Monday, March 09, 2009

Dual Spec Predictions

There's lots of angst and concern going around in the WoW community over the introduction of dual specs. Here are my thoughts on who the winners and losers of this feature will be.

Big Winners: Healers and Tanks

Dual specs are pure and absolute win for healers and tanks. They get their main spec for raids, and then can do a variety of things with the second spec. They could go with DPS for farming and soloing, making that aspect of the game much less frustrating. Or run a PvP spec to participate in PvP. Or even run a second type of healer/tank spec, if absolutely crazy.

There's pretty much no downside for the healers and tanks. They get first choice of the healing or tanking gear, and can actually use their offsets.

Small Winners: "Pure" DPS Classes

For the "pure" DPS classes (rogues, mages, warlocks, hunters) dual specs are useful, but not game-changing. These classes will most probably end up using their second spec for PvP. You might see some of them using the second spec for Replenishment, depending on how popular those specs are. If Survival, Destruction, or Frost are popular in and of themselves, people may not bother.

I don't really see dual-specs changing the game significantly for pure DPS classes. Some of them might not even bother to purchase the option.

Big Losers: DPS Hybrids

DPS hybrids are going to take this hard. First, it's going to be expected that the second spec will be healing if you can heal, or tanking otherwise. No PvP specs for you!

Second, there still won't be enough healers/tanks, and lots of dps, so guilds will will pressure you into healing "just for now, until we recruit more healers." But they won't be able to recruit, or recruiting will suddenly become less urgent, so you'll see a lot of DPS hybrids get stuck healing.

Because the cost of switching will become so low, the norm will change such that switching to healing is the expected behavior, even if the player doesn't want to heal. After all, why spend all that time and effort trying to recruit scarce healers when one of your DPS hybrids can switch for zero cost?

Finally, because the hybrid still considers themselves as DPS, they'll won't get primary consideration on healing loot, as the healer mains will have that. However, adding insult to injury, I predict that many guilds will start giving the pure DPS classes priority on DPS gear. This will be justified on the grounds that the pure classes will use the gear 100% of the time, while the DPS hybrid spends a lot of their time healing. So obviously the pures will receive priority "for the good of the guild as they will get the most use out of the gear."


I think the healers and tanks will be very happy. The pure DPS classes won't really see much change. But I think there will be lots of drama surrounding the DPS hybrids.


  1. Indeed and agreed.

    You also got to the point much more quickly than I have in my draft on this topic...

    *presses 'Delete' button*

  2. I agree somewhat, however guilds that are short on tanks/healers already make DPS hybrids go non-dps "for now." I don't really see it changing anything much that they can have 2 specs, other than it will save them money since they are pretty much already in the first category of "tanks/healers" if they are in that kind of guild.

    What I'm worried about are guilds forcing healers or tanks to take 2 separate healing or tanking specs so they can switch for certain encounters. I figure that will only be the most hardcore guilds doing that type of thing, but it's something to watch out for if you happen to have a nazi for a GM.

  3. Every Healer in game is also a DPS hybrid, so this categorizing is redundant.

    Spec doesn't matter if you don't have the ample amount of gear to support dual roles.

  4. I think most guilds will make you declare a main, if only to simplify loot distribution.

    If "every Healer in game is also a DPS hybrid" does that mean that these hybrids are allowed to roll Need on both healing and dps gear? (Or get priority on both, depending on what your loot system is?)

    I think the answer to that is "Hell, no". So people will end up having to declare a main spec.

  5. I think people are smart enough to recognize that people have a primary and off spec, doubt this will change things too much, though I suspect that an 'offspec' that could be required by the raid may end up with a higher priority than it had before.

    The issue I see with hybrids is that dual spec may not be enough. Paladins can dps, tank, heal and PVP. I know I have 4 sets of gear. In an ideal world, we would have quad specs. I'd certainly pay 3k gold for it. Dual specs may be enough for a 'pure' class that just wants to dps and pvp.

  6. This is pretty much what I have been saying since the crying has spread throughout the blog world.

    And I DON'T think it will effect people who are raiding with their guild.

