Tobold's Blog
Sunday, February 01, 2009
Open Sunday Thread

Another opportunity for you all to discuss, ask questions, or propose subject for blog posts from me.
I rolled Shaman to tank (used to be a tanking class with alot of +threat stuff and armor buffs in enhancement). Now it's not. That's a huge roll change (yes the change happened a while ago in the beginning of BC). I wish I could tank. So I started a Deathknight. But people hate Deathknights (I'm actually decent, so I hate the stereotype when I play, and I never do it to other Dks when I heal).

With the revolution of the death knight class (3 talent trees all split into tanking/dps), what would happen if Shamans had a dps tree (with caster or melee talents to choose from), and Tanking Tree, and a Healing tree?
WoW needs more healers, not tanks. Personally, I can't wait for the Dual Spec system - it will really free people up. I also think it will have a dramatic effect on hybrids. If suddenly Warriors are able to switch between DPS for solo and pure Protection for group tanking, why would anyone need another class to tank for them? Same goes for the Priest and healing.
WeFlySpitfires, I agree with you completely, the Dual Spec system is long, long, long overdue. It's common knowledge that it's extremely tedious to level/quest with a character in any spec other than DPS yet instances at all leves require at least one tank and one healer. I don't really understand why Blizzard didn't do something about this from the start, maybe hanging around the LFG/General channel for hours on end is a game feature? lol

My main is a Druid so this is a hot topic for me. To anyone that says what's the big deal with re-speccing, it's only 50g (I've seen that in forums) and you're on EU-Turalyon, drop me a line and I'll tell you where to send the cash hehe
Thing with the dual spec system is that I think it will benefit a hybrid MUCH more than a cc/dps class like Rogue, Mage, Hunter, Warlock. Though things like Trash / Boss dps builds for Mages, or Pvp/PVE specs are helpful, for someone who only wants to PVE, having say, Tank/Dps, or Healer/Tank, or Healer/DPS would be FAR more beneficial.
Agreed. I sure know how I'll dual spec my priest and warrior, but have trouble imagining what possible use dual spec could have for my mage. Why would I want to switch from frost to fire or arcane, except for the rare care of frost resistant mobs? (and those are covered with frostfire spec)
I don't have experience with a Mage but my perspective is that dual spec isn't really designed for classes like them but its purpose is more to address the current problems of finding correctly spec'ed tanks and healers by creating flexibility. A group ultimately only needs 1 tank and 1 healer but 3 DPS therefore a Mage is always going to have a role as their DPS should be the among the highest. Just because they don't specifically gain much from being able to dual spec isn't really the issue.

However, I think it would be nice if every class had multiple roles and the player could adapt to what is required by switching specs.
Wow, I actually happen to be logged into google, maybe I'll comment...

I don't think the argument that "dual speccing benefits hydrids more" is a very good reason for holding it back. I play mainly DPS classes, and I personally would love to see dual spec go in. For example, on my mage it would be great to be able to switch between ice (defensive/ AoE grinding) and fire (burst DPS) specs at will. And unlike the unfortunate hybrid, it would be quite possible to get together one set of gear that makes is strong in both specs. My hunter would also love to be able to switch between pets (solo work) and ranged DPS (instances). My 'lock would love to switch between demonology or destruction. And again, in both cases no or little gear change-up is necessary for the spec change to kick ass.

The other side of the coin is "true" hybrids. A druid is a great example. Unless they intend to cary around two very different sets of gear at all times, and perhaps get an addon that makes swapping gear easier, they really will be sub par in at least one of the specs they have cued up.

And think of this. What is the main argument for keeping hybrids up there with the specialists in all three of their roles? The need to respec is currently the main argument against it. A resto Druid is effectively just as specialized as a holy Preist for example. Even if they carry around Feral gear, they will stink at anything but healing. Dual specs could be the prelude to hybrids being re-envisioned (i.e., nerfed).
With my Rogue I would love to be able to switch specs, levelling, PVE and PVP all require different builds for optimum performance, so I don't think Dual Spec is of limited value to hybrids only. My wife has just commented that she would love to be able to switch between Fire and Frost on her Mage as she finds Fire best for instances and raiding but Frost for questing and levelling.

As an altoholic I could talk about the benefits of this to nearly all classes, but I won't bore you all. Come on Blizzard, this is SOOOOO overdue!
@Tobold: Dual Specs (note: dual, not duel, I hate it when people get that wrong) are potentially valuable for all classes. As a dedicated frost mage I actually have a separate build for soloing, with more snare/chill/freeze and Imp Blizzard, and for raiding, with more crit and shatter. The same goes for my prot warrior, when soloing why do I need Vigilance? The biggest payback will come for the hybrids, but guess what, most of them will just have a soloing spec and a raiding spec within the same role.
While I can see what all the hype is about for dual specs, I honestly see no personal benefit for myself.(Which is fine, not everything has to benefit me.) As a Rogue, the only spec difference we can really have is PvE to PvP(Which I hate.) That aside, for Priests, Warriors, Paladins, and a ton of others I can easily see why this would bring a huge grin.

Kudos to you all =)
I like the new shading behind comments Tobold. Thank you.
Given you decision to start a druid -- what do you think of Blizzard extending the Death Knight concept to allow any class to be started at 55. They wouldn't have to have there own set of new quests from 55-58 but of course you would have to have at least one 55+ level character.
@ Adam - I disagree that everyone will have a soloing and raiding spec within the same role. At this point, tanks can solo at a decent rate, but your local resto druid is not going to have a "group healing spec" and a "solo healing spec." Anytime they need to pewpew, they'll jump into their boomkin suit.

