Of Dual Minds on Dual Specs

March 5, 2009 at 7:39 am 15 comments

I’m a warlock.

And a resto shaman.

So, naturally, I’m of dual minds on dual specs.

On one hand (the one that is half-rotted, with bones where my fingernails should be), I agree that pure classes should have an advantage when it comes fulfilling their one and only raid role.  It’s bad enough that the elemental shaman, fury warrior and critchicken (/steals shamelessly from Amber) can trounce me on DPS — blindfolded, unarmed and (in the chicken’s case) with one wing tied behind his back.  But watching them do all of that … and then switch roles mid-raid to melee, tank or heal?  No fair. 

On the other hand (the one that is slightly furry and capable of healing with with lazers) … soloing as resto is a serious pain in my Tauren tail! 

Serious.  Pain.

Capital S.  Capital P.

Case in point: I was hunting revenants for my Sons of Hodir daily the other day, and lumbering from mob to mob in an attempt to get in Flameshock range (intellectually, I know Tauren don’t move any slower than any other race in the game; it just seems like it, because we’re so massive and the world is so small…), when a warrior decided to mock my efforts by charging each mob I targetted and tagging it before I could. 

This wasn’t a friendly competition for resources.  This was him going deliberately out of his way to target the same revenants I did, even when there were two or three others closer to him than mine.

What’s a poor cow girl to do?  I don’t have points in Improved Ghost Wolf, so I can’t get to mobs quickly without pausing to mount or shift forms.  I have lengthy cast times on Chain Lightning and Lightning Bolt, and my instant cast shocks require me to be within 20 yards of my target.  I could be wrong, having never leveled a warrior past 2, but I’m pretty sure Intercept has a 25 yard-range.

To top it all off, I can’t even (attempt to) kill the warrior, because he’s Undead.  WTB same-faction PvP, PST.

Oh, I know he could have griefed me just as effectively if I had been elemental.  But I wouldn’t have been nearly as frustrated about it, because having to spend a little extra time collecting mobs wouldn’t been that big of a deal if it weren’t already taking me fifteen years to kill them. 


I’m ranting, a little, but the point remains: I know exactly why hybrids are so excited about dual specs, but — as someone who still considers herself a warlock, no matter which character she brings to raids — I also understand why some “pure” classes feel threatened by them.

I don’t think dual specs will be the death knell of pure classes, as some naysayers are claiming  … but I have to admit, they were the proverbial last straw for me.  I was already contemplating a re-role (not to be confused with a reroll), but it was the ability to fulfill two raid roles with one character that finally made up my mind.  Since I’m the one in my guild who struggles three times a week to build a raid roster that caters to our core but still accomodates our various and sundry casuals (sigh), anything I can do to simplify the process — include have a versatile character, myself — I will do.  Even if it means shelving my beloved ‘lock come raid time.


Entry filed under: WoW. Tags: .

Moorabi is a jerkface, or “I respecced elemental for this?!” Torontadin is -so- a word.

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Karthis  |  March 5, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Most hybrid players don’t WANT to DPS and heal, or tank and heal….. and we’re worried that some people will demand that we do so regularly. Ugh. I don’t want to waste my dual spec going resto – so I’ll dig my heels in if asked. 😛

    As for pure DPS classes having to top the meters over hybrids…. well, we’ve been there and done that – it was called TBC, and many many hybrids were basically excluded from high end progression raids because they did everything sub optimally. A hybrid MUST have the ability to compete with a pure class (if equally geared/skilled) or else they are of little use.

    Warlocks being broken (badly!) is unrelated to this, btw – I hope warlock DPS is buffed to be competitive, because the class is hurting right now.

  • 2. Elleiras  |  March 5, 2009 at 8:25 am

    “Most hybrid players don’t WANT to DPS and heal, or tank and heal.”

    I know. 🙂 I’m collecting an elemental set because I feel I should (doing otherwise defeats the purpose of making my most versatile character my main!), not because I particularly want to DPS as a shaman. (Throwing lightning around is rather anticlimactic after you’ve drained the life and soul of your enemies in battle. /nod)

    My guild has decided to take its cue from the Blizzard devs and pretend that dual specs don’t exist — for the most part. We have a few players who are interested in a hybrid raid role, and that will suit our casual roster quite well. But it’s an entirely volunteer thing; no one is expected to take dual specs at all, much less reserve theirs for a second raid related purpose.

    Still, I can’t help but think that pure classes should have a slight advantage over hybrids, especially now that respeccing will become trivial. Nothing to the extent that we saw in TBC (although we’ve always run with a ret paladin, elemental shaman and a boomkin!), but enough so that there’s a *reason* to be a specialist over a generalist, as Larísa (I believe) put it. I like the way GC is conceptualizing it, with the pure DPS classes having a slight inherent advantage that could easily be trumped by skill.

