Dual specs bringing back the hybrids?

Back from holiday now and catching up properly on other blogs, I am seeing a lot of reactions to dual specs. I’m surprised that so many of them are negative for the wrong reasons.

Good reasons to dislike dual specs:

  • They encourage people to act differently than before they were available, and the way in which they act differently is bad for the blogger or bad for the game.

Bad reasons to dislike dual specs:

  • Some totally different reason that you’re going to hang on dual specs, even though a moment’s thought would show that they’re not connected.

Comments from Tobold’s Sunday Post referred to a couple of posts on dual specs.

Forever a noob posts a top class rant that shows mostly that he’s never played a hybrid.

Are you a paladin or warrior in a progression-minded raiding guild?  Better buy some bigger bags.  Because your raid leader is going to FORCE you to carry two or three sets of gear into raids.  Anub’rekhan needs two or three tanks, but Maexxna needs only one.  If dual-spec were around when Naxx came out, anyone who was not the main tank would have been REQUIRED to switch spec to dps after the Anub’rekhan fight.  And you’d better have good gear for both specs.

I have news for you sweetie. Any paladin or warrior who has raided in a progression minded guild is laughing at that comment, because what do you think we do NOW when we have a fight that only needs one tank? I’ll tell you what we do. We switch gear and do rubbish dps/heals. All that dual spec means is that we’ll be able to switch gear and do good dps/heals instead. This is a problem why exactly?

Imagine that you are a resto druid.  And you really like healing.  How will you respond when your raid leader says, “We don’t need three healers for this fight.  I need you to respec to Feral for dps.”

You’d ask if one of the other healers could do it instead. They all will have the ability to swap to a dps spec.

But my main issue with the argument is this: that situation could come up now. What would the resto druid do  in that case? Heal even though it wasn’t needed? Or throw a few weak nukes and hope for the best. As long as Blizzard is designing raids which may need different numbers of tanks/ healers/ CC/ dps from one encounter to the next, then people are already dealing with these issues.

The blogger’s issue is with raid design, not with dual specs. And frankly, I’d be perfectly happy if I was able to tank all through a raid and never be forced to dps in my prot spec too.

I want bags of infinite size.  If my paladin is going to have to carry three sets of armor, you better give me 30 slot bags.  Or let me teleport my gear directly from my bank.  Or summon gear from some deity on my command.

I’d be down with that. But it’s written by someone who simply doesn’t realise that a lot of hybrids already carry three sets of gear around.

Big Bear Butt (who definitely does know about playing a hybrid) riffs off this rant and takes it in another direction. His issue is more that the availability of dual specs will cause people to act as though they’re necessary.

I can see the day coming when a raid leader asks not “what spec are you”, but “what are your two specs, and how much DPS/Spellpower do you have in each”.

This (for those who are keeping score) is a perfectly sensible reason to be wary of dual specs. It is entirely possible that hybrids will be expected to play at least two of their roles/ specs to raiding levels if they apply to high end raid guilds.

Some people will be delighted, it will be why they wanted to play a hybrid in the first place. Some will refuse, and the world will keep turning. Raid leaders will still recruit primarily for the roles they need.

I’m not unsympathetic, but with my raid leader hat on, I know that I don’t need all my hybrids to be able to switch to heals. Maybe one spot in the raid will be preferred for a dps hybrid who can heal in one or two fights as needed. Just one spot. For all the rest, any dps is as good as any other. And they still get more spots than tanks or healers.

And again, I keep coming back to the point but people work within this framework right now. All dual specs does is make it easier for them to do it more effectively.

If my Druid can now, all in one character, walk into a raid or instance and, within seconds, either be a main healer, main tank or equitable melee or ranged DPS, whatever the Raid Leader wants at the time, AND be as good at it as the other classes are in each role, and the Rogue or Mage can only be a DPS, a DPS or a DPS?


Why would a Raid Leader want a Rogue or Mage anymore? The Rogue and Mage bring nothing but DPS.

At this point, BBB’s issue is not with dual specs any more. It’s with the game design and how the parameters on hybrids have changed with Wrath. It’s a reasonable rant topic, but dual specs isn’t the cause here.

I already ask one hybrid to help heal on the Four Horseman and Sapphiron. Dual spec doesn’t change the fact that some raid encounters need a different balance of tanks or healers to others, and we address this by asking one hybrid player to switch roles in the raid. There was a time when people who played hybrids LOVED that they could switch between nuking and healing in raids as needed without respeccing. There was a time when hybrids loved that they could switch from tanking to dps without missing a beat. All it needed was a change of gear.

