Arcane specialization (or just Specialization) is a means by which a caster increases their mana efficiency and reduces their chances of fizzling in a given area of magic.
Once an intelligence based caster reaches level 20, or a wisdom based caster reaches level 30, they obtain the ability to specialize in the fields of magic. While a caster can specialize in all five fields of magic (Abjuration, Alteration, Conjuration, Divination, Evocation), only one field can normally exceed a skill of 200. Whichever skill first exceeds 50 becomes the primary specialization of the caster from that time on and can reach 275 (at level 100).
If you choose the wrong specialty, you can alter it by completing a Respecialization quest in the Temple of Solusek Ro.
Once a caster reaches level 55, they may spend alternate advancement points in Secondary Forte, which increases another field (not the one they are primarily specialized in) by 50 points.
What does it do?
When a spell is cast there is a random chance to see if it receives the specialization bonus. The higher your specialization skill the more likely it is the roll will succeed, and the greater the benefit of the roll. A successful roll will do two things:
- It will reduce the mana used on the spell.
- It will reduce the chance of fizzling.
An unsuccessful roll will merely cause you to cast the spell with normal mana cost and fizzle chance.
The formula for mana preservation is reported to be 1% mana preservation per 20 skill points, being at 10% mana preservation at 200 specialize, and 2.5% mana preservation at 50 specialize.
Note: It has been confirmed by Geoffrey Zatkin, the once Arch-Magi at Verant that:
- Specialization does not increase chance of recovering after interruption. This is based purely on Channeling
- Specialization does not make spells cast faster. This is a fixed amount.
To raise your skill you will need to spend one practice point in the skill initially at your guild master. This will raise your skill to around 25 or so. Spend 1 point in each of the five skills.
After this the best idea is to pick the specialization you want, memorize a Level 1 spell of that type and cast it on yourself for an hour or so until you reach 51 skill. After that you can simply go and play normally safe in the knowledge your primary specialization is set. It rises fairy quickly so don't be surprised to see it climb up fast.
What should I specialize in?
This is of course the big question. In some cases, such as wizards, the answer is clear. However, the other classes have a bit of a tougher time in making their decision. Firstly it is recommended you examine the spell lists on this site and search by spell type to get an idea of exactly what spells are in what class. For example if you were an Enchanter thinking of specializing in Evocation, you would notice that only 5 of the 200+ spells use this skill. It would be ill advised to specialize in Evocation as an enchanter.
When deciding between competing Specializations you have to weigh up the number of spells which will benefit from it, the situation those spells will be used in, how often you will use those spells, and the average mana cost of that class of spells.
Note that if you accidentally specialize in the wrong thing there is a quest in the Temple of Solusek Ro which can wipe you Specializations so you can start them all over again.
Information is needed for beastlords.
Clerics only have 2 real choices of Specialization, Alteration and Evocation.
Alteration is by far the most popular choice. It covers heals, cures, roots, and res spells. This means you'll have more heals, and be able to channel heals through on a more consistent basis. It will also reduce the mana cost of those expensive resurrection spells.
Evocation is a choice that many clerics attempting to solo decide to go for. All the cleric direct damage spells are Evocation, this will allow more nukes for you mana, which is critical as your spells aren't very mana efficient in the first place.
If you are a cleric, I heavily recommend Alteration as your Specialization.
Druids have 3 choices of Specialization, Conjuration, Alteration and Evocation.
Conjuration is mainly useful for Druid's who solo as it is the basis for most of their DoT spells. If kiting, this can save you considerable mana and make you much more effective.
Evocation is the basis of all the Druid DD spells. These are quite mana hungry, and Druid's certainly get some nasty spells in this line. Evocation Specialization is good for both grouping and soloing Druid's.
Alteration is the basis of most of the Druid's buffs, heals, and gates. Generally Druid's heal and buff during downtime. The real question boils down to to the length of the buff. With the exception of damage-shields, most Druid buffs have quite a deal of length. Alteration is a very viable choice for Druid's, but one that leans towards Druid's that group.
