Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Blue talks about dual-spec.


Aeman brought this blue post to my attention today about dual-spec:

"Our design direction is not to change our designs at all as a result of this change. We are going to design instances and talent trees while pretending this feature does not exist.
Examples of things we will NOT do:
1) Have a fight that requires 8 tanks, because you know, half the raid can change specs.
2) Have a fight that requires some obscure talent, because surely someone can afford to swap into it.
3) Let Arms be the PvP tree and Fury be the PvE tree, because warriors can just switch out.
4) Have a buff spec with low dps and a damage spec with high dps, and expect players to buff then swap specs."

This is good news. There's been a lot of talk about dual-spec - the cost of it, how it affects hybrids/pure dps, how it will be utilized in Ulduar, etc. In my opinion, dual spec should help those who would otherwise hearth back to Dalaran, port to Stormwind, spend 50g, respec, and hope that there's a warlock in the raid to summon them back. What dual-spec *shouldn't* do is dictate how Blizzard develops their encounters.

If they *did* let dual-spec dictate encounters, it would cause a lot of complexities, such as:

1. So I'm a druid healer, but I'm also a tank. I can switch specs at the touch of a button. I heal on one fight, but the next, we need more tanks, eight of them! so I *have* to swap over. Oh look, boss down! Loot drops! Healing gear, mine! Tanking gear, mine! Oh. You guys didn't get loot? Better luck next time, suckas.

2. I'm a druid healer, and I didn't get put on a 25 man run =( But never fear, I'm pretty pumped because I'm gonna get called in for a couple fights where they need more healers! They don't need as many tanks, so they're going to replace one of the the bear tanks with me. Oh wait, you - you don't need me? The tank can just respec in 5 seconds? I see. Yeah, it is faster that way. No, I understand, summoning me *would* take too long. Ok.

3. I'm a paladin and I love to tank. I've been in this hardcore raiding guild for a while now, and we're killing stuff left and right! Hell yeah! But damn, I hate healing. It's so lame. I never understood those pally healers. What's so great about it, anyway? I mean, sure, I've picked up a few pieces of healing gear here and there, *just* in case, but there's no way I'd ever thi- what's that? You need me to heal? You're saying that for this fight, we *need* a pally healer? Huh. But I don't want to. You're saying I *have* to? Um. O-Okay, I guess. Let me just hit this respec button /sigh.

There are surely other issues that would arise as well, but the good news is that Blizzard is NOT going to do things that way. Hopefully they'll stick to their word, and dual-spec will simply be an added bonus, a little convenience for those who respec often. Obviously it does give players (particularly hybrids) more viability in various situations, but I would hope that pure DPSers won't get shut out due to healing or tanking hybrids using DPS as their second spec.

I'm sure it will also help those who both raid and PvP a lot, and it might be attractive to people who might want to PvP competitively, but don't want to spend 50g every time they go from raiding to a battleground. I know that my second spec is going to be bear tank (RAWR!), but if I were even a little bit more serious about PvP, I would definitely do that. I'm lucky that I'm in a casual raiding guild, and that no one is going to *force* anyone to dual spec with PvE in mind, which is nice for people who want to PvP.

For other opinions on dual-spec, check out the write ups on these blogs: /hug, Big Bear Butt Blogger, and Forever a Noob.


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