Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Dual spec and hybrid nerfs

Stabs posted some very interesting links about the announced dual spec feature for World of Warcraft patch 3.1 in the latest comment thread. Forever a Noob, a rogue blog, is strictly against dual specs. Big Bear Butt, a druid blog, likes dual specs, but agrees with the rogue that
Either let Rogues and Mages have a Tank or Heal spec that is on par with other Hybrid classes… OR freaking make them the absolute best there is at what they do, which is kill shit!
And although as a druid he obviously doesn't say "nerf druids", in the end that is what this results in: If a specialized class is "freaking the absolute best at what they do", hybrid classes can't be the best at that, and thus end up being second-best at everything. Whether you arrive at that point by nerfing one class, or by boosting all the others, doesn't really matter. But Blizzard appears to go down the "nerf druids" way, by what I read from the PTR. Even leading druids agree that their class shouldn't be the best at everything!

Basically before dual spec hybrids had a good argument why they should be as good as specialized classes, by saying that their advantage of being flexible was only a theoretical one. A healing druid was likely to remain a tree for every raid, and the fact that his class could either tank very well or dps quite good didn't give him any real advantage in that raid. After dual spec that advantage stops being theoretical. Sure, the druid still needs to collect a second set or armor and glyphs. But if a raid leader has to decide between giving a raid spot to a rogue, who even after dual spec can only deal damage in different ways, or to a druid, who can be a reserve healer or tank at the same time, why would he choose the rogue? He'd only choose the rogue if the rogue deals somewhat better damage than the druid.

In other words, the introduction of dual spec helps hybrids much more than more specialized classes, thus class balance must be reviewed taking that into account, and making specialized classes better at what they do than hybrid classes. Rogues should deal more damage than dps warriors, who should deal more damage than cat druids. Warriors should tank as well (if differently) as death knights, but better than paladins or druids. Priest should heal and deal damage as well as shamans, but better than paladins or druids. Not a lot more, but enough to compensate for the added flexibility of druids and paladins.

Now Spinks is going to accuse me of blaming dual spec for unrelated WoW problems. But he is in error when he thinks that dual spec and class balance isn't related. I'm not against dual spec, although I don't see me having a dps spec on my priest yet, I don't really like shadow. But it isn't as if the introduction of dual spec is class balance neutral. It helps some classes more than other classes, and that has to be taken into account.

What Forever a Noob sees as a disadvantage, that people will use different specs depending on how many tanks and healers a given encounter needs, I see as an advantage. I'm pretty sure that you can negotiate with your raid leader or fellow healers / tanks who is going to switch to dps, and who remains in his previous role. With my priest I might end up doing dual-spec for discipline and holy, and have an convincing argument why it is better for me to switch between two different healing roles instead of switching to a dps role. Not *every* healer and tank in a raid will need to be able to switch to dps, and some people will probably enjoy the switch.
I think Blizzard is shooting themselves in the foot by making Dual Spec simply a 1 minute spell. Switching specs shouldn't be done on a whim every minute out of combat. You should switch because you have a dedicated role you need to fill.

If they'd stuck with the system before where they said it would be simpler to do in town and very difficult to do away from a main city (possibly on a cooldown) this would be less of a problem. Yes, hybrids would still have an advantage, but they wouldn't have to deal with min-maxing raid leaders wanting a class because they can tweak their raid for every fight.

If a druid is required to fly to a main city from Nax to change his spec it means people won't do it lightly. A player will be invited to attend a raid in a specific role and the only upside for hybrids would be that if some other irreplaceable class can't make it at the last minute, the Druid can hearth into town and quickly respec to fill their role. Granted it gives them a lot more flexibility and they'll probably be getting into a lot more raids because they can fill more roles depending on what's needed.

I guess I've actually just countered my own argument... (I'll leave it up for the sake of discussion though)

Yep, it pretty much looks like the only solution here should be to make specialist classes the best at what they do. Can't complain about that I guess, I've never understood why it should be any different.
on the PTR i specced full disc, and CoH Holy ... effectively making me a healer that can go both ways... bubbles and shields on the tank or CoH for spot heals.

That sounds nice, but it REALLY does water down making any kind of decision. I'm not a huge fan of shadow either...

the fact that respeccing in game costs 50g a pop, and requires going to a trainer isn't really a big deal. it hardly KEEPS people from doing it in the middle of a raid and being summoned back. The 1000g purchase cost basically covers the 50g x 20 respecs, but the main thing this alleviates is having to redo your bars. It can be done on the drop of a hat, so it just takes less time out of the raid.

the problem here is that bothering to do it was the big slowdown. nobody wanted to wait around while the tank grabbed his 2h and blah blah blah. now by just clicking a button, it speeds that whole process up.

