Tank like a girl
Mar 04 2009

My take on dual specs

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With 3.1 on the horizon, everyone in the WoW blogosphere appears to be talking about dual specs. It’s the latest rage. To my huge surprise, the naysayers are currently seemingly outweighing people looking forward to dual specs. The argument appears to be that it will make hybrids insanely powerful and popular, and that pure DPS classes will be left in the dust. As a casual player and raid leader, I do not agree with this view.

For small, casual guilds, the change to dual specs will allow easier filling of raid rosters. Let’s take my last raid. I has slotted myself for healing, but the slotted main tank turned out to be sick. I brought Kadomi to the raid instead, at the cost of having our retribution paladin spending gold on respeccing and enchants so she could heal instead of DPSing. With the change to dual spec, she could have switched with one-click, saved herself the re-glyphing, it would have been a little more pleasant. Now, this particular retribution paladin used to be a healer and that’s why I felt confident in slotting her for heals instead. To think that any hybrid can fill all roles however is utopical.

My other half is playing a feral druid as main, to tank. With dual specs she wants to try giving balance a shot for lazer pew pew chicken action. I wouldn’t dream of scheduling her for any raids until she’s actually geared up properly and has her rotations down properly. It’s a great option for one tank fights to provide extra DPS, but it will take practice. No one should expect anyone who’s picking a second spec for a different role to be immediately good at it. If I have the choice between a fire mage who’s played the spec in many raids and the balance druid who’s usually a tank, the fire mage will always win.

If people want to take the opportunity to play around with different specs now that they can, great. I have no intention of dictating to people what kind of spec they need to raid. I actually did that once, because I thought we didn’t have enough DPS, and it didn’t work, because people don’t play well when they don’t enjoy a specific role. If people offer to fill several roles and I have first-hand experience that they can, I will always lean towards letting them do their favorite role.

As for pure DPS classes, how awesome are dual-specs for you? Hunter who always wanted to try survival but loves their exotic pets? There ya go. Rogues who want to be all about mutilate, but want to be a lolstepper in Wintergrasp? Huzzah. Frost mage for soloing, frostfire in raids? Sounds tasty. Warlock who loves felguards, but kinda wants really kick-ass DoTs on the side? I could go on and on.

Cheer up, folks, it’s going to be great. For hardcore progression guilds nothing will change, other than hybrids not having to spend respec between encounters much. For casual guilds, you will eventually have a larger pool available to fill specific roles, if people are so enclined. I know that in my guild just about everyone is saying ‘Can’t wait for dual specs!’ at least once a day.

Kadomi is going to get dual specs. 15/5/51, my current spec, for maximum threat on trash and farmed content. 5/13/53 for Imp Demo Shout, Piercing Howl and Imp Spell Reflect, for progression fights. I was briefly toying with the idea of goings Arms or Fury, but heck, I do sufficient damage solo, and I do not want to be a DPS warrior in raids. I want to tank, stat.

For further views about dual spec, good or bad, check out other blogs around the blogosphere:

So, tanks of the world, what are your plans for the second spec? Join the club of dedicated tanks picking two different tanking specs? :)

Filed under : talents | 19 Comments »

19 Responses to “My take on dual specs”

  1. Patty says:

    I am all for dual-specs. Sure, I hate the cost, but it’s a one-time thing so I can deal. My first thought was, “Okay, so this will be completely useless for Pear [my frostfire mage].” But then I thought, now I can PVP if I want! No need to re-spec every time I feel like doing a BG (not to say it’s often, mind you). Oh, and I’m so excited for Hannelore. She’s more solid as a DPSer but, hey, someone wants to run something and needs a healer? Awesome! I get the practice and I get to go right back to Shadow when I’m done. Basically, I just love the flexibility. For the reasons you listed, pertaining to raiding, I don’t see how anyone can think this is a bad thing.


  2. ARA says:

    That’s why I love your blog! You’re consistently positive :) Hahaha, so you’re going tank/tank. That’s funny!

    I’m a big believer in them too, and I honestly dont think a great deal is going to change. I dont think it’ll be like having 2 specs – any guild will have a main spec for every toon… otherwise it just makes raid organizion too hard. For some of us, eg tanks we can switch to dps specs when necessary, but tbh that’s what a lot of top guilds are already doing with their characters. People respec an insane amount. This just makes it easier and costs a lot less. Gear is another reason we’ll force people to choose a main spec. We simply cant gear up 2 specs for each toon at the same time. 2nd spec will still be offspec, as far as dkp and loot priorities go. I think I’ll probably go bear/moonkin like you’re friend. Makes the class a lot more interesting to play.