We’re going back towards that style of hybrid, not moving away from it.

I don’t need a random hybrid to become a main tank. But I may need someone to dps 90% of the raid and heal for 10% of it. That’s the role that hybrids now fill in Wrath. And all tanks and healers are now hybrids.

Dual specs won’t take raid spots away from pure dps classes. We already do use hybrids in this way. We already do have the raid designs that require some role switching.

Well, from personal experience, I know that when I look at DPS scores, I see Hunters at the top, Retribution Paladins and Death Knights coming REAL close behind, and Rogues and Mages have to work their ass off to squeeze every last drop of utility out of their class to hang tough on their heels.

And finally, this has nothing whatsoever to do with dual specs. This is another, and again perfectly reasonable, request for damage to be evened out between classes. Rogues are definitely still behind where they should be in PvE. He doesn’t mention Fury Warriors but no one will be surprised if they catch a nerf, it’s entirely expected.

Either let Rogues and Mages have a Tank or Heal spec that is on par with other Hybrid classes… OR freaking make them the absolute best there is at what they do, which is kill shit!

And this is a rant about balance and the costs of being a hybrid. Role switching and flexibility are definitely advantages, IF that was what you wanted from a class. But if that was what you wanted from a class, then why not roll one at the beginning?

Is it that rogues and mages want to heal, or is it just that they are jealously eyeing up that one raid spot that is reserved for the guy who will dps for 90% of the raid and heal for 10%? Because by far the majority of raid dps spots will not require role switching.

Or simply that they also are uncomfortable with how class roles have shifted in the game design and how their initial expectations don’t line up with how things are now. That’s fair enough, it has been a big change.

But don’t blame dual specs for every single issue that you have with WoW. It’s not the cause, simply a symptom.

14 thoughts on “Dual specs bringing back the hybrids?

  1. As a Rogue I heartily agree, we seem to get pvp nerf after pvp nerf but never any pve buffs. fan of knives is an ok AoE but at 50 energy its a tad excessive.

    Am I ready to drop my rogue and reroll to spam an AoE for half an instance to top flawed dps charts? not bloody likely, Iv just got him to level 80 but even before now I have saw its not a level playing field. Iv seen a Death Knight ‘tank’ two levels below me topping the damage charts.

    I feel like im only of use for tank and spank bosses these days 😦

  2. I think you nailed just about everything. Dual (Hell, Tri-Specs) have existed as long as mage portals + warlock summons have been around, for serious guilds.

    And as far as mage/rogue/hunter/warlock’s not needing second specs – I can’t believe how fast people forget their complaints about hydross/alar elemental immunities “forcing” mages to respec, poison/positionally unfriendly bosses “forcing” rogues to respec, pet-unfriendly bosses “forcing” hunters/warlocks to respec, ect.

    This is good for everyone.

  3. Good points.

    As I went through the post I saw a comment on wanting bigger bags though, I thought the wardrobe UI function Blizzard has been on about is going to double as extra gear storage space?

    If so then yay, another bonus for dual specs! I’ve been carrying around my 2-3 gear sets with various swaps depending on encounters for years already, can’t wait to free up half my bag capacity. 🙂

  4. If you ask me, being able to focus on a single gear set and tune it to the capacity of your pocketbook is an advantage. You can be at the top of your game way faster than a hybrid if you’re playing a pure class.

  5. There is one balance issue that you actually can blame dual specs for, namely that Blizzard can now sweep certain design problems under the rug.

    Can’t solo on your healer? Just push that dual spec button (req level 40 and 1000G, hope you have a rich level 80 alt on the same server to pay for it) and the problem is solved.

    Some of your talent trees not performing well in raids? You should have a more raid friendly spec in your second slot for that.

    Point being, the devs are now a little bit more free to treat the 30 talent trees as 30 different sub specialized classes with less need to have each be well rounded. And that WILL make an impact on content design – sure, you might assign a tank or a healer to put on their DPS gear and do crappy DPS now, but, with dual spec, the devs can and probably will assume that your unnecessary off-tank is actually doing as much damage as your melee DPS on single target fights.

    • That’s still a big unknown. I still think they expect most people will use it for a PvP spec and that’s one of the things they intend so I’m not really thinking they’ll design raids around it.

      We really will have to wait and see on that. (And will save that rant for later 😉 ).

      I noticed on WoW Insider they found a comment from Ghostcrawler saying that Blizzard don’t currently plan to balance around dual specs.

      And I agree about sweeping design problems away, but I don’t think they ever really planned to solve them. So it may not be a perfect answer but it’ll do.

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