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WoW Classic Talent Calculator: How Do Vanilla Talents Work?

By | November 7th, 2018 | Categories: World of Warcraft

No one can deny the massive hype that’s building up around the upcoming World of Warcraft Classic title that will bring us all back to the glorious vanilla days. Subsequently, many are starting to wonder what a WoW Classic Talent Calculator will look like, especially players who never played during the early days of the game.

As you might imagine, things in Blizzard’s highly successful MMORPG were much different back in the days. It won’t be far-fetched to say that WoW was almost a completely different game compared to what it is in its current, Battle for Azeroth guise – that, of course, includes the talent system.

Thankfully though, here’s what you need to know about the talent calculator, talent trees and everything related to talents in the to-be-released classic version of World of Warcraft…

What were the talents like back in Vanilla?

During late 2004 to early 2007, the talent system in WoW was slightly more complex and included a bunch of ‘upgradable’ talents. Each class had 3 distinctive talent trees and you had a total of 51 points to spend on talents because you started accumulating talent points (1 per each level) after you hit level 10.

This is in contrast to the current talent system in Battle for Azeroth since you don’t have fancy things like PvP talents. In fact, it seems like Blizz have decided to somewhat simplify the in-game talents because in vanilla it was common to have around ~18 different talents to go for under each talent tree.

There were even talents that were locked and they that required you to max out on other talents in order to unlock them.  To put things into perspective, here’s how the Warrior talents in the original World of Warcraft worked:

  • Arms – 18 unique talents, 44 points to spend in total (because 4 talents were related to your weapon-spec)
  • Fury – 17 unique talents, 57 points to spend in total (although you can only spend 51 overall)
  • Protection – 17 unique talents, 53 points to spend in total (but you only have 51 anyway)

As you can see, back in the old game there were lots of 0/5 talents that you could spend points on. However, it was all about spending your points carefully, since each particular build required you to spend a specific amount of points on certain talents.

On top of that, there were lots of other differences in terms of how talents actually worked. If we continue using Warriors as an example, then you’d probably be surprised to learn that Defensive Stance wasn’t unlocked through your talent trees (as it is in BfA). Also, Rend was a regular Warrior ability and you learned it by visiting a Warrior trainer.

For more WoW, check this out: Are Private Servers a Threat to WoW Classic Servers?

Which Vanilla WoW talent builds were the Best?

While there weren’t any ‘best’ builds in the original state of World of Warcraft, there were still certain talent combinations that were more optimal for certain classes. For instance, the main role of a Priest is to heal, thus making the Holy talent tree their best bet in raid scenarios, where they’d heal other raid members.

But in a similar fashion to the current state of the game, classes were just as versatile in vanilla. This meant that you can spec your Priest either as a healer, DPS or even something in-between, albeit not as good as just going for either damage or heals.

Here’s a breakdown of the talent tree of each class in vanilla WoW so that you may get a better idea of what the purpose of each is:

1) Mage

  • Frost – DPS with emphasis on crowd control
  • Arcane – Powerful burst DPS
  • Fire – Massive single-target DPS

2) Priest

  • Disciple – Single-target heal and mana optimization
  • Holy – Powerful overall healing (including AoE heals)
  • Shadow – DPS (although you can’t cast Holy spells in Shadowform)

3) Rogue

  • Assassination – DPS with two daggers and lots of combo points
  • Combat – Utilizes a slow main-hand weapon for max physical damage and superb burst DPS
  • Subtlety – Huge amounts of burst damage

4) Warrior

  • Arms – DPS using a slow two-hand weapon
  • Fury – Potent duel-wield DPS
  • Protection – Tank

5) Druid

  • Balance – Casting/ranged DPS
  • Feral – Physical damage (cat form) or tank (bear form)
  • Restoration – Heal

6) Hunter

  • Beast Mastery – DPS that’s reliant on your pet
  • Marksmanship – Powerful burst damage
  • Survival – Sustained DPS (best in PvE scenarios)

7) Paladin

  • Retribution – DPS
  • Holy – Heal
  • Protection – Tank

8) Shaman

  • Restoration – Heals, buffs, cures etc.
  • Enhancement – Mostly physical damage that relies on a slow 2H weapon
  • Elemental – Mainly spell DPS

9) Warlock

  • Affliction – Focuses on damage over time
  • Demonology – Better survivability
  • Destruction – Great direct DPS

What is a talent calculator?

It’s an online program that lets you play around with all the different talent builds. You can experiment as much as you want since you can spend your talent points wherever you want to spend them into and you can all reset it with a simple click.

And since there was no in-game talent calculator functionality like the Preview Talent Changes one that’s currently in WoW, such online programs were the only option to get a glimpse of different talent builds back in the early days, without spending any gold.

Are there any decent Vanilla Talent calculators out there?

Yes, there’s a dozen of these on the internet and most work pretty well. However, here are some of the more popular classic talent calculators out there:

Note that these talent calculators are set for patch 1.12.1, which is obviously the most relevant one and most likely what Blizzard will be basing WoW Classic on.


So, these were some of the most popular WoW Classic Talent Calculator tools right now. As the official reincarnated version of our beloved vanilla draws near, I’m sure that more and more players will be tweaking and adjusting the talents of their future characters, using the exact same talent calculators.

What’s your favorite vanilla talent calculator though or which one are you currently using? Let us know in the comment section below!

For more WoW, check this out: WoW BfA DPS Rankings for 5 Classes

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