  • 3. Elleiras  |  March 5, 2009 at 8:32 am

    “I’m collecting an elemental set because I feel I should (doing otherwise defeats the purpose of making my most versatile character my main!), not because I particularly want to DPS as a shaman.”

    btw, I would discourage anyone else in my guild from doing this. I’m not even letting Keaton dual-spec resto; he’ll be feral bear and feral cat. It’s just because it’s my guild, and pretty much my #1 priority in-game.

    Just wanted to clarify that, because I realized it was speaking as much to your point as to mine. ^.^

  • 4. dorgol  |  March 5, 2009 at 9:14 am

    My Warlock doesn’t care about dual specs. He doesn’t respec often enough.

    My Paladin and Druid are drooling over it… and mainly for the same reason you mentioned – soloing as a healing class in a healing spec is not fun.

    Dual specs are the Y2K of WoW… everyone is screaming “it’s the end of the world!”, and in the end it will turn out to be nothing at all.

  • 5. Fulguralis  |  March 5, 2009 at 9:23 am

    I hear ya on this one. I have always maintained that it isn’t the concept of dual specs that bothers me, its how they choose to implement it. I guess that’s kind of still up in the air, but I think Blizz needs to give it some long hard thought. As the raid leader for most of my raids… it won’t change how we function and so I’m not overly concerned about it. However, I also think if it goes live as stands now (switch on the fly), then my feeling would be that that’s just plain lazy on Blizz’s part.

    I really liked when they were going to implement it by making you go to a lexicon of power and giving scribes the ability to create one much like a heal bot. It served two benefits: 1 to make it just annoying enough that you wouldn’t want to do it in the middle of a raid, thus not really changing the approach to raids, but still adding versatility to the pre-raid shenanigans while still helping out solo’ing and PvP minded individuals. 2 it gave a nice little perk to being a scribe… perhaps one of the least fun professions out there.

    When they switched it to just “pressing a button”, I was angry as I don’t see the benefit of the change. It seems to necessitate a whole new approach to raiding (depending on your leadership… i for one will boycott and stick with preferred, defined roles), plus removes the perk to scribes. Where is the benefit other than its just now mindlessly easy? *sigh* I hope it doesn’t go live like that.

  • 6. Elleiras  |  March 5, 2009 at 10:21 am

    @drogol – I like the Y2K analogy. I hope time proves you right!

    I think it will depend a great deal upon the guild and server culture. I can see some of the more competitive guilds on our realm attemping to enforce optimal primary and secondary specs — but they do that now, just more obtrusively (by switching players in and out for specific encounters, or sending raiders to respec between boss fights). Those of us who play in casual guilds that already have a “bring the player, not the class” mentality may not see much of a practical difference … other than raids being easier to form, if you can cover an absence with a voluntary dual spec, etc. That, I am definitely looking forward to.

    @Fulguralis – I preferred the Lexicon of Power idea, too, for much the same reasons. The moment I read about the change to a five second, out-of-combat cast, I started having nightmares about our hyperactive resto shaman respeccing for every trash pull that Thunderstorm is off cooldown … just to make our poor tanks /cry. (Or respec fury, ret and feral cat, respectively, to kick his elemental ass.)

  • 7. Ian  |  March 5, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Would your Warlock perspective be any less bristled by dual specs if the class wasn’t already generally underpowered against the rest of the field? Other people getting new toys before you get fixed is an outlook I get, but otherwise, dual specs help pures, help hybrids, and help whole raids (pures and hybrids alike). It’s good for everyone, it’s just a different amount of good for everyone.

  • 8. Elleiras  |  March 5, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    “Would your Warlock perspective be any less bristled by dual specs if the class wasn’t already generally underpowered against the rest of the field?”

    Probably — but I’ve already admitted that. 🙂

  • 9. Wugan  |  March 5, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Stumbled upon your blog today and I’m enjoying it. Great writing. Just a suggestion for resto shaman DPS: if you are not already doing so, make sure to drop a magma totem for any fights that have multiple mobs are will take a while. I love to drop one when killing revenants so I can still do some DPS while stunned. Yeah, it’s not like being elemental, but it helps.

  • 10. Fear.Win  |  March 5, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Round a bunch of crap up, drop a fire elemental and use natures swiftness + chain lightning every cooldown =X. I hated soloing as resto too though on my Shaman =\.

    I personally think dual speccing will do nothing but help raids, albeit discourging to pure dps classes.. but the big picture is that it will help your raid.. and if you’re already in the raid, chances are you aren’t going to lose your spot (and if you are, it’s time to find another guild). Skill is also a factor in dps. Sure, that Shaman can respec from Resto to Elemental but if they’ve been healing forever, who knows how good they are at DPS? My wife is an amazing Holy Pally but if she went rent today, even with the best gear, I don’t think she’d be putting out the numbers of our seasoned Ret Pally.

