Tobold's Blog
Friday, November 28, 2008
Dual spec thoughts

I was reading on WoWInsider that dual specs will not necessarily be in patch 3.1. Part of me thinks that would be a pity. The other part says "it doesn't matter anyway". Apparently patch 3.1 isn't expected before March 2009, and even if it had dual spec included, it would be too late to help me leveling my characters. My Priest just hit level 76 yesterday, and by March I'll certainly have both the Priest and Warrior at level 80. Maybe not the Mage and the Death Knight, but I don't see the Mage gaining a lot of utility from the dual spec feature anyway. I guess most of the people who are against the dual spec feature are playing one of the classes it doesn't help much. Most Warriors and Priests I know would be delighted when it was introduced. Well, it might still help at level 80 for soloing daily quests etc., but I'd much rather have had it already for leveling up. Unfortunately leveling in WotLK is too fast. And with "too fast" I mean you spend just one month to get to level 80, and then nearly 2 years *at* level 80, unless you play a *lot* of alts.

At least if Blizzard takes more time to implement this feature, there is a good chance that they get it right. Everyone has a different idea of how the dual spec feature should look. Personally I hope that it isn't *too* easy to switch from one spec to the alternative. I wouldn't want to be able to switch while in a raid dungeon, depending on what boss we face. And I'd especially wouldn't want my frost Mage to be able to instantly switch to fire Mage while in combat and just having noticed that the mob I'm fighting is resistant to frost. So my proposal would be to do the switch with the help of a class switch NPC, found in every major city, including Shattrath and Dalaran. Doing the switch only at the class trainers would be tad annoying, as there aren't any in Outlands or Northrend. If spec switching would be too easy, raiders would be under some pressure to choose two different raid builds, and still end up with no build for soloing. So having to travel to a city to switch specs is better.
Traveling to a city to switch spec is not bothering enough to be a problem for raiders.
And if I remember correctly, Blizzard said that respec would be possible during a raid between bosses.
Paladins, warriors, druids and deathknights already are expected to switch specs mid-raid. Dropping by in a town is not a big deal. Hearth/portal out and get summoned back. The only limiting factor is the distance between the inn and whatever NPC you need to talk to.

And even though I play a mage, dualspec would be quite useful. A good raid build is very vulnerable outdoors, and a good outdoors build has too many talents that are completely useless in raids.
WOW loves time sinks. Make the talent switch a channeled spell. Toss on a 60-90 second channel and have your toon drop into a deep meditative trance.
I think dual specs will be a mistake if they turn out like Blizzard is promoting them already. Choice is a very important piece of game design, especially for MMOs. Dual specs weaken the element of choice.

Dual specs are a fix for a problem that is already addressed. I would be fine if they would use this feature to allow people use PvE and PvP no matter wich class and spec they play. This was the main issue with specs from the beginning. It wasn't so much a PvE problem. I think dual specs will lead to lazy class design for PvE. Right now Blizzard has to make every spec kinda viable for PvE and PvP. What i see happening is certain specs getting shorhorned into pure PvE/PvP viability.

From a PvE standpoint i see only downsides for spec switching. Again this opens up a door for min-maxing, something i thought was a thing of the past. Think about people building the best specs for certain bosses. Such thinks will happen and such things aren't what this feature is trying to address.

If you look at the DK class you see that this class was designed without dual specs in mind. The class is already fixed in this regards. Every possible spec performs decent in PvE and PvP with multiple roles (tank/dps) already. They shouldn't introduce dual specs, they should change every class into what DKs already have: very decent talent trees, that just work in very many situations. I don't want to switch into a different spec to play PvP. I want my spec to be efficient there too without a switch.
From what I read, switching spec will be possible always out of combat, so you would be able to fight one mob in spec1 and the next in spec2. In addition, your glyphes will switch accordingly between two sets. And one of the things that take so long is probably that Blizzard wants to add an outfitter-style-mod to the standard gamemenue to make changing equipment together with spec more convenient.

And in my opinion its still a needed thing. Sure, there are only 15 points between DK-Tank and DK-DD, but a min-maxer-raid wouldn't care and would send your deathknight to respec anyway. 15 points are 15 points and minmaxing means to optimise even these points for every encounter.
It doesn't help for every class though. There are already visions flying around of priests with disc and holyspec because both have advantages in different fights and to hell with our solo capacity ;)

And of course its a tremendous help for casual 10-man-raids. Are you one healer short today? That elemental shaman can easily switch without paying anything and will do great even without new equipment.
I'm opposed to the dual-spec system as I've heard it described so far. All of a sudden my resto-shaman becomes pointless if anyone can go resto for the day or even the duration of an instance run. My moonkin will be "expected" to turn resto for every instance, although he can heal fine already. It will seriously affect my enjoyment of my hybrids.

