Monday, 2 March 2009

Dual specs

There's an interesting controversy on the blogsphere regarding dual specs.
are both strong rants opposing dual specs.

In general WoW plays a balancing act where any act of making something better for one class makes things worse for others. If one class is given harder hitting dps that impacts rival classes who compete for raid spots. That's a given in a MMO.

Sometimes though it's hard to see where opposition can be justified. For instance, Rogues' poisons were made vendor bought rather than crafted. Since prior to the change Rogues bought ingredients from a vendor clicked Create all then went afk or alt tabbed the only real impact of this change is to cut out some drudgery involved in playing the class.

Changes like this I find hard to argue with. Nobody thinks it's fun to be dismounted when you ride across a stream. It's not challenging or difficult to deal with, it's simply tedious.

Dual spec is very much a change of this type.

The introduction of dual spec makes it easier to

1) Find something interesting to do when not raiding if you’re a healer
2) Get Raids started rather than cancelled
3) Get Heroic groups
4) and if sub-80 dual speccing comes in, easier to get instances while levelling

What exactly is wrong with any of that?

The game IS indeed too easy now but not because of hybrids - it’s simply that the content is entry level. With Ulduar the game will get harder because there is moderately hard raid content to play while getting easier because of dual speccing (and because of buffs to Rogue dps too but I don’t see you objecting to them).

WoW has always been short of healers. It was short of them at 60 when every raiding Priest Druid Paladin or Shammy was a healer (just about). It was short of them in TBC when the numbers in those classes remained low while the percentage who healed shrunk. It’s low now while those classes have become amongst the most populated.

Healing is a crummy job that people do because either a) they love it and don’t see it as a crummy job (maybe 1% of WoW players) b) they want a raid spot or c) they are high achievers who see healing as a key part of group success and want it done perfectly.

If Blizzard decide to cancel dual spec based on the feedback of players such as yourself many many people, especially pure dps are going to struggle to find raid and 5 man groups. Because if you think there’s a healer shortage now then wait till the healers get promised dual spec then have it snatched away from them.

I’m an ex-healer. I’m not playing a tank-specced DK and I already have dual spec to all intents and purposes. When not tanking I click a button and I’m dps. It’s as simple as moving from Frost Presence to Blood Presence. Dual spec is already in the game. Feral Druids go from tank to kitty with equal ease.

Both bloggers claim that dictatorial raid leaders will be ordering people into roles they don’t want to do. If someone is in this situation they should just change guilds. And in any event isn’t that what healbotting is for many people? Matticus described how his guild will handle it, ( people will have a main spec, same as before. No question of dragooning people into roles they don’t want to play. And if you don’t want a role just don’t collect gear for it, simple. A tiny amount of players will genuinely be upset that they have to role-switch. In a typical situation a raid leader might ask for one volunteer to go healer for a fight. If it’s a fight you just wiped on many tanks or dps would be happy to help out rather than wipe again or see the raid cancelled.

The next point people make against dual speccing is that it dumbs down the game. Consider Sarth + 3. That’s a very hard fight and it makes little difference which class you play. You need to do your class functions AND dodge lava walls AND move out of void zones AND not wander in front of a drake. Screw up on any one of those and you probably cause a wipe. It’s the same for every class, every spec. The difficulty of content has very little to do with the flexibility of hybrids. The flexibility of hybrids make it easier to kill raid bosses but only in the sense it would be easier to kill raid bosses if you have a pool of 20 tanks 50 healers and 100 dpsers to pick 25 from. You won’t cancel raids because one of your tanks didn’t log on. It makes it organisationally easier, it means that some offtanks will be able to heal or nuke on fights where they would otherwise be useless but it doesn’t affect hard wipefest content. In a Naxx farm run you can have surplus tanks go dps for a boss like Sartharion but on a boss you expect to wipe on all night the raid will always be tuned to have the right amount of tanks, healers and dps. because it’s a wipe fight and your raid is all about beating that one boss to the exclusion of everything else. Dual spec doesn’t affect the way such a fight plays in the slightest. It just means that you don’t have to cancel the raids if you’re short of certain roles but once you engage the fight you will be wiping over and over with the same set-up until people manage the multi-tasking and the little fight gimmicks (eg lava walls). Dual spec doesn’t make hard raid content easier to play, it just makes it easier to organise a raid for.

A more positive view is found here:

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