    But beware those of you who are trying to PUG as Ret, Elemental, Enhancement, Feral (Cat), Balance, Shadow... you WILL be asked if you have the gear and alternate spec to fulfill another roll.

    Me? I roll as a Holy Paladin in raids. I am planning on building a Protection set for my alternative spec. I won't need to DPS (I'm 40 quests away from finishing Loremaster... what am I going to solo after that?), so I'll just make myself available in BOTH of the rare roles.

  7. Points that make forcing a DPS hybrid to dual-spec tank/healer against their wishes a bad idea are:
    - They'll resent you, and the guild
    - They won't have done the research into knowing how to tank/heal, and will most likely do a crap job at it
    - They probably won't have the gear, nor will it be gemmed/enchanted properly
    - It's 50g to respec max, but 1k for dual-spec. If you're going to expect to choose someone's second spec you better be paying that 1k for them.

    I don't think your role has anything to do with whether you're w "winner" or "loser" with the feature. I think that the only losers will be people who are already losing in a bad guild. The situation will just be exacerbated by this feature. Everyone in a half-decent guild will be a big winner.

  8. I think the winners here are the people who respec a lot already. (That certainly includes a lot of tanks and healers.)

    As a raid leader, I don't plan to pressure anyone to do anything. I am pretty sure I already know who the guys are who might find it fun to dual role and we've been running 10 mans to help gear offspecs for a few weeks anyway. And the guys who want to be pure dps can go ahead and do that too.

    I am very curious to see how it all works out though.

  9. Rohan wrote:
    Big Winners: Healers and Tanks
    Small Winners: "Pure" DPS Classes
    Big Losers: DPS Hybrids

    I think this is a pretty insightful breakdown. I know my tank is looking forward to it, but yes it will indeed put more pressure hybrids to switch out of dps.

  10. you make an excellent point from a raiding guild POV I think.

    However, I'm in a PvP Guild so I mostly run PUGS. When I'm healing I roll on healing gear, when I'm DPS I roll on DPS gear....Seems fair enough

    I would expect that the more casual guilds would follow this logic as well. You roll for the spec you're playing at the time.

    I think the player can easily solve it by saying "I'm not going to heal for you guys unless I get fair considering on healing hear"... Don't like it then leave me as the DPS I signed up for and recruit a full time healer.

  11. I don't need no stinkin' dual spec ability to be a "Loot Hoover". I'm quite successful in that capacity as it is by way of "loot defaults". Having ability in three roles has its advantages.

    But seriously, our "loot system" dictates that players filling an alternate role BY REQUEST of the raid leader rolls as if that is their main spec. And often, the guild pays for the respec(s) to boot. End of loot drama.

    I know I'll steer clear of PuGs, though. More headaches than I want to deal with...

  12. Hybrids already have the loot issues vs pure classes. I've mainly seen it in 5mans as opposed to raids. It's the curse of being able to provide the utility of filling multiple roles.

    "The rogue would use that shard of contempt 100% of the time. You wouldn't so you shouldn't be allowed to roll on it." (druid tanking)

    "Only tanks should be allowed to roll on that item." (druid dps)

    So nothing new there.

    The players will only be losers if they remain in guilds that would force them to do something they don't want to do. And even worse not give them extra support for doing so.

  13. I think any guild that pressures a DPS hybrid into a role they don't enjoy will only make them resent the guild and they'll end up losing those hybrids, either to other guilds or to real life when they realize raiding is more frustrating than fun.

    If my guild told me that my ret pally or elemental shaman was only going to raid if I came as my healing offspec, I'd either find a new guild or give up on that character entirely. I put so much effort into improving my favored spec, just so I can do my best in raids... what's the point if I never get to actually do it?

    Hybrids should use their second spec for what THEY want to use it for. It's their thousand gold, after all. I don't believe in staying in a guild if they don't agree with me on things like this.

  14. Nice post but I think it is demo not destruction

  15. If my guild told me that my ret pally or elemental shaman was only going to raid if I came as my healing offspec, I'd either find a new guild or give up on that character entirely.