I'm really on the fence. Playing around with *just the set up* was interesting, but I imagine the first time some mage tells me "WTF, 'HEAL ONE' AND 'HEAL TWO' SPECS? ARE YOU RETARDED?" and I respond with "i'm a healer, where's your resto build" things are going to get annoying.
...ah, totally forgot to mention:

I think thsi would be a good thing to have if implemented thusly: pay 500g, and you can bookmark a set of talents, action bars, blah blah blah, but you STILL need to visit the trainer to 'activate it'.

you say people will just hearth and summon back, but let them... you'd be surprised how many people would just balk at that hassle. when it's a 6 second process, they'll have you switch, when it's a 2 minute process, they say fuggit, let's just try it one more time with what we have.
I think it has been covered very well that the "pure" classes lost their place because of PvP issues. Blizzard won't simply put them at the top again for the same reasons. I think the idea of making all classes hybrids is a good idea, however Blizzard has proven time and again that they will only take the shortest route possible to fix a problem and I don't think making a half dozen or more new talent trees is what they have in mind.

I honestly don't see why this mechanic should ever have been seriously considered. Raid guilds are going to demand that raiders have two specs. In many instances I suspect we will see players giving the 1000g to unlock the function, then they will continue to respec anyway. They will have two specs for raiding and will still have to respec to play the game their way outside of raids. For some players it will just happen to work in their favor, but daily respecs will still be quite common, I think.
Spinks is a girl. Honest.
There's also the fact that simply switching specs does not instantly make you a good player in that tree.

My main is a BM hunter, I've also played alot in the MM tree, so could probably cope quite well in that one too.
But if I was needed to spec Survival I'd probably struggle until I get used to it.

There are many players out there who can do what they, mainly, do very well. But ask them to do something out of the ordinary and they'll screw it up everytime.

It takes time, patience, and practice to be good at playing your class in it's chosen tree.

I'm very in favour of dual specs, I'm not sure how useful it will be for me to chooses between DPS / DPS / DPS but for others it will be handy. But simply telling most tanks to respec to healer for a certain boss encounter, or most healers to go DPS won't make them suddenly good at it. It'll just put a load of skills on their action bar that they mash randomly. But I suppose every little helps.

There's always exceptions, some players I know are excellent in all trees of their class, but there's not many of them.
"If a specialized class is "freaking the absolute best at what they do", hybrid classes can't be the best at that, and thus end up being second-best at everything. Whether you arrive at that point by nerfing one class, or by boosting all the others, doesn't really matter. But Blizzard appears to go down the "nerf druids" way, by what I read from the PTR. Even leading druids agree that their class shouldn't be the best at everything!"
The problem with this view remains what I posted in one your previous discussions on this subject, Tobold. If you make (say) balance druids 5% worse at DPS than rogues, nobody will ever know. Why? Because variations in player skill, gear and the nature of encounters account for far more than that. So you'll still get all the whining in the forums because there will still be plenty of cases where a hybrid tops the damage charts because of these other factors.

If you nerf hybrids so much that they are always behind the pure classes, then they will no longer be played and you may as well delete them from the game. This applies just as much to 2/3 hybrids like warriors and priests as it does to 3/3 hybrids such as druids and paladins. So by your logic we should nerf priests - it's not fair that they can heal and do DPS as well. They should be second best at everything, right?

My advice? Everybody should just play what they like and stop trying to spoil the game for other people. Even with all the supposedly OP hybrids in the game, there is still a shortage of good healers and tanks. The last thing Blizzard need to do is make that worse. Right now the druid spec that has been least nerfed is balance and feral tanks and resto have taken a huge hit. As a result, i'll probably go back to balance after 3.1 hits. Great, another DPS looking for a healer. Just what the game needs.
"Warriors should tank as well (if differently) as death knights, but better than paladins or druids."

Not until we can have triple specs. When you have 3 specs you can switch between in the middle of a raid instead of 2, then we can talk. Until then, let's just keep the discussions to DPS, shall we?
Ah, the good old bias. You play a warrior and a priest so obviously they should be nerfed less than paladins and druids who could have three roles if there were triple spec. Just like two months ago you were in favour of nerfing druids, shamans and paladins because you refused to acknowledge that your priest and warrior were hybrids just like them.

Dual specs addresses healer and tank shortage - a problem you have blogged about quite a bit in 2007 and 2008. In encounters needing one more healer, absent dual spec, the raid would bench a DPS. With dual specs, the same slot is still occupied by a healer, but who may help the raid progress further in encounters where one healer less does the trick as well. The fact of the matter is that the hybrids, even with dual specs, will not steal any more raid slots from DPS than before - except for the few sufficiently hardcore guilds who would already swap out players depending on the encounter. This is all a tempest in a teapot - one more.
I don't understand the comment on Warriors.

