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Raid Rx: Will dual spec affect your healing squads?

Raid Rx has returned from retirement! Every Thursday (usually), Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. This week I explore dual specs and the effects it will have.

The dual spec Q&A was posted earlier in the week and Mike's got a nice summary listed.

Let's get right down to it. How does dual spec capability affect raid healing?

During Burning Crusade raids, most guilds fielded around 7-8 healers in the 25 player raids. Now it is not uncommon for guilds to bring as few 4 healers to their raids. Generally I would leave the raid configuration to your guildmaster or raid leader (whoever it is that handles and calls the raids). It's up to them if they want to run with 4 healers to 7 healers. There are upsides and downsides to both:

  • Less healers: More overall raid DPS. Stuff just dies. With higher raid DPS, raids end up being faster. Sloppy play could be risky. Raid becomes more fragile and raid damage takes a little longer to heal up.
  • More healers: DPS isn't as high. You get the peace of mind of players surviving more. The overall time spent in raid is longer. Slowly but surely wins the race.

If your raid group is adequately geared, then the group can get away with less healers (in the 4-5 range).

The introduction of dual specs presents GMs and healing leads with interesting options. The obvious no brainer is that a healer has the ability to switch between DPS and healing roles.

I believe our class columnists will be writing about dual specs with more in depth information in the days ahead. But here's a quick suggested summary of combinations that *I* would consider in raids:

  • Druids: Resto/Boomkin (Note: Feral DPS is an option but would require a different gear approach)
  • Shaman: Resto/Elemental
  • Paladin: Holy/Ret
  • Priest: Holy/Shadow

With the exception of Paladins, the other 3 classes can switch to DPS roles without significant gear switching (although you'll have to bring up your hit rating and all that). Paladins will need to regear for ret so switching out might be a bit of a problem until they get the appropriate gear.

Here's the question that's on the back of my mind.

Is Blizzard designing raid instances with dual specs in mind? As in will they design healer heavy encounters with the next raid boss after that requiring some sort of minimum DPS output? It reminds me of the days of going from Eredar Twins to Mu'ru.

I hope not.

So how does this affect your squad?

It shouldn't make too big of a difference. If anything, it increases raid flexibility even more. No problems with healing? Bring in the heavy artillery. Time and gold is saved from having to hearth, respec, and reglyph. From the guild management side of things, it's entirely possible to reduce guild recruiting. What I mean by this is that guilds won't have the pressure to recruit dedicated healers or dedicated DPS. If a fight calls for more power or more healing, it's much more convenient to just ask one person switch out accordingly.

The problem is finding players that can truly excel at both roles. I'm sure some of you can switch between DPS and healing with little difficulty. I've got a Resto Shaman in my guild who likes to toss out the Chain Heal but converts to throwing out Lightning Bolts on nights with little raiding activity. I, as a Priest would never be able to play Shadow. I just don't have that desire (and also because I royally suck at it).

What about healing to non DPS specs?

The only dual spec I'll be doing is from Discipline to Holy (more on that in Spiritual Guidance for this week). I'm not familiar enough for the other classes to further comment on other spec types. For Holy Paladins, what I would like to see is for them to pick up that Divine Guardian talent. It might come in handy on certain fights. I know the Paladins saved my bacon when my guild took down Sartharion with 3 Drakes up.

I know one thing is for certain. I won't be using my second spec for PvP! Gosh, I may have to relearn how to play Holy.


Want some more advice for working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered with all there is to know! Looking for less healer-centric raiding advice? Take a look at our raiding column Ready Check.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Wrath of the Lich King, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

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