses an appropriate playstyle.

  • “Raid” indicates most gear has come from raiding either 10 or 25 man dungeons.
  • “PvP” indicates most gear has been attained from honor or marks in Arenas or Battlegrounds.
  • “Instances” indicates most gear obtained has dropped from an instance mob or boss.
  • The “Quest” playstyle means most gear has come from completing quests
  • “Crafted” indicates most gear has been crafted from professions. This link is most useful for finding what crafted gear you can create for your character before heading into raids.

Playstyles are split in the system because PvE specs are usually different from PvP specs. Click on the playstyle that matches your preference to see the most popular builds for that playstyle. If no playstyles are checked, all are shown.

Seeing More Information

Some categories (like gear, gems and enchants) have an additional filter for either a gear slot, or a gem color. Click on those extra links that appear to filter your search further, like to find the popular Blue Epic gems for your Fire Mage.

Talent Builds

To see the specific talents for a build, click on Talents at the top of the page. A list of popular talent builds for your chosen class and spec are displayed. Click on the [Spec] link in the Build column to see the full talent spec.

The “Differences” column shows the talent differences between similar builds. Using this column, you can quickly see the differences between two builds. If the column contains the word Build with a number, the build is a core build used to compare with other builds. If the column shows a build number with plus and minus signs and icons, it is showing the talent changes between the build on this row, and the core build with that number. For instance:

Any icons with a blue background and a plus to the left are new talent points added to this build that were not in the core build. Icons on a red backgound and a minus sign are talent points that were removed from the core build to create this build.

In the example, this build has replaced one point of Piercing Ice and two points of the Piercing Chill talents of Build 1 with 3 points in Burning Soul. To find the names, hold your mouse over the icon to see a tooltip. You can click into the icon to find more information about what that talent does. The number of points added or removed can be found by looking at the Rank in the tooltip. For example, in the image below, 2 points were removed from Piercing Blow.


Click on the Glyphs link on the top left of the page to show the popular prime, major and minor glyphs chosen for your character.

Gear, Enchants and Gems

Similarly, click on either the Gear, Enchants or Gems links at the top left of the page to show the most popular gear for each slot, enchants for each slot, and gems per color. All lists change according to playstyle (PvPers usually show resistance gear and gems with little Hit stats) and spec (Healers don’t use hit, while rogues don’t use Spell Power).


Finally, the reforges link shows the most popular spec changes made by reforging.

If you have any questions about this site, please feel free to leave a comment below and we will create a FAQ.