"Warriors should tank as well (if differently) as death knights, but better than paladins or druids."

Warriors can spec two different roles (tank/dps), so in the end will have similar versatility as a druid or a paladin. The fact that a druid or a pally can fulfill 3 different roles is irrelevant unless you take into account respecs, which have nothing to do with dual spec and is something that can already happen now.

So the only possible discussion will be between DPS only classes and everything else (including warriors & priests btw)
"Sure, the druid still needs to collect a second set or armor and glyphs. But if a raid leader has to decide between giving a raid spot to a rogue, who even after dual spec can only deal damage in different ways, or to a druid, who can be a reserve healer or tank at the same time, why would he choose the rogue? He'd only choose the rogue if the rogue deals somewhat better damage than the druid."

Because the rogue is still going to be doing more damage.

Progression gear is pretty limited, you know. And none of it is going to go to an offspec first.
I really like slashhugs anti-rant about dualspecs:

"Dual specs allow hybrids flexibility but I don’t think they will affect non-hybrids in as strong a way as some people are evincing and I do not believe that it calls for some form of ‘compensation’ to those who do not have a different role spec - hybrids have been able to perform multiple roles for years, all that is changing now is that they are able to switch with less pain."
I think damage dealing capacity should stay pretty much how it is. What should be happening is a series of changes to talents/abilities to make sure that the pure DPS classes have at least two thirds of the best buffs and debuffs, and that those are significant enough to warrant bringing them.

As for the arguments that hybrids wouldn't be the best at anything if there was a 5% nerf to hybrid damage: they'd be the best at tanking & healing. There are no pure tanks. There are no pure healers. Hybrids are all there is in these roles. Yes, paladins and druids have all three options (and players of warriors and priests may hate that), but they don't have many choices as far as build and play style within those roles goes, once the math is all sussed out.
I saw a video (25 man 4 horsemen i believe) where a shaman seemed to be alternating between lightning bolt and chain heal. That seems way more hybrid then this dual spec stuff.
If a rogue always does more DPS than a cat-druid who has spent months getting the best-in-slot gear, why would the druid ever get a raid spot?
The eternal flaw of WoW is that Hybrids need to be as good as specialists in a certain role. But what about the specialists, the only-dps-dealers, the dedicated warrior tanks?

Hybrids are no longer Hybrids if they only do one thing and do not use the advantages of being capable of doing some healing and some damage at the same time.

The question is why this is not desirable. The answer is, it is due to encounter design and probably also due to the mind of the players. You are a pretty bad player, as you are low on the damage and healing meters. 50% of your time spend on healing and 50% on damage equals that you suck in both? :>

This aside, dual speccing had good intentions, in the end it is just favoring hybrids. Really, you are an idiot if you do not roll a hybrid class nowadays.

A warrior should not, ever, tank better than a druid or Paladin. _Especially_ after the dual spec changes. (Sidenote: I do agree that rogues/mages etc _should_ be best at their role, however not by the margin large enough to handicap by a huge margin those that can spec in other way). Why? Simply because a Feral Druid (tank + dps spec) is essentialy the same as a warrior with fury (arms?) + prot spec or FOTM DPS/tank specced DK. Therefore, these classes should do the same amounts of damage, and be indifferent at being capable of tanking.

You can say that a druid can spec balance or restoration as well, but let's be serious - That would be (respectively) third and fourth spec for a druid. Given any acceptable timeframe, it is not remotely possible to collect a good set of raid quality gear - therefore a druid who chooses to "roll" a 3rd/4th spec and get into the raid is hindering the raid's capabilities. Not to mention that for many of us, a "caster" and "melee" druids could be completely separate classes, very few of us would give a damn. Besides, if a hybrid is much worse than the "pure", why bother bringing any hybrid? Just bring more pures! (And please do note that nowadays "pures" exist only in dps ranged/melee departments. Give me a warrior with prot-aoe prot-mitgation and prot-single target specs - then we can talk about having a "pure" tank)

Shaell, Darksorrow EU
what i hate the most about dual spec at the moment is the switching process, at least for my mage compared to other non-mana classes.


my mage switches spec, *poof*, spec switched, all mana gone and i first have to regen 20k mana back

a warrior switches spec, *poof*, spec switched, no penalty for switching...
I don't think this is such a big problem. We will simply all(*) roll either druids or paladins, depending on personal preference. Having only 2 classes will simplify the game in terms of both PvE and PvP, leading to faster released content (e.g. less gear versions to design).

* Except the token water-boy alt to make a table of mana-biscuits for the raid...

Seriously, whoever thinks this isn't a problem just has to look at the general disappearance of warlocks and rogues from PvE in general (**) and raiding in particular. These days when a boomkin or retri-paladin (no longer a retri-lol!) can easily out DPS such pure damage classes or at least match them (and I have the WMO parses to prove it if you doubt it). That the same player can now also respec as healer or tank means that the pure-DPS classes - warlocks, mages, rogues and hunters, do have a problem.

