I did have a post planned for today about dual specs. But Blizzard have outdated it already by announcing that their current plans include all the features I would have wanted.
My personal take on dual specs is that I have a couple of very specific use cases in mind. A use case is a way of capturing requirements in software engineering. Instead of starting by describing what the system does, we write a few sentences about what it is and then say ‘OK, I’m a user. How do I want to use this system?’. We can show the steps that a specific interaction would take. Then we go through it again for every different use case that the engineers can think so. So in my case here, I know exactly how I’d like to be able to use the dual spec system and under what circumstances. Those are my use cases.
1. For my warrior. She is usually protection spec. But she often tanks in raids where different numbers of tanks are needed for consecutive fights. So from dual specs I want the ability to switch into a proper dps spec for a fight where I’m not needed to either tank or off tank. And then switch back again. I have the gear for the dps off-spec already and I’m happy to get more familiar with my dps aspect. I want switching to be quick and easy and not hold up the raid for too long while I’m doing it, because I might be the only one who needs to switch specs.
2. I have a level 70 druid, who I played as resto in the last expansion. There’s no way I’m planning to level as a resto spec. But I’m not interested in healing instances while levelling as a balance spec. Yes it’s possible, but why do the healing on hard mode when you’re used to life as a tree? So I always told my guild I wasn’t going to touch her until I had the option of dual specs.
So I need dual specs to be available at level 70, and I want to be able to level as balance but with the option of switching to resto if I get a chance to run an instance and the group needs a healer. I also want any one-off costs to be cheap enough that I can afford to pay for both Peace and Spinks to have it.
3. I have a warlock. I don’t really care if he has dual specs or not. But if it is cheap, I will probably buy it and try out a deep destro spec so that he can be an emergency replenish-bot for our 10 man runs if needed. I don’t have a major requirement here. But I will use the feature more if the one off cost is low. This will probably lead to me experimenting with glyphs, running more instances to get alternate pieces of gear, and generally being more active in game with this alt.
Based on that, I’ll list my 5 criteria:
- If there’s a one-off cost, it needs to be affordable. Below 2k gold would be best. (I already know that I want this facility for at least two of my alts. As it happens, I do have a fair sized pot of gold to dip into but I know lots of people who don’t.)
- Need to be able to switch specs in raids.
- Need to be able to access dual specs at level 70.
- Need to be able to switch specs on a short cooldown, to allow switching for one boss fight and then switching back again.
- Spec switching in raids needs to be quick and easy. If it requires consumables they need to be cheap (I already pay enough in repair bills!)
WoW Insider sums up the latest pronouncements on Dual Specs. They fulfil all of my criteria so I’m happy. If dual specs go live like this, I’ll be delighted. Blizzard will have won my custom not only for the next patch but also for a period for me to level my third alt.
The current plans are:
- dual specs cost 1000g as a one off cost
- dual specs available from level 40
- switching specs will require no consumables, will be a 5s cast, and will have no cooldown
- switching specs can’t be done in combat or in PvP
The place where this will hurt is when Blizzard starts designing raids with dual spec taken into account. Gearing up for a raid already takes time, for warriors doing the prot/dps thing this is going to take double that.
Overall, I’m relatively happy with the way it’s shaking out. Legitimate new players (or existing players rolling on new servers where they don’t have a rich main to pay the dual spec tax) are out of luck if they want the ability to tank/heal without giving up a decent leveling spec, but that’s probably the minority of potential users. Once you’ve already made the decision to allow dual specs, the issue that Tarsus raises is already going to happen, so the only thing left to figure out is how convenient and accessible the feature is for the rest of us.
I will say, though, that there is some serious cheese potential in the current low bar. Apparently cooldowns will continue to tick after you spec out of them, meaning that you can burn cooldowns, switch specs for the next pull, and switch back for the one after that. For instance, a mage could alternate between Frost (to break out the elemental, icy veins, and cold snap to do it all a second time) on one pull and Arcane (the good old AP+POM+Pyroblast combo) on the next. Alternately, picture a warrior tank rotation that has access to shield wall for every single trash pull by swapping a different tank in from DPS mode.
@ GA – Yeah. That is totally not going to make it into live. Not that I would use shield wall for every single trash pull: “Need more rage!”
I think that is totally the way the dual spec thing is going to be used. Tanks getting a dps build and healers taking up a dps build for farming or pvp. And damage dealers taking a special build for arenas or general pvp.
But I guess that the system will “remember” the cooldowns so that you won’t be able to reset them by changing the spec back and forth again.
According to Zarhym, the cooldown issue seems to have been addressed.
Having dual specs is a great idea, but I think the 1,000 gold cost is not trivial. I am saving up to buy artisan flying for my second character, after which I will have a couple of levels before I will want to get cold weather flying for both characters, at 1,000 each. If I want two specs I will need another 2,000 gold, it seems.
I see good reasons for dual specs for levelling and you present a good case for dual specs in raids. Personally, I see dual specs solving the problem of characters’ roles, where a different role is required for solo and group play, which isn’t restricted to hardcore players nor level-capped players, but by making it a significant cost dual specs will remain out of reach of many players for too long.
I don’t see why dual specs can’t simply be a part of the game, maybe trained at 30th level much like a mount, once players get used to their primary spec. Perhaps it could be unlocked via a simple quest chain, but I think it should be open to all characters and not be a money sink that it looks to be.