    They won't say that. They'll say, "Kiryn, X can't make it tonight. We're looking to recruit more healers, but could you heal just for tonight?"

    And then you'll find that you're going to more raids as Holy than you are as Ret.

  16. I really hope that hybrid classes don't get screwed over in this way but I have to say, your reasoning does make sense... I think it may have to do more with how guilds work though. The thing is, just because some classes can spec into healing or tanking doesn't mean they can play the class well, so it probably will depend on the player and guild.

  17. While I think you have a point in general, I don't think it'll be quite as much of a problem as you theorize.

    I just think that you put too much into the assumption that the guild leader has complete control over what the players will do. While it may be true in some guilds, I doubt that the majority will be so heavy handed. People are going to learn fast that if the player isn't allowed to use their 1k on a spec they want, then they're not going to have that player for very long.

    The only people I see that might be pressured to heal "just this once" are the kind of folks who already do that every now and then, shelling out the 50g.

    I'd actually argue that this gives DPS Hybrids a boost, since it lets them much more easily play around with their offsets. Myself, I actually do plan on giving my Shaman a healing offspec, since I'd like to segue into doing that with him vice DPS. I wouldn't have bothered at all with the way respecs currently are, since I still have DPS commitments with him.

    Anon -

    It's Destruction that's getting Replenishment. It's the new Improved Soul Leech talent. I'm actually going to make that my Warlock's offspec, in case I need to fill in a 10-man that doesn't have Replenishment already.

  18. My main is a moonkin and I've been waffling left and right over what my second spec will be, or if I'll even *have* a second spec. I don't PvP on my main, and while I've been happy to pinch tank or pinch heal, I've never done either to the point of respeccing.

    I'm pretty sure my guild will continue to let me roll on caster gear without an issue (except for the usual cloth goes to clothies first). We're pretty good in letting people play whatever role they want, especially since we're good for tanks and healers (maybe even a little heavy on them), so I'm sure our ret paladin will continue to primarily be ret and no one will ask him to respec if he doesn't want to, and it'll be the same with me.

    I realize not all guilds will be like this though, especially those that are more progression minded than mine, but I think it's also arguable that someone who is in that kind of guild knew what they were signing up for when they joined, and they've respecced a number of times already.

  19. haha, guilds can bite my @$$... my pally will be rolling ret/prot.

    ill prolly do a elemental/resto on my shamie... but publically i'll be elemental/enh just so everyone feels that extra guild for making me redo one of my specs ;P

    dont get me wrong, i dont mind healing at all, but its not fun when the guild starts assuming that you'll be healing every raid. i like to leave myself as a last resort only to be used if the raid is about to break up for lack of a healer

  20. I disagree

    One factor you are missing is that many dedicated tanks/healers are just as stuck in their role as you think DPS hybrids will be. All healers and all tanks have at least DPS spec possibility. As a dedicated healer I don't get to DPS when I feel itchy one night. I don't see any difference between your DPS and your tank/healer category as both have the same innate capabilities.

    In the end, any raid is a cooperative effort. Some people will heal, some tank and some DPS. The main consideration should be how to get the next boss down, not who gets to DPS, and who has to heal.

    As a dedicated healer (who will be having 2 healing specs) I find it kind of disturbing that this article refers to healing as a forced obligation instead of as a way to contribute. If I would go with your line of thought, my position would be to find hybrid DPS players terribly selfish for not being willing to switch. In my guild we have several switch players as it is. None are complaining. Most of them are tanks that switch to DPS on bosses that don't need 4 tanks.

    When looking from the perspective of group balance we get another picture again:

    5 man instances typically need 1 tank, 1 healer, 3 DPS. (20/20/60)
    10 man instances typically need 2 tanks, 3 healers, 5 DPS. (20/30/50)
    25 man instances typically need 3tanks, 6 healers, 16 DPS (12/24/64)

    The proportions are not the same. The impact is that the smaller instances are mostly short on tanks, and raids are mostly short on healers.

    My final position is, that I welcome dual spec, and its biggest result is to allow for flexible switch roles between smaller and larger instances.