** In my experience at least. YEMV. Lot less mages around too but more than locks or rogues - I guess portals and mana biscuits are still popular...
I prefer giving pure DPS classes more utility. They can do the same (5 a 10% more) DPS as hybrids and bringing them would benefit the raid as they give unique buffs. Hybrids then give more flexibility (DPS/TANK|HEAL), pure DPS gives more utility. Both are good for your raid so you'll want to bring both.

As it is now, hybrids such as my DK will have a benefit above pure DPS as they can do equal DPS, give similar or better buffs(shaman heroism?) and change spec at will.

On the other hand, my DK will not suddenly be able to tank the end game bosses. He has only "leftover gear" that no real tank needs. Although this is probably less of a problem for caster/healer DPS as the gear overlaps. Another benefit for druids, priests & shamans.
@Solidstate. Yes, your warlocks might be bad. Ours however are the top dps in our guild, above our DK/retri paladin (although not by much). A more neutral reference can be gotten at wowmeter. All great DPS on patchwork are... yes, warlocks.

Class X sucks because ours can't do any damage isn't really an objective measurement.
I don't really understand why pures should care. They chose the pure class to avoid being asked to heal or tank. As a druid, I could be asked to tank even though I have no tanking gear and no experience (I'm a healer).

That's the big benefit of being a pure. Nobody will ever ask them to do something they don't want to.
Non-Hybrids such as rogues, mages and warlocks also ignore the PVP implication of dual specs. Whereas, a restoration shaman might take elemental as an off spec, the rogue will be able to simply put in the FOTM PVP spec into that slot and always be ready for PVP. If that shaman wants to arena effectively as a healer AND raid effectively as a healer (assuming he/she is a min/max player) then BOTH of his/her specs will be healing.

In the end, the long promised dual spec feature will open up both PVP and PVE even more for ALL players, regardless of the class that they play. Skill and gear will still continue to be a dominant factor in deciding raid invites. Bring the player not the class.
As a mage, I totally agree with the quote in the original post. But then again, I just don't care. Relative to me, dual spec gives me the chance to try out more specs easily to find one I like playing more. I love fire and arcane specs, but have played little frost this expansion. It gives me the chance to try something out without losing what I already have. The fact that dual spec is particularly good for hybrids is true, but that really doesn't affect me or how I play. I play my class because I like it, not because I need to be the all-powerful or get invited to raids.

It is hard to swallow, but if you don't like it, just go level another character. But as others have pointed out, if Blizzard doesn't do something I think you will see even more druid/paladins because it just doesn't make sense to start another character. They certainly do not want that to happen.

All in all, it is fun to discuss, but it really doesn't affect me. Sure in the long run raid composition could be affected, but I seriously think that Blizzard will do something before that happens.
I've said it before, I'll say it again.

The dual spec feature is a double edged sword for hybrids. Are you a Feral Cat DPS druid trying to get a raid spot? How long before the raid starts talking about having you switch to Resto or Feral Bear? Are you a Ret Paladin? Better get used to healing, because THAT'S what you will be wanted for. And now you won't have the easy excuse of "I'm Ret spec, I don't heal"... they will just expect you to use your second spec to fill the slot THEY want filled.

On the other hand, pure DPS is not hard to find. There are mages, hunters, rogues, and warlocks everywhere you turn. So if you raid is lacking a tank and there's a warlock available... you aren't going to wait for a tank, you're going to insist that your druid or paladin or warrior or DK take the tanking roll so the warlock can join and the group can get going.
The more I think about it, the more I think people are making too much of a big deal about this. Here's why. Let's consider the composition of a typical Naxx raid (and presumably Ulduar as well). 6 healers, 8 melee DPS, 8 ranged DPS, 3 tanks. So at this point we're talking 16 total DPS slots. Now, for any given fight, you really want between 1-4 tanks and 4-6 healers, and the rest are DPS.

When dual spec comes along, you'll probably want 2 dedicated tanks, and then have 2 tank/dps dual-specs that can switch roles. Since all of the tank classes have DPS trees, those two slots hybrid tank/dps will be filled by DKs, Druids, Pallies, or Warriors. You used to bring 3 dedicated tanks, now you bring 2, so you have to use one of your DPS slots for a hybrid tank/dps. End result: you now have 15 total DPS slots available to any other class, and you'll probably favor classes you don't already have for the buffs.

On the healer side, there are 4 healing classes: priests, shaman, paladins, and druids. All of these classes have DPS specs as well. So instead of 6 full-time healers, you bring 4 full-time healers and 2 dps/healing dual-specers. So let's say you bring 1 healer/melee DPS and 1 healer/ranged DPS. But you used to bring 6 dedicated healers, now you only bring 4, plus the two heal/dps hybrids, so this doesn't eat up any additional DPS slots.