A dual-spec that automatically switched during PvP would be OK by me, though. That wouldn't spoil the PvE game too much.
My main is an 80 Priest. Primarily, I heal, but I am a damn fine DPS'er when the situation arises. More than a few times, my guild has 5 people wanting to run a heroic (or 10 people for a 10-man raid, etc) but too many of one of the key roles. Just last night, we had 5 80s online, one tank, but two healers. We ended up with one healer bowing out and we PuG'd the DPS.

At our stage of gear, having to accept a healer's healing-spec DPS simply isn't an option if we want the heroic to run smoothly. In my mind, that should never happen - I want to play with my friends!

For me then, dual specs are not about soloing and less about PvP. Dual specs would give me more flexibility in PvE group composition, without me or my friends being forced to either pay a heavy cost in gold or accept being substandard in the 2nd role.

And that DPS has to be very competitive. Yes, I can throw out of a few Holy Fires or Smites, but that is incidental and not the 1500+ DPS
Duel specs is not going to make DPS spec'd players into healers or tanks. Duels specs will allow healers/tanks to run dps, pvp, farm, solo quest, etc... The reason for this is simple. Tanking and healing both are different games then DPS.

A good healer can't spam heals, they need to really choose their heals only when needed. A good tank is even more crutial. It took me about 4 levels to really get the hang of things when my paldin switched from Ret/holy to protection. To be a great tank you need to know your tank skills, when to use them, when not to use them, you need a good set of tanking gear(uncritable, avoiding/blocking almost every hit), etc, etc... Some people will do fine with duel specs, but I'm telling you overnight tanks and healers won't spring out of no where.

It's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake.
Well as Kiseran mentioned, Blizzard has already intimated that you will be able to switch specs fairly easily, even in a dungeon instance, for some nominal cost (ie reagent/gold and presumably on a cd timer). Even though the respec system as it stands needs revision, the ease with which one might change specs seems to further devalue characters' identities. Combined with the homogenization in gear, the raid buff change, and the tank changes, the classes and specs are becoming dangerously blurred. Perhaps I'm just not the audience Blizzard is shooting for but I like things like the soul shard mechanic for Warlocks; it is class defining and its limitations inform the gameplay in interesting ways.
I would just be happy with the ability to save a couple different specs and then pay less for the respec when I am using one of my saved specs. I've never had a hard time finding a class trainer.
I'm excited for this change, even as a rogue. While I don't perform two different roles I must respec my character every week to pvp. If I am to have any chance of succeeding in a decently competitive level of the arena my raiding build will not suffice. While the differences between and may seem minor the objectives in the two different roles are so different that one does not work for the other.

I am glad that blizzard is adding in this feature, as it will open up more of the game to everyone.

Now if only they would nerf ret pallies some more.
this is good move by blizzard, it open up new way to play a class's skill tree without the penalty of gold

in the end this will make people stick around longer as they play around with their talent tree
Sad it won't be in patch 3.1. I agree, it would have been great if it had been in for levelling.
I think this change is going to be really nice, but I agree with others that say that it is totally unnecessary. The idea of min/maxing seems kinda dead in an era in which the content is cleared as fast as it is now. We killed Sathiron and cleared Naxx with DPSers doing less damage than the tanks. In situations where this is possible, min/maxing is just a choice that some people make in their playstyles to be competitive with other DPSers. The content is just too easy now to require min/maxing for raiding and too diverse too have exact cookie cutters in PvP (ie one spec will not be optimal against every other class and spec).

This change will just be a convenience to those that prefer a min/max playstyle. A frost mage with a soloing/5 man spec isn't really going to break the raid if he doesn't swap to a FFB min/maxed spec for the bosses in Wrath, at least in their current incarnations.
As a warlock I am actually looking forward to this change. Sure all my specs are DPS, but some suit situations better then others.
I have a batshit insane idea that wouldn't even require a patch!



What horseshit--- they finally acknowledge that respec costs are a major downer (3 years too late I might add) and they are still trying to turn it into this massive technical fix.

Cut the cost down so that fitting 3 arena teams into a raid schedule doesn't bankrupt you. End of story, everyone is happy.
I guess I'm not completely sure what problem dual specs are trying to solve.

I play a Paladin, and I already switch between three different specs. There's really no such thing as a general purpose spec, I've got specific tank, healing and dps specs. So I'm already looking at three specs, each tree has important things deep in the tree that are required to even compete in a heroic, let alone to excel in them.

So Dual specs might be nice, but I'll still end out respeccing the old fashioned way to fill the third slot, heck depending on how they implement things, dual specs might actually make that more of a pain rather than less.

I can understand that respeccing in the middle of an instance will really change the game for folks, but I'd be happy if I could respec easily between instances without having to rebuild all of my toolbars and without spending a ton of gold every time.
Thank goodnesss I don't play this game anymore. I just like to read Tobold's blog every now and then. Blizzard took too long to address many outstanding issues, Dual Specs beig one of them.
It will be nice for the reason that it will give people more options. As a holy priest right now my only option when I sit down to play is to heal a raid or instance or to solo and quest and do a really poor job at that. So with this I can heal groups and then also have the option to also have a second build for either PvPing or DPS/soloing.
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