    Not everyone will be dual speccing healer/tank or whatever as well. For my Lock, I’ll have a raid/pvp spec. My Druid will be Boomkin/PVP Boomkin and Shadow will most likely not dual spec because I don’t care for Spriest PVP or priest healing in general lol.

    It’s not the end of the world, IMO.

  • 11. Elleiras  |  March 5, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    @Wugan & Fear.Win – Thanks for the tips! I think it has yet to fully sink in that I can take on multiple mobs at a time as resto. I’m so used to them dying slowly that I forget … I die slowly, too. (And by slowly, I of course mean, not at all.)

    Those are all valid points, Fear.

    I’ll be resto/ele on my shaman and affliction/destruction (for replenishment, should it ever be needed) on my warlock … I think. I wouldn’t mind having Demo For Dummies (i.e., Felguard/Emberstorm) as one of my specs for those nights when the lag is unbearable or I’m just not at the top of my game. I guess it depends on how ‘locks look after 3.1. /ponder

  • 12. Brent  |  March 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Something that is always missed in these discussions is that a “pure DPS” class has at least 3 specs, each of which is better for different fights or purposes.

    Affliction Locks are great at single target (or low multi if you’re good) DPS but on trash they simply have no way to compete because the minimum time to get ramped up is shorter than the life expectancy of trash.

    However, if you could respec to Destro/Demo during trash then swap back to Affliction for the boss, wouldn’t that mean that you’re specced to top the meters for whichever situtaion? No longer would Affliction locks need to swap the WWS to “Bosses Only” in order to not be below the green geared hunter on Total Damage. The dual-speccing for a pure PVE pure DPS player is a godsend for those specs that aren’t as good in one area or the other. Everyone builds their spec for Boss DPS, but now you can build a second for the other 60% of the instance.

  • 13. Elleiras  |  March 5, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I thought about a trash spec, but in the end … meh. Maybe this is just because I’ve spent so long training myself not to care about trash DPS, but it feels like a waste to me. Maybe (hopefully!) in Uldaur it will be different, but there are really only two spells I need to cast on Naxx trash right now: SoC and Drain Soul — and the first one is iffy.

    That said, I could definitely see having a PvE DPS spec for raid bosses (affliction) and a PvE DPS spec for heroics (demo/destro), since most heroic bosses don’t last a whole lot longer than raid trash to an overgeared group … which would have the same result as what you’re suggesting, I suppose.

  • 14. Fulguralis  |  March 6, 2009 at 10:26 am

    @Brent – The problem with that point of view arises when I don’t *want* to play destro/demo. I specced Affliction because that is the playstyle I enjoy. If the tree is fundamentally broken for trash, shouldn’t they fix that instead of just saying “lol spec destro/demo?” It’s a cop-out. And like Elleiras said, I’m okay with not having great trash DPS if I can blow it away on the bosses. That’s what I like about my chosen spec. Why should I be expected to swap from the way I enjoy? I want my tree to keep its identity and I want my small community of die hard afflictionados to NOT be expected to do just what you suggest. However, as it stands, why shouldn’t we right? There would be no barrier to stop us from switching on the fly and sticking affliction through trash could be construed as selfish since you’re not helping the raid as much. I, for one, rebel against that idea and that happening to the class/tree I love.

    I’m all for playing the spec and playstyle that fits you, and then getting good at it. I don’t care if you’re a hybrid or not… if you like to heal, then heal. Tank, then tank. DPS… well you get the idea. If you happen to be good at multiple roles, then go you, but should all of us be forced into roles we don’t want to play just because its now completely easy-mode?

    Perhaps this is all a bit dramatic, but do you see the point I’m getting at? Stubborn? Sure! Wrong? You decide.

  • 15. Brent  |  March 8, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    @Fulguralis – Honestly, I think you’re taking the short-sighted approach. Probably the main reason why duals-specs were brought in in the first place was to relieve the exact pressure you’d bring to Blizzard.

    Specialisation – making something suitable for a special purpose.

    The whole point of a spec, is that you can do something very well at the expense of something else. If you don’t like doing high DPS on trash, don’t use a secondary build. But expecting Blizzard to make everyone good at everything is simply a call to generalise everything and remove specs in the first place.

    Is it a cop out? No. Blizzard can’t do what you want and still have specialisations because tweaking classes is such a balancing act, give you a bit for PVE break it for PVP. Therefore they’ve chosen the lesser of two evils and given you the ability to perform in two areas not one. Just remember, if Blizzard tweaked Affliction to work on trash, you’d feel like it was destruction and just QQ that you don’t enjoy it any more.

    If you don’t like specialisations, don’t use them. Don’t expect to be special at everything.


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