End result, pre-dual spec: there are 16 slots available for pure DPS classes
End result, post-dual spec: there are 15 slots available for pure DPS classes

Is that really worth making such a fuss about? Really?
The person who performs the role best will be the one taken. If a DPS is needed, you'll take the Rogue over the Ret Paladin, if the rogue does better DPS. And if you need to go up a healer, you'll bring in the holy priest over the feral-druid-with-a-heal-spec if the priest they are the better player.

And everyone is going to have one thing they are best at.
"The eternal flaw of WoW is that Hybrids need to be as good as specialists in a certain role. But what about the specialists, the only-dps-dealers, the dedicated warrior tanks?"

In response, What about the dedicated Druid or Paladin tanks? What about the warrior DPS?

There are only 4 pure classes that only dps, the rest are hybrids. Pure DPS should do 5% more dps given the same gear and skill. Otherwise hybrids won't be taken for DPS and we are back to specific classes only.

You need to stop whining and let different classes be the different roles. Really most people will do one role in a raid for their guild. The other specs will not be as geared or used.
Tobold, the only flaw I see in your argument is that dual spec only allows you to switch between TWO specs, so there's no need to nerf druids or paladins down below warriors or DKs for dps and tanking just because druids and paladins have 3rd (healing) and 4th (ranged dps as balance) roles they can fill. Even with dual spec, there's no downside to all healers and tanks performing comparably. All you need is to make rogues, mages, hunters, and warlocks deal a bit more damage than the dps specs of other classes. And that has been Blizzard's stated goal since Wrath beta, they just haven't really pulled it off yet.
I have no idea how everything will turn out eventually, but as a pve resto shaman I'm really, really looking forward to this.
My main spec will remain pve resto, and I'll probably spec pvp enhancement (I don't like the elemental tree) to make my life easier doing the dailies, and to let me try pvp a bit too. For my guild nothing will change, if they need a healer I'll be ready to join, otherwise I won't.
Also, I'm willing to buy a year's supply of beer for the Blizzard devs if they give Shamans a viable tanking spec again. :P
As a leader of a 10 man raid group I can tell you that dual specs--barring some huge surprises in the new raid zone--will effect my slotting almost not at all.

I normally run 2 tanks, 3 healers, 5 DPS in my raids. There are 2 slot in that 10 man where dual specs are potentially useful--and either one of them is of the 5 DPS slots. A dual spec character is potentially useful in the OT slot--a slot DPSer never got--or as healer #3. Now the healer 3 slot in other raids is DPS 6--and having a switcher in that roll would be more valuable--but that still doesn't cut into DPS 1-5.

25 mans are even more skewed toward DPS: DPS slots 1-14 are just about locked down to DPS regardless of dual spec ability and while tank 2 & 3 potentially benefit from dual specs as do healer 7 & 8. Arguing that Warlock, Mages, Rogues and Hunters should have 50% to 60% of the raid reserved for them, because, woes DPS, they can only do the most valuable skill in the game strikes me as ingenious.

Or do you really think Blizzard is going to put in a fight in 10 mans where you need 4 tanks, 4 healers and 2 DPS?

The DPS best argument consigns 5 of 9 classes, and more than half the players (at least on Silver Hand, NA, 15% of the 80s are Paladins and DKS) to half or less of the slots in a raid and none of them pure DPS slots.
I play a druid. Dual Specs are going to do absolutely squat for me in a raid. I play a feral because I am GOOD at it but you could give me the best healing or Boomkin gear in the game and I would be horrible at it AND it's not fun to me. I don't get brought on raids so I can heal or do ranged DPS. I get brought because I do some pretty good melee DPS and I work my ass off to stay that way.. I could always go a Tank/Kitty dual spec but it's not needed in my guild (or most guilds i'd imagine)

The only thing i am looking forward to for Dual Specs is so I can get a feral PvP spec finally going.
I disagree completely. The two primary Hybrid classes should not be penalized for other classes lacking ability to fill other roles. I agree to a point that since rogues and mages lack ability to heal or tank they should be top DPS but MOST classes apart from those two can fill at least two possible roles and dual spec offers only an ability to switch between two roles. The reality of the situation is that creating imbalance in the ability of a class to perform a given role will cause them to be passed over for the class that is "best". Rogues and mages are DPS classes, and although I would be ok with them having slightly better DPS, nerfing other classes is not the answer.
Mages and rogues HEALING AND TANKING?

This is being discussed seriously?

Hey, why can't warriors do ranged damage, that really isn't fair...


