A lot of people have posted concerns that dual-speccable hybrids will run the pure DPS classes out of a job; that why would a raid leader take a mage when they can take a druid who can swap between DPS and healing and tanking at will?
Here are a few of the other bloggers’ takes on the subject: Dinaer of Forever a Noob is against dual specs (with a second post on the issue here), Larisa of Pink Pigtail Inn laments not being unique any more, Big Bear Butt feels that pure DPS classes should outstrip hybrids as compensation. Spinksville points out that the issue is with raid design, not hybrids, and Aurik of /Hug posts an anti-rant in support of dual specs. There are doubtless many other posts I’ve missed, too.
I have three opinions on the issue, all of which are basically pro-dual-spec.
Flexibility sucks when you’re the only one who’s flexible.
Remember the ghettoization of some tank classes into “permanent offtank” status?
I know quite a few feral druids who hardly ever got to tank anything in TBC – despite being as dedicated and skillful as any warrior or paladin – because protection warriors and protection paladins did pitiful DPS if they weren’t tanking, whereas bears could cat it up and do okay.
Great for flexibility? Sure, but lousy for actually getting to play what you want. If you’re the only one who’s flexible, you’re the one who always has to pay the price.
The improvement of prot warrior and paladin DPS in WotLK is one step towards fixing this; dual specs are the final nail in the coffin of that ghetto.
Flexibility is necessary to compensate for raid design.
Spinksville made this point in her post on dual specs, but I want to reiterate it because I agree with it.
I’ve read quite a lot of anti-dual-spec posts characterising hybrids as greedy divas who want to be the best at everything. I’m sure there are some greedy diva types out there, but the reason why we want to be able to perform adequately in all our roles? is because we have to.
Look at Naxxramas as an example (assuming you’re not geared to the teeth and running 25-man Naxx in two hours with three healers). Naxxramas requires anywhere from one tank to three or four tanks, depending on the encounter and the strat you use. It requires anywhere from four healers to seven, depending on the encounter and your latency (and gearing level).
If I’m taking three tanks and six or seven healers for Patchwerk and Kel’Thuzad, what are those spare tanks and healers meant to do on Grobbulus and Thaddius, who both only need one tank, four or five healers, and a ton of DPS? Scratch themselves?
No – they either go back to town, respec and reglyph for DPS before Thaddius, and then repeat the process to return to their original spec for Kel’Thuzad (a time consuming and expensive solution), or they put out sub-par DPS on Thaddius and feel obsolete and inadequate.
In other words: in a raiding context the real problem is that raids require very different numbers of tanks and healers between one boss and the next, and respeccing for every second boss is a pain in the ass. Which means that without dual specs, you have a lot of bored tanks and healers not doing much, and getting frustrated and miserable with feeling superfluous. With dual specs we can at least do something, even if it isn’t our role of choice.
Flexibility isn’t everything.
How many raid leaders are honestly, regularly, going to bench a mage for a boomkin, or a rogue for a cat druid, solely because the hybrid can respec?
I really don’t think it’s actually going to harm pure DPSers as much as they fear, for three reasons:
One: This is nothing new.
Hybrids – i.e. everyone who’s not a mage, rogue, warlock or hunter – can already swap between one role and another. All they have to do is swing by a class trainer for the respec, and a Lexicon of Power for the reglyph.
People do this between one PuG and the next, one Arena match and the next, in the middle of raids when necessary. I’ve seen plenty of PuGs with a hybrid in them saying “I can do X or Y, depending on who else we pick up”. I’ve seen plenty of people port back to town and respec between one raid boss and the next because the extra DPS or tank or healer is necessary. And, as far as I know, the pure DPSers are still getting plenty of raid spots in spite of this. In this context, dual-specs just cuts down on waiting-around time, which is in everyone’s interests.
Two: Talents ain’t everything.
There are two points that are oft-repeated, but bear invoking again:
- Just because you can spec for it doesn’t mean you have the gear for it.
- Just because you can spec for it doesn’t mean you know how to play it.
There’s a lot more to playing a role than just having your talent points in the right place. Any raid leader who has me swap to tank spec in the middle of a raid is going to get a nasty shock, I can tell you. I’ll do it, but it won’t be pretty.
Three: Class balance dictates raid composition.
Every healing and tanking class is a hybrid, because they all have at least a second role (DPS) if not a third. As such, it makes much more sense to build your healer and tanking corps around the idea of them respeccing to DPS when they’re not needed in their primary role, rather than building your DPS corps around the idea that they’ll occasionally have to respec to heal or tank.
Honestly, I would be really surprised if, after 3.1, pure DPSers are regularly getting bumped for hybrids on the grounds that the hybrids can dual spec on the fly. If having the extra tank, or the extra healing, is that important to your raid group then you probably need to recruit another tank or healer.
What it boils down to is: having extra healing or extra tanking – and having DPS who can respec to provide it – is only situationally useful. Having extra DPS – and having healers and tanks who can contribute to that when they’re not needed – is always useful.