  21. > For the "pure" DPS classes (rogues, mages, warlocks, hunters)
    > dual specs are useful, but not game-changing. These classes
    > will most probably end up using their second spec for PvP.

    Actually, mages, warlocks, hunters are hybrids too with 3.1.

    Ghostcrawler mentioned many times that there are now 4 rules:
    o Tank
    o Heal
    o Dps
    o Replenishment

    Mages, warlocks, hunters are all capable to supply replenishment.
    That might not be an issue for 25 mans but in a 10 man I would expect
    that you might have to supply if from time to time. And I doubt it's
    the preferred spec for these classes. I don't know about rogues.

  22. Clingy:

    From long, long experience: a lot of hybrid dps has had to fight a long hard battle to be allowed to do dps. DPS is fun. It's competitive. It's simple. It's less stressful.

    Returning (or being 'forced' for the first time) to healing will be painful for a lot of people who have just burnt out.

  23. Spot on. I simply can't understand where all the 'pure' dps anxst is coming from.

  24. Kring, from what I have read the roles that provide replenishment are the lowest of the DPS specs for each class.

    Demo warlock
    Frost mage
    Shadow priest
    Ret pally
    Survival hunter

    What DPSer is going to lower their DPS to provide replenishment for their healers, unless forced to or they like that spec?

    I honestly wouldn't want a healer who has been forced into healing. They aren't going to be good at it. Forcing people to do something they don't want is always a bad idea.

  25. Whoops, that should have been destruction warlock.

  26. No-one can argue there's a healer shortage. There was a tank shortage then dk's came along and fixed that, but in my eyes, someone that can heal especially at lower levels is a healer. Paladin, shaman, druid - I don't care who heals me. If they want the quests, rep and gear, they can heal. I don't think hybrids will get stiffed on gear. They'll most probably need to go healing with a healing set and whichever one they like, so if they need to heal, they need to heal properly, and enough mana to rez without needing a drink first would be good. As you can probably tell, my main's have usually all been tanks. To make up I've made a priest, and got her to 12 :). In aid of getting a run together I would love to be a healer.

  27. To Andrew:

    Yes, healing and tanking can be stressful and healers and tanks tend to burn out sooner. Also you don't get to see your name in the DPS list. Having played all three roles extensively I realize that very well.

    It is hard to tell if someone chooses to heal or tank because that is the role they like best, or if they do it because there is no other raid spot available, or if they do it because they feel forced. There are many grey areas and mostly it will be a mix of things.

    Back to the context of the original post:

    The post categorizes the impact of dual spec between tank/healers and DPS and then states that DPS will be forced to heal. By doing so it is implied that DPS that heals as a second spec and a Healer that DPSes as a second spec should be treated differently.

    My point is, that in basic abilities, the two are the same thing.

    You then add, that some ex-healers don't want to heal because it is so stressful. How do you think a healer feels about that. Don't you think I would like a day off healing stress, or to roll on a DPS item without Mages, Warlocks and Shadow Priest complaining. Well, I do.

    But you won't hear me complaining, because I view the games as a team effort, and I have specilized to be a healer, partly because that is what is needed in my guild.

    What I won't accept is a DPS that can heal perfectly, to complain about switching role for the team.

    In the end the story is about taking the perspective from individual considerations or from team considerations. The categories in the blog post come from the former.

  28. I guess the question I have is:

    Are we now back to vanilla WoW, where all hybrids are healers?

  29. I think I will be causing drama when If I get asked to become a healer temporarily.. or inbetween trash pulls,when I polietly advise, that I will need a port to a city to respec - I won't get the use of a healing duel spec to justifying paying for it, when I could be using a pvp spec on a daily basis.

  30. In Vanilla WoW, only Warriors could effectively tank raid content. That is no longer the case.

    In vanilla WoW, DPS of hybrids couldn't stand in the shade of pure DPS classes DPS. That is no longer the case.

    In TBC, shadow priests were the only mana battery class. That is no longer the case.

    In vanilla WoW, this blog would probably have tried to convice the reader that Paladins could do more than spam FoL. The options of pally DPS wouldn't even have come up.