Blizz jumped the shark this xpac. There's making the game more accessible to everyone, and then there's turning it into Gerber's baby food where each class is just as good at every other class at everything, but it doesn't really matter because its so easy a caveman could do it anyway. Paging Harrison Bergeron.
"If a specialized class is "freaking the absolute best at what they do", hybrid classes can't be the best at that, and thus end up being second-best at everything. Whether you arrive at that point by nerfing one class, or by boosting all the others, doesn't really matter. But Blizzard appears to go down the "nerf druids" way, by what I read from the PTR. Even leading druids agree that their class shouldn't be the best at everything!"

1) BBB hasn't been a druid blogger for months. He is focused on his hunter.

2) I know you don't remember it, having played a priest and thus not having had the problem, but hybrids were buffed because they couldn't get raid spots except for specific functions. Resto druids existed in raids not for healing, but to decurse. Pretty much the same for pallies and shaman...And none of them were allowed to do anything but that role. They buffed those classes in TBC because they all represented 1-2% of the character base. And because turn over in those classes (people not renewing their accounts) was higher than in other classes. You want to go back to the days when hybrids are only allowed to decurse and heal, which most of us resent. YOu will say that's not the case, but if hybrids lack in any area, then they will only be in raids for their specialty (the things they can do that no one else can, ie decursing and abolish poison).
I'm glad that others have seen the obvious problem in your argument Tobold, both warriors and priest are hybrids when dual spec is available. Therefore they should only be as good as the other hybrids.
Okay, I'll settle for warriors and priests being "as good" as druids and paladins. Which would still mean considerable nerfing druids, or boosting both warriors and priests. I haven't heard any argument explaining why as it is today druids should tank better than warriors and heal more than priests. Plus deal more damage than warlocks. I'm not buying that "warlocks top the dps chart" crap.

Plus there is the matter of managing expectations. The people who rolled a warrior or priest 4 years ago didn't do it because of those classes awesome dps.
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WotLK isn't hard enough for an average raid leader to choose a hybrid over a rogue because the hybrid *might* be able to dual-spec partway through. Blizzard wants you to take the person, not the class. If there weren't enough tanks or healers for the raid, they would've had the hybrid respec; dual-spec availability or not. This is only going to be a problem faced by the raiding 1%ers.
No where have I seen people saying that druids are first pick as main tank. Even some of the sites you link to admit that. With dual spec, all the tanks should tank roughly the same, though some will likely be better at certain encounters and worse in others, but that is fine, because they have another spec available to them now so they can dps when not tanking. Warriors have always been hybrids to some degree, just as a druid can use their healing abilities when tank specced, a warrior can use their damage abilities when tank specced, a gear change and away they go. With dual spec it is even more effective.

Similarly the healing classes should all heal roughly the same as they now all have the option of doing damage when they don't need to heal.

The only classes that get screwed by dual spec are the dps classes as that is the only thing they do. Though as you have previously said, there might be cause to be different specs of dps so that you can counter specific encounters. Not really as viable as all the hybrids (including warriors and priests) now though.
Plus there is the matter of managing expectations. The people who rolled a warrior or priest 4 years ago didn't do it because of those classes awesome dps.

Says you. In classic, warriors were pretty much at the top of the food chain in battlegrounds, for instance. The one shadow priest in a 40-man raid, in synergy with 2-3 locks, was no laughing matter either. That being said, clinging to the class definition of 4 years ago will continue to nurture your accumulated frustration due to your hybrid warrior not being the absolute best tank bar none or your hybrid priest not being the absolute best healer there is.

In fact, you're now sounding a lot like all the bitter WoW 1.0 paladins who expected Retribution to be a valid DPS spec and finally quit before patch 2.3 made it happen. Your loss, really.

What really surprises me is that you keep reinforcing that completely weird notion that healing or tanking is a superstar activity. There's a tanking corps, and a healing corps, and both need to function well as a team for the raid to kill stuff, much more than DPS have to. And in general, the notion of a well-functioning team does not include one superhealer doing all the work. As we pointed out quite often since you started your series of misery posts, topping the healing meters means exactly jack. It's not how much you heal, it's how you heal. If you can't get around that fact, roll a DPS toon (or switch to a DPS role). If your raid leader can't get around that fact, change guilds.
Many thanks for the mention Tobold.

I've just started out in blogging and I have posted some of my thoughts on my blog:
I haven't heard any argument explaining why as it is today druids should tank better than warriors and heal more than priests.

I've seen priests out-heal trees, and warriors out-tank bears. I've seen druids better than either. I know that disc priests and prot warriors bring more utility side-benefits to the raid than bears and trees do. Things are not as unbalanced as you seem to believe. If all else has failed you, roll a druid and you'll see where the grass is always greener. Heck, if it were managable, I would gladly trade you my T7.5-equipped druid for either your priest or warrior.
Gwaendar, stop pretending you are in any way more objective than I am. You are a druid, and you are obviously pleased that druids are top of the heap in class balance in all aspects right now. Well, enjoy it while it lasts. Patch 3.1 will bring the well-deserved nerfs to your class. Then YOU can start doing misery posts, and I'll explain to you why being top of the healing meter or having the most health for tanking doesn't mean jack.

