(Since the Model Viewer is currently broken, mentally add an image to this post that is a Shaman in healing gear standing face to face – mirror image style – with a Shaman in enhancement gear.)
I could easily turn this into a number of different things. But for now, I want to focus on this problem:
Its primary purposes is so that player feel like they dont need to keep respec’ing for different roles or kinds of content. By far the two biggest cases where we think this is needed are:
The player who want to both PvP and run instances.
The player who swaps frequently among tanking, healing or dps (even if the dps part is to solo).
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that first bit. PVP specs and Instancing specs (even for healers) are frequently very different, and having a way to swap between the two is fantastic, as is the ability for a DPS specced hybrid to dual spec as a healer/tank for certain raids where you might need an extra for one fight, or fill two potential roles over the course of a raid. My issue lies with the second one.
That “even if the DPS part is to solo” part. That’s the problem.
Basically, this is a giant steaming pile of cop out.
It says “we know you can’t kill a mob 10 levels lower than you, but you can dual spec to a DPS spec!” I try very hard not to whine about class mechanics – and even though there are some really frustrating things about both Paladins and Shamans right now, I’ve been pretty good about staying away from the QQ stuff, since I think that there’s no real benefit gained from being upset about things over which we have no control.
This, however, is a little different (at least in my brain), because it’s not about a single mechanic. This isn’t about holy paladins, prot warriors, boomkin druids. This is an attitude issue on the part of Blizzard, and it frustrates me.
Instead of making each spec a viable way to play in more than one role – even if it’s focused on one particular role – this says “all characters with X spec are for Y task. If they don’t want to do Y task, well, they can dual spec to do a different task!”. And maybe I’m being overly fatalistic, but I see this as the writing on the wall for the end of hybrid flexibility.
No longer will you have ret or holy paladins that pick up a set of tank gear in an instance to help out, or resto druids that throw on some boomkin gear and DPS. Hybrid functionality – the ability to do more than one role (even if the secondary roles are not as good as a primary role) – is slowly dying. With the advent of 51 point talent trees, all hybrid roles are more specialized than ever, and being effective with “hybrid” specs is almost impossible NOW – imagine after six months or a year of dual specs?
And what does it say to new players if the standard answer to “I’m having trouble balancing my tank spec with the time I spend soloing” is “well, don’t be tank specced when you solo!”. To me, that’s the best reason NOT to spec for a specialized role (tanking/healing) – and there’s already complaints of healing and tank shortages.
It says very clearly “we know being a healer sucks when you’re not healing, we wouldn’t spec as a healer unless we actually HAD to” – and I think that’s a shame.
Unfortunately, there’s probably little or nothing anyone can do about this.
I’m not sure anyone else sees this as a problem, and I’m quite sure that they’re not going to change their minds about it now (especially since it’s been officially announced). And, at heart, I don’t think dual specs are the issue – I like the idea, as does anyone that’s played a hybrid class and been forced to be something they’ve not liked for just one night so the raid could go on. I know druids and paladins that love the idea of being able to tank OR heal on the fly as they’re needed, and that’s going to be the fantastic side to this change.
It’s the attitude toward soloing that bugs me.
I want my holy paladin and my resto shaman to be able to do simple daily quests by themselves and not have it take 5+ times as long or require outside help just to complete. I don’t want to have to flip flop repeatedly to some other spec that I like less just so that I can be competitive as a raider and have the appropriate reputation gear/enchants. I don’t need to have to carry more gear and more reagents than I already do. I don’t want purchasing “respec reagents” (or shelling out cash for respecs) to be a part of playing a healer or a tank class.
And, to be perfectly short about it, I don’t want to be retribution or elemental.
My characters have the specs that they have to fit with the people that they are. Aelflaed is a terrible ret pally – not because she does terrible DPS, but because when she’s specced ret, she’s impulsive, reckless, occasionally stupid, and constantly stressed out. She is a *holy paladin*. And Annorah is similar – her greatest relationships are with the elements of Water and Fire – Water for healing and balance, and Fire for scrying.
As class designers, Blizzard is responsible for keeping things reasonable with each spec of each class. Sure a beastmastery hunter might be able to solo faster than a survival hunter – but the survival hunter does just fine on her own. The same is NOT true of non utility/DPS classes. That should be adjusted, not glossed over with the ability to carry a second spec. Having two specs should <increase> the total functionality of hybrids, not gloss over the fact that some of the specs are completely useless when not doing their one single role.
While the idea of dual specs is fantastic in premise, especially for hybrids that might need to pick up a secondary role for a specific fight in an instance, or people that do both PVP and PVE, the increasing trend of “Just dual spec” to solve the problem of soloing is a cop out. Blizzard just made spellpower and healing the same stats, and fixed tank stats so that they’re carrying strength and AP as well as avoidance/mitigation. Both of those changes reflect a desire to have people holding non-DPS roles be able to hang on their own as well.
Unfortunately, Dual Specs could potentially blow all of that away, as class changes get made. The idea of carrying two potential talent trees is fantastic, but the attitude and response that “if you can’t do it by yourself as a healer/tank, just dual spec” is not.
(And yes, I know, there’s both nothing I can do about it, and no solution posted in this post – because I don’t have one. Heck, I’m not sure there *is* one, and I think the “death” of Hybrids had been coming for awhile. Hence this being a rant (: Feel free to agree or disagree, I’d love to see some discussion, but keep it civil – not that you guys have ever made me doubt your ability for civility!)
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