    In between we had a period of priests complaining that they were no longer the healer par excellence and of warriors complaining that they were no longer be the tank par excellence.

    I agree with the analyses above that apparently we will have 4 roles now; Tank, Healer, DPS and replenished. Blizz is doing their best to make all classes equal to their available roles, and compared to other mmorpgs they are not doing a bad job.

    We are not back to vanilla WoW, we are going into 3.1.

  31. Cingy, this blog existed in vanilla WoW. See the history, or the Paladin in Raids series on the sidebar for my views on paladins at that time.

    Second, someone who wants to primarily DPS is different than someone who wants to primarily heal. Look, no loot system is going to give them priority on loot for both roles. They'll have to pick one. If Torch of Holy Fire drops, a full-time paladin healer is going to get it, not some part-time Ret.

    I'm not saying that Ret paladins are incapable of healing. I'm just saying that a lot of DPS hybrids will end up healing more because there is a healer shortage and the cost of switching is so low.

    Healing is a forced obligation if you don't want to heal. And there are a fair amount of hybrids who don't want to heal, who are attracted to the other aspects of the class.

  32. I think I got extremely lucky in the guild I found - nobody is/will be asked, expected, or forced to respec, DPS "mains" will be given just as much priority as pure DPS, and so on. But sadly, I'm in the minority I think, and for most of WoW, I must sadly concur that you are correct, BoK.

  33. You make a good point, Rohan, but I believe what you are predicting is just an intensifying of the pressure that already exists for hybrid classes to heal that has always been there. Now it will be more acceptable to ask someone to switch because switching is cheaper and faster, so obviously it will get more severe.

    You are spot-on that guild leaders will promise they are recruiting healers, but not actually recruit them when the raids are going fine because you are stuck healing "for now". But I believe from experience(having played a raiding feral druid throughout vanilla wow and an enhancement shaman in tbc)that many dps hybrids will stand up for themselves and demand to be treated like any other dps for the most part.

    My hope is that a social norm will develop in response to this attitude (as tends to happen in cases like this) where a faction who understands what it's like to be a dps who happens to be a hybrid class emerges and speaks up in opposition to this attitude. Eventually, this counter-norm will relieve a lot of the pressure.

    Another social phenomenon we'll see: in PuGs, hybrids will simply say they haven't purchased dual spec (even if they have). In guilds, you'll have to work it out amongst yourselves. But the difference between dual specs and now will be smaller within the guild compared to the pugs. I know my guild bank pays for hybrids to respec to healing temporarily when needed.

  34. Well lets see, as a "pure" dps class, I'll say I will benefit from this the most. Cool, a healer can now be a tank, tanks are great for questing. Awesome, that DPS can now be a healer, he's never done it, but I sure want him on my Arena team! Yet myself, what can I do with my duel-spec? I can bring replenishment, IF that spec is still popular? Well, its the most popular spec right now, still is on the ptr. That little thing GC mentioned, replenishment being mandatory in future content, I guess you just didn't see that one. So with my duel-spec, I guess all that is left to do is PvP spec? Nope. I can solo old world raids no problem, I can run alts and guildies through almost any dungeon. Seems pretty useless for me. Oh yeah, and that same spec will keep my tier armor nice and shiny with my pet tanking and me not being able to pull a lick of agro.

    BASICALLY....You do not know what your talking about, or your opinion is very biased in the least. Good luck playing your toons in the future, I know I will, but I don't set boundaries for what they will/should be able to do.

  35. I guess it depends if you are in a progression guild or not. DPS for the most part (with some exceptions) don't make very good healers. It's not just the gear and spec, it's really a whole different skill set and way of playing the game.

    It's fine if someone is willing to put in the time to learn, but any DPS being forced to respec won't. Guilds that are really looking to progress through the content are going to still need to recruit true healers.

    I see the dual spec as being used more to tailor groups to particular bosses. The biggest change is now having a high level Inscriber will be mandatory for every raid so people can respec before boss fights. Any character that can bring Replenish and Inscription is probably going to be insured a spot in any raid regardless of the DPS they can put out.