If you are a Druid you really need to think about your game-style. Alteration is a pretty good choice if can't make up your mind, and you can always change it later if need be.
I recommend Alteration, with Evocation as your secondary.
Enchanters really only have two choices to go for in Specialization. These are Alteration and Evocation, the Enchanter's most mana intensive spell lines are found in these two schools. Alteration should be chosen as a primary and Evocation as a secondary.
Alteration is by far the more popular choice as 80% of enchanter spells are of this nature. It includes roots, hastes, slows, DoT's, charms, and most buffs and debuffs. All of the Enchanter's most expensive spells are in the school of Alteration. Mana costs for these spells at high levels are enormous and every bit of mana conservation potential is needed to combat this high cost. Most enchanters choose this as their primary field of Specialization.
Evocation features the second most mana intensive spell lines in the Enchanters arsenal, and are usually the most frequently used.
An argument can be made for Conjuration as a secondary. Conjuration is used for the Mesmerize series of spells. This is the major use of crowd control in the game. Some Enchanters once they reach Level 50, complete the quest at the Temple of Sol Ro and switch to this Specialization as they find they are casting more mes-based spells than any other type. It is really a question of gameplay.
Generally speaking, unless you are very sure, if you are making an Enchanter it is recommended you specialize in Alteration as a primary and Evocation as a secondary.
There are two main choices when choosing what to specialize in as a magician. Evocation or Conjuration.
Your final decision is really just a matter of preference. Most choose Evocation though. Why evocation? Evocation-based spells are what a magician usually uses the most during battle (only the 'shock of blades/spikes/swords are conjuration DD based spells), which include all the AE and LOS spells...as well as a few of the DD spells. As Specialization helps out by providing greater spell stability and reducing mana cost, it would seem to be most helpful to be a master in evocation as you use more evocation spells in battle than you do of the conjuration based spells.
Secondly, Conjuration is the other type some magician's prefer to master. More spells than any of a magician's spell are conjuration based. Whether it's summoning up some food or making that fire pet, a magician uses conjuration ALOT. Mastering this would definitely prove to be useful when making pets and using the shock of blades/spikes/swords spells. But because many of the conjuration based spells are used in non-crucial moments and can allow you time to med up after, this is why evocation is generally picked over conjuration.
Necromancers have maybe the hardest choice of all. There are three classes of magic which would all be powerful additions for a necromancer.
Firstly, there is Alteration. This covers many of the DoT's, Lifetap's, and Undead Charms. These spells are used a lot by Necro's, often in heavy combat situations.
Secondly, there is Evocation. While Necromancers don't get a lot of nukes, they still pack quite a punch and can be quite nice with a primary Specialization. Whilst soloing Necromancers tend to rely on their DoT's more, a Necro with a good solid guild may find it worthwhile to specialize in Evocation.
Lastly, there is Conjuration. This series covers the pet summonings, darkness and disease series of spells. It is probably the second most popular Specialization for Necros after Alteration.
I would recommend going with Alteration myself since you will use these spells as a Necromancer more than any other.
Shaman's have two real choices: Alteration and Conjuration.
Conjuration is mainly useful for Shaman's who solo or kite a lot. This is a good Specialization to take if you plan on soloing up until around level 35, or plan on using DoT's a lot.
Alteration is used for almost all of the Shaman's buffs, heals, regenerations and the like. These are used mainly in downtime, but you can save a great deal of mana with using this as your Specialization.
Alteration is a pretty safe bet, but if you attack more, and enhance less, then Conjuration is still worth considering.
There is really no choice with wizards. Wizards do one thing - nuke. And they do it big time. Simply stated wizards should specialize in Evocation. I did hear of one wizard who specialized in Alteration so that they could do more successful evacs. This is a serious commitment as you are basically forgoing a very serious nuking advantage to be a professional evacer but it is a question of player preference.
Credit for most of this information goes to the Project1999 Wiki.