If you haven't yet, and you're a warlock, you should pay some attention to the various builds espoused by WoWWiki.
For the longest time, I paid no attention to the builds there, instead making up my own. I do this for several reasons, 1: I'm an 'original' gamer. I don't follow guides, I try to not look up quest information online. I want to play the game, not follow someone elses footsteps and 2: none of the talent builds espoused by anyone included my own personal build, so they obviously are insane and not worth paying attention to!
So saying, this is (roughly), my current build. There may be a point in affliction swapped around somewhere for another, but that's roughly the way it is (it's maintenance day, so I can't access my build exactly because I can't get on the game, and the Armory is down... again.). For the longest time before that, I was actually classified as HYBRID on Armory and I was a mix of affliction with a lot in demonology for improved health and intellect, improved healthstone and improved imp, and just enough in destruction to get improved shadowbolt and bane. Then I discovered that the joy of Dark Pact and the discovery of my Shadowburn and I respecced. I lost my beautiful healthstone, but clung desperately onto my fel armor.
Owaru constantly tells me that I should go full affliction for Unstable Affliction and he doesn't know how I put out the DPS that I do with the ... unusual ... build that I have.
So saying, I do look at the various talent suggestions out there. And I don't think people who follow recommended builds are robots or nonimaginative. They're recommended for a reason. They work really really really well for what you want to do and depending on what you want to do, you can have some really interesting combinations. For instance, on WoWWiki, there are 16 builds that they have listed. 5 Affliction, 5 Demonology and 6 Destruction, with a Demonic Sacrifice build talked about at the very end.
I fit none of those builds. And I haven't ever found another warlock that has my build.
Does this make me a unique wonderful individual who has found a viable new build? Who knows. Maybe. Maybe not. It probably just makes me a megalomaniac to believe that I alone have discovered something that no one else ever has. I'm sure one or two really intelligent and amazing warlocks also have my general build, but they are few and far between, I'm sure.
Last night I was partying with a warlock that was the 40/0/21 spec. Now, there are multiple ways of getting 40 points in Affliction, so I don't know exactly what his layout was, and when I decided to try to get ruin and pay some more attention to the lovely spells in Destruction, I got a layout that was slightly different than the layout that WoWWiki espouses. (For instance, grim reach bleh, improved curse of agony, yeh!)
My 40/0/21 build, WoWWiki's 40/0/21 build.
So, do I go with what I figured out? Or do I go with what they recommend? Should I change myself around at all?
Here's what I figure. The warlock I spoke to last night was right. The way I'm set up right now, my crit bonuses (from gear and gems) are worthless on DoT's, but only useful really on Shadowbolt. And in 5-mans and some other instances where I'm not DoTting as much and using more Shadowbolt, improved crit from Ruin will be really nice. Not to mention that even as I'm set up now, 35-38% of my overall damage is from Shadowbolt. Why shouldn't I increase my chance to crit with it?
That got me to thinking and I took a good long look at the talent calculators. A problem I have (a big problem!) is aggro generation. My current spec only has improved drain life which gives me 10% less threat from my affliction spells, but nothing for my shadowbolt and immolate spells. I also don't have much in suppression, which really pisses you off when your amplify curse/curse of doom on the Curator is resisted. According to somewhere that I just read this morning, only 2 points in Suppression is needed to reduce resistance from mobs "my level" by 99%. Now, I'm not sure if raid bosses count as "my level", but we'll see. I do really miss fel concentration, but as Owaru pointed out before, I shouldn't be doing too much drain tanking in raids and heroics. If I am, things are horribly horribly wrong.
The new 40/0/21 spec that I generated (for myself, not the one wowwiki handed me) I think will help with my threat generation and up my overall damage from my shadowbolts (which, again, 35-38% of my overall damage) especially as a lot of gear and gems out there are +spell damage/+spell crit rating. I know crit isn't as important for 'locks as it is for some other classes, but why not make the most out of the gear and gems that give me +crit and take a nifty ability called Devastation (what warlock wouldn't like to have an ability called devastation? How cool is that name, anyway? :) that boosts my crit by my shadowbolt by 5%?
Aaaand I suppose I'll also try out Malediction. I tend to use curse of agony, but if I'm doing lots of other DoT's and 35% of my damage is from shadowbolts, I probably should use curse of shadow on occasion to up my shadow damage. I'll save curse of agony for little things that die "fast" and farming.
Whatever your cup of tea is, don't feel intimidated into doing what the talent recommendations are. If you want to make up your own (like I did!), DO IT. It's a game. It's YOUR game. Play it the way you want to play it. However ... don't do what I did and dig your heels in, put your head down, and ignore anything that doesn't fit in with what you want. Now... I'm not saying DO IT, but consider it. It may open your eyes to something you weren't considering before simply because ... well, you've never done it that way.
The next time you see me, I may be respecced. How daunting is that?
And worse of all? I'll lose my demonic aegis. Bye bye improved fel armor by 30%. Poor Bremm isn't going to get anymore insane healing numbers off of me anymore. Just normal bigassBremm heals.