  36. I can't see "Hybrid DPS" being a loser on dual specs. I plan on having a PVE DPS and a PVP DPS spec.

    If someone tries presuring you into another role, just say "Oh, sorry man! I only have DPS gear!"

    - JSG

  37. A lot of the time it doesn't matter if DPS make "good" healers or not. If you only have 5 healers online, and you need 7-8, the choice is between asking a couple DPS to shift specs or calling the raid.

    To be honest, I actually think this will affect the high end *less* than the low end. The high end is usually able to recruit more healers than lower guilds, and are more likely to have players capable and willing to switch styles. More likely to have players willing to do whatever is necessary to be successful.

  38. As a druid tank who had a dk dps, who doesn't PVP (I looked him up on armory), need and win on the Essence of Gossamer (+111 stamina trinket), making me run H AN 17 times for the trinket, I feel I have the experience to say that when running anything, you get to roll on items your current spec is. Do NOT roll on tank items if you're DPS, just as I won't roll on healing items if I am tank atm.

  39. It's a matter of not being a wuss and clearly stating what you're willing to do in game and not.

    "I am willing to heal *FOR THIS WEEK ONLY*" etc. It's all about your limits.

    For instance, my ret pally who was holy his entire existence until Wrath, will not be buying the duel spec, and will remain ret.

    My DK will be buying it, so he can put out measurable dps while still tanking well (currently he's so mitigation focused, he never breaks 2k dps even when not the tank for the encounter).

    My shaman will be buying it, as I like having a person I CAN heal on, I also like punching people to death.

    Similarly on loot, we're probably going to make it so your main spec is whatever you are when the item drops. (Our system currently allows you to spend your "tokens" on whatever you want, spec only matters if no one is willing to spend tokens).

  40. Treason of Farstriders1:26 PM, March 10, 2009

    As far a 5 man goes tanks get dibs on tank items, dps on dps items and heals on heal items.

    I think many casters are incorrectly calling heal items dps and vice versa now.

    Also, many people don't seem to get that 2H melee weapons ARE DK tanking weapons as well as dps weapons.

  41. devoted healers and tanks will get a pvp and pve spec

    Hunters, Mages, Rogues, and Warlocks will as well.

    Warriors and DKs will feel obligated to spec tank and dps

    Shamans and Priests will feel obligated to spec heals and dps

    I predict amazing lameness for Druids and Paladins though and am willing to go on record predicting that most groups will be looking for the role that neither of your specs are. Upon seeing the discrepency [sp?] Pallys and Druids will go to the forums, where mostly Warlocks and Rogues will say "we got dual spec, what more do you want QQ?"

    so let it be written, so let it be done.

  42. Agree also, i think the pure dps classes need a buff to there dps as hybrid classes are topping a lot of the charts just now.

  43. Very much so, I'm still deciding which way my tankadin is going (ret or holy) for his offspec. The boomkin will be getting a resto offspec and the priest will become holy / shadow. Roll on 3.1!

  44. I respectfully disagree.

    I don't think this will put any more pressure on dps hybrids at all. Any competent guild/raid leader would never force someone to do something they don't like. This is a game, not the military. For the good of the guild? One should not have to use that reasoning in a video game. Any leader flirting with this idea heightens the risk of fracturing the guild.

  45. That fully depends on the type of guild you are in. There are those who enjoy getting server first achievements etc where maybe some people will be "forced" into taking a specific type of dual spec, with the attitude being, "You knew what we were about when you first signed up, it hasn't changed, you will do what is best for the guild if you want to raid with us or you will be replaced". Is that guild leader going to fracture the guild? Doubtful, if that is what the guild is/has een about I would suspect that most of the members would agree if be a little more discrete in the telling (Unfortunately guild leaders can not always be soft and cuddly).

    It is a different, more hardcore approach to the game and this approach is viable and does appeal to many who are looking for others who are as dedicated as they are.

    All that being stated, my guild expects us to have our own enchant, consumables etc so my second spec is going to be ret (yes I am holy for pve, have been for a long time). Doubt they will be asking me to tank any time soon anyways as they need my heals.