Of course my opinion is subjective, and I never claimed otherwise. What's the use of a blog if you can't even take position for your favorite classes?
You are a druid, and you are obviously pleased that druids are top of the heap in class balance in all aspects right now.

Either you are confusing me with someone or your definition of "you are a druid" is quite broad. I'm a druid in the sense that I have a level 21 druid on a server that I haven't touched in 2 years and which happens to be the highest I ever leveled one. By that same metric I'm also a priest (level 16) and a warrior (level 28).

The characters garnering most of my attention at the moment are my level 53 shaman and my level 66 mage, although I have a level 80 paladin which will definitely benefit from dual speccing, like all other hybrids.

Last time I did a misery post was for the Retri hotnerfs immediately following patch 3.0.2, and it was centered around the manner they were being handed out (form) rather than their content (substance).

That is, however, all a rebuttal to your strawman. I'd rather have a discussion around my (and others' ) statements that dual specs will not suddenly get hybrids any more DPS slots than before but that they will primarily give flexibility in slots which are already now being reserved for tanks and healers - ie hybrid slots.
Raids which run eg 10-men with "2.5 tanks", that is, two full time tanks and a DPS who can offtank for specific encounters will keep their hybrid tank in that 3rd slot. Except that now he can be a full time tank for specific encounters. If they run with 2.5 healers, the "half-healer" slot for specific encounter is already being occupied by a hybrid - who can now function better in both roles depending on the requirements. The remaining 4 slots are pure DPS slots, and there's absolutely no reason anyone will populate these with more hybrids now that you have dual specs than before. These 4 slots are here to produce the amount of hurt required to kill stuff before the enrage timer wipes the raid, and you'll take classes who can pull out the DPS for just that purpose, not because they might actually switch to healing and deprive the raid of 25% of the nominal DPS corps.

More tanking or more healing, even in potentia, will not help a raid beating an encounter with a fixed wipe timer. And dual spec doesn't change that particular fact one bit. You'll still fill those slots with the best DPS available (and currently, mages and hunters are at the top of that particular food chain).
Tobold says "Okay, I'll settle for warriors and priests being "as good" as druids and paladins." To rephrase what Tobold says (to make sure I understand), tanking warriors should be equal in effectiveness to tanking druids and paladins as well as healing priests need to be equal in effectiveness to healing druids and paladins.

The vast majority agrees with this sentiment. People want all 4 tanking classes to be viable, people want all 4 healing specs to be viable. Only the unreasonable argue that one class needs to be head and shoulders above the others. If Warriors were the best tanks (lets say 30% better) and Priests were the best healers (30% more efficient and throughput), then no one would use any other class for tanking and no one would use any other class for healing (except for token buffs). If we add to this pure DPS was 30% more DPS than hybrids, then hybrids have no role. This was seen in WoW classic. Only warriors tanked - period. Healing was more spreadout as hybrids couldnt tank or DPS. There was little or no hybrid DPS representation.

So granted we want the tanking and healing specs to be equal in effectiveness, the problem with this statement is that to make it truly equal, they must be exactly the same. Any difference in abilities will result in people believing, "the grass is greener on the other side." and that the differences makes one class better than the other. To some extent this is true as classes get buffed or nerfed. The game constantly evolves. I like having different mechanics available with the goal of making each spec as viable with the other, acknowledging there will be bumps in the road.

To share my experience, I was a healing priest in WoW Classic. I re-rolled paladin because I thought paladins were better healers. And at the start of TBC, this was true. However, I was really a flash of light healbot. As encounters required movement and on to go healing, my paladin was becoming less and less effective - magister's terrace was a nightmare in the end encounter. I really missed the flexibility of priest healing with HoTs, shield, quick heals, big heals, group heals. None of them were the "best," but I had access to a tool for almost any situation on the priest. My paladin went ret and never looked back. I am leveling a new priest to 80 to heal. Of course my experience will be different compared to others who make class switches, but to each their own.
Why do so many people think of Dual spec as HEAL<->DPS<->TANK?

There are hundreds of subspecs. Mages can spec for AE damage or single traget. Or pure dps or replenishment.

Restro shamans can have a build with and without cleanse spirit.

Buffs don't stack anymore so you can have a talent build that buys certain skill that gives buffs or skips them if someone else in your raid can provide that buff more efficiently.

Healers can spec for AE healing or Tank healing.

Fury warriors can have spec for shout buffs or skip them.

Mages can have a build with and without improved scorch.

