Spell school specialization skills are a type of magic skill available to all casters and priests, but not to hybrids. These skills include Specialize Abjure, Specialize Alteration, Specialize Conjuration, Specialize Divination, and Specialize Evocation.
The four caster classes receive the entire set of these skills at level 20, while the three priest classes receive them at level 30.
Effect on Mana ConsumptionEdit
Specialization skills passively reduce the amount of mana that is consumed when casting spells from that school, according to the following formula:
1 + (Skill_Value / 20) = Percentage_Reduction
...where "Skill_Value" is the skill point number that the character has in the associated specialization skill, and "Percentage_Reduction" is the perentage of mana that will be preserved.
Thus, for a given spell school, a character gains 1% mana cost reduction just for having the Specialization skill at all, and 1% more for every 20 points of the skill.
Mana preservation from specialization stacks additively with other forms of mana preservation, including Spell Casting Mastery, worn foci, and preservation effects from buffs. (Note, however, that the character casting the spell must still have the base mana cost of the spell available in order to attempt to cast the spell at all.)
"Choosing" a Specialization Edit
Increasing specialization skills works exactly the same as raising the normal spell school skills: casting any spell from the school in question has a chance to raise the associated specialization skill, up to a cap.
The first specialization skill to rise above a certain threshold (at lower levels, this threshold is always 50) will become that character's chosen specialization. From then on, the specialization chosen in this way will be allowed to rise to a much higher skill cap (at any given level) than the other four specialization skills. The difference is roughly three times as much skill at most level ranges.
At level 55+, the Secondary Forte archetype AA can be purchased to allow one other school's specialization to go above the basic threshold. This "secondary" specialization still does not get quite as high as the primary.
Resetting One's SpecializationEdit
Resetting all of one's specialization skills (down to a threshold where choosing a new specialization is again possible) can be accomplished by handing a ruby to Ostorm in the Temple of Solusek Ro. (He also asks for 50 gold, but giving him this is not actually required, although doing so will raise Temple of Sol Ro faction and lower Shadowed Men faction.)
Strategy of Choosing a SpecializationEdit
Some classes have obvious specialization choices, but others are less obvious. The following are some things to take into account for each class when choosing one's primary specialization and (eventually) secondary forte.
- Alteration as the standard choice, for healing and for various other spells.
- Abjuration for specific kinds of boxed clerics who are mostly used to provide Vie buff refreshment during battles, reverse damage shield and healing shield effects, and/or death save effects, while a merc or other player does the bulk of the healing.
- Evocation for playstyles tightly focused on direct damage spells (e.g. for some early-game leveling strategies).
- Alteration for playstyles emphasizing healing and debuffing. The late-game sporali swarm pet spells also benefit from this choice.
- Conjuration for playstyles emphasizing DoT spells and short-duration damage shield effects. Also helps with auras.
- Evocation for playstyles emphasizing direct damage spells.
- Alteration for general-purpose playstyles, as it helps with debuffing, buffing, DoTing, and various other effects.
- Evocation for playstyles focused on direct damage.
- Conjuration for playstyles tightly focused on mez spells. Also helps with auras.
- Divination for playstyles used in low-level AoE chain stunning setups. Generally not chosen for later level ranges.
- Conjuration for most playstyles. The specialization helps with chain pet tactics, pet healing, gargoyle swarm pets, some short-duration damage shields, item summoning, beam spells, and many single-target magic-based direct damage spells.
- Evocation for playstyles that emphasize the hard-hitting fire-based single-target direct damage spells and rain spells.
- Alteration for most playstyles, as it helps with the efficiency of many DoTs and debuffs, lifetaps, and other utility spells.
- Conjuration for playstyles tightly focused on dealing effective burst damage in a party, via short-duration conjuration DoTs that last about as long as the mobs do.
- Alteration for playstyles focused on healing, buffing, and debuffing.
- Conjuration for playstyles focused on DoTs. Some direct damage spells also benefit from this choice.
- Evocation is the best specialization choice for all common playstyles.
- The Secondary Forte choice is largely a matter of personal preference, but Abjuration is a reasonable decision for the sake of reducing the large mana costs on self-rune spells. Alteration (AoE snares) and Conjuration (temporary pets) are also options, but both are associated with spells of more trivial mana costs.