The dual spec system is intended to benefit the community. While it will certainly help hybrids more than pure DPS, it will decrease the time spent LFG and the issue that guilds have with recruiting the correct roles, so pure DPS will still find significant advantage in the system. As I understand it, Blizz is still deciding exactly how to implement dual specs (versus whether to do it). However, I also figure that they have their hands full with all of the recent bugs and fixes they've been working on.
On a similar vein, has anyone else tried out Dream of Mirror Online? Their class/career system is rather interesting. A character can switch to any class/career they have unlocked without losing progress in their current class/career. This basically means that if you have the enough classes/careers leveled up; switching between tank, healer, or dps is just a trip to the Career Advisor away.
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"I sure know how I'll dual spec my priest and warrior, but have trouble imagining what possible use dual spec could have for my mage."
Really? You could have one soloing spec and one tuned for instances, one tuned for PvP, AOE grinding etc...
I'd love to have two frost specs, so I can AOE grind for mats with one and optimise boss fight damage with another.

Overall, though, I'm still opposed to this change. It removes a fundamental level of skill from the game: the need to make decisions with consequences. If I choose to be an AOE-specced frost mage I gain some advantages in grinding, at the price of sub-optimal raid DPS. If I choose to be a restokin druid, I am able to do DPS or heal, but not as well as a pure class or spec. That's a choice I make that brings me benefits at a known cost. If I can just be all specs at the same time, why bother with talent trees at all? The need to make tough decisions has gone, along with the need for guilds and groups to choose whether they value flexibility over specialisation.

I guess the point I'm making is this: what's the difference between dual-spec and simply deleting the talent trees?

This reminds me of a MUD I used to play where you essentially re-level up in a different class and once that class hits endcap, you can switch between them. Each class has its own set of professions and gear but only available to that particular class.

The big difference was that you could not stop and start. Once you begin again, until you hit level end, you were stuck in that class. You could use a different class' abilities in fights but you would not gain any xp for your current class.

I'm not sure how this would translate out to a Talent Tree though; presumably, the talents would have to be sufficiently different.
I guess the point I'm making is this: what's the difference between dual-spec and simply deleting the talent trees?

The difference is that, with dual spec, you do not have access to all the talents at the same time (Or, to put it another way, you cannot be specialized in more than on thing at the same time, all you can do is switch more cheaply or quickly between specializations.)

It removes a fundamental level of skill from the game: the need to make decisions with consequences.

The way the game is at now, this isn't a "smartness" challenge, it's a matter of "which one area of the game do I want to play in for several days/weeks/(however much you have ot play before respeccing), than pick a spec for that. the only difference between the situations is less flexibility, and the consequences are more based on the player having to guess what they think will be more fun for their respec period, than being able to play well.
Dual-speccing will be nice for hybrids, and it will be nice for DPS classes that like to both PvP and PvE.

If you're only interested in one out of PvP and PvE, and you're playing a DPS only class.. then yes, you might be struggling to find a good use for it. Perhaps the best approach would be to use one slot for your "regular" spec, and one for whatever build you might be experimenting with at any time. That way, if you need to (e.g. a progression raid), you can immediately switch back to your regular spec and be ready to go.
Carson 63000 made a good point. I can see a use that I would use dual specs for. One for a "proven" spec for your normal use, and the other to experiment with different talents and play styles.
What is your experience with resto shaman, have you often raided alongside them in either 10 man or 25? I have seen consideration in your healing discussions for paladins and druids, but not shaman.

On the AoE heal cooldown nerf, you did not demonstrate any understanding on the impact of spammable smart CoH/WG on shaman and paladin effective healing, when 3-4 priests/druids are typical in a 25 man raid (5 in your recent report). Yet now you see fit to express concern about being replaced after seeing priests at the bottom of your effective healing meters.

Priests are not universally 'last', they no longer excel with 1 button but remain competitive and versatile - although being nicheless makes them a bit bland. Blizzard are "looking" at this. The question is, when it comes time to banging your head against a new boss, if you need to bring in another specialised healer (shaman for stacked AoE, druid for mobile fights and steady damage across multiple targets, paladin for tank heavy damage), who is more likely to be substituted, the priest or the 'wrong type' of specialised healer?

A few weeks back you stated the fundamental problem with healing was overheal versus wipe. The fact you have to pay attention as a healer is, in my opinion, not a bad thing, and both tanks and dps have had moves towards similar models, with more procs and cooldowns to manage in order to perform. The real problem with healing is that you do so staring at raid frames, and not at what is happening around you. According to blue posts, this is also Blizzard's point of view.

"The danger is of course that if a raid leader realizes that he has too much healing, he will be tempted to invite one less healer and one more dps. And if he isn't very well versed in healing mechanics, he might well cut the guy at the bottom of the healing meter."

This is simply not how it happens in reality. Substitutions and rotations are the norm for a guild. If a raid gets geared enough that they need one less healer to clear a zone, they wont 'drop' the worst performing regular healer, they will rotate them and perhaps even bring healer dps alts, knowing full well that come the next tier raid, they will need all their healers again.
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