Not many people respec to change subspecs. Maybe when going from PvE to PvP. But I don't know many a mage that went and respecced just to free up a couple of points from scorch just for one nights run. But under the dual spec system they could do that if they wanted to min/max.
"Okay, I'll settle for warriors and priests being "as good" as druids and paladins. Which would still mean considerable nerfing druids, or boosting both warriors and priests. I haven't heard any argument explaining why as it is today druids should tank better than warriors and heal more than priests."
Where is your evidence for this claimed superiority, Tobold? Sure, some individual druids may be better tanks in some encounters than some individual warriors, but (for the reasons I've explained earlier) it doesn't follow from that they "tank better" in general.
Sven, there's a post on the NA healing forums that asks which tank is the worst to heal. Hands down, druid tanks are the worst. They soak up the most healer mana and don't generate aggro like warriors or paladins.

Speaking as a healer, I'd agree with that. On the other hand, the druid's health pool makes them better able to cope with large spikes of magic damage than say warriors or paladins, although they're still behind DKs in that area. As things stand, all the different tanks have differing strengths and weaknesses, which is exactly how it should be. That's why I don't get Tobold's claim that Druids are fundamentally better tanks than warriors.
I think it has become perfectly clear that Tobold has an axe to grind against pallies and druids. All reasonable people have pointed out the flaw in his arguments, probably best to just move along.

Oh and before you start accusing me of being druid/pallie biased, I used to have a warrior, priest and druid in BC but I stopped playing just after I got them to 70. My favourite character was easily the warrior as he looked the coolest :-p Dual spec would have been awesome though as I could have tanked and soloed with a bit more ease.
and I'll explain to you why being top of the healing meter or having the most health for tanking doesn't mean jack.

If you had any understanding of how Druids tank, you'd understand that the only reason Druids are successful at all is their huge health pools. We have the lowest mitigation of any class. We will be almost 10% behind every other class after 3.1 hits. Which means Druids will no longer be viable tanks at all, given that we will have health pools roughly equal to warriors and pallies and about 10% smaller than DKs.

So when you say this, keep in mind that we recognize you want hybrids eliminated from the game, or at least pushed back to their "only allowed in for their niche" roles. That much is clear. It's also clear that you haven't the faintest idea at all how Druids work. Maybe you should roll one so you can actually learn something.
I did roll a druid and found them absolutely overpowered, and that is before the introduction of dual spec. But everybody else, at least those not rolling a DK, also rolled a druid, so they have become one of the more popular classes, in spite of being restricted to a single race. On my server on a typical day there are as many druids online as rogues and warlocks TOGETHER. I don't want this game to become World of Druidcraft!
These things come and go. It was world of huntercraft (huntardcraft) for a while, it was world of roguecraft, it has been world of warlockcraft during arena season 2 and 3, heck, it's even world of paladincraft from time to time, and in arena season 1 and 2 it was definitely world of warriorcraft.
And it's been world of DKcraft for a coupe of months.

Flavour of the month. It will be over before summer.
"I did roll a druid and found them absolutely overpowered"
According to your earlier posts, your druid was very low level Tobold. Are you now saying you've levelled it to 80 and are raiding, Tobold? If not, on what basis are you claiming that they are OP? Because feral druids are quite good at levelling at low levels? I was able to use my shaman as main heal, main tank and 0.3% off the top DPS (simultaneously!) in the wailing caverns. It doesn't follow from that that I could do the same at high levels as the differences between the specs become more pronounced or that the same trick could be pulled in a raid. I was just at a sweet spot of shaman power before other classes pulled ahead.
Don't forget that there are 4 tasks now in WoW.


That was often mentioned by GC that the "holy trinity" does now include these four tasks. And that you need all 4 to raid.

Druid: Tank, Heal, DD
Priest: Heal, DD, Replenishment
Paladin: Tank, Heal, DD, Replenishent

I cannot see why a priest should be better than a druid. The priest is as much a hybrid as a druid. Both can perform 3 of the 4 basic roles.
I just think the spec trees in WoW are way too severe. Advantage of a hybrid is to fill a primary role while contributing to a secondary the same time. To me, it shouldn't be: I can do X really well or respec and do Y very well too. If you want to do Y role a class that can do Y then.

The flip side to that is if every class has the option of switching from X and Y which doesn't seem 100% true in WoW. At this point you don't have hybrids or even classes really. Everyone can be everything and the classes are just the flavor or style in which you fill that role.
***Excuse my typo - I meant to say: "If you wnat to do Y, roll a class that cand do Y then."

That being said another point came to mind. When every class can do X an Y I really feel some class identity is lost. As it is now, if you are looking for more folks for your group you don't know if a Paladin is dps, heals, or tank. Shouldn't the Paladin class generally be associated with something?
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