14
Feb
09

Dual specs

Ever since it was hinted at during the WWI in june 2008, everybody has been waiting for more information on dual specs. I think its fair to say that most people were doubtful and hesitant to believe that it’d really happen (player housing anybody?). But Blizz posted a Q&A with Ghostcrawler (if you haven’t already, check it out here).

So, now that we have hard information, what do we think? Personally, I’m very happy, especially since I am in a small guild, where tanks aren’t always available in abundance. With a dual spec, it’d be dead easy to swap back and forth. The same goes for raids. Short a tank? No problem. Admittedly, it’s not much of a problem now either, but a dual spec will avoid the hassle of respeccing, reordering action bars, all that malarkey. Switch your spec and you’re good to go.

There is the notion of the “one time fee”. How big is it? Not that its a huge issue in this day and age, but its still a fee you have to pay for every character (like cold weather flying). My guess would be that its going to be about the same size. Set it too high and people will just respec like they used to. 1000 gold is not too cheap, but most people can afford it easily.

So what spec will everybody choose? Personally, I’m going for a fury/prot approach, since I need to tank more often than I need a Mortal Strike. I think the majority of PVE oriented players will spec into prot in some form, to be able to tank instances. The arms/fury combo might work for people who enjoy both pvp and pve, although fury/prot seems to be just as valid (since prot is solid in pvp). On the other hand, prot pve warriors might well respec into a more pvp oriented prot spec, giving rise to a prot/prot spec.

It might be more useful to look at it from a role perspective, rather than a tree perspective. For most pve dps people, the obvious choice is a dps/tanking combo (or tanking/dps combo), for covering all bases in instances as well as having a grinding spec. For pvp’ers there will be a tradeoff if you’re the sort who likes instancing; do you go for dps or tanking? Ultimately, gear choices factor into the equation too. If you don’t have any gear for a role, why spec into it at all if you don’t intend on laying the work down to get said gear?

I think there can be little doubt that the venerable dps/tank combo will be the one most commonly seen. It makes sense too, since it fills both the roles we’ve been given by Blizz. For people with a pvp main spec, its tempting to make the second one a grinding/pve-dps spec, since it’ll require the least change in gear. Whether the most common dps spec will be a fury or arms spec, time will tell. Currently, arms is in a bit of a mess, but Blizz have stated that they’re working on making arms more viable. We’ll see what happens come 3.1.

The other big highlight is the Gear Manager, even if Ghostcrawler doesn’t promise it from the get go. While its going to be a blow to the gear addons, I doubt it’ll be the end of them. Blizzard usually go for a simplistic design in their functionality, and with good reason too. Their philosophy on UI design is that it mustn’t attract attention, it’s a tool, nothing more. But a well thought out and well designed tool. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we get a very basic outfit selector, with a choice of customising a number of outfits (whether entire or partial) and thats it. Auto switching and the likes I think will be reserved for the addon writers to do.

The only nagging fear is now: will it make it to 3.1? It sure looks that way, but Blizz have been known to do 180’s if things didn’t work out as they had hoped.

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