  3. $teele says:

    Looking forward to dual spec a lot. I will go for 5/8/58 max mig for MTing and second deep into fury for a support OT with maxed out shouts, piercing howl and if its possible by any means without ruining the tank in offtank too much – trauma! i wont ever run as a DPS (didnt even bother collect pve offgear) so 2 tanking specs are what i love.


  4. Brajana says:

    I’m not so much against dual specs as I am against the ability to change them at the drop of a hat, no matter where you are and what you’re doing.

    See, some people are acting like this is the first time people will be able to try out different specs… which isn’t true. People can respec now if they feel like it, and I encourage people to try out every aspect of their class – play the game to the fullest!

    However, where I think dual specs should stop is just being a more convenient way of respecing. I’d prefer it if you just had to go to some NPC and say “Hey, please switch me to Spec #2 now!” Half the fun in planning a raid is making sure you know how to handle each fight and take advantage of each individuals strengths in every fight – if they can change their strengths whenever they feel like it, I dunno, it just feels like it will be too strange to go in as one group and come out as another.

    Brajana´s last blog post..Ferguson Has Returned!


  5. Bent says:

    I am a prot warriror. My guild does not Raid. This means I do raids with people in my friends list/PuGs. Most of these tend to be 10-man. That means 2 tanks for the most part.

    OTing as a prot warrior is pretty sad in most fights. Rage starvation, causing low dps. I pretty much try to keep sunder on the boss and Shield Slam on coodown, and that is about all I have rage for unless alot of AE damage is going on. I figure having a DPS spec to switch too will allow me to contribute more to the many fights that don’t require another tank and also let me compete for DPS slots in the group if tank roles are filled.
    I know some people swear by one spec, to the point of sharding off-spec gear instead of banking. These will be the people, if any, that are hurt by dual specs.

    Keep yourself as flexiable as possible. From an GM or RL’s point of view would you rather take/ admit somone that has a tanking gear set, or someone that has a tanking and dps gear set? Assuming the skill of the people in either roll within a certain encounter was unknown? I’m not saying to you should roll against your main spec DPS if you are a tank, but take what is left over!!


  6. Tryna says:

    Frost mage for soloing, frostfire in raids?

    I am probably going to do this for my frost mage, should she ever get to 80. I love frost too much to give it up, but unless they really work to make it more viable for raiding, I’ll likely go FFB if she raids.

    Tell your other half she needs to go tree instead of laserchicken. ;)


  7. Tarsus says:

    The jury is still out in my mind on whether I’ll go DPS spec or swap between Threat Tank and Avoidance Tank specs. It will probably depend on the needs of the raid – at the moment we have (for lack of a better term) one Full Time tank (e.g. someone who makes every raid) and three part time tanks (the ones who make 50% of raids) and I am one of the latter. Yet, I rarely DPS in any fight that I am actually there, so there is definitely a question of raid utility at current.


  8. drug says:

    Well someone has to be not so positive towards dual specs and I’ll gladly fill that role.

    My post on dual specs on my blog is very negative and so are many excellent posts on other blogs that don’t just see positive aspects with dual specs coming.

    I don’t want to be misunderstood though. I don’t think the whole game will change. I don’t think the heaven will turn dark and all undead will start wearing pink clothes. I just think blizzard could have done better and offer at least a third spec as soon as possible (because this might make me play pvp) and take care of pure dps-classes.

    My main problem with pure dps classes is, that they have to be balanced for PvP. And they have to be balanced to hybrid dps classes. If pure dps classes would do significantly more damage than hybrid dps, they would be overpowered in PvP. And right now many pure dps classes struggle with pulling off the damage they should. I think a good hybrid should do more damage than a pure dps player without skill. But taken two players of roughly equal skill, the pure dps class should do more damage. Homogenization of buffs did hurt many dps classes who were leeching off other players buffs and many hybrid dps classes got their dps buffed. So those pure dps classes not only struggle to fulfill the role their meant for but now offer much less utility than hybrid that doesn’t mind to collect two sets of gear. And I’m sure more players will have those two sets, just because it has become easy and cheap to switch.

    And in really progression oriented guilds I see some pressure for hybrids to really get a second equip and learn to play it. Players who are really dedicated to just one spec could always hide behinde the gold/time they had to invest into a second gear set/glyph switching etc. But now with switching to an offspec becoming so easy and the huge amount of loot thrown around in instances/emblem loot will make it hard to justify not having a second gear set.

    I plan on going Resto/Elemental with my shaman because there’s few room for enhancement in our melee heavy guild. And my warrior will get an Arms offspec, ignoring the Fury hype.

    drug´s last blog post..The unspectacular 6th Screenshot


  9. Darraxus says:

    I personally love the idea of dual specs. Unlike many tanks apparently (or at least the blogging ones), I am going to use a DPS spec as my second spec. It really seems that pugs are needing more DPS than tanks these days, and I will do whatever I need to do to get into a raid. I can always spend my emblems on tanks stuff anyways.

    Darraxus´s last blog post..Gold making by Jewelcrafting


  10. Bent says:

    I have decided to refer to alternate builds within one tree as Sub-Specs.

    Raid Tank->dps is off-spec

    Raid Tank w/o spell reflect -> Raid Tank w/ spell reflect = sub-spec.

    A fire mage keeping a second spec for AE burn down = sub-spec

    It makes sense right?


  11. Tulakk says:

    When WotLK dropped, I was determined to get into a raid as an MT or OT. But life has a funny way of dealing you cards, so when my best friend came to me and said his 25 man raid had an opening for a fury warrior…well, I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to see endgame with my partner in crime. So now I’m mainly Fury most of the time, and I tank for my 10 man group. So I’ll be Fury/Prot dual spec.

    I do agree that hybrids are going to get a huge boost from dual speccing, but I really don’t care. 1000g for the convenience of swapping specs whenever and wherever I feel like? Sign me up!


  12. Yakra says:


    Yakra´s last blog post..Distance-Based Avoidance


  13. Ladina says:

    I think most people are really misunderstand the impact Dual spec is going to have on WoW. For the hard core raiding guild this is the final nail in the coffin for the idea of “Bring the player not the class” You are going to see guides to run say things like “Have your ret paladin switch to holy here and do XYZ”. Pure DPS classes, especially the rogue and DPS warrior will spend their life listening in on Vent to the raid. This will leak into future “hard mode” encounters from Blizzard. If you want to complete the achievement you will have to have XYZ class switch to XYZ build for the fight.

    This all changes for the casual raider and people that just run normal instances. If you are a class that can heal get used to the idea that you are a healer, nothing more nothing less. You will hear it all the time. “Ok we are just about ready to go. Who is switching to healing?” Tanks will get this too but perhaps just a little bit less.

    It is also going to make looting a nightmare. Everyone will have 2 specs and Hybrids will be extra bad. Sure the comment will be made like “Only roll on the spec you are now” but that will not fly if you have asked someone to swap specs. If someone wanted to be a feral tank and you asked them to switch to resto to heal how can you tell them to not take a fury piece?

    In the long run we will all adapt but it is going to have real negative impact on a lot of things from what I can see.


  14. dorgol says:

    My Paladin is looking forward to dual spec. Holy for raids, Prot for solo and whenever I feel the itch to tank.

    My Druid is also, but less so since he’s not 80 (not sure what I want to do with him).

    My Mage won’t buy the dual spec option. If he ever raids, he will stay frost because it will be a raid full of alts.

    My Warlock won’t buy the dual spec option. If Warlock ever raids, I’ll permanently switch to a raid spec, because that’s good enough for solo-ing.

    My Warrior won’t buy the dual spec option. If he ever sees level 71, someone has probably hacked my account.


  15. Hinenuitepo says:

    Heh, well, speculation is speculation.
    We’ll see soon.

    I agree, I’ve seen nothing anywhere anytime that has convinced me dual specs will be a negative.
    Many reasons for both sides have been posted here.

    On an even more granular level, it will even be fun to switch even between mobs while questing/farming! (I have 3 80s atm and all will get the ability). On my DK, if I’m farming mobs as unholy, when faced with an 82 elite, I can choose to try to survive in frost presence alone, or I can switch to my planned blood OT spec. On the ’5-man’ Icecrown quest elite, I can don my tanking gear along with my blood OT spec and whale away, healing myself and wearing down the boss! I see all kinds of fun there!

    Back to the macro level. Blizzard saw many people spending lots of time and gold respeccing anyway, and unlike many other time sinks, really not enjoying it. They’ve made it easier on all, fun for many, and contrary to the contrarians, without significant downsides for any but the very small minority.


  16. Squid says:

    People are talking like u can just switch whenever. My understanding was that U can only do it at a lexington of power. And that scribes will learn the ability to make a Lexington that requires multiple people to summon. (like mage tables). Over all I think dual spec is a good change I dont see any problems happening with loot, people will still have a off spec…


    admin Reply:

    They removed the Lexicon requirement on the PTR, and they also removed the level requirement. You can now respec anytime, anywhere.


  17. Naissa says:

    Honestly I’ll most likely end up with my Tank Spec and a Fury Spec. I was amazed at how people on the forums were complaining about the cost and I actually saw one person refer to dual specs as the “new in-game voice chat” in that it’s a feature that nobody will use.

    Guess I’m nobody because I’m definitely using it. Especially after checking it out on the PTR and deeming it “Mootastic”.

    Naissa´s last blog post..Dual